From Tendonitis to Personal Best

Have you ever set out to do a race only to find yourself dealing with an injury during the final weeks of training? Well, yours truly just experienced this recently.

Having only skied a few times this year due to the lack of snow, I signed up for the 2012 Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Race being held on February 11, 2012. I wrote out a training plan and put it on the fridge.

My first long ski of the season was January 2, 2012. I was in heaven out on the Blackfoot ski trails, connecting with nature, and getting a long ski in. Unfortunately, I got carried away with my time, got lost and before I knew it, I had skied much more than I had planned. I started feeling pain in my right triceps tendon and by the time I arrived back at my car, it was clearly inflamed. I was drained and disappointed. Being that the triceps are key muscles in your poling motion, I was concerned.

When I got home I immediately iced and took ibuprofen. I consulted my in-house physiotherapist and gave it a rest for a few days. We concluded that it was triceps tendonitis. I focused on 15 minutes of icing (never heat within the first 48-72 hours) every couple of hours for the first few days, then icing daily for a week. This helped a lot, and within a few days I was able to administer some self massage therapy to aid my recovery. Massage helps to improve circulation to an injury site, reduces muscle tension and helps prevent restrictive adhesions from forming between the tendon and surrounding tissue.

I was skiing the next week with some tendon aggravation but I took it easy and let my legs do more of the work. I had some bumps along the way but I made a full recovery several weeks before race day. I consistently skied twice a week, iced after every ski, cross trained, and did core strengthening as well.

I had a fabulous race, achieving a personal best time, and my injury never bothered me. I really feel my great results were due to consistent icing, proper rest and regular massage therapy treatment.

So, next time an injury crops up before an event, take a breath, get assessed, and receive proper treatment. This approach will pay dividends, making you a happier athlete.

Happy trails!