23 Injury Prevention Practices For Triathletes

Regardless of experience, the goals of all triathletes are the same: to become faster while concurrently avoiding injury.

It has been found that the majority of triathletes experience at least one injury each season, therefore here are 25 suggestions to help stay healthy and remain in top racing shape.

Injury Prevention Essentials

1.  Strengthen your body

Triathletes are aware that repetitive movement can lead to harm to the body, yet in many instances, problems arise from insufficient training rather than overdoing it. The athlete’s body was not equipped to handle the amount of training they were engaging in and they sustained an injury given the strain.

The most effective way to combat this issue is to strengthen your body with strength and conditioning workouts.

This can be anything from small workout routines done at home to a complete regimen that you would find at a gym. Doing strength training not only helps to lessen the chances of sustaining an injury but has also been proven to result in remarkable advantages when it comes to performance.

2. Dial down the stretching

Don’t over-emphasize the importance of stretching or foam rolling. Triathletes don’t need to be as bendy as one might think.

Muscles that are tense or feel rigid are generally weaker than they should be. This is most common in the calves, hamstrings and glutes. When the emphasis is on strengthening rather than stretching or foam rolling, interestingly the calf or muscle tightness usually decreases.

3. Avoid the messy middle

4. Avoid making training errors

Mistakes made while exercising are largely responsible for most injuries that are related to overexertion. Mistakes in training can include pushing too hard too quickly or exercising with too much vigour.

One of the most frequent mistakes in training is trying to quickly build up a base for an upcoming event by drastically increasing the intensity of the training load. Studies have demonstrated that when the training load is augmented by 1.5 times more than the standard four-week average, it can raise the chance of injury by up to 38%.

5. Train harder and smarter

Triathletes are aware of the necessity to practice wisely, however, it is interesting to observe that training with more effort is actually a type of training smarter.

It’s counterintuitive, yet research has proven that gradually increasing the amount of training a team or individual does gradually jeopardizes their risk for injury.

6. Give sit-ups a miss

Including sit-ups and crunches is often a part of a triathlete’s core routine, as it makes sense to incorporate them.

The risk, nonetheless, is that the backbone is exposed to too many hazardous amounts of pressure through the sit-up/crunch activity. An improved and more secure option is doing plank exercises, including doing a front and side plank.

7. Maintain energy through diet

Keep your energy levels up by having a balanced diet that supplies enough calories. “RED-S” is a condition of an athlete who has inadequate energy due to not consuming enough calories.

Bone health may be negatively impacted and the risk of stress fractures increases, in addition to different endocrine system issues.

8. Strengthen your shoulders

Maintaining the power and resilience of the rotator cuff muscles is essential in the effort to prevent shoulder problems associated with swimming. Training the shoulders with weights such as dumbbells can be an efficient method; for instance, side-lying shoulder external rotations are a solid option.

9. Use cords and bands correctly

Do not assume that using cords and therabands will improve the strength of your shoulders.

Cord work and dry-land band drills focus more on developing muscle patterns than on strengthening them. Strength training should not be overlooked, as it is vital in achieving strength gains. Band or cord exercises should not take priority over strength training.

10. Look after your thoracic spine mobility

Athletes competing in triathlons can become deprived of movement in their thoracic spine, which is situated between the shoulder blades. Spending time in a curved or curved back stance on the bicycle can be a way to reduce the mobility of the thoracic spinal column.

Doing exercises that promote flexibility in the spine can help to undo the tightness created by flexion movements that triathletes often do. This can be accomplished by regularly laying across an lf-foam roller.

The greater manoeuvrability helps to alleviate pressure on the shoulders and can even aid in the post-stroke recovery phase.

11. Stretch the hips

One issue a triathlete should be mindful of is the tension in the front of the hips.

The hips’ front muscles becoming too tense (such as the hip flexors and quadriceps) can cause issues when swimming, such as a shorter stroke, tougher shoulder joint movement, and a decrease in streamlined posture. Hold for 1-2mins and perform several times per week.

12. Mix up your strokes in training

Incorporating different types of swimming strokes, particularly the backstroke, into a swim training routine can facilitate even load distribution throughout the shoulders, promote strength and finesse, and avoid overexerting the shoulders from performing the freestyle stroke too frequently.

13. Avoid excessive neck strain

Focus on improving mobility in your thoracic spine, as suggested in the eighth tip. Additionally, work on strengthening your upper trapezius and shoulder muscles with targeted workouts. Together, these measures can help ease the pain and stress that cyclists may feel both during and following a ride.

14. Get a professional bike fit

A bike fit done by a professional can be beneficial not just for competitive performance and comfort but can also help to mitigate the chances of getting hurt.

Injuries while biking commonly occurs in the lower back, knees, and neck. Taking into consideration your own specific requirements and body measurements, it is possible to get a suitable bike set up at each of these sites.

15. Work on your hamstring strength

A typical place for a triathlete to sustain an injury is the upper part of the hamstring muscle’s tendon attachment. It is a common occurrence in triathletes who have just begun using a time-trial bicycle.

Due to the more extreme downward slope of the pelvis when cycling on a TT bicycle, the hamstring muscles and tendons around the region close to the hip joint can undergo large amounts of tension and compression.

These weights can cause painful proximal hamstring tendinopathy in individuals with weak hamstrings that spend extended periods riding a time-trial bicycle. Tendinopathy of the hamstrings close to the body can be treated most effectively with the use of hamstring-strengthening drills that increase in intensity over time.

16. Stress-Recovery Balance

It is essential to keep a healthy equilibrium between the rigours of training and rest periods.

