100 Tips for a Successful Triathlon


Injuries are inevitable for any endurance athlete. One advantage of being a triathlete is that injuries are normally specialized enough so that you can continue to train in one or two of the sports even when you are resting injury. I have found it good to stress soft tissue injuries (that is, during recovery to exercise the area and then ice it down, progressively working the area harder and harder). The sports literature has much helpful advice on how to prevent and deal with injuries. I have managed almost all my injuries by myself except for my ankle problems, for which I use orthotics.  If you need to see a doctor, see one that specializes in sports medicine.  Find excellent  advice on injury prevention, treatment and taping at. http://www.runnersworld.com

KNEE PAIN. Try a knee brace from the drug store for knee pain; it likely will save you thousands of dollars in medical bills and do just as well

Check internet advice on strengthening exercises to deal with specific knee injuries.  Generally you want to strengthen hamstrings, quadriceps and core muscles, and stretch the these muscles.

ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES.  See "Swimming" for a discussion of excellent exercises for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

ICE ALL INJURIES. Apply ice as frequently as possible until they are resolved; use bag of frozen peas, ice packs or (for heel/ankle injuries) ice in your socks

The only problem with ice in your socks is that you will track water around the house, so avoid this recommendation if you want to stay married (see other advice on staying married in next section)

COMPRESSION SOCKS CAN HELP. Calf injuries may be avoided and healing of injuries accelerated with compression socks.  As a minimum they warm the area.  If you double the sock, you get more support and warmth. Wear during, before and after competition.

All INJURIES SHOULD BE RESTED.  Stress fractures and serious muscle and tendon tears require prolonged rest; other muscle and tendon injuries such as tendonitis and sprains, require brief rest followed by progressive renewal of training (all the while with regular icing, especially after a workout).

TAPE INJURED ANKLES. Use  athletic tape and cover with duct tape so it will not come off during the swim.

An alternative to classical athletic tape is Kinesio Tex tape which normally does not come off in the water during a brief swim.  It is more expensive than classical athletic tape but can be worn for several days at a time, making the cost differential at worst a wash.  Kinesio publishes a manual with recommendations on how to tape a great variety of injuries. ( Kinesio-tape.com ).  Many athletes used the tape in the 2008 Olympics. Kinesio tape stretches so it is not as good as athletic tape when you want to hold something tightly in place.

TAPE FOOT FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS.  I have successfully followed two options: First,  tape around the instep to stabilize the foot. Start at the top of the foot and tape underneath and over the top, perpendicular to the way the toes are pointing. Tape should be snug but not tight. I suggest you leave the tape on all the time until your problem resolves (for me, less than a week is typical). In the alternative, tape longitudinally along the bottom of the foot from bottom of toes to back of the heel.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy1ZEJ-kKTg for a good alternative.  Many fine options exist for preventing plantar faciitis.  They emphasize stretching and flexibility in the sole of the foot and muscles and tendons attached to the foot.http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/inside-doctors-office-dr-jordan-metzl-plantar-fasciitis

STRETCH TO RELIEVE STRAINED MUSCLES OR TENDONITIS on the outside of the leg.  Step back with one leg, go down on that knee and push outward on the knee that is up. This stretching is a must for prevention of common injuries but is just now recommended in common stretching regimes.

SEE General Advice on very beneficial use of foam rollers

DEEP KNEE BENDS FOR LOWER BACK.  Work up to 30-40 with your weight on your heels for a sore lower back.  Don't go all the way down or you will injure your knees.

RUN IN THE WATER. It can keep you fit while recovering from an injury.  A flotation vest helps keep you upright. Seniors should consider running in the water to supplement running on land, It will help avoid injury. See, for example, /www.aquajogger.com/index.php

WASH 'ROAD RASH'. Scrapes from bike accidents should be washed as soon as possible with soap; apply antibiotic ointment; best not to bandage as the scab will stick to the bandage

Falls while biking are inevitable, but should be less frequent as you become more experienced with different road and traffic conditions and bike handling. A typical fall results in a skinned elbow and thigh (and sometimes the knee). Hitting your head is not unusual, so a helmet is a must at all times, even for very short rides.

IMPROVE YOUR STROKE TECHNIQUE. It can help if you have a sore shoulder from swimming

I've found consciously thinking about leading arm recovery from the shoulder deals with one source of shoulder pain. To deal with pain that manifests when the arm is lifted above the shoulder, shorten your stroke length and turn you hand during recovery and pull so that the palm is facing somewhat toward the body rather than away.

CONSIDER MASSAGE. It helps areas where  movement is constrained due to scar tissue, and as a way to promote healing.

Active Release Therapy is a specific type of massage offered by specially trained chiropractors. It focuses massage on a very specific area of tendon or muscle to provide relief from soreness and scar tissue. I have found it provides relief and increased flexibility. Runner's World January 2010 gives guidance (page 50) on do-it-yourself ART for common athletic injuries.