Image Post

Triathlon Injuries: 3 most common and 2 treatments

Training for top level performance in Ironman, injuries are inevitable but there is a lot we can do to prevent injuries from  occurring. So many of us focus on simply swim bike run and neglect the little things that can make sure we do not break down.

When we focus on simply endurance training little problems can be developing below the surface like a time-bomb waiting to explode. This is normally in the guise of tight muscles or stiff joints.

The problem we face as athletes is the body is extremely adaptive and will compensate for any tightness by using different muscles to perform required movements – the result is we do not notice the problem as it is occurring and then it builds to a point and we get a sudden breakdown.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Firstly I would advise at the start of any new season having a full movement screen by an experienced coach or physiotherapist – they should be checking all basic movements are correct and the correct muscles are working and no underlying tightness is present. From a screen like this you should be able to go away with a set of exercises to address any problems or if all is ok you have a bench mark to work from in case anything does come up during the season.

This option will not be available for everyone and can be quite costly, so how do we check ourselves?

While it is not possible to do a full check we can certainly go through some basic movements to see if we do have problems. As triathletes there are some areas that are typically tight and dysfunctional – these are hips/ lower back and glutes.


Stand up with feet shoulder width apart – keeping legs straight put both hands above head and then try to lean back as far as possible. What should happen is in order to lean back, hips will push forward to allow the movement to occur. If you are tight in the hips you will tend to have very little movement doing this and you may even feel strain in you lower back. In bad cases of tight hips you may notice when standing you have excessive curvature of the lower spine and your bum sticks out!!


Standing with feet together and hands by your side try to lean over so your hand traces a line down to your knee – this should be smooth and pain free. If you have tightness in your lower back this will feel very uncomfortable and you will find you want to twist in order to allow the moment to happen.


Sit on a chair with back straight and looking straight forward. Now place the ankle of one leg over the other knee and press down slightly on the knee of the raised foot. Now gently lean forward and keep your back straight. If the glutes are tight you will probable feel a deep cramping/ aching sensation as soon as you move, if they are in good condition you should be able to lean forwards with a straight back fairly easily.


If you find any issues from these basic movements above then it would be wise to address these before staring any training program, starting a program with an underlying issue is asking for trouble. Spending a couple of weeks working on mobility and maybe seeing a specialist to advise on exercises will make training when you get started much more productive but will also allow you to be more consistent with your training and this really is the key to success.

Day to Day care

We all have our daily routines, what we do first thing on waking up and how we go about our days, simply adding one thing to this routine for all endurance athletes would significantly reduce injury occurrence and in my opinion enhance your ability to train consistently.

What I advise is having a foam roller or trigger point roller close at hand and getting on for a quick check through your muscles for any areas of tightness. This process would take no more than 5 minutes and you will be surprised what you will pick up. The number of times I have had athletes tell me everything is good only to have them jump through the roof after one roll through a muscle group is testament to the fact we really do not feel tightness  building up until its at quite an advanced stage.

When rolling look to start at the feet and work up through the body, aim to roll 10 times over each major muscle group, so feet, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, ITB bands, glutes, lower and upper back.

This rolling has been called the paupers massage but in my opinion is even better than massage as nobody can feel what is going on inside your body quite like you can. If you find an area that is particularly sore then spend more time with small rolls over the muscle until you feel it ease off. If you are not able to relax the muscle you can then consider visiting a sports therapist for deeper more targeted massage.

By performing this simple task day to day you will not only be keeping your muscles in great shape you will be alerted to any problems way before you will feel any tightness or problems in your training.

When we are looking towards achieving the best we can in terms of physical performance we need to be achieving long periods of consistent training in order to reach our true potential. If you were to look at the day to day life of our sports top athletes compared with top age groupers the main difference is not the hours of training as you would be surprised  with how little some our best performers train but its the little things around the program that enable them to knock out week after week of hard training. For example hitting the gym for 10minutes after a swim session to work through a hip strength routine or some rotator cuff exercises, spending 10minutes on the roller before a hard run session… all small things but they make a huge difference to development.

Take a step forward with your training and add this 5 minute check to your daily routine and you will reap the rewards come summer.


Enjoy your training.
By Alun “Woody” Woodward
ironguides is the leading Lifestyle Facilitation company for athletes of all abilities. We provide coaching and training services, plans and programs, as well training education, health and fitness products to help you learn and live a healthy lifestyle. Come get fit with one of our monthly training subscriptions, event-specific training plans, coaching services, or a triathlon training camp in an exotic location! ironguides also provides Corporate Health services including Corporate Triathlons, Healthy Living retreats and speaking engagements. At ironguides, your best is our business!

Train with ironguides!

