Injured ? Perhaps It's Not Your Training
Have you ever had an injury, and it makes no sense with your training that you would have gotten it? Those weird ones pop up, and no matter how much you go through your training log, you can’t see a connection. Often, when an athlete comes to me with a niggle that doesn’t line up, the first place I’ll go digging around is day-to-day life stuff. That is often the culprit, but overlooked. Here are a few common ones to watch out for:
1- Sitting at a desk all day:
This creates tight hamstrings, hips, and even calves. Combine that with time-crunched athletes who often zoom from their desk to a hard session with limited warm up, and injuries are pretty common. Get up often if you work at a desk, maybe even set a timer. Stand up and do toe touches and a couple of stretches every 30 minutes or so.
2- Cleats, pedals, or cycling shoes worn out:
I’ve seen more calf and ankle injuries due to this than any other. Achilles injuries can pop up on the run, but be caused on the bike from worn out and rocking cleats. The pedal platform can wear out as well, creating rocking that, over a million revolutions, causes the calf and ankle to pull up injured when the athlete goes to run.
3- Long-haul travel and driving:
I’ve seen a lot of IT band and hip injuries pop up here. Similar to sitting at a desk, the driving can really tighten you up.
4- Footwear outside of training:
Heels, dress shoes, and boots can be the most common reason for foot injuries. Although we like to look fashionable, remember your feet work hard for you, so you need to protect them ALL the time. Tight fitting boots, high heels, and even just hard dress shoes can really cause stress for an athlete’s foot. I have even had an athlete come up with a bruised toe knuckle because there was a tiny hole in their work dress boot in the sole. When he said, “Hey coach, I think I hurt my foot,” the first thing I asked about was his work footwear and there it was. To his surprise, a tiny little hole in his sole was causing a ton of pain in his foot.
5- Lifting heavy shit we aren’t used to:
Hey, can you help me move my couch, load his keg, move my BBQ, shovel this snow? Well…. be careful!!! This has caused a lot of back injuries! Know your limits here.
6- Poor Fitting Bike:
Get a good bike fit!!! I’ve seen so many injuries from poorly fit bikes. Sometimes an athlete will feel fine on the bike, but injuries show up on the run, and the root cause is actually the bike fit. Invest in a good bike fit to save yourself a lot of grief.
7- Cambers in roads:
Running on a slight slant. We often do the same routes and even the same direction. Be mindful of surface type and if there are cambers. Knees, hips, and ankles will thank you if you watch for this.
8- Worn out shoes:
Replace your running shoes regularly. They wear out quicker than you think. It’s a lot less expensive to replace your shoes than pay for hundreds of hours of treatment on an injury and miss your race.
9- Exposed areas in the very cold temps:
I used to train with some professional triathletes from Sweden. They often talked about these homemade calf and ankle warmer tube socks they wore to keep their calves and ankles extra warm to avoid injury. In freezing temperatures, sometimes our socks sit only ankle high and our tights stop short, leaving this tiny gap that can cause ankle injuries.
10- Keeping our eyes on the prize:
I had my worst injury of my career from not paying attention. For one nanosecond, I crossed wheels with someone and, in that moment, the person decided to turn. I hit the road ass first so fast I didn’t know what hit me, and I ruptured my hamstring. PAY ATTENTION at ALL TIMES!!!
This is my top ten “BE AWARE” injury-proof list. There are many more, but if you take note of at least these, I assure you’ll have a lot more luck staying clear of unnecessary injuries.