Man on racing bicycle

Triathlon Coaching – Running Off The Bike

Anyone who has ever competed in (or trained for) a triathlon or duathlon knows the horrendous feeling of heaviness in the quads and the jelly legs as you leave the bike rack and enter the run.

Your free-flowing running gait, which was the hallmark of your style when you ran fresh, becomes nothing more than a pathetic and painful shuffle as you struggle to maintain contact with those with whom three minutes earlier you were riding shoulder-to-shoulder.

 

We have all been there! Take heart: there is hope. By undertaking a couple of practices and incorporating them into your normal training regimen, you can improve your running off the bike.

 

So what’s happening in your body? Well, it’s a clever machine. Firstly, it will automatically direct blood to where it’s needed. Unfortunately you use different muscles when you ride than when you run. In fact you experience what sports scientists call a vasodilatory effect – or shunting – to the capillaries and the blood vessels which are servicing blood to the muscles. What this means is that blood is not able to get to the running muscles (calves especially) quick enough. As a result, your legs feel heavy and weird as a consequence.

 

Secondly, your muscles will respond to any demands put on them. In short, an athlete who isn’t practised in the art of transitioning will be slower and less efficient to respond. When you are riding your brain is telling your body to act in a peddling motion for cycling. Quite simply, you do not give your body enough time to respond to the new command when you get off the bike and start to run.

 

During training, incorporate at least one “brick” session into each week’s schedule. By definition, a brick session means a ride followed immediately with a run. This will force your legs to get used to firing the appropriate neural pathways and shunting blood from previously active to previously inactive muscles a lot quicker, without the pressure of competition.

 

When considering bricks in your programme, think about the aim of your session. If you’re just trying to get your legs used to running after a heavy bike ride, then this can be done weekly by a short run off a longer bike ride. If you want to maintain or develop race pace through the run, then higher intensity bike/run repeats could be the order of the day. In this case you may wish to use it as one of your high-intensity sessions of the week and provide suitable rest and recovery both before and after the session.

 

Brick sessions

The following sessions are designed for athletes looking to improve their bike-run performance at their goal race distance…

 

Sprint triathlete

Target: To deliver a good-paced run from the start.

Duration: 1:15hrs (including a 10min warm-up and 10min cool-down).

Focus: 4 x [5min bike at race pace, 3min race-pace run, 5min easy spin]. Get into your race pace on the run quickly. When running hard off the bike, drive relaxed arms to get legs moving quickly.

 

Olympic triathlete

Target: To run strongly despite having a tiring body.

Duration: 2:15hrs including 15min warm-up and 10min cool-down.

Focus: 20min run (steady)/30min bike (hard)/15min run (moderate)/30min bike (hard)/10min run (hard).

 

Middle distance

Target: Develop and improve running off the bike at race pace.

Duration: 2:10hrs including 15min warm-up and 15min cool-down.

Focus: 2 x [30min bike (15mins easy, 15mins race pace), 20min run

(3mins quick feet, 14mins race pace, 3mins just above race pace)].

 

Long-distance

Target Practise running when tired. Possibly a little out of left field for some but running when tired is an important skill for long-distance races. Adding a swim before the run not only helps the body shift blood from arms to legs but increases the session duration by adding an hour of low-impact exercise.

Duration: 3hrs.

Session: 1hr swim to 2hr run.

Shadow of man thinking

Recording Your Mindset

If you’re like most athletes, I’d guess you’re keen to experience regular improvement in your endurance, speed and enjoyment of training.

So I was wondering…do you keep a training log?

It’s a widely accepted fact that keeping an ongoing summary of your workouts can shine valuable light on recurring themes and patterns that are either supporting your improvement, or preventing it.

So if you don’t, start now.

(Obviously I use Triblogs to track everything.)

And when you do store the info, what do you include?

The most common areas are distance, time, pace, heart rate and description of the workout.

