Well this is my final instalment of Training Tip Tuesday (for now!!) We have looked at 4 strategies to help prevent injury and ensure you stay ‘in the game’. Sure, training hard can, and often will, lead to success but nothing puts a downer on your performance more than an injury, and studies have shown that as many as 50 - 60% of runners suffer an injury in any given year! We have looked at sleep, strength training, slowing down, and effective nutrition as ways to reduce your risk of injury. So here’s my fifth and final tip.
RESPECT THE REST AFTER RACING
All too often, no sooner have we finished our goal race or event then we are looking to get signed up for the next one. Our thinking often goes like this: “The race went well, I ran really fast, let’s capitalize on this fitness and get into another race ASAP!” Alternatively: “Well that sucked, I did not perform to my ability, let’s look for redemption!” It’s a shame because instead of celebrating our success, or the months of training that got us to the start line, we immediately move on, looking for something bigger and better. Jumping immediately back into hard training increases the risk of injury and burnout. Training is stressful, and racing is even more stressful. I believe it’s really important to respect this, and to take some time to recharge the batteries, allow your sore joints and muscles to rebuild, and to enjoy your achievements before moving on! The rest will do you immense good, both psychologically and physically.
I use a rule of thumb that has served me well over the years: for every 10 miles raced, you will need, at the very least, one complete day of rest. This is the absolute minimum, and for many runners, especially novices, more will be needed. I remember my first 50km trail race, I could barely walk for 2 weeks! Now, with more experience and miles under the belt, 3 or 4 days will see me raring to go. Pay extra attention after a race to good nutrition, hydration and sleep, and when you’re feeling ready to go, give it an extra day.
I hope everyone has had a great summer of injury-free running!