Q and A with Paradis Pro Hilary McCloy on Injury and Recovery
A broken pelvis, a sprained ankle, a broken wrist, and wisdom teeth removal
August was a month of Paradis Sport team injuries!
Wednesday, August 16th was an usual one for the team here at Paradis Sport. We were all out of office, either in the ER or getting surgery. Boo, our intern, had a scheduled wisdom teeth removal. Abigail, our COO, had gone out for an easy morning jog around the neighborhood in Missoula, MT where she tripped over a sidewalk crack, fell on the curb, and ended up fracturing her pelvis! At the ER in MT, she found out that Sarah, our CEO and Founder, was also heading to the ER in CT because her son had broken his wrist playing soccer! What a day. <face palm>
Abigail was training for the Rut 28K which she has done several times before, but never as a new Mom. Abigail has a 13 month old son and found out from her orthopedist that her bone likely broke from her fall because she’s still nursing, and according to her doctor, “babies suck everything out of you, including your calcium”. (Who knew?) Abigail will need to be on crutches for at least 6 weeks and then maybe be able to ease back into running within 3 months. Boo’s wisdom teeth surgery went well (thank goodness!), Sarah has mostly recovered from her sprained ankle from hiking in Norway, and her son has a cast on his broken wrist and is doing his best to forego soccer for 8 weeks.
These injuries got our team talking about women, rest and recovery, injuries, and sports. Boo is a rising junior at Dartmouth College and plays D1 lacrosse. She shared that she’s already torn her ACL twice and had two surgeries from injuries related to lacrosse and overtraining. Abigail had a meniscectomy in 2012 from a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee from a downhill ski fall and training for a marathon during the same season. As we talked, we realized that as women, we sometimes have a tendency to do all the things, push hard and give it our all without necessarily always knowing when we are “getting out over our skis”. We are athletes who train and compete, while also working full time jobs, juggling commitments and households, and raising small children or fur babies. It’s a lot. Sometimes we push ourselves harder than our bodies can handle in the effort to grow, to achieve, to improve. As Sarah put it, “you have to get out over your skis to become a better downhill skier, but if you get too far out, you fall”. It’s a never ending process to strike the right balance and find the line between staying safe and injury free and pushing yourself to do your best.
To that end, we wanted to interview one of our brand ambassadors, Hilary McCloy, who is a US Ski Team alum, ultrarunner, and physical therapist based out of Jackson, New Hampshire, to talk about the importance of recovery and injury prevention while training. When she isn’t helping athletes at Hilary McCloy Performance PT, she trains for ultramarathons – she is gearing up for her longest race to date (the 100 miler UTMR). Since March, Hilary has been following a training regimen to prepare, including signing up for the Vermont 100K that was supposed to take place in June but was canceled due to extreme flooding. Hilary focused on running long, hilly trail runs before June, and then pivoted her training to high-elevation and technical hiking for the last two months to prepare for the steep vertical ascents she will face in the Swiss Alps.
While running and hiking training are essential to prepare for a 100 miler, Hilary says one of the most overlooked and crucial aspects for running is strength training. Athletes need to ensure their bodies are strong enough to meet the load of high volume running. Hilary explains that “running is a repetitive, high-impact sport so the main problem faced by runners is absorption (everytime you hit the ground, you absorb impact force). Runners have to make sure they are strong in order to support joints and tissue health.” When looking to strengthen these muscles to prevent injuries, Hilary emphasizes the importance of focusing on the smaller, stabilizing muscles that are often overlooked.
Hilary stressed that recovery is just as important as strengthening the muscles to prevent injuries. Taking care of your body and prioritizing recovery will reduce fatigue which is a leading cause of injuries. Muscles stabilize joints, so when they are fatigued, they cannot stabilize as effectively. Techniques to improve recovery can be implemented both during and after a workout. If you do not fuel and hydrate properly during exercise, you may use more energy stores than necessary, leading to more fatigue post-workout. Hilary recommends sneaking in a gel or electrolyte mix with carbs every hour while training for a better recovery. In addition, women need to consume 20-30 grams of protein within a 30 minute window after a workout to recover faster and to reduce soreness the next day. Aside from nutrition and hydration, athletes should also focus on getting enough sleep, foam rolling, and stretching to keep tissues healthy, and seeking massage therapy for any tight muscles. Focusing on these small changes in your routine can help prevent injuries and keep you in the game!
Here’s wishing a healthy recovery to Abigail and all the injured athletes out there!