Avoid injury and illness.
Hello and welcome back to Coach Tip Tuesday!!
This week, I want to talk to you all about something that is always near and dear to my heart, but especially these last four weeks. So let’s start with a question:
What is the most disruptive thing to your training??
There could be a lot of answers to this: work, kids, work around the home, travel, etc. But none of those - and I mean NONE of those - are as disruptive as injury and illness are.
Injury and illness bring your body itself down, which physically impairs your body’s ability to push harder, longer, and to get stronger. Both of these can completely sideline you for extraordinary amounts of time, and then that sidelined time leads to a longer “comeback” timeline from said injury or illness. In other words, injury and illness are so disruptive that they REVERSE training gains. And so, they are the MOST disruptive. :)
As such, it’s really important to do all we can to avoid both of these things, and that’s my tip for this week: do what you can to avoid injury and illness. Of course, we cannot ever avoid them 100%. But there are certainly some best practices that we can implement to increase our chances of staying away from them. Here are just a sampling:
-Proper hydration is insanely critical to keeping your body functioning at 100%. It keeps your joints lubricated, your tissues pliable, your circulatory system flowing, and your body systems working well. I cannot ever overstress the importance of proper hydration. And no matter how much I talk about this, so many people are insistent that they “don’t need to hydrate that much.” Yes, yes you do.
-Good handwashing habits go a long way in terms of preventing communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza, and other common ailments. This is especially true this time of year when we are cooped up inside and much closer to other humans than we are at other times of the year.
-REST. Sleeping more and training less is actually what is best for you if you start to feel like you’re coming down with something or if you are flirting with an injury. And yet, this is the last thing that most people will do. I’ve had a lot of athletes tell me that they want to “tough it out” over the years and train through everything. Some things are beneficial to train through, others are not. Injury and illness are two things that should be treated with care. Less is more training-wise when dealing with either of them. :) Yes, it’s “annoying” to not do anything when you’re used to being on the go and doing *something*. And yes, since busyness is a measure of productivity these days, taking the time to rest can actually be vilified. But it’s not the devil. It might just be the best prescription for you. :)
-Strength training and stretching. Both of these things help build strength and improve flexibility, which keeps the body functioning well in our daily life activities as well as our workouts. It’s “easy” to remember to do these things when we have something negative (i.e. an injury or an almost-injury) going on. It’s harder and much less fun to stay on top of both of these things when we are feeling good.
-Proper footwear choices. Going on a day trip into the city or to Walt Disney World?? Going to be on your feet all day?? Treat those situations with the same care and diligence that you would care about proper footwear on a long run (or any run). If it’s important to wear proper footwear for a 45-minute run, it stands to reason that wearing proper footwear for 8+ hours on your feet over the course of a day would also be important. :)
My friends, you don’t want all of the hard work that you’ve put into reaching your goals to go by the wayside if you sustain an injury that was avoidable (and the truth is that MANY injuries (including my own Vader Arm) are avoidable) or because you don’t rest when you’re sick and thus stay sick longer. Do what you reasonably can to set your body up for success by keeping your immune system strong and your body strong to avoid injury. You’ll be grateful when you don’t have to spend months sidelined and dealing with recovery, I promise. :)