More injury prevention tips
If you are an Ironman or Triathlon athlete then injury prevention must be one of the greatest things on your mind. There is nothing worse than an Ironman with an injury!
Consider the following factors to prevent injury.
When you have a minor injury, think of it as an all important A race that is next week- Take immediate action small injuries can cause more disruption and lead to imbalance change of form especially if you train more than 4 hours a week.
AGE- the older you are the longer it takes to recover from training. Many age group Ironman and Triathlon athletes take less account of this than they should.
BUILD UP slowly and remember your bones, joints, ligaments and muscles will all react differently to increased levels of training. Doing too much too soon is an injury s stroke pedal or step away.
BURNOUT - You can avoid burnout and injury by having a training plan that does not have too much too soon too hard with no recovery built in. Would you prefer to be 10% under trained than 1% over trained, the later will give you a sub par performance or a did not finish due to illness and injury. Burn out comes on slowly then feels like an elephant has landed on you. You can avoid burnout and injury by having a training plan that does not have too much too soon too hard with no recovery built in.
COMPETITION – Check out the course beforehand or ask others. Use appropriate clothing gears on the bike and correct shoes for the run. If you know the course you will be able to plan ahead. If unable to recce the course in the weeks before, arrive early register then drive the bike or bike the run. At the very least check out the start and finish.
CONSISTANCY and recovery is when you will make the most fitness gains. Ignoring these basic rules will almost certainly cause you to plateau get injured or burnout.
ENVIROMENTAL factors- The cold can cause tight muscles the heat can cause cramps, change of running surface can cause aches and pains, change of bike position can cause different muscles being used.
FATIGUE – Be careful when training if you are tired. This can lead to lowering your immune system and over training.
FOOT WEAR –Rotate shoes and wear appropriate footwear for the conditions. Do not use racing flats with no grip as you can slip and cause injury.
HAYFEVER - This is not an injury but see below some tips that may help. Vaseline in your nostrils can reduce hay fever symptoms. Kissing lowers histamine levels!
Winds and warm air rising mid day can cause 2 bouts of hay fever a day.
Eating local honey for 4-6 weeks can also help reduce hay fever symptoms.
HYDRATION – Keep hydrated not just plain water. Helps with recovery and can prevent some types of injuries.
IMMUNE SYSTEM - cyclist and long distance runners can prone to immune system problems. To reduce this make sure you keep energy levels continually topped up and hydrated. Eat foods high in antioxidants to reduce damage caused by training.
MONITOR – Self assess your mood energy levels and feelings. If in doubt leave a session out.
LITTLE AND OFTEN and being consistent. A season without any or very little disruption from injury is a sure sign your training has been built progressively. Being disappointed can lead to you trying to catch up and will result in other injuries or worse a whole season ruined. Flexibility core specific strength and a good base are all needed to prevent injuries but need to be done 12 months a year.
MIXING high intensity with volume-Swimming lots of intensity, cycling high volumes and running big miles is a recipe for an injury. It is not a matter of if but when. Many people are not able to ever achieve high volumes. To find out build up over a number of years like many of the triathletes who have taken 10 years of gradual progression to be able to absorb high volumes.
PHASING – changes should be progressive. Do not do a full-blown interval session without first having done some intermediate sessions in the weeks preceding your period of training intervals.
RECOVERY is your friend this is when you recover to train effectively again.
REST for a few days when injury symptoms occur if no change within 7 days then seeks a professional for help. This should help prevent the injury reoccurring.
REPLENSIHMENT – always replace fluid and carbohydrate in the 45 minutes after exercise.
RICE=Rest, Ice Compression and elevation. Also massage and treatment. Just like a stitch in time saves 9 leaving a problem to disappear on its own has more chance than a wish coming true. Look for the causes when treating an injury to prevent it happening again. Take time to stretch 10-15 minutes after all your rides. Reduce training time and stretch this will reduce performance times and increase time off from injuries if ignored.
RUNNING is the sport where most triathletes get injured so have two different pairs and rotate them. Two brands will have different properties and protection features so can also help. It can take 48 for the mid sole of a shoe to return to its full shock absorption properties so running in the same shoes each day could risk injury.
SEATING – Most of us are seated for long periods of time each day. At our computers, watching DVD Television. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Shins should be vertical and not at the side or in front of your chair. Make sure your hips are slightly higher than knees, so adjust your seat height to correct this. Remember you only need to do this once. Angle the seat ever so slightly tilted forward. Back position should be aimed to have an inward curve in the lower back and upper back aim for outward curve.
SLEEP- more sleep should help recovery and the immune system less than normal can cause the body to break down.
SORENESS -Never train hard if sore from racing, training session or from other activity such as gardening or DIY. You will probably change your movements to try and reduce discomfort, which can lead to injury.
SWEATING – change out of clothes you have been sweating in as soon as possible, this is more hygienic.
THINKING -training without concentrating often causes injuries because poor form develops. Doing a session choice without giving adequate thought of what you have done before, how realistic a progression is it?
TRAVEL – Have breaks every 2 hours if traveling by car even for a brief stretch. Aim to change position; do not be uncomfortable for long periods of time.
WARM UP & WARM DOWN – This allows your body to get ready for the session and helps your recover quicker for the next session. When warming up listen to your body for any signs of pain or tightness.