During my 30 years of racing, by far the most frustrating part was getting injured. For a large part of that time, many of my injuries were either calf or Achilles tendon related. It took me a few years to finally work out why I kept getting these injuries and more importantly, how to stop them.
Firstly I discovered was that 70-80% of triathlon injuries are run related and that the majority of those occur in the lower leg.
Then I found that there were 3 main reason for this –
- Lack of strength, especially in the hips, calf and around the ankle,
- Poor technique
- Inappropriate running volume (usually doing too much too soon).
I had an assessment by one of the physios local to me and she also detected that I had poor mobility in my upper back (causing more hip movement and ultimately more stress on Achilles) and my calf muscles were way weaker than required. I also had below average mobility in hip flexors (most triathletes have this due to all the bike and run work and general life posture, i.e. too much sitting).
So, I embarked on a daily mobility routine (about 20-30 minutes/day) with the help of Sarah J Pitts. I also added 10 mins of running drills before every run session as well as a regular calf strengthening programme.
In addition to the daily actions above I would emphasise the value of consistency. This is by far the biggest indicator of race day fitness. You can help yourself to achieve this by following some of the tips below…
- The importance of a good warm up and cool down – If your body isn’t adequately prepared for a hard session then not only will the benefit be less than it could have been, you also increase the risk of injury. You need a minimum of 15′ progressive active at the start of every session
- Follow a polarised training routine with a 90/10 split between low intensity (<80%mhr) and high intensity (>90%mhr) training
- Avoid “kinda hard’ training. In line with #2, train easy most days and very hard when you are supposed to.
- Listen to your body and if necessary ease back in a session or miss it altogether
You can find out more about the methods above in some of the podcasts I have recorded. I have added the links below.
Feel free to contact me directly if you would like more information