How to Stay Motivated While Rehabbing an Injury

Let me know if this sounds familiar: as soon as you get hurt, motivation to exercise plummets. ¬†If you can’t run, why bother?

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

Teaching my daughter the importance of supple fascia ūüėČ

I’m exactly the same way. Before I escaped my chronic injury cycle, a running injury not only stopped me from running, but all other kinds of exercise:

Cross training? Forget it.

Strength exercises? I don’t care.

Ice, compression, massage, mobility…? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Working on recovery and maintaining fitness were after-thoughts. I just wanted to run! Doing all this other stuff was boring so I skipped it.

But now that I understand what it takes to get (and stay) healthy, I understand two simple rules that can help you recover from injury:

1. Aggressive injury rehab is the best treatment. Get a plan and stick to it, otherwise you may be injured for twice as long.

2. Rest is not treatment! Taking time off – with no recovery strategy – may reduce pain and allow you to start running again.

But did you fix the underlying cause of the injury? Probably not. And you’re much more likely to get hurt again.

Awhile back we talked about this topic:

But we haven’t yet talked about the¬†mental¬†side of recovering from injury – and it’s quite possibly the most important part! Because…

Running is 50% physical and 99% mental! Click here to tweet that!

Trust me, the math works out.

Yes, the step-by-step treatments are important. Of course you need to do the right strength work, cross-training and rehabilitation to recovery properly and ensure the injury doesn’t happen again.

But what about confidence in yourself to get healthy?

Can you increase motivation to do the right rehabilitation?

What about the discipline to stick with your treatment (even though it’s less fun than running?)

That’s what we’ll discuss today:¬†the mentality it takes to stay motivated to recover quickly.

Q&A with Coach: How to Stay Motivated to Get Healthy

Episode 14 of Q&A with Coach answers this question:

How do you stay motivated to continue strength and rehab exercises during an injury?

I’ve received this question numerous times on Twitter (follow me at @JasonFitz1) and through email, so I want to give you two strategies that will help you through any injury.

Show Notes:

  • 1:05 Long-term health depends on…
  • 1:25 The “Try Everything, Try Nothing” approach to injuries
  • 1:45 Why you need an ultimatum to get healthy
  • 2:05 How I used this “ultimatum approach” to speed recovery of my Achilles injury
  • 3:15 The most effective way to rehab any running injury
  • 3:55 The “secret suace” of injury rehabilitation
  • 4:10 How I cross-trained my way to two new personal bests

I hope you enjoyed the latest episode of the show!

I’d love to answer¬†your¬†question about injuries, racing, running gear, and even about my personal running. Just ask me on Twitter with the hashtag #RunQuestion! (or, email me)

One last request: I thrive on enthusiasm. If you enjoy the show, please let me know in the comments on this post.

Would you like to see more regular Q&A with Coach episodes? Longer videos? Shorter videos? More guests?

The sky’s the limit, so please chime in!

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  1. Juan M√°rquez says:

    Morning, Jason.

    I’d like for you to read a post, written by fellow runner enthusiast, Jeff Edmonds. The blog entry is titled “Death, Singularity, and the memory of running”. It deals with rehab after serious injury and the text is moving to a fault.


    Let me know if you liked it. Better yet, let Jeff Edmonds know.

    Have fun,

    Juan M√°rquez, Colombia, South America.

  2. Love the advice to “treat your rehab like your training”. Great way to stay motivated when you are depressed about being injured. Gives you a sense of empowerment. I also love the scary mannequin head in the background… Adds a little “je ne sais quoi” to the whole thing ;-).

  3. Good advice on rehab focus. I’m still trying to recover from an ankle injury caused by a fall last spring. I started running (with doctor approval) about 6-7 months after the injury. I had partially torn all the ligaments & tendons on the right ankle. Lots of rehab to gain strength back without completely rupturing them or needing surgery. Ran/walked a 10K in December after only being able to train about 3 months. Ran two 5K’s this year (felt OK) & am starting back on training for another 10K in December. But as I have increased the mileage, I can feel the ankle beginning to tweak again. I am still doing rehab exercises & cross train 3 days a week. Think it’s safe to run more miles? Current long run right now is only 4 miles. I do feel frustrated!