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always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status?
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When I started doing triathlon fairly consistently, I was always injured. As in 100% certainty that I was coming into my A race with no / little run training due to an injury.


Over time, I have become better but I am still struggling to go 12 months injury free. The protocol that I follow is:
  • Target a reasonable run volume. Typically around 45 kms / week (just under 30miles), specifically 40k in the winter; 55 in the peak season
  • Hit the run target by running 5 to 6 times / week
  • Minimize the long runs. Only build some longer runs 4 - 6 weeks before the A race
  • Virtually no speedwork (Probably have done 3 slightly faster than race pace sessions in the past 15 months. Last one culminated in picking up plantar fascitis 4 months ago)
  • Keep the pace under control
  • Build to the run volume on a conservative basis, increase by 2.5kms / week (just under 2 miles)
  • Recover week every 4th week. Typically 25 - 30km (15 to 18 miles)

Despite this conservative approach, I am nursing a strained adductor / psoas. Have taken 2.5 weeks off, but still sore...

For those who were formerly always injured, what winning steps / solutions have you followed to reach the nirvana state of non-injured?

PS1: in case relevant, i typically race 70.3. Am a FOP dude (40 - 44 AG) courtesy of reasonable swim and bike times. My run times are between 1.34 and 1.37.

PS2: i saw this thread which I thought was useful- http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...s%20injured#p3002091



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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    Previous issues:
    - plantar fasciitis
    - ITB

    Three things have helped me:
    1. Strength training 2x / week - mostly single leg work, some core, some plyometrics,
    2. Dynamic stretching before all work outs S, B or R - leg swings, hip openers, side squats and skipping
    3. Weekly message - work out any kinks

    Three things commonly recommended and didn't help:
    1. Ice
    2. Rest
    3. Compression or braces

    Good luck!
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I have done 30+ triathlons, 3 ironmans, 6 halfs

    I've never been healthy for any of them. How stupid is that?

    This is the year I change this though. I am 5 weeks away from imtx and 100% healthy (knock on all the wood I can find....)

    What's worked:

    - stopped using strava for my runs that made me run faster than I should because I like competing

    - an extremely extremely pro-active responsive to any tightness in my legs. It's always a precursor to injury.

    - the treadmill is my friend now. I look at it as a soft running surface instead of a torture device

    - no more huge long runs. I do doubles instead with the first run on the treadmill and second run at lunch outside

    - two days off after that long run double day. No exceptions. Consistently running 5 days a week though.

    Good luck!
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    There are two ways I might look at the same set of things:
    1) I am always injured and constantly need to take time off
    2) I am never injured and never need to take time off.

    Same circumstances, very different interpretations.

    I usually go for the never injured interpretation. So far that has worked,
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    When i first started running i was always injured, shin splints and ITB issues.

    I changed shoes from Hokas to more minimal padding and don't run longer than 1h30 in one run.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    It may even just be something outside your workout plan.

    For me it was the treadmill. I usually ramp up my training in early January and by Feb or March I'd be be dealing with my knee (Patellafemoral). Because I'm in Canada, a lot of the early training in winter was/is on the treadmill. This year I connected the dots - it wasn't the volume so much as how I did that volume - specifically a cheap treadmill that has a bit too much cushion. What I suspect is that I'm overextending relative to pavement.

    This year, I've done it almost all outside, even in deep freeze or blizzard and I'm able to handle more volume than I ever have. Now that I've gotten my base, I can even go back and do once a week on the treadmill without risking it all. Though now when I do go to the treadmill I both check that it's a good one and I make sure to change my incline or pace at least 1x per minute (so I'm not doing repetitive kms over and over)
    Last edited by: timbasile: Mar 19, 17 17:11
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [timbasile] [ In reply to ]
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    For me it was keep trying things until something works. Gradually ramping up is a good idea. I tried dynamic stretching as my issue was recurrent calf strains. Then I tried strengthening calf muscles with heel dips. In the end the static stretching I did when I was in my teens worked. And a physio showed me how to do a soleus stretch with my knee bent in addition to a regular achilles stretch with knee straight. The other thing is if something hurts now I back off rather than trying to "train through it" My shoulder is sore now because I wiped out on it running outside on an icy day rather than using the treadmill.

    Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
    Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I started this thread 4 years ago as I struggled with getting injured.

    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...tring=injur#p4464335

    I didn't think any of those people were right at the time, but reading back on it now..... they definitely were.

