It's been 5 weeks since I first started to feel soreness around my right ribs on our training camp in Spain. The conclusion was a stressfracture in on of my ribs, but there still are no really good explanations to what caused the fracture. Most likely I will never get an explanation. The fact that I got a stressfracture in a bone which (almost) never break just from running, potentially could make me concerned. Should I change anything in my training or just train less, to make sure that it won't happen again?
I have confronted with these questions from myself and others the last weeks, but the more I think about it, the less concerned I get. I know that elitesport is about training hard and pushing your limits to get better. Sometimes (often when you're younger) you go too far across your limit and often your body will respond fast by making you sick or injured. It's like balancing on the edge of a cliff. If you're training to push your limits and get better, you will be close to the edge and sometimes when you're training too hard you will fall down. That's a fact all eliteathletes know. The risk of injuries and sickness is a part of the game, and if you're never sick or injured, maybe you are not training hard enough. The best simply just know their limits better, and what signs the body give when they have reached them (etc. sore muscles, exhaustion, different HR-pattern, ...). Then it's easier to make small adjustments in the training, to make sure that you won't get injured or sick. And next time maybe it will be a bit longer to the edge, because you have pushed the limit of what you're capable of.
I have always been training like that. Trying to push my limits all the time. How many hours can I train? How long can I run? How much high intensity training can I do? How fast can I run my intervals? How much can I squat? How high can I jump? How much orienteering can I do?
And at the same time try to listen to the signals my body send when I'm pushing limits, and make adjustments if it's necessary. Often it goes well, and my capability will improve, but sometimes I train too hard, or try to improve too much at the same time, and I will get injured or sick. I'm well aware of that risk.
During the last weeks I have realized that I don't want to change that. I don't want to train less than I know that I'm capable of, to make sure I won't get injured. I don't want to run a good WOC-sprint 2015 and finish in 10th spot, if I know that the result could have been better if I had trained as hard as possible. Maybe I will still be in 10th place this summer, but it's okay, if I know that I did all I could to be as good as possible. Then the others were just better than me.
So I keep training to my limits. Of course I know that I have a broken rib, so after I started training again I pushed my limits on the bike and in the gym, doing whatever I could to minimize the decrease in endurance and strength in muscles, tendons and bones. After a week I could start to train on a crosstrainer and start to train with higher intensity. 2 weeks ago I started running again after 3 weeks without running. 15 minutes of running on treadmill resulting in sore thighs and calfs afterwards (quite low limit), but at the same time pushing my limits on long bike-trainings, or crosstrainer-intervals, or in the gym. Around 20 hours/week of training the last 3-4 weeks, and many hours spent in the fitness-center... 2 hours of running the first week, slowly running every other day, increasing from 15 to 45 minutes, and going from the treadmill to outside on roads and tracks. 6 hours of running last week, every day the last days, and up to 1h15min, going also in the terrain and doing orienteering again. Ended the week at Nordjysk 2-dages trying to push a little harder on the middle distance on sunday. What a good feeling being back doing the thing you love the most, orienteering.
All the time I have tried to listen to the signals my body have sent (pain and soreness), and maked adjustments to the plan if necessary. Because the rehabilitation have been far from painless, but I have done whatever I could without pain, and slowly the things I have been able to do painless, have been more and more all the time.
People have asked me why I'm training that much, and that maybe it would be better just to rest more and not risk anything with the healing process of the fracture. But I want to be at my best at WOC in Scotland, and I know that I won't get any WOC-medals if I don't do all I can, to get back in normal training as fast as possible. So far in my rehabilitation I have pushed the limits, knowing that I'm risking to interrupt the healing process or to get other injuries. But so far it has been going well, and now I'm stronger, in better shape and more used to a lot of training, than I would have been, if I hadn't taking any risks. It means that yesterday I did my first hard interval-session, and tomorrow I'm back competing again (Danish Champs in Night-O), 5 weeks after I broke my rib. This week will be 9-10 hours of running and hopefully soon back to full training again.
My rib hasn't healed completely yet, and will not be 100% until 3-6 months according to the doctors.
I still can't turn around or get out of my bed without pain, and it will probably continue for some weeks. But I know that I do what I can, and that's a good feeling.