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Advice needed - Running

First apologies for the rather long post, I would really appreciate advice on the issue below.

So, yesterday just over 24 hours ago I successfully completed my first tri (sprint) at the 220 Evening Series at Dorney Lake, however the experience wasn’t all roses for me.

I was absolutely loving the swim and the cycling, doing quite well and thinking to myself that this is not as difficult as I thought it would be, reached T2 in the top half of the participants. T2 took longer than I expected as my hands were shaking and it took quite a while to tie my laces, which can be rectified with elastic laces next time.

But things went downhill in the run section: immediately I felt very heavy in the run and after 70-100 meters both by calves cramped, I tried to run at a high cadence with short steps (I read somewhere that is what should be done in the start of the run) but found it very difficult and needed to stop for a few stretches to sort the cramped calves.

Nevertheless I continued after that at a ridiculously slow pace, I was constantly overtaken by loads of people who seemed very easy on their feet, which frustrated me even more.

To add to this I had a sick feeling and occasionally felt like throwing up, which I suspect was brought upon by drinking too much Lucazede (the regular kind not Sport) – one during the cycle and one before the start of the tri. Only in the last 1000m did I finally find a decent pace.

I finished the run in 28 minutes, not enjoying it at all resulting in a 1:30 overall time.

Now, I guess this is not too surprising given that I hardly practised my running prior to this, reason is that I have a knee problem, and after running too much it starts hurting.

Overall I did about 7-8 runs, one was 7k, three were 4.5k and a few were 2k never more than once a week. In none of them was I out of breath or struggling.

BTW – my running shoes were purchased and fitted at a proper running store and I have orthotics.

I have my mind set for another sprint tri in a months time but would like to improve my run.

Ok, so now to the questions:

1. Assuming I can only allocate 30-45 min of running (because of knee) per week what should I do in them?

Should it be one run for 5-6k? Intervals? If intervals what should they consist of? A recommended plan would be highly appreciated.

2. 24 hours after the race my cavles are still stiff/cramped. I assume that means that they are not in good shape. What exercise can be done?

3. I found it extremely difficult running after the cycle yet everyone around me seemed to be cruising and getting into their stride quite quickly. What do they know that I don’t?

4. My knee needs looking into – would it be best to see an Orthopaedic? Physio? Sports Dr?

5. Lucazede – not really related to running, but is the regular one any different than the Sport one or than Gatorade? I drink it when I cycle, but never more than 1 bottle per session and never had a problem.

Sorry again for the long and detailed post, any good advice would be highly appreciated.


  • MrSquishyMrSquishy Posts: 277

    Hey u_j, let's kick off with a positive - congratulations on completing your first tri, you have entered a world of soreen, lycra, pain and carbon... but it's all great fun! As far as your questions go...

    1. I don't dedicate as much time to running as I should do, even though it's probably my weakest discipline but what I have done is join my local running club and go out with them once a week for their "technical" sessions. Each week we do either mile reps, a track session, hill reps or fartlek (basically intervals) and my running fitness has got much better. I only do 1 hour with them a week so I reckon intervals is the way forward.

    2. I think the overwhelming response will be stretches and compression socks. There's loads of resource on here and t'interweb on stretching routines for specifics muscles and body parts, coupled up with a pair of compression socks (1000 Mile / X-Socks / 2XU) for a few hours immediately after training / racing should help you out.

    3. What gear were you pushing on the bike? What cadence were you cycling at? I tend to run a lower gear at a higher cadence (~90rpm) to keep my legs spinning and then for the last km or so spin my legs a bit faster to get them ready for running off the bike. This is not for everyone though, just what I do.

    4. I'd say see your GP first, tell him you’re into tri or see if you can get a sporty doc as you may get referred quicker to the relevant specialist. Failing that, see if there are any knee-specific physios in your area and go straight to them which is what I did earlier this year - £40 for a one-off appointment and a few weeks later following the advice I was given and I was sorted.

    5. Fizzy lucozade? I wouldn't touch it to be honest. I don't know the "science" behind exercising on fizzy drinks, but I can't imagine it's much fun burping your way through the race. For a sprint distance, I just take on water with the odd slug of gatorade before the swim and maybe in transition. Anything longer than a sprint and you might have to consider nutrition a bit more carefully.

    Hope this is of help and don't despair, it will get easier and rosier. Just treat this as a learning exercise and don't beat yourself up that you didn't get it 100% right first time.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    ....but you did finish & you did OK for a cramping runner who has done little run training & sounds like no run off the bike training.

