In her latest blog post, Guest Blogger Triathlete Mel shares with us what she has learned about post race recovery and how she prevents and manages her injuries.
Recovery and injury prevention is one of the most important aspects to training in my opinion, although I have to admit it hasn't always been at the top of my list. I have learnt this the hard way and the importance of it as part of my training has grown over time. In my experience over the last few years, especially after having 4 kids and not being 20 anymore, if the little niggles hang around for too long they more often than not can become a lot more serious and painful.
In the last few years I think I have funded my physiotherapists private school fees for his kids, and possibly contributed to a few overseas holidays with the amount of money I have spent there! Looking back, I could have saved a lot of stress (and money!) by doing more maintenance strength work, stretching, proper supplementation, and listening to my body a lot more. I have found that its very easy to get all consumed with training, hitting targets, achieving goals and pushing yourself that injury sets in, and if adequate treatment rest and recovery is not included in your program, injuries are by far made worse and recovery prolonged.
I have always had a bad lower back, which has contributed to many hip, hamstring and hip flexor injuries. These I have learnt can be very persistent injuries and often cause us to be sidelined for too long.
Ive learnt, and am still learning along the way, how to manage my injuries a lot better. This is what I have found works for me:
- Work closely with a physiotherapist (or your preferred specialist) and do any prescribed exercises every day! and continue to do them every day, even if you think the injury has gone. These prescribed exercises are generally the ones that will strengthen the injured area and correct muscle imbalances, which may have caused the symptoms in the first place.
- Stretching and rolling on the foam roller is something that I do religiously every night now, keeping the muscles flexible is so important and working out the tension areas continually before they become a constant pain.
- A healthy diet really does help your body to recover that much better. Without proper nutrition your body cannot repair itself.
- On occasion I have had to take over the counter anti-inflammatories but they are so harsh on the digestive system, I try to avoid them. As a maintenance supplement, I have always used Rose-Hip Vital. I take a daily maintenance dose and will double it if I have just finished a race or even during times of increased training. Extra stress on the body can cause injuries to recur.
Prevention is so much easier to do than treating injuries. In my lead-up to Cairns Ironman in June this year, prevention of injury will be key. There is no point getting to the start line with pre-existing injuries. What happens on the day will happen but having the body in the best condition will ensure that you can do your best come race day.
Stay tuned for more updates from Mel offering her tips and experiences on her journey to her bucket-list event Ironman Cairns! You can follow Mel on Instagram@mel.brunker and read her last blog post about lessons learned here.