By the Wild Women On Top team in collaboration with Physio On Miller
If you're a keen hiker or have a passion for walking, it's likely you've had an injury or two in your time. A super sore knee that makes you wince in pain. Or a crick in your back that stops you from reaching your goal.
The niggles, the aches and the pains are the pits. There are few things more annoying and disappointing than putting your whole body and soul into training, only to get a pesky injury at the very last minute. But there are ways to stop injuries before they happen so you're fighting fit for whatever goal or event you've got your eye on.
Our friends at Physio On Miller are experts in how the body works and they've put together some simple tips to make sure you get the most out of your event.
It might seem simple, but the most frequent comment from Coastrekkers who visit Physio On Miller on Event Day is that they haven’t trained enough. Many walkers think: “It's only walking, I can do that”. But when do we ever walk 30km or 60km in one day?
Your feet, legs and body need to get used to walking long distances to understand where you might feel niggles, what energy you require for that distance and how much water you will need to drink. These are all important factors that can stop you in your tracks on Event Day but are so easy to find out during training walks. Download the Coastrek training guide, grab a friend to keep you accountable and you'll fly through the event knowing you’ve given it your best with the amount of preparation you did.
2. Get the right gear
Being prepared and discovering what gear is best for your body during the training walks is going to prevent injury on Event Day. Most of us know the importance of wearing in new shoes, but what if we have the wrong shoes? There are great shoe stores with knowledgeable staff who can help select the best footwear for you to prevent blisters, plantar fasciitis or tendonopathies (just to name a few). You may also find during training that your knees start to hurt. This is where walking poles can help to take some of the load off your knees, particularly when climbing stairs or descending hills.
3. Strength training
The stronger your legs and core are, the less likely you are to get an injury. This is where your physio can help you get event ready. Here are a few key exercises Physio On Miller recommend for people training for endurance events:
Start in a balanced stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise yourself up on your toes as high as possible, keeping your ankles straight and not rolling in or out. This can be done standing on both feet or just one foot.
Return back to the starting position. Repeat 10 x for 3 sets.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core muscles and gently squat down. Bend your knees, pushing your hips back behind you and leaning your body forwards, as though you are about to sit on a chair. Make sure your knees don’t come forwards over your toes, or come closer together. Repeat 10 x for 3 sets.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your buttock muscles and lift your hips up into the bridge position.
Make sure you keep your hips up and level throughout the movement. Repeat 10 x for 3 sets.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place hands behind your head. Draw in your deep abdominals and lift your chest/upper torso until your shoulder blades are just resting on the mat (see below).
Make sure your spine stays in neutral, not flattening or arching. Your neck and shoulders should be relaxed, and the weight of your head resting in your hands. Repeat 10 x for 3 sets.
You shouldn’t experience any pain with these exercises so if you do, you'll need to speak to a physio.
4. Address the niggles
Nothing is better than addressing your aches and pains before they become full-blown injuries. If something feels tight or stiff, a remedial massage can help. But if that area starts to become painful see a physio straight away.
With some treatment and exercises your niggle can go away and not stop you from completing your event.
5. Have fun
We’re hearing a lot about the benefits of mindfulness and mental wellbeing on pain. With a positive outlook on Event Day, what can be seen by the brain as a threat or injury, but is actually just muscle soreness, can be overcome through having fun with your peers. The power of positive thinking is true and will get you through those hard yards to the finish line. And even better, your achievement might even get you forgetting the pain and signing up for next year!
Physio On Miller will be supporting Coastrek in 2019. Check out their website for more tips and info to ensure you have the best Event Day possible.