Alright, let's get this thing going eh! Like I said, over the next six months in particular, I am going to be working on going from being broken to back to where I was. And via my blog and twitter, I will keep posting about what I am doing, what that does, improvements, successes, failures, mistakes etc. What I hope will be clear in this is that there is no secret sauce. The trick, if it can be called one, is to be consistent, and to solve problems and not give in to excuses.
Where I Was At
To start off, be clear about your goals, and what you can hope to achieve. For me to figure out my goals, I want to take a look at where I was before I got injured. - I was training regularly, with no limitation on what I could do or could not do. Squats, deadlifts, pushups, pullups, rows, KB swings, running etc were a regular feature of my training sessions.
- I was playing Ultimate regularly. My endurance was solid, but my strength and speed levels were really good too. I could play an entire game savage (without subbing out) with full focus, and I was amongst the fastest in my team.
- I could run 10k in little over 50 minutes, any given time of day. I had the lungs to run a reasonable distance at a decent speed. While one of my old goals was to get my 10k under 45 minutes, that's not something that should feature now.
- I was sleeping well, finally having gotten totally used to my day starting at 4am.
- I was eating well, basically following my own principles. Cheat meals were once a week, sometimes twice.
To cap it off, I was at a good place and ready to step it up to the next level. ### Where I am right now
- I cannot take my dog out for a walk, coz I cannot keep up with her
- I walk with a limp, and I use a crutch when I go out in public (more to shoo other folks away than for me)
- I cannot drive a car
- I cannot sit cross-legged
- I have not played Ultimate since I got injured
- My sleep and stress levels have gotten worse, coz I am in constant pain.
- Even if I could run, I don't have the lungs to run over a mile (definitely not at 9 minutes a mile pace)
Where I wanna go (My goals)
I obviously want to go back to where I was, and beyond. But talking about running 10k on any given day is a bit presumptuous when I am worried about even going out to a movie coz it will be too crowded. And to be honest, while I can estimate when my leg will be fine, and when I can start training etc - they are all estimates. So, rather than a time-based approach, I am going to go with a milestone-based approach. 1. Get my knee's range of motion back to normal. This is obviously priority #1 for me, because until this is sorted out, not much matters. My estimate for this is January 20.
2. Once my knee is fine, I will start some light strength work. It will involve squatting, deadlifts, pushups, presses, pullups, rows. But for the lower body work, I might stick to partial range of movement (squatting, for example, requires you to sit back and down so that your hips are below your knee. I might work towards this, starting off with partial squats or assisted squats). My goal for this phase will be to get through a training session "looking normal" i.e. I should be able to do every movement like I did before I got injured. I will not be lifting the same weights as before (obviously), but I should be able to replicate form precisely. This is my second milestone, and my estimate for this is Feb 28.
3. From March, am hoping to move on to my next phase in training, geared towards "Where I was at" because only now I will have a reasonable foundation to build off from.
Planning beyond that is superfluous, at least to me. Now, it is important to keep track of progress (or lack of). Keeping a daily log becomes important. In this log, I will be noting down (or taking pictures or both) of what I am doing. How low am I able to go in the squat, with no feeling of discomfort? How does my form look? How much work am I able to do? And I will also be keeping track of how I feel. This becomes important because if my knee hurts a lot, I can go back to my training log for the previous day (or more) and see if something stands out. And along the way, I am hoping to improve my sleep and reduce my stress. ### So, where do you wanna go and where are you at?
First things first, if you have pain, you need to resolve that. Set up an appointment with a doctor or a physiotherapist (or figure out which expert you need to see). Don't try to fix yourself or diagnose yourself, unless you know what you are doing, which you probably don't. And please, don't take it as a challenge to yourself to prove me wrong. Coz another important thing is to leave your ego locked for a bit. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekeELle5g-o] I've seen this with a lot of people - both my personal clients and at The Quad. People carry an injury of some sort (not every injury is gonna be blatantly obvious like mine) and cope around it - neck pain, lower back pain, knee pain, for example. You did read my previous post about reducing stress, and how it could help you "magically" lose weight, right? If there's no pain or no pre-existing conditions, cool. You can get started with step 1. See where you were at, and what your goals are. Please set realistic goals for yourself. An example of what I do not want. > Hmm, let me see. When I was in school, I could play sports all day. And there's that one time when I ran 10 kms, just to see if I could do it. And let's not forget, I could climb up any tree!
Uhh, okay. How old are you now? And how long ago was that? Looking in the mirror will help too. I am not saying you cannot go back to those things - you absolutely can! But take stock of where you are at now. If you cannot run 500m, if you smoke, if you sleep 4 hours every night coz you are so busy - you should be looking at things like "Walk everyday, reduce/quit smoking, sleep longer" as your first set of goals. Set reasonable and realistic goals but do not aim miles ahead. If you want to drop 15" around your waist (or) 30kgs (or) both (or) whatever, while that's definitely doable, you need to make sure you celebrate lesser milestones, and set smaller targets for nearer periods of time. For example, when I first tried distance running, every Saturday was a day when I ran one mile more than I had ever run in my life. That was self-rewarding, and kept me going. Being ambitious (I want to run a marathon) is totally fine, but be reasonable (I want to run a marathon in 2 months). Be honest and reasonable about where you are as well. From interacting with a whole bunch of folks on the subject of goal setting, I've realized people, sometimes, overestimate themselves too. So, here's a suggestion. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the fittest. Then, **divide that by 2 **(yes, I am being serious). Overestimating yourself is only going to make you set overambitious targets, fail miserably, and give up. Instead, set an ambitious but reasonable target, set smaller goals for shorter timelines as well, and simply keep at it. If things are not going right, would giving up make sense, or redoubling your efforts? That's enough from me. Time for your assignment(s). Step 0: Are you injured? Or in pain? Or restricted physically or mentally in some way? See an expert, figure out the "how" to resolve it. Step 1: Where were you at (think of it as the uber-long term goal), where are you at right now. And based on what you wanna do, see where you wanna go. And see if you can map these things. Think it over, take some time. And while you are at it, check out Raj's take on resolutions. And put it up in the comments section below, go ahead, don't be shy. It will give me a chance to give me feedback, and also motivate others. And do share this post! Good luck.