High Volt­age

Lis­ten to Your Body

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Emily Nishikawa

Ev­ery ath­lete will inevitably cope with an in­jury at some point in their ca­reer, and I have been deal­ing with one this past sum­mer, so I thought I'd share some thoughts on deal­ing with in­juries. I had an ab­dom­i­nal in­jury this sum­mer that was spurred on by a run­ning race I did in June. It took al­most all sum­mer to fully heal.

It seems that in­juries are a part of elite sports, and al­though cross-coun­try ski­ing is a rel­a­tively low-in­jury sport com­pared to oth­ers, it is still a sport that re­quires repet­i­tive move­ments and uses the en­tire body.

I have learned a lot over the years about deal­ing with in­juries, and the most im­por­tant thing I've learned is to lis­ten to your body. As ath­letes, we are wired to keep push­ing our­selves, but when in­juries arise, you must re­spect the signs your body is send­ing you and give your­self the time and rest re­quired to heal. Of­ten, in­juries start out as small nag­ging pains that we tend to ig­nore, and they grad­u­ally be­come worse and can de­velop into se­ri­ous in­juries.

To truly heal, you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. For ex­am­ple, miss­ing a week of train­ing now to rest up and re­cover may save you miss­ing a month of train­ing later on down the road had you not taken the rest re­quired. I took my fair share of time off this sum­mer in or­der to let the in­jury heal, and not ag­gra­vate it. The same can be said in a larger time frame. Some in­juries re­quire you to per­haps miss an en­tire sea­son, but in the big picture, es­pe­cially for young ath­letes, this is only one sea­son in an oth­er­wise long and healthy ski ca­reer.

Mod­i­fy­ing my train­ing was a big part of my plan this sum­mer. I had to make many adap­ta­tions to my train­ing plan in or­der to ac­com­mo­date my in­jury. I was un­able to use my ab­dom­i­nals for a long time, so this meant no dou­ble-pol­ing. In­stead, I dis­cov­ered I could spend a lot of time strid­ing up­hill, both on roller­skis and on foot (ski walk­ing). So, for the ma­jor­ity of the sum­mer, I did up­hill strid­ing, and I would say I'm feel­ing stronger than ever in my Clas­sic stride! It's about con­tin­u­ally find­ing the pos­i­tives in any sit­u­a­tion. An­other mod­i­fi­ca­tion to my train­ing was do­ing no high-end in­ten­sity or speed work. But look­ing at the pos­i­tive side, this meant more vol­ume train­ing and Zone Three work to build up a more sub­stan­tial base of fit­ness.

An­other thing I learned when deal­ing with my in­jury is just how lucky I am to have such a great sup­port team. I had so many peo­ple help­ing me re­turn to health, in­clud­ing mas­sage ther­a­pists, a phys­io­ther­a­pist, an os­teopath, as well as my friends, fam­ily, team­mates and coaches. They en­cour­aged me to keep look­ing at the big picture, see the pos­i­tives and help me to fully re­cover, for which I am very grate­ful.

I don't wish in­juries upon any­one, but should they oc­cur, I hope you lis­ten to your body, find the pos­i­tives, see the big picture and heal up quickly!

Wish­ing you good health!

Af­ter hav­ing to mod­ify off-sea­son train­ing due to in­jury, Emily Nishikawa was back in com­pe­ti­tion at Lille­ham­mer.

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