Recovery in Sport: Food good but forgot the compression clothing

This week we had a home football match to play and I had tennis immediately after.

During the week I ate well and alkalised my body. I bought three OTE carbohydrate bars ready for Saturday.

In the match I played centre back. There was less running in this position but more tackling and fast sprints. There were two forwards with speed, so the game had pace.

At half time I sipped my electrolyte drink. I felt good during the match and no calf tightness. After the match I drank my recovery drink and ate 1.75 carbohydrate bars. I did not feel as hungry compared to previous week.

I went straight to tennis and played one set. My partner and I won, with the end score being 7-5. It was a hot day and I could feel fatigue in my body. I started to cramp in my toes and calf. I realised I had not drank enough electrolyte.

At change of ends on the court I drank electrolyte. It took a little while to work, but my cramp did recede, and after the tennis I did not suffer further cramping.

I got home and realised I left my compression leggings at work. I was disappointed as I always look forward to wearing them to help my recovery.

I decided to have a hot shower and then have a 10min cold water bath. I like the cold water baths. After the initial shock of the cold, my legs feel good in the cold water. When I get out of the bath I feel like my legs are fresher and a little numb, I like it.

For the rest of day we were at a BBQ and playing with my children. My legs felt good.

I am not able to play football this coming weekend. My plan is to continue alkalising, buy a thermometer to test the temperature of the bath and drink alkalising salts (have not done so on a regular basis yet).

I must remember to prepare my compression clothing for recovery. In fact, I could get into a routine of checking I have everything in place for recovery pre match.

I also want to start ice baths. Once I test the temperature of the water I can adjust it with the ice.

Last week I avoided mid week training, as my legs needed more recovery time. This week I can feel my legs will need training, but towards the end of the week. Getting the balance between rest and flexibility, and training will be important.

I have a weekend of no football. Next game in two weeks.

Summary of 17 most common injuries related to training in the gym

This series of blogs has been designed to give you information about the 17 most common issues related to training in a gym. Each blog discusses what is commonly seen by trainers and physiotherapists when people train in the gym – and also the importance of having a trainer and physiotherapist working closely together to create a training plan to prevent injury and maximise results.

The synergy of a physiotherapist and trainer working together has huge benefits in terms of continuity of care, injury prevention, and communication between all clinicians and you – the person trying to achieve the goal.

When a physiotherapist and trainer work together injuries can be prevented by early assessment to identify problems which may occur in the training process. The key principle here is prevention of injury rather than healing of injury once it has occurred. The physiotherapist is valuable in his / her knowledge of medicine and musculoskeletal injury, and the trainer is valuable in setting training goals and making sure you are motivated and carry through with your plan.

If you are interested in working with a physiotherapist and a trainer who have spent years refining the process of injury prevention contact us as at mail@physical-edge.com now.

Personal Training Series: Pitfalls of leaving injuries too long

In physiotherapy I see many sports injuries. Often I will see injuries which have been present for several weeks, months or even years. Clients tell me they were never told by their doctors or specialists to see a physiotherapist and that they decided to leave time for the injury to heal by itself. By the time they come to physiotherapy the injuries have set in to the body; the central nervous system has adapted to the pain and now can prolong pain. The musculoskeletal system  has weakened or become tight, or moves incorrectly.

If you get injured call your physiotherapist to get advice straight away. Why wait? If you can’t see the physiotherapist, the physiotherapist can advise you over the phone what to do for your acute injury. It is in the phase just after inflammation that training can be very effective. Training in this time allows the body to adapt to load in a positive manner. The body becomes stronger, stiffer and moves correctly.

Starting treatment when an injury has been present for weeks, months or years will take longer. The amount of input the client has to put in outside of the physiotherapy clinic is also increased. What you are trying to do is to tell the body a new way of moving and being, and it takes time for the body to adapt to this new stimulus. The stimulus has to be applied frequently and regularly. Sometimes 100% resolution of the injury is unrealistic; in some cases it is more realistic to teach a person how to manage their pain rather than cure the pain completely.

It is obvious that it is important to treat acute injuries immediately and to seek medical care. Being proactive at the start avoids a tedious recovery time, which is likely to be the case if treatment is sought much later.

Once the physiotherapist has seen you through the acute phase of your injury, he can work with a personal trainer to design a training programme which is appropriate for your goals. The exercises given to you may have to be adapted for the injury, and these can be changed as the injury heals. Having a personal trainer watch you during the training process ensures that you do not do anything wrong, and risk reinjuring the body part.

