Injuries are an unfortunate part of sports and pose a threat your health, confidence, and athletic career.
Olympic runner Luka Janežič knows well how bad that can go, having suffered one of the worst possible injuries for a runner, a torn Achilles tendon.
One year after the injury, Luka returns to competition, and we share with you his tips that may help you on your way to recovery.
1. Don't give up
An injury represents a huge psychological blow. Your life is turned upside down. One day you're fully engaged in training, and the next you are forced into inactivity.
'You must remain psychologically stable,' recommends Luka Janežič, whose injury at first forced him into almost complete inactivity. 'You are used to travel, compete, train hard, but then everything changes.'
Accept that you are in for a period of rehabilitation. Give it time.
'Don't give up," says Luka. 'Rehabilitation takes time, patience, and even money. You wonder if you'll ever run again. You have no choice but to persevere.'
As with many things, having a positive mindset is key, combined with patience and, obviously, the correct approach to recovery.
2. Build a team
Whether it's a team or individual sport, every successful athlete enjoys the support of a team. This doesn't change when dealing with injury.
'If you don't have a team yet, build one. It will guide you through the recovery.' Says Luka Janežič. 'Find a kinesiologist and physiotherapist. Listen to your coach. It's difficult to do it alone.'
Of course, Luka is a professional athlete. As an amateur, a team is perhaps something you can only dream of, but in case of serious injury, we recommend you seek out expert assistance.
3. Take care of proper nutrition
Proper nutrition is essential for all processes in your body, so it should come as no surprise that it plays a key role in injury recovery as well.
One aspect is your diet, that is the intake of micro and macro nutrients, but there's also the question of specific dietary supplements, dedicated especially to injury recovery. If you want to learn more about it, discover the best dietary supplements to recover after an injury.
'Before my injury, I wasn't taking collagen, although I did hear that top-level athletes use it for prevention. Several people, including my surgeon and nutritionists, recommended collagen to me.' Says Luka Janežič, who after his injury started supplementing Collagen+ 4Endurance Pro.
Of course, the question remains how much your diet or dietary supplements can really contribute to injury recovery.
Luka Janežič has a simple view on the matter. 'If nutrition improves recovery by 1%, that's great for me.'
4. Find alternative ways to train
Even if you can no longer train as you were used to, there are many alternative types of training you can do to help you stay in shape.
'I trained a lot in the pool and on the bike. I also did strength, flexibility, and stabilization exercises,' says Luka Janežič, who was surprised at how many types of training were still available to him. 'My leg was completely busted, but I still found ways to train.'
You could try to change your injury into something positive and train the parts of your body you might have been neglecting.
Luka Janežič has another optimistic message. 'One year after surgery I train at 100%.'
5. Don't forget about prevention
Prevention is better than cure. In case of sports injury, that's definitely true.
'Every athlete wonders why it happened. Could I have prevented the injury?' Contemplates Luka Janežič, but he's well aware that's not possible. 'If all injuries could be prevented, we would do it.'
But prevention still remains the best way to avoid injury. You must take care of:
- Proper nutrition
- Quality sleep
- Correct recovery
Proper nutrition includes both a balanced diet and a smart use of dietary supplements. You can improve the quality of your sleep with adaptogens such as ashwagandha, while proper muscle recovery begins immediately after training and also includes good sleep and, if needed, massages and physiotherapy.
Luka Janežič has a bonus tip. 'You should learn to listen to your body.'
It might sound simple, but it's one of the hardest things for an athlete. On one side, you are used to deal with pain and push your limits, and on the other, you must know when it's time to take it easy.
How to strike this balance? Unfortunately, you must find that answer for yourself.
An injury may represent a heavy blow for your health, confidence, and athletic career.
Olympic runner Luka Janežič, who recovered from a severe injury of his Achilles tendon, offers 5 tips on how to deal with an injury.
- Don't give up
- Create a team
- Be mindful of nutrition
- Find alternative ways to train
- Don't neglect prevention
If you also suffered an injury, we wish you a speedy recovery. Perhaps the tips provided by Luka Janežič might prove helpful.