Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest post by Dr. Satterlee

Hello Athletes! I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about injury prevention while we are still early in the year. My goal is to give you tools to make this your best race season ever. I have met many of you, but to give you a little background, I am Cyndee's personal performance doctor, and she and I often talk about injuries and how to prevent them. When prevention doesn't work, I usually perform Active Release, which is able to get rid of endurance sport injuries very fast. People come in complaining of tendinitis, bursitis, plantar fascitis, and swimmer's shoulder and within a few treatment are back training!

Back to the purpose of this post. A few early tweaks in your training (and in your mindset) will pay dividends while you are racing this year. I want to address the most important factors that affect endurance athletes:

1. Perform a Dynamic Warm-Up! This is due to research done by the military. They found that the best way to prevent injuries in athletes is to perform a dynamic warm-up (leg swings, lunges, step-ups), and save the static stretching for after your workout. Turns out our 5th grade gym teacher was wrong- you shouldn't stretch before exercise. Whenever you get ready for a workout, whether its a run or a swim, take 4-8 minutes to loosen up actively. Ask Cyndee for some suggested exercises.

2. Perform Flexibility Training! Cyndee touched on this a few weeks ago. Take time to go to a yoga class, stretch after your workouts, and keep yourself limber. This is like brushing your teeth (and I hope you do that!); it takes time every day, but once you get used to it you won't know how you lived without it. Again, 5-10 minutes of concerted effort is all you need. You could also have someone stretch you out (like the amazing Nancy Dickinson), go to a yoga class, or play Twister with some friends. Just make sure you address the areas that need it, not the areas that are easy and comfortable.

Side note- there are 2 "miracle stretches" that I think all endurance athletes should perform. The first is the pigeon stretch for the piriformis. the other is the kneeling runner's stretch for the soleus and posterior tibialis muscles. Cyndee is a fantastic resource for all stretches, including these, so please ask her.

3. Get some sleep! Many of my clients ask about various supplements to increase their performance. I always tell them that the greatest supplement on this Earth is additional sleep! Remember that training breaks down tissues and causes microtrauma. This is repaired during sleep, and you re-build stronger, better, and faster. Without adequate sleep your performance can easily stall out. Supplement with an extra hour of sleep for 5 days and see how you feel. Or work in a 20 minute nap every day. If you don't sleep soundly, black out your room, cover the windows and get rid of any light source (including the alarm clock). This has been shown to help lots of folks with their soundness of sleep, and it was originally studied with post-menopausal women. Many of you may argue about not being able to get sleep- keep messing with Mother Nature and see how far it gets you!

4. Address you injuries! My final recommendation is to take care of injuries sooner rather than later. So many people come in my office dealing with some issue that was an easy fix 3 weeks ago. But they were determined to "wait it out", hoping it would go away. Now instead of a 2 week course of care, it will take 6 weeks. You would never use a toothbrush to address a cavity, so what makes you think simple stretching will work here. Admit the issue is a big deal and get help. This especially goes for guys- most men won't admit they need care until their wife/girlfriend/ significant other pushes them to do so. Early treatment is faster. Of course I think Active Release is the cat's meow, but that's because I have worked on a bunch of athletes at Ironmans, local triathlons, and the Rock and Roll Marathon, and I have seen its power. So many athletes absolutely love it that its demanded at all Ironman races. Those athletes wouldn't race without it. Neither should you.

These tips will help you have a great race year. I am always available for questions at drjoshsatterlee@biomechlv.com or you can call my office at 702-579-9876. The fact that your are training with Cyndee (my personal Tri Coach) means that your program is sound, safe, yet tough, and all aspects will be addressed. So always ask her about any issues you have.

Have a fast and fun 2010!

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