In Exercise During Pregnancy

When I first started training for triathlons, I had to make a lot of adjustments to my normal training routine. I’ve always been a runner, but only in the last 20 months have I become a cyclist, and I have never really been a swimmer. So, when it came to preparing for the 2023 Melbourne 70.3 Ironman, I had to be smart about introducing new training loads, as well as the overall load placed on my body each week.


When training for any event, strength training is a vital piece of the puzzle. I made sure to hit the gym 2-3 times per week, working on both lower and upper body with a focus on specific exercises to improve my swimming, cycling, and running. I also started cycling more frequently and for longer distances and added in some running immediately after cycling. By working hard to strengthen my calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and core, my body held up really well under such a high training load. I was able to go from swimming 100m at the beginning to swimming 2000m comfortably. However, that’s not to say my preparation was flawless. Injuries can occur for many reasons, whether it be due to an accident or an imbalance between training load and the strength/capacity of the body.


Early on in my training, I started to feel some discomfort in my right hamstring tendon, and my left calf. During my training sessions in the gym, I realised how much strength I was lacking in my hamstrings, and that my left calf was weaker than my right. Having come to this realisation, I made strengthening these areas a key focus of my strength training, whilst also adjusting the frequency of my bike rides and the speed of my runs. I eventually noticed how much easier my swims, rides and runs were becoming, despite travelling a greater distance. I haven’t had an issue with these areas since!


Then, just five weeks out from the Ironman, I tripped down some stairs and sprained my ankle. This occurred during peak training time, and meant I had to make some further adjustments to my training regime. To allow my ankle to heal, I switched out some of my runs for swimming and cycling sessions and sought some treatment for my pain. I taped my foot and ankle and had some physiotherapy sessions to treat the area. The adjustments I made and the treatment on my ankle helped to resolve my pain and meant I was able to complete the event injury free. Yes, I had some niggles throughout my training, but with careful training adjustments, consistent strength training, and appropriate treatment, I was able to make it to the start line and complete the event injury free. I even managed to achieve my goal time!


All this to say, if you have an event on the horizon, the team at Flex are here to help get you to the start line and beyond. Our Clinical Strength service can help you develop a solid and individualised strength training routine. Our highly skilled Physiotherapists can provide you with professional guidance and help you remain injury free, whilst our Myotherapist can ease any aches, pains, and tightness you may have pre and post event. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team or book an appointment online – we’re here to help!


Written by Physiotherapist, Ella Hanna

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