“I have had the biggest smile on my face. I can finally say I am actually a triathlete again.”
That’s the welcome update from Lucy Charles-Barclay who says she hopes to return to triathlon in better running shape than before as she steps up her comeback from the hip stress fracture which ruled her out of the IRONMAN World Championship.
“The journey back to full health is complete, now to work on the fitness part. Thankfully the motivation continues to be higher than ever, so let the hard work continue,” she said on her social media channels.
And that good news was underlined when the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion went into more detail in her latest Team Charles-Barclay YouTube video, which is embedded below, with the focus very much on her running.
She revealed that returning to running has been the most challenging part of her comeback journey and is taking it very carefully, explaining: “Of all the three disciplines, running has been the hardest one to get back into.
“It’s a more technical sport and I have completely changed my running style.
“It definitely feels tough coming back. The heart rate is way higher than it was before.
“I have had months way from running. I have gained some muscle mass, but also some non-muscle mass weight.
“I’m having to run around carrying more weight than I was before. All of that will have an impact.
“But definitely the technique is better, so I’m very positive that once the running fitness comes back, I will be a more efficient runner.
“Therefore, the theory is that I should actually be a faster runner.”
Patience the key
Charles-Barclay’s injury also meant she had to pull out of the Sub8 record attempt in June and is yet to announce when she will return to racing, though she is on a provisional startlist for the World Long Distance Championships in Samorin on 21 August.
While that could come too soon, she remains positive about her prospects, saying: “With this whole injury, patience has been the key.
“I feel like I have got really good at that throughout this injury, that I’m not going to rush anything.
“I’m not going to go 0-100 with my running. I’m just going to build it up super gradually.
“I will rely on my fitness that I have been building up from the swim and bike to hopefully carry my running and allow me to get some running fitness back.”
Charles-Barclay said she had to go back to basics with some walk-run sessions before gradually increasing her workload, but feels the approach is paying off.
She explained: “That’s not because the hip injury could come back again but because subsequent injuries could start happening if I went from 0 to 100 with my running.
“We’ve been really, really smart to get to this point where I am back running.
“I haven’t had any niggles or subsequent injuries, touch wood. Everything seems to be going well and in the right direction.”