The snow has melted, temperatures have risen, and the sun is shining. Canadians emerge from their winter hideouts to enjoy the nicer weather, which usually means an increase in outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy gardening, bike riding, summer sports, or running, it is important to prevent overtraining.
Overtraining is usually associated with the elite athlete, doing multiple sessions of training per day, without adequate rest. However, this isn’t the only scenario. It can also occur with any of the activities listed above. This can happen when a person believes they can do the activity at the same intensity or duration that they did at the end of the last summer. However, if you haven’t done that specific activity over the winter, your body can become deconditioned. Therefore, when you go out to do your regular 5km run, it feels a little more painful than you remember it did at the end of the summer. The sudden increase in demand on your body can not only lead to aches and pain, but also more serious injuries, that could potentially prevent you from enjoying these activities for the rest of the summer.
So what can you do to prevent overtraining injuries? Most importantly is to start slow. It is best to modify your activity to ensure you don’t overload your system to the point of injury. For example, if you finished last summer/fall with a 5 km run, try a shorter distance (maybe 3km) for the first time out. Then if that felt okay, slowly increase your distance each time until you feel good with the 5 km. Have you never ran before? Try small intervals alternating between jogging and walking. Try running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes. If you are getting back into a summer sport, allow your body a few warm up/ training sessions before your first practice or game. This could include half hour of playing catch and hitting balls for a couple days before your first baseball competition. If gardening is your activity of choice, start with frequent breaks and make sure to stretch before you start.
Preventing spring overtraining will ensure a long, injury-free summer season of outdoor activities. If you are not sure where to start, or have already caused injury from spring training, contact your local Chiropractor for tailored advice and treatment!