Adapting Training After A Cycling Accident: Heal, Recover, Regain Fitness

I’ve had a first this week, my first cycling accident.  Monday is the start of my training week and this week it was Xmas Day. I’d started well with a 10-mile run before lunch and was feeling determined and positive about the next 12-week training block.  I was raring to go as in the previous six weeks I’d had a bit of a lull with flu and a big party meaning training had ticked over and not progressed.

Winter Sun

After two good run sets, on Thursday I joined a gang of Brighton Tri Club members, many of whom had committed to the #RaphaFestive500, to complete an unofficial, social 100K ride. The sun was shining and as we cycled along the seafront I took a moment to take in the scene, a clear, crisp, winter’s day. I’m one of the slower cyclists in the group but was constantly helped along by a club-mate, allowing me to sit on their wheel to draft, or just chat and encourage.

Although it was cold, it didn’t seem too icy. But as we headed down a hill in a small village I saw club-mate Gill tumble to the ground, just as I was saying ‘Is Gill okay?’ I was down and as anyone who has been in an accident knows, it all happened very quickly, as it seemed we’d found that one patch of black ice.

Picking up the Pieces

I knew instantly my collar-bone hurt and could feel a broken off piece of tooth in my mouth. Blood was dripping down my face. A lovely woman living in a house nearby came out and started her car for us to sit in – stopping had made us all feel the effect of the elements (freezing). Amazingly, one of our crew, Scott, had packed a foil blanket, which was genius – and something I’ll pack for future rides.

I’m not the most experienced rider, but this was one of those freak things that just happened. When we went out the sun was shining, and the weather the day before mild. So how did I fare? Quick actions from club-mates meant I didn’t have to do anything. They sorted out the ambulance, got us to a safe place to keep warm and Gemma knew that I had to keep my arm raised. Gill was concussed, bruised and shaken. I have broken a collar-bone, and bashed in my face, with half my front tooth going through my lip, resulting in stitches above the lip, and a nice cut above my eye with more stitches there.

Time for Meditation

So… What now? I lay awake last night (propped up by pillows – ow!) thinking and trying to work out the best way to approach this new-found temporary glitch. For years I’ve  talked about doing mediation but realise this could be my opportunity to do it. I live in Brighton so won’t have a problem finding a meditation course/class to sign up to. One website describes it as the ‘mind settling effortlessly into silence, is the most powerful key to unlock your inner potential for self-healing’ That will do for me!

And I’ll use my training energy and hours well. When I was editor of Running Free Magazine, I was lucky enough to interview Jo Pavey, an athlete who’s experienced a number of injuries. And something I never forgot was when she told me how she kept her training routine and replaced her normal sessions with rehab training when injured. My routine has been a little erratic of late, but I had a rough plan to devote 10 hours a week to training from January.

Training to Heal

So, it’s simple, for 10 of the 168 hours in the week, I’ll plan to meditate, do strength work for my legs (single leg squats, calf raises, squats and lunges), aqua jogging/walking, spinning when I can, and leg raises for the core – and I might even add nutrition and reading into the mix, using my training energy for things I’ve been talking about doing but not doing. It’s new year, so a good time to feel resolve. The first six weeks is about healing, the second six about regaining lost fitness. The last week of the first block is skiing, and the last week of the second six-week block is a trip to Mallorca for a club Got To Tri Training Camp.

‘Training’ for healing will kick off once I know if I need surgery to fix the broken, or as one medic said, shattered bones. Either way I’ve been told that now I’ve broken my collar-bone, I’m a true cyclist (but, ssh, I haven’t had a puncture yet)!

I’m always interested to hear about your recovery stories – any tips or advice, share in the box below.




8 thoughts on “Adapting Training After A Cycling Accident: Heal, Recover, Regain Fitness

  1. Just found your blog, so sorry to see this as the first post I’ve seen of your journey. But I’m so impressed at your spirit and attitude! I hope you recover quickly and look forward to seeing more adventures in cross training for mind and body. Good luck!

  2. Hi my name is Amanda and I too suffered a cycling accident and also broke my collar bone . I managed to break 7 ribs 3 vertebrae and puncture my lung aswell. I had to wait for an hour in bushes on my own to be found. I knew instantly as my back broke that I would never walk again but at that point was more concerned with staying alive. I was found eventually by another cyclist.
    I was taken to Brighton hospital where I had major surgery on my back with rods put in place and my collar bone plated and pinned. I did my rehab at Stokemandeville and used my triathlon training to help me through rehab 😊 I had good days and bad days but that happened sometimes with a good run followed by a bad run. The important thing is to keep going learning from the bad days and move forward. Rest days were also important. I will never walk again but still enjoy my cycling just with my arms now instead of my legs. Still adopting my old training programmes for my new situation.I think if you have the mind of someone who enjoys training for something you can adopt it to all areas of life. I am glad you are recovering from your accident and hope you are back cycling again soon 😊

    • Hi Amanda – Thank you so much for getting in touch. God that must have been so scary to be alone and makes my little accident seem like a scratch. I’m so glad you still get to enjoy your cycling – how inspiring that you kept training. I think I may have heard your story. Well done on fighting back.
      I’d love to hear more about your story if you’d like to share – drop me a line.

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