Avoiding triathlon training injuries
As spring approaches, now is the time to put your triathlon goals into action. Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned triathlete, training is key to build up your stamina, endurance and your body’s resilience to reduce your risk of injury.
The triathletes we treat are often injured during training rather than during the event itself. If you sustain a training injury and are looking for physiotherapy in Twickenham, we can help you get back on track ready for the big day.
Follow our handy guide below to learn how to lower your risk of injuries as you prepare for your triathlon. But remember, for individual training and rehabilitation advice, you should have an assessment by a professional.
Plan your training
When it comes to triathlon training, a well-known rule is to follow the 80:20 plan. That means 80% of your week is spent training at low intensity and 20% at high intensity. Due to the nature of a triathlon, focusing on aspects such as fat-burning during slower, longer training sessions at low intensity is vital. But training also calls for bursts of strength and speed, for example climbing a hill or sprinting to the finish line, which is where high intensity exercises come in.
Give yourself plenty of time to train. Injuries can happen if you attempt to train too hard because you’ve only got a short window before the big day. By giving yourself a longer timeline, you can gradually build up your resilience to avoid a triathlon training injury.
Avoid shoulder injuries
Building up the strength and resilience of the rotator cuff musculature can help prevent swimming-related shoulder injuries. Shoulder exercises using dumbbells and side-lying shoulder external rotations can help with this.
Stretch the hips
Tight hips can result in reduced stroke length, shoulder joint tension and a less streamlined position. A hip flexor stretch can help elongate the front of the hips. Hold it for 1–2 minutes, several times a week.
Mixing up your strokes, making sure to include backstroke, can help distribute the load around your shoulders, while building strength and control.
Get a professional bike fit
A bike fit can boost performance and comfort while reducing the risk of injuries commonly experienced in the lower back, knees and neck. A fit will take into account your unique needs and measurements.
Work on your hamstring strength
A common triathlete injury site is the upper hamstring muscles connecting your thigh and pelvis, especially when riding a time trial bike. Due to the forward saddle position, your posture causes your muscles to tighten, which can result in painful proximal hamstring tendinopathy. Sumo squats, kettlebell exercises and deadlifts are among exercises you can perform to avoid hamstring injuries.
Lower back endurance
Good strength and endurance in your lower back muscles reduces the risk of pain. Deadlifts and back extensions can help strengthen this area.
Build up gradually
Progressive running can increase the resilience of your more sensitive tendons, such as the Achilles. If you push yourself too hard after a significant break from running, this can put too much strain on the tendons and cause injury.
Not thinking too much about your technique is thought to improve the quality of your run. However, one tip is to avoid overstriding to decrease the pressure on your knees.
Eat a well-balanced diet with sufficient calories to make sure your energy levels remain topped up. Calorie deficiency in an athlete is a recognised condition known as ‘RED-S’ (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport). This describes an athlete with low energy due to poor calorie intake. This can affect your bone health and increase your risk of stress fractures.
If you have had a training injury, don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can guide you through a range of exercises to get you back on track as soon as possible. Give us a call on 0208 898 1213 to speak to our friendly team.