We all love the freedom of two human powered wheels. Or the rush of the peloton attacking the Tarmac of your local roads. But a topic often avoided is injury, more specifically, injury prevention. When you’re addicted to your sport, it’s easy to soak yourself entirely in the excitement and pursuit of performance. But at what cost?
I’ve recently been reading Ben Greenfield’s book’ Beyond Training. A compelling read that stretches the idea of endurance sports beyond just the hours you train. Covering topics such as nutrition, recovery, balance, and a topic relevant for this post, injury prevention. I like most cyclists find myself prioritizing my time to training. But in the past few days I’ve hit a speed bump, a scare as I felt strain deep within my left glut. My self diagnosis suggests it’s likely my gluteus minimus. No matter what it is, it’s forced me off the bike for a few days.
The timing was unfortunate, but consequences reduced as cycling in Singapore is in the process of wrapping up for the year. Most teams are celebrating with end of year parties, while everyone looks to the holiday season for some rest and/or relaxation. For me, it means birthdays. My wife and three kids all have birthdays between December 17th and January 5th. The haze of 2015 delayed most events into the new year, so racing will start back in February. Luckily I still have time to build my performance.
This slight scare has woken a new component to my training, mainly injury prevention. Cyclists are prone to strains of a few muscles that support the bio-mechanics of Cycling, such as the Patela, Achilles, Piriformis and Neck strain. Most cyclists can be forgiven for neglecting these areas, as they have no direct impact on performance. However, Long term neglect can lead to injury, resulting in time off the bike. And yes, a lose in performance.
I can’t pinpoint my injury to any specific incident, which tends to mean it’s a load(overuse) or bio-mechanical issue. But there is no real way to be sure. I just need to take the appropriate rest, and ensure I embed relevant injury prevention into my program, which includes stretching, balance, hydration and functional strength. During last week’s deep tissue massage, we also highlighted the need for more regular relief of muscle tightening. So I plan to spend time on the roller several times a week, paying particular attention to my ITB.
What did I learn?
- Prevention is always better than treatment. So invest the time in the small things that will help your body avoid common pitfalls such as overuse, tight muscles and functional strength.
- Know your body, and when it needs rest. We all love to push ourselves, but we also need to accept that sometime your body just needs to recover.
- Small things count. The functional efficiency of the body is driven by the large muscle groups, but supported by a series of smaller muscles that need some love as well.
Share with me some of your injury scares, and how you managed to get back on the saddle.