Tough Mudder is being held for the first time in Victoria at Philip Island, approximately 2 hours from Melbourne. This is the premier obstacle course that involves not only having to complete a 18 – 20 km walk/run, but also navigate your way through many different obstacles and tough challenges. The event is scheduled for the last weekend of March, so approximately 7 – 8 weeks away. Many individuals will be feeling the pressure to increase training loads so that they are better prepared for the event and with this comes an increased risk of injury through mishap or overuse related training.

For more information about Tough Mudder Melbourne Australia, please check out http://toughmudder.com.au/events/melbourne/. Information about the Tough Mudder Obstacle course can be read at http://toughmudder.com.au/about/.

The last few weeks have seen an increase in number of Tough Mudder training related injuries in the clinic. Most of these injuries have resulted from a combination of over training, lack of variation in training, lack of stretching/mobility and with clients taking short cuts on the warm up and cool down.

The injuries that I have personally treated in the clinic include Low Back Pain, Hip Pain and Knee pain. All of these injuries have occurred following a spike in training that has simply too much too soon. Typically an increase in training load, intensity, distance etc etc that follows the 10% rule per week is suggested. Many of these clients have increased training loads by as much as 100% over a 3 or 4 week period (of which their original training base was either non existent or consisted of a couple of sessions per week (made up of running and gym).

Many injuries can be prevented or better managed by adopting a few simple strategies relating to training load, training type and improving warming up an down processes.

Strategies to reduce your risk of injury whilst preparing for the event include:

Cross Training – Whilst many individuals will be increasing their running loads during the week, it is also important to vary your training program by incorporating other cardio related exercise. This could be as simple as adding in a bike ride, swim, water running or resistance based circuit session. Lots of mileage with running, a lack of warming up and cooling down and cross training can result in the individual developing lower back pain, hip and/or knee pain. Commonly the lower back can stiffen up, the gluteal, hamstrings, hip flexors and calf muscles can tighten to the point where pain develops. If you are finding that you are starting to develop these symptoms, then back the running off and add in a few different sessions.

Warming Up & Cooling Down – Many clients are time poor when it comes to training, either that or they are simply lazy and don’t see the benefit of warming up or cooling down properly. Often the individual can get away with this for sometime, however there often comes a point where tissues tighten up to a point beyond what the body can deal with and pain develops. Again, pain is often felt in the lower back, hip or lower limb. Make sure you carry out an active warm up, which could be as simple as a slow introduction into the exercise for 5 – 10 minutes, then stop and stretch or carry out some active mobiliser movements. The cool down is again another element of training that is bypassed. People will reach for their protein shake and get in the car and drive home following a session. Stretching after exercise, contrast bathing (hot and cold showers) or bathing in the bay (like many footballers do following gam day) are great ways to reduce muscle soreness and tightness.

Avoid Overtraining – Increasing training loads too soon will result in an increased risk of injury. 10% per week is a good aim when it comes to increasing running loads i.e. Not increasing km by more than 10% per week. For those that have left their exercise preparation too late and are trying to get their fitness levels up to scratch before the event, then cross training and warm ups/cool downs are essential.

For those that are currently training for the Tough Mudder event, currently have niggles from training and/or have a history of pre-existing musculoskeletal overuse related injuries, I would suggest booking in with your osteopath. The osteopath will be able to help identify areas of tightness, provide you with advice on training and preparing for the event, as well as give advice on managing areas of tightness and soreness through the prescription of stretches, foam roller exercises and/or exercises.

Principle Four Osteopathy is located in the heart of the Melbourne City CBD 3000 at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne City CBD 3000. To speak to an osteopath or make an appointment, please call 03 9670 9290 or email info@principle4.com. Check us out at www.principlefourosteopathy.com. The clinic is located within a boutique personal training centre that allows for a gait and movement assessment and prescription of personalised stretches and/or exercise program.

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