The physiotherapist will know when your body is ready to train at full intensity again. The close relationship between the trainer and the physiotherapist is beneficial because the professionals know each other, talk the same language and can progress you through your training at the appropriate times. If you have physiotherapy questions, do contact us as http://www.physical-edge.com.

Personal Training series: Setting goals too high

The danger of training can often be setting goals too high. It is very easy to decide that training with a trainer is the start of a whole new change of life. In some ways it is, but in other ways the goals that are set with the trainer need to be realistic for your body type and athletic ability. Of course, you can gradually build up to bigger and bigger goals, but at the start it helps to set achievable goals and test how your body adapts.

I have noticed that when clients come in with an injury they may suddenly decide to compete or race, where before the injury they had no desire to train. There is something about getting treatment or starting training which triggers within people a desire immediately to take part in races. I have had clients who injure their knees and yet suddenly want to do a marathon; this is a great example of setting goals which at the time are unrealistic. A more appropriate strategy may be to recover from the injury, build up strength, start looking at running technique, and slowly build the distance you run eg 10km, 15km, 21km and then a marathon.

I had another client who wanted to run a half marathon 3 months after giving birth; she reported pain in her body and required treatment which stopped her from training. 9 months down the track she completed the half marathon, and retrospectively acknowledged that she initially started training too early; she now knows  that her body needed the time to heal from the birth of her child before it was ready to withstand the impact of running and training. Her half marathon was a great success; she enjoyed the day and did not get injured. If you are going to do a half marathon for the first time, you want it to be an enjoyable experience. If she had done the race 3 months after giving birth, it would have been a painful experience and probably put her off running forever.

Having a physiotherapist and trainer work together can help you assess the current state of your body, and then help you set a plan to develop your strength, endurance and power. They can also look at your technique before helping you to set an appropriate goal. Having a trainer is hugely beneficial in overseeing your progression, and the physiotherapist can see how your body is improving and give you guidance as to how quickly training can progress. The physiotherapist also has the advantage of understanding medical conditions and the impact this will have on training.

Working progressively towards a goal often requires a change in a client’s mind-set. Patience is not everyone’s natural tendency; however if someone wants to achieve a goal there will be an element of patience required. If the goal is inappropriate – since the client does not want to wait to go through the training process – then a new goal needs to be set. At the end of the day the client will fail if the goal is set too high, and this reduces motivation for training in the future.

When a client sets goals or has ambitions which are too high we call these fantasies. Physiotherapist and trainer can put goals into perspective, set realistic targets, and make the process enjoyable

Top 5 tips to making your Ironman a reality

Racing your own First Time Ironman

The Ironman is a 3.86km swim, 180.25km bike ride and a marathon raced in that order without a break. I pondered for 10 years about entering the Ironman, but my fear of not being good enough proved to be a  great  mental block. I remember the day I made the decision to overcome my fear. It took one second and started an incredible journey all the way to the finish line of the Switzerland Ironman.

 

Since completing the Ironman I have encouraged, empowered and assisted several first time Ironman athletes to complete what they call the greatest achievement of their lives. My book, First Time Ironman was published this year www.physical-edge.com and my blog was voted Top 10 Blog by Newtotri.com.

 

Completing an Ironman is more than a physical race. I learnt how to develop an athletic body and transform my nutritional habits. I developed a strong mind-set to win and mastered how to achieve unimaginable goals. I created empowering new beliefs which changed my life forever.

 

Top 5 tips to making your Ironman dreams a reality

 

Making the decision

Nothing is worth starting until you have entered the race. Once you have entered you will feel a weight lifted off your chest, as the decision has been made. I can guarantee everything will then fall into place.

 

Team is everything

Having a team of professional coaches work for you is like having a family supporting you along every step of the way. Working with humans and not computer programs gives you better flexibility with training, as it can be adapted to what is happening in your life on a day to day basis i.e. work, family, injuries, illness. Most people like talking to people when things really matter and training is no different

 

Family, Friends and charity

Your training is your own responsibility, but when it comes to motivation, fun and inspiration  on the day of the race, family, friends and having a greater cause to race for, is everything. Hearing cheers and giving high ‘5’s will boost your spirits for another lap of the race course. People will want to support you on your challenge and a charity helps those people who cannot be at the race feel involved.

 

Passion

Let passion for your new challenge drive you to learn and enjoy your sport even more. Talk to other triathletes, buy good quality equipment and be disciplined in training. The race will become a proud part of your identity. Capture the race with photographs and video.

 

Visualisation

Successful athletes use visualisation to enhance the enjoyment and success of any race. You can work with a mental conditioning coach to visualise your entire race; from pre-race, race and post-race. You can imagine yourself getting through the tough times in the race; what you say to yourself, what you do and what it feels like to get through it.

