Just when you hit your prime—personal bests in swimming, running and cycling—the worst possible thing happens.
You tear your ACL, strain a hip flexor, or pinch a nerve in your spine.
When an injury derails your plans to become the next gold medal winning triathlete, it takes a lot of hard work, mental strength, and a bit of luck to get back into the swing of things.
Here are a few tips to help you get from injury to Ironman in one season.
The biggest problem most people have when trying to return from injury is that they do too much too soon. Take this time and focus on maintaining your mental acuity; reassess your goals, create a plan, and research the newest gear.
When you can’t actually get out and ride or run, researching shoes, gear, and triathlon bikes is the next best thing.
Both your time and money are valuable, so invest each accordingly. Invest your time into your rehab efforts and make sure you’ve fully recovered before getting back into the saddle. Invest your money into good equipment.
There are some good bicycle shops San Diego residents go to for their knowledge and expertise; use those resources to help you design a bike that fits your own body’s form and mechanics. By using a machine that is built for you instead of forcing your body to get used to one, you’ll reduce the chance of future injuries and help yourself recover more quickly from your current injury.
Once you’ve been slowly working yourself back into shape and continuing to rehab your injured body part, you’ll be able to join in on some local competitions: 5k runs, 20k bike rides and maybe even a half marathon or two. You don’t have to race for a PB or a course record, just get used to your road bike fitting and all the techniques your muscles may have forgotten.
Returning from injury is a long and drawn-out process. At least, it feels like that to those of us who need competition to thrive. If you have a friend or family member who also competes, live vicariously through them to keep your motivation and interest high. Also, use that person as a resource and training partner when it comes time for you to make your return.