UPANDRUNNING’S RESIDENT PHYSIOTHERAPIST, MARK LILLYWHITE TALKS TO SPORTED.AE ABOUT HIS PASSION FOR TRIATHLON…
I underestimated how nervous I would be when competing in my very first triathlon. As I jumped into to swim for my first taste of the open water, little did I anticipate my heart racing at twice its normal rate. As I was jockeying for position in the triathlon swim, arms and elbows flailing everywhere, I was spurred on by the pure adrenaline rush and the feeling of being cheered on by the crowd.
As an already very competitive person which probably stems from having two sporty siblings to compete against for the last 30 or so years, I was determined to exceed my personal best.
There is no doubt about it, triathlon is an addictive sport, one like no other as you are training for three different events and that’s before you even touch upon the transitions. I spend time before each race practicing getting out of my wetsuit from the shower, unclipping from the bike to make a smooth dismount and meticulously placing my towel and assortments so I know exactly where to find them and in what order to put them on during the race. I thought if I can control these internal variables within the race, it was one less thing to worry about.
When I think about training for a triathlon there are various factors to consider, above and beyond the strength and endurance elements. Stress is a condition that we normally associate with health problems such as high blood pressure and heart attacks, but it can also impact our pain management and subsequent injuries. Similarly, consistent sleep patterns can play a major role in injury prevention as our muscles are going to have more energy to perform and our brains are going to be focused on the task at hand. I’ve come to realize the importance of assessing these aspects as they massively influence training ability, recognition of these factors drives me to be a superior athlete and better person. This is something I now incorporate into my assessments and treatments in helping my clients reach their goals alongside more traditional physiotherapy methods.
Finally, I wanted to touch upon one of the many training aspects, strengthening and its importance amongst athletes. When chatting to clients in Dubai I have come to realize one thing, time is of a premium! So, when I asked my patient how long he spends on strengthening his muscles within his periodization program for an Ironman I was shocked to understand he did none. There is good evidence certainly at shorter distances (5km run) that strength training improves performance, and I would expect that to translate to longer distances. I think there is a misconception that you will bulk up too much with strength training when our aim is to increase muscle capacity to give you that edge over your competitors.
For individualized injury and prevention programs come in and see me at UPANDRUNNING Dubai.
Meet the Expert…
Mark holds a BSc in Sports Science specializing in biomechanics, an MSc in Physiotherapy and is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. Offering over 13 years’ experience across the NHS, private sector and England Rugby Clubs, Mark specializes in musculoskeletal, lower limb and spinal injuries.
An experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapist utilizing an integrated approach to injury rehabilitation. Mark’s treatment method focuses on the reduction of pain and the optimization of performance in line with the patient’s goals and needs. Mark has a passion for completing in triathlons, and a special interest in treating all running, cycling and swimming related injuries.