Written by Coach Chris White
Just like any other period where we try to ‘get back into it,’ the post-lockdown rush for events and increased physical activity is fraught with traps that we would like you to avoid. Here’s 4 tips for those triathletes looking to get back into the swing of their training again, now that their lockdown has ended.
1. A little patience will avoid the ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ trap.
Physios and podiatrists around Melbourne will be some of the busiest businesses in town in a few weeks. As people come out of lockdown, into the summer sun, their activity levels of swim, bike and run will most likely increase. Add into that the possibility of triathlon races in the new year all over Victoria and you have a nice little recipe for people pushing themselves too hard, too soon and few soft tissue injuries.
In this type of scenario, patience is your friend, so for the next few weeks, park the ego, take your time and rebuild your foundations. If you have been keeping active during lockdown you will not be starting from scratch and with patience, you might even be surprised how quickly things start to come back to you.
2. Get a massage
If you are in Melbourne, you will have had several months of limited access to these remedial / sports massage services, so please make sure to re-align and loosen up those muscles, before you start logging longer distances and enthusiastically pushing the training.
Even if you have been diligently using the foam roller, give back a little more TLC to your body. You will be surprised how many tight spots have developed over the last few months. The foam roller is fine as a maintenance tool, but it can not replace a genuinely good sports massage to help get those muscles functioning well again.
3. Recognise that ‘getting back into it’ might be messy.
Expect that getting back on track with our triathlon training and goals might be a little messy. We are often led to believe through experts, books or podcasts that the process of 'reframing' and 'getting back on track' is structured, simple and linear. It's not! It's actually chaotic, complex and messy. For us, even just acknowledging that it's going to be complex and messy, actually cuts us a bit of slack to work through it and find momentum in your own way and time. That will ultimately be better than trying to force perfection straight away. Remember… We have been through a lot! Very few of us are the same people that we were back in March 2020!
4. Plan a small hit-out
As we come out of our race hiatus, think about the idea of including a 'free hit’ in your training schedule. The temptation will be for us all to rush to sign up for the big Ironman race and get back to training with one big goal in mind. I’ve got no problem with that necessarily, but having not experienced any races for 8,10,12 possibly 18 months, we will be rusty, probably more stressed than usual about racing and could benefit from some race practice.
Smaller, local events are likely to be the first ones back on the calendar, which helps us. Less people, less expectation, less pressure and less cost financially. These are the types of events that are a great opportunity to throw caution to the wind and just give it a go. The worst thing that can happen is you blow up, DNF and realise that you need to train more! No money wasted, plenty of experience gained, you’ve got rid of the rustiness and if it’s a Sri Chinmoy event, you’ve had some pancakes!
We hope that these are useful starters for you in your post-lockdown triathlon adventures. Be patient, get a massage, accept the messiness and start small!