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Old 08-08-2005, 10:14 AM   #1
Karl Steadman
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Well here goes my first big tester of how CrossFit has improved my training.

Apart from obviously the WOD, i am cycling 20 miles every day (work and back) and i swim a mile every week. My running has always been my strongest, but i suppose i really wanted to ask those in the know what else i should be trying to sort out?

Eug, Matt G and anyone else's opinions are welcomed....

p.s. i really wanna put boot to arse on this one!

Thanks
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:39 AM   #2
Matt Gagliardi
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Right off the top of my head...be sure to do some training where you'll start with one discipline, get going pretty good (certainly to steady-state) and then "transition" to another of the disciplines. And don't just do swim to bike and bike to run. Mix 'em up. Run-swim-runs, etc. If you've not done that before it can be fairly weird.

Get in some practice with heads-up freestyle (you'll need it to occasionally check your course on the swim) and work on keeping nice high elbows in your free. If you've got some training partners, try to do a couple of sessions with 4-5 people jammed into 1 lane swimming in a pack (just for a few laps here and there). I've seen people freak out when they're basically getting stampeded in the swim.

Start getting some idea of what your hydration and fueling needs will be and experiment with what products you'll be using.

It's not the things you do every day (every training session) that'll throw you...it's the parts of the tri that no one practices (so you're completely unprepared) that trip people up.

IMO, for your first tri you should just concentrate on the experience and finishing...don't concern yourself with being particularly competitive. You'll learn a lot your first time out.
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:56 AM   #3
Karl Steadman
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I never even thought about the crush in the swim! Thanks Matt.

One thing that is bugging me is in terms of kit for a semi decent transition....i was thinking of having my cycle shorts under my wetsuit with my top for the cycle hanging over my bike.....good idea??

Heads up freestyle is a drill i tend to throw in from my lifeguard days, but i'll sure try to get a bit more practice.....high elbows..lol, i see what you're saying mate! :wink:

With the swim, i'm thinking about saving my legs by pulling really hard with my arms and just fluttering my legs to stop the twist, is this a good tactic or will it blow me up too much for the cycle? Like i said, i'm pretty much a novice at this event and trying to sort a few wee tactics.

I see what you're saying about enjoying the experience. I ran 2 London Marathons and enjoyed the one that i ran for the day, not the time, much more. I'll remember that.

I take it using some kind of carb gel (or similar) is considered a good idea. I just use water if i'm honest. Mainly due to ignorance of what to use!
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:17 AM   #4
Mike Donnelly
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Karl:

What distance are you racing? Is it sprint, olympic, half, or full ironman? A lot of your fueling options will be clarified by the amount of time you expect to be on the course (i.e. whether or not to use predominantly gels - yecch!- or fuel with a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates). I wish I could be more clear. Check the GymJones website for information on fats for endurance efforts. Fueling should be practiced along with eveything else, not just on race day.

You are right in thinking that a systematic approach is best for the transition. Practice it! They do make "racing shorts" with a smaller pad for triathlon racing. Yes, you can wear it under your wetsuit.


Matt is right on about the heads up freestyle.

Many people attempt to save their legs during the swim. The folks at totalimmersion.com teach technique (as opposed to "pulling hard"). I recommend them heartily. Actually, it encourages hip rotation as the driving force in freestyle swimming. Both hard pulling and excessive kicking are deemed as less efficient in such a viscous environment. They have (had) a book dealing specifically with triathlon and open water swimming.

Enjoy your race AND enjoy your training. If "putting boot to arse" is fun for you, then go get some.


Mike Donnelly
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:26 AM   #5
Karl Steadman
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Cheers Mike! Good stuff there too!

It is a weird team based Triathlon at Sprint distance i believe? (800m swim, 30km bike, 7ish km run)

Good news about being able to wear shorts underneath the suit...sounds like the way forward.

I'll look up the 2 websites, thanks for the pointers.

I'm guessing the gels taste like hair gel then....?.....might give them a miss! :biggrin:

The real reason for putting boot to arse is there is another team from a rival gym competing! Gotta represent or die trying! :wink:
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:06 PM   #6
Matt Gagliardi
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Definitely understand the "gotta represent" sentiment. My advice under those circumstances would be to put together some reasonable time goals for yourself and work on hitting them during the race...rather than squaring off directly against one person. If you focus too intently on beating a person you'll tend to make the same mistakes they make. If he goes out too hard you will too (and you'll both end up dying). You end up getting all adrenalined-up. Gotta stay relaxed. Plan your race, race your plan. Or, as I have a habit of reminding myself all the time...work your workout (or race your race as the case may be). Don't fall into the trap of racing someone else's race plan.

