By Bev Fentiman
Have you noticed that after one day on the mountain, your legs are really tired and quite stiff? Thigh burn has been bothering you on and off all day and you’re dreading how your legs might feel the next morning. Yet to your amazement they are surprisingly okay the following day!
That’s because Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) hasn’t kicked in yet. It takes between 24 and 72 hours after eccentric muscle contraction (lengthening of muscles while working) before the legs become sore.
On a Saturday-to-Saturday ski holiday DOMS usually kicks in on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. The main symptom is discomfort walking up and down stairs, but on a ski holiday, with only six days on the slopes, you will not be defeated, so of course you continue to ski! After an hour or so on the slopes your legs feel just fine, the ski instructor is pleased with your progress and you feel more confident than ever.
Wednesday arrives and you have the same DOMS this morning when you walk down the stairs to breakfast. Just like yesterday, you think you should be okay after an hour on the slopes. How wrong can you be? Today’s DOMS are from Monday’s skiing and on Monday it was your second day on the slopes; you were filled with new confidence in your skiing and probably overdid it.
You’ll most likely feel like you’ve had a disaster on the ski slopes today, with your legs refusing to do what you tell them. They have very little strength to make turns, you are uncoordinated and rather than make progress, your level of ability is worse than during your last winter holiday. What’s gone wrong? You look at your ski instructor for help, but they can’t do anything with your wobbly legs either.
Ski instructors have named this phenomenon “Wobbly Wednesday”.
Your legs won’t work properly because they’re still trying to repair themselves from the last three days. You probably haven’t stretched at the end of each ski day, and now those wobbly legs need a little time to recover.
Worry not… Wobbly Wednesday can be avoided!
Here’s our four-point plan, listed in order of importance:
1. Complete leg and core strengthening work for six to eight weeks before your ski holiday. Three sessions a week should be sufficient to give you muscle strength to ski or snowboard for four to six hours a day.
2. Book a good sports massage for your legs at the end of your second ski day (Monday for most of you). You only need a 45 minute massage to flush out those waste products and realign the muscle fibres.
3. Stretch your legs after each ski day to put the length back into those muscles, which are contracting all day long. Stretch the calves, quads and hamstrings in particular, holding each stretch once for 30 seconds. (Your therapist can advise you)
4. Drink plenty of water to help muscle recovery and concentration whilst skiing. Approximately 2 1/2 litres of water a day is easy to achieve if you drink water at each meal and each break.
Following this four point plan should mean you’re able to ski for six full days without meeting Wobbly Wednesday, making your ski holiday truly memorable for all the right reasons.
If you do experience Wobbly Wednesday, then come off the ski slopes, go for a walk and have a sports massage. Morzine Massage offer a mobile sports massage service across Morzine, Les Gets and the surrounding areas.
For an appointment call +33 (0) 6 67 52 49 36