Browsing articles in "Recovery"

What YOU can learn from Lance Armstrong

Oct 28, 2012   //   by admin   //   Recovery, Training  //  No Comments

OK, he’s probably not flavour of the month right now, but lets see if any lessons can be learnt from the “serial” cheat who led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”

Prioritise Recovery

I’m not suggesting that any triathlete should go down the same road as Lance, but much of the illicit doping was to recover as fast as possible from training and racing.  Do the same, by following the simple principles in the recovery pyramid (  Prioritise the basics (sleep, nutrition and rest) and get these principles nailed before worrying about anything else.

Go for the best you can afford

I keep hearing the refrain “it was a level playing-field”, but it wasn’t. Armstrong had the best of the ‘sports scientists’ contracted, making sure that he was getting top-notch advice and properly looked after – no 2am wake up calls for a quick turbo session for Lance! Invest in the best you can for yourself. Take the time and effort to source high quality foods from local shops, rather than McBurgers or dodgy supermarket own-brand sausages. Same for your kit – take your time to research what will give you the biggest bang for your buck over the long-term, rather than buying kit that’s the latest fashion.

Race to your strengths

Before the Armstrong years, popular cycling wisdom had the pro’s riding a big gear at a relatively low cadence. Lance popularised a riding style with a much higher cadence, helped by a higher red blood cell count that allows a more oxygen to be carried.  Similarly, race to your strengths, by selecting courses that suit you, whether its hilly or flat, with a relatively longer run or bike.

In conclusion – do the right things, but don’t go quite as far as Lance did!

Leave one last rep in the tank

Mar 23, 2012   //   by admin   //   Nutrition, Recovery, Training  //  No Comments

This morning’s swim session brought home a useful lesson.  Normally, I’m pretty good at pacing myself but today’s effort caused me to blow up on the last set.  It was a relatively short set, but quite a lot of hard 100’s.

Finishing the swim, all I’ve wanted to do is eat!  My body’s been pushed a little further than usual and its not quite sure how to cope.  As an occasional thing, pushing the boundaries is a good thing – the worry is how well I’ll recover for my next sessions.  The danger is that this will impact future sessions and kill off some of the consistency I’ve built over recent weeks.

I’m hoping that the food will have sorted me out – over-cooking a swim set is easier to recover from.  Getting bike pacing wrong is generally more serious, as you tend to realise you’ve dug yourself a hole when you’re 30 miles from home.  At least in the pool, you can get out and the walk to the showers won’t be too far.

Lesson to remember – always leave a rep in the tank!

Slow down to speed up

Oct 9, 2011   //   by admin   //   Recovery  //  No Comments

Recently, I managed to grab myself an extra twenty minutes to run through my mobility drills.  Rather than my normal morning rush, I started the session with 10 deep, controlled breaths.  Eyes shut but taking in the atmosphere (early morning, recent rain, the feeling of the deck beneath my feet), I immediately relaxed.  I then ran through my normal drills but incredibly concious of body position and the feeling & stretch of muscles, leading to a much better session.

This same approach can be equally applied to the triathlon disciplines.  Take your time, and focus 100% on how your body feels, whether its rolling through pedal strokes and trying to feel any dead spots, or feeling the water against your hand and arm as you develop your front crawl catch.

Practically, this probably works best as part of your warm-up and cool-down.  In the pool, focus on your full-stroke and identify problem areas.  Think about each part of your body in turn – how it feels against the water, where it is, etc.  Then pick a drill from your repertoire to focus on that area for a length or two.  Repeat the focused full-stroke swim and identify the changes, then back into the drill.  Mindful practice like this will lead to far greater improvements in technique than just banging out a warm-up at 80% of full speed.

The same applies for running and cycling – think about your technique as you warm-up.  When running, focus on body and head position, cadence, a light foot-fall, how your foot is striking the ground and arm swing.  Run through a series of basic drills to emphasise each of these.  On the bike, look for cadence, aerodynamics and dead-spots through the pedal stroke.

Approaching the off-season

Sep 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   Recovery  //  No Comments

The majority of northern hemisphere triathletes are coming to the end of their season, so the important question of the day is


what should I be doing now, that will give me the best results next year


First of all, take a well-earned break.  Having a couple of weeks (or more, if you want to) of rest & recovery is essential for your body.  It’ll help you overcome all the little niggles that you’ve been carrying, and you’ll come back to training mentally refreshed and fully motivated.

Use the time you get back from not training sensibly.  Catch up with your non-triathlete friends or do the things you’ve been putting off for 6 months – you should finally have the energy for these.  If you are going to work-out, do something different – take out the mountain bike or join your mates for team sports.

Secondly, get organised.

  • Swap your summer and winter kit over.  Find the reflective vests and over-shoes that you haven’t worn since May
  • If you have a summer & winter bike, get you summer bike properly cleaned & serviced.  Check your winter bike is ready – mud-guards on, tyres in reasonable condition, etc.  Make sure your turbo trainer is set up correctly and your ‘pain cave’ is set-up with any distractions for the hours you’re going to be spending in there.
  • If you learnt to swim as an adult, technique will be the main thing holding you back.  Use this time to research local coaches and book in for some individual lessons.
  • Think about how you can address your weaknesses.  Need to get stronger?  Ask around to find a decent S&C coach.  Constant niggles?  Find a sports masseur.

All these things done now will avoid frustration when you’re ready to start your training, and you’ll be able to launch back in with enthusiasm.

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