Injuries are just a part of life for skiers and athletes in general. You learn to recognize them, treat them, and then move on. It's almost unheard of for an athlete to go an entire career without at least one serious injury or setback, which is why injury prevention is becoming an important part of the athletics world. Two years ago I developed a sore foot from rollerskiing, which has since affected my summer and fall training. This spring, I was determined to avoid re-injuring my foot from rollerskiing and started some easy habits that have drastically improved both my foot and my training.
To start off, I delayed my first rollerski of the season by about three weeks, and kept the first few skis short, to gradually introduce the stress to my foot. I was also careful to have spread out each session, and spend a few days in between doing other activities such as running or swimming. While my first few sessions were barely over an hour, I have managed to progress to two hours and am able to rollerski on back to back days.
After several of the athletic therapists at Carleton commented on my flexibility (or lack thereof) I finally managed to motivate myself to stretch after every training session. While I would occasionally stretch after training in the past, I was quick to notice the difference in my flexibility once I started stretching six days a week instead of two or three. Since I do most of my training in the morning before work, I`m always careful to allow enough time for twenty minutes to half an hour of stretching after my workout, even if it means getting up at an absurd hour.
Finally, I always ice my foot for about fifteen minutes after every rollerski. Icing is a great way to reduce inflammation and recover from stress from training, making it a common treatment for most injuries. In the early spring, my favourite method of icing was to hop in the freezing Ottawa River, which is conveniently located within walking distance from all of Deep River.
After having such an old, recurring injury, I was worried about how it would influence my training this summer, but so far I haven`t had a problem with it. It`s probably not surprising that I've changed from disliking rollerskiing to enjoying it in the past few months, since it`s much more enjoyable when I`m not constantly nagged by a growing pain in my foot. After a successful spring, I`m looking forward to a (hopefully) injury-free summer!