Suffered an injury and worried how long it will take to mend? Welsh athlete Helen Jenkins knows just how you feel, having seen long stints on the sidelines after tearing her Achilles in summer 2006 and then picking up a serious knee injury just before the London 2012 Olympics.
With her return to competitive racing now just days away after a two-year absence from the sport, Helen shares her top tips on how to give yourself the best possible chance of making a full recovery…
Build rehab into your daily routine
“It makes it easier to stick religiously to the exercises your physio gives you,” says Helen. “To ease my stiff back, I use my foam roller and Thera-band in front of the TV in the evening.”
Don’t rush your return
“Gradually building back into training is really hard, especially if you have races coming up, but you’re better to compete slightly undercooked than risk bringing the injury back with full fury.”
Don’t let everything else slip
“Work on other weaknesses. If you cannot run, it’s an opportunity to do a bit more biking or cycling. If possible, put the training load on other areas so the body doesn’t switch off.”
Focus on what you can control
“The injury needs time to heal, so other areas of life that normally take second place to training can be prioritised. I have probably never eaten a more healthy diet than in the build-up to the London Olympics.”
Learn to enjoy yourself
“Less training can create a void, so we spent a lot more time at the beach and I’ve been learning to surf. Being a triathlete you’re used to being outside a lot and television just doesn’t give you that same sense of satisfaction.”
Helen will be racing this Sunday (23 March) at the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in New Zealand – for more details head here.
For lots more advice on recovering from injury, head to our Training section