    It wasn't until this past summer that things finally started clicking. What worked for me (and this took years to develop and figure out):

    - Run slow at a conversational pace Almost all runs are in zone 1/ low zone 2 hr. Let the pace be whatever it is. This was the biggest thing that made everything click.
    - softer surfaces. I run on the treadmill most of time and try to find trails to run on. I do my best to avoid asphalt/concrete.
    - running form. Found someone who knew proper running form and showed me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.
    - massage.... i get a massage every other week
    - must address any little tweaks or tightness as soon as they happen (foam roll, stretch)

    I'm now 9+ months without having to take a day off due to injury. Longest streak I've ever had since being in this sport.

    (knocks on wood)

    get comfortable being uncomfortable
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [stevej] [ In reply to ]
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    stevej wrote:

    - Run slow at a conversational pace Almost all runs are in zone 1/ low zone 2 hr. Let the pace be whatever it is. This was the biggest thing that made everything click.
    - softer surfaces. I run on the treadmill most of time and try to find trails to run on. I do my best to avoid asphalt/concrete.
    - running form. Found someone who knew proper running form and showed me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.
    - massage.... i get a massage every other week
    - must address any little tweaks or tightness as soon as they happen (foam roll, stretch)

    ^^^^^This^^^^

    Probably the most sensible thing I've read on this forum. Most of my runs are done 'as they come', and usually so that I can talk. A couple of tempo or interval sessions a week to lift things a bit. Most runs on trails and really focus on form. Good running form makes running look easy and is well worth taking some time to develop. I don't get enough massage and I do need to stretch a bit more. But, I am 60 and run on average 70 kms per week (5 or 6 days) with some biking and swimming in there too.

    I believe that spending too much time chasing numbers can be detrimental. Focus on the training, not the numbers.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I felt like I chased a goblin around from psoas to hamstring to calf to lower back for about 3-4 years, but have been able to (knock on wood) be pretty much good to go by doing a few things:
    -A reduction in overall load, often to the point I was angry at my coach off and on for a year for leaving me "undercooked." It took a long time for me to see his patience and accept it rather than do "bonus" workouts. Very gradually, incrementally, we've been able to build back up far, far past where I ever was, keeping in mind:
    Avoid massive swings in overall load. "Overload periods" are a thing of the past. Instead, work to make it all very, very consistent.
    Trading more and more tempo-type work for top-speed type stuff. It also works that I've gradually transitioned from mostly a focus on draft legal sprints to XTERRA, so a 55 minute race with the 5k being the very defining feature to a 2.5 hour race that's a bit less necessary for crazy top end stuff.
    Getting more and more percentage of my overall aerobic loading from swim and bike. It certainly doesn't translate 1:1:1, but there's certainly a benefit.
    I started running in "more" shoe. Specifically, I shifted from the Brooks Pure flow to the Launch, and for a while after the worst of my calf issues, even a pair of early Hokas for easy runs.
    Lastly, what others have said, but do not ignore anything that seems out of the ordinary. Anything acute needs to be addressed somehow, or at least carefully monitored.

    XTERRA South American Adventure | @idking90 | Strava | IG: idking90
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    Me - anytime I got over 20 or so miles a week, injured. Every single season i'd be out for a month or two, usually calves but other things as well

    Last January started working with an MAT practitioner. It has worked wonders, ran 1400 miles last year with a couple 140-150 mile months, without any injury (of course now o have some random abdominal pull....). I cannot recommend MAT highly enough
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I have been plagued in the past but made it through a long season last year ok for the first time in years with a total of 1500 miles for the year on 48 year old uncooperative knees. What worked for me was more hills and less overall distance on longer runs, almost exclusively running in Hokas (bondi and speedgoat), using my Norma Tec fairly regularly and scheduling the long stuff-Iron distance and Ultras two months apart. For this year I did a proactive 8 week twice a week physical therapy program and continue with the exercises at home 2 to 3 times a week. I try to keep my bike sessions hard to brutal and run a lower intensity but higher volume type of thing. I foam roll my IT bands at least 3x a week, usually more. I do run a lot of hills but I don't try to blaze them. Good luck.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ChrisM] [ In reply to ]
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    Whats MAT?

    Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
    Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [len] [ In reply to ]
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    Muscle Activation Technique

    It's a little woo woo. You can google and get the specifics but damn if it hasn't worked for me
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I also seemed to be plagued with never ending running injuries. I think I have suffered, at one time or another, almost every leg/foot injury there is. Like other posters said it was a combination of things that have made me run relatively injury free.

