As an athlete and a competitor (of sorts), there are phrases and words that I don’t want to hear as the days leading to an event start dwindling.
Injury tops that list.
For the past week or so I’ve had two different areas of pain. I’m pretty good at listening to my body and I tend to have pretty good instincts when it comes to how to handle various aches and pains that I incur. These instincts have led me to purchasing a few items over the past few years and using them sporadically.
But there are times when I am not sure exactly what is going on and I feel the need to go to see someone more qualified. Due to my aversion to doctors, I favor trips to my chiropractor who also specializes in sports medicine.
This past Saturday I made my way to his office, fearing a little bit of the worst. The pain I had been feeling in both my chest area and the tendons of my feet were not something I wanted to confront this close to New Orleans Tough Mudder but knew that I needed to get checked out.
Like I stated earlier, I have pretty good instincts when it comes to my body. And as I explained the pain I was feeling along my collarbone, I told him that I thought it was muscular. He did a few tests, including tapping along the bone, which ended in pain, and a strength test, which ended with his continued acknowledgment that I’m a lot stronger than many of his other patients.
Thankfully, after a few moments, he confirmed what I had felt was the case: muscle strain, likely caused by my continued stubbornness and determination to lift heavy.
The second issue, one that I did not want to acknowledge even in thought, was determined to be plantar fasciitis or rather an issue that could eventually lead to it.
Due to the combination of an increase in time on the treadmill and intensity with incline and speed over the last few months that was incorporated with little fanfare and even less care, I had likely done too much too quickly.
Thankfully with continued recovery efforts, stretching, and the continued use of a deep tissue ball, I should be good to go.
But this injury scare reminded me of something really important: rest and recovery are just as important as exercise and diet.
I know that I tend to look at my efforts and goals as achievable by continued action. Rest and recovery and stretching are decidedly not actions. In my opinion, quite frankly, they are boring.
I don’t feel accomplished after using the foam roller on my calves or rolling something the size of a tennis ball under my foot repeatedly. I don’t want to show off my ability to use The Stick to help the muscles in my quads post-workout.
Also, let’s be real, there’s nothing awesome about trying to find a way to increase the pressure of the various rolling methods by yourself. There are just some things that would be easier with a partner and the ability to exert more pressure when it comes to recovery methods is one of those things.
I mean, how many of us have attempted to roll their quad by laying on top of the roller in something close to a plank position while attempting to move on top of it?
It’s about as complicated as my attempts to write a description of how to do it!
But all of this is to say this: Recovery and rest, no matter how boring, are essential. These two small things can save an athlete from a preventable injury.