Do What Your Coach Tells You
Seriously, there is something to be said about the famous phrase: “I told you this would happen!” Although my coaches are much too nice to say something like that, I can sense it. Hopefully, if I tell you what happened to me, you will not ignore your trainer/ coach when they tell you that stretching (much like diet) are an extremely important part of your exercise routine.
Stretching helps relax tight muscles, makes the muscle stronger (by relaxing it), prevents the formation of “lumps” in your muscle tissue, and it melts the stress away. There are multiple ways to stretch and it mostly depends on your routine and problem areas. As an ex fencer and a current runner, most of my stress settles in my right shoulder and elbow (previous injuries) and in my legs. See, I know all of this and yet somehow, I ended up getting caught up in everything else and skipping out on stretching this past month. Yes, amateur mistake! But I am here to keep it real, to be accountable, and hopefully to inspire you guys to pay attention and learn from the mistakes of others.
As you already know I had to stop running due to severe shin splints and I am going to have to cut back on my lifting, due to a tennis elbow flare up. What will I do? Not sure. There aren’t a lot of options remaining when your upper and lower body are out of commission. I guess I’ll pick up biking, maybe concentrate on that swimming thing I have been meaning to pick up. Basically, the past two weeks have taken their toll on me mentally and physically. It is hard enough to deal with an injury that threatens to take you out of commission for a while, but when you learn that it could have been prevented by doing a few simple, quick stretches in the shower, well…. I am still keeping my head up above water, though. I look at it as an opportunity to reevaluate my training, concentrate on activities that will eventually prep me for a triathlon, and potentially convert friends that do not normally exercise into fitness people.
So, the lesson here is: listen to your trainer and do your stretches as often as you can. Do them before you work out, do them in the shower, do them before you go to bed, do them at your desk during the day, just do them!