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What I learned at Ironman 70.3 Texas

AJD resumes his popular 'What I Learned' column after his first race of the season, Ironman 70.3 Texas.

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Doing a race recap after a disappointing race is really difficult but I believe it is something that is really important if you want to learn from your mistakes. At least you can learn a few things from this disappointing experience and hopefully you won’t make these mistakes ever again or at least you’ll grow a little bit from this experience.

However, I feel like I just repeated the mistakes I made last year… Did I learn anything from my bad experiences? Or maybe I’m just too optimistic and I thought that magically everything would be ok this year?

Let me explain. I’ve had low back issues for a few years now. Even though it hurt when I was biking, it was never truly a big issue, unless the bike course was pancake flat like at 70.3 Texas and Miami.

I figured that with some core and strength workout this winter, my back issues would not be an issue this year but I was wrong.

So here are the two big things I learned over the weekend at Ironman 70.3 Texas:

Don’t wait for your small injury to become a major issue to fix it:

Previously, my back problem never stopped me from racing or training. It was simply a big discomfort but I was able to push through the pain during races. However, this year my back prevented me from having my best result ever and it forced me to DNF.

If only I dealt with this issue more seriously last year, I might have had no back problems at all this year.

This is important for any injury, whether it’s a shoulder pain when you swim, a shin splint pain when you run or a back pain when you bike. You need to deal with the situation as soon as it happens and find the cause. Maybe you need to correct your swim stroke, reduce your running mileage or adjust your bike fit or maybe you simply need some time off. Waiting for the issue to magically disappear, like I did, will only make the problem worst.

Leave no stone unturned

There is rarely a single cause for a problem. For instance, a too-aggressive bike fit is not the only cause to a low back pain. Many things can be the cause of an issue. For example, it may be due to a lack of core strength, an imbalance between the left and right dorsal muscles, a postural issue… Therefore, you should not stop looking for solutions unless you have tried everything that’s possible.

The quote “it takes a village to raise a child” is also true for athletes, because you need to surround with lots of people to succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask the opinion of different people from different fields: coaches, physios, bike fit experts, strength coaches etc.

Check back on Triathlon Magazine Canada for all my “What I Learned” columns after my races this summer. Follow me on social media below: