One of the biggest challenges when you practice any sport is to stay injury free. Depending on what you enjoy there’re a lot of things you can’t control, like breaking an arm because you fell while skateboarding or getting a bruise when not being very successful at balancing on a hand stand.
The good news is that there’re a lot of injuries that we can prevent, think shin splints, IT band issues and stress fractures.
In the past, when I started training for a race, getting injured was my biggest fear. Now I’ve learned that there’s a lot I can do to get to the starting line fresh and without any pains… And you know what? If that’s not the case I’ve also learned to embrace the pain and to make the most out of some time off.
I want to share with you some tips that have helped me stay healthy along the years while training for long distance races:
- Stretch. We all have heard this a thousand times but it’s so important, especially after a hard workout. I try to stretch every time after my runs.
- Alternate ice baths and warm Epsom salt baths after intense workouts. Ice baths are great to help your muscles recover faster and it’s not as terrible as it sounds. Fill your tub with cold water and add 2 big bags of ice. I get in while sipping on some hot coffee or tea and after 30 seconds my legs are numb. Stay in it for at least 15 min. Now the Epsom salt baths are more relaxing. Add 2 cups into a tub filled with warm water and enjoy for 30 min. This is great to release your muscles and helps tons if you have any weird pain.
- Get a deep tissue/sports massage at least once a month. If your pocket allows it get it every week. This will help your body get rid of toxins and acids that have been building from all the stress you are putting in it.
- Use a foam roller or a similar tool to massage your legs at home. This is useful because of the same reasons that is good getting a massage but is cheaper and more convenient. I own a foam roller and try to use it after my runs but I really love addaday’s Marble Massager because it’s just easier. I can travel with it everywhere and can even use it while lying in my bed. Important: even if you are doing this do not skip the massage, that’ll give you a deeper release.
- Practice yoga. Or go to a stretching class. Practicing yoga at least once a week gives your body a deeper stretch and I do believe this is one of the main reasons why I usually stay injury free.
- Cross train. Try different activities that will work your resistance but also different muscles so you are not putting all the stress every day on the same place.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated drinking plenty of water throughout the day!