MIND OVER MAT­TER

Man­ag­ing the men­tal as­pects of in­jury

Runner's World (UK) - - Body-Mind -

TREAT RE­COV­ERY LIKE TRAIN­ING

A run­ner with a goal race loom­ing will have a train­ing plan that in­cludes all the in­gre­di­ents to pre­pare. When that race is no longer an op­tion, one way to deal with the low mood is to treat the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process just like train­ing. ‘[ Try to see] re­hab as a form of train­ing, rather than an im­ped­i­ment,’ says Chris Carr, a sports and per­for­mance psy­chol­o­gist. He en­cour­ages ath­letes to set goals re­lated to crosstrain­ing or strength ex­er­cises on the re­hab jour­ney.

FLEX YOUR MEN­TAL MUS­CLES

Stud­ies have shown prac­tis­ing ‘mind over mus­cle’ tech­niques can help with re­cov­ery. Carr sug­gests us­ing re­lax­ation train­ing, men­tal im­agery and self-hyp­no­sis to help re­duce stress and in­crease pos­i­tive think­ing. Lie in a com­fort­able po­si­tion and con­cen­trate on one mus­cle area at a time, breath­ing calmly. Clench the mus­cle area for a few sec­onds, then re­lax the area; re­peat twice be­fore mov­ing on to the next mus­cle group. This can be es­pe­cially im­por­tant be­cause the added mus­cle ten­sion tied to stress and anx­i­ety could hin­der an ath­lete’s abil­ity to re­cover.

RE­PORT PAIN AND DIS­COM­FORT

Run­ners com­ing back from in­jury face a new set of psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues as they re­turn to reg­u­lar train­ing – work­ing out what’s ac­cept­able pain and pain that should stop them from run­ning is dif­fi­cult. Many are hy­per­aware of the in­jury and afraid of get­ting hurt again. Ex­perts rec­om­mend con­fer­ring with some­body who can use facts to calm any anx­i­eties. ‘Un­der­stand that be­ing ‘tough’ and un­der­re­port­ing pain could lead to fur­ther in­jury,’ says Carr.

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