Being smart and preventing injuries is so much better than having to treat and “baby” an injury. There is nothing worse than getting to week 8 of a 10 week training schedule to complete your marathon or triathlon and come to a halting stop due to an acute injury. Some important and helpful tools:
- ALWAYS warm-up your muscles slowly.
- ALWAYS cool-down and bring your heart rate down slowly.
- ALWAYS stretch out. Hold a good stretch for at least 30 seconds. You should be able to feel your muscles relax and extend the stretch even more. When you hit that point, hold it for about 10 more seconds.
- DON’T be afraid to use anti-inflammatory medication before and after a hard work out or long run. Taking something before can help prevent swelling and inflammation, after a work-out can keep the swelling and inflammation down and under control (not to mention help with the pain)
- DON’T be afraid to use ICE right after a hard workout. Once again, try to get ahead of the swelling and inflammation and stay ahead of it to keep injuries under control. One great way to ice a specific joint or muscle is to use an ice bag or put water in a Dixie cup and freeze overnight. Then take the cup out of the freezer and massage/ice the sore spot. Peel the paper cup away as you continue to ice while it melts.