1. Re-focus. You have to accept you can’t stick to your normal training plan. I try and use this time to work on my weaknesses. With most injuries you can still swim, so I always use that time to work on that, plus any weaknesses in the gym. For me, it’s really important to have a strong core, particularly because of my weaker back, so I have to work hard on that. Glute exercises are a staple for triathletes and something you can do at home. Injuries never feel like a positive experience, but I think if you can look back and think I improved something during that time it can be a positive.
2. Change your year’s aims. I always like having the year planned out, and having an injury makes me stress as I feel I’m never going to achieve my goals, so I have to change my goals slightly.
3. Maintain the fun. You can get down and stuck in a bit of a dip when injured so make sure you still do the things you enjoy. Triathletes spend a lot of time outside and if you get injured this is greatly reduced. That can make you depressed, so when I was injured I always made an effort to go out more with the dog so I was still getting that outside time, and that helped me stay happy.
4. Keep things in perspective. There’s so much outside the world of triathlon and the key is to remember that, although you are injured, there are plenty of good things going on.
5. Relax and accept it. Injuries can be overwhelming, but it’s just one part of your life, so take faith in the fact you’re doing everything possible to make it better as quickly as possible. Triathletes are really driven individuals so it’s very hard to let the process heal and relax about it. It’s a tough one with the mentality of triathletes but acceptance is key!
Helen Jenkins is a member of the British Triathlon family, and has represented GB at the Beijing, London and RioOlympics.
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