Running sprint sessions are hard. In fact, usually before I start the first interval I run around for an extra few minutes, delaying the inevitable, to allow my body an extra minute of comfort. In the same breath, I love sprint sessions. I get excited for them and the more challenging, the better. They are the sessions that make me feel like a runner and the sense of accomplishment, that usually hits me after the session while I’m laying on my living room floor in exhausted bliss, is what I run for.
Last week, however, I was laying on the floor of my apartment for another reason. Mid-way through my sprint session a pain started to develop and before I knew it I could barley walk. After a long “walk” home, I perched myself on an icepack and I realized I had a serious problem. Off I went for treatment. The diagnosis: a pulled hamstring. The prognosis: death. Or, more accurately, what felt like a death sentence: no running for a month, only short and easy cycling or swimming, and a lot of rehab.
Pragmatically, I agreed with the physio. Whatever I had to do to get back on track was what I was going to do. On the other hand, my thoughts were spiralling out of control and into misery. A month? Is she serious! In a heartbeat, the months of preparation for my upcoming target races suddenly felt meaningless.
A few days (and a few chocolate bars) later, apart from having the Amy Winehouse song permanently stuck in my head, the worst part of rehab is trying to refocus your energy into recovery. People always say “mind over matter,” but I think here it’s a case of “mind over heart.” Most athletes I know are passionate about their sport and training everyday is what they love to do; however, I think you would be hard pressed to find any athlete who is passionate about rehab. Even though you may be motivated to go through rehab to ensure you reach their future goals, it’s hard to get your heart into it.
While pushing through the physical pain of sprint sessions may have trained me well in “mind over matter,” no training session I have ever done has trained me in “mind over heart.” Everyday I am motivated and fully committed to do my rehab to the best of my abilities but, to be honest, Iso Hip Gluteal exercises and Active Sit Hamstring stretches don’t exactly ignite my inner passion. Nevertheless, like any star-crossed lover, what’s keeping me going is the promise that I will be reunited with running. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?