Beginning to Tri – 30% physical 150% Psychological!!

I’m sorry but this blog is a little low and more for therapy to get my issues and worries out there.  I hope others who are/have been in the same boat can recognise the issues and can reassure me there is a top to this pit of despair!

So i have had my share of injuries over the years.  Playing Ice-hockey and rugby for most of my formative years helped me develop medical notes that look like a personal library!  Most of my injuries were brakes or sprains which are easier to deal with both in rehab and psychologically.  Also post contact sports i have dodged the injury bullet well until Bath Half Marathon.

If anyone would have told me how hard i would find it to cope with injuring my back and trying to get back to fitness i think i would have not believed them.  If you suffer from back issues or have injured your back, i can sympathise with you like i’m sure you can me.  I never realised how tough i would find recovery.  But as the title reads i struggled with this the most in my head.

As a PE teacher i really struggled with the lack of movement speed and forced inactivity.  I was determined not to take any time of work so struggled on, with the help of my wife and elastic laces!! I’m not glad that i can put my own socks and shoes on!

Jennie at Quay Kinetics was very honest which was tough, but i needed to hear it.  Rest, gentle movement and drugs was what i needed.  12 weeks minimum of no running and cycling! Regular ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and pain management.  I’m not a keen pill popper so i found this tough and when she suggested taking amitriptyline (anti depressant but also a nerve suppressant) i took ages to agree but it really did help (very low dose helps calm and desensitise the nerve endings)

So i think those first 10 weeks were manageable to some extent, work was busy which helped and when i got the nod to swim i swapped all sessions to swim sessions.  I was signed off from the physio pretty much as she suggested 12 weeks from injury but this was when the dark days began!

“Start gently, increase training volume slowly and listen to your body, revert to ibuprofen when needed and expect flare ups!” Advice given as i left the physio.  Now following the advice is a completely different thing!  I have tried but i have really struggled.  I was really worried about running, starting back on my feet a lot later than cycling and other training.  Starting on a dreadmill as i knew if it fell apart i would not cope with a walk home.

Mileage is building with little discomfort but my head is still struggling with the speed and times!  Pre injury i was running 5km in about 23 minutes (I know it’s not the fastest but i was chuffed!) and felt comfortable holding a 4:45/km pace for 10km but i’m now struggling to hold a 5:30/km for 5km!  I know with time it will return but i’m impatient! i want to compete at what i see as my A game!

This is what i’m struggling with, in the famous film quote my brain is trying to write cheques my body can’t cash!  This is why i stated 150% psychological in the title.  I have done several ‘cardigan’ runs with Keryn Seal (our term for social, easy runs).  He has kept on at me to not beat myself up on my lost pace and fitness but i still struggle.  He keeps telling me that it will return in time but the longer it is the harder it is to believe.

It’s not the now but more the future…. Will i regain my speed?  Will i truly regain my previous fitness?  Will i have a flare up and knock me back to square one?  These are the demons that are on my shoulder at the moment that i’m struggling to shrug off.  I’m not overly externally competitive but internally i am worse than anyone.  I find it hard to except being slower, not performing well and struggle to shrug off bad performances.

I spend time with our young athletes in school reviewing competition and talking about only getting hung up on the things you can control.  ‘Control the controllable, except the uncontrollable’ but i’m struggling to follow this mantra personally.  We talk about the Learning Pit and how a growth mindset helps to escape the pit.

I know that i will get out of this pit and need to expand my growth mindset and look at ways to overcome the frustrations, annoyance and ridiculous expectations.  But at the moment i’m still struggling to see the top let alone the blue sky outside of this injury pit.

So i have less than a month before my first summer race Dart Duo i have to stop wallowing in my injury pity and accept the issues and begin to listen to my own words.  Control the controllable and except the pitfalls.

I hope my next blog will be more cheery and that i’m making good progress out of the pit.  You never know i may even be out and in brilliant sunshine!

Happy racing/training


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