You’ve picked-up an injury but you have a big event coming soon. How should you approach your training? We hear from Team Vitfor OTE athlete Corinne Clark who is on the road to Kona 2019 and from Vitfor Performance Director, Craig Stevenson.
We’ve all been there – the little injuries that niggle and get in the way of training to our max. Some try to ignore them hoping they will clear up by themselves, others seek specialist treatment and others still opt for complete rest to allow the injury to heal. But what happens if you’re 10 weeks out from the biggest race of your life and you sustain an injury?
Vitfor OTE athlete, Corinne Clark is on the road to Kona 2019 Ironman World Championships. Having qualified twice before but not being able to make it to Hawaii, she’s determined to get there this year. So, when she noticed a minor hip injury it was no laughing matter.
“When it happens to you, it feels like the end of the world”
Corinne wrote in her recent blog that her injury has forced her to take a step back from her training as she has fewer than 10 weeks to go before the event. “As a sports massage therapist, I know what’s needed to support the healing process. I’ve backed off on my training load to allow some healing time and I’m grateful to have friends and family who can lend an ear when I need to chat things through when I feel overwhelmed.”
How should I manage my training when I have an injury?
The first thing to assess is exactly what your injury is. Pinpointing what you were doing when you first felt it and which movements exacerbate the problem is important in the diagnosis phase. We would always recommend seeking help from a professional too – a physiotherapist, sports injury specialist or even your GP can help reduce the risks inherent in self-diagnosis.
If your injury is fresh and painful, then taking some time away from training is a must as is focusing on early treatment – whether self-administered, such as foam rolling or ice packs or whether it’s with a professional, who will help you to understand what you can do and what you shouldn’t do in your ongoing training.
Avoid creating other injuries in your training
Trying to find ways around your injury whilst continuing to train could have a detrimental effect on other parts of your body. Ask your sport’s injury specialist for advice and, if you’re training with Vitfor, you can contact one of our experts. Whatever you do, your mindset should be focused on the long-term goal rather than a quick fix.
But what if, like Corinne, you only have a few short weeks before you have to be on your best form? Schedule active and passive rest into your training by avoiding training for a few days to allow inflammation to subside before focusing on activities that won’t aggravate your injuries. This might mean a few days of rest and treatment followed by the use of a cross-trainer to minimise impact or switching to rowing or swimming before introducing running or cycling back into your training.
Maintain a healthy mind
When you have a big event coming up and you sustain an injury, your mental fitness can play an important part in your recovery process. You’ll already be on-track with your training and you can take the positives from this. The miles that your legs have already put in won’t disappear in a matter of days and research has shown that those who believe they are recovering will actually do so more quickly.
“You may have to pull back on the really long runs or rides but focusing on controlled interval training, once the inflammation has healed, will ensure you stay sharp ahead of your event,” says Craig Stevenson, Vitfor Performance Director
Top Tip For Injury Prevention
Craig also recommends that anyone starting a new training program or wanting to up their game and has suffered injuries previously should seek expert advice. Simple things such as a bike fit for cyclists or a gait test for runners will often identify issues that can be rectified to prevent injuries from recurring.