 

Use these top 5 tips to race an Ironman successfully. Remember to enjoy the journey and if you would like help to race your first Ironman get in touch with us at www.physical-edge.com and don’t forget to read First Time Ironman also available at www.physical-edge.com. Remember: Dreams = Action = Life.

 

Give yourself realistic timeframes to train

Having a goal is great because it drives you when times get tough during training, and it keeps you focussed through the training period. The time it takes for you to achieve your goal will vary depending on what that goal is. Sometimes I have seen people set goals with time frames which are too short.

When I completed my Ironman in Switzerland, I gave myself 1 year to prepare for the race. I worked with several coaches. Having 12 months gave me to time to learn and to get it right. I needed the time – because I was working – to fit in skill sessions, such as learning how to swim correctly, and to find the equipment I needed to race. I did get injured in the early stages of my training because my body was adapting to 6 days a week training. Having 12 months to train for the race allowed time for my body to recover from its injuries and to get back to full fitness to train again.

When the time to train before a race is too short there is greater risk of failure. I have had a client wanted to race the ‘Marathon de Sables’ in 2 years’ time, and to do an Ironman in 1 year’s time – and she had no background in endurance training; she also had an existing ankle injury. Setting goals like these is unrealistic; if you talk to a coach he will put a true time frame in for each event you want to complete. Personally I think it is better to leave more rather than less time to complete endurance events.

Remember, talk to your physiotherapist, coach or personal trainer when you want to set a new goal – to make your time frames realistic and to avoid injury at the same time.

Personal Training series: Predicting Injuries

No two people have the same body; and even if two people look the same their ability to withstand load can be vastly different. Commonly in the clinic my clients complain about holding good posture. They report how other colleagues in their places of work can sit with bad posture but never develop pain. Why is this?

There are some people who have a musculoskeletal system which is able to withstand the abnormal loads on their bodies in poor sitting postures: there are others who have a very low tolerance to the stress of sitting with poor posture. There may be many reasons for this but I think a major factor is simply genetics. Genetics cannot be changed. Therefore, two people should avoid comparing themselves when it comes to posture, movement and pain.

Another example of this is athletes – who play sport regularly – and get more injuries than others who may sit at home with an unhealthy lifestyle and watch TV. If you play sport you are generally going to be healthier on the inside but maybe more prone to injuries on the outside. Unfortunately this cannot be avoided as sport does put abnormal loads on the body. If the body cannot adapt to these loads then injuries will occur.Those people who sit on a sofa and eat unhealthy foods do not expose their body to the stresses of sport and in the long run may have fewer injuries and actually better joint condition.

When a physiotherapist assesses a person a bespoke testing protocol is followed; this protocol will take into consideration the movement patterns this person puts themselves through in normal daily life as well as in their sports or hobbies. This assessment is a very functionally based assessment whereby the client can see where their issues are in daily function or sport – and then has a goal to achieve in the rehabilitation process.

The physio will do a thorough examination of the musculoskeletal system and identify individual variances within each person. Physiotherapists can then report to the trainer what the potential consequences of training that person will be. This method will also identify what limitations this person may have when setting goals. When a physiotherapist and personal trainer work closely together you get a synergy like no other. The client gets fully assessed at the start and the constant feedback throughout the training process will provide a bespoke feedforward system for goal attainment and injury prevention.

When a physio and trainer work closely together injuries due to movement can be predicted. Sometimes a client can do an awkward movement once, twice, ten times but if they decided to run a marathon with the biomechanics that they have they will develop an injury. The training process must be adapted to provide help to prevent this injury increasing strengthen and flexibility in various parts of the body to enable that person still to run a marathon.

It is my intention that a client is able to train with very few major injuries; continue to train if they have minor injuries; and attain their goals on time. The client also has the benefit of knowing the physiotherapist, and of knowing that the trainer and physiotherapist are working together as a team.

Toby Sullivan is planning to do an Ironman next year. Follow his route to the big race; his decisions about training, experiences and advice

My name is Toby Sullivan, I’m a Physiotherapist and as of 2012 I’m a triathlete.

I decided that 2012 was the year that I went from someone who does triathlons to ‘a triathlete’. I entered my first triathlon about 6 years ago and have probably done 10 since then but training has always been along the lines of run sometimes, cycle to work a bit and swim…if needed. It has never had any structure. The hope is that by upgrading my status to triathlete, entering a few triathlons and setting goals for this season and beyond will give me more motivation to undertake a (slightly more) specific training program.

