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Training Mistakes: Injury, Illness, and Training

by Coach Seiji


At the beginning of each year, I look back at the prior year and try to glean some lessons from mistakes that I have made. One thing that seems to have repeated itself with my clients is trying to return to training too quickly both from injury and illness; of all the errors in training in  2012, this by far was the most blatant and repeated mistake.

When you get injured or ill, your #1 and only job is to get well or completely healed. That is it! It's a matter of putting all available energy towards the action that will most positively effect your season's training. The most devastating thing is missing extended periods of training or not being consistent in training in the long term. Healing or getting well is EXTREMELY energy costly. You are manufacturing proteins and/or killing invading microbes, almost nothing your body can do on this cellular level expends more energy. A good analogy to think about is severe burn victims often die of starvation, not infection. It costs these patients so much energy building all their new skin that they cannot take in enough energy to survive. Building ligament, tendon, bone tissues, manufacturing anti-bodies, and ridding your body of invaders is all SUPER energy, eat, hydrate and give your body as much energy as possible to heal or get well as soon as possible so you can resume training.

Looking back, I have almost NEVER heard an athlete say "I wish I would have started training again sooner," but I often hear "man, I wish I would have just taken a few more days off." It's also helpful to consider upside vs. downside. What is the possible upside of one mediocre training session vs. what is the possible downside.

I just did this myself. I got the flu, was laid out for 2 full weeks. I started feeling much better but was in no way fully well. I got frustrated, bored and felt like I was losing way too much fitness, so I busted out on an easy run. Didn't feel that good since I was newly "well," got home and within an hour started feeling bad again. End result was having to travel to the next race sick and lost the next week as well. Yup, I know what to do in my head but just like I see athletes do, my emotions got the best of me. Need to stop, think logically and end up doing the right thing for my long term fitness. Learn from my mistake, your past mistakes and from watching others come back too soon! Do the right thing!

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    jeff March 07, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I cant agree enough. I just sustained a spiral fracture in my fibia above my right ankle (over a stupid slow corner, tip over...of course). I got 6 pins and a plate in my right ankle. Its only been a week since surgery, but im craving to get back on the bike. Dr. says 4-6 weeks. Looking into cryotherapy to help speed up the recovery, but I want to be 100% before I get back on the bike so I dont think about the injury while I'm riding. I know it will take a while, but I love riding.

  2. Gravatar
    ERIC STARK March 07, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Yep, should def wait till fully recovered. Surfed 8 weeks and then rode 10 weeks after a shattered heel/foot, bad idea. Prob helped contribute to some of the lasting problem Ive been faced with three years later.

  3. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer March 07, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Have you guys ever seen a tree that grows really fast? Trees like a Leeland Cypress that landscapers use for privacy? Well, there are tons of them around my neck of the woods and every time we get the slightest wind storm the taller trees always get blown over. Know why???? They grew too fast and were not able to put down deep roots.

    The same is true with the body (IMO). A slow/naturally healed bone/ligament/muscle/joint/etc. is always stronger than one that is rushed. Let those roots get deep and you will be stronger than ever when you come back.

  4. Gravatar
    Matthew Remington March 07, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I had a mini Chad Reed Millville crash where my crf450r swapped on the face of a 40 foot table top. Well I ended up in the emergency room, ( not as lucky) and my left ankle was severely stretched inside my boot (tech 10) and the metal supports in the bootie crushed my nerve tunnels and tore ligaments and tendons on the outside of my ankle (bent inward toward right ankle) and I have not been able to build strength back in it over the last 9 months. To the point where in he morning brushing my teeth or what ever it is, I stand on my right foot normal but my injured left ankle rolls still outward so my left foot rests on the outside edge to the point where it begins to hurt (bone on tile) and is very weak. I cannot stress proper recovery and physical therapy at any time in life as I am 24 and thought it would heal like when I was 16. If its bones you are forced to sit out and focus on your injury, but the marginal ability to get through daily tasks with nerve and soft tissue damage is very very easy in the short term compared to broken bones but over time the soft tissue damage will hinder you much more as I have found out ( no more basketball) so make sure please everyone do everything you doctor tells you and more! It is not a joke, you must be your own judge of your progress and not a doctor, you have to speak up and make sure you use everything to your advantage to come back as best you can. It's all up to you, and as a young man I failed and thought I was too tough or I would bounce back because I was young, WRONG!

    GET HEALTHY! It's what matters in the end, we all are not pros, we all need to focus on what's important, our health, and as a moto enthusiast I want all my moto family around the country to be very vigilant with their recovery, so you can be healthy as possible.

    Be safe #19

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