Everybody will have experienced a time when they have an important event coming up, and the last thing they could possibly want is an injury. So how can you prevent this from happening to you?
Limiting big changes in your training or exercise quantity is essential. You do not want to over-load your body or put unaccustomed stress on your muscles, tendons and bones. For example, if the furthest distance you are currently running is 10km but you decide to run a marathon (42km), it is likely that you do not have the strength or conditioning to adapt to such a great amount of change. However, if you increased your distance over a number of months, your body has the chance to strengthen in response to the impact forces and muscle requirements for longer distance running.
Rest, however, is just as important as training. Planning your training and preparation towards key events is vital. You may find getting your physiotherapist’s input around distances, progressions or rest days can compliment your coach’s (or team’s) training plan. Even in a team environment, everyone’s body is different, adapts to different loads at different speeds and recovers differently. Making sure that you still respect your body within a team environment is important too, particularly when returning from time off.
We also advise that you address any “problem areas” you are aware of while you are training, or ideally before you start training. If you know you have any weakness, old injuries, pain or differences in your body you should get these assessed by your physiotherapist to learn how to fix them.
Physiotherapists can assess your movement, muscle strength, flexibility and control. Working to improve these and resolve any imbalances or compensations will mean that you are less likely to injure yourself. Additionally, you are also likely to be more efficient at your sport and this means going faster for longer! Clinical Pilates is a great way of being able to work on your specific problem areas; this is because your physiotherapist will tailor a Clinical Pilates program to your needs. It is the balance in muscle contribution and controlled strength that is often described as your “core” in gym settings. This will provide you far more benefit in reducing injuries and pain than many of the bracing strategies that are sometimes confused as being ideal for everyone.
Finally, recovering after a training session, race or event is just as important as preparing for it. Your recovery should involve a cool-down period, good nutrition, hydration and adequate rest following both training sessions and events. You should also attend to any niggles, areas of soreness or tightness as you know how, and if you need further assistance with this, seek guidance from your physiotherapist. They may recommend recovery strategies such as massage, ice or specific stretches/exercises to speed up the recovery process.
Keeping all of these in mind, preventing an injury has a lot to do with smart training specific to you, addressing any issues early and good recovery.
The physiotherapists at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic are happy to assess any niggles or injuries you may have and discuss your training plans to help you reduce the likelihood of you getting injured.
Written by Hayley Runting