Who doesn’t love practice in January? For me, it makes me think of walking through an icy parking lot and trying not to get injured before even getting to practice. Or huddling next to the heater and squealing while taking off layers to gear up. Or putting all of your layers back on while still warm and sweaty, only to have a cold breeze blast your wet neck and head as soon as you walked out the door. Ah, golden memories!
January is also prime cold and flu season. In Rose City, there’s a particular malady called “hangar cough” that’s propogated through the cold air, germs, and dust floating around in the practice space.
Training tip #1: Do not go to practice sick.
Do. Not. Go. To practice when you are sick. Even if your bout is coming up. Is it better for you to lose one practice, or for two more people to be sick during your bout? Those people are going to show up to the bout whether they’re sick or not, and the cycle begins anew.
Think of a cold as a little love note from your body saying, “Hello. You’ve been working awfully hard lately. It’s time to take a couple of days off to catch up on the Netflix cue. Take it easy. Let’s heal.”
Training tip #2: Don’t use your hands.
Have you ever watched people wash their hands/not wash their hands in public restrooms? It’s pretty disturbing. Now, far be it from me to criticize anyone’s hygeine, but people are gross. It’s good practice to wash your hands frequently, but think of all the people who aren’t. And then open doors. Yeah.
Easy solution? Shoulder checks and hip checks.
If a door has a crash bar or opens out, use your hips to open it. You can push it open with your hips, and finish the job with your shoulder. Don’t blast it – that’s hell on your body and the body of anyone else who might be on the other side.
Every time you open a door with your shoulder in everyday life, tuck your elbow in to your body. I haven’t played derby for a year and a half, and my brain is still hard-wired to keep my elbows tucked in while opening a door with my hips.
Ta-da! Extra training, and fewer germs to fight off.
What do you do to protect yourself from the derby plague this time of year?