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Posts Tagged ‘Esther Lofgren’

It started as a whisper. Just a tiny twinge in my ribs as I shifted in my chair. Within a couple of minutes, though, I realised what was happening: a hard session on the erg that morning was taking its toll.

Rest is not a dirty word

As the afternoon passed, the twinge turned into a pain and, to my dismay, several rowing friends told me that I was suffering from one of the most common rowing injuries – rib strain.

The only time I’d ever hurt my ribs before was during a particularly raucous ceilidh at our local village hall. A dance called the Basket and a neighbour with large hands (don’t ask) caused me to crack a rib and put me out of action for weeks. I never imagined such excitement could happen on the erg. Since then I’ve learned that rib stress fractures are actually quite common amongst rowers – and particularly female, lightweight ones.

Naturally my first reaction was just to ignore it and to carry on regardless; indeed I made it through a tough old weights session that evening.But when someone from the US rowing squad tells you need to stop, you don’t ignore their advice.

Twitter being an egalitarian kind of place where no one stands on ceremony, my complaint about my rib was picked up on by US national rower, Esther Lofgren. She referred me to a post on her blog for here for some excellent advice for anyone suffering from a rowing injury (or indeed any sports injury). Basically, you can turn a rib strain into a stress fracture if you don’t give it a rest.

The good news is that you don’t have to lie around scratching yourself while you wait to heal. There’s plenty of stuff you can still do, though it can take a bit of imagination to keep the pressure off your injury. At the same time, it’s essential to allow your body to heal. Rest, it seems, is not a dirty word.

For once, I’ve done the sensible thing and followed the advice of my elders and betters (well, betters, anyway – I definitely win on the elders score). I cancelled several rowing sessions. I rested. I drank water. I went to yoga, which stretched my poor, creaking body until it felt young again.

Since every year takes me deeper into the veteran category, this will not be the last of my rowing injuries, especially as I tend to attack my training like a rabid terrier. I wonder how long I can maintain this moderate, restrained approach? Only time will tell.

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Even though I’ve been shockingly busy the last few weeks, it hasn’t stopped me trawling the net for the best rowing and sports blogs, and this week I’ve come up trumps.

My hot favourite this week comes from the gorgeous Esther Lofgren, who is a member of the US women’s rowing squad. If that fact in itself isn’t enough to get you clicking on her blog, who could resist the title? Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. Come to think of it, I’d quite like this emblazoned on a T-shirt. Esther’s elite status and superb choice of title aren’t the only reasons to give her blog a whirl: it’s actually a great read. This month I’m loving her erg music playlist (it even got the thumbs up from the uber-choosy SonontheRiver) and alongside the insights into life as a world class athlete, there’s useful advice for even the most inexperienced rower (her post on rib injury saved me this week from turning a rib strain into a stress fracture, so thanks, Esther).

If you need a bit of inspiration, my next rowing blog is Pacific 2012 from the utterly hardcore Charlie Martell. Next time I’m feeling feeble about the prospect of a mere half hour erg, I shall remind myself that in May next year, Charlie will row solo and unsupported for 6,000 miles across the North Pacific from Japan to the USA to raise funds for two charities, and to set a new Guinness World Record for the first and fastest solo Briton. Phew. The blog features some interesting thoughts on how to go the distance (more advanced than just “man up”) and nutritional advice which, pleasingly, takes budget as well as performance into account. If you’re reading this at work, I should just say that the bit about the charities might make you well up a bit. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Finally, moving away from rowing to a more general sports blog, there’s the satisfyingly rigorous Sweat Science, described as “fitness myths, training truths, and other surprising discoveries from the science of exercise”. As a health and fitness writer, nothing irritates me more than urban myths and misinformation when it comes to sports and health and let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of rubbish spouted on this subject. Consequently this site is my idea of solid gold. It brings you the results of proper, empiricall- tested research, all presented in language that an Ordinary Person (even a rower!) can understand. Bookmark it and don’t let the snake oil salesmen take you in.

So there you have it. PB-inducing playlists, injury advice, inspiration, tear-jerking charities and gold standard science, all wrapped up in three rowing and sports blogs. You are, of course, most welcome. Happy weekend and happy reading.

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