I had an interesting conversation the other day with one of my younger triathletes and it got me thinking that I need to not localize this learning opportunity to just one individual. What a better way to spread the education than my blog. The conversation went like this:
CB: Coach Bob
A: "Coach Bob, my leg is hurting. Can I stop and stretch it out?"
CB: "Of course. Is it from your cross country injury in the Fall?"
CB: "Do you feel like the coach made you run too many miles and this could have led to your injury?"
CB: "Hmm. Are you doing any type of prehab or rehab exercises?"
A: "My PT gave me rehab exercises to do."
CB: "So, you had an injury due to running too many miles in Fall cross country then you went to see a PT to have rehab done?"
CB: "Have you been doing the rehab exercises when prescribed and more importantly, prehab exercises that target improving your imbalances?"
A: "I just don't have time with school and all."
A: "Coach Bob, I want to run in college so bad."
CB: "How are you going to run in college if you are hurt? College coaches won't want you on their team if you can't run."
A: "Oh, you are right."
CB: "So, you are telling me that you do not have time to do your rehab and prehab exercises because of everything else going on in your life. Do you have time to be hurt?"
>>>proverbial light bulb goes off with a new sense of motivation>>>
A: "Oh, you are right Coach Bob."
CB: "Sometimes, you must find the few minutes in each day to take care of your body because if you don't, it won't take care of you."
This is a fairly common conversation I have with athletes but usually not young athletes. I am seeing more and more injuries happening at a younger age and while I will not argue what I believe to be the causes, I will stress the importance of EVERY athlete spending at least 10 minutes EVERY day to initiate a few prehab exercises. There are many reasons for this (as you can read in my new ebook if you would like) but it really comes down to two success markers: 1) priorities, and 2) persistence.
Make prehab a priority in your daily schedule. Treat it like any other training session. Place it on your training calendar (or tell your coach to do this) and be sure to hold it high on the priority list. Often times, you can do a few prehab exercises when you first wake up. You can also add some before any type of workout. Take 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before a workout and call it good.
Secondly, you must be persistent in the implementation of prehab exercises. Far too often I witness athletes extremely motivated for 1-2 weeks in doing these exercises but then they lose their focus, their motivation or "need" to do them. You need to do these exercises daily, trust me. Prehab exercises should be like brushing your teeth or taking a shower...habits already engrained into your daily routine.
Set prehab exercises as a top daily priority and be persistent in doing them. You will find that you experience less aches and pains and will reduce the likelihood of injuries. Do it for yourself, your performance and for your longevity in sport.