IMO, gels have come a long way. I use AccelGel (Strawberry...mmm) which is not just carbs but also a bit of protein (the famous 4:1 ratio). No fat in there though, so for a longer distance you may want to lay in some Clif Bars (my favorite). Hydration/fueling is a very individual thing...your best bet is going to be some experimenting in the weeks leading up to the race. And as Mike wrote, your needs in this area will be very dependent on the distance involved. You say it's a team tri? Are you just racing 1 leg or are you doing the whole show? If we're just talking about the distances you mentioned above, I suspect your fueling needs will be minimal...it'll be more about hydration.

I wouldn't get too crazy about changing swim technique, etc. particularly if the race is in the near future. At this point, stick with what got you here unless you've got time to try and grow comfortable with a new technique. Also, double-check the rules regarding wetsuits. Some tris here will allow them only if the water temp is below some point...I've seen people show up expecting to use a wetsuit, only to be told that wasn't going to be happening.

Be methodical in your transitions...realize that losing a few seconds in transition to make sure your shoes are on properly, etc. is not a big deal. You can typically make that time up without too much trouble. I have a weird personal quirk of making sure that my running shoes are in the shade and having a fresh pair of socks going from bike to run...my feet feel cooler for a few minutes. Yes it takes a few seconds to change socks...but mentally it helps me. It's refreshing (yeah, I'm weird).
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Old 08-08-2005, 01:04 PM   #7
Karl Steadman
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Cool. I will definately race my race, but my nature will leave a roving eye for the other team!

The team aspect is that we all have to cross the finish line together, how we get there is up to us.... we have strong people at each discipline so we will let them pace for their area of expertise (kinda drag the others along!)

The whole show for everyone and yeah i agree that hydration is probably gonna be the biggest key.

Fair do's about changing swim technique, i'll stick......you know your **** Mr Gagliardi. Plus it makes sense.

I now that this Tri allows wetsuits.....mostly cos it's in England buddy! If they didn't, every lad would suffer from hypothermia as well as "nugget" syndrome! :lol:

I know exactly what you're saying about being methodical, fresh socks is something i had in mind too! one less thing to worry about i guess!

Thanks for the input, it's good to get some feedback from more experienced guys.
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Old 08-08-2005, 09:27 PM   #8
Eugene R. Allen
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When is the race? How much time you have between now and then will determine much about your training.

You are biking plenty, maybe not properly, but plenty. Your LSD time for base is wonderful, but you need some faster paced intervals. I'll get back to that at the end of this.

You are not swimming enough. A mile a week is not enough time in the water. Try to get more pool time and work on lengthing your stroke so that you take fewer and fewer strokes per pool length. If you are over 24 you really need to work on drills, if you are under 18 (in a 25 yard pool) that's not too bad. Swim long, swim on your side and swim balanced. Check out the Total Immersion swim program by Terry Laughlin. Use the seach feature on this message board, there is a great deal of swim training info posted.

Bricks. That you can already run is your salvation and you will run down a lot of swim bikers...but you need bricks to do this. A brick workout is a ride followed immediately by a run. That's how you have to hit the run is off your bike so you have to get your muscles used to that. Totally different animal. Don't do more than one of those a week.

Transition. Practice it. Most people don't and it's free time. Wear whatever you are going to race in under your wetsuit. Put some Super Glide or other lubricant on your neck or you might get a rash from turning your head to breathe. Practice getting OUT of your wetsuit. Finding that zipper strap can be hard when you are tired. Put plastic grocery sacks on your feet when you slip the wetsuit on and the suit will slide on very easily. Trim your fingernails before you pullup your wetsuit legs or you will put little half moon tears in the wetsuit. Spray some Pam on the ankles and wrists of your wetsuit (outside) so that when you turn the wetsuit inside out to get it off it will slide right off your hands and feet. Be sure to have a swimming wetsuit and not a diver's wetsuit. Don't get one with zippers in the ankles. Orca, Ironman and Quintanna Roo make fabulous stuff.

If you are a brave swimmer and can deal with the Maytag start and won't freak out WHEN people swim over the top of you, start toward the front. Realize that the racers are nearly shoulder to shoulder at the start and are all standing up. When you all lay down in the water you be on top of each other right off the bat. This freaks some people out and they will claw at you a bit and that can tear the goggles right off your face. To avoid this mayhem pick an outside line that allows the faster swimmers to clear a path before you go find some fast feet. Drafting in the swim is permissible...DO IT. Find someone who is swimming just a bit faster than you and follow the bubbles of his/her feet. Try not to touch the feet in front of you, but come close so you stay in their water flow. Swim in a straight line by taking a sight line every few strokes.

