Don't let injuries linger - even top triathletes like the Brownlee brothers can't afford to (From The Northern Echo)
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Don't let injuries linger - even top triathletes like the Brownlee brothers can't afford to
Injuries can hang around. And nearly always longer than you expect. Too many people at the grassroots level of sport make the mistake of hoping in vain that tomorrow will be the day that the problem just goes.
And while waiting for it to go, isn't it so tempting to just think it's been a few weeks now, so it must be better? Or what about knowing it's still not right but thinking 'sod it' I'll play or run on it anyway?
If you can say yes to any of those, then you're in a very similar frame of mind to an Olympic gold medalist right now who is almost being forced to rest and finally get to the rock bottom of his foot injury.
Triathlon superstar Alistair Brownlee has suffered Achilles and ankle problems now for over four months. Yet he continues to run, cycle and swim.
But he's not to his usual high standards and there's now fears over his ability to defend his own world title this season.
Pulling out of a world title competition is a decision that seems to be very logical. The great thing about triathlon is that that it involves just about every muscle and joint that you could think of.
It gives you a great all round work out and will stop some of your muscles becoming dangerously stronger than the other.
Now that's usually fine if you're an amateur, or just doing these sorts of things for fun, such as the one taking place at Hartlepool Marina tomorrow or the Brownlee brothers spectacular event at Fountains Abbey, but when you get to constant training and elite competition, the demands will take their toll on even the fittest of athletes such as Brownlee.
What you can learn from Brownlee's injury and decision to ease off?
Your Achilles and ankle take the major brunt of everything you do.
So much so that your Achilles is the most used and stressed tendon. Think about everything you're going to do this weekend, would it be possible to do any of them without an Achilles tendon that was working properly?
Now reverse that. What would it be like this weekend getting out of bed every morning with an Achilles that was so sore and painful that you dreaded even just putting your foot down? And the problem with Achilles tendons and ankle ligaments, they don't really get much help from your body to heal naturally.
A simple way to understand it is that the further something is away from your heart, the less important it is considered and so the less attention it gets when the blood which runs round your body to repair things, is dishing the repair goodies out.
That's a reason that all of the major organs are so close to your heart.
So heed the warning signs of ankle and Achilles problems. It's very difficult to hide from them, and as you enter into the age bracket of 40+, it's not just whether or not you're doing to much that you need to worry about, it's the stiffness cycle that is beginning to happen and how quickly you can recover from it when you feel it.
If you find that you're taking that bit longer to recover, that bit longer to get going for games, to start a run or even just getting going on a morning, then it might be time to do as Brownlee has done and stop.
With it take stock of your options before the problems get worse, and the inevitable months and years of frustration and just hoping that the problem is going to go on its own, are with you on a daily basis.