When faced with the prospect of not being able to do something it seems to be human nature to dwell on what we are missing out on rather than turning lemons into lemonade.
Fortunately for me (or unfortunately depending on your perspective) about 18 months ago I went through a pretty bad stress fracture in my hip that required me to drastically adapt my life to suit.
I went from training 15-20 hours a week to hobbling round on crutches. For 2 months I couldn’t even swim, and it took me 4-5 months to get back on the bike and 8 months until I ran for one whole minute. Aside from the first couple of months, the rest of the rehab journey was actually a giant silver lining. As someone who has taken to swimming later in life I’ve never been one to call swimming a strength of mine. For the first time ever in my Triathlon career I had a sole focus on swimming, and as expected I made massive improvements. Who would’ve thought?
Previously I would normally swim 2-3 times a week whereas during my rehab I was swimming 6-7 or even 8 times a week. My new normal is now 4 swims or more a week because I’ve created these new habits. In my races this season I’m still not first out of the water but I’m certainly in or around the lead group which changes the whole dynamic of the race for me.
Obviously I can’t swim at all during this lockdown and I’m not that excited about jumping into the harbour given the temperature has plummeted. But what I can do is ride on my indoor trainer and focus on my mobility and strength work. I would go running but another niggle in my hip and lower back has reminded me of the importance of prevention rather than treatment.
So far over the last 6 week there’s only been three days I haven’t ridden my bike and I’m getting 4-5 strength and mobility sessions done each week, all from the “comfort” of my garage. Again the point here isn’t about getting super fit, fast or strong but it’s to create good habits and have a bit of fun along the way. I’ve been told by almost every physio I’ve seen that I need to work on a few things and right now I have no excuses for not investing the time and effort requires to make those positive changes. In focusing on these things I can do it’s also helped me pass the time quickly and put in place a plan and routine that we all crave as athletes.
So the moral of the story in all of this? Focus on what you can do and remember all those things you know you should be doing but aren’t and figure out how to make it happen. Whether it be fitness, career, education or family, the key is to find that new focus area and nail it rather than dwelling on the things you can’t do.