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You don’t have to get injured

17 July 2014 2 Comments

I see far too many athletes who are either recovering from an injury, or counting the productive weeks training between injuries. So many of them see injury as “part of the game”. This should not be the case, athletes should be able to enjoy their training as an escape from the other, more stressful parts of their life. I have identified several mistakes I see athletes making, which cause injuries and all can be avoided.

The athlete who trains with several different groups

I personally know some athletes who swim with one squad, run track sessions with another group, and do bike intervals with another group. Then these same athletes get together on the weekend and do “adventure type workouts” which are often quite tiring and even though they are doable, they leave the athlete too exhausted to train effectively for several days.

By training under several coaches, no one single coach is fully aware of the fatigue levels the athlete is carrying, or the development level (background) of the athlete. As a consequence, the athlete is often given whatever the rest of the group is doing, instead of a workload tailored for the athlete’s individual needs at the time.

Training in a heavily fatigues state at too high an intensity, is one of the causes of what many call a “torn calf” or a “torn hamstring” when in fact it’s just an exhausted body saying “enough, no more”.

The driven athlete who subscribes to the “more is better” theory

This sport attracts type “A” personalities. If you look around a squad of successful athletes, most are leaders in their field. Most have the ability to fit more into a life than the average person. They get up early, they fit everything in. Sometimes at the expense of quality rest. This group often have the “harder is better”, or “more is better” mentality.

I have these sort of athletes come into my squad, I have reduced the volume of work they have done previously, and they miraculously drop an hour off their Ironman time.

A lot of hard training has been wasted by athletes who have not balanced their life with adequate rest. Unfortunately these same athletes can suffer regular minor injuries because their body is never recovered enough before it’s loaded again. Once again the body is crying out, “enough, I can’t take any more”.

The athlete who is too busy to find time to stretch

Or in many cases this athlete simply does not see any value in doing anything which does not raise the heart rate. A body which doesn’t have the necessary flexibility to operate through it’s full range of movement, is first thing, not be able to perform at 100% of it’s potential. The next obstacle encountered by the inflexible athlete is loss of correct body alignment as muscles work against each other trying to perform. It’s like working with a handbrake on.

Your body was designed to operate freely, without opposing muscles inhibiting the movement of the working muscles. Under this sort of tension, something has to give. Some part of you will grind to a halt, or worse, tear or break .

The athlete who hates core strength work

I have athletes in my squad who thought I was picking on them because I have pointed out that they don’t do their core strength work properly. We don’t do core strength work to have a showy six pack. It’s nice when it happens, but that’s not the goal. Without adequate core strength, achieving 100% of your potential is simply not possible. This is one of the little things that can multiply out to a 20 minute improvement in an Ironman marathon.

It is one of the small factors that allow you to ride 180km in the aero position without suffering back ache. So if you have no back problems in a long wetsuit swim, then you ride 180km in the aero position without any back pain, then you run 42km holding a good posture, I guarantee you’ll have a satisfying result.

There are enough injuries which can be attributed to poor flexibility and lack of core strength, a book could be written on the subject. I have to ask the obvious question, “why wait until you’re injured before you start doing these exercise as rehabilitation, when you can do them as prevention?”

The athlete who sees little value in swim technique, or run technique sessions

I have put specific, run or swim technique sessions on for the squad. The amazing thing for me is how so many of the athletes who need it most, don’t attend them. If you are going to do something, it makes sense to do it properly. Good technique prevents injuries. But an amazing side benefit is that it’s faster, particularly when you’re tired. Most of the athletes I work with are training for half or full Ironman events. In both cases the run is started in a fairly fatigued state.

We have to train to run when we’re approaching exhaustion. If we have only ever practised perfect technique, that’s what we will produce on race day. A serious athlete can never afford to practice anything other than perfect technique. Good technique is efficient. Efficient movement is far less likely to injure an athlete, no matter how tired he becomes.

Athlete should not become injured

* If the training program is written to suit the “training age” of the athlete.

* If every session has a purpose – not guided by peer pressure

* If the athlete has good flexibility

* If the athlete has good core strength

* If the athlete learns good technique in each sport and practices perfect technique in every session

 

2 Comments »

  • bitch said:

    Great post.

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    You don’t have to get injured | ALLAN PITMAN TRIATHLON COACHING

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