The Backbone to Success

In this post I’m going to explore injury causation, prevention and my experiences with it 🙂

As a triathlete, I often find myself falling into the mindset of ‘endurance sport therefore endurance training’. To an extent this is true, if you want to do an Olympic Distance Triathlon, and you don’t train doing long rides, swims and runs, it’ll without a doubt be tougher than you anticipate. However, doing the cardio never seems to be a problem for us lot, because the reason we do this crazy stuff is because bizzarely enough we get pleasure in doing so.

I have had a total of 5 breaks to my bones over the years (I’m 18), I have hyper mobility in my pelvis, chronic back problems (basically many of my vertebrae move outwards meaning I need them regularly popped back in), patellofemoral pain syndrome in both knees and the frequent flare ups of my illiotibial bands in both legs. Writing all of these out actually makes me embarrassed because the causation and prevention of many of these niggles and injuries is simple. It is hard to do all the cardio I do without muscle, however the lack of muscle in certain places is the root of my problems. I always used to skip the strength sessions and any form of conditioning, because I found it boring and didn’t see results. The muscle in my back wasn’t supporting my spine, and a ripple effect of overuse of certain muscles to compensate for lack of muscle in other places occurred.

I started a yoga class, and it was hard and at first when I went to the novice classes I struggled to do most of it. To be honest, I didn’t expect much different, 10 years of neglect to my body wouldn’t be undone instantaneously. But over time I have found myself capable of more complex yoga, and it has become a fundamental part of my training.

I live by my foam roller. If you haven’t invested in one, I would highly recommend it to any runner or athlete that is serious about their sport. 2-3 minutes of agony 2-3 times a day and my injuries have become manageable. If you are stuck for how to use your foam roller, just type into google “foam rolling exercises for …” inserting your injury where the ‘…’ is and thousands of videos and tutorials should appear.

I admit I have invested in seeing a physiotherapist more than once, and I would certainly recommend it as a tool to getting an accurate diagnosis for what your injury is, and some useful stretches to do to alleviate some of the pain. After that, I would say it is up to you to manage your injury, do the stretches and strengthening because generally further physiotherapy appointments are of little use if you put the work in yourself. Sports massages are also very beneficial for tight muscles and after big races or training weeks.

I have a chiropractor who I have seen for the past 5 years and will continue to see (he honestly works magic), I urge you all to save your bones and CARE for your muscles. Coming from someone who overanalyses every part of their performance to be in despair of what is holding me back, the problem I was looking for was staring me in the face. No amount of cardio, nutrition, physiotherapy or massages will help you to protect the vital key in your sporting success. Your muscles require a great deal of pampering and care, you literally destroy them and break them down during a training session, so a little bit of time and effort spent caring for them will be the only way to enhance your performance once you’ve put in the miles.

In Summary:

There are millions of yoga classes EVERYWHERE, it will be impossible not to find one near you. Go with your friends, take your mum or go alone for a peaceful retreat, its the best decision I have ever made, and it’ll be the best you do too. Foam rollers are extremely reasonable; I got mine for £8 from Start Fitness. Physiotherapy is more expensive, but I’d only recommend it as a one-off to get a diagnosis. It’s my personal preference to have a chiropractor to sort out my alignment, however seeing a chiropractor isn’t essential at all. Sports massages are reasonably priced and very beneficial.

I hope you can find some points that are useful in this post, and that you can learn from my misfortune to avoid the same thing happening to you!

Until next time! Claudia 🙂

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