Number one rule is to always LISTEN to your body. It’s one of those concepts that is said time and time again; ‘Listen to when your body needs rest and allow yourself to heal’. Although quite an obvious statement, for me it resonates strongly.
Previous to the injuries I have experienced in the past 4 years, I thought my body was invincible. How could I get injured? I warm up, I warm down, I’m careful, that’s enough right? Wrong. They say you learn from your mistakes, well experience is key and knowledge is key.
I’m sure many would agree that, what they do to warm up, recover and prevent themselves from injury is enough. But are you really caring for yourself in the right ways?
Listening to how your body feels during a session and how it responds to your training or competitions afterwards is vital. That niggle you felt last month is back again, what is it you’re doing at training that is causing this pain? Or is there something you’re doing outside training that could be influencing your pain (work, hobbies)? Sometimes we need to broaden our mindset on what we are actually feeling.
Below is a summary of my injury tips (management and preventative). These are purely based on my opinion and experience through my athletic endeavours which have helped me to avoid further damage down the track!
- LISTEN to your body- simple yet very effective. If we feel something is wrong, it probably is and we need to slow down! This is our brain telling us that our body does not like it.
- Warm UP PROPERLY. As a sprinter, having a lengthy and large warm up is very important. We are running at our maximum speed so therefore our muscles need to be able to adapt to the change in load they are under.
- Warm DOWN PROPERLY. Yes, warming down is just as important as the warm up. You need to allow your heart rate to decrease and you need to run at a slower pace to allow your muscles to remove hydrogen ions (lactic acid). This is so you don’t experience those nasty DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), because we have to get up the next day and do it all again!
- REST and SLEEP! As much as we train hard almost every day, we need to give our bodies some rest. Allow our muscles to recoup and recover so that when we train again, we can run close to our full potential. We must also get our sleep! This is when our cells regenerate and renew, so make sure you are getting those zzz’s!
- A HEALTHY lifestyle. What we put into our mouth, how we fuel ourselves and the decisions we make, have a huge impact on our bodies. It is so important to fuel ourselves with nutritious food as well as appropriate supplementation (including protein, to help muscle recovery). Try to avoid those naughty temptations of alcohol and smoking, as they will only prolong the injury!