Physical stress may result from things such as exercising heavily, other sports, work and everyday tasks. Psychological stress may be due to emotional tension, work and family life, mental well-being and the mental challenges of a sport.

If the levels of stress and restoration are both adequate, then performance can be enhanced and the chances of experiencing an injury will be minimized.

If the amount of stress is too much and rest is inadequate, it can result in exhaustion and a decrease in performance, which could have a major impact on the emergence of a triathlon-connected injury.

It can be difficult to manage training for a triathlon, work, school, and taking care of children, pets, and household responsibilities all at one time. It is common to give up on recovery to keep up with all the other tasks. Giving it importance should be the top priority if you want to steer clear of injury and reach peak performance.

17. Sleep

Getting enough rest is essential for bouncing back from exercise. Skipping out on sufficient amounts of sleep can increase the possibility of being hurt, as well as impede any progress that is being made regarding training, competitive sports and recovery from injuries.

Current research showed that teens engaging in sports who do not get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, increase their probability of sports injury by 1.7, compared to those who do get more than 8 hours of slumber.

Getting too little sleep or sleeping poorly can make it difficult for your muscles to adjust and fix themselves, thus reducing any gains in strength, power, speed, and stamina that comes from training.

It is advisable to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

18. Nutrition

Triathletes normally train regularly and in some cases, there may be several activities in one day. It is very important to remember to eat properly to ensure appropriate energy levels, efficient recuperation, and the results of training.

A person’s carbs intake should be set to provide enough energy for their day-to-day activities, and it’s important to prioritize protein intake when working out to facilitate the body’s muscle repair, recovery, and immunity.

Consuming items with beneficial fats will also support restoration quicker and meet high energy needs. Eating fruits and vegetables can help you get the proper doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

It is vital to safeguard one’s skeletal system and lower the possibility of fracture caused by strain by making sure that the amount of calcium consumed and the whole energy intake is sufficient.

It is suggested that adults consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day (according to the Recommended Daily Intake). Women over 50 years of age should have an intake of up to 1,300mg daily, and men over 70 years should also have the same level of intake.

It is beneficial to seek the advice of a knowledgeable Sports Dietician if you are uncertain about what you need to eat and consume for nutrition when doing endurance sports.

19. Bike Fit

It is advantageous to devote some energy and capital to acquiring an appropriate bike fit. A bicycle that is not the right size may put the rider at risk of suffering from overuse injuries or feeling discomfort in their lower back or neck, particularly when riding for extended lengths of time.

Having a bicycle fitting can not only reduce the chance of you sustaining an injury and make your ride more comfortable, but it can also enhance your aerodynamics and make you more efficient, increasing your power and possibly leading to personal bests.

20. Footwear

Be sure to have on the proper running shoes that still have some life to them and are comfortable for your feet. It is suggested that one should replace their running shoes after roughly 350-500 miles or when their shoes have become less bouncy or lost their cosiness.

Particular injuries may benefit from a particular kind of shoe. As an illustration, those with knee agony may gain from transitioning to a minimized shoe, while individuals with Achilles tendinopathy or calf discomfort may favour a shoe with a more prominent heel drop.

You should talk to your physical therapist or foot doctor to make sure this is a good option for you.

The key thing to keep in mind is to abstain from making abrupt or radical alterations to your shoes.

The transition to a new type of shoe should be done incrementally, as significant adjustments in footgear can shift the way pressure is distributed across the foot. Without ample time for the foot and leg muscles to adapt to this, the likelihood of suffering an injury is raised.

21. Technique

A professional assessment by running, cycling, and swimming specialists as well as your physician can not only protect you from getting injured, but they can also help you be more effective and perform better.

An experienced physiotherapist can help conduct an evaluation of a person’s running pattern. A running form with an improper heel strike in front of a runner’s centre of gravity is linked to an increased probability of shin splints, stress fractures, a runner’s knee, and other kinds of overuse injuries.

A runner who runs efficiently has their mid-foot hit the ground directly below the centre of gravity, at a rate of 170-190 steps per minute.

By increasing the number of steps you take and shortening the length of your stride, there will be less impact on the ground and a reduction in the amount of energy absorbed by your hip, knee, and ankle joints.

In the event of an injury at any point in the triathlon season, it is recommended that one seek medical advice promptly. Although no athlete enjoys taking a break from training, continuing to exercise while injured could result in having to miss out on more of the racing season than if you rested for a period.

22. Gradual increase in training load

A frequent suggestion concerning the amount of running is to not add more than 10% of the total mileage each week. For those just starting out, the progress of increasing their distance can be very gradual.

Tom Goom of Running Physio has talked about a reworked version of this principle for upping the running load.

He proposes that a 30% increase per week should be the cap for runs anywhere in the range of 0-10km; for when it is between 10-20km, the increase must not exceed 20%; and beyond 20km, no more than 10% should be the increase.

Remember, this is just a broad suggestion, and it will vary depending on the specific situation, the objectives, the runner’s experience, and any previous injuries.

Research recently conducted has revealed that if the number of training increases by more than 15% of the amount done in the previous week, there is a considerable risk of injury ranging from 21% to 49%.

When the activity level was kept at about the same amount each week (no more than 10% higher than the previous week), the chances of getting injured were much lower (10%).

23. Recovery weeks

It is essential to include a rest period in your routine every fourth week. During a recovery period, exercise level should be preserved but the total mileage for the week should be reduced by 5-10%. The purpose of this is to reduce tiredness and maximize physical fitness and completion levels.


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