Athletes suffer injuries every day. My job essentially depends on it. General aches and pains are a routine occurrence that will occur no matter the preventative measures. Most can be managed with treatment such as manual therapy, mobility exercises, and stability training. What happens when we experience an injury that requires more time ro recover?
Practicing patience - healing can take time. Soft tissue injuries frequently take 6-8 weeks to recover. This does not mean you have to be completely sedentary but practicing patience and allowing the body to heal can be necessary frustration.
Sleep - If I am personally guilty of falling short of any recovery tool this would be #1. Everyone is a bit different in the number of hours required to feel fully rested. Get on a schedule and maintain the routine. Avoid pharmaceutical intervention not prescribed by your primary care physician. This includes quite a few “natural” sleep aids as well
Evaluating diet - If you eat like shit, small improvements can greatly speed up your recovery and reduce a negative inflammatory cascade when training resumes. Skip the Friday happy hours, eat colorfully (Skittles don’t count), and hydrate often. This is one area where professional help can be tough to evaluate as there are a few too many “experts.” If you need help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally point you to a reputable expert.
Strength training - May be limited if the injury is more severe. In this case, most injuries will still allow for resistance training with modification. Supervised exercise with a health professional (PT, Chiro, AT) recommended to decrease risk of exacerbating the injury. Many personal trainers are qualified to work with exercise recommendations for injured athletes.
Swimming and Cycling - If you are already a competitive triathlete, this may not really apply as you likely spend a fair amount of time in the pool or on a bike. Both are generally low impact activities and you can maintain endurance while still recovering.
Jumping Rope - not applicable to many lower extremity injuries but I often recommend as a great return to running tool.
Offseason - Seriously, have an offseason. Find a different hobby. Taking a vacation from your daily routine will provide both physical and mental recovery.
Get professional help - Finding a conservative care provider is a must for any athlete. Movement evaluations, soft-tissue therapy, and an exercise based background are important tools for your provider to possess to adequately manage your care.
If you are local to the SE Michigan area, please reach out to help with injury reduction and treatment. If you live outside the area, please reach out to me at email@example.com. I would be very happy to find you a health professional local to your area.