I’ve been dwelling on this thought for the past couple of weeks. I’ve now completed my seventh round of 90 day exercise regimens. Out of these seven rounds, I finished two with injury. Both injuries took place in the first round of the year. Last May, I limped to modified completion with a knee injury that hampered my ability to play tennis and hike. And this past month, I’ve modified my way through a frustrating tennis elbow injury that has me again sidelined from playing.
And I exercise routinely so that I can perform better at tennis, hiking and active pursuits.
There are at least two schools of thought on this matter. The first is: what do you expect? You’re no spring chicken and that’s what happens when you pursue unrealistic objectives.
The second: These things happen from time to time precisely because you are fit and are competing at a more advanced (more taxing) level.
I’m of the second school of thought. It’s very frustrating to get injured, but the overall benefits of my efforts have outweighed the setbacks. And it’s a process. How to walk the line to improve fitness and play tennis reasonably well while avoiding injury. Of course, I need to work on technique, once I’m healed. Goodness knows I can work on improving my technique forever. It’s not like I have an athletic gift. I just enjoy playing. But I think I also need to discriminate between which shots are worth pursuing and which are not. Just because I can now get to a ball and hit it back doesn’t mean I need to tax myself to maximum effort on all shots. By picking my shots, I think I might better avoid injury and maximize my ability to play another day. The pros do this all the time. They’ll play routine tennis for four hours and win a match in a three minute burst of inspired and athletic play.
If I can manage to play crappy tennis for two hours and raise my level to “duffer” for maybe fifteen minutes, my results may improve. Hmm. I probably shouldn’t reveal this strategic thinking in a public forum, lest my future opponents learn of my plans.
So, another round is complete. I can’t say I feel heroic for the accomplishment, finishing with an injury. It’s just a minor setback. And I’m taking the long view. I’m gonna take some time off to recover. But I expect I’ll get going again soon, even if it continues to require I modify upper body efforts.