My husband is currently in his 3rd week of training for a marathon he is planning to run in early May. This will be his fourth marathon and is already putting up bigger numbers in weekly mileage than he has ever before. He is feeling great, primed and ready for the long arduous journey that is marathon training.
Flashback to last month, about mid-December. He was struggling with a back tweak he acquired after sleeping on an uncomfortable bed while we were out of town. He was hardly running at all. He was working on gaining some comfort and movement one step at a time, but was still on the losing end of the battle. As we were talking one afternoon, he told me that although he was frustrated about the pain in his back, he was patient and hopeful about the future. He said,
“I just know that when I get through this problem, I’ll be stronger.”
And he has a lot of experience to prove it. He has faced many tweaks, injuries, set backs, and detours in his life and running career. But I have witnessed, over the years, that rather than getting more frustrated or anxious about his ability to run, he grows more patient and more peaceful, more invested in process of running than in the outcome. He knows that each injury, pain, or set back is an opportunity to grow, to become more in-tune with what his body needs, and to get better at doing what he loves to do. Each measure of patience he gives his body and his running pays dividends in his performance, comfort, and happiness as he pursues his goals.
When someone comes to me with an injury, their current outlook is, quite understandably, dismal. They are usually feeling anxious, frustrated, and fearful that they have not been able and may not be able to do what is most precious to them in life. Their inability to move well is an inability to live well and the effects are often devastating.
But time and time again, when these individuals take the time to regroup, reset, and dedicate themselves to really getting better, the results are astounding. I have seen many people sidelined by injury and fearing falling behind their peers, only to emerge stronger, more comfortable, more confident, and more capable after their recovery. They have taken time to understand their bodies and how to take care of them. They have taken time to rest (which is an often overlooked component of growth). And they have taken time to work on the fundamental movement qualities that are foundational to their success in their sport or activity.
They have embraced, or at least tolerated, the process of recovery and they are stronger for it.
So, if you are currently working toward a goal or suffering a set back, please take heart. Take a moment to thank your body for this opportunity to rebuild. Invest in yourself and invest in the process of recovery. Know that letting up is not giving up. And know that when you get better, you will be stronger.