How to (not) avoid injuries

It’s been a while since my last blog and the reason for the silence is I’ve had my head down training hard in prep for Ironman Melbourne in March and Ironman Australia in May. I’ve always been lucky in that I haven’t suffered with injuries but that luck came to an end on new years eve when I tore my calf muscle. Doing the math and Melbourne is a no go considering I can’t run for 4 weeks (and it will be at least 2 more weeks before I get up to full bore). IM Australia is possible providing everything goes to plan but it’s touch and go.

To be honest I’m absolutely gutted (no surprise). I’ve worked hard for the past 6 months to build a solid training base and I felt like I was in great shape for Melbourne. At the same time I know that I need to man up and deal with it. There are aspiring pro athletes who race for endorsements and prize money to pay the rent. This could be a WHOLE lot worse.

So now what? I need to learn from this, pick apart what has led to this injury and put it right. Here are my lessons learned.. the hard way. Hopefully by sharing these I can get some get well quick karma 🙂

  1. Recovery is important, especially if you are 30+. The first lesson is I’m not 24 anymore! By that I mean the older you get the slower your body recovers and trying to smash out a hard ride on a saturday and a long run on a sunday is asking for trouble. Once you are over 30 recovery becomes even more important and planning a training schedule that incorporates sufficient recovery time will help you to avoid injury.
  2. Listen to your body, even writing this I’m thinking ‘duh! you think so’. I started out on a long run the day after a long ride and I didn’t feel great, I felt fatigued and my legs were heavy. At that moment I should have been smart enough to realise that I wasn’t going to get much out of the session and I was risking injury. What did I do? I got my head down and tried to finish out the distance, 12km later and I got the sniper shot to the calf.
  3. Build your sessions slowly. Prior to Christmas I started to ramp up my training sessions adding in speed work on the bike, hill running and tempo running. These are high value sessions but ramping up quickly in a short space of time put my already fatigued body under additional strain and more than likely contributed to the injury.

Probably the most frustrating factor is that there’s nothing here I didn’t already know. Anyone who puts them self through an Ironman is going to be anal by nature! It’s not the kind of thing you just have a go at on a weekend, it’s a 6 month + journey. Amateurs like me scour the internet for training information, stretching guides and blogs. We always do our research and we are meticulous in our preparation. Just as we are meticulous your average IM competitor is also going to be a little bit pig headed and stubborn. How else do you drag yourself around 226km’s of hell?! The down side of this stubbornness is we think we know best and despite doing all the research we end up ignoring it. It’s a pretty shitty feeling to be flat out on the couch knowing that if you’d have just skipped that run, that probably wouldn’t have added to your fitness anyway, you would be out training rather than feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Hopefully I’ll see you all at Port Mac, competing not spectating 🙂

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5 Comments

  1. An ice bath would probably have helped to avoid the injury in the first place (yet another lesson learned!). Physio has me wearing a compression sock which will help reduce fluid build up but aside from that there’s not much I can do but give it time.

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