Smutty Fitness: The last 10%
Thank you for all your posts, especially the last two! They both hit home. I have been struggling with setting goals for the next year because I find myself in a plateau stage. At the end of 2012 I was in a major road accident, run over by a truck while cycling. I had a severe pelvic fracture which left me in a wheel chair for three months. I had been fit and active but after three months not walking I was left with very little muscle. Just before the one year mark, I learned that I had reached 90% of my recovery but that I had another year to get the remaining 10%, after which I would be as good as I'm going to get.
I have worked really hard the past year, and in some ways it's been rewarding because the improvements kept coming. I had a ton of support and went from not walking, to walking with a walker, to a cane, to walking a 5k in under one hour in September. It wasn't easy and there were a lot of tears along the way, but I was rewarded with huge strides and progress. My problem now is understanding that the next year I will need to work just as hard but will see minimal improvements.
I know there are some things I just won't be able to do again, e.g. Running is "the worst thing" for someone with a pelvic fracture. Because of an earlier shoulder injury, I had given up swimming (I can only do the breast stroke).
I am looking for ways to increase my stamina and endurance. I take physio 3x per week, Pilates 1x per week and I am planning an additional 1-2 exercise classes per week (aqua fit and aerobics). I want to push myself as far as possible but I also need to be realistic. I'm at the stage where most people give up and I'm afraid if I don't figure out some attainable goals I will be one of them. Can you recommend ways to stay motivated to get the final 10% improvement?
I know you are the type to go for that final 10% so I am really looking forward to your advice. Thank you Hayley.
It sounds like you know exactly what to do, you have the right attitude and you know yourself well enough to not push it too hard.
I know that feeling - feeling so great and wanting to push hard but knowing that if you do you will take a huge step backwards. Time and time again we do not respect that and make the mistake of pushing too hard, unfortunately taking many steps backwards before we eventually learn.
Here's my advice for what you should focus on over the next year - get that 10% back without injuring yourself. Week by week rejoice in the smallest of gains, knowing how hard you work for each step and build yourself to that 100% one step at a time. Just like someone who is trying to run faster or ride farther the more fit they come means they have to work harder and harder to see even the smallest of gains.
Listen to your body and understand when it's tired or when you've pushed too hard and let it rest without feeling guilty about it. Tell yourself that once you are fully healthy you can reward yourself with a new challenge, maybe a cycling event and regain your confidence on the bike or maybe you do something greater like hiking the Grand Canyon or Kilimanjaro.
There is a silver lining in every life experience and there is a silver lining in this one. You cannot run anymore. So what? There are so many other amazing activities that you can discover that will bring you new life experiences you would have never had otherwise.
Start spinning, start going for long hikes, start a weekly yoga class, walk 10km in under two hours and become a master at the breast stroke. The options are endless.
And give back. Volunteer to help those who find themselves in similar positions as you once were. You have come so far and can be a HUGE inspiration to so many other people who are searching for hope of their own. Not only will inspiring others make you feel great but it will remind you of what you have overcome and if and when you become frustrated in this battle to get that last 10% it will be a huge wakeup call, teaching you to be grateful for all you can do and stop you from focusing on what you can't do.
Best of luck,