I think it is hard to write a unique piece on being injured because it obviously sucks and everyone is already painfully aware. This is most obviously reflected by the number of articles on injury prevention exercises, which we read, and take note of, and promise to try at the end of every long run, except for when we are reallllly tired. Which inevitably is almost all the time.
So instead of coming up with a different angle my intention is to do the opposite. To make injury feel more normal, and to make people currently injured feel like they aren’t the only ones currently resigned to sofa-dom, watching TV in the evenings with a loved one, whilst discussing days deemed unimpressive due to their utter lack of physical activity.
If you are injured then I am sure everyone you care about or at least train with already knows about how unhappy you are to have been sidelined. When we are standing around watching a training session it seems to be vitally important that they all know we haven’t migrated to a life of laziness! Training is hard and whenever you are watching the 800m repeats in the pouring rain, under the sheltered confines of the steel bunker, rather than partaking yourself, it is hard not to question the legitimacy of your injury.
Do I just not want to do it?
Is my leg really that bad?
Maybe it is in my head?
I mean the pain has been there all day, but right now could it be laziness and not injury that is stopping me?
So maybe it is a good idea to at least attempt the warm up, I can reassess after if it still hurts – and there it begins, the feeling that something is very wrong with some mechanical function *you don’t know the Latin name for but a physio might* somewhere in your body…
But I haven’t warmed up yet – so maybe it’s just the cold, best to push on and see.
This is sadly how I made my injury worse and worse, by choosing to ignore its existence.
I don’t think I am unique however. The frustration that people assume accompanies injury does little to reflect the deep sadness that can come from not exercising at a level you are accustomed to. Sure other people are getting better and better, becoming healthier, happier, shinier human beings (and with social media don’t we all know about it), whilst you become grey and boring. But it is the inside grey that is the most troubling thing about injury. Which leads me to the question:
Addicted to endorphins?
What even are endorphins?
*Fun-ish Science: Endorphins function as a neurotransmitter; they are released by your body in response to painful but also pleasurable stimuli. They are sometimes referred to as your ‘happy chemicals’ as they cause the feelings of contentment and euphoria we experience in our happiest moments, and are even responsible for the warm feeling you get when you are in love. When our bodies undergo physical or emotional stress, they produce endorphins to help us cope with the pain. They cause the same feelings of happiness we would experience at other times, and therefore exercise can come to replace the need for happiness or endorphin release from other sources. *
I mean who needs to hang out with friends or family when you could go to the gym/ for a long run/ play sport?
It is only since being injured that I have seen the error of my ways…Dun Dun Dunnn…
It is far more important to invest in the people you love! I fortunately never traveled too far down the path of neglecting my friendships, as all of the sport I was doing was as a part of a team -so I would see my friends all the time. I also live with amazing people who I could hang out with every evening. However there were definitely times I said I couldn’t meet someone because it would clash with a spin class or something similar.
This is sort of the end of part one, I have more to say (more happy things) but I wanted to end with one of the important lessons I have leant so far from being injured, and to let anyone who is also injured know they aren’t alone in becoming an unwilling couch potato.