3 Essential Things You can do Today that will lead to the prevention of short and long term injuries
Training is taxing. Training can be draining. We all need training and trainers to help us stay on track. We also need to understand a few key ideas to max out our potential and prevent all kinds of injuries that just might slow us down.
If you are active, if you are an athlete, if you compete at the highest level of any thing in or out of the office then you need to learn useful and repeatable habits that keep you in your game.
Here is what you need to know to Prevent Crap from happening to you. ( or limit the worst case scenario)
- Water heals.
If you think you are drinking a decent amount of water think again. Many beverages remove water out of your system. Coffee, alcohol and sugary juices are the biggest culprits. Improved water intake helps the body get rid of waste. When you are active, training or live a demanding life style taking in more water will help you feel your best. Filtered water is ideal but tap water will work too. I suggest 2 or 3, 32 oz. bottles per day starting as soon as you wake up. Try to stop water consumption not later than 8 or 9pm so you don’t interrupt your sleep with frequent bathroom stops. Some say drink 2 large glasses per meal. Find what works for you.
Dunk in it
Swimming or training in the water is regenerative. If you can swim you will benefit from getting into the water for 30 to 40 minutes at a time. Water changes our chemistry according to Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga who runs the Acupuncture program at McMaster University in Hamilton ONTARIO Canada. Wading in the water can reset people naturally. Water is relaxing for muscles. Relaxed muscles are a lower risk for injury compared to tight, less mobile muscles.
Using water to heal is not a new idea. Head Athletics Coach Anthony McCleary and Coach Desai Williams at the National Training Center at York University in Toronto Canada use cold baths after sprint sessions to aid in the recovery of their athletes. A typical protocol of routine Epson salt baths helps both athletes and anyone suffering from muscle soreness. Worked out muscles respond well to contrasting warm and cold water temperatures. Former head of the Polish Olympic Therapy program Waldamar Matuszewski Ph.d instructed athletes for decades to perform daily hot and cold contrast baths. A 12-minute circuit alternating hot and cold regenerates your nervous system. You must get your head wet completely to fully benefit from contrast baths says Matuszewski. Method = Use a water proof timer for 3 minutes ofhot water and quickly alternate to 1 minute as cold as possible and repeat 2 more cycles for 12 full minutes.
Here are some ideas about the CNS and training here:
Coach Charlie Francis also talks about the CNS in his manual “ The Charlie Francis Training System “ regarding the role recovery and regeneration plays in the prevention of short and long-term injury prevention. (starting on pages 61 ).
- Sleep and Rest add up.
There is no better way to heal than to give your body the correct tools and it will heal itself.
Best selling author and natural doctor Natasha Turner talks about how hormones play an essential role keeping us young and free of health issues. http://drnatashaturner.com/dr-turners-books/the-supercharged-hormone-diet/ For example, darkness is an important aspect of the release of melatonin and subsequently the release of naturally occurring growth hormone. ( page 51 sleeping with light exposure).
Opinions vary but most agree that the general population in modern society is not getting enough sleep. Dr. Turner says proper sleep, which includes sleeping at the right time, uninterrupted sleeping and sleeping in darkness aids in balancing hormones naturally. Routine compromised sleeping adds risk to getting small or larger injuries.
Read more about the role rest and recovery plays in the training process by reading here.
I used to think I could get away with eating what ever I wanted when I was burning calories galore at almost all stages of my life as an athlete. For the first time ever becoming a mother challenged my previous game plan instantly. I became a serious student on how to continue my thriving ways I previously enjoyed as a track aficionado. What to eat, how to eat, if to supplement or not are topics that have become confusing to athletes as well as people training hard on or off the track or gym.
A quick overview a few nutrition hot topics
Smoothies = A great way to supplement your daily intake of calories, protein and or greens. Use a water base, a coconut water base or green tea base before adding things like flax, raw kale, kefir, yogurt, cue cumber and berries.
Fresh foods that are Super for you = yes, I am talking about super foods like spinach, berries rich in antioxidants but try buying local foods in season to get the highest nutritional value and taste.
Foods that help you = All types of red meat used to be a first choice for me as an athlete. Learn about what combination of foods works best for you. Experiment what your personal best combinations of foods are.
Keep it simple = eat veggies, eat fruit and eat beans and meat and natural foods. Stay away from products that have massive product ingredients and limit your
Here are a few places you can visit to learn more and educate yourself about the best nutrition for you in and out of the gym.
Practice makes permanent. Develop habits that keep you happy in your game today and tomorrow.
Enjoy and go get stuff done.
3 Essential Rules for the Warm up.
1. Think relaxation in all things you do. If you are not able to perform the movement in a relaxed way do something easier.
2. Take your time. Don’t rush your warm up. I learned this lesson the hard way from former World and Olympic Champion in the men’s 100 meters Ben Johnson. I asked what he had thought of my race at one of my first national championships in 1991 in Montreal. He said “ okay , but you would have done so much better if you didn’t rush your warm up.”. I never forgot what he said and it changed the way I prepared for all training.
3. An excellent guideline to know you are ready for the actual work of your training is achieving a mild sweat on your forehead. This rule does not seem overly sophisticated but it works. I am not talking about profuse sweating before you begin.
Some Guidelines for an extensive warm-up before Sprinting or Tempo
Note : Get in the habit of timing your warm up, pay attention to how much time various parts of your warm up and training take, and record it in your training diary.