    The thread running thru the whole of your post can be identified as..you get good at what you train at..specificity. So no bike/run bricks? Your legs know not what to do. You cycle with fizzy lucozade but not run? your belly knows what to do...unpleasantly.

    I would be inclined to do some bricks, keep the runs short, but a little more intense & thus able to do more than once per week...2 or 3 short hi intensity runs, would be better than a one off slower run during the season.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Well done on the first 2/3 and also well done finishing with cramp.

    You may have just been unlucky or under-hydrated.

    I'd suggest running more to minimise likelihood of cramp in future but if your knee is iffy, then maybe more time on the bike.

  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Firstly big congrats on finishing! Fantastic effort and you deserve to feel proud of yourself.

    What was your pre-race nutrition? Did you eat anything or just go out there on Lucozade?

    If your hands were shaking and you were getting cramps you may have just run out of gas. I try and eat something a couple of hours before the event (one sprint tri and a few 10ks runs so far)

    Alot of people go for porridge but I hate the stuff so go for no-added sugar muesli, banana and maybe a cereal bar. For my sprints this year (and its my first season so feel free to ignore me) I'm steering clear of energy drinks and gels. I see these as a last ditch top up on longer events rather than something to fuel me round from the off. If you've eaten properly before, then I don't think you need all that.

  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869

    Congratulations on your first tri! [:D]

    I did my first tri in April, i had trained to a reasonable level (running two/three times a week) and i had also done a few BRICK sessions (running directly off the bike). I went to the extent of actually doing the bike and run course a few times in my build up to the race.

    Come race day everything was good on the bike, T2 went well and off i set on the run, OH.....MY.......GOD, it was hard hard hard to get going. No cramping but SOOOOOO out of breath after just a few hundred meters, i had to slow and concentrate on keeping going for another k before i started to recover.

    The point is this, i had trained for running off the bike, i had done 2/3 runs a week, and it was still a shock to my little body!

    Its all in the training -

  • u_j_2001u_j_2001 Posts: 47
    Thanks everyone for the good advice,

    Interval training and bike/run bricks is the way forward I guess.

    Fizzy Lucazede - definitely not having it any more, don't like the taste anyway.

    Regarding the pre-race nutrition - 45 min before the race I stocked up on dry fruit (apricots, raisons, figs) and a granola bar. A few hours before that a lite lunch.

    Thanks again!

  • I can't comment on most of your post to be honest as I haven't even done my first tri yet, but I do know that if I drink anything fizzy then go to the gym within 10 mins I will throw my guts up, something to do with gas and expansion then explusion! Something along those lines, Ive done a couple of powermalking marathons and had lucazade sport alternating with water, I also quite like the trek energy bars (totally 100% natural) but I am thinking for the world of tri theres probably something far more specific out there.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Sounds like you did very well for a first go! Congrats. It's bound not to go completely smoothly - there is a lot to learn!

    For a sprint (well anything around an hour) you probably don't need any nutrition - I would stick to water.

    You've probably eaten too soon before the start. It takes a while for your body to digest stuff, so what you had was a belly full of fizzy nuts and stuff all churning around. No wonder you felt sick!

    Main bit of food 3 hours before. Something light and quick to digest - e.g. banana, sports carb bar. up to 1 hour before. Some water on the bike section, especially if it is warm, then lots to drink (water!) afterwards, plus more banana/carb bar if you feel you need something to eat.

    Running: You can avoid a lot of running with the cycling.. especially to avoid the injuries. Get into the gym and start working on exercises for calves, hamstrings, quads/gluts + core. These need to be strong and flexible to avoid injuries. I would do this + cycling (or rowing in the gym) until you are strong. Comp. socks really help for calves when running - wear them on the training runs - if not in the competition. Stick to sprint distance until you are clear of injuries. Think about consulting a physio.

    Try to run on soft ground in your training efforts if possible. Make sure you are warmed up before hand with dynamic stretches if just doing a run.

    Practice some brick sessions. Keep the cadence above 90 rpm. Especially in the last bit of the cycle, then try running...

    Have fun!

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    1. Treadmill. Low impact I have same problem - dodgy knees and swear by treadmills, my PB for a straight 10K road race is 44:29 which aint too bad for a 52 yo with dodgy knees, back, shoulder and spodilitis

    2. Leg extensions - had same problem, helped a lot

    3. Bike set up - see http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/techctr/bikefit.html - increase cadence for last 1K of bike, don't pull too high a gear - make sure you hydrate properly during bike, water as minimum but you do need something like Hi5 etc not fizzy stuff

    4, Pass

    5. Pass see 3. Do not want to be drawn into which is best drink war etc but have a look at this for a start http://www.highfive.co.uk/indexUK.php
  • u_j_2001u_j_2001 Posts: 47
    Thanks everyone for the reply's - real good stuff in them!

