Blessings in disguise | RT Journal By Courtney Powell

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As some of you may have realised, I missed the Zatopek 10km which I was planning to do. Unfortunately I got my first injury in my lower back however fortunately, I caught it early!

I am in no way beating myself up about this. Only a few extremely lucky athletes don’t get injured. I have been able to race for Australia in 5 different countries over the past 18 months, so coming across a little hiccup is not a big deal. In fact I’m determined enough to make it a blessing in disguise. By “suffering” now I am learning a lot about myself and what I need to do to achieve my goals in the years to come!

Step 1: So…what went wrong?!

Ever since I got injured I’ve always mentally been on a mission to get back. As soon as I was diagnosed I met with my coach Nic and the amazing team at the VIS including sports doctors, physio, and strength coach. I had to find out why I got injured.
Nothing had changed in my training, so it wasn’t my workload. We deduced that my injury was because I was STRESSED out.

I was in an extremely chaotic stage of my life and it was impacting my recovery. My days were jammed packed with training in the mornings, RUSHING to Uni, RUSHING to tutoring, RUSHING to get assignments done.  My University course is 7 years of full-time 20+ contact hours per week, with additional study and assignments. I literally had no time to switch off and just chill.

When I am back training I have to not take on so much and structure my study, training and tutoring so that I am not constantly on the go. I need to mentally relax and allow my body to recover!

Step 2: Rest

My injury came at a pretty good time of the year (apart from missing Zatopek of course). I was diagnosed at the start of Swot Vac which means I had plenty of time to spend at my desk studying. I had a mission to do really well on my exams. It paid off and was beneficial as it distracted me from my injury.

Zatopek 2015
Zatopek 2015

Furthermore I am not one of those exercise maniac types of people. I didn’t mind being a slob for 2-3 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love exercising as it does make you feel so much better! But my priority was to get my injury 100% right. Also I knew that there was really no point cross training like a maniac and possibly delaying recovery during periods where I didn’t need to be fit anyway! I’ve got to be fit for my next race, not during my return to run program!

Step 3. Gradually getting stronger

That said, once exams were over I was eager to get moving. I began walks and most importantly my gym program. I started from scratch activating my glutes and am now doing my usual program- including skipping and dead lifting just over 20kg.

Luckily at the VIS I have access to an Alter G so I was able to start increasing my load until I was ready to run on land. I am now at the stage of running 30mins on land and haven’t had any set-backs so far…touch wood! I’m very aware of my body at the moment and am making sure I am having regular treatment. Cross-training wise I’m in the gym three times a week as well as doing 30min bike sessions and 30min swims to regain some fitness on days I don’t run as well as keeping at least one complete rest day per week as well.

Step 4. Relax!

I’m going to make sure I relax more. I need to either not take on as much or be more efficient with my time by structuring Uni, training and tutoring in a manner so that I am not constantly racing from one thing to another. This injury was a bit of a shock as I thought I was doing everything right, but obviously all my work on and off the track wasn’t absorbing as I wasn’t giving my body any chance to recover.

Obviously I am so disappointed I missed Zatopek but I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m only 20 and am learning so much about what I need to do to achieve my goals. Perhaps if I didn’t get injured in late October, I’d be injured at the wrong time!

So adios from me for now and hopefully I see you all around the track soon…but no rush! It will be a slow and steady comeback and so far I’m enjoying every minute of it!

Happy holidays!

Courtney x