Return Stronger

The return is stronger than the setback. 

Setbacks and failures happen in all walks of life. Use it to fuel your return. Capture every ounce of negativity and use it as energy….renewable energy. Once you’ve captured it, the fuel doesn’t fade. You can use it as a constant reminder of how far you’ve come. A reminder of the lessons you’ve learnt. A reminder of how strong you are now. Don’t dwell on it. It’s important to look past it, find the solution and plan your return to greatness.

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The Return. Step 1

Illness. Employment. Relationships. Money. Injury. All of these can shoot you down mentally, physically or both. But, you can almost certainly pick yourself back up with a little support, patience and some perseverance. The most common, and most frustrating, for a runner is injury. It’s something every athlete tries to avoid, or something every athlete tries to ignore. “It’s just a niggle” plays over and over in your head until, BAM, you realise it certainly isn’t “just a niggle”… < If this if you then listen to your body. Rest and recover. Don’t be a superhero and push through it. You’ll more than likely make it worse. A few days rest won’t hurt but  a few months injured certainly will. 

It happens. You’ll feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. A dead end. A lack of motivation. “I can’t” echoes around your mind. When will I come back from this? How? Will I ever? When I woke up in agony after Telford 10k, I didn’t know what it was and I certainly didn’t realise how long recovery would take. At first, I strutted walked limped around work feeling sorry for myself. I absolutely hated it but needed to accept it. My focus turned to the aspects I control. Time travel was out of the equation. You can’t go back in time and change what’s happened but you can look forward and control your future. You can control your next steps, your plan of action, your return to being the best version of yourself.

While injured, I developed an appreciation for movement. I feel privileged to have freedom to move. I am grateful to have two working legs and I want to use them! Limited exercise was killing me and had a big impact on me mentally too. The impact it had on me made me realise how far I’d come – how on earth did I live before running!? I wanted to move. To run. To exercise. I didn’t want to return to being slumped on a sofa every evening. My mindset has completely changed

Lessons learnt? 

  1. Control the controllable. Own it. What CAN you control? Spend valuable time focusing on the things you have the power to influence and change. You can’t change the past so focus on the here and now.
  2. Small steps. You need time. Take one day at a time. Win each day. The small victories help keep you motivated.
  3. Find the solution. Learn from the mistakes. Build on your weaknesses. Seek advice. Put a plan together. I wasted time moping around, worrying about the injury returning. Quit moping. What have you learnt from this experience? What will prevent it happening again?
  4. Enjoy the process. Do things you wouldn’t have done before. Try a new sport. Vary your exercises. Test yourself doing something different! Limited running led to me going on more walks, cycling and trying different gym classes. 
  5. Return stronger than ever. Push boundaries. Push past limits (limits- what are they!?) Return as a better version of yourself. Believe in yourself and aim high. I’ve never been so determined. Determined to bounce back stronger than I’ve ever been.

Stay positive. Be patient. There’s no shortcuts. 

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Now. Back running…on soft surfaces.

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