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Newbie....heavy legs

Hi All....i'm currently training for my first sprint tri.  I was reasonably fit coming into it and would run/gym it regularly.  Since starting out on my tri journey however I am really struggling with muscle recovery....a tough bike or run session leaves me stiff and sore for 2-3 days.  I don't want to take that much time off after each training sessions so some of my runs/bikes are complete torture with heavy legs. 

Any advice? I eat a good balanced diet, try to up carbs on training days but any advice for muscle recovery would be greatly appreciated! If i'm on fresh legs my training is amazing but not realistic unforunately to leave a break inbetween!


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Hi, you don't say what your BASE was in terms of miles or time on bike and running. Gym fit is not tri fit and depending on what your workouts were they may not transfer into swim, bike or run. The build up from BASE has to be progressive and conservative in terms of 5 to 10% per week. Every 3rd or 4th week should be a recovery week with 50% lower volume. In addition every week should have 1 or 2 days off depending on training history & as yours seems short then 2 days off may be best. Most workouts must be aerobic (conversational). With a short tri training history you should be looking at no more than 4 or 5 quality sessions spread over a fortnight. These will be tiring but again the volume of quality repetitions must be built progressively. They should be done when feeling fresh so probably best after a rest day. You should feel training in your legs most of the time but to be stiff or sore all the time means there is something not right.

    You seem to be in control of your diet. You will need to consider protein. 1.5 to 2g per kg of body weight per day. This will help recovery and training adaption.

    One thing that is not negotiable is not allowing your body to recover during easier days, easier weeks and days off. Training makes you tired and gives your body the opportunity to adapt to the training stresses during rest and recovery. If you do not allow these adaptions you will not get fitter.
  • clareilclareil Posts: 3

    Thanks for the reply - hence why i said reasonably fit......running was really my only endurance activity before now but having a decent level of aerobic fitness was at least a starting point.

    Looking at what you've written i'm clearly trying to pack too much in too quickly....being too keen is obviously having a detrimental affect on me! I'm probably doing 1.5-2 hours on the bike (3-4 times a week) running 10k (2-3 times a week) and swimming every other day, although these sessions are pretty easy as i'm focusing mostly on breathing and just getting through the swim rather than doing it within a particulary fast time. I probably have only 1 full day off a week at the moment, i'll up that to at least 2 if not 3 and see how i get on.  I was hoping that i'd be able to power through and it would improve as I got fitter but point taken on the recovery!

  • rob chalmersrob chalmers Posts: 113

    ICE BATH!, Ice bath cures everything!  that and make sure that you're getting the a recovery shake in there too. in your OP your mention that its after 'tough' sessions. It may be that your body is taking a bit of time to recover and thats were an bit of focused nutrients and a bit of a muscle flush might be beneficial

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    Clareil - depending on your run speed and lengths of swims it seems to me you are WAY overtraining, 6-8hrs on the bike, 2-3 hours running and probably another 2-3 hours swimming... for someone that is new to Tri that is ALOT! Up to 14 hours a week would make even experienced athletes feel it (and is definitely more than is necessary or advisable for a novice doing a sprint).

    To put this in context I have been racing for 3 years racing a mix from sprints up to 70.3 with a "compete" mindset and my training volumes are generally 9-14 hours a week, of which 2.5 are gentle spins on my bike to and from work.

    I would suggest the following as a good set of sessions for a sprint tri novice each week:

    1x 1-1.5hr gentle bike ride

    1x sub 1 hour bike interval session (this is a key session and should hurt, it should be flanked by a rest day before or after and an easy day/gentle swim).

    1xBrick, circa 30-50 minutes bike, 15-30 minutes run this is a session which you should be aiming to do at or near target race pace as your race gets closer.

    1x 30-40 minutes of run intervals (there are various options either for speed, hills, fartlek etc in the run training session) I would suggest looking for those indicated for beginners and/or doing 60% of the suggested main set. Again this should be one of your harder sessions.

    1x10k run very easy... this should be a very easy cardiovascular session and it should feel like you're barely running. Aim to keep your heart rate between 70 and 80% of HR Max

    Swims as you are just trying to get through I would look at doing 2 or maybe 3 45 minute sessions focusing on technique, again the training section has many good sub 60 minute technique work outs and drills can easily be found.

    That's about 7 hours give or take per week and could easily be supported by some strength and conditioning drills (see the Dave Scott feature in this months magazine for a set of drills that can be split over 2 sessions each week and won't cause too much discomfort) and essentially decent amounts of stretching of hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes etc (little and often is the key to a good stretching programme).

    Finally think not just about what you eat but when you eat. Many people think that piling down a shake straight after the gym is only for body builders. Whilst the contents of that shake are likely to be more carb and less protein based for triathletes it is important to get fuel and protein on board within 30 minutes of key sessions to maximise recovery.

    Bit of an essay but hope it helps.

  • wildnrg001wildnrg001 Posts: 11

    Maybe your legs seems heavy because the training is taking an effect. Athletes also began feeling physically heavy. So just continue with what you're doing but don't forget to have your daily warm ups. Best of luck!  

  • An ice bath (or really cold as I often go for!) really helps my recovery. Similarly I also make sure that I stay hydrated and take protein shakes after every workout. I too struggled when I first came into the sport. However with time, as your endurance levels improve, you will be able to do back to back days - and double sessions with no trouble at all!
  • Jw87Jw87 Posts: 2

    Personally, I found that I suffered a lot in the my calves, in the beginning, when trying to increase distance whilst keeping my usual pace. I was rugby fit before and it helps motoring through a 5-10 k run but the volume of endurance was a shock.

    I really under appreciated the need for easy runs. I dropped the pace whilst increasing the distance and added in intervals. The intervals really help me in my last few km's of a 10k.

    Andrew has provided a solid plan.


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