Tips From a College Athlete
Tips from a college athlete turned avid runner! As a volleyball player and the past four years as a college athlete I have been advised by numerous coaches, nutritionists, and athletic trainers. I have picked up several tricks to keeping my body healthy and avoiding injury. So for this post, I will share some of these with you. Take it from the biologist that this is not an exact science, but more like trial and observation.
ICE IS YOUR FRIEND!
If it hurts even a little, ice it. That is what any college athletic trainer would tell you to do. I looked at it as a preventative measure. After hitting 70+ volleyballs a day for four seasons, my 22 year old shoulder survived, and I attribute this to the pounds and pounds of ice that have been saran wrapped to my body. My patellas and hammies definitely held out for the same reason. I am a firm believer in ice therapy. This past season I took 7 full body ice baths, with only my hands and neck out of the tub. If I can handle that, you can handle a bag or too. You will not regret it.
Technical Benefits of Icing according to www.gomoji.com “Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, when used in the proper clinical situation can diminish pain, metabolism, and muscle spasm, thus minimizing the inflammatory response and improving recovery after soft tissue trauma.”
Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
Reducing soreness is key.
I personally am a fan of soreness. After a tough workout I like FEELING my hard work; however, soreness can make you want to avoid physical activity. I have found many ways to reduce soreness, but none of these will completely prevent it.
Number 1. After your workout and in the shower, gradually make the water cooler and cooler until it is almost too cold and then step out. It is like an ice bath, but not as intense, same benefits.
Number 2. Avoid acidic beverages after physical activity. Soda Pop, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice are high in acid. In biology terms, this will raise you blood pH and the acid will settle in your muscles causing soreness.
Number 3. Stretching. Does this even need an explanation? Stretch before so you don’t hurt yourself by running, and stretch after to prevent muscles from shrinking too rapidly.
Number 4. Heating before can help to loosen up your muscles just like stretching, but be careful not to burn yourself. Heat the area first then stretch it out.
Number 5. Ibuprofen, You-buprofen, We all-buprofen. Quick fix if you have to run today. Long term regimes have been recommended for over-use injuries.
Number 6. Take time off! Let the soreness pass, but if it doesn’t, you may have a more serious injury. My experience has proven that pushing through soreness and running anyway makes your muscles used to the physical activity. Soreness is your body saying, “I am getting in shape!” Love it!
Energy drinks are a no.
They are banned by the NCAA for a good reason, and there are plenty of natural alternatives worth researching.
Too much protein is bad.
Before my third 5K I ate ¾ of a vanilla Power Bar and vomited 100 yards from the finish line and my first metal (Shout out Smackover Oil Run). If you are going to eat a power bar, wait until you have already gotten your metal. Protein supplements are recommended for recovery after physical activity.
My favorite recovery drink is a big glass of chocolate milk! The protein from the milk will give your muscles what they need and the lactose sugar will give you a little energy boost. If you didn’t just run a marathon, more protein than that is really not necessary. Excess proteins will be degraded as cellular waste anyway.
Hydrate or Die!
I hope these help! The most important thing to take from this is to learn your body’s language. Know and respect what you need, and love great messages like sore quads! #sheruns #noexcuses