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Laura & Chris from Total Tri Training Q&A 🏃‍♂️🏊‍♀️🚴‍♀️

Laura and Chris from Total Tri Training answer some FAQs for RBRC!

As we roll into Lockdown #2 many of us will be turning back to our newfound sport…running.  A way of keeping active while the gyms and pools are closed.

This may not be as easy for some of us as it had been in the spring and summer, due to a number of factors.  Maybe dark nights and poorer weather, work commitments due to more businesses staying open this time round or overuse injuries from Lockdown #1.

Opening some more options to exercise we have invited our triathlon coach bears, Chris Standidge and Laura Fairhurst from Total Tri Training to answer some questions and open the avenues of cross training to help us maintain our fitness over this period:

I have a bike but I am not keen on going out when it is cold or dark, How can I still keep my fitness?

Answer: As technology has largely moved on to provide more very interactive virtual platforms during this year, at Total tri training we have started coaching many sessions on the App called Zwift, so we can create a meet up and then upload a session which your coach has provided in your plan of the day and then we can ride together in the comfort of our garage/lounge/spare room on a static trainer which the road/triathlon bike can be put on.  Many trainers nowadays are wired by Bluetooth.  This way the app can provide us with all sorts of information about our cadence, watts and heartrate.  This will then give us all the information we need to perform the session which has been set.  At Total Tri Training we also teach the session to our athletes at a given time using a radio channel app called discord.  This way we can all talk to each other and the session can be guided by a coach.  This gives a real feeling of group training. Providing a lot of motivation.

Before lockdown I had really build my swimming fitness up. I am worried this will now be lost.

Answer: There are many ways to keep the fitness there via cross training.  I have been giving my athletes an increase in their bike work, for instance when they were previously doing a swim and bike session in the day, this will be replaced with a second easy spin session and some Strength and conditioning work which will be utilising the swim muscles, using resistance bands and improvising with equipment round the home like a broom handle to simulate the stroke and water resistance.

I have done a few triathlons before, but what I have always struggled with is running after the bike. This has put me off doing another one. 

Answer: We tailor our programmes to get our athletes use to running off the bike.  It is a funny sensation at 1st as the feet can be slightly numb, it is a case of the more practice you do the easier it is.  We look at spinning a higher cadence just prior to getting off the bike to spin lactic acid out and get the legs use to a higher cadence for the run.  My athletes actually enjoy the run off the bike these days with the training.

I want to do a triathlon, but I am nervous about swimming in the open water.

Answer: There are triathlons with pool swims.  They are a good way to build confidence of doing a multi-disciplined race.  Again, with anything new it is important to practice.  So, if you are considering open water triathlons in the future I suggest going to a local open water venue which is supported by safety canoes.  On your 1st attempt you don’t have to swim far, it is a case of getting use to the idea, just swim to the buoy which is close by.  I’d suggest take a friend or support person with you and swim together.  Being in a wetsuit makes us much more buoyant, but we can also purchase a tow float which you can strap round your body and if needs be you can stop and have a little rest as any point.  It’s important to stay relaxed and enjoy it too.  As a coach if I have athletes who are nervous about open water, I like to take them as a one to one session and help get them familiar and confident with swimming in the open water.  I know it can be a daunting prospect to open water swimming, but once that confidence is built up then I would encourage getting use to swimming with other swimmers, sighting the buoys so now to go off course, learning to swim efficiently round the buoys, mass starts, being comfortable swimming next to other and even using them to draft (pull you along using the slip stream) It is definitely a different experience to pool swimming.

I have a running injury, plantar fasciitis. I usually run 4 times a week around 25/30 miles per week.  How can I stay fit while I can’t run, and I can’t use the pool or gym?

Answer: If you have a bike and a turbo trainer then this is a particularly good way of keeping your aerobic fitness.  You can push yourself in bike sessions as much as you do with running.  Those new to cycling often don’t realise how fit a structured cycling training regime can keep you as fit as daily running.

There are also other ways such as a good strength and conditioning program, which would need to be relatively low impact on your foot to not aggravate your injury.  This way you will keep your fitness and help to strengthen your damaged foot slowly.  It is important to increase the blood flow to the damaged area to aid recovery.  Ligaments don’t have a good blood flow so as a result can take along time to heal, this will help speed up the process.  Our Physio Bear Angela can also offer more advice and guidance when it come to your injury.

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