Photo by: Regina Manara via the Supconnect July Photo Contest
SARASOTA, Florida - Have you ever wanted to move beyond flatwater stand up paddling and get into something a little more challenging and fun, but simultaneously deal with some real fears, concerns and lack of knowledge/experience to be able to make it really happen? If yes, then the following series of notes will be extremely helpful and motivating.
Follow Karla Gore on her real life journey from Flatwater to the open ocean and beyond. Share in her training, struggles with injury, mindset, frustrations and triumphs by reading her notes and learning along with her. Also her husband/coach, Aaron Pollard, is an accomplished stand up paddler and surfer and together they will share information which can assist many paddlers with their SUP goals.
Dealing With Injury - Going into Week 5 of SUP Training... Notes by Karla Gore:
I am going into my fifth week of dedicated SUP training, with the goal to compete in a race called the Maliko Gulch downwinder in May. ·I have other flatwater races that I plan to race between now and then but I am working on really getting comfortable in the rough water. ·I post my workout schedule (from my coach) on the SURFit USA blog, if you want to follow along.
If you read the previous posts (week 1, week 2) you might get the sense that I can be kind of stubborn or hard headed. You are right.
You may have remembered my shoulder injury from two weeks ago. Well, yes, two weeks later it is still bothering me and I have still been going out to paddle. I cringe through the pain or self medicate with ibuprofen. I don’t want to get behind in my training. I want to keep building and keep getting better--I am having so much fun.
Week 3 workout schedule had me increasing the time on the water a bit and added in more in and out drills. I thought I had taken it easy. I paddled mostly on the flatwater, thinking that would be a bit easier on me. I reduced the number of in and out drills my coach wanted me to do (because it hurts to even carry the board). I strayed quite a bit from the schedule--in hopes that things would get better.
By Saturday, I felt OK and was excited to get out on the water with a group of new paddlers. I decided I would use my ten year old son’s paddle which was a lot shorter than mine and I thought it would take away some of the up and down motion that hurts my shoulder so badly. I carried my board with my left arm and paddled as much as I could with my left arm. I felt that the motion of paddling was actually making the injury better. You know? Warming up the joint. Later that day, I had the best massage of my life and had the therapist really work that shoulder alternating with hot and cold. I felt awesome.
But then, when I woke up on Sunday, the pain had returned and intensified.
According to some google research I have done, shoulder pain is one of the most common pains that SUPers face. It may be related to being hunched over at a desk job all day, improper technique, improperly sized paddles or just overuse.
I have been working on not being hunched over at a keyboard by converting my desk to a stand up desk and stopping every couple of hours to do stretches. I am more conscious and aware of that now. My coach says my form is good. I have a few things to work on but generally it is good and I am working on improving it even more. When I do paddle, I have been experimenting with different sized paddles to finally find the perfect fit for me.
This leaves just one potential culprit....overuse or over training. I may have gone out too intensely in the beginning weeks and may have not really listened to my body as much as I should have. It was whispering before, now it is a loud wail.
The last couple of paddles I have done--which have been few and far between--have been with a shorter paddle and have been V-E-R-Y low intensity and I thought I was doing better. But then the pain comes back, especially when I do seemingly simple things like put on a T-shirt or reach too quickly for something. What’s a girl to do?
At this point, I have missed two straight weeks of training and am going into my third week of missed paddling and progress. It is really a bummer!
I have finally decided that I need to heed the advice of my coach and doctor and really lay off of it for a good week. No paddling. Not at all, just alternating ice and heat and a series of ibuprofen to keep the inflammation down.
Although I am really sad about this, I will be even more depressed if I can’t paddle when we head up to Juneau, Alaska for the SURFit SUP trip. I want that more than I want to paddle this week. I won’t even be doing cross training. Running irritates it from the moving forward and back. Swimming-definitely not. Yoga? No down dogs for me.
Tonight I will be at the beach watching my kids catch some waves while SUP surfing and wishing that I could be out there with them, but I am trying to embrace this quiet week in order to come out better next week. Wish me luck!
Have you had an overuse injury while paddling? What did you do?