For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Comeback queen Erin Densham shares her top three tips for racing stronger after injury.
This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Aussie speedster Erin Densham knows a thing or two about making it through injury and illness. In the last three years, the 27-year-old has battled mono, chronic hamstring tendinopathy, and an arrhythmia that required surgery to correct. (The arrhythmia, known as SVT, caused her heart rate to spike up to 270 in races.) She missed out on months of proper training and seemed permanently stuck on ITU’s injured list. But in early 2012, Densham proved injuries—even three years of them—can be conquered when she won ITU races in Mooloolaba and Sydney, made the Australian Olympic team over reigning gold medalist Emma Snowsill and captured the bronze medal in London in August. Below, she shares what she learned from her time spent on the sideline.
When you’re injured, getting healthy—not maintaining fitness for a future race—should be your No. 1 goal. Once you achieve that, you can focus on training again. “My thought process wasn’t about London 2012,” Densham says. “It was about getting back to being healthy—to live a healthy, normal life—then doing triathlon, then pushing myself and doing the best that I can.”
“Being injured is so frustrating, and you want to just get back into training,” Densham says. “But unfortunately it has to be a long-term process of weeks or months. Have patience, and take it easy. Know your body—if it’s a pain you can push through or if you must stop—and make smart decisions.
Trust your body.
When you have fully recovered, trust that your body can still achieve great things. “It took a while after my surgery to know that I was OK, to know that I could push myself to the limit without having to worry,” Densham says. We’d say her time of 1:59:50 (and bronze hardware) in the London Olympic Games proves Densham’s back to racing fearlessly.