A random training ramble.
I've never spoke to or heard of a successful (define it however you want) athlete who hasn't had to overcome an injury. I don't just mean serious things like tears or breaks but, consistent aches and pains, too.
With regards to strength training, because this is where my bias is, it makes me ponder the value in getting injured. Sounds weird, right, "the value" in getting injured.
We're supposed to look at those who are better than us and look for common denominators. If it's strength or mass, for example, there's compounds. If it's big arms, for example, there's direct arm work. Well, there's also injury.
So, in my idle contemplation regarding this, I decided to think about it another way.
What are the advantages of getting injured?
There's the motivational side. The frustration. Being pi$$ed off at yourself and the world for ruining your training. This fuels the fire. It can also separate the dedicated from the not-so-dedicated. Some people give up due to injury. Some people tone it right down and just "maintain" (whatever that means). For others it's like throwing fuel into the fire that was already there. Things are taken from you when you're injured, you feel what it's like to go without and it kills you. So as soon as you're able to go all out again, train with the intensity you want to, it's like your motivation has been reborn only much stronger than before.
There's knowledge. Overcoming injury requires knowledge - you need to be an active patient and go out and find a way to get back to where you were. The injury may of been a dumb move, but over coming it requires some brain power. Enter smart programming. The uninjured don't really know what it means to "train smart" because they've never really had to.
There's body awareness - you become much more aware of how your body works, moves, and feels when you are in pain and over coming it.
Then, there's caution. With technique, programming, and knowing when to back off. Once bitten twice shy. Guys that hit PR's whilst "leaving some in the tank" have almost certainly been injured before. They know the true value in holding back just a little. I've learned that one of the best ways to ensure consistent progress is not "spending all your money in one shop", slow and steady wins the race. Always good to leave a little weight on the floor. Injury teaches you this, more because you really don't want to get injured again but, actually, it's just good training, too, but you don't want to believe that when you think you're invincible.
EDIT: I am in no way recommending injury as a means to training success. Just thinking out loud. If you can come to these same conclusions without having to get injured then, even better.