Being a triathlete makes you feel like you have superpowers. You swim?you bike?you run! Your friends and family agree: You are unstoppable.
And then you get injured.
There goes the master season plan you built six months ago. You know the one that you drew up one night, and then dropped over $500 on registrations? The ones you told all your friends you were doing? The ones you can't race anymore?
[Cue Sound of Toilet Flushing]
Not all is lost. Every year I see athletes come down with injuries that interrupt their training but don't end their life as they know it. The key is being able to refocus, to shift your goals, and apply the energy to a new intermediary set of milestones that will get you back on track.
You might not be able to salvage your entire season, but you can certainly come back stronger than ever. Here are a variety of options for you. Remember, the "right" one might vary based on your current situation or injury.
If you like these tips pass them on to your training partners and friends!
- Take a break. Your body/mind just might need a rest. Start with seven days and continue adding a day up until 14 days when you feel human again.
- Drop the run. You can still race: Sign up for an aquabike!
- Convert your entry into a relay team and recruit some friends to do the sport(s) you can't.
- Find a physical therapist to help with an efficient recovery.
- Identify a chiropractor or other healer in your area.
- Scan your training gear to see if old, faulty or poorly fit equipment is to blame.
- Research some self-care options to see how you might be able to speed recovery.
- Transfer your race entries to your friends—if legal—and be the best damn volunteer ever.
- Use the non-training time to rock your work, family and social obligations.
- Apply yourself to recovery as you would do if it were training.
- Consider homeopathic remedies, treatments or cures.
- Become a yoga triathlon god or goddess and master those five poses that have kicked your butt for so long.
- Return to basics and review your form and technique for areas that could use work.
- Can't run? Bike more. Can't bike? Run more. Can't bike or run? Swim and aqua jog more.
- Focus on your diet and lock in great eating habits so your triumphant return will be doubly impressive.
- Review your training logs to find the culprit; swear to heed the warning signs early and avoid this same issue in the future.
- Take notes on how you heal so you can pass them on to your friends/team should it happen to them.
- Use this chance to find out just how "athlete-friendly" your primary care doctor is; do you need to change?
- Might need surgery? Be sure to search your local and/or online communities for folks who've had the same work done?get it from those who know!
- Have one pity party and get on with it. You are so blessed to be a triathlete and you WILL be back!
Search for your next triathlon.