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Injuries can be a nuisance at the best of times – but when you train for a triathlon, they can be an absolute nightmare. This guide will help!
An injury can be as minor as a blister or as serious as a muscle tear. While there is no one-size-fits-all rule to avoiding every injury, a few principles can be followed to help you prevent many injuries associated with hard training.
Before we get started, we assume that you are already on top of your triathlon nutrition, so that your body is being given the fuel, nutrients and hydration it need to stay on top form. We will also assume that you are wearing the right clothing and footwear to support healthy training. If not, make sure you focus on these two first.
With those in mind, here are some other ways you can stay injury-free when you train for a triathlon.
Always warm up
Whether you are swimming, running, or cycling, a good warm-up is crucial. Triathlon training activities all put your body under high stress. Unless your body is primed for activity, you risk pulling a muscle or aggravating a joint.
To warm up properly, you should focus on doing things that both raise your heart rate and body temperature, and loosen your muscles to promote flexibility.
It’s always best to concentrate on dynamic stretches before activity, saving static stretches for the end of your session. Try things like lunges and side lunges, leg swings, arm circles, bear hugs, heel flicks, high knees, and a light jog.
It goes without saying that successfully completing a triathlon demands a lot of training. But you have to structure this training properly to ensure that you are not overdoing things.
A full triathlon training guide goes beyond the scope of this article, but here are some general principles to follow.
Firstly, start slowly and build up – nothing screams ‘avoidable injury’ more than going too fast or too far too soon. Also respect recovery days/weeks, which are those sessions where you go easier. These reduce training stress to allow your body to relax and evade overuse injuries.
Finally, if you end up missing sessions, don’t cram them in at a later stage – just accept the loss and move on. Otherwise you will be putting too much load onto your body in a short time period.
Prioritize rest and recovery
As mentioned, when you train for a triathlon, you can expect to be doing a lot of activity. However, rest and recovery is just as important.
There are many ways you can rest, but a good night of sleep is undoubtedly the best recovery tool. Your body uses sleep to repair damaged tissue and cells, and DNA that has suffered oxidative stress.
Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night; if not eight or nine. Read the following article for some practical advice on how to create the best conditions for a deep sleep.
If you struggle to get off in the night, try some CBD, which can help improve your sleep, as referenced in this 2019 study. Our popular WholyMe Relief Drops are certified organic and contain 600mg of full spectrum CBD to help soothe your body and mind to prepare it for a restful night.
Tackle pain at the source
Even if you are training well, sleeping like a log and warming up properly, you may still encounter injuries. This is just the nature of triathlon training.
If you do feel aches, pains, and soreness, you can tackle the pain head on with a few techniques. Firstly, when you do feel pain during activity, stop the activity before things get worse. Then follow the ‘RICE’ protocol (rest, ice, compress and elevate) on the area that is in pain. This will reduce inflammation and help promote recovery.
To further ease pain and encourage healing, try our award-winning WholyMe Relief Balm. As the name suggests, this balm is an excellent pain reliever, made with science-backed natural ingredients such as arnica oil, rosemary oil, juniper oil, frankincense oil, and wintergreen oil. Rub a little directly into the affected area and enjoy some soothing action.
Enjoy a good massage
A good massage is one of life’s little luxuries. They can also become a real ally in your triathlon training program as you attempt to avoid injuries.
When you have the option, go for a sports massage or deep tissue massage (yes, these are the ones that hurt!). The pressure applied to the soft tissue can increase blood flow, break down adhesions and increase the range of movement in the muscle, preventing injury.
If you cannot afford a regular massage, then invest in a foam roller and look up some foam rolling techniques for similar benefits.
Whichever training plan you are following, always listen to your body, put time into recovery, and – most importantly – enjoy your training. It will all be worth it in the end!