Let's Talk About Injuries and Prevention

I wanted to talk to you guys about injuries and prevention!

We have a bad case of shin splints, a bad back, a bum knee, achy feet, and a pulled quad. Two of those injuries have nothing to do with this fitness makeover -- but I'm concerned all the same.

First, a story:
This morning I was running with G. (my former smoker who is up to 5.5 miles now.) She was running very slowly this morning and I finally asked, what's up. She confessed that her hamstring is sore. As we plodded along, she said it was really only her right and it was really, really tight. I suggested we walk but she shook her head adamantly and said no, we were going to make the whole run. We chugged on a little more as I began to ask more questions. What's it feel like, when did it start. Okay, let's stop and walk for a moment just so you can tell me what it feels like when we walk... Reluctantly, she walked. By her description, it was very tight and she needed to let it rest. As I talked to her, I discovered that she's been running on her "off" days as well. Thus, my "you have to let your muscles rest" speech. What was really interesting was she was afraid to 'give in' to an injury. Because she's been making such great progress, she was afraid to get off track.


I think we've had a little of that here. First, I want to say it is exciting indeed that you guys have become so motivated that you are pushing yourself so hard. But we have a few "buts" here. Remember that this is all new to you. This is why we started with the walk/run routine and the low weights. The idea is to ease into the exercise world. And, if you feel tight, uneasy, or pain...stop. By now you know the difference between being stiff or sore and something really hurting.

To this day, I am so competitive, I hate to stop when I've strained or pulled something. I've finally learned that it's not worth it to push through pain -- you can push through being tired but not actual pain.

I've instructed our injured to NOT do the track/sprint work. While it is great for cardio, it is hard, hard, hard on the body. Pregnant people and injured people do not do this. It was funny because a good many of you complained when I took away the track day. (Ha! This from the same people who complained when I gave it to you!)

Simply mark your journals that you are not doing track work until body is healed (or after baby is born. And, by the way, talk to me before you do track work because we want to be sure you have healed and given your body enough recovery time from labor and delivery!) Your journal is great for so many reasons and marking injuries, colds, flues, headaches is another. You will find over time that you can review your journal to see when you've not been feeling well or when you hurt yourself and discover causes/effects.

Do not beat yourselves up for taking time off when needed. I used to do this and so many athletes I know do this. Crazy! You have to realize that you've done so much and are doing so well. Little setbacks are to be expected! And, on that note, resting is not a set back. It is injury prevention.

So, here are some things to focus on.

• Be sure you are not jerking when you lift weights. This is another reason I am excited to have Josh -- fitness trainer -- talk to you about injury prevention and form. He will be coming soon!

• Make your movements slow, fluid, and strong. If you can only do 3 or 5 or 9 of something, so be it. Mark it, be proud and move to the next set!

• Listen to your body. If it hurts, slow down, walk it out and analyze the feeling. Sore? Stiff? Actual pain? Do not try to push through pain. Mark this in your journal.

• Ice. Knees, feet, and shin splints should be iced. 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. If you can -- medically speaking -- take an anti-inflammatory. Advil, Motrin are. Tylenol is NOT. Pregnant gals -- talk to your doctor!

• Glucosamine.

Another story: [I've told some of you this...]
When I retired from bobsled, my doctor told me with three knee surgeries and multiple contusions and sprains that my running days were behind me. But I love to run. So, I went without running for a while. But I missed it -- again, nothing fights the belly fat like running. So, I started up. I also began taking glucosamine. The benefits of this are to help joints, decrease achiness, help overweight people looking for support for over-stressed joints, rebuilding (some) cartilage damage, and long-term maintenance.

I was given a sample bottle by a friend who owns a health food store. I was suspect but...okay. Now, the trick is this, you have to double up for six weeks, then go down to taking it once a day.

WARNING Not for people who are allergic to shell fish or who are pregnant!

I began running and my knee was pretty darned good. But I wasn't sure if it was really working or if I just thought it was...but at the same time, I put my horse (23 years old) on glucosamine. His knee is really achy and I thought, "Why not?" My ferrier came out to my house and said, "Wow, have you been riding Star alot?"

Ummm, maybe.

He said, "Look at this." and he flexed Star's knee back and forth. I was delight to see that the glucosamine was really helping him. Okay, so I knew I was taking it but Star didn't know. There you go!

Something to consider.

I can't tell you how proud I am of you guys. We are having amazing success. But it is hard also because I cannot see you in person, I cannot correct form or, like this morning, stop a person from running when they are border-line hurt. This is why you must be diligent about:

• Writing in your journals
• Asking questions about workouts or soreness
• Practice good form.

Your books are crucial here. This is why Pregnancy.org arranged for you to have these gifts. They weren't just gifts -- they are TRAINING TOOLS. Read these books about proper form, muscle groups and movements, foot placement and running strategies! They are so important. I know you guys are busy but by reading just a little everyday, you will empower your workouts, educate yourself, enjoy you workouts all the more and reap greater success!

I mean it!

So, read, run, walk, read, lift, walk, run, read....
Good luck and be proud. We're in our second quarter!


Copyright © Alexandra Allred. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.