Six weeks ago I broke my foot. I was playing basketball with the kids in the driveway, shot the ball, and landed funny. I heard a crack and knew something was bad. But the pain wasn’t the first thing that I thought of as I was crumpling to the ground.
Instead, it was “Oh, no, there goes triathlon season!”
Suffering a broken bone or nursing a bad sprain can be a terrible setback for anyone that is looking to compete in any endurance race, such as a triathlon.
However, all is not lost. Your triathlon season can still be salvaged as long as you take the following steps to make the most of your comeback.
Listen to Your Doctor
This is critical. Too many athletes think that they can come back when they start feeling better, and not necessarily when the orthopedic doctor says that they should. The consequence is that the triathlete pushes himself too hard and either re-injuries the broken bone or injuries something else because he hasn’t been training to the level he normally is. Doctors want their patients to heal to 100% if possible, and a doctor usually has your best interests at heart when recommending your treatment.
Just because you have a broken foot and can’t run or do squats without falling over doesn’t mean that you can’t work on other aspects of your general fitness or triathlon training. After I had surgery on my broken foot, my doctor suggested that I continue to bike and swim and do some general weight training. I wasn’t allowed to run but I could focus on other aspects of my fitness, which helped me maintain some semblance of fitness and made the road back to my triathlon fitness goals much easier.
Breaking a foot (or any other body part) can be devastating for anyone who has been looking forward to triathlon race season. The worst thing you can do, though, is to let your injury get you down. Getting depressed about your injury can be detrimental to your recovery. Instead, figure out how to stay involved. If you’re injured early enough in the season, you can look for a late-season race to do. If you’re out the whole season, think about volunteering at a local triathlon race.
Anything you can do to stay connected to the sport of triathlon will help you stay positive and will give you fuel and fire to return faster and stronger next year.