Forth Edge Ambassador Eloise du Luart is a professional triathlete so knows a thing or two about recovering from injury. Here are her top 5 tips to coming back stronger after injury.
“It is safe to say I have had my fair share of injuries over the years. However, from each setback, I have grown as an athlete and come back even stronger.
A recent bike crash that then became complicated has allowed me to realise how far I have come, coping with these minor “road bumps” and has given me the confidence to trust the process and road back to form.
With that in mind here are my five top tips to coming back stronger and bouncing back from injury:
When it comes to injury recovery – whether it be bone or soft tissue – energy is key. Many athletes feel that the reduced training needs to be compensated to ensure body weight is controlled, worst yet they believe this is an opportunity to work on their “race weight.” However, this could not be a worse time to restrict calories and compromise your body further.
Not eating enough when you are injured not only slows the healing process and therefore your return to full training, but also your overall health can be affected if you continually put a greater stress through your body than it can cope with.
This is a time to focus on health and wellbeing, which can start with a fully balanced diet, adequate fuel and reduced focus around weight.
Sleep is one of the most underrated recovery tools there are, period!
I have certainly found getting those extra hours in bed have not only physically helped me comeback faster but also helped with my mental state during these times.
A top tip would be if you have reduced training and the ability to put aside those early morning training alarms, do so. Sleep is when your body does most of its recovering so it is certainly something you should not be fighting or resisting during this time, or any high training load periods for that matter!
It is all about using this time to the maximum, it may sound obvious, but this time will pass regardless so you might as well do it properly. I now see setbacks or challenges as an opportunity to embrace weaknesses and areas that I have not given enough attention to. Whether these areas have contributed to the injury or not, never seeing this time as a waste or not important, is paramount to committing to the opportunity to focus on what you can to come back stronger, both mentally and physically.
Whether this is full rest, certain physio exercises or even fuelling, if you spend this time correctly you will only have to do it once and not regress your injury further, but also I can promise that when you do get back to full training you will be in a far better place both mentally and physically than pre-injury.
One of the worst thing’s athletes can do during this time is:
Yes, we have all been there and we have all thought it. However, your physio and/or doctor have given you a plan and a timeline for a reason, so stick to it! No one was able to beat the system with recovery so it is very, very unlikely you will be able to. Trust the professionals and allow yourself to ease back into it when your body is ready, not sooner. Otherwise, it is very likely your recovery time will be increased creating further mental and physical setbacks. Be patient – you will get there.
Forced rest from sport for recovery also provides an opportunity in other areas. This may not only be to reflect on what has happened and assess how it could be avoided in the future but also make up for things you may have missed out on during the season; whether this is time with family & friends or just “living a little.” Go make plans to see your friends, give more time to your family or learn a new hobby. Spending time with others will not only help with morale and occupy your mind outside of the doom and gloom but also give you the ability to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t.
I think the moral of this blog is maximise this time to the best of your ability – your body, mind and probably family & friends will thank you for it!
“Looking at recovery from injury as a positive process is a great place to start. Putting your hormones in the best possible position to heal with nutrition, sleep, and directed rehab exercises is the first step. Addressing any weakness that might have contributed to the injury will also help prevent re-injury. Easing back gently into training is important.” Dr. Nicky Keay, Chief Medical Officer, BA, MA (CANTAB), MB, BCHIR, MRCP.
Eloise du Luart is a professional triathlete and Forth Edge ambassador. Eloise turned professional in 2018 coming third in the Hereford Duathlon the same year. Prior to that Eloise won the ETU Triathlon European Championships in 2014 and the ITU Duathlon World Championships in 2013.