September 2008 Triathlon Training Chat with Coach AJ

author : Coach AJ
comments : 0

Discussions on Total Immersion swimming, strength training, road bike or triathlon bike, stationary biking for Ironman training, heat and GI issues and doing a HIM before a first IM.

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[GamecockFanUSC90] Is that Total Immersion swimming program any good?

[Coach AJ] I think Total Immersion ( TI ) is worthwhile for beginner swimmers. It focuses on technique, which is the KEY to swimming. There comes a point where you have to put in the yards, but only when technique is no longer the limiter. TI gets you started in the right direction. I have never attended a TI clinic myself, so I can't say from direct experience. To have a coach on deck watching when you start swimming keeps you from ingraining bad habits.

[chirunner134] If I was going to do some strength training what are some of the best ones to do to help me prevent muscle imbalances and help with tris? I been focusing on the strength to prevent injuries and build muscle so I can lose more weight.

[Coach AJ] Sport specific weights are key. So no reason to do a bunch of curls for girls! Multi-joint exercises like squats, 1 leg squat, or leg press are good. Any time you do an exercise on 1 leg, you work on your core and balance. Utilize the stability ball, balance balls or even stand on one leg. Upper body wise, good ol' push ups and pull ups are good. Work your back as much as your chest.

[chirunner134] So pull ups are better than curl ups?

[Coach AJ] Mix it up! No need to do the same exercises at every session. Mix up hand position and width as well.

[GamecockFanUSC90] For my first tri - should I buy a road bike (like the Cervelo S2) and just put aero bars on it... or should I buy a 'real' tri bike, like the P2C?

[Coach AJ] It depends on how you will use the bike and the riding in your area. A Tri bike will always accommodate the TT position better. However, if you will be riding in hilly areas a road bike is better. If you ride with a group a road bike handles more predictably and typically is safer. Basically, the road bike is better in an all around sense, but the TT bike is certainly faster on race day. As for make, the one that fits your body and wallet is best!

[KyClubDSM] Yes, the tri-bike doesn't handle particularly well, and its a PITA to ride around. I had to go buy a decent mountain bike to just be able to ride a bike around casually.

[GamecockFanUSC90] Well...I would mostly be riding with friends/groups so I guess I should go with a road bike first. See if I like the sport and then I can get a tri bike, if the need is there.

[Coach AJ] In that case the road bike is definitely best. One thing to keep in mind when buying. It is always cheaper to buy the nicer gear first than it is to upgrade parts later. So, look for a bike with at least Shimano 105 or Ultegra components. Yes, you could upgrade later, but it is not cost effective. Now is a great time to buy with end of year sales going on.

[chirunner134] I am training for IMWI and I need to bike more. Would biking on a stationary bike over winter help or should I stick to lifting or running?

[Coach AJ] IMWI is a LONG way off. First, take a good break from this season. When you feel well rested you can do some easy, moderate, fun sessions in all 3 sports. You should certainly keep spinning though. Even if its a gym bike you need to keep in touch with the feeling/exertion of biking. Over the winter you can do simple, 1-2 hour sessions at most. No need to put in over that when your IM is just under a year away. Work on form too. You can do 1 leg pedaling or super high cadence to up efficiency.

My biggest thing I need to do is to lose weight before IMWI. I have about 30 lbs more to lose.

[Coach AJ] OK, you have a lot of time, so simple and steady is the key. Really, weight loss is a simple matter of expending more calories than you take in. Watch what you eat and take out empty calories like sodas and snacks. Veggies and fruit will fill you up and give you vitamins/minerals. It's not a big secret. Keep it simple and you will succeed.

[rstocks3] I did an Oly today and after the first mile I got some shin splints. What can you do about that during a race?

[Coach AJ] During a race.. not much! The best option, which isn't any fun, would be to walk, or pull the plug. Doing long term damage isn't worth it. Again, you need to see a Dr. and do the rehab/rest they recommend.

[rstocks3] I've never had them before and I'm probably talking more of a muscle cramp than actual shin splints. They went away after a few miles and I picked the pace up again but it just kills a race.

[Coach AJ] If it's muscle cramps, sodium is the answer. Slow down a bit and get in a gel, salt tablet or electrolyte replacement drink. Slowing down a bit speeds the digestion and gets the cramp out a bit quicker.

Should I do a HIM before my IM and if so how far out should the HIM be?

[Coach AJ] I absolutely recommend AT LEAST 1 HIM before your IM. The 1st is to see where you are fitness-wise, and the 2nd is to make sure your hydration/nutrition plan works. The 2nd should be about 6 weeks out from IM day.

[rstocks3] How about GI issues at IMKY? I'm attributing some of it to me swallowing some of the Ohio River and vomiting a few times during the swim. Does heat play a big part of GI problems during a run? I normally don't have any problems on my long runs.

[Coach AJ] The Ohio River is less than pristine for sure. Heat will play a part in digestion. Blood is shunted to the skin to aid in heat dissipation. This hinders digestion as blood is needed in the stomach/intestines to digest calories well. Add in the fact that your legs are requesting a lot of blood and you have an increased chance of GI issues.

[Coach AJ] HIM and IM are never formulaic. You just never know what the day will give you. I swam an IM PR in 2007 at IMKY. I think it was mostly due to the fact that the water was nasty and I wanted to spend as little time in that water as possible.


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date: October 2, 2008