Smart athletes also record how they felt, for example, things like ‘sluggish’ ‘heavy legs, avoid the curry the night before…’ or ‘really good and light on my feet’.

But those that make the most steady improvements, that overcome ‘plateaus’ and shake bad habits quickly, also track their mindset from each session.

I would encourage you to do the same, starting now.

Here are 3 ways to build awareness of the pattern of your mindset and its impact on your experience.

1. Nature of your thoughts – were they more positive, more neutral or more negative?

Triathlon training is often a time to escape other parts of life and our mind uses this time away to think things through. But if you bring stress, worries, a massive to-do list into the pool or road, that is like wearing ankle weights. Without realizing it your posture, effort and technique is likely to be suboptimal and you end up feeling extra drained at the end of the session.

Even if you do have challenges in your life, you always have the choice to be fully present in your workout and focused on making it a positive session.

2. Direction of your thoughts – was your mind going to distractions or performance cues? What were you focusing on?

It’s ok to let your mind wander somewhat but if you never direct your attention to how you’re executing, do you think you will improve as much as you can?

Stay engaged in your workout, set goals for each workout and have a plan to make it a great one! Obviously sometimes it’s really worth going out to escape life – we all do it. But make sure that the majority of sessions are done with an aim in mind, training toward a particular goal.

3. Number of thoughts – was your mind racing or was it fairly calm? How much mental energy were you expending in that workout?

When you catch yourself rushing in your mind or becoming overloaded with thoughts, gently bring your focus back to the purpose of the session and keep a nice steady breathing rhythm. Avoid the habit of checking your watch every minute and instead use your training to clear your mind, to release tension and enjoy the time you have.

Skeleton image

The Performance Matrix – You clean your teeth but do you do retraining?

Look after your body like you look after your teeth.

 

Most of us regularly visit the dentist for a check up.  We take advice on oral hygiene and even have a scale and polish.  We then try to maintain things with regular brushing, flossing and use of mouth wash and then revisit the dentist 6 months later to get checked out again.

 

So why don’t  we treat the rest of our body with the same respect and do retraining exercises to improve our musculoskeltal health?  In part it is because it’s new and not the norm, we don’t know how to look after ourselves and also because bad breath and missing teeth are socially more noticeable and less acceptable than a few aches and poor posture .

 

The Performance Matrix is an effective screening tool to help identify movement faults within the body.  We can then prescribe simple exercises (retraining) to correct these faults that can be done for 2 minutes twice a day to help improve our physical well being. Find. Analyse. Fix.

 

The philosophy is simple.  We just need the dedication to help ourselves lead a healthier lifestyle.

 

https://www.thephysioclinicbristol.co.uk/the-performance-matrix/

 

 

Pad/Tablet User?

Recently I am seeing more neck, thoracic and arm pain related to the use of tablets/iPads etc.

Patients need to be more aware of the position and posture they adopt when using phones and tablets as unlike desk tops they are not designed to be used for extended periods.

 

Pete Tang BSc MSCP

Chartered Physiotherapist

TRX Training Now Available

Here is an offer that we will be running from now until the 31st of May 2013.

 

TRX MASTER CLASS– make sure that you are using the TRX or any other Suspended Training Aid the right way & getting the most out of your session.

 

This can be done 1-2-1 or 2-2-1 at the same price of only £15.00

 

What you get:

–           A total body work-out program

–          The instruction of how to do it properly

 

To book your session, please call 01454 85 44 66 & book with Matt stating TRX

Sports Massage- do you know the benefit?

Sports Massage

We now have both male & female therapist offering Sports Massage here at the clinic as well as a new Saturday clinic, from 10am (alternate weekends)

Do you know the benefits of regular Sports Massage?

If you did, would you not be looking after your body more. Make sure it gets the treatment it deserves…

Why not have a look at our Sports Massage page:

https://www.thephysioclinicbristol.co.uk/sports-massage/