Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trying to Stay Injury Free

Today our older son made his own lunch. He has always had a knack for preparing Chinese or Japanese food.

With some big-time sports injuries in the news, such as Tiger's knee and the foot of Taiwan's best baseball player (he looks out of it for the rest of the season), as well as the frequent references to injuries and missed training and races in the blogs, the whole issue of injuries and training/racing has weighed quite heavily on my mind these days.

Based on my own experience, injuries can be the result of (1) accidents (like putting a foot in a rabbit scrape, or tripping and falling on lava rock when running), (2) ignorance (I did not warm up at all before running hard), (3) stupidity (I tried some heavy leg presses just after finishing a cross-country race), and (4) forced circumstances (I could not give up even though my knee really hurt - there was too much at stake).

Compared with a lot of other sports, triathlon should be fairly gentle on the body. We are not whacking tennis balls really fast, and cycling and running generally involve consistent and repetitive motions. Of course accidents can happen and we should do our best to avoid them (like carefully observing other traffic on the road).

On long races, if we are not well-trained we will get tired, and that may put added strain on various parts of our body. That is probably why I had to drop out of Ironman 2006. I was doing well on the bike, but I had not trained consistently. So around mile 95 I started feeling tired. That made my cycling action sloppy. One foot was hurting. I tried to compensate with the other leg and the result was that I compromised my knee. In swimming recently, it has not primarily been the distance swum each day, although that is certainly part of it. In my more tired and weakened states from the swimming, I have hurt myself playing around with dumbells or trying to park a fairly heavy box on a shelf higher than my head.

In recent weeks I have been troubled to varying degrees by my left shoulder as a result of swimming quite a lot. However, it has improved by my trying to concentrate on maintaining a smooth and well-coordinated stroke, and avoiding "silly" movements during the day, like lifting a weight at an awkward angle, or trying to swim fast without really warming up with a lot of slowish pace swimming.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I swam a total of 4,200 meters. The first three thousand was steady and almost non-stop swimming where I picked up the pace a bit shortly after the 2,000 mark (mainly because the person I was sharing the lane with at that time could swim reasonably fast and consistently, too). This was followed by some shorter distances, hand paddle practice and a 100m race at the end (1m 30s) which ended more or less in a tie.

The air-conditioner in my office. I usually do not switch on the AC during the daytime. However, the temperature has mostly been 32 degrees Celsius. I am glad we have nice quiet ACs in each of our bedrooms.

Today (Thursday), I swam 4,550 meters. The first 3,000 took me 59 minutes. Then I did fifties (one slow then one fast) and repeated this about 6 times. Then I worked with the hand paddles to focus on technique, and even succeeded in doing flip turns with them on, not very well but I am slowly getting there. We more or less ended with a 100m race (1m 30s as yesterday) in which I was two seconds short of winning.

Anyway, we would probably do well to learn as much about injury prevention when we are healthy in order to avoid unnecessary "down" time.


LeAnn said...

Is that fish musubies?

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) said...

James used sausage in the musubies, plus various other bits and pieces. It is very easy buying ingredients and it costs about one-third to one-half of the price to do it yourself, as opposed to buying things already made, even in a supermarket.