Hit a wall? Avoid the couch.


If you were to visit my townhouse, you’d probably think it’s a nice place, but nothing all that spectacular.

It serves me well as a low-maintenance base for the moment, but the ceilings stand low, carpet is nearing replacement, most walls are blank and I don’t have surround sound or cable.

I like the quiet, tree-lined street I live on and occasionally wrestle with simple projects to step the house’s game up. But you won’t see it featured in any home-design magazines.

However, the house does boast one undeniably spectacular feature: the couch.

A puffy, leather-backed sectional that fits perfectly in my living room and cradles you like a caterpillar in a cocoon.

The stylish couch – who I’ll refer to as Ryan, named after the guy who sold it to me – is my best Craigslist find to date.

But as great as Ryan is, he has a dark side.

The comfy pillows and ottoman have a tractor beam effect and can work against you if you need to get going, or keep moving.

Many a guest have sat down to watch a game only to fall asleep within 20 minutes, and wake up up two hours later after it’s over, cursing Ryan’s tranquilizing effect.

Usually the couch’s knock-out punch is a great way to slow down and transition right before heading to bed, but on days when the dice don’t roll your way, Ryan works against you by not letting you move past those hurdles.

In my case, I’m getting over a stress fracture in my left foot that I suffered last April during the Lavaman Olympic triathlon. I’ve been making good progress, but the foot is still not as strong as it used to be.

This was painfully evident last week after running over 20 miles in 31 hours in the Ragnar Del Sol Relay, when my gimpy foot gave out and left me limping with what I’ve determined to be Posterior Tibial Tendinitis.

When I hit a wall, I go from red-lining to standstill pretty quickly, and the rocky transition leads to extended depression sessions with Ryan and Netflix.

Not anymore.

From now on we’re taking a new approach to injuries and setbacks.

We’re still going to rest when we need to, but without the couch-induced downward spiral of unproductive inactivity (sorry, Ryan).

Six tips to avoid the couch after you’ve hit a wall

1. Get out of the house and relax at a coffee shop, on a park bench with a book, or at a friend’s house. BS-ing with your buddies over Jimmy Johns and a beer is much more uplifting than sulking on the couch, in the dark, eating Goldfish, for six episodes of Scrubs.

2. Work on something awesome. Washing clothes, doing the dishes, cleaning the counter tops, checking Facebook or responding to emails is not awesome. Unscheduled admin duties are not allowed after you’ve hit a wall. Instead, if you must take it easy for a week or two, use the recovery period as bonus time to update your plan to dominate your goals. While my foot heels, I’m taking the much-needed time to research Ironman training plans and work on my road map; hopefully, I’ll have something concrete established by the time I need to kick it into gear.

3. Research your injury. You’ll benefit from knowing more about what kind of hill you’re up against. And if you’re working with a physical therapist (like I should be doing to return my sad, flat left foot to its previous high-arched glory) you’ll know what questions to ask and be able to arm yourself with knowledge to help the healing process.

4. Pick up that hobby you’ve been avoiding. Force yourself to go out of your way and dedicate a good 30 minutes to whatever hobby interests you. I’ve been playing guitar for 10 years, and used to play for at least an hour a day. Currently it’s taken a backseat to Ironman training, work, writing and other priorities. But when I force myself to sit down and play, I’m always glad I did and it’s a great way to clear my head and pass unexpected down time.

5. Stretch, rehab and rest like a pro. Just because you can’t exercise or go to the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t foam roll, stretch or do other active recovery activities. So don’t rest on your laurels and let the bummer of an injury seep into other areas of your fitness routine. Keep eating right and stay dedicated to dominating the injury just like you dominate everything else you do, baller!

6. Set a couch-time limit. Unless you’re doing some active relaxation like marathoning through the Pink Panther movies or learning from an educational DVD, set a limit for the time you allow yourself to spend on the couch. Otherwise that snowball will keep rolling and you’ll go from feeling inspired after a watching a great documentary, to bored and numb glazing through never-ending episodes of Family Guy, the Big Bang Theory or worse: The Local News.

I’m hoping to be back in the game in a couple weeks. By staying off the couch during this break, I should be able to hit the ground running in the right direction.

If you’re going through a similar process, I wish you a speedy recovery. How do you stay positive and productive when resting due to an injury?

– Live Every Day –