Monday, February 27, 2017

"Off the Back" Blues

Everyone experiences dips in fitness and energy whether you're an elite athlete or a just a recreation enthusiast.  Additionally, injuries, illness, job schedules and other factors contribute to time on the bench which can create a feeling of being dropped "off the back."  My husband has been "off the back" of his bike for a few seasons. I'm currently battling Piriformis Syndrome, along with my dance instructor neighbor.  Two out of three women I run with in the morning are also battling injuries...Plantar Fasciitis and the other has an injured foot. My neighborhood reads like an "injured reserve" roster. Working your way from being dropped "off the back" is both physically and mentally challenging.
ASTYM - physical therapy fun
  • First, physically you have to be healthy. My friends and I continue to brave the cold early mornings, but we aren't as young as we used to be. We often have strained muscles and have added some much needed recovery days and physical therapy. And yes, when you miss several weeks, it's not easy to catch up. I'm pretty sure that loading laundry up and down stairs counts for cross training if you're not fortunate enough to have a ski pass or can't afford a gym membership. For long periods of hiatus, the 10% increase per week seems to be the golden rule to avoid injury for returning to your normal mileage. Note to those who can't: be patient and listen to trained medical professionals. There is life beyond training.
  • Second, and I think this is the more difficult, the mental challenge. It's hard to be patient. When you've been off, you still get to hear about others who've been killing it and having fun. It's also hard to be motivated when you're dragging. You don't have to be a competitive athlete to feel left behind. It's fun to have a pity party for a while. That's why they call it a party (albeit a pity party). But the longer you sit and procrastinate getting off the couch, the farther off the back you'll be. Perhaps you are physically healthy, but you've lost the will to do it after taking such a long break. Note to those who can: stop making excuses, those who can't would love to be in your shoes. 
I take inspiration from my daughter. She experienced some major and minor setbacks in her running career repeatedly but has never faltered because she loves running. I know it hasn't always been easy for her to spin on a bike and remained focused while in therapy, but she does it so she can compete again.

My daughter on podium:
Ice bag on foot
All competitive athletes at any sport, share that same focus and drive. Nearly all of them have experienced injury or downtime. Being "off the back" is part of the game. If you have pushed yourself to fatigue and max limit, you probably had a time where you've fell behind and had to recover. A setback is a set up for a comeback.  I scribbled in marker on my bathroom mirror this week "Be Motivated" to move me to action and make a move "off the back." I hoped it would inspire me to not only get me up early this week to run, but also get me to organize my tax paperwork, do laundry and set some goals. Maybe next week, I'll even tackle the basement bathroom.


  1. Wow. Who gets to tell Dwayne his sister writes way better than he does? ;)

  2. You're sweet Joe! I'm happy you enjoyed the read ��