The Secret Why Some Triathletes Never Get Injured

Craig Alexander does it.

Chrissie Wellington & Chris McCormack do it too.

In fact, Crowie credits it for being the reason he hasn’t been injured in the last 6 years since he started doing it.

Given that Crowie, Chrissie & Macca have 9 Ironman World Championship titles between them, I think it’s safe to say that they are on the right track.

Core stability. Strength & conditioning. Core conditioning. Flexibility. Strength training. Whatever you call it, most professional triathletes dedicate at least part of their week to it.

Now I know what you are thinking ~

Pro triathletes have it easy. They don’t have jobs to go to. They don’t have to get up at 4am in the morning to do a training session before a full day at work & then doing another session after work before heading home to eat, spend time with their family, do the household chores & get some sleep before getting up early tomorrow morning to do it all over again!

Now that may be true (to some extent). But it doesn’t change the fact that the best way to improve in triathlon (or any sport for that matter) is by training consistently. Not just for a week here or there but for weeks, and months, on end.

And to do that, you need to stay injury free.

It is easier said than done of course. But the key to staying injury free to minimise your weaknesses so that your body is able to cope with the training load you apply to it.

Each & every one of us (professional triathletes included) have imbalances in our body. They are quite simply a consequence of being alive. Are you right handed or left handed? What side do you normally carry a bag on? How do you sit in a chair? What movements does your work, and sport, require?

All these (repetitive) movements create imbalances in your body. Some parts of your body become stronger than others. The stronger parts then pull on or put pressure on other tissues (joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones) in ways that your body isn’t designed to handle.

Put a triathlon training program (especially a long course or Ironman training load) on top of these imbalances & you could soon have a big problem.

If you don’t think you have any imbalances –

  • Pick up something heavy with one hand & then with the other. Which side is weaker?
  • Balance on one foot for 30 seconds & then swap legs. Which side is more unstable?
  • The next time you walk up stairs, which leg do you ‘lead’ with? Which leg do you prefer to lead with?
  • As you sit in a chair, think about the position of your arms & legs. I don’t know about you but I tend to sit in the same way. Which leg do you cross over the other? Do you sit with your feet & knees wide apart?  Do you bend your knees & tuck your feet back under your chair (with one foot hooked over the other) all the time? Which side of your body is your weight leaning?
  • Think about the last few injuries you had. Which side of the body were the majority of them?

The secret to staying injury free is simply achieving balance in your training & in your body by minimising your weaknesses.

Remember back to the last time you were injured & the anxiety you felt about whether you would even make the start line of your goal race. That familiar nervous sensation in the pit of your stomach when you wondered whether you would make it to the finish line. You don’t want to go through that again, do you?

No, I didn’t think so.

So what are you doing to minimise your weaknesses?