I have personally had a few injuries, illnesses and unplanned events, minor and major, that have interrupted my training and racing. Because I also coach quite a few people, I see that others have similar unplanned events that take them away from their sport.
This is my take on how to successfully get through a layoff and also how to adjust your viewpoint while you are at it. The steps for me are: Establish an action plan, find what you CAN do, pursue other interests, find perspective and appreciate what you DO have.
First and foremost, what can you do to make whatever is wrong better? Do you need physio, a doctor or other professional? Do not delay getting the professional help you need. Get an action plan in order as soon as you can. Of course, you may have no other plan besides waiting and seeing, but it still pays to consult experts.
Second, with the advice of the experts in mind, get to what you CAN do as quickly as possible. If you are fortunate, you may be able to continue with a modified training program. It is also possible that you will need to fill the usual training time with other things, which leads to my third point.
Take the time you wouldn’t otherwise have to pursue your other hobbies. Read or watch movies more, whatever you personally find rewarding.
Fourth, find perspective. It isn’t the end of the world! I have said many times that these things are not roadblocks, but rather speed bumps. Try to treat this time as an opportunity to broaden your horizons. Initially you may be quite angry and that is just fine. Wallowing for too long, however, isn’t going to help in the long run.
Finally, appreciate what this time off has given you. Do you truly miss your sport? You now have a keen awareness of just how much you love training and that’s a good thing. It is akin to a loved one being away for some people and as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I personally would not know how much I love triathlon were it not for the times I couldn’t do it. I also have a passion for many other things that i never want to lose touch with. I put my family first in all that I do. These priorities came to me most clearly when I was forced to stop the routine and think about why I do what I do.