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Fighting Injuries, Becoming Stronger

Author: Emmelia Potts
Date: 13th November 2017
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Finally being fixed

So after 8 weeks of on/off training and 1 week of no training at all, I think all is OK.

I have done as Paul has said and held off on all exercise (including riding and pole) for one week and it seems to have done the trick. So now I am better..ish what do I do to ensure injuries do not present themselves again?

Plan

Firstly it has been obvious that through the last 8 weeks I have not been coming back to exercise and training properly. Instead of accepting the damage to various body parts and gradually building up again I have been rushing back, doing workouts from May. Attempting high intensity, aggressive workouts after 8 weeks off is not a good idea. I can still do them yes, but not correctly and not well supported.

It is the height of frustration to go back a few steps but if I have learnt anything recently it is that it is better to take things slow than to rush and cause more harm than good. Therefore, I have carefully mapped out and planned the next 4 weeks.

Fighting Injuries, Becoming Stronger 1

Week 1 and 2 (Currently on week 3)

The first two weeks are just getting me back moving. Week one slowly introducing exercise back into my routine. Week two upped the running a bit and as a result, plenty of stretching work was added. Moving forward I will be stretching and rolling every day after exercise to lower the risk of reoccurring injuries.  After week 2 I can feel niggles in my knees coming back but I fear that is because I missed a stretch session. It really does make a difference when you are adding not only intensity but volume. Fortunately, my body is used to be battered to an extent so these first 4 weeks should not be too much of a strain and I will be able to get back into a routine. However, moving forwards into week 5 and 6 I will need to ensure I do not miss a “rehab” session.

The first two weeks have so far gone well. I currently have a healthy balance between work and exercise. I still have a healthy social life and see friends regularly. Early morning workouts are not things yet either (I shall be putting these off for as long as possible!). Exercise quotas are still largely hobbies.

Preventing injury continued

Week 3 largely stays the same intensity as week 2 but mixes things around a bit, kickboxing grading on Sunday mean I do not want to be overdoing it and damaging myself. It is week four where things start to go up a gear. Long cycles and more swims a week are approached. Morning workouts to cover the increase of running sessions also start to appear. Ultimately, I will end up doing an early morning cycle or swim every day with runs in the evening as running is the discipline I detest the most and need to focus on.

Fighting Injuries, Becoming Stronger 3

Week 3 and 4 back to it schedule

Hopefully, taking it easy for 4 weeks and slowly building up my tolerance to each discipline is not wasted time. In an ideal world, I will be able to build from here each week, upping sessions and intensity. After week three cycling and swimming session will have training plans. Currently, I am in real danger of thinking I am training for an Iron Man and actually I am just bike riding and leisure swimming.

Considerations moving forward

Lessons in both swimming and cycling will be adopted once I have a good base fitness in both. I anticipate that after these four weeks I should be able to comfortably cycle 50-60 miles, swim 1.3 miles and run 15 miles without much issue (separate!). From here I have a good foundation to build on each week. Lessons will help sort out any issues I have before I break into serious training regimes.

Running drills and gym strength sessions should aid in the running side of thing as they have previously. Fortunately, I have tried and tested the running side of things it will just be learning to run when fatigued that will be the hurdle here! But that is a few months away yet.

First I need to make sure I am still without injury after these four weeks. Then I need to access my fitness in each discipline. Once this disheartening revelation has been hit then I need to start building a decent fitness base and be able to swim and cycle well.

Making a plan

Fighting Injuries, Becoming Stronger 5On starting this recovery program I decided to look into well-versed triathletes tips for making your own plan. I do not have loads of money to be spending on a triathlon coach. Therefore, I am relying on the good people of Google for the most part. Like all areas of Google though some of the information is not relevant or there is a lot to sift through! I have found pages and pages of people waffling on, and yes this may prove useful in a few weeks. However, at present, I am training to train. VO2 maxes and strokes per minute are not of utmost importance. It's a bit like having a baby and reading the “saying their first-word” book before the “giving birth book”.

  • Set Goals: Iron Man July 2018
  • Start Slow: Check – 4 weeks get fit and injury free and then 4 weeks of lessons and foundation.
  • Build frequency: Check, gradually building up the number of sessions each week, will begin to build on frequency and intensity of the workouts after 4 weeks rehab.
  • Honestly access the time you have: Three jobs, a degree, a horse, friends, family, pole and kickboxing I do not have huge amounts of free time but I am willing to sacrifice areas to train.
  • Plan in recovery time: Check, every evening.
  • Honestly access fitness levels: This will be carried out at the end of the four weeks rehab stint.
  • Begin with the end in mind: 8 months to race day. November and December 2017 building foundations. January start to build up the intensity, introduce brick training. February open water swims introduce and triathlon races of shorter distances to Iron Man. March onward be training two disciplines every day with brick training where possible. May half Iron Man triathlon. June begin to consider tapering. July race.
  • Start with the bigger picture then zoom in on training: Check, manageable 4-week chunks.
  • Polarized training: On reading about this it seems worth giving it a go. However, this will be a separate blog post after my 4 weeks.
  • Stop looking at your power files: Yes jot down data and improvements but do not spend loads of time on it. Log the results and move on. If training needs tinkering on the way do it.
  • Use offseasons to work on weakness: Check, swimming and cycling.
  • Swimming, begin and end with form: Check. The beginner swim programs I have been following have a 6 length warm up and cool down focusing purely on front crawl form and technique. After 3 sessions I am already noticing improvements.
  • Run after almost every bike ride: I will start to implement this after these four weeks rehab. First, it will be short runs and then it will begin to build up as the month's progress.

In a nutshell

I have a plan for the next four weeks and there is a general plan for the 8 months, however, I highly suspect this will alter!

The 4-week chunks work as they are manageable. However, I have not lost sight of the bigger picture and have a general where I should be planning for 2017. Things will change no doubt, but I am hoping that approaching training in a sensible, controlled way will mean I do not have to have 8 weeks out because of my body shutting down again. If anything the past few weeks has taught me that you can only batter yourself to a certain extent until you need a rest and need to start looking after yourself. In addition, it is best to build up slowly and not rush training. Lessons well and truly learned. Let's hope this all pays off!

Fighting Injuries, Becoming Stronger 7

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