Avoid these common injury-prevention pitfalls and your performance may even improve, too.
There’s no doubt about it: Injuries are frustrating, painful—and all too common. In a five-year study from Great Britain of a small group of triathletes, 72 percent sustained injuries, and rates were the same whether they were doing Olympic- or iron-distance training. Yet doctors, physical therapists and other experts say that too often, athletes make certain mistakes that help steer them right to the sidelines. Set up this season to be a healthier one by avoiding these common problems:
1. You go too far, or too fast, too soon
Injuries happen when the normal stress of training gets distributed to structures that aren’t designed to (or ready to) withstand it. If you don’t have good stability in your shoulder blades, for instance, stress is transferred to your shoulder.
One of the challenges with training for triathlon is that “the cardiovascular system is highly adaptable, but the musculoskeletal system takes longer to recuperate to adapt,” says Christopher Powers, physical therapist and professor of biokinesiology at the University of Southern California. “Many times, triathletes push themselves until they break down and get an injury.” If your training plan has you down for an easy day, respect it.