Throughout his lengthy career working with world-class athletes and amateur athletes alike, John Pryor has often noted the odd disconnect between the sensibilities of an elite athlete and those of an amateur athlete with regard to the importance of utilizing injury prevention strategies. Amateur athletes as well as those in occupational settings seem to be far more likely to make an attempt to “push through” feelings of physical discomfort rather than adopting a more cautious approach that allows the cause of the discomfort to heal over time.
For recreational athletes or those in occupational settings, the reason for a lack of focus on injury prevention seems to often be rooted in an inaccurate risk/benefit analysis that leads to a belief that more will be lost in the short-term by taking time off than will be gained over the long-term. This could not be further from the truth, as the act of pushing through an injury is more likely to exacerbate the injury further and create far more problems over the long run while requiring even more time to fully recover.
Through the use of some simple injury prevention strategies as well as an understanding of the importance of the principles relating to proper rest and recovery, any athlete — elite, recreational or otherwise — will get much more out of their training program and will see greater long-term results than those who try to push through pain or discomfort simply to avoid missing a single session. To paraphrase the old cliché, sometimes discretion is truly the better part of valor when it comes to training, and it is often true that replacing a hard training day with a day of active recovery will ultimately yield the better outcome.