We've all had them. Some worse than others. I personally have, or should I say am in the process of getting over a horrible hip injury that I incurred whilst running the Great Run Stirling Half Marathon. Under a month earlier I ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon. Three miles from the finish line of the Stirling run the pain started. My ego and refusal to give up made me keep going to the end. I've now regretted that decision for over the last three months. I'm sure the damage I did was because I kept going to the end. By the time I reached the car afterwards I was literally lifting my leg using both hands into the car.
So what have I learned from this experience?
You need to warm up properly:
Like many people, I love keeping fit, running, gym and classes. Like many people, I fail to properly warm up my muscles beforehand. It is vitally important that you warm up by stretching the muscles you are going to be using in whatever activity you are participating in. This can prevent many different types of injuries and also help improve your performance.
Don't take a hot bath afterwards:
My guilty pleasure and mistake number two. Sportsman and women like Andy Murray don't take ice cold baths because they enjoy it, its because it works as an anti-inflammatory and the cold water helps reduce muscle soreness and helps relax your muscles after a tough workout.
Don't just hope it'll go away:
I ended up literally walking with a slight limp because I was on so much pain and discomfort. Getting up in the morning or getting out of the car resulted in may strange oohs and ahhs I'd never heard myself say before. It was getting me down mentally, I was missing out on my favourite hobbies, I generally started feeling unfit and this was because I was just hoping it would go away. I spent money on various creams, many which helped temporarily ease the pain, but it never took it away. My partner pushed me to go see someone. I'd never spent money on an Osteopath or Chiropractor in my life and I admittedly got a but of a shock at the £50-£60 a session it cost me. That money I now consider to be one of the best investments I have ever made. After about 4-5 sessions I'm pretty much pain free. I'm walking normally again, I don't feel sore getting out of the car or out of bed and I'm back at the gym and took my first light run just last night. A little twinge was felt but nothing major and I'll rest again for a few days and let the muscles repair themselves which is another important step in avoiding sports injuries.
For me, I have learnt alot. Preparation is a must. I try to wear the correct equipment, be it proper running shoes to protect my feet and legs, leggings or shorts with support to protect my muscles, stretching has become an absolute must for me prior to any workout and a warm down with more stretches and a cold or at least a cool bath or shower to help the muscles repair themselves. I also eat properly and make sure I take my vitamins. Vitamin D helps my muscle and bone health so I take that daily and I take soluble magnesium at night to help me get proper sleep which it works wonders for. It helps relax my muscles and allows them to repair themselves. My next run is the Cumbernauld 10k. I've decided no more half marathons for me. I know my limit and with the correct prep and aftercare, I should comfortably be able to run this distance and avoid any more sports injuries.