At the first sign of injury a lot of people have the same reaction: ignore it, keep training and hope for the best. This is not a good approach. Taking the time to find and fix an injury before it becomes chronic will give you a better chance to train injury free for the rest of the year. Some of the most common injures adventure racers suffer from including Achilles Tendinitis, Plantar Fasciitis and Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) to name but a few. Here’s some tips on how to avoid or deal with injury.
It seems like a strange thing to start with but rest is so important when it comes to avoiding injuries. You should have at least one complete rest day and then another day which is like an ‘active recovery’ day where you walk, swim or cycle. You will know you have pushed yourself just enough if you feel fatigued at the end of your training session but fully energized and ready to attack the next one.
Warm-up / Cool-down
A warm-up will help to prepare your body for exercise, get the heart pumping faster and the muscles warm and more flexible. Warm and flexible muscles are less prone to injury. A good warm-up should not include stretching as it would increase your risk of injury.
Gradually increase training
Don’t be tempted to increase your training distances too quickly. Stick to your training program and gradual increase the intensity of your training.
A lack of flexibility is a big contributor to injuries. Introducing yoga or pilates into your training plan can help gain strength and flexibility.
Many new runners don’t undertake any form of strengthening work for their legs, thinking that all the running they are doing will be sufficient. Strength training is essential for preparing the body for training and racing.
Fuel up post exercise.
You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible. This ensures your muscles are replenishment and repaired after a run.
If an injury persists you should seek medical advise from your GP or physiotherapist. Key is not to let these things go on – get it checked it out and you’ll be back to full strength sooner rather than later.
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