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Injury prevention for Ironman SA 2014

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By our resident physiotherapist: Chris Allan 

Mphil. (Sports Physiotherapy) BSc. (Physio)


 Only a few more weeks left!  The start line is in sight.  Just one more training period to get through, and then the taper can start.  This is a crucial time in your training program. You want to get these hours in so that you can taper with confidence and arrive at the start line uninjured and fully recovered.


Here are some tips to help you get there uninjured:


  1. Stick to the plan – Your training program has been designed over the past few months, to get you here.  At this point you are strong enough to get through the final peak without picking up any niggles.  And the final training peak has been designed to get you through Ironman to your goal. So don’t panic and think you need to add a speed session or an extra few kilometres.  Trust the program.  Any extra sessions or intensities could push you over the edge to injury.


  2. Trust the taper – When you get to the taper you will initially feel fatigued.  Don’t panic, you are supposed to.  That was the point of your final peak.  You will recover.  And when you hit the final week and a half and you feel like you are "losing fitness” and should do more.  DON’T! You need to hit the start line fully recovered.  The taper has been designed for that.


  3. Stretch and massage – Now is the time to be consistent with your stretching.  Keep the muscles flexible and ready for the next big day.  And it will help if you get a sports massage each week.  The massage therapist will be able to work out any tightness in the muscles, fascia and joints and hopefully prevent them turning into niggles.  Most niggles, caught early, can be eased up with a simple massage.


  4. Early intervention – If you start to pick up a persistent niggle that doesn’t respond to massage and relative rest, go see a sports physiotherapist.  The sooner you treat a potential injury, the more chance you have of getting rid of it before the day.  And a sufficiently qualified person will be able to keep you training whilst minimising the load on your injury.


  5. Supplements – As well as injuries, you are now susceptible to minor infections like the common cold.  This could be due to a lowered immunity.  So bolster your system with a good immunity boosting supplement, take your multivitamins, eat properly, get your sleep and hydrate efficiently.


  6. Core training – I know you are spending a lot of time training at the moment and probably don’t want to even think about core training.  So choose one or two simple exercises and do them for just 5 minutes whilst watching television in the evening or at lunch time.  It’s not a lot, but it will keep those muscles switched on and might help prevent injuries that occur due to fatigue.


  7. Recover, recover, recover – Recovery is for training and competing.  It allows you to come out the next day and train as hard as you’re supposed to.  But it must start from just before you cross the finish line of any training session or event.  Have a plan to do the necessary quickly and efficiently.  Get started on the correct recovery nutrition as soon as possible, cool down sore and aching muscles, have a shower, put on your recovery compression if you use it, elevate your legs if you can. Recover, recover, and recover!


  8. Look after yourself like a pro athlete – just because you aren’t getting paid to race doesn’t mean you don’t have to look after yourself like a pro.  Spend the time doing the basics mentioned above and the start line will come with fresh injury free legs!


Good luck and enjoy!



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