Words by Anne Marie Hospod
Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world without injury? If you’re a seasoned athlete, you’ve likely run through injury. If you’re just beginning an exercise program, you likely fear getting injured. Injuries are never welcome additions to our busy daily lives. Preventing injuries is key – but how can you truly prevent injuries? And how does Type 1 diabetes affect both our prevention and recovery strategies?
As a runner and a triathlete, I have been injured a number of times. I fractured my ankle as a teenager, sprained my ankle (a couple of times) as an adult, and suffered a concussion after a cycling accident. Luckily I have never sustained an injury that has forced me to take a long break from physical activity. Have I made mistakes? Most definitely. Have I learned a few things along the way? You bet. Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to injury prevention.
Be the tortoise. Not the hare.
So you’ve signed up for your first 5km! Way to go! You’ve decided that you want to incorporate more activity into your life. Wahoo! Remember to start slow and aim for consistency over volume. Plan to increase your weekly mileage by approximately 10%, and throw in a lower mileage week every 3-4 weeks to allow your body to rest and recover. You are prone to developing an overuse injury if you do too much, too soon. So take it easy, and your joints and muscles will thank you.
There is always another race.
Although you will likely be able to run through pain (I once ran/hobbled through a CIM half marathon a few days after spraining my ankle), you will pay for that decision in the long run. There is always another race. Use R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), and be smart when it comes to your health. Type 1 diabetes may cause injuries to take longer to heal if your control is far from ideal – so pay attention to your management extra closely if you are dealing with a stubborn injury that won’t heal. You don’t want to be sidetracked from your fitness program for longer than necessary. I know I won’t run injured again.
Cross-training is key.
One great way to prevent overuse injuries is to cross-train and vary the intensity and duration of your workouts. You’ll strengthen weak muscles and stabilize joints. Also, make sure to take at least 1 rest day a week. As soon as I switched from doing marathons to triathlons about 5 years ago for example (incorporating more swimming and cycling into my weekly schedule), I have noticed that I am rarely injured.
Of course picking out the right running shoes, knowing when to buy a new pair, as well as paying attention to the various surfaces (trail running vs. winter running for example) are all important when it comes to minimizing your chance of injury.
An Extra Note from CIM: If you missed last week, Heather spoke with Running Room’s Phil Marsh about the right gear and shoes for training.
Stay safe and happy training!
About Anne Marie Hospod
Diagnosed at the age of four with Type 1 Diabetes, Anne has learned to adapt from an early age. She lives with a positive and balanced outlook and knows that her chronic condition does not define her. She believes in surrounding herself with inspiring individuals and spreading gratitude and joy. She hopes to inspire others to realize that there is strength in vulnerability and power in positive thinking. She has been chosen as a Diabetes Sports Project Champion as she trains for a full Ironman this August.You can follow her journey on her training blog, Iron Lady Anne.