Kate Grace's Keys To Coming Back Strong From Injury

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Physical And Mental Aspects Of Progression Back From Injury

How do you progress back from being injured? Going from injured to healthy.

"Injured to healthy . . . I would say there's the physical and the mental side. 

"Physically I've taken a lot of my knowledge from working with the physical therapist, Jade Fairy. [We worked] on how the body basically is recovering, kind of thinking of the body as more of a dynamic organism, which it is, ways (of) rejuvenating itself, which it is. So versus thinking of yourself as like completely injured and completely healthy, it's a spectrum, it's not to say that you don't respect the injury, but it's more so that. You know that when you're injured you can be obviously working with it, and be doing various exercises to help yourself to help everything heal faster. Then as you're coming out of it, where I used to take a lot of fear from any kind of pain, it's more so learning the different kinds of pains and learning that sometimes pushing it a little bit, and pushing certain tendons, ligaments will actually help with healing as long as you're not going crazy, especially not with bone stress.

"His whole metaphor is, if it's like a bridge it's not a like a bridge that is broken and then no longer broken, it's more like a self-healing bridge and so you're trying to heal yourself. 


What is the role of visualization coming back from injury?

"Visualization is huge, just to kind of trick yourself to think that you are closer to being in the game. That way it kind of helps edge yourself toward that. 

"Replaying old races or replaying possible future races, kind of like dream races in your head, (is something I do). It also helps to kind of get your heart-rate up and get excited while you're cross-training.

"Also going back and using the time to learn racing tactics, watch yourself in old videos, keep on watching current videos, which is why FloTrack is great. To imagine yourself in that race, to imagine what you would do, and then that way you're closer to actually being there."


An important part of rehab is balance and activities related to improving balance -- can you explain that? 

"With balance you're trying to get your body to maintain alignment on one foot. When you start with balancing exercises you're just doing it on the ground, you then progressively make it more difficult in order to increase your learning. The next step for me is . . . foot rotations, so it's all trying to keep everything here, strong, glute-activating.

"Then you're doing hip rotations, you could also close your eyes, you could also move your leg back and forth. So just inserting any kind of opposing force to throw you off. I also do a lot of work with balance boards so basically trying to balance on an unstable surface. One of the key things that we're working on is making sure the three points of your foot are all connected: the ball of your big toe, the ball of your baby toe, and also your heal."

So those need to be on the ground during balance exercises? Those three spots? 

"If the ball of your big toe and the ball of your pinky toe are on the ground there's going to be a line between them that will also be on the ground. But for me, that's one of my main cues I go through, working toward. Because if I'm working on balance and I'm really just on the outside of my foot then I'm ingraining the wrong pattern in my mind from when I'm running, 'cause when I'm running I want my whole foot to be able to be stable as it pushes off."