For many of us starting out on the road to triathlon success our focus is on the physical challenge that lays ahead. If this is your first triathlon you may well be thinking solely about the three elements that make of the majority of the race – Swim, bike and run! Most likely you are focussing on the distances of these three elements and then thinking about your training and how you can manage the individual distances, let alone doing them all back to back on race day! From this standpoint it all comes down to your training, right?

Here are 2 crucial questions to ask yourself in your attempt to maintain a healthy Triathletes body:

Question 1 - Have you been able to create a training program that will allow you to deliver on the challenge that lays ahead.

Question 2 – Can you be consistent in your training?

The most important thing for you to focus on is consistency of training. A lot of beginner triathletes, and more experienced ones, have sporadic bursts of training load and then a break, be it enforced through injury or through time availability, family commitments or other matters. We must understand this constant battle on time and training and find a way of combatting it as best we can. The best advice I can give you is to find a way to carve out the time you need to complete at least 3 key sessions per week. 1 swim, 1 bike and 1 run. Find a way to do this at least every week in some capacity and you will be in a lot better shape come race day than a burst of intense training in the half term and noting for a few weeks after that!

Consistency of some form of training really is the vital ingredient in triathlon success. Of all the elements that may lead to a lack of consistency the one thing you can manage is the injury element of this. Triathlon as a sport has the great advantage of being a cross training sport, whereby the three elements allow the body to recover from one form of exercise by doing another. Think of it like this. Many athletes after a hard game, race or event head to the pool for a recovery session. Well for us triathletes we do that all the time and the pool session is a great way to keep the legs fresh. So, with some clever planning of your sessions you can aid the recovery process.

Scheduling your swim session, the day after a long run is a great way to refresh the body through a non-weight bearing activity. This is much better than a rest day after your long run as this will only allow or the stiffness to settle in and then make it harder for you to get back into your training the day after your rest day!

That brings us to the issue of rest? Is it really good for us to have a full rest day, or is there something else we can do on the rest day to make our bodies feel good again and ready to keep training. Well, the thing that can tackle the recovery issue and the injury issue is that dreaded word…stretching!

Below is a sample stretching program you can do in just 10 minutes! Each element of the common issues facing a triathlete is addressed in this simple stretching program below. From the tightness in our lower back, our tight middle backs from long hours on the bike, our hips from the run and bike, to our side muscles from the swim. It’s all here!

Do yourself a favour and stretch on recovery days, and at least 2 other days per week! Consistency in training comes from taking care of your body. Trust me, come race day you will be thankful your added stretching to the elements of swim, bike and run!

Additional tools for keeping your body injury free is to look to schedule in a massage at least 1 x per month. More if you can afford it. Many triathletes view a massage as a little luxury and often end up doing it the week before the race. Unfortunately, this is just not going to work. Regular soft tissue release is the key. If you cannot afford a massage try investing in a foam roller or massage balls. These nifty little pieces of kit can be amazing for the tight areas of your body is used correctly. There is a load of videos on YouTube on how to use them, or we have a ffull DVD on the foam roller for you to use at home (www.appihealthgroup/products/DVDs).

So, aim for some consistency in your training, schedule some stretching and soft tissue work into your schedule and hit the triathlon session with a healthy triathlete’s body.

Good luck out there.

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Glenn Withers