Category Archives: inside-out

Prevent injuries with defensive planning

Being injured set up back on your schedule and can psychologically as well. I’ve had more than a few injuries and am in fact, being treated for two now.  If you want to avoid these set-backs, please read on. This excellent excerpt reprinted with permission from Human Kinetics of Triathlon Workout Planner by John Mora.

“The biggest key to avoiding injury is really quite simple in concept
but much, much harder in execution—high adaptability. What does it
mean? Adaptability means that at every stage of your triathlon odyssey,
from planning to training to racing, you must be receptive to your
body’s signals in order to make quick and timely adjustments.

When setting up your training plan, it’s vital to plan and execute your
training defensively. You’ve all heard the term that the safest drivers
drive defensively, with a vigilant mindset and the wherewithal to
recognize dangerous behavior. If you want to safeguard your body and
avoid injury, planning your triathlon training with the same kind of
defensive mindset is the single best thing you can do for yourself.

As you sit down to plan your schedule, listen for those instincts that
may be telling you you’re overloading yourself or stacking too many
workouts on top of each other, which may break down your body. Besides
listening to your gut, you can use the following tips for planning your
training defensively:

  • Plan your running carefully. Unless you are one of
    the few triathletes blessed with the perfect runner’s body, flawless
    form, and near-perfect technique, pounding the pavement is the activity
    (of the three disciplines) with the highest probability of injury. A
    five-year study by Staffordshire University of 116 triathletes with
    differing abilities—from elite triathlete to weekend warrior—showed
    that 58 to 64 percent of all overuse injuries stemmed from running
    (Vleck and Garbutt 1998). Be very careful when increasing distance or
    intensity abruptly, without giving your body a chance to adapt. Always
    plan an easy workout after a high-intensity or long run and never
    increase your total weekly running distance by more than 10 percent
    from week to week.
  • Lean toward safety. There may be several critical
    points in your training at which you feel a certain workout may be
    pushing it or that your body’s ability to safely finish that extra long
    run or that unusually hilly bike ride is suspect. Although some measure
    of risk is acceptable, there’s no shame in playing it safe by reducing
    the intensity or distance (or both) of these demanding workouts. If
    your gut tells you that you may be skirting that fine line between
    better performance and injury, err on the side of caution and make the
    necessary training adjustments. As you sit down to plan or review
    upcoming training, shave off some distance, notch down the intensity,
    or consider an easier course if you feel that your body may be on the
    brink of overuse.
  • Avoid the superman syndrome. Anybody who has ever
    had a sports injury can probably point to a specific workout or a
    series of efforts over a short period of time that caused it. Unless
    injury is caused by something traumatic—a fall on the bike, a dog bite
    on a run—the root cause is usually overuse that can be clearly mapped
    in a training log. So if it’s so easy to document an injury afterward,
    why is it so hard to avoid one? Part of the answer is that we become so
    attached to our training that our self-image and ego become entangled
    in it, making it hard to accept the blatantly obvious warning signs.
    This so-called superman mentality can fool you into believing one more
    track workout or one extra set of ascending laps will do no harm.
    That’s why reviewing your daily training log entries from the previous
    weeks and months on a consistent basis is so important—it keeps you in
    tune with the reality of your recent training. Examining your log can
    provide valuable evidence that an injury may be imminent, giving you an
    opportunity to dial down training and allow your body an opportunity to
    recover from any cumulative muscle tissue damage from several weeks of
    tough workouts.

During demanding peak training periods, make some time to take
a deep breath (literally), step back, and examine your training with an
objective eye. Doing so can help you to better see warning signs so
that you can adjust your training to avoid injury.”