Not only swimming, cycling, and running are an important part of training. Recovery, Physical Therapy, and strengthening are also the key to success. I started training for my first Ironman with Arik Gohl at his clinic Balanzen (www.Balanzen.com) once a week. During the sessions we focused at first mainly on stretching and relaxing the muscles that were used in the heavy workouts I had been doing.
When training for an Ironman you have to take care to listen to your body constantly because heavy workouts at a high volume can cause injuries that can prevent you from meeting your performance goals or even prevent you from getting into the competitions. With the help of Arik, I was able to arrive at my first Ironman ready for the ordeal.
The race was in Woodlands, TX and turned out to be an amazing and memorable day as I won first place in my age category (18-24 years old) in an American championship, where the level of competition was at a very high level. Having won this event, I qualified for the Ironman World Championships held every October in Kona on the magical island of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands.
The Kona Ironman is where the best triathletes in the world compete and it was a dream for me to be a part of an event with these elite-level athletes. Preparing for the Ironman in Kona began after I returned from qualifying in Texas. Arik gave me the help I needed to recover from that event by treating my affected ligaments and muscles, which in this case was all of them!
Once I started training again for Kona, Arik turned his focus to strengthening my deep internal muscles. Mainly we focused on the core area (abdominal area, pelvis, lower back), because it is from those areas that the real strength and stability of the body come from. When these muscles are strong, they helps us avoid the most common injuries that we experience as athletes. Stability and strength are one of the most important things to have in order to attain optimal and efficient performance.
Listen to your body
Another important point I learned from Arik is how to listen to the body when it is tired. In my case this is really hard to do since I am used to training heavy and I don’t like to skip training sessions no matter how tired I am. Arik taught me how necessary it was to allow time for recovery in order for my body to be ready for the next training session and get the most out of it.
The day of competition in Kona was the culmination of daily training, effort, and sacrifice that were reflected in my results at the championship. My winning achievement in Kona was the most important accomplishment in my life so far. It was certainly an accomplishment I would not of had without Arik’s support. Thank you again to Arik for supporting me the entire time of my training and preparing me to fight for and win my dream of becoming an Ironman world champion in my category.
This is only the beginning…
Kona Hawaii Ironman World Champion 2016, 18-24 year-old category
(Translated from Spanish, originally posted on the facebook page Balanzen November 3rd 2016)