Thursday, 3 April 2008

Bend and Stretch

It’s been a while (ie too long) since I had a massage, and I’ve also been incredibly slack looking after my body apart from training on the bike, and some limited core/upper body work. So when my piriformis, ITB, knee and ankle in my left leg started complaining a couple of weeks back, I thought I’d better do something about it. I’ve also been losing power intermittently to my left leg, ie basically I need to focus on it to consciously make it move round at the same capacity as my right leg. It’s not serious, and only happens every now and then, but it’s there and needs to be dealt with. So, I started stretching again and that’s had some benefit (ie less pain in the butt!!) But I knew, deep down, that this wasn’t really enough, so I took myself off last night to my local body shop where I visit my chiro each month, and did a session with the resident myotherapist.

Kylie was great! She rubbed, pushed, dug, poked, rolled tendon and muscle and chastised me for not looking after my legs. Checking out my hip flexors she tut-tutted and reminded me that the femoral artery runs down the left leg, underneath the flexors. Tight hip flexors place a fair amount of pressure on this artery, and you can imagine what the reduced blood flow does for muscle function and training/racing outcomes. It’s not surprising so many elite/pro cyclists have surgery to improve blood flow to their left leg.

So I now have a self prescribed regime of stretching again, and some more visits to Kylie before Nationals to help “normalise” my leg, and will be seeing her alongside Tracey regularly from now on as part of my off-the-bike training. I’ve been reminded that improvements on the bike are not just a case of get on and ride, but are also in the finer details that must be consistently monitored, reviewed and actioned: Do your weights and stretches!!Put down that muffin! eat your spinach! Go to bed early....

Sometimes, though, it's nice to be a bourbon-drinking, pizza eating late night couch slob.

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