If you think that missing your next triathlon will cause you major disappointment, then this article is important for you. Injuries not only prevent us from participating in a key triathlon, but can also prevent you from training. Since 99% of what triathletes do is train for the race, missing key portions of training are going to impact your ability to compete. Avoiding injury is actually pretty easy to do, especially overuse injuries in the sport. By tracking your training carefully using a training log, you can take proactive steps to reduce injury. There are several other benefits as well such as tracking progress and monitoring improvements.
Digitize Your Training Schedule
When I started triathlon training for my first sprint triathlon, I printed out a simple sheet of paper that contained a 20 week schedule and taped it on my kitchen wall. Every day I’d put a slash through the box of training I had just done. I had no recommended warmups, drills or heart rate targets, just a time and a sport. I made up my own actvities during that time and for the most part just went out and did the number of allotted minutes for the day. This worked out fine for me back then, and for the next several years.
However as my work life became more complex, and I started having to track meetings, shifts AND triathlon training, the sheet of paper approach became more cumbersome. Eventually I started using google calendar and finally I moved to training peaks. Acording to a recent Pew research study, about 77% of Americans use smart phones compared to only 35% in 2011, with the percentage of 19-26 year olds that own them is 95%! This means you can take your training plan anywhere with you and review your workout before you head to the gym, and log your workout as soon as you finish.
Avoid Injury by Looking for Patterns of Pain or Soreness
By taking notes on your session within a few hours after doing them (as opposed to trying to catch up at the end of the week), you can comment on any new or unusual soreness, an ache that you never noticed before, or perhaps how a particular session like hill repeats made you feel. Intense sessions, increases in pace, or changes in terrain compared to what you are used to can all be triggers for some minor injury, or irritation of the soft tissues. If you notice an ache not going away, you can review your log to identify when it first started, how long it’s been going on and what activity may have initiated it. Awareness of these factors can help you (and your coach if you have one) restructure your recovery and training to allow for healing before trying it again, or before increasing your speed or distance again.
This should be self explanatory, and is my favorite part of reviewing training logs for myself and my athletes. While not every workout should be an attempt at a PR (Personal Record), there will be regular training rides and runs that you can compare your times and efforts with previous attempts. Maybe your regular after run 3 mile loop feels easier than it did the week rpior and you assume you were slow…but when you check your pace you find that you’ve gotten faster. Congratulations! With the availability of not only online training logs, but also a wide selection of heart rate and gps trackers, it’s much easier than it used to be to set up automated tracking and upload of your training directly to your training log of choice.
Reassure you that you are putting in adequate training time and help prevent overtraining by starting to keep an online training log…there are so many to choose from at the moment including training peaks, strava, edomondo and more. What’s your training log of choice and how is it helping you