Resist The Urge To Train Hard, Too Early

Looking out the window to see temperatures rising, the sun out, and hearing the birds start to sing, can be a reminder to us all - get out of the house and start the exercise you've been avoiding during the cold months. Additionally, many young athletes are starting baseball, softball, track, or lacrosse practices in March and April. I know that is the case in our house. 

Although the season is changing, one thing stays the same: making sure athletes of all ages and abilities are acclimatized to this increased workload. What do we mean by “acclimatized”? Getting everyone's bodies prepared for the increasing demands on bones, joints, and muscles - as well as prepared for new climates and weather conditions.

Early Season Runner hazards of training too hard too early

The importance of including an acclimatization period in athletic training is to gradually increase stresses on the body and improve the body’s heat tolerance. This is critical to preparing athletes for ramping up exercise safely to cope with greater workloads and deal with warming conditions. An ideal period of time for this process is at least 2 weeks prior to actual serious training or regular practices. A gradual increase in intensity over the first week allows for additional acclimatization, especially for those who did not train in the weeks before practice. While the general timeline for acclimatization is 10-14 days, this can vary depending on the activity or sport and should be tailored to meet the needs of an individual athlete.

What are common mistakes or misconceptions when it comes to preseason training?

FICTION: The process of acclimatization can be rushed or sped up. I’m an athletic person, it's just been a few months since I’ve trained hard.
FACT: The human body needs time for change to take place. To rush this process is harmful to the body and can cause serious setbacks or serious injury. There is little reason not to take it slow for the first couple of weeks.
FICTION: Young athletes are more flexible and won’t get sore as I would. Younger athletes can just go out there and start practicing. 
FACT: Athletes of all ages need to properly start incorporating dynamic movements, and not static stretching before beginning any regular intense activities. The preparation should focus on the overall body movements an athlete would perform in regular exercise, practices, or games. Additionally, those activities should progressively increase in intensity though out the acclimatization period.
FICTION: Running on the treadmill, using the stationary bike, or weight training in the gym is good enough to get ready for outdoor activities.
FACT: The body needs to learn how to sweat again, gain functional strength and adjust to imperfect terrains. As much as some really smart engineers try, natural environments cannot be simulated in temperature-controlled environments or on the artificial surfaces of machines. Weight training machines focus on very specific and limited muscle groups. It is critical to gain functional strength and fitness in real-world environments including sport-specific and multi-directional movements.
FICTION: It’s not that hot out, I don’t need to drink that much water.
FACT: The need for proper hydration can not be overstated. In order for the body to function at optimal levels it needs to maintain proper hydration levels. The best way to avoid dehydration - athletes should drink an appropriate amount of water 1-2 hours prior to exercise (amounts vary according to weight).
FICTION: Checking the temperature is the only determining factor if it is too hot to exercise or practice.
FACT: Temperature, humidity, snow/rain, as well as wind chill, are all important factors to take into consideration. Additionally, playing surfaces can affect temperature. Turf-fields can increase temperatures more than grass fields. On hot sunny days, a field turf surface can be as much as 40-70 degrees warmer than surrounding temperatures.

Risks of starting too fast or early over-training

Physical Therapy for sports injuries

An athlete who overtrains or starts too fast can be at risk for a variety of injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries that can occur:

  1. Sprains and strains: Overtraining or starting too fast can put undue stress on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, leading to sprains and strains. These injuries can be painful and can limit the ability to exercise.
  2. Stress fractures: Overtraining can also increase the risk of stress fractures, which are small cracks in the bones. These injuries are common in the feet, ankles, and shins and can be caused by repetitive impact from running or jumping.
  3. Shin splints: Shin splints cause pain and inflammation in the shinbone (tibia) and the surrounding muscles and tissues. It is a common overuse injury. The pain may be sharp or dull and can occur during exercise or at rest. In severe cases, the pain may be constant and can make it difficult to walk or perform everyday activities.
  4. Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an overuse injury that occurs when the tendons become inflamed. This condition can be caused by overtraining or starting too fast and can affect any joint in the body.
  5. Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by overuse or repetitive impact and can be exacerbated by overtraining or starting too fast.
  6. Runner's knee: Runner's knee is a common overuse injury that causes pain in the knee joint. It is often caused by running or jumping and can be aggravated by overtraining or starting too fast.

We can not stress enough that to prevent these types of injuries, it's essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of workouts over time. Include rest days in your training schedule to give the body time to recover. Stretching before and after exercise can also help prevent injury. Of course, if you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

Exercises to consider in your acclamation period

Yoga for early training routines
It's essential to start with exercises that are safe, easy to perform, and that build a solid foundation of strength, endurance, and flexibility. Here are some good exercises to consider:
  1. Walking: Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise that is perfect to acclimatize. You can start by walking for 20-30 minutes a day and gradually increase your time and distance as you become more comfortable.
  2. Bodyweight exercises: Bodyweight exercises are simple, require no equipment, and can be done anywhere. Examples include squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks.
  3. Yoga: Yoga is a great way to build strength, flexibility, and balance. There are many beginner-friendly yoga poses that you can start with, such as downward dog, child's pose, and tree pose.
  4. Cycling: Cycling is an excellent low-impact exercise that can help improve your cardiovascular condition. You can start with a stationary bike or a regular bike and gradually increase your time and distance.S
  5. Swimming: Swimming is another low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints and can help improve overall fitness. If you're new to swimming, consider taking lessons to learn proper technique and improve your confidence in the water.

Remember to always warm up before exercise and cool down after. Also, listen to your body, and don't push yourself too hard too soon. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.

How CannaTape Sport can help

Lacrosse and CannaTape Sport

CannaTape Sport is here to help if you are already feeling the effects of overtraining or just dealing with the bumps and bruises that come with early-season training. Trust me, my daughter starts every lacrosse season with shin splints, and she and I can attest. Without CannaTape and post-practice ice – she would be miserable.

CannaTape Sport actively delivers its remarkable proprietary transdermal CBD formula through an equally remarkable Kinesiology tape, that increases muscle and soft tissue stability, increases blood flow, reduces pain by mimicking skin and opening up blood vessels, and decompresses pain receptors. And CannaTape Sport Kinesiology tape ensures the long-lasting active application of our transdermal CBD formula right where need it, targeting pain and inflammation.

We really think we have landed on something special, something that can help athletes fight pain, speed recovery, and allow both serious and weekend athletes to perform long-term at their best.

If you are looking for a way to deal with the pain you may be suffering, CannaTape Sport is a revolutionary alternative to home treatments and over-the-counter or physician-prescribed medications.

If you found this article helpful, and think a friend or family member might be ready to start an exercise routine or spring practices, feel free to pass this along to them. CannaTape Sport can help get you ready for an amazing spring of activity and we think it's worth spreading the news!

Photos by Jenny Hill  Oswald Elsaboath  Jeffrey F Lin  i yunmai on Unsplash

Written by Sean Malloy

Leave a comment