Injury, Setbacks and a Strong Support Network

In this blog, Race Team Athlete Dan Cobby highlights the importance of a strong support network when dealing with setbacks that life can throw at you throughout your triathlon season. Setbacks and adversity are inevitable, as an athlete you must learn how to deal with them in the most effective and efficient way possible. Most important in discovering this is remembering that you are not alone. Dan will be looking to replicate his 1st overall AG at IRONMAN UK last year at IRONMAN Wales 2016.

Dan Cobby shortly after his return from injury
training in the Algarve, Portugal

The past 6 monhts: Injury, No Kona, Getting Back To Training, Coaching And a New Addition.

As I sit writing this blog I am sat cuddling the new addition to my family, whilst typing with one hand. Joshua, was born on the 25th February 2016 and he has managed to find a part of my heart I never knew existed.

So where do I begin....

I lay on the roadside starring at a pile of carbon...... From this moment I knew that racing at the 2015 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii were doubtful.

On 11th September 2015 I was on a long cycle up in the Peak District when I was knocked off my bike by a car, which subsequently saw me injured for the rest of the 2015 season and my Kona dream shattered. An injured right knee and damaged shoulder were the cost of the lapse of concentration from a driver.

Initially I felt robbed and as if all that time invested in training and racing had been a waste of time. Luckily for me, I have a great support network around me and I am supported by people who truly care about their athletes and not just the racing.

As a supported athlete I think my immediate reaction to being injured was the feeling of letting people down. The support however that Tri Training Harder gave me during this time was amazing and makes me very proud and honoured to be part of the race team.

For the first few days of being injured there was a lot of sulking however this was pretty short lived after some words from my wife and after watching “The Marine That Refused To Die” I realised that actually things were not that bad.

I then went to see the Bosworth Clinic who have played a vital role in my rehab. The Bosworth Clinic offer the race team physio, nutrition advice, sport psychology and personal training. They work as an integrated support team and feed their thoughts back to our coaches, who then can plan our training more specifically. When I attended the Bosworth Clinic a few days after the accident it was decided even flying out to Kona would be the wrong decision, which initially was a hard line to take, but comforting that they put their athletes welfare first.

Speaking to Mark Bellamy who is the Sports Psychologist at the Bosworth Clinic really helped and made me put things into perspective. After all we all got into triathlon for the love of the sport and sometimes we need steering back in that direction. Also I had the most exciting time ahead which was my wife being pregnant with our little boy.

During my 3 months of recovery it was essential I ate well whilst further educating myself on the importance of healthy eating. Helen Money, who is the nutritionist at The Bosworth Clinic helped me to plan and understand this further. It would have been far too easy to get into bad eating and drinking habits, sins that triathletes restrict ourselves with during the tri season. Having a specific plan was very important this really helped with ensuring I did not eat the wrong things which could make it far harder to get back to full fitness. Don't get me wrong I like the odd beer and I'm a sucker for the occasional sweet treat but its about having it in moderation.

After a few months I got back to a more structured training regime and really focussed on working close with Alan Ward (coach) to get back to fitness. It was a good opportunity to get the foundations strong before I started training in 2016.

We discussed my goals for 2016 would be to race Ironman Wales to hopefully qualify for Kona 2017.

Dan Cobby: 1st AG Overall IRONMAN UK 2015

Many people ask me is a coach a must have to progress in triathlon. My advice is no, its a must to have a coach that understands you as an athlete and sets a training schedule specifically for you. Not every athlete is the same and we all have different recovery rates and benefit differently from various sessions.

At Tri Training Harder I am fortunate to have a coach that constantly wants feedback from sessions to help get the best out of me and looking at my results I have definitely progressed and getting PB's on all my races in 2015 surely evidences this. Sometimes its about training smarter and not necessarily harder.

Having the Bosworth Clinic who work as an integrated support team and see me on regular basis, communicate with Alan and make sure my training is specific for me and the best quality it can be. I believe this kind of coaching is second to none and one that will really help anyone progress.

In summary I think if you have a strong support network then you are onto a winner, even if things don't quite go to plan.

I am very grateful for the support I am given and it really helps me to get on with the training and spending quality time with my family....After all a happy wife is a happy life ;-).

I look forward to updating you about my progress with training in a few weeks....

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi