It’s weird how time can fly by when you’re hurt. Its going to be 4 weeks this Saturday since I broke my thumb and I have to say I was a little surprised to realize that it had been that long. What that really means is 4 weeks without any riding which is something that has rarely happened since I started riding mountain bikes over 10 years ago.
Being hurt taught me a couple of things. First, either I heal amazingly fast or the average person is kind of fragile. I’ve always blown the estimates for healing time away and I don’t think I have super human healing powers.
What I really think is that when you train right and eat right your body is used to being in harmony and works extra hard to get back there when trauma knocks it out. If your body is in disarray to begin with all sorts of hormonal and structural imbalances it can’t work as efficiently to restore things to “normal”…although normal at that point is really just another state of dysfunction.
Training pays off in a lot of ways and the ability to minimize injuries and speed up healing time is one of those ways that rarely gets thought about until it is too late. Too be honest, I have a lot of riders come to me because they got hurt and don’t know how to get things back on track. If more riders recognized the need to be proactive and actually started training before they got hurt there would be far less collective time taken lost to injuries.
The other thing I learned is that taking a few weeks off from riding isn’t the end of the world if you have something else to do that ties into riding. Basically, the fact that I had a training plan and an understanding of how it related to riding I was able to “practice” riding several times a week. Knowing that I was working on preserving my foundational movement and strength base so that when I got back on the bike I’d be ready to rip helped me keep my sanity.
So many riders I know dread time off because it is seen as “losing their fitness” and they know that they’ll have to suffer a bit when they get back on the bike. That is also why so many people rush back to riding too soon and develop dysfunctions that allow them to get around their injury. Again, having a plan and believing in it can help you avoid both the fitness and the mental fall off that can come with a lay off.
So, the overall point it this – if you’re not training then you’re increasing your chance of forcing time off from injury and increasing the fitness decline and the mental stress of that time off. Why do it to yourself? That’s not even taking into account the performance gains you’ll enjoy on the trail…