Perhaps the most basic thing about triathlon is that it’s a sport that includes three disciplines (if you make the mistake of discussing it as three sports among triathletes, you’ll be swiftly disabused of that notion.)
Obviously, in order to do an IM you have to train for some serious endurance swimming, cycling, and running. You also have to train to transition between them – transitions are often referred to affectionately as the fourth discipline. But then there’s all the stuff you, or at least I, have to do to get myself through two years of that kind of training – which almost becomes a fifth discipline.
For me it’s a lot of core work (planks, plank variations, and pilates), strength training (currently in the form of plyometrics), and a lot of stretching – aided by mats, massage therapists, a ladder barrel, foam rollers of various sizes and densities, and various implements from round and smooth, to cylindrical and spiky. There’s a corner of my house that’s starting to look like some kind of kinky rehab center.
Obviously, I’m not trying to suggest that this is guaranteed injury prevention. What I am saying is that, for me, there has been a strong correlation between doing what is necessary to support the things I’m asking my body to do, and being able to keep doing those things. Training for an IM takes a ton of time, and it’s not just the swimming, cycling, and running – it’s also the stretching, core work, and strength training. Still, I feel very sure that it will all be worth it in the end. And with that, I’m off to stretch!
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