Swim until your fingertips scrape the ground and get up gingerly. If you swam hard you may be a bit clumsy and off balance when you try to get to your feet. As you come up out of the water and before you take off your goggles and cap, find your wetsuit zipper strap and pull it down. You can run up the beach with the goggle and cap on but you must be naked to the waist before you get to T1. Once the suit is down around your waist take off your goggles and cap and run the rest of the way to transition with both in one hand. When you get to the transition area stay off the towel you laid out and push the wetsuit down around your ankles as you stomp your feet in place. Push down with one foot and then lift up the other and as your feet come out they will be cleaned off by the water in the wetsuit. Step directly from the wetsuit to your towel so you don't get dirt and rocks on your feet. If you have to run a substantial distance from transition to bike mount, consider using SPD cleats and mountain bike shoes so the cleats will be recessed and you can run without running toes up in road shoes. You should have your helmet upside down on your handle bars with your handle bars over the bike rack. The straps to the helmet are open and laying over the sides, helmet front toward you, with your sunglasses inside the helmet. As you rub your feet on the towel put your glasses on, put your helmet on and then slip on your biking shoes. Don't bother with socks for the bike, your feet are wet and they are a pain to put on. Put on your bike shoes. If you are right handed run the bike to the mount line on the left side of the bike. When you are ready to mount put your left cleat on the pedal and step down on it as you push off with your right foot, swing your leg over the seat, step into your right cleat and start spinning. For such a short ride you really don't need to worry too much about eating, a gel or two will be plenty. I use Hammer Gel in a flask that fits in a holster on my stem. I drink from a aero bottle mounted between my aero bars so I don't have to reach back for a bottle and disturb the air flow. During longer races I replenish the aero bottle with bottles I keep behind my seat out of the air flow. I like Gatorade personally, but you drink what you like. In exercise under 90 minutes you won't really need anything other than water. I use Gatorade just because it tastes better.

Bike with your knees toward the top tube. Stay down in your aerobars and sit forward on your saddle. This will employ more quads and save your hammies for the run. Hopefully your bike fits you well. I can give you some pointers on fit if you need them. Can you change a flat tire? Is your drivetrain clean and well lubed? Don't exceed your tire pressure max on a hot day. Oh wait, "London is Not Afraid"...I assume a race in England, it doesn't get hot, never mind on the tire pressue thing. If you have 120's pump them up to 120.

Back to the ride. You can't draft but as you pass be sure to ride ride up the tail of the rider in front of you to take advantage of the drafting effect for as long as possible. Stay to the right...hmmm, left for you, so you don't get a penalty for blocking. Spin. If you are going less than 80 rpm you are riding too big of a gear. Keep it 90 pedal revs per minute or more. This will lessen lactic acid build up in your legs and help keep them fresh for the run.

As you approach T2 bring one foot to the top of the pedal stroke and unstrap your shoe. Take your foot out of the shoe and place it on top of the shoe and lift up the other side to do the same. Pedal to the dismount line like that and hop off the bike BEFORE THE DISMOUNT LINE...don't risk a time penalty for a late dismount. Get off the bike in reverse of the way you got on by unclipping your right foot and then throwing your leg over the seat and behind your other leg. When you are going slowly enough, reach forward (from behind your left leg) with your right leg to take a running step and as you do step off your shoe with your left foot. If you do this wrong you will have a very entertaining crash. You might want to practice. Run your bike to your transition spot.

Rack your bike by the brake levers and pull off your helmet since you unbuckled it during the run up. Don't unbuckle while riding. You already have your shoes off so you can just slip into your lace locks equipped running shoes or if you just must, put on some socks. That's a good 40 seconds or so wasted. Don't sit down during transition...especially not in a sprint. If you didn't pin your number to your shirt and instead are using a number belt, put that number belt on along with your hat to keep the sun out of your eyes and go hammer the run.

If you don't go 30, you won't go 30. Don't think that you can do slow, easy 15-16 mph rides when you train and then do a race and expect to go 18 to 20. If you want so me ride training detail let me know...this is getting a bit long. Just know that you have to pedal hard when you train to be able to pedal hard when you race.

I could go on for as long as you are prepared to listen. Lemme know what kind of detail you are after and I'll give you what I have.
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Old 08-09-2005, 05:12 AM   #9
Matt Gagliardi
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Eugene...that's an awesome post.
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Old 08-09-2005, 06:40 AM   #10
Karl Steadman
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Damn.....that is brilliant Eugene.

Thank you for taking the time to post in that detail!

I'll let you know how it all goes guys.
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