Triathlon Training and Recovery

One of the most crucial pieces left out of a beginner’s triathlon training program is recovery. If you don’t allow your body to recover, then overtraining can occur.  Training for a triathlon can put a lot of stress on your body because you have to train for 3 sports at once.  Learning to balance swimming, biking, and running in the right ratios takes time.  Common warning signs of overtraining include:

  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Changes in your sleep pattern
  • Loss of enthusiasm for training
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased incidence of illness
  • Feeling tired even after easy workouts
  • Moody and unpleasant to be around

Beginner athletes always assume more is better.  This may work for a year or so but eventually you will stop seeing improvements and realize that you have to train smarter, not harder.  The best way to do that is to get a triathlon coach.  Find someone in your area that has a good reputation and listen to everything they say.  If hiring a trainer is not in your budget, then read the Triathlete’s Training Bible.  This book will give you the basics to design your own training program. Everyone responds differently to training and listening to your body is very important.  Your training program will change over the years as you learn what works and what doesn’t work. Most programs will have at least one complete rest day a week and then every 4th week will be an easy week.  It is also important to take a break from training completely at the end of the triathlon season. Learning to train smarter will allow you to perform pain free for many years.


Spinal decompression with no machine?

When most people hear of spinal decompression, they think of big fancy machines basically pulling you apart. Or they may think of inversion tables, essentially hanging you upside down.  These machines are supposed to cause decompression in the spine because they distract (pull apart) the vertebrae, taking pressure off of the discs.  It may feel good when you are in the machine but as soon as you stand up and let gravity take effect, most people are back to where they started.

Why don’t these machines have long term results?

Because they cannot get rid of scar tissue in the muscles. Any muscle that crosses a joint will stabilize and compress it.  In the neck and low back there are many muscles that cross these joints.  If you have scar tissue build up in these muscles, then they will always add increased load and pressure to your discs.  Removing the scar tissue with ART, MAR, and IAR, will naturally decompress the spine.

Can you really “work through” the pain?

The short answer is maybe, but eventually it will catch up with you.  I have many patients that come in and say they can usually work through the pain but this time it will not go away.  This response indicates to me that they never actually worked through the pain.  Their body compensated by loading up another area.  Eventually there will be no other areas to compensate to and pain will result.  Most of my patients are between the ages of 40-55.  This is the common age range when the body runs out of areas to compensate to.  One of the most common pain generators is scar tissue formation in muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  To learn more about scar tissue click here.  If you have a nagging injury that will not go away or you have been “working through” the pain, please call our office to schedule an exam.  This way you will know if scar tissue is at the root of your pain.

Can foam rolling remove scar tissue?

Foam rolling is a great way to warm up before exercise, but it will never remove scar tissue.

I am a big fan of foam rolling as a warm up.  It will warm up the tissue and temporarily relax your tissue to allow for better range of motion.  However, I would never use a foam roll as a method of removing pain.  If you are experiencing pain, you should be evaluated by a professional.  Most likely you have scar tissue build up in your muscle.  This scar tissue can alter the way the joint moves which leads to pain.  You can think of it as pouring glue into a muscle.  The muscle won’t stretch or contract like it should.  The only way to get rid of the scar tissue is to develop a lot of tension directly on the scar tissue. This is accomplished by using ART, MAR, and IAR.

Soft Tissue and Low Back Pain

I wanted to use this blog post as an opportunity to explain what soft tissue is and why it is important.

Soft tissue is technically anything that isn’t bone, but in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain we place a large emphasis on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

As a chiropractor, I automatically have a reputation of being an expert in spine related issues like low back and neck pain.  However, the chiropractor who specializes in the treatment of soft tissue is an expert at treating every joint in the body.  In my practice I treat just as many shoulder pain, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and knee pain patients as I do low back and neck pain patients. When you understand the role soft tissue has in joint movement, then you can understand why soft tissue is so important.  It really comes down to scar tissue formation in the soft tissue.  I wrote a 3 part series that explains everything you need to know about scar tissue and how to get rid of it. Click here to learn more about scar tissue.

In this post I want to explain a powerful example of the consequences of scar tissue in relation to low back pain. This example was provided to me by  Dr. Brady, the founder of Integrative Diagnosis, MAR™, and IAR™.

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Part 3: How does ART and MAR reduce scar tissue?

Part 3 of 3: Click here for part 1 and part 2

After understanding how scar tissue forms and what it can lead to, we can now focus on how to treat and reduce scar tissue.  There are two main methods of achieving this goal:

1.     Manually (Dr. uses hands)—such as ART and MAR, which we will cover in this article.

2.     Instruments—Two of the more popular instruments are Graston and Sound Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (SASTM). The newest instrument on the market today is the Instrument Adhesion Release (IAR).  Below is a picture of the IAR instrument being applied to scar tissue in the forearm extensor muscles.

Instrument Adhesion Release to the forearm extensor muscles.[/caption]

Instruments work best for scar tissue that is closer to the surface. To ensure scar tissue is removed from deeper muscles we will need to get back to ART and MAR and how they work.

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Part 2: How can scar tissue lead to pain?

Part 2 of 3: click here for part 1

In part one, we covered how scar tissue can get into your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. But how can scar tissue lead to all of the following problems?

  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Disc injuries
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfers elbow
  • Headaches
  • Plantar Fasciitis

The cause is typically a joint that has an abnormal axis of rotation. The easiest way to visualize this is to look at the glenohumeral joint (shoulder). Read more

What is ART and MAR and why would it help me?

This will be a three part series that will explain everything you need to know about ART (Active Release Technique).

Part 1: How does scar tissue form?

Part 2: How can scar tissue lead to the pain that I have?

Part 3: How does ART get rid of scar tissue?

So let’s start off with:

Part 1: How does scar tissue form?

ART stands for Active Release Technique and is probably the most popular and sought after form of soft tissue treatment on the market today.  ART was developed by  P. Michael Leahy, DC and it’s main purpose is to break down scar tissue that forms in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. MAR stands for Manual Adhesion Release and was developed by William Brady, DC.  MAR also breaks down scar tissue but Dr. Brady also has a system of diagnosis that leads to quicker and more effective results.

Most people typically say, “I haven’t had an injury, so why would I have scar tissue?” Hopefully this next section will help clarify how and why scar tissue forms.

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