Do you have an event or race planned over the summer? Have you been training like crazy to prepare for it? Have you also been treating your body along the way?

There are many things to do prior to any event. As you work hard training to increase your strength, speed and endurance, your body takes a hit. Training for long periods of time can create overuse injuries or chronic issues if you’re not taking care of your body along the way. Your body needs to be able to recover as much as possible so you can be 100% for your event.

Follow these tips to help optimize your performance while minimizing the risk of injury.

Start at the beginning…know your event

Each event brings different challenges. Are you running a marathon? Sure it’s one task; running. But every marathon is different; the route, how hilly it is, the weather. A triathlon is swimming, biking and running in one event. Multiple factors impacting a triathlon include: distance, temperature of the water, training in the environment. Are you and your friends doing an obstacle course race like a Tough Mudder?You should be preparing for things you probably don’t do on a regular basis; climbing ropes, dragging your body through mud or climbing monkey bars. Every one of these events requires different training and put different stresses on your body.

Periodization…when to train and when to back off

Preparing for your event, depending on what you’re doing, can take months. You’ll have to slowly increase your tempo and distance to help prevent overuse injuries. Another thing to take into consideration is changing up what you are doing day to day; one day of running followed by one day of strength training and so on. If the distance of your event is something you don’t always do, it is necessary to give your body enough time to recover from the extra exertion.

Know your sport…make sure your mechanics are correct

If ever you start to notice some discomfort occurring during your training, start to break down your movements. Biomechanics are the building blocks of any movement and every sport has specific biomechanics. Knee pain could be coming from crossing your feet over the midline of your body during your running stride, or shoulder pain could be coming from a muscular imbalance in your stroke during your front crawl while swimming. Booking yourself a therapy appointment to help correct these biomechanics is a great start. They can watch you going through your movements and spot where the underlying issue may be coming from. From there, the therapist can create a program for strengthening and cueing to help correct the issues.

Lastly…take care of your body

Pre and post event treatment is an important component to any event. Treating discomfort before it becomes an issue is the best way to excel at your own goals for your event. When you’re sitting down to figure out your training schedule, you should be putting regular therapy in there also. A monthly massage is a good plan along with therapy for any nagging issues that may come up along the way. The monthly massage can help stretch out and release any muscles that are getting tight due to your regular training. Post event, your body will need to recover and a massage can help get you through the after event discomfort.

With the help of these tips, hopefully you can reach the goals you have set for yourself within your event.

Written by: Stephanie O’Neill-Beetham, Registered Massage Therapist & Certified Athletic Therapist