Roller-Coaster Recovery

Christina is a guest writer for The Running World According to Dean. This is the eighth in a series of articles on her experiences with surgery and recovery. I hope her insights and candidness will ring true for many of you as well as keep your hopes high for any recoveries or comebacks you may be enduring. We’ll be with her every step through her journey to recovery. She’s back running and making good progress despite the roller coaster!

Ok, this whole experience is a huge emotional roller coaster. Yesterday I was on a straight section of roller coaster track but what I didn’t realize was that I was really at the top of the track. Today, I’m racing down the drop. Now, if this were a real roller coaster, I would be screaming with glee with my hands up in the air. Instead of joy, I feel my mood dropping and the pity party starting. Seven weeks ago I was in great condition, running well and having fun. On today’s run, a blister found the ball of my foot and it was ONLY a 3.5 mile run. I don’t know if it was worth it to have the Plantar’s warts removed since it has been so hard recovering and I’m not 100% sure that it is gone. I emailed Coach Dean and he put it in perspective. He said, “You’re moving and you’re on this side of the dirt.” What a real motivator he is.

The 10% rule (Coach Dean: the general rule by which you increase weekly mileage) is tough to follow since I would like to run a little each day and am anxious to get back into shape and training. I know the “rules” and know what I should do but don’t do it. My boyfriend calls me terquita, which is Spanish for stubborn. Unless I’m physically limited, I don’t pay attention to the rule. So when I ignore the rule, the universe swirls around me and gets me to pay attention to the 10% rule. Hence, my lovely blister, which I should be thankful for because its actually keeping me healthier and avoiding a more serious injury. I’ll take tomorrow off from running and maybe bike instead. It will give the blister and my newest ache, my knee, a chance to rest. But because I’m a terquita, I’ll only give it one day’s rest… I’m running on Saturday.

Coach Dean: I think Christina for sharing this. It would be nice for many people to learn and understand this process. This is a common pattern in recovering from any injury; getting into shape in the first place or regaining lost conditioning. There is a myth that commonly gets communicated by trainers, coaches, and various motivators. It goes something like this. Working out gets you in shape. If I workout today tomorrow I’m in better shape and therefore I must feel better. Workouts must become easier by the day if I’m in better shape. Getting in shape is like walking up stairs. I take a step each day going higher and higher. Bunk!

The fact is that as we condition ourselves, it is not a straight-line forward nor a straight-line upwards. Our bodies need time to adapt. That adaptation varies widely. Though general patterns are acknowledged (thus the entire principle of hard-easy training) it isn’t lock-step. It will vary depending on individual, nutrition, hydration, sleep, stress, combined work outs, past history of health and fitness.

It in fact is a roller-coaster with a general pattern of moving up. Just be prepared for the downs. They’re part of the process.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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