The rigors of Ironman training are unlike any other. It is imperative that you start your training physically healthy.
1) This starts with completely healing from your last race of the previous season. Do not be overly ambitious about getting back in the saddle or on the track to log big miles.
2) Shore up any nagging issues – not just serous pain but also smaller discomforts like recurring GI stress, that sinus infection that won’t go away, or any other little aches that may be a bigger deal with heavier training volume.
3) Prevent future injuries from occurring. Most folks go to a General Practitioner every to have their vitals checked. As individuals on the hairy fringe of endurance sports, I would argue that we should also have an annual check up from an orthopedic doctor who specializes in runners and athletes. If the doc sees any imbalances in your body, he or she may prescribe some pre-hab physical therapy that will allow you to prevent an injury you didn’t know you were about to have.
4) Strengthen your stabilizing muscles. There is no correlation between muscular strength and endurance sport performance. There is, however, a strong case to be made for off-season strength training as a means to help prevent injury. Focusing on stabilizing muscles like the glutes, core, and lower traps may not make you quicker next year but it could help prevent a repetitive stress injury. Tune in this November as there will be a series of video posts of exercises that fit this bill.
This is the second in a series of ten posts dedicated to athletes thinking about their first long course race in 2012. Check back tomorrow for ideas for Mental Prep for your 140.6 in 2012.