Race 1

Paris Marathon – April

Not a triathlon I know but to run a fast marathon you need a fast 10k so it’s got to help a bit… The plan started late in 2011, a friend Tim and I who raced our first marathon in Berlin 2010, decided to enter marathon number 2. My first winter of training was surprisingly easy. Being mostly a fair weather athlete I was surprised how mild the winter was (when I was out training anyway) certainly nothing leggings, gloves and a hat didn’t resolve. It was also inspiring to see a huge number of people out running presumably preparing for their own Spring marathons.

I managed 2 months of base training in October and November building to 2-3 10k runs a week. I also managed 6 x 100k+ cycles during these 2 months as well as the usual 6 hours of weekly commuting by bike.

December was wiped out with injury, illness and Christmas so the formal 14 week marathon program started on January 9th.

In 2010 I finished Berlin in 3h19m, I ran it with no idea of pacing but fortunately I started at the back of the 4-hour group so was held up in the crowds for the first 10k. As a result I felt relatively fresh towards the end, there was no wall and I ran the second half a bit faster than the first half…. This style of pacing was definitely something to try to take to the next race.

For Paris I found a training program that was light on mileage and I made it even lighter. I settled for 3-4 runs a week. The 3 essential sessions being (in simple terms) one slow, long session, one fast session and one really fast track interval session. In technical terms this is meant to correspond to endurance building, lactate threshold pace and VO2 max.

The more I looked into training schedules the more it seemed you pick your marathon target time then work backwards to find training times and schedules (within reason). I thought 3 hours which equates to 4.15/km would be a nice round number so I began training for that.

I built the long runs up to 20 miles and completed 3 of these all within 10% of marathon pace – approx 4.30/km.

I completed weekly tempo runs which ranged from 8-15km. Generally these were to be completed at 4mins/k pace.

To see how I was doing along the way I entered a few races or 10km, 10 miles and half marathon. These gave me an accurate (looking back at my time) indication of how my training was going.

My race times were as follows:

10k 38.22
10m 1h04
HM 1h26.13

Each of these when put in to the race calculator, there are many out there, I used one called MARCO. It put me just outside the 3 hour mark and they were right!

I finished in 3h02m25s

The running was good, next the cycling. Having managed 6 long rides in October/November subsequent cycle training consisted of commuting. So to make it useful I would incorporate interval sessions. On one commute there are 3 or sometimes 4 sections where you can blast it between lights and get an open run for up to 3 minutes so this is where my intervals come in!

Ex professional cyclist gives advice on Act 2 Etape de tour 2011

Stage 9: Issoire to Saint-Flour

 

I’ve written this note about the way I would do it so if I say some obvious things I apologise. The first step we would be put through would be to have ridden a couple of the highest mountains, or ones with a similar ascent and height, prior to the day. This allows you to find the right rhythm, pace and gear for that type of mountain. You probably can’t do that unfortunately but it was a huge advantage for someone like me who wasn’t a mountain climber.

The stage is 208km and has 8 mountain climbs, with 3 being a level 2. The two longest climbs come at 91.7km and 146km. The good news is that the mountains at 116km, 127.5km and 139.5km are tough but short climbs, as you are already up the mountain range somewhat.

Prior to the first climb (at 40.1km) focus your mind on getting the rhythm right, get yourself to be absorbed by the bike – you and the bike are one. You are not on the bike, you and the bike are the same – a machine that can go all day.

There is an initial climb of 3.4km at 40.1km (753m). Stay with the bunch but keep well in the middle. It is unlikely that the bunch will split at this point.  If it does it is likely to be a small breakaway: the peloton will almost certainly stay together. Keep within a bunch so you have riders on both sides, in front and behind.  This gives some protection if there is a wind and also provides a measure as to how you are doing. Use this first ‘hill’ to get your position right for climbing, test your legs and test the gear combinations that seem right. Move in and out of the saddle and let your body and legs get used to the traction. The rhythm for the climb is within your whole body – arms, back head, legs etc. The whole body has a rhythm that keeps the legs turning despite the pain.

Keep within a bunch through to the start of the first nasty one – the Col du Pas de Peyrol (1589 m and a 7.7km climb to 6.2%.) You aren’t out to win this race and you must keep at the back of your mind that the last big climb starts at 146km – a long way away and you must be in shape when you arrive at that one.. The Col du Pas starts at 90.8km: make sure you have got yourself into a mindset of pain acceptance but knowing you will come through it. [I found this invaluable.] You have about 30 kms after the Cote de Massiac to ensure you have a smooth rhythm. Don’t talk unless you really have to, don’t socialise, just focus on the task ahead. Visualise the climb and how you are going to make it up as easy as possible (not easy but easy as possible;) visualise your legs moving in a steady rhythm; embed the feeling that you’re a part of the bike, not riding it but part of one machine, you and the bike.

