Injury Prevention. Calm the EF down.

Happy Flex Friday Party People!!

As I sit here on a bag of ice, I will start with a disclaimer: nobody is safe from injuries.  Sometimes, I think I’m superwoman. Like forreal I think I can do anything.  I can’t.  But a reality check like this one is necessary every once in a while.

Anyway, over the past nine months or so I’ve stepped up my lifting and workout game tremendously.  I work out 5-6x/week usually 2x/day (AM lift, PM cardio for time and fueling purposes) and to be honest, I work at two fitness centers so when I have a break, working out is the clear choice in activity.

So this past week’s workouts were as follows:

Monday–  AM Shoulders/ PM HIIT

Tuesday– AM Legs/ PM steady state cardio

Wednesday– AM Back and Bis/PM steady state cardio

Thursday– AM Chest, Tris/ PM Sprints

Well, today is Friday and it’s blank. 

Why? Well, note how it says “sprints” on Thursday PM. Two days after leg day. I didn’t even think about it.

In case you’ve been uninformed of the weather in the northeast this winter, living in New York (or anywhere near it) has been miserable for the past 5 months.  I’ve been performing all of my HIIT work on the treadmill or just straight up skipping it because sprinting outside on a snowy track in below-freezing temperatures isn’t my idea of a Workout Party.  Anyway, Thursday was SUNNY AND OVER 60 DEGREES. Being a track and field athlete from middle school through college, I was so excited for a track workout. And good weather.  OMG.  Like probably more excited than I should have been, but whatever.

So I walk down to the track (about half a mile) and did a normal workout for me- 8x100m, so walk the curve, sprint the straight.  I could fly.  All my splits were :14-:16 and for repeats, that’s pretty great for me.  My twice a week leg workouts were paying off. Until #8, obviously.  I had about 20 meters to go, almost done, and POP! You see this happen to sprinters at meets all the time, the hamstring goes at the very end of their 55m dash and they grip their leg and fall to the ground in agony.  That didn’t happen to me. Thankfully.  But after hobbling the last couple strides, I realized I effed up.  I wobble-walked the half mile back to my building (which so amazingly comes fully staffed with athletic trainers) and it was clear I strained my hamstring. The trainer gave me a bag of ice and told me to take it easy for a few days.  Superwoman doesn’t “take it easy” so that’s when I realized I was definitely not her.

Long story short, I got lucky.  It wasn’t a BAD injury, I mean it wasn’t good, but it definitely wasn’t bad.  I was also lucky to have an athletic trainer check me out almost immediately.  But nonetheless, I effed up.

Like I stated earlier, I’ve been stepping up my workout game for almost a year now which means bigger, tighter muscles. Also, the weather has sucked so that means I wasn’t doing all-out-sprints like I do in the spring and summer.  AND, a :30-:45 “sprint” on the treadmill is tough, but an all-out 100m dash blows it out of the water.  I took a bite bigger than I could chew.


So YOU. Yes, you. Before you go out Usain Bolting all over the track, help yourself out and make an effort to prevent possible future injuries…

1. Warming up- Like duh.  Everyone’s body is different but apparently a half mile walk wasn’t enough of a warmup for me.  And 60 degrees may have been a little too cold for my muscles. Who knows, but a warmup is a good idea.

2. Be mindful of your workouts that week-  I should have realized that the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) after my leg workout two days prior would have had an effect on my sprints.  But you live and you learn.  If your body is sore or tight from a workout, you don’t have to hit the same muscle groups immediately after.

3. Ease yourself into it. It’s okay.  I have to remember that explosive work like sprints uses fast twitch muscle fibers that haven’t been activated in that way for a while.  If you’re starting a new kind of workout, or re-starting it after an extended period of time off, don’t think you can be 100% the first time you do it, intense stuff takes practice.

4. Stretch. I definitely don’t do enough of this.  I love my foam roller but it hurts.  Like a lot.  From here on out, I vow to cut down my PM cardio on leg days down and replace it with 30 minutes of dynamic and static stretching and foam rolling.  Hopefully this will help me in the future.

5. Rest. If your body feels like it needs some rest, it probably does.

So in conclusion, don’t try to be a superhero or an Olympic athlete.  Unless you are one.  Then you do you, boo. Be mindful of your body and take all preventative measures so that this kind of stuff doesn’t happen to you.  It’s all good in the hood but missing my second leg workout this week was a bummer.  On the bright side, my arms are gonna look so sick next week ;).  Have a happy and healthy (and injury-free) weekend!