Whether it’s injury, illness or just life getting in the way. Training setbacks happen, and recovering from them can feel like a long and frustrating process. Being out of the routine can make just getting started again feel like a struggle. And, once you do get back into the swing of things, not being able to ride, run or swim as far or as fast as you could pre-setback can leave motivation levels low.
The long road back to fitness when you’re recovering from an injury or some other setback can feel lonely. A quick scroll of your Strava feed and it seems like everyone else is out playing bikes, nabbing your leader board spots or queuing up on start lines without you. But trust us when we say: you’re not alone. Plenty of us in the Stolen Goat Herd have been through the recovery process, and we’ve got your back. With time, patience and a few handy tips – the comeback can actually be enjoyable, and you’ll be back at your best before you know it. Suit up, comeback kid! It’s time to get back in the saddle…
Five Top Tips to Help You Recover From Training Setbacks
Take the pressure off and just turn up
Getting started can be the hardest part of getting back to training after an injury or setback. Whether it’s fear of getting injured again, or just struggling to find the time or the motivation when you’ve slipped out of the routine. We can build it up so much in our heads that the first session becomes a huge, insurmountable task and we end up putting it off.
Take the pressure away. That first session back doesn’t need to be flashy or spectacular. Take a five minute spin around the block. Meet a friend for a 10 minute walk-run. Swim a few lengths of the pool and then treat yourself to a nice relax in the sauna. It honestly doesn’t matter whether you manage 1 hour, or 1 minute. The main thing is that you turned up for yourself. You took that first step and you broke that barrier. Which will just serve to make the next session feel far less scary.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is quickly becoming a cliché, and for good reason. We live in the age of comparison. Social media, Strava… even your own Training Peaks account all provide the means and opportunity for endless comparison. Constantly comparing your current fitness/ability level to others, or worse – to where you used to be – is only going to make you feel a bit miserable. Likewise, trying to jump straight back into training sessions at the same pace or intensity as before the setback is a great way to put yourself at risk of injury again.
A successful comeback is rooted in accepting where you are right now, and moving forwards. Forget about where you used to be. Don’t worry too much about what other people are doing. Follow the process, keep taking small steps and trust that you will soon be right back up there.
Ditch the data
Following on from the previous point, a great way to take the focus off where you are now vs what you used to be able to do is to ditch the data – even if it’s just for the first few sessions back. Head out on your bike or for a run just for the joy of it. Stick your watch or your bike computer in your back pocket if you must record it (hey – we’ve all got a touch of the Strava addiction, there’s no judgement here). Forget about the data, don’t focus on pace or power. Just enjoy being back out there doing what you love.
When you do start getting a bit more specific with training again and you want to work to metrics such as pace or power be prepared to adjust your training zones. What was ‘easy’ before might feel a bit harder, so you might need to scale back. Likewise, drop the intensity down for your top end efforts to avoid overreaching and digging yourself into hole. This is where looking at your heart rate alongside other metrics is great because you can measure effort vs intensity. If it’s supposed to be an ‘easy’ session – make sure you are actually going easy! When you’re returning to exercise after illness, injury or a long period away it’s always best to play it safe and go easier than you need rather than overdoing it.
Have some fun
The road to recovery will seem a lot shorter if you can view it as an opportunity to have some fun! Away from the pressure and the routine of your usual training plan, take this chance to explore new routes and try new things. Get together with your Herd for a social ride or a chatty run, without having to worry about hitting a certain distance. Go for a bracing dip in the sea… only to spend more time hanging out in your Change Thingy afterwards with a hot chocolate in hand.
Treat your comeback as its own special kind of adventure. Without the bind of a busy training regime, you’ve got the Freedom to rediscover the things that make you smile until your jaw aches. Embrace it!
Trust the process
We’ve all been there. The “I’m never going to be able to run again!” strop. The “this climb used to feel easy!” tantrum. It’s easier said than done, but trust the process. You will get your fitness, strength and confidence back. It just takes time and patience. Trying to rush it will only lead to further setbacks. Take it one step – or one turn of the pedals – at a time. It might not feel like much right now, but every day you’re making progress. Soon, you’ll be back to where you were before. But this time, you’ll be stronger and more resilient precisely because of that process you’ve just been though. And that means you’ll be ready to fly.
Don’t forget, you’ve got a whole community of adventure-loving Goats (known as the Stolen Goat Herd) here to inspire, support and empower you. Whoever you are, and however you like to Find your Freedom – you’re part of our Herd, and we’ve got your back. If you haven’t already, join our Herd Facebook group where you’ll find some pretty awesome people to connect with!
Spending a bit of time off the bike? Resting your hooves after an injury? We’ve got you covered! From our super comfy casualwear, to our range of swim suits and jammers (perfect for hitting the pool to get some low impact cardio in). Time away from training doesn’t have to mean time away from your favourite SG gear.