How often do you get your car serviced?
Every 10,000 kilometres? Every 6 Months? or do you wait until it breaks down, then call the tow truck or roadside repairs to come and get you out of trouble?
Reaching the point where your car has broken down is somewhat inconvenient. Your plans for that day need to be shelved, or at least significantly changed, in order to get your car back in working order again.
If you Google “How often should you service your car?” – this is one of the first answers that pops up
“For some older cars, you shouldn’t go more than six months without a service, while modern vehicles can last around 30,000 kilometres without needing a service.”
It makes sense that having your car serviced regularly and preventing a breakdown is the best option from almost every perspective. Convenience, financially and peace of mind.
How often do you get your body serviced?
Apply this same logic to your body. How often do you get your body serviced, or do you wait for it to break down before getting it fixed?
Just like a car, older models tend to need more frequent servicing than younger models. If your chassis was “created” in the 1970’s or earlier, you are more likely to need regular preventative maintenance than someone born in the 1990’s or later.
Your body breaking down is also somewhat inconvenient. Runners tend to be very goal-focussed individuals. If you are training for a specific event and you pick up an injury that prevents you from running, your goal can be left in tatters.
A lot of runner’s mental health and general sanity comes from being able to get out regularly and “blow out some cobwebs.” When you pick up an injury, not only do you have the significant stress of dealing with the repercussions of the injury, but your most significant coping mechanism has also been taken away.
Financially, just like for your car, you are much better off investing in some form of regular preventative maintenance, than you are sorting out a problem once it has already occurred.
What sort of servicing does your body need?
What your body needs to remain injury-free will vary a lot from person to person.
For some, regular stretching and rolling is enough. For most, regular run-specific strength training will make a huge difference.
Seeing your trusted health care professional on a regular basis is also something I would highly recommend. This could be your physio, massage therapist, pilates instructor, osteopath . . .
If you see your health care professional regularly they will gain a thorough understanding of how your body functions. They will know if your lower back tightens up, if your glutes have a tendency to get lazy or if your knees are your weakest point.
In the space of 5 minutes, they should be able to give your body a quick checkover, and be able to highlight whether anything in the way your body functions has changed. You might have a niggly achilles for example, an ankle might have stiffened up, or your hips might be tighter than usual.
They can then set about “fixing” any new potential problems, whilst also taking care of your normal issues.
At the moment, here in Australia, we are at a point in the year where most trail runners are building up for their biggest “A” race.
Around 80% of my physio diary is filled every week with runners coming in for preventative maintenance. They often have a specific niggle which has popped up recently and needs some attention, but they are also investing in preventing other injuries from happening.
These same individuals also tend to be the best at keeping up with their regular stretching, rolling and strengthening work, and they tend to be the people who consistently get the best results in their chosen events.
I’m sure you’ve heard your mum, or your doctor, or at least someone tell you.
“Prevention is better than cure.”
Book yourself in for a tune up and help avoid unnecessary overuse injuries.
Appointments are available in both our North Sydney and Wentworth Falls Clinic, or you can call (02) 9955 5842