Roch and Paul answer questions about injury and underwear

Triathletes run the infamous Queen K Highway  Credit: Gary Newkirk/Allsport
Dear coaches,

I recently had an injury flare-up during a half-Ironman race that forced me to pull out, and Ive also had to withdraw from my upcoming Ironman race due to this injury.

Do you have any advice on how to mentally deal with this kind of setback and how to move on? I was always told that once you pull out of one race, it becomes much easier to pull out of future races. I dont want that to happen.

I am in some kind of no-man's-land because I have been training for so long, but now I have to sit and wait to train again for next year. How do you get over this down time?

Helen B.
Toronto, Canada


Back away from the TV remote and close the refrigerator door nice and slow.

While we are sorry to hear about your having to drop out of your upcoming Ironman race, you dont have to become a full-time couch potato after an injury. Yes, after you drop out of a race it can get a little easier to bail out the next time around, but your situation was due to an injury. If you had bailed out because you didnt want to be beaten by a friend, or because you werent having a good day, then OK, you wussed.

But by the tone of your note your injury isnt comparable to a hangnail or a bad hair day. This was an injury that physically kept you from finishing. In reality, what you did showed uncommon intelligence (among triathletes, at least) and puts you in very good company (with pros and age groupers alike).

Too many athletes finish events that leave them crippled for months afterward consider yourself both intelligent and fortunate to know when to pull the plug.

What you now have to do is deal with the injury by forgetting about the races you missed and instead focus on what you need to do right now treat the injury, try to determine the cause and take the necessary steps to prevent it from recurring.

Allow yourself time to grieve about it (about a day should do it), and then deal with the situation at hand. Find a knowledgeable, experienced sports healthcare practitioner (doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, etc.), get a definitive diagnosis and proceed with the suggested course of treatment. Dont sit back and wait for the injury to go away (unless youre told to do so). Treat it!

You then need to determine what kind of training you can still do. The beauty of our sport is that we have three disciplines, and when were injured in one area we can often train in another. Use this recovery time to focus on one or two of the other disciplines and bring them up to another level.

Sometimes we look at injuries as a universal sign that we need to focus on something else. In this case, it might be your weaker discipline. Maybe you lack strength in a particular area. This could be a perfect time to hit the gym and get on a friendly basis with a few gym rats named something like Magnus.

Maybe you need to finish that project at work (not what you wanted to hear, right?), or maybe this is a great opportunity to spend more time with your family and friends.

You now have a lot of free time that was once occupied with training. Your mission now, should you choose to accept it, is to decide how youre going to fill this time as constructively as possible.

Get well soon,

Roch and Paul

Dear Pigs,

Whats up with the Underpants Run in Kona being a male-only affair? I would like to participate in this event and feel like your exclusion of women is a chauvinistic display that is typical in the world of sports!

Let women run!

Burning Bra

Dear Smokey,

Simmer down, sister. You obviously dont get the point of this run. The idea was born out of a protest against those male athletes who insist on wearing their Speedo-style swim suits around the town of Kona for activities other than swimming (shopping, eating, etc.).

We thought that by running in our underpants, we would not only demonstrate how silly it looks but, perhaps, provide an opportunity for these offenders to get it out of their system. Why not women, too? As far as we can tell, women strolling around town in their swim suits dont seem to raise the ire of the locals. Its just the guys.

So, if youre ever in Kona on the Thursday before the race, join us. Entry fee is a donation in any amount to Family Support Services a local Kona charity. Consider this a way to give back to a local community that is inundated and inconvenienced on an annual basis and to have some fun in the process.

Yeah, we know the Ironman is great for the local economy, but the reality of the traffic problems, underpants invasion and other nuisances only the locals could understand should not go unacknowledged.

See you there,

The coaches

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