Updated: Feb 23
As athletes, we can be very tough on ourselves. So today, I would like you to think about showing yourself some love and kindness. I want you to focus on dialling into your body and what you feel, day to day. I'd like you to imagine never having to take time out to rehab an injury because instead we've avoided it by focussing on prehab. So what can we do to avoid that pesky injury in the first place?
Focusing on rest and recovery is a factor in avoiding injuries, and that goes hand in hand with listening to your body. When you get those niggles, when you get that "oh, that doesn't feel quite right" moment, what do you do? Do you get it checked? Do you get it looked at? Do you take it easy? Or do you have a tendency to train through?
When I'm working with my athletes, it's all about keeping them strong and well. Taking care of their body, keeping them strong and well, and getting those niggles checked early is so important because if you miss a couple of days of training to rest a niggle or because you're working on some changes, it's fine. If you have to miss two, four, six, maybe even eight weeks of training because that little tiny niggle has turned into a really big deal, that could be your race out the window.
And most of the time, injuries come from underlying issues. Occasionally there's accidents. Occasionally you're going to come off your bike or twist your ankle. Those are genuine accident injuries and we need to rehab them with care and attention. But that's not what I'm talking about here. Most tears, joint injuries and tendon injuries come from overuse, or a flaw in our mechanics and our movement, or a combination of the two.
If we can identify the flaws in our movement patterns early on, whether that be with a run gait analysis, or a swim assessment, or a really good bike fit, we can iron them out. If we can identify those issues early on we can work to strengthen the parts that need to be working harder, we can make small changes and tweak those mechanics so that our body is moving as it should, and then you can avoid those types of injuries altogether. And then you don't need to miss time out of your training plan.
So show yourself some love. Get the assessments done. Get the detailed analysis done. Understand how your body is moving and where your injury risks are before they actually become injuries. Turn those weaknesses into strengths. Prehab instead of rehab and you will perform so much better on race day.