Triathlon Tips from the Specialists at Texas Tech Physicians

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) at El Paso Sports Medicine Team has been serving as the official on-site medical provider for many events through Race El Paso.  TTUHSC at El Paso Sports Medicine Fellowship Program Director Arthur Islas, M.D., and Co-Director Justin Wright, M.D., and their team have brought a level of expert professional care that rivals marathons and triathlons 10 times the size of races in El Paso according to several race directors. Finish line care is essential to endurance events. With the Mighty Mujer Triathlon nearing, Dr. Wright has some important tips to share.

1. What is the most important piece of advice that you can give to someone participating in the triathlon?

Be safe – listen to your body.  You have worked hard to prepare for this, but if you are hurt or don’t feel well, pushing too hard could lead to serious injury or illness.  There will be other triathlons.

2. Any tips for preparation the week prior to a race?

Get plenty of rest and start to eat higher carbohydrate foods.  Increasing carbohydrates the week before is much more effective than one big carb load the night before the race.

3. What are the most common injuries that you encounter on race day? Are there any preventative measures participants can take to decrease their risk of injury?

We see a variety of injuries at a triathlon.  The swim portion of the race takes place in a pool with many other swimmers, so we may see an athlete who has taken a stray kick from another competitor.   Falls and crashes are common on the bike, either from hitting an object or taking a turn too fast.  Most commonly, this results in an abrasion, or road rash.  Given the high speeds involved in cycling, however, the potential for more serious injury is always present.  During the run portion, we mainly see lower extremity injuries – muscle strains, cramps, ankle sprains.  The best prevention is proper training and being mindful of others and course hazards.

4. Now that you have the Sports Medicine fellowship in place, how are your fellows doing in the field? What role will they play at the triathlon?

The fellows are doing a great job, learning every day.  They will be at the medical tent with us, seeing athletes as they come in.

5. Any race day advice?

Get plenty of sleep the night before and get to the event early – you don’t want to be scrambling to get to the starting line as the gun goes off.  And have fun!