Basic Injury Prevention and Management


Posted by Coach Becky Piper

As the triathlon season ramps up, it is important for us to begin preventing any injuries before they may happen. Triathlon is an endurance exercise with repetitive pounding that may be detrimental to us if we don't remain vigilant and manage issues as they arise. There are two main classifications of injuries - overuse and acute.

Overuse Injuries 

Going too hard for too long without sufficient time for recovery can bring about these injuries.  Common overuse injuries are swimmer’s shoulder, shin splints, and runner’s knee.  One effective tool is a proper warm up that allows the blood and muscles to gradually get “used” to exercise.  I know that if we are pressed for time in a workout, it is very tempting to just skip the warm up, but not allowing our bodies to properly adjust to a higher level of activity can be damaging in the long run, not to mention hurt our performance! 

Self myofascial release and sports massage are other ways to reduce the liklihood of an overuse injury.  Click here for our article about myofascial release.

If we already are suffering from an overuse injury or are having some “aches and pains” that could be the start of one, there are a few things we should do.  The first is to ice and elevate the affected area after exercising. The second is to either adapt a hard/ easy interval technique or  temporarily reduce training in that area.  This is especially convenient for the triathlete because we practically have cross training “built in!”

As always with an injury, it is good to contact a coach or medical professional when dealing with an injury.

Acute Injuries

Acute injuries include everything from sprains and strains to broken bones.  Although triathlon is technically a “non impact sport” (except for swimming, I always say) they do occasionally occur.  The main thing for us to do is recover and cross train effectively, in order to not exacerbate the injury further.  When we do begin to train again, the greatest risk for new injury lies in when we have not warmed up.  When we do begin training again, we naturally want to start with a bang, but Instead we have to start slow. This gives us the best possible chance at a full recovery. 

Finally, it is critical that we include some strength training into our routines.  Strength training can build your stabilizer muscles as well as those “shock absorbers." It takes time to develop and strengthen as our bodies to adapt and respond to their use.  Functional training can help correct muscular imbalances that are developing, avoiding later injuries.

I am not a medical professional. I am a triathlon coach. Because every injury is different, seek the advice of a medical professional for injuries.


Coach Becky Piper is a Level I Certified Triathlon Coach and an up and coming paratriathlete and frequent podium finisher. She is currently training and living in Longmont, Colorado. She has competed in numerous triathlons as well as an XTERRA events - the latter which she qualified for the world championships. She has coached both beginner and advanced triathletes and is excited to work with athletes through Team MPI. Becky has many years of experience as both a personal trainer and exercise therapy specialist through the International Sports Sciences Association. Coach Becky can be reached at

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