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Former Ironman 70.3 world champion Melissa Hauschildt gives her tips for making the most of injury.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Melissa Hauschildt had one of the most spectacular triathlon debuts in the history of the sport. In 2010, the Australian phenom set a new course record of 4:19:23 on a rainy day at the Gold Coast Half Ironman—it was her second triathlon ever. She went on to prove her success wasn’t a fluke by winning every race she contested in 2011, including four 70.3s and the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas. With more than a half-dozen victories since then, including a win at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March, the cheery 30-year-old with a platinum pixie cut seems indestructible. That’s why it’s even more amazing that some of her greatest triathlon triumphs—even her entry into the sport—were spurred by injury. Below, Hauschildt’s top two tips for making the most of a physical setback.
Focus on the positive. Hauschildt had just claimed her fifth national 3000m steeplechase crown on the track when stress fractures in her legs halted her run training, so she started cycling. Five months later, she was standing atop the podium at her first triathlon. “The main thing is not to think so much about the injury and just concentrate on what you can do,” Hauschildt says. “I had a bit of an injury scare going into Abu Dhabi [for more than a year she’s struggled with tendonitis stemming from a rolled ankle], so I rode and did the elliptical instead of running on the road and really concentrated on my swimming. I had a really good swim in Abu Dhabi, and maybe I wouldn’t have swum as well if I hadn’t gotten injured.”
Keep looking forward. Triathletes are “always looking forward to the next races. That’s how we do it—we love racing, and we love winning,” Hauschildt says. So don’t scrub your upcoming events off of the calendar just yet. Holding onto those goals might help you maintain your fitness. “Leading into Abu Dhabi, I really wanted that bad,” Hauschildt says. “That kept me motivated, kept me getting out of bed in the morning, and made me work hard.”
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