It seems that jiu jitsu and judo athletes get injured at a higher rate closer to major competitions. Partly, this is just a matter of misperception, since what probably happens is that athletes complain about their injuries more publicly leading up to tournaments. This is because they are more disappointed at the possibility of their injury preventing them from competing. And in the modern day and age, when you’re disappointed, you turn to Facebook 😉
However, there’s probably some reality to this observation as well. For example, in a attempt to improve my cardio, I have started doing more sprints, hills, and steps than I would ever do before. I turned up the intensity on this cardio-training as well. As a result, a few slips ups here and there have led to little issues with my knees, lower back, ankles, and toes. Any of those little tweaks could’ve been major injuries with some small likelihood.
It seems that the solution is to be very smart about how I turn up the training. I don’t push myself into new things when I’m exhausted, and I don’t try stuff that my muscles are not ready for. For example, I haven’t been doing Olympic lifts, and while they are a great heart-rate-raising exercise, this is not a good time to get back into doing them.
Also, I should mention “mental injuries”. It’s important not to burn out. I have to work a lot every day (as most of us do), and turning up training in any way can certainly be destructive to my motivation to compete. There is about 9 days left before Worlds, and I have certainly felt a few moments where I’m sick of jiu jitsu. It’s a fine line to walk. I have to remember that I have no chance of winning unless I step on the mat on May 31 truly excited to compete. If I’m too stressed, dreading it (in a negative way), and just want it to be over with, I might win a couple matches, but I will not be able to beat the tougher guys.
To beat the best of a big division, I have to really want it, and for that I have to remain injury-free, both physically and mentally.
Now, back to work… I have so much left to finish today… Sigh.