    1) no pre-run stretching, do after run stretching, if any.
    2) speed work on treadmill only
    3) strength training
    4) easy run warm ups
    5) find the right mix, mileage, long run length, frequency, intensity
    6) finding the proper shoe (cushioning, more important than stability or anti-pronation) for both training and racing. After trying brooks, saucony, nike and asics, Mizuno's became the brand of choice and I have not looked back They have been more consistent in making only minimal changes with each successive model.

    Dean Wilson
    http://www.anaerobiczone.com
    Bicycle Protection Indoors & Out
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    Weightlifting.

    I had two knee issues and some tendinitis in my foot in a span of 3ish years, 2013-2016 (this was as a runner, started triathlon during my recovery from tendinitis which made me intentionally walk my first 70.3 run in NOLA). Incorporated strength training into my in season workouts along with heavy weightlifting in the off-season, meaning enough weight that 3 sets by 5 reps does you in. I did 4.5 full distance races last year (.5 being IMMD) albeit very slowly as I try to rack up the legacy count, but still I think a testament to including weightlifting 1-2x a week during the season. Squats and deadlifts being the key workouts.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I had a few seasons of consistent niggles and then shin spints put me out of action for about 18 months. Now I am pretty bulletproof, the biggest thing that's changed for me is that I started to listen to people and I started to do my runs a LOT slower.

    I used to run 2-3 times a week and they were all shortish tempo/hard runs (maybe 15-18 miles per week) - every run was a race to me, now I run a 5-6 times (35-40 miles) a week and probably do 80% of the mileage at around or slower than 8m/miles, for context I am a low 18s 5KM runner.

    Most people run too fast, too far, too often.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [uk_bloke] [ In reply to ]
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    Thanks, everybody. Useful insights.

    Follow up question for those referencing pace (stevej, uk_bloke, etc): how does one identify the right pace for the majority of the (easy) runs? Eg: I am a low to mid 19min for a 5k. Should the bulk of my runs be around 5min/km (8min/miles) or 5:30min/km (9min / miles)? And if running that much slower, how does one maintain good running form?

    Thanks
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I don't think if you can go wrong if you use some thing like Jack Daniels running formula. There are loads of posts about it on here. But essentially you use your time from a recent race / test and it calculates your training and equivalent race paces.

    It's really important you use your current times, and not your PBs or your aspirational ones for the calculation and the e-pace is what you use for you the vast bulk of your running, and as you progress that pace will quicken. It's also important you run at e-pace and not a bit quicker because you feel good, your mates are running quicker etc. I actually think that the e-pace is fastest a 'slow' run should be, and it doesn't hurt going slower.

    I am not a coach but I don't think many people would wildly disagree with me.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    You've received a ton of good information but I'll add my experience as well.

    Strength training and dynamic stretching, specifically hips, glutes, IT band. Those were always tight and causing a lot of issues. Since I have been crazy proactive about stretching those areas I have had no issues. Strength training in the sense of body weight workouts not like lifting weights. Dips, pull ups, push ups, planks, pistol squats, etc.

    Another thing that I felt helped but couldn't directly measure was eating better, specifically foods that reduce inflammation, but mostly fruits, vegetables and lean meats. In my mind this helped more than I can quantify as it helped recovery of workouts and sleep patterns and such so give it a try.

    Best of luck!

    "The pain is temporary, the memories will last the rest of your life" ~ John Collins

    Follow me on Instagram & Twitter
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I would like to suggest some food for thought here. We are always discussing running as the source of our injuries and are doing everything to mitigate the impact. I agree with all strategies already brought up. All sound and make sense.
    My experience with injuries is a bit different and I changed my thought process.
    I think cycling training has been the primary driver of my injuries. We are pretty liberal at the principles of stacking hard and long cycling workouts. Here and elsewhere, it is always labeled as low risk no impact. I challenge that school of thought.
    My IM training spun around 11-13hrs of cycling a week. A lot of it was hard. My long rides were never under IM power. Lots of 110-120milers at power that I held during IMs. I would than run for days with trashed legs after rides like that. Tight legs everywhere, tired legs all the time from all cycling. Reduced ROM, developed trigger points.......Rolled and stretched as much as somebody can with a job and 20hr training week. Running on legs like that is what got me injured every time.
    To give you perspective, my IM weeks were all at 40-45mi per week, but cycling was 220-250 weekly. Neither astronomical by any stretch. It was just chronic fatigue from cycling that caused tight and weak hips. From there, the chain of events was set.
    Any of my run standalone blocks where there was no cycling, never produced injury. I ran many Fall periods at 55-65mi/ week of all flavors following many guidelines listed in this thread, never got in trouble.
    After 10 years in the sport, 15 half and 3 fulls, coaching a few guys and girls, I observed the patterns. I am fairly convinced that cycling training impact is under estimated on running mechanics and injuries producing out of that.
    3 achilles injuries, 3 calf strains and now a hip labral tear are the summary.
    I really challenge you all to stop delaying the true functional strength training program. And I mean a visit to a PT that specializes in work with endurance athletes. Get an assessment, get the program developed and follow up on 6 month basis, reassess, change routine and keep going. All of that work is done at home on the floor and takes little time commitment. That is small bands, single leg type work aimed at your weakness, ie hip, gluteus, core......The majority of issues are there, they just spread lower and appear at your weakest link. Any PT here can chime in and likely witness to that.


