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Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Taryn Ferrara, a 26-year old triathlete who works at Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey. Taryn was a Division I swimmer at Binghamton University and after college she began to run marathons, competing in her last one in 2013 right here in Boston.
Following her marathon success, she began training for triathlons, with 2014 being her first competitive season. It was also a season where she endured a very serious injury: a labral tear in her hip. I spoke with Taryn about her pre-injury training, the process of diagnosing the injury, and how the Arc Trainer was part of her rehab as she battles back onto the triathlon circuit in 2015.
Training for a triathlon, from listening to what Taryn did, is pretty intense, let alone the race itself! She was spending 12-15 hours training per week. This training includes swimming…a lot of swimming. Not only interval-based laps in the pool, but hitting the open water on the lake as well. After swimming, she would run, for both speed and distance, across multiple surfaces (pavement, trails, and tracks). Finally, she finished up her training with cycling. Taryn would be on her Time Trial and road bikes outside, as well as interval training on her indoor trainer.
Taryn took on eight triathlons in her first season of competition, including sprint, olympic distance triathlons, and half Ironman. She began to feel some discomfort following the toughest bike ride she would face all year based on distance and elevation. This didn’t deter Taryn: she took ibuprofen and prescribed medication the week of the race and not only competed in the Half Ironman, but also qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship!
Following the Half Ironman, Taryn took five days completely off from training and activity, getting back into the mix with a 5k the next weekend. She felt a little discomfort during the race, but the next day, she was unable to even walk.
Two days later, she had an MRI and x-ray done, with the results showed an acute labral tear in her right hip. Atlantic Health System Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician, Damion Martins, MD confirmed this diagnosis and immediately Taryn began treatment the next day, including a hip injection given by Atlantic Health System MSK Radiologist, Hsiu Su, MD. This began a ten-week rehab process to begin preparations for this year’s competitions.
After taking a full week off, Taryn began light cycling, swimming (without kicking), and using the Cybex Arc Trainer for 40-50 minutes, five times a week, and included some weight training in addition to her two physical therapy sessions each week. As part of the rehab, Taryn also had active release (ART) and deep tissue work performed by Atlantic Health System Physical Therapy Manager, JR Nisivoccia, PT.
Following the ten weeks, Taryn was able to introduce running back into her workouts, starting with one mile and finishing an hour session with the Arc Trainer. Each week, she added a little more time on the Cybex treadmill and decrease her Arc Trainer time. “The Arc Trainer helped me keep some sort of cardio conditioning and strength in my glutes and quads without discomfort in my hip joint,” Taryn told me as she described the rehab process.
Starting with the new year, Taryn began running outside and getting her full 12-15 hours of training in on the bike, running and swimming, and incorporated boot camp classes that focused on functional movements for triathletes. While avoiding some lateral jumping movements, speed work, and hills, she has prepared herself properly to add those elements starting in February. She is still seeing a physical therapist every other week if she feels tight during her training.
On May 31st, Taryn will compete in her first Half Ironman race of the year. She’ll have five shorter distance races in the summer to prep for this race, before heading to Austria at the end of August for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
I’d like to thank Taryn for taking the time to share her story with me. It was fascinating to learn about all of the training that goes into competing in triathlons, and inspiring to hear about her determination after her injury to get back to her training with hopes of competing at her pre-injury level. On behalf of all of us at Cybex, I’d like to thank Taryn for sharing her story, incorporating Cybex equipment into her training and rehab, and wish her the best with her return to competition.