When the climb starts keep within a bunch for as long as you can. Do not share the lead unless you really have to. Swing in towards the rear but not at the very end of the bunch. Keep adjusting your gears to ensure you have a steady rhythm in the legs. Focus on the rhythm of your movements. Do not look up; focus your eyes on the immediate road ahead (I used around 10 metres); do not think about how far you have come or to go. Get into an almost robotic rhythm – get your mind into a state where it excludes all thoughts of the end of the climb and is fixed on the immediate bit of road you are on (say 10 metres ahead.).  Think of each 10 metres as a success as you move through it. When you turn a corner do not look ahead to the next unless it is within your immediate sight line of 10 metres.

If you can’t stay with the bunch do not give up or cease the rhythm. Try and find a rhythm that still keeps you moving up the mountain. Form your own bunch and work together if possible.

Once at the top (and you will make it) DO NOT use energy in chasing those who might have got ahead. You have 3 smaller climbs over 40 km. and two are at 7.9% so do not under rate them Descend in a way that allows you to reset your legs, get your breathing under control, drink and eat if necessary, Follow the same approach on the shorter climbs. The critical issues are rhythm and mind set – do not allow the thought of giving up even enter your mind. Focus on the immediate road. I used to say to myself “That’s another ten; that’s another ten” all the way up.

You need to prepare for the last big climb. You come off the Cote de la Chevade at 139.5km and start climbing again around 148km so you have only 8.5km to get in shape. This is an 8km climb at 6.1% – nasty. Now start to move your mindset to the finish. When you cross over this one you have a nice long decline with a few bumps and then a couple of hills to climb. Although you still have 54km  to go from the top of Col de Prat de Bouc the worst is over. You can afford to really suffer on this one if you have to. If you are struggling, and the legs are in pain, try and find a rhythm that maintains but doesn’t increase the pain – mindset again is vital. Tell yourself that your legs can make it; they have made it to here. “Another ten behind me; and another ten. And another ten…” Don’t try and keep up with anyone on this mountain if it is draining your energy. Set your pace, your rhythm and focus on the10 metres ahead. Do not look up – 10 metres at a time is all you have to cover at any point. Keep in your mind the worst is over once you cover the top of this mountain – then it is downhill mainly and home.

Rhys,

This might sound a bit ‘new age’ but it is how I did it.  I studied the route of each stage well before the event. The night before a mountain stage I looked at a map of the route, thought about each mountain, thought about the pain I would suffer based on previous mountain climbs that were similar. I visualised what I would seek to do on each based on the length of the climb and the gradient. I also made sure I had a plan in mind if I stayed with a bunch and one if I was dropped. I was a very good descender but did not burn energy doing so (unless it was essential in terms of race position and the team.) You will burn a huge amount of energy on each mountain so conserve all you can off the climb. For the first 20kms or so focus on rhythm, on becoming part of the bike. Avoid distractions and keep your mind focused on those things alone. Do not think about the length of the stage at this point nor how long to go. Get yourself in a state that says “this is how I will ride, can ride, for as long as I need to – even if it is all day,”

Hope that helps.  That’s how I did it and hope there is something there that you can use. See you before the event anyway. Give me a call if you want to chat about anything in this. If it is crap then throw it away – I won’t be upset.

Regards,

Alan

8 hour bike ride and feeling great

It is 5 days since I got back from Portugal and a cycling training camp. I had an 8 hour bike ride to do and thank goodness I had my coach and an Ironman athlete to train along side. I started just before 7.30am and finished at 15.45.  We rode to Box hill and joined several of the routes we know.

My legs were particularly strong and after riding up the hills in Portugal the hills in the Surrey were much easier to climb. I used all the skills I learnt to pace and ride up the hills. I even put the chain back on the chainset without getting off the bike. I was able to accelerate up the hills and had good energy right to the end of the ride.

My legs do feel tired after the ride and walking downstairs is difficult. I have my compression stockings on and I have eaten well. My recovery from this ride is very important as it will optimise the gains I have got from it.

My coach says this could be my longest ride before the race. He thinks I should do more intense shorter rides.  I have a busy schedule leading up to the race and my midweek rides will be crucial. I am concerned the hill climbing in Surrey is not as intense as in Portugal. I am interested to see how my leg strength is in the race with training now focussed in Surrey.

I will be getting the rest of my training plan from my coach and I will post this in my blog. There is only 4 weeks left and I am looking forward to tapering before the race.