Team GB Warm Weather Training – Cate’s Blog

This is a trip that until 10 days ago I had no idea I was making, but when SMP’s Associate Dr Rob Chakraverty called to offer me the chance to work with some of Team GB’s top Paralympic athletes, it wasn’t going to be something I turned down. Especially not as it was in Gran Canaria for 2 weeks and at the time there was 7″ of snow outside my door.

Athletes use warm weather training camps to improve their training potential. Cold weather = cold muscles = less effective training and despite what several colleagues have joked with me about, it is certainly not a 2 week holiday for them, or for me.

My experience of working with wheelchair athletes before arriving here was precisely zero, and something which I have been stressing about since I agreed to this trip. However, in the short time since I have been here, it’s pretty easy to see that there are very few differences at all to the patients that I treat weekly at SMP. They come with a lot more kit than the rugby players I’m used to dealing with (the bruises on my arms and legs are testament to that) and they are more prone to getting stuck in lifts (we only just made our flight at Manchester because this happened) but that’s about the only thing I can say is any different. I’m already the target of banter after generously offering my arms as a pseudo hand bike during warm up this morning. I’ll let you work out my new nickname for yourself!

The 4 athletes I’m with have a variety of disabilities and some need more assistance than others but the bottom line is that that are all elite athletes and their training programme whilst they are out here is pretty tough. Yesterday’s ‘blow the cobwebs off’ session turned out to be a hill circuit against the wind. We’ve been to the gym this morning for their normal conditioning session and this evening we’re heading to a local athletics track for a session before dinner. So, despite popular belief there has been no lazing round the pool. Not that the weather is good enough for that just yet anyway!

Anyway, I have a pre-session treatment session now so I best be off. I have a proper treatment room, complete with adjustable plinth, red light and joss sticks (not sure why the latter 2 are necessary but I’ll go with it!) which is a novelty for a travelling Physio so I’m going to make the most of it.

Cate x