    Please take that strain that you are nursing seriously. I really do not want to scare you but I would like to help you prevent truly serious injury that resembles that strain.
    Hip labral tears and atheltic pubalgia (family of pelvic floor injuries), all show initial signs similar to adductor/psoas/rectus abdominis strain.
    It started for me like that in early 2016. Adductor tightness and dull feeling running down the muscle itself during running. Trained for 2016 IMAZ with 18-21hr weeks. It was not stopping me.By August had to take celebrex post runs and saw soft tissue injury specialist due to developing sharp pain post runs in lower left abdomen. Was treated as rectus abdominis strain. ART, graston, dry needling. It was not going away. Thought maybe during taper it would subside. No. Went and raced. At mile 16 had very sharp pain, breath zapping, from lower abdomen to hip area, could not push the knee forward......finished the race under 10hrs still. I knew I screwed it up.
    Month ago diagnosed with MRA as hip labral tear. I have been down now since the race. Never had any hip symptoms, just that adductor dull feeling and tightness, lower abdomen sharp pain post activity.
    No panic. Just be open minded to down time if needed to avoid if possible an injury to leads to hip arthroscopy and the brutal 6-8 months recovery.
    Sorry for such a long post.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    I won't say I was always injured, but as I got older I would get injured (Achilles) at some point during the season. I increased my run cadence (no swim or bike until after my April marathon), and now am doing 60 mpw with more speedwork at the age of 48. With an increase of cadence, I have no more injuries - just soreness that goes away after a few hours.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    Conversational pace. Not "5" or "5:30".

    Cap yourself at a truly easy RPE or low HR (mostly Z1 for me) and ignore the pace. If I run on a flat route in perfect weather, it can be 5ish pace; alternatively, it could be near-6 if the route is hilly or technical. Form comes with practice - at first I also struggled to see how "jogging" can be of any use, but over time my run looks more normal at those paces.

    I'm a 19min 5k on a good day. I'm also skinny and relatively injury-prone, and yet using the easy-volume approach outlined by others in this thread, I've become a fairly stable runner and made decent gains. Also PR'ed my HIM run in January, going from 1:35 to just under 1:30 while feeling like I could've dug deeper.

    ZONE3 - We Last Longer
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    Quote:
    For those who were formerly always injured, what winning steps / solutions have you followed to reach the nirvana state of non-injured?

    I had four stress fractures between July of 2005 (I was 18) and October of 2012. I also managed posterior tibial tendonitis for a couple months and psoas tendonitis that took two cortisone shots to get rid of. I have been injury free since 2012, knock on wood. (This excludes getting hit by a car while I was cycling last year and the two sacral fractures that resulted - that wasn't my fault).

    In my case, the series of fractures was a result of two things. One was running too much. The other was that I gained about 20 lbs between ages 17 and 18 (this was a good thing) and I think my bones needed time to adapt to the "extra" (healthy) weight. Also, I finally accepted that my body doesn't seem able to handle more than 60 mile run weeks. I also became much better about running on soft surfaces - I almost NEVER run on paved roads. Additionally, I started wearing stability shoes, and I that helped.

    I pretty routinely do exercises for my hips and glues, which I think helps. I try to do things that involve lateral hip movement, such as breaststroke and breaststroke kick, to balance out all the "forward" motions.

    YRMV.

    Proud member of Fishtwitch and the ST Grammar Police
    disclaimer: I am a PhD, not a medical doctor. The closest I get to surgery is topology.
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    Re: always injured runner / triathlete. Anybody graduated to consistently non-injured status? [ejd_mil] [ In reply to ]
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    some general guidelines:


    do work but do less more often
    consistency is king, more frequent more often
    less is more
    less being more allows you to work towards more becoming more
    swim more...a lot more
    don't get out of shape once you get in shape - stay in the game
    slow is fast
    hills instead of the track

    Brian Stover
    Accelerate3 Coaching
    twitter & IG = @accelerate3
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