Training to avoid injuries the next racing season
Race season has ended, and you’re now trying to figure out your offseason training plan. Maybe you achieved all your racing glory and are hungry for more, or you fell short of what you knew was possible. Regardless, having the right plan is crucial if you hope to elevate your racing performance next season.
Your goal in the winter should be to train to avoid race season setbacks. Use the “off-season” to become more efficient and durable.
The following are 3 actions steps every racer should take if they hope to have an effective winter training program.
1. Evaluate your previous year
Before diving into a new regime, it’s essential to critically look at your previous season’s preparation and results. You can’t hope to achieve better outcomes next season by following the same training plan. Look at the past year and assess when setbacks happened and what caused them to happen.
2. Address imbalances of flexibility and strength
When we run, bike or swim, we use our joints in a repetitive, limited range of motion and always moving forward. This leads to an imbalance of flexibility and imbalance or strength. An off-season strength and mobilization program should address balance of motion (flexibility) and strength in muscles in all planes of motion.
Triathletes tend to be fragile. They move forward with a limited range of motion. When their muscles fatigue, technique is lost. Strength helps to maintain good posture and efficiency for longer. Strength training also slows decline caused by aging and loss of VO2 max. Get stronger to race longer!
Some common injuries that occur from lack of muscle balance, poor flexibility, or overload of improper training are:
- Anterior hip tightness from sitting on the bike or sitting at work.
- Hip flexor pain
- Anterior knee pain
- Breakdown of the quad and patella tendon
- Opposite side Achilles pain
- Poor posture in thoracic/neck and shoulder blades: increased force across the shoulder when we sit or stand like teenagers on their phones. This abnormal position puts incredible force across the shoulder when performing overhead sports.
Strength training should be specific to your goals and work muscles through a full range of motion to maintain flexibility. If you don’t maintain flexibility, increased stress will occur when your training becomes more specific, leading to more force across the tendons and their insertions.
When you add more volume, load, or intensity, a lack of flexibility causes overuse injuries. These overload injuries are the most common problems that derail a training plan.
Your goals for strength training should be the following:
- Understand without full range of motion, strength is not maximized.
- Focus on improving your posture. Lift heavy while keeping a full and solid posture.
- Strengthen the muscles in full range and in all planes.
- Increase muscle mass to elevate your metabolism, helping to better manage glucose and weight.
3. Get a customized training plan
The best fitness athletes don’t make up their own training plans. They trust experts to evaluate their weaknesses and imbalances, so they improve year after year instead of declining.
Whether you are a competitive athlete or just enjoy staying active, HUB can help you develop a winter training plan that will help you avoid setbacks in the upcoming race season.
Schedule a Call with us today to see if we can help you train and race healthier next year.