1. Jog slowly for 10 minutes or X number of laps around the track or grass if you have it. Usually 3 to 4 laps outside on outside track.
2. We used the length of the football field (post to post) to perform a lot of the drills and runs in the warm up. It was a predictable distance and most often easy to replicate in almost any location in almost any country. Approx. 100 yds or meters depending Canada, US or Eurupe. Soccer or American Football.
3. Once the 10 minutes of jogging took place we usually launched immediately into side skips down one length and shaking back. Generally we would mix in one , maybe two exercises at one end of the field. Generally the end where we had all of our bags , water etc. The exercises would be a mixture of med ball throws, donkey kicks. sit ups mixed with stretches. 5 to 8 minutes
4. Side skips, grape vine, back ward arm circles and tripling were the main exercises on the way down the field and then usually we did what we called shaking back which was like a jog but shoulders are down and you are shaking your entire body. Some have commented on the silliness they feel doing this exercise but it promotes relaxation throughout the warm up.
NOTE: Shaking promotes relaxation. It’s not a jog. It’s not a skip. Your hands should fall to your side and as you are shuffling along in somewhat of a jog as you are shaking your body.
5. @ approx. 18 to 20 minutes Power Speed Drills = Power Speed was included in 99% of every warm up I ever performed in 7 years of training.
• Bum kicks
• A skip
• B skip
• Running A’s
The distances might vary. A typical progression might be =
3 sets of each drill over 10 meters , then 4 x 10 meters of each drill. As the drills improve so too does the distance maybe. Quality first , volume second.
Total time up to this point = Not more than 45 minutes but not one hour.
More is not better / Practice makes permanent
In my next blog I will discuss the things that need to be added after the power speed but often on tempo days the above warm up might be it. But maybe not.
Often we used a series of med ball throws routinely in our warm up.
After the 10 min jog and within the back and forths and before and or during the power speed.
When I first started out , I did far more little exercises in the body of the warm up before Power Speed. ( see the bike workout for this)
The reason for this was to gain FITNESS. So for all of you talking about how possibly fitness is not important for speed or the development of speed.
Pay close attention to the details within the warm up.
And I never lifted one weight for 2 full years. Instead I worked extensively with a very light med ball. I think it was 2 or 3 k. I remember complaining on deaf ears "when can I use a heavier ball". I got nothing back.
You are ready to move ahead when you are ready to move ahead. Most athletes all want to move ahead faster . No kidding.
I'd love to hear about your warm up. Thank you for all of your questions and feedback. I will do my best to respond to you.
Coaching Standards and Certifications
One thing that strikes me about a recent conversation on LinkedIn around coaching standards and certifications has been how passionate coaches are as a group.
Most people do not set out into the coaching world to get rich.
While this might not be true of the elite professional sports, the large majority of coaches are working long hours at odd times of the day for less than standard pay. Ironically, we don’t hear great numbers of these coaches complaining and I think it’s like this because they simply love what they do.
I bring a unique perspective to this discussion having been athlete, coach and also spending 20 plus years married to one of the most influential and interesting coaches in track and field. My aim is to add into the current dialogue, encourage further discussion in a more organized way and attempt to initiate needed change.
What are the models of other professional organizations already in existence?
Many careers including medicine and law do not discriminate what type of degrees are needed before entering a specialized profession. Why would coaching be any different? Diverse degrees add perspective and depth to professions.
Common Characteristics of Established Professions
Having a BA as a minimal standard
This is a common approach for many careers. Adding requirements with an emphasis of needed skills related to athletics and or coaching can easily be accomplished. Professional organizations require some form of a degree or post secondary education before applying to enter further training. Nursing, Law, Medicine and Teaching are just a few. It makes a great deal of sense to use existing models that have been in effect for decades to adapt to the industry of coaching.
A rule could be made to invite excellent candidates to take entry tests and build in exceptions to allow for years of both experience and accomplishment.
The Coaching School Admission Test (CSAT) would be a collaborative effort set out by the existing top coaches in the world and could be sectioned off in varied sports or not. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) states this test is required for admission to most (not all) law schools and is offered at 4 times per year. The top law schools will be looking for scores that are close to perfect. This is one example of what could be done in any industry needing established, universal standards.
Dictating length of program
Any length of time could be determined and based on course material set out by the first run of CSAT creators.
Different sports could be a part of this or a decided list of development sports could be included initially.
How well has the material been learned? It’s understood in many professions that once you get this far it’s difficult to fail. It’s up to the governing coaches or group of people creating the exam (CSAT) to include all theory or include practical experiences as well. A combination of both theory and practice makes perfect sense for almost all professions. This needs to be a goal when establishing a coaching professional organization.
Cooperative programs that allow people to get their feet wet in areas of their interest and or work alongside established coaches with track records of success is not a bad way to create career interest, regulate readiness for performances and ultimately the success of the industry.
Coaching as a career has been excellent for some, lucrative for some and interesting for many people participating in this industry. Formalizing universal standards will not eliminate pitfalls but it will enhance consistency of knowledge and provide greater opportunity for individuals interested in coaching as a career with expected rewards. The idea behind standardizing and certifications should not illuminate the aspects of the industry that make it unique or worthwhile for those whom have already been contributing and succeeding for years. Collaboration, re-education and respect among fellow colleagues need to be requirements of this process. A first step requires someone to lead the way. Conflict will be an initial reality but creating a vision for the future will not only be worthwhile it will operate as a framework for what is possible.