Lea Davison is XC Mountain Biker who rides for the Specialized Global team. She just took third place at the World Championships despite missing the first half of the season due to a recurring hip injury. In addition to be a pretty amazing rider, this girl knows a thing or two about bouncing back from injury and the trials and tribulations that come with it.
Lea shares her top tips with dealing with injury and most importantly getting back out on the bike afterwards:
“I have had two major injuries, both in my hip. The first time, I tore some cartilage in my hip, it’s called the labarum, not to be confused with something else though!! It happened in Winter 2009. I didn’t race that summer because I wanted to get the surgery, start strength training and really be on it for 2011 as that’s when Olympic qualification started so I took the whole season off, I strength trained and recovered and then 2011 ended up being my best season up until that time - I qualified for the Olympics.
Then I had to have surgery in my hip again which resulted in me having to take the first half of the 2014 season off. But I guess it wasn’t the worst thing as I ended up having my best season yet! (Lea finished in third place at the World Championships).
1. Have a plan – The rough thing is when you are out of action you can’t get your adrenaline fix or the endorphins that you are so used to so it’s hard emotionally to deal with that. I like having a plan so I had a very specific rehab plan that I followed to a tee so that becomes your new form of training.
2. Switch modes – Your recovery plan might not be as physically taxing as going for a bike ride but it actually it. Your body is trying to heal and at the same time you are trying to get a range of motion back, to build up strength so you need a lot of sleep. So you need to switch modes and focus on doing absolutely everything possible to recover from the injury.
3. Be measured about it – I don’t return to competition until I am pretty much there. I make sure I am at least strong enough not to have any more injuries.
4. Be patient – Being measured and taking your time, takes a heck of a lot of patience. Have confidence in your plan so you will have the confidence in yourself knowing you are strong when you go back to competition.
5. Be positive - The season I came back from surgery, the first race I did, I was not anywhere near the same level as where I left off but you have to look at it as one step of the process, one step of a long journey back. You can’t expect to come back as superwoman. There is always a stage where you are slow and nowhere near.
6. Be happy – congratulate yourself with each individual step you take, it is an achievement and a big one at that. Think back to the time when you couldn’t even get out of bed and remind yourself how good it feels to be riding again, even if you are feeling slow and unfit. If you follow the steps above you will be stronger and fitter than ever in no time.
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