We've all been sidelined with an illness or injury and getting back to a good level of fitness can be tough. Don't despair, you'll get back to peak fitness, but it takes hard work, discipline, and, above all, a plan. Here's some tips on how to make your comeback successful.
- Have a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail; it sounds cliche, but it's true. Talk to your coach or hire a coach. If you don't have a coach; reach out to a trusted training partner for some ideas.
- Select a target event. Pick an event or race 4-8 weeks out that suits your ability. A goal event gives you purpose and provides extra motivation.
- Put your comeback training schedule up where you can see it everyday. Put it someplace like your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator.
- Get disciplined. Schedule your rides in advance so there are no excuses or conflicts.
- Clean up your diet. You probably gained a few pounds (or 15...) and dropping the weight is part of getting back to peak fitness.
- Spend some extra time on recovery. It's going to take a few weeks for your post workout recovery time to improve so devote some extra time to your recovery routine.
- Document your comeback! Post your progress on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, or website. Sharing your training with others will keep you accountable.
- BE PATIENT! It's tough getting back in the saddle, and the first few weeks will be difficult and you'll question your choices. After a few weeks you'll feel better and your legs will come around. Keep the faith; good results are around the corner!
On a personal note: I am coming back from a long layoff due to injury and illness. In late August I suffered a broken finger and hand during a training crash and soon after I was forced off the bike for months due to an illness. I'm following my own tips and I'll be documenting my progress on Crank Cycling's blog. Check back for more updates, and don't hesitate to share your own comeback stories with us!