Personalized Online Coaching:  Starting at USD190/month

Monthly Training plans (for all levels, or focused on one discipline): Only USD39/months

Event based training plans:

Sprint Distance (USD45 for 8-week plan)

Olympic Distance (USD65 for 12 week plan)

Half Ironman (R$95 for 16-week plan)

Ironman (USD145 for 20-week plan)

X-Terra (USD65 for 12-week plan)

Running Plans (10k, 21k and 42k – starting at USD40)


Image Post

Ironman Training – Spring Mistakes

By Alun Woodward, Online Triathlon Coach,

Spring is a time of growth in nature and a time of booming enthusiasm among athletes. After the cold dark winter months the nights are getting longer and the temperature is heading north, no longer are we waking up or finishing work with the prospect of training in the dark. This alone gives us a huge motivation boost but also the lighter days are signalling race season is right around the corner.

Having trained well all winter and in good shape we need to take a step back and make sure we do not get carried away with this boost in motivation. Your training plan may well have changed to coincide with the arrival of spring and the impending race season and with these changes there are some often ignored elements that need to be taken into consideration.


One of the biggest mistakes being made at this time of year is with nutrition, a sudden rush among athletes to get to race weight usually means a reduction in calories. In general you are going to be training a little more and with more intensity in your spring program, if you add these 2 elements to your training program and then restrict calories you are going to be setting yourself up for a problem pretty quickly.

As you ramp up your training you need to also ramp up your calorie intake, the more intensity in your program the more the calories need to maintain the workload, the increase in training load will slowly take care of getting you to race weight without the need for restricting calories. Always have in the back of your mind you want to be at race weight for your main race not your first race unless they are one and the same! A slow progression to race weight is always the best.

Having said this judging how many calories you need is a hard one to judge so how do you know if your not getting enough? Look for the following symptoms and act upon them!

Feeling more cold than normal

If your feeling cold more than normal and others around you are not noticing this then its a sure sign your not getting enough calories by a long shot!

Have you become the GRUMP

Have you found yourself becoming grumpy at times when everything seems to be going se well for you, no idea why your feeling like this – its quite simple – you need to eat more. I see a lot of athletes who eat well and very healthy meals who very quickly get into this state and do not understand it – the problem is the meal size/ calorie load was just not enough for the demands being put on your body. Studies have shown that ab libitum feeding post intense exercise is not enough for replacing calories expended.

If you often find yourself in this state or maybe ask those close to you if your becoming like this then its time to make a big effort to up your calorie load and see your mood come back on track.

Lack of progress

If all the hard training your doing is not translating to improved fitness and speed then once again limiting calories could be your issue. We need to train hard to improve but if your not fuelling

the hard work your body will not be able to adapt, imagine building a wall of bricks without using cement – the wall will always have a limitation and keep falling down as there is nothing to hold the bricks together. If you want your body to adapt and improve you need to be providing not only the training stimulus but also the fuel for growth.



Another issue athletes often fall guilty of is too much social training once the weather turns, not that training with others is a problem in itself the issue is more jumping into more training just because friends are heading out and thinking another couple of hours on the bike will make no difference as its easy! While this may seem like no issue the problem is more that the additional hours added to your training load can just be too much and too much training stimulus can also stop adaptions occurring. So if your getting lots of invitations to head out with others make sure that the sessions closely match your plan and your not adding too much volume to your overall plan.

Not only the added volume of social training needs to be considered but also the competitive side of the sessions, all too often that easy ride with friends turns into a race especially as everyone is desperate to prove their fitness after all the hard indoor sessions that have been done during the winter. Resist the urge to join in and be confident in the work you have done and remember the time to show your fitness is race day!

If you look back at last years you will generally find the friend who was sitting at the back of your group of seemed to be suffering during training sessions is the one who is up front on race day not the guy who is always charging away at the front of training sessions!


The arrival of spring makes us feel invincible with the added energy it seems to bring, the increase in vitamin D levels through expose to the sun is a boosting hormone and we just feel so much more alive than we did during the winter time.

This not only brings possible issues with everything above but this feeling of invincibility tends to lead us to forget the importance of recovery methods in our training program. On those cold dark winter nights it is easy to find a little time in the evening to jump on the foam roller or do any rehab strength exercises we may need to keep on top of to prevent injures but once spring rolls around we all too easily put these things away and do not think about them again until injuries hit.

Spring time with the change in training plan and intensity mentioned above is a time when we need to be even more diligent with out recovery, if your training harder the muscles are under more stress and you need to work harder to look after them in order to get the most out of yourself as an athlete.

This spring make sure you consider all we have talked about and implement them into your training plan accordingly and you will reap the rewards with improved fitness and accelerated adaptions to your training.

Eat well, eat more, recover hard and you will have the best summer race season ever.

Enjoy your training ,


Alun Woodward, ironguides Online Coach 

Alun Woodward

Train with ironguides!

Personalized Online Coaching:  Starting at USD190/month

Monthly Training plans (for all levels, or focused on one discipline): Only USD39/months

Event based training plans:

Sprint Distance (USD45 for 8-week plan)

Olympic Distance (USD65 for 12 week plan)

Half Ironman (R$95 for 16-week plan)

Ironman (USD145 for 20-week plan)

X-Terra (USD65 for 12-week plan)

Running Plans (10k, 21k and 42k – starting at USD40)


Forgot Password?

Join Us