It has been 12 weeks to the day since I had my bike accident and broke my ankle. In this 12 week video update, I share a bit about the people that have helped me get back to speed so quickly and kept my attitude in check. Staying positive and engaged in the process of recovery has been the key to getting back in shape quickly.
This injury has helped redefine and motivate my desire to race. I feel like I am among a new generation of athletes who continue to race into their 40s and remain competitive as elites. This isn’t “normal” and there is certainly some resistance to this notion. Although I am more of an outlier at the moment, I don’t think this will always be the case.
I am thankful to have great sponsors and supporters who believe that fast after 40 means REALLY FAST. I love the idea of helping to define what that is and work hard to set the bar as high as possible. I look to my contemporaries, athletes like Jo Pavey and Gunn-Rita Dahle, who are competing as top level elites in their sports (running and mountain biking) to help me decide what level I plan to compete at. The top level.
I am still looking at Kona in 2017.
Looking forward to setting some new benchmarks this season.
In this article I compare road triathlon to off-road triathlon gear. Athletes trying off-road triathlon (or ‘cross triathlon’ as the discipline is now defined) for the first time often find they need some new gear to start competing.
This is the typical pre-race gear organization photo for an Ironman event:
Ironman CEO Andrew Messick posed the following question at the San Diego Triathlon Business Conference in January of this year: “Can you figure out a way to position triathlon as their (women’s) next great challenge?” He was suggesting that the goal should be to draw more women from marathon running into Ironman racing. I think he needs to reframe that objective: triathlon shouldn’t be their next challenge, it should be their next opportunity. Triathlon needs to recognize the main barriers to entry for women and offer solutions to address these issues. Then it can be seen as an ideal sport for women from more diverse backgrounds. Continue reading “How Triathlon Can Draw More Women”
Promoting Broken Ankle Healing Using the RICE and MEAT Therapy Protocols
RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION. This mnemonic dates back to the 1970s when a doctor came up with this prescription for healing that became the standard protocol to treat acute injuries.
RICE is an acronym for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION and MEAT is an acronym for MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY
More recent medical opinions suggest that both rest and ice can delay healing rather than promote it. Icing can reduce inflammation, and rest can promote joint rigidity, so movement without ice is suggested. The MEAT (MOVEMENT, EXERCISE, ANALGESICS and THERAPY) approach is considered particularly beneficial for ligament and tendon injuries. This all gets confusing when you deal with a trimalleolar fracture that compromises both bones and ligaments. What is the best approach if you have a combination of issues to resolve? Continue reading “Broken Ankle Healing Using RICE and MEAT Therapy”
A Broken Ankle Doesn’t Have To Prevent Triathlon Improvements
My triathlon cross training the first three weeks after surgery.
Cross training for triathlon with a broken ankle still includes plenty of options if swimming, biking and running are off limits. I discovered there were ways to not only maintain fitness, but also improve, despite my current limitations in a “not weight-bearing” state.
Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy. A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment so, injured or healthy, you focus on doing everything that you can THAT DAY.
Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy. A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment to get better.
When I am healthy, if my legs are super tired from running, I might take a break and ride or swim. If my shoulders are maxed out from a lot of swimming, I might run a bit more and focus strength work on lower body. The key is to focus on what you CAN IMPROVE while your body is in repair mode or fatigued. Even while in the critical stages after ORIF surgery, there were ways for me to train and allow my body to heal.
Unfortunately, I crashed my bike and broke my ankle a bit over two weeks ago. My primary objective for 2016 is to win a full Ironman; a goal I will maintain this season.
I am really fortunate to have Dr. Brent Weatherhead as my orthopedic surgeon. He is an amazing technical surgeon and did an outstanding job to get my fractured ankle anatomically perfect so now we have a realistic plan and schedule to get me back to running full gas this season.
A photo posted by Melanie MCQUAID (@racergirlmel) on
I know a LOT of pro triathletes who have dealt with and are dealing with injury – so my story is not unique. Triathletes and runners have different experiences with a broken ankle. If you found this post searching “exercises you can do with a broken ankle” and “triathlon training after a broken ankle” you are in the same mindset I was in the first two weeks after my crash. I promise you that it gets better after the first two weeks. I am posting these recovery updates to help educate you through MY experience and inspire you with what I found helpful and motivating. It is important to stay positive and focused during your recovery so let’s start with things you can do.
‘Shoulder prehabilitation’ means strengthening the shoulder’s resistance to injury – thus PRE-rehabilitation. These shoulder strength exercises prepare the shoulder muscles that are the most vulnerable to injury from everyday swimming repetitive movement. Strengthening these muscles improves your posture and body alignment. For swimmers, and triathletes by extension, the most common injuries occur in shoulder rotators so these are the muscles we are focused on. Continue reading “Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon”
Indoor training sessions designed to practice race-day triathlon nutrition are a great way to help athletes prepare to execute their plan in races – but in easier, more controlled conditions. The objective of these sessions is to get training benefit from appropriate pacing and to nail your race day hydration and fueling strategy. Although indoor training is missing some of the elements (literally) encountered in outdoor training, there is a lot of valuable information to be gained indoors where the variables are easier to control.
Lab-monitored “sweat tests” are available that can help you determine how much sweat you lose at effort and what the composition of your sweat is. A lab test is the most scientific version of the generalized effort I am going to outline. Knowing the exact composition of your sweat under the lab conditions may be useful but nothing is as valuable as practicing with numerous sessions under a variety of conditions to help gain knowledge on what works best for you. These tips will be a good starting point to gather information on your own body.
A Video To Demonstrate a Pre Training Core Activation Routine
This video will show you the exercises that I use to activate and prepare my core muscles for training. Without adequate warmup and activation of the core, your biomechanics will not be optimized in training.
This routine does not take a lot of time so it is very easy for me to do it frequently. This is the first thing I do every morning. I implemented this routine when I was suffering from a hip injury and since then I have had not issues with my hip or low back. However, if I don’t do the routine I am aware that my range of motion through the hips for swimming and running is not as good.
This short, simple set of exercises is EFFECTIVE.
You can do this routine in less than five minutes on the pool deck before swimming so try it at your next training session. You may find that even these simple exercises are somewhat difficult which would indicate your neuromuscular recruitment needs work. Over time you will feel stronger and you will experience better results from training – particularly early morning training. Let me know what you think!