12 Tips on Getting Back into the Game after an Injury or Accident

Wednesday, 10 July 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

So I crashed on my bike 11 days ago.  (If you missed reading the drama of it all, you can hop on over to this post.)  And I’m currently dealing with a foot injury that is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to heal.  And, to top it all off, I’m still uncertain if I can actually survive Ironman 70.3 Cebu on this delicate foot.

But, the past 11 days, despite the frustration and worry, I did have mini triumphs.  Okay, I take it back, they were huge achievements for little ol’ me!

First, I got back on the bike again.  Just the trainer since I was delayed in having my bike repaired. But, hey, that’s a start right?!  In fact, I think I got gigil.  I was on the trainer 4x last week, including a ride during our short family vacation in Tali.

– 60k in Tali to be one with those who joined Tri United 2, my missed race, wherein they covered 2k swim-60k ride-15k run –

Second, as soon as my wounds healed, I got back into the pool!

– I covered practically healed wound with Tergaderm and Gladwrap just to be sure! –

And, last but not the least, just this morning, I was able to run my longest since April!  A 10k without pain and with friends!

– Fun run with friends! Photo courtesy of Kaye Pascual –

As my way of giving back, I’d like to share with you some tips I learned during the past several days on getting back on the road after a crash or injury:


1) If you crashed on your bike, get back on the road as soon as you can to reduce your fear.  As long as you are well already, you must mentally overcome the trauma from the accident by hopping on your bike again.  Now, I was advised to ride the exact route of the accident, but that I may have to disagree with.  I don’t intend to ride that route ever again! LOL

2) Check your helmet and bike.  Before you bike, make sure your bike has been serviced and checked for any damage by a good mechanic.  Check your helmet as well for cracks.  I learned after the accident that bike helmets actually have an expiration date.  So, even if your old bike helmet looks intact, make sure that the foam inside can still absorb impact well.

3) Take care of your wounds.  Tergaderm, a waterproof, breathable bandage sold at Mercury Drug, was my best buddy throughout this ordeal.  I also used Fucidin, a gauze with antibiotic that didn’t stick to the wound like regular gauze did.  Both allowed my wounds to heal rapidly while being protected.  It also allowed me to bike and run.  As for swimming, swim only when the open wounds have healed.  It can get infected in the pool.  You also don’t want to spread your germs in the water.

4) If you can, swim in the sea.  We all know that salt water can heal wounds.  I took a trip to the beach and soaked in the water despite how painful it was. (I’m wincing as I type this) But, by the second day, most of my wounds had miraculously dried up!  (So dry that I got to swim again with my Coach 10 days after the crash!)


5) Start slow.  Even if you feel fully recovered, get back into running slowly.  Build your base again before speeding up.  Do not get overly excited about getting back into running.  (Take it from me! I’ve made this mistake quite a number of times heehee)

6) Get therapy.  Don’t stop therapy, such as deep tissue massage or ultrasound, just because you’re feeling better.  Try to continue what you were doing that helped you to recover.  I go to Peak Form at the 2nd Floor of Riovana for my therapy.

7) Strengthen.  Most of our running injuries are due to muscle imbalances.  If you don’t want to reinjure yourself, you must find the long term solution to your problem.  Most of the time, common running injuries can be corrected with strengthening exercises you can easily do at home or in the gym.  Ask a running coach, ortho surgeon, or a gym trainer about the proper exercises.

8)  Stretch.  I’ve found that one of the best ways for me to prevent and recover from any kind of injury is to stretch often.  I stretch after each run (never before a run when the muscles are cold).  I also try to have a yoga session at least once a week.

9) Run on the treadmill first.  When you’re just testing your legs again after an injury, it’s best to go on a treadmill which is softer than the road.  This provides less impact on your body.  It also allows you to quit immediately should you feel pain as opposed to being stuck in the middle of nowhere outdoors and having to walk back and risk re-injury.

10) Run-Walk.  There’s no better way to slowly get back into running then to practice the run-walk technique.  Try running 5 mins and walk 1 minute or, like what I did, run 3 minutes then walk 30 seconds.  The walk breaks may seem like nothing but they do make a huge difference in giving your muscles a time to rest even briefly.

11) Think about time, not distance.  When you’re just getting back into running, you may feel disappointed over the short distance you’re covering, especially if you’re used to running longer distances.  Try not to get frustrated over this.  Watch the clock instead and target time, not distance.

12) Celebrate the little victories.  Always be thankful for having the opportunity to swim, bike, or run again. Every little achievement counts especially after you’ve been through a trial, such as an accident or injury.  Know that you’ve come out better, stronger, and ready to fight another day!

If you have any other tips to share, feel free to post!