Question from a Triathlete about back pain during the run portion of a 70.3 Race


I had a question about my recent fit on my Cervelo P3.  I just raced in the Superfrog half ironman in Coronado, CA.  After my bike ride I had pain in my middle back about where my kidneys are located.  It caused me to have breathing issues for the first couple of miles of the run.  It hurt to take deep breathes.  I have been following the exercises and stretching recommended in your recommended book, Holistic Strength Training for Triathletes.   I stayed aero for about 80-90 % of the ride.  I have not had any issues on previous bike rides, but those rides have been with a group and I have only stayed aero for about half the time.   Any suggestions?



(I happen to know exactly who positioned this athlete on his bike, so I do not question his fit which would typically be the most obvious suspect).  The S.A.I.D. principle is a crucial aspect to consider in the training of any athlete, and I think its importance is highlighted in your case. Lack of aero time coupled with the higher intensity of a race environment is the most plausible scenario--especially if you had no history of previous issues in training and the pain resolved after a few miles of change in position during the run. You likely needs more specific stretching of the psoas (not shown in my book) which targets the fascia. I teach myofascial stretches to any of my clients who are not responding as well as I would like with the prescription of stretches in their programs.  However, the positions used are quite technical, and the psoas is probably one of the most complex.  These muscles originate on the lumbar spine in your area of complaint. They get worked and habitually shortened in cycling, and it's even worse in the aero position. Additionally, the psoas reflex to the adrenals which are highly taxed with endurance exercise.  So addressing the fascial restrictions specific to the psoas can have incredible resultss in both performance and in health.  Also, addressing nutrition and lifestyle (in and outside of training/racing) will give you greater tolerance for the demands of triathlon as well as better performance.  The last section of my book should help you dial in the Six Foundational Factors.  And the more consistently you apply them, the more pronounced the benefits will be. Following the proper development of an athlete is critical, too, of course.  Cycling is an expression of power which cannot be fully realized without adequate proficiency in the areas of flexibility/stability (i.e. core strength).  Thus, until these two areas are sufficiently up to speed, you may have to lessen your race effort or aggressiveness of your cycling position (or both).

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