Curveballs, Setbacks and Frustration!


I was going to speak about this topic in general but when I really thought about it, from a fitness perspective, the only real curveball, frustration or setback is injury.

Whether we are running, cycling or weight lifting, we all get injured from time to time. Some injuries are minor annoyances which don’t ultimately interfere with our training but make it less comfortable. Other injuries set us back for weeks. How to cope.

1.       Stop the injury in its’ tracks if you can. We all can feel a blister developing or a light strain in a muscle. Recognize when a pain is potentially an injury versus fatigue. Listen to your body. Do not, I repeat, do not be a hero. If something is nagging at you in the 1st km of a 5km run, or the 2nd day of a 7 day cycling trip, or when you do bench press, stop! I can’t tell you the number of times that I have seen clients try to power through only to get a bigger injury that sets them back for longer periods of time.

2.       Don’t let it get you down. I know it is disappointing if you are training for an event and the injury stops that training, but there are many events. If the injury/pain is lasting longer than a week, seek professional help. Usually the faster you seek help, the faster you can get back to what you were doing.

3.       Find an alternative activity to maintain your fitness. If you can’t run, cycle or do water running. Can’t do any upper body weights above shoulder height – modify your workout, choose alternate exercises to work the same muscles or just do the exercises that you can.

4.       Visualize a positive outcome but have realistic expectations. A decent injury will set you back a few months but injuries heal. Top athletes visualize themselves performing flawlessly again. There is no room for failure in their minds. This is what you need to focus on as well. See yourself finishing that event.

5.       Stay positive. Sometimes our minds ramp up our anxieties. Sometimes things seem worse because we are tired or mentally drained. Taking a break and staying positive will see you through. Keep your sense of humour about you. The time of frustration will pass. A positive, open mind will see solutions.

In all aspects of our lives, including fitness, we get thrown curveballs. How you deal with them will ultimately determine your success. Remember the difference between someone who fails and someone who succeeds is one person never gave up.


Andre Gordon