As race season kicks into gear, here’s how to hit the ground running, avoid injury and look pretty good in the process
The race card heats up in Dubai as soon as the temperature cools down, so the next couple of months will offer ample opportunity for road races, stair climbs, cycling challenges and more.
At this stage, signing up might seem an essential part of some, quite frankly, foolhardy plan to ‘get in shape for the beach’, but whoa there, Mo Farah. Going into this this all guns blazing at the start of the season is a sure-fire way to end up in a whole world of pain.
Thankfully for you, your choice of active wear – before, during and after a race – can make all the difference when it comes to not only performing well, but also getting out of bed the next day with relative ease. No longer is this an issue of digging out some scruffy sneakers and a ragged old shorts and T-shirt combo; sport tech is now a serious business.
Anybody with even just a passing flirtation with the gym will be aware of compression wear. Admit it, you’ve probably ridiculed people for wearing tights under their shorts. However, there is some effective science to it. “When you exercise a particular muscle group, it can become inflamed,” explains exercise scientist Jessica Hills. “This results in an increase in fluid and white blood cells to the affected area, which leads to swelling, increased pressure and ultimately, the pain. Compression garments attempt to combat this by constricting muscles which, in theory reduces the amount of fluid build-up and the pain we get for the next couple of days.” While it’s no miracle cure, tests have shown that it can certainly reduce the ache.
When it comes to recovery treatments (see our box below) ice baths can be an effective way of dealing with repetitive training, the general theory being that the exposure to cold helps to combat the microtrauma (small tears) in muscle fibres and resultant soreness. Again, testing has proven a bit murky on this one, but it’s certainly worth a try as part of your routine. Just remember to never ice for more than 20 minutes, less than ten is probably a waste of time, and always ice an injury immediately after a race.
While there are no hard and fast rules to avoiding the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness), the kit you’ll find here will not only help limit pain, but also put you head and shoulders out in front in the style stakes. Sounds like a winner to us.
UAE race card
Beginners Triathlon Camp
Dubai Desert Road Run
Wellman Road Run
2XU Triathlon Championships
Hilton Dubai Tower Race
How to beat the pain
James Bohlin from Fit Squad Dubai explains how to avoid aching muscles
1. Stretch and cool down
Post-race, be sure to stretch and do a full cool down. This helps flush the toxins out of your muscles, speed up recovery and reduce the ache so you can get back to work asap.
Post-exercsie, your muscles are like sponges ready to absorb nutrients. Be sure to get protein such as lean meat, eggs and pulses. Fast digesting carbs such as pasta and potato are also vital, causing a spike in insulin that will drive the protein to your muscles.
Rest is paramount. Intense training is great but sometimes forcing yourself to rest and recover is a discipline in itself. Listen to your body here. Slow relaxing massages will also help.