Elite Triathlete, Kerri-Ann Upham, racing at the XTERRA World Championships
“It really is the little things that make a big difference, since working with Abby I have become a stronger, more robust and well-rounded athlete.“
Elite XTERRA Triathlete
As an elite triathlete it’s essential to create a strong team of experts to support you in getting the very best out of yourself. ReBalance Injury Clinic are an integral part of my team and are already having a huge impact on my athletic performance through their performance development service.
The area of triathlon that I specialise in is “XTERRA Triathlon”, this involves swimming (1500m), mountain biking (35km) and trail running (10km). Over the last 5 years I have been racing as an amateur athlete, consistently winning my age group, culminating in becoming amateur World and European Champion in 2022.
Following this success, in 2023, I took a leap of faith and made the decision to step up into the elite ranks.
I first met Abby in early 2023 and was immediately struck by her knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm for Sports Therapy. I quickly learned that a partnership with ReBalance would be so much more than simply having a sports massage, and their company ethos really resonated with me:
“We believe in root cause analysis to ensure that we are not only treating your current aches and pains but identifying and correcting the cause of these. We see evidence-based practice, hands on treatment and movement central to the meaning of being healthy and functional. We collaborate with you to build a plan that suits you, which focuses on and encourages movement and exercise rehabilitation.”
During our first consultation, along with my Coach Rob Moore of trimoore coaching, we discussed my background, goals for the season and current training schedule. Abby proceeded to take me through a bespoke performance development screen which included a series of comprehensive strength and mobility tests with the goal of identifying potential weakness for us to work on.
Combining my anecdotal feedback with the results of the movement screening, Abby identified a small set of areas to work on. I was amazed by her ability to track down the root cause of my symptoms – I would never have guessed that my frequent glute tightness had a connection to foot strength!
After identifying the areas for development, Abby produced a bespoke conditioning plan with specific exercises tailored to my individual needs. The new strength plan integrated seamlessly into my training schedule. Abby designed the sessions so that they complemented my current strength routine and wouldn’t impact the other sessions I have during the week.
The bespoke plan was delivered by their easy to use exercise app “PhysiApp”. This was a fantastic tool, it listed each of my exercises, along with informative videos and a prompt to check each one off once completed – there were no excuses for not getting them done!
As my debut elite racing season got underway, having regular monthly touch points with Abby was invaluable. My season opened with XTERRA UK and XTERRA Portugal where I achieved 3rd and 4th places respectively. Whilst I was pleased with my strong performances, I felt I had more to give and that there were areas that could be improved upon.
In XTERRA triathlon it is important to be a strong and robust athlete, these races are often over 3hrs in duration and are held over incredibly tough terrains (lots of steep hills!) I felt that I needed more strength and stability for the run leg and as such Abby tweaked the plan, adjusted some of the exercises and introduced further specific stretches.
When it came to the pointy end of the season, I could really feel the difference!
I’ve recently returned from XTERRA Czech Republic, a World Cup triathlon race where the start list was packed with the World’s best off-road triathletes. I got off to a fantastic start, having a strong 1500m swim and exiting the water in the chasing pack. The mountain bike course was a proper slog – 33km and lots of climbing! The 10km trail run was equally as brutal, with very long and steep climbs, strength and robustness was key. When I hit the run, thanks to the specific strength I had developed over the year, I was able to overtake 5 of the elite women to secure a place in the top 10!
It really is the little things that make a big difference, since working with Abby I have become a stronger, more robust and well-rounded athlete – I can’t wait to see where we go from here!
The next race for me will be the World Championships held in the Italian Alps this September!
It has been great working with Kerri-Ann this season. She is evidently hugely committed to her training, has implemented and engaged with everything we discussed, and therefore has seen the benefits in her performance.
When we work with athletes who are not injured, we are looking to complement their training with bespoke conditioning programs with the sole aim of performance development. We debrief and discuss their training and races to highlight any areas which can be improved on. We then assess global and specific movement patterns and look closely at where we can make those small changes. We aim to gain the small improvements in strength and range of motion in key areas around the body which can help to maximise performance, reduce fatigue when our athletes are pushing those limits, helping to keep them robust when competing and reduces the risk of injury.
We are looking forward to see what Kerri-Ann can achieve in her upcoming race at the World Championships in Italy and working closely with Kerri-Ann and her coach Rob in the coming months to develop things further.
Photo credits: XTERRA Europe.
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