Nothing is more disappointing than spending months and months training for your goal Mud Hero only to get injured right before race day. Although sometimes accidents happen, there are several things you can do to help increase your chance of staying strong and injury-free during training. Here are five ways to get you to the starting line in one piece:
- Warming up properly – Always be sure to spend 7-10 minutes warming up before any workout, be it running outside or lifting weights. Doing 8-10 dynamic warm-up moves, such as arm circles, standing leg lifts and spider lunges (check out this great dynamic warm-up routine video for ideas), help increase blood flow and prepare your muscles, tendons and joints for exercise.
- Strength training – Strength training is essential to helping you stay injury-free; not only does it help increase bone density and muscle and tendon strength, but also helps to improve muscle imbalances, which are often a cause of injury, especially during endurance activities.
- Foam rolling – Foam rolling, especially for runners, helps to loosen up tight muscles and increase blood flow in injury-prone areas, such as the IT band (that runs along the outside of your leg), glutes, hip flexors and calves. Regular foam rolling reduces the chance of those tight spots turning into tears and strains.
- Taking rest days – Some of the most common injuries experienced by anyone training for an endurance event are strains, tears, fractures or fatigue due to overtraining. It’s important to take at least one day off of exercise per week to let your body recover. Remember: All your gains in strength, power and speed happen during recovery, so don’t skip you rest days!
- Proper footwear – Having proper footwear, especially when running is part of your training, is one of the best ways to ensure you make it to the starting line injury-free. Be sure to get fitted for running shoes at a specialty store, and change them up every 6 months or 300-600 kilometres to ensure you have proper support. It’s also important to have different shoes for different activities, such as trail runners if you plan to run trails, and non-compressible soled shoes for weight lifting.