Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine shares the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Race training and avoiding injuries

As we move ahead in the new year, many of our student athletes and their families will be training for upcoming running events such as the Great Aloha Run in February and the Hapalua Half Marathon in April. This month, Dr. Rachel Coel, Medical Director from the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine, provides guidance on training for these types of running events, as well as for any upcoming sports season.

How should athletes prepare for a road race, community fun run, or new sports season?

Planning, preparing and training ahead of time allows for a gradual build up of endurance to give your body a chance to adjust to the unfamiliar strain. Race or sport preparations should include:

Wearing proper footwear. Because every body is shaped uniquely and moves differently, it is helpful to visit a dedicated running shoe store to select a shoe that best fits your particular body type and running style.

Allowing time for a proper warm up and cool down. Examples might be doing a set of 10 lunges and 10 body weight squats before running and taking time to walk slowly and stretch after running.

Staying properly hydrated. Proper hydration improves your energy and allows your body to perform better during workouts. Hydrating consistently before working out provides the best outcome, instead of waiting until the time of the workout or until you are thirsty. Make the effort to drink water regularly throughout the day and avoid excessive caffeine, which can be dehydrating.

Applying sunscreen! Sun protection and using a hat and sunglasses is important during practices, training runs, and race or game day to protect yourself from prolonged sun exposure.

Getting enough sleep. The body needs time to recover while training. It is very important for adults to aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Children and teens are strongly advised to get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.

Taking time to recover. Give yourself at least one rest day per week to allow the body to recover. Overtraining can cause injuries, such as shin splints, joint pain, or even stress fractures.

How do common training injuries occur?

Many people mistakenly believe that shorter running races do not need preparation and they may even boast about running a road race without training. However, just because you can force your body to run eight miles on race day does not mean it is a safe practice. This type of approach to sports or exercise puts you at high risk for sustaining an injury.

Most injuries occur due to training errors, such as:

• Ramping up too quickly
• Having poorly fitting or worn out running shoes
• Not giving enough time to prepare and train in advance

To be ready for any sport or exercise, athletes should take care of their bodies. All age levels should allow their bodies to adjust to new workouts. Along with gradually increasing your endurance, we also recommend cross training, which means doing activities other than your usual sport, such as cycling, weight training, surfing, or biking.

Exercise routines should be practiced without pain. If there is pain, you should stop and rest. If pain persists for more than 24 hours, see your doctor for evaluation.

For more information on sports training preparation, Functional Movement Screenings or Sports Medicine Physical Therapy services, contact our experts at the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine at 808-691-4449 or click the button below.

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