Dealing with the grief of an injury
the stages of grief are real
let's take a look at how an injured runner evolves through these stages. Runner has a stresss fracture:
- Denial -- "this can't be a stress fracture; let me go out and run and see if it still hurts" Yep, it hurts. Wait two days, repeat. Wait two more... repeat.
- Anger -- "This is SO not fair for me to have a stress fracture!" "I was in training for my major event!" "Who/what can I blame for this stress fracture?"
- Bargaining -- "If I can only make it through this upcoming event, I'll do anything!" "Can't you just give me a shot or a pill and make it better?"
- Depression -- "If I can't run this event, why bother running at all? What's the purpose in life if I can't run?"
- Acceptance -- "OK... I've got a stress fracture. What do I need to do to get through this and insure I don't get another one?
Keep in mind that lots of runners get hung up in the various stages long enough for physiological healing to take place because they physically can't run and they're forced to rest. Lo and behold, one day they get a wild hair to try it again... and it doesn't hurt! YIPPEE... I'm healed, right? NO. Your bone may have healed, but the underlying causes for the initial injury may or may not have been addressed. At some point in the future when the athlete does too much too fast - the symptoms will be back, or another symptom will arise.
It isn't until you ACCEPT the injury and acknowledge it, that you can move forward with the proper steps to address it. The best thing to do is to get to acceptance quickly when you realize you have an injury -- blast through those other stages, but get to acceptance as soon as you can so that you can start making headway in addressing the cause and getting to a real solution.
To your success on race day! - Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS