Case Study : Triathlon – Claire Van Helfteren. 

Claire Van Helfteren hired Clarice House Personal Trainer Nolan Sunnassee to help her start to running again after two ankle operations which had prevented her from exercising normally for over two years.

Claire: I started training with Nolan having had two ankle operations in 2010 and 2011. I was a member at Clarice House and was impressed with what I saw Nolan doing with his clients. I asked Nolan to help with my rehab, and help me to get back running and training for my first triathlon. Nolan is great at attention to detail and concentrated on strengthening and balancing my left side. However he also gave me a lot more to think about including dietary advice.

I have always been involved in sport and studied a BSc (hons) in Sports Science some years ago! However I had a lot to learn from Nolans’ more up to date knowledge and was delighted to try anything in order to continue running. I really thought that after my ankle problems running was in my past, however after a great deal of patience and hard work I was out running again. I have spent a lot of time with Nolan doing what appear to be simple yet challenging exercises, if you are in any doubt they really do work! After several false starts into ‘proper’ training I have now completed two triathlons this season and am working on improving my time into the future. I have also lost a stone along the way!

It’s great to be back training properly and I certainly wouldn’t have been in this situation without Nolan’s excellent strength and conditioning.

Nolan: With most injuries after an initial healing period and rehabilitation with a health care professional, its important the person moves to an environment similar to what they will training with, ie in this situation high impact. However firstly its important to note that when injury occurs the body can lose awareness where the joint is and lose stability in that area. Therefore the initial training programme with Claire was to improve her balance, stability, coordination before moving on the greater impact movements such as Olympic lifting and plyometrics. ALL endurance athletes should add specific strength training to their programme to make themselves faster (Aagaard et al 2011). Claire has done great her training focus and attitude and more importantly is back doing what she enjoy the most swimming, running and cycling.

Claires times for her first triathlons were 1hr 47 mins at Tonbridge Tri and  1hr 40 mins at Bleneim.