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5 tips to avoiding injury in the triathlon
Blog | August 1, 2016
The world’s biggest triathlon, the London Triathlon, takes place at Excel in London’s Docklands next weekend. The London Triathlon medical team includes doctors, nurses, physios and first-aiders from the British Red Cross ready to deal with the common medical emergencies and injuries that occur in a triathlon. Here the London Triathlon’s Medical Director and Proactive Sports Medicine Consultant Sports Physician, Dr Courtney Kipps, shares his tips to help keep competitors safe and out of the triathlon medical tent: “Every year up to 13,000 people take part in the London Triathlon, the world’s largest mass-participation triathlon, so it’s inevitable that a number of athletes will require medical assistance along the route. However there are steps that triathletes can do to avoid the medical tents and have a safe, successful triathlon. 1. Practice open water swimming in your wetsuit before the big day. If you haven’t done an open water swim before or you are less confident in the swim leg, start at the back of your wave. The start can get quite crazy and elbows/feet will collide with unsuspecting faces.  2. If it’s a warm day don’t try and push for a personal best: heatstroke usually happens when athletes push themselves hard on a hot day, especially when they haven’t trained in similar weather (this is called “acclimatisation”).  Athletes accumulate heat through exercise and if they can’t lose this heat, especially in hot and humid conditions, the body will slowly overheat. In these circumstances exercise can be dangerous.  3. Don’t drink too much before, during, or after the event. Overdrinking, whether you’re drinking water or a sports drink, is dangerous. How much is too much? Drink according to what your body tells you: use your thirst as a guide. If you’re thirsty, drink what you feel you need to drink. Never drink to “keep ahead of your thirst”. The risks of dehydration are far less serious than you might think.4. If you have an injury, get it checked out by a an experienced medical professional beforehand. The biggest risk for developing an injury is not dealing with your injuries in the first place.5. Don’t try anything new on race-day, including your kit, your goggles and your bike. If you have never used tri-bars or clip-in pedals before, don’t try them for the first time during a race. Please don’t try a new anti-fog and definitely don’t use washing up liquid in your goggles!  6. Finally, enjoy the race. It promises to be great fun being part of a such an iconic event. I wish you the best of luck for a successful, injury-free, triathlon!” This article first appeared on www.iseh.co.uk
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