How to Prevent Injuries While Training for Triathlon?

“Triathletes are not born, they are made!” It is very true, triathlon training is not at all an easy job. And injuries during the training are obvious. However, one who practices the preventive measures while training for triathlon can prevent the injuries at most times. This article is all about the ways on how to prevent injuries while training for triathlon.

How to Prevent Injuries While Training for Triathlon?

How to Prevent Injuries While Training for Triathlon?

There is a saying, “Triathlete is a person who doesn’t believe that one sport is enough”. Triathlon, a multi-stage sport competition which involves three sports, i.e. swimming, cycling and running; is off course a big event for athletes. They cannot just sit around for the event to come and get over it. They spend enough of their time in training themselves for triathlon events. Now, while training for triathlon there are a lot of possibilities of being encountered by some common injuries. Below we will talk about the most common injuries while training for triathlon.

Common Injuries While Training for Triathlon, its Treatment and Prevention:

  1. Common Running Related Injuries While Training for Triathlon:

    Achilles Tendonitis:

    Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common injuries that triathletes encounter while training for Triathlon. There is a pain with this condition below your calf and above your heel. Apart from this you may also see a swelling in the normally smooth Achilles tendon or see redness in the tendon. Though the pain with Achilles Tendonitis may not be too bad at first, you must not ignore it. This usually happens because of the inflammation due to overuse or overpronation while running. Apart from this, the achilles tendon that connects large calf muscles with the heels are pulled when the calf muscles get tight and this in turn cause micro tears in the tendon.

    Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

    You can take rest from running for sometimes if the pain gets worse while running and go for some treatments and allow it to heal before you start your running once again. Go for cold treatments on the affected area for about 15 minutes in every 2-3 hours. Apart from this, one simple exercise to relieve pain in Achilles tendonitis could be; “using a golf ball, roll the bottom of your foot while sitting at your desk.”

    Ways to Prevent Achilles Tendonitis When Training for Triathlon:

    • Go for strengthening stabilizing muscles in the lower leg by balancing on a thick foam mat.
    • Stretches are the best moves. Stretch both calf muscles before and after runs with static stretches that target the Achilles tendon and the calf.

    Stretching Exercises to Heal Achilles Tendonitis

  2. Swimming Related Injuries While Training for Triathlon:

    Rotator Cuff Tendonitis:

    This is an injury mainly caused due to swimming while training for triathlon. Here there is a mild to a sharp pain in your shoulder. This pain is especially noticed when your arm is extended above your head or while freestyle swim strokes. This mainly occurs because the freestyle strokes in swimming develop the front of the shoulder and the chest muscles, which in turn creates an imbalance with the rest of the shoulder muscles.

    Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Take a break when it pains and go for massaging and cold treatments in the affected area for reducing the pain and swelling if present.

    Ways to Prevent Rotator Cuff Tendonitis While Training for Triathlon

    In order to prevent rotator cuff injury while training for triathlon, build up your shoulder strength by incorporating sets of lateral raises with light weight dumbbells. This helps you get proper balance to your shoulders.

    Read About Massage Therapy to Treat Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    3 Powerful Exercises for Strengthening Rotator Cuff Muscles

  3. Cycling Related Injuries While Training for Triathlon:

    Iliotibial or IT Band Syndrome:

    This is a condition that develops mainly due to cycling while training for triathlon. Symptoms include sharp pain or tightness on the outside of the knee, just below the joint. The IT band or Iliotibial band is a key stabilizer for the leg and thus when it flares, it debilitates the bikers or the runners completely. The IT band starts in the gluteus muscles and hip and moves down the outside of the thigh. When you are upping your mileage too quickly, you are likely going to aggravate the band. This usually happens as the knee is repetitively bent and straightened, while cycling or running, and this leads to a flaring at the knee.

    Treatment for Iliotibial or IT Band Syndrome

    In order to treat the injury, you need to spend time on a foam roller. By rolling you would be able to break down the knots and be able to prepare muscles for stretching.

    Ways to Prevent Iliotibial or IT Band Syndrome While Training for Triathlon

    You may have more chances of getting such issues of IT band syndrome while training for triathlon if you have weak hips. Go for some exercises to strengthen hip abduction or go for more of running specific moves like walking lunges. (Physical Therapy, Stretching & Strengthening Exercises for IT Band Syndrome)

    Patellar Tendonitis:

    This is a condition where the triathlete experiences pain in the center of the knee, just under the kneecap. This is usually felt when you are seated for long, like cycling and also while walking up and down steps. Patellar tendonitis occurs mainly due to improper cycling or improper cycle/bike fit. Here the quadriceps muscle in the front of your thigh gets tight or inflamed and starts pulling the kneecap against the joint that causes the pain.

    Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis

    The best treatment starts from scheduling a professional bike fitting. This would mostly fix the problem. For a faster healing, roll out your quadriceps on a foam roller.

    Ways to Prevent Patellar Tendonitis While Training for Triathlon

    You need to strengthen your quads by a dumbbell split squat that targets your quads and other muscles in your lower body which include glutes, calves and hamstrings.

    Exercises for Patellar Tendonitis or Jumpers Knee

  4. Stress Fractures: Common Triathlete Injury!

    Triathletes mainly suffer from stress fractures in the hip, foot or in the tibia bone of the calf. (Pelvic Stress Fracture, Metatarsal Stress Fracture, Stress Fracture of the Foot, Tibial Stress Fracture, Stress Fracture of the Talus, Calcaneal Stress Fracture, Fibula Stress Fracture)

    Here, there is pain in the bone while exercising and eventually there is swelling too.

    Such injuries occur when you increase the triathlon training volume in a dramatic way without proper adaptation or recovery. It is thus essential for you to have regular rests while training for triathlon in order to prevent injury.

    Treatment for Stress Fracture

    Stop running completely and go for a proper diagnosis to a sports doctor in case you suspect a stress fracture. Rest from running for about 8 weeks and meanwhile train self for swimming.

    Ways to Prevent Stress Fracture While Training for Triathlon

    Go for a smart training for triathlon. Don’t be in rush if you are new to the sport. Take rest days throughout the training and being smartly. Check yourself when you feel you are overdoing.

    General Injury Prevention Tips While Training for Triathlon!

    Below we will mention some of the general tips for preventing injuries while training for triathlon:

    • Make sure you always go for warm ups before training hard. This would help you loosen muscles and prepare them for heavy usage while training for triathlon.
    • Stretches help you in improving body flexibility. So learn how to properly stretch and then go for stretching regularly before and after your training sessions for triathlon.
    • Check for the sign and symptoms of overtraining for triathlon. If you find any of them, give yourself some time and take a break from the training. Though it might be tough for you to stop, do it for your good.
    • Cross train self with weights or strength training for muscles which you may not work as hard while you train self for each sport.


Now that we are aware of some common injuries and ways to prevent injuries while training for triathlon, it is time to give a pat on your back for choosing the sport and begin the training with all the necessary precautions. Avoid injuries and get prepared for the race!

“Overcome the fear and overwhelm of Triathlon!”

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2018

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