One of the most common causes of injury seen in POTENTIAL Royal Marine recruits is over training or over loading. This is especially common in those working up to their PRMC, or currently the ROP. Over training or over loading is, as it says on the box, a sudden increase in training too quickly. The body can only cope with a slow and gradual increase in training, so if you try and make adaptations too quickly your tissues will breakdown. Depending on your prior physical fitness you might be able to get away with over-training for a good while, but unfortunately it will catch you up eventually! Furthermore, depending on your prior physical state will also depend on the severity of your injury’s symptoms and time needed in recovery/rehabilitation.
The most common overuse injuries seen both prior to joining and at CTCRM in recruit training are:
- Shin Pain – known as MTSS ( medial tibial stress syndrome)
- Stress Fractures – i.e. Tibia, metatarsals, femur, fibula and pelvis.
- Tendinopathy – commonly Patella or Achilles.
- Patellofemoral pain/medial knee pain – pain at or behind the knee cap or on the inside of the knee
There are of course several other causes of injuries which are listed below. Injuries caused by a combination of the below factors and over-training are all classed as PREVENTABLE injuries. If any deficiencies and weaknesses you present with are modified and improved earlier on, the risk of you getting injured is significantly reduced. Hence, the importance of injury prevention screening!! The other causes are:
Lack of rest
Lack of active recovery
Lack of isolated muscular strength
Lack of functional strength
Lack of flexibility/mobility in the joints and tissues
Poor movement patterns
How to Train SMART
During each individual training programme, there needs to be an appropriate balance between training and recovery to maintain peak performance and reduce the risk of injury. You need to class each weekly training session into HIGH, REGULAR & LOW workouts. Constantly working in HIGH and REGULAR workloads within one week will lead to an increased risk of injury as the body struggles to manage the fatigue and recover sufficiently. A HIGH workout means you are taking yourself to 80-100% of your work capacity during that session, and this is not sustainable if done too much. LOW workouts will mean including active recovery tools into your programme, which will help compliment your HIGH load days.
You also need to look at the variables of your training programme. When progressing your programmes, you must ensure you are only increasing two variables (at MAX) at once. There are 3 variables which you need to be aware of, these are:
1) Volume - your total workload load per training session, i.e. the amount of exercises, sets, reps, time
2) Intensity - HIGH/REGULAR/LOW. This essentially shows how difficult the session was.
3) Frequency - how many times a week are you training, and for how long.
Pick the two you want to work on simultaneously and down-regulate the other. The body only has a limited degree of reserves to draw from, when these get maxed out, progress will grind to a halt, performance will reduce and injury risk increase.
Take all the above into account when planning your training programme as you prepare for your pre-joining fitness test and your ROP.