If you are involved in any kind of sport, you are going to get hurt. It just comes with the territory. One of my biggest struggles in training, especially as I was exiting my 20s, was how to rebuild myself after an injury. See, when I decided I was good to go and train again, I would go hard. I was always in a huge rush to get back to my old self again. If I wasn’t miserably sore the following training, I was dissatisfied with my efforts. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have hard training days. Pushing oneself to the edge has a lot of value in it, but it isn’t the way to bounce back from an injury. I am impatient with myself. I wanted my old conditioning back and I wanted it back yesterday. These recent, consecutive, and long lasting injuries gave me a kick in the butt. Maybe I should be patient. Maybe I should go easy… Maybe I should practice what I preach since I advise my students to pace themselves.
Eager to rebuild, the old me would have gone right to doing 4-5 sets of these. I would have wanted to push it, so that when I lifted up my water bottle, my hand would shake. There were a lot of problems with this approach. For one, I would be so sore that it would make training and teaching miserable for days. Everything I would do had a nice layer of discomfort over it. Also, I was limited as I really wouldn’t be able to do any more pull-ups for days afterwards. I was just too darn sore. Plus, I put myself at risk for hurting myself again. Training with fatigue is a really good way to re-injured yourself. So, learning from my mistakes, I decide to try the following: I would start by doing 5 pull-ups, just the one set, 4-5 days a week. It wasn’t terribly hard, I wasn’t terribly sore, and it was sustainable. The next week I did 6 a day. The following I upped it to 7. This week I am back to 10. If there was a day that I was especially tired, I would take it off. There was always tomorrow. I just stayed consistent.
See, I haven’t had any terrible, life-altering injuries. I have been really lucky. Instead, I have many small, common injuries that I have been too stubborn to let myself recover properly. People reading this have probably made the same mistakes as me. Take it from an experienced overdoer that you need to ease back into things. Listen to your body. If it tells you to rest, then rest. The human body can recover in some amazing ways, but it needs your support. Almost everything I like to do for fun is physical, and it is frustrating being on the bench. I have learned that pacing myself is the fastest way to get back to doing what I love and the best way to keep doing it.