    Zacnici - great links, thanks a lot. The more I read the more complex things seem, especially regarding the bike setup part...[sm=rolleyes.gif]

    Like you I have knee and back issues - could you possibly shed more light on what training you do generally speaking and specific tread mill training as well?
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Basically about Jan 2007 I was averaging about 10.5Km hr on the treadmill but just stuck at it gradually upping the speed for the distance - 5Km. I also started doing a sort of brick session twice a week at our gym where I would do a 45 min spin session and then instead of doing the cool down would hop off my bike and run straight to the treadmill and snap off a 5km run.

    My big sort of breakthrough came when I swapped my road bike for my tri bike and wow, what a difference that made. About the same time I started training for the Sheffield 10k. Not a very good time, 49 mins, as I had to wade through people dressed as Telly Tubbies etc who went in the sub 40 wave because they presumably though if they start near the front it would be better. Started to pull better times over my next couple of 10K's the last being at Gt Yarmouthwhere I did 46:09 (I think) and this year hoped to crack 46 mins in my first race with the aim of getting sub 45mins by the end of the season. First event this year, Lincoln 10k, again after wading through the plethora of Batmen and Spidermen who plonked themselves at the front stunned myself at achieving 44:29, the Norwich Trowse 10k, part X country with some vicious liitle climbs did it in 45:27.

    All this has been done through treadmill work. It is low impact and great for my knees etc. I also do Pilates, great for posture cores strength etc.

    I do not follow any scientific plan, suppose I should really. What I did do was in one session train over 5Km at my desired 10K race pace e.g 13.3Km hr but take it up a notch e.g 13.5Km hr. The next session I would go for the distance and maintain a steady pace. Not very scientific but it worked for me. Err that's about it really. By using a treadmill I sort of program myself to run at a desired pace and so far has worked out OK. This helps with my tris as I am a rubbish swimmer, OK'ish on the bike but come on strong in the run and blow away stacks of people - sorry sounds a bit pretentious that doen't it.

    That's it really, twice a week, spin/run brick, 2-3 times a week 5 - 10km run at race pace to race pace+, Pilates, BodyPump and also 2-3 swim sessions in the pool in my wetsuit between 750 and 2,000m
  • u_j_2001u_j_2001 Posts: 47

    that's some serious training for someone who has knee issues.

    RESPECT maaaan!

    I am the opposite of you - a competent swimmer but rubbish in running.

    I'm going to try a running club this week, see how that fairs and will adopt your spinning session=>run brick recommendation.

    If my knee holds out surely both should improve my running.

    Thanks again

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Thanks for the compliment

    Also forgot to add - shoes!

    Get your gait analysed at a running shop, then get some decent shoes. I swear by Asics, they are just so right for me, especially my Gel Noosas but the Asics Nimbus are also good as well

    Oh yes - Leg extensions, tipped by one of my lady Pilates instructors, good for strengthening the quads/knee I have been told, seems to work.

    Good luck
  • I think most of the others above have covered pretty much everything, but 2 points from my own experience.

    The first is Zacinci's leg extensions: A few years back I used to be a fairly comptative rower but I got glandular fever which put me out of training for the better part of a year. When I came back I struggled alot with my knees whenever I went for a jog (even 5-10 min warm up jogs were agony). If I remember right my problem was that I have weak lateral shock absorbers in my knees (the tendons that stop your knee moving sideways). Apparently this is easily compensated for by building up strength in your legs particularly the quads. This is why I hadn't had a problem before I was ill since rowers tend to have strong quads, but during my year off my quads had deteriorated. The recomended treatment was lots of weights: particularly leg extensions, leg press and leg curl on the machines to begin with before moving onto free squatting etc once I had restored some of my strength.

    The 2nd suggestion relates to the treadmill. I currently have a stress fracture in my ankle (from over training the running!!). I'm trying to minimise impact on it when training so in place of run sessions I am using the cross trainer which trains many of the same muscles, and gradually trying to work up to the tredmill then to back outside. Also, Paula Radcliff apparently did a lot of aqua jogging during her rehab. The point is that there are a variety of ways of building up running fitness without actually havig to go through the strain of running propper!

    Finally I know I said 2 points but I just thought I'd endorse the idea of Brick sesions... They'll introduce you to a whole new world of pain (good pain :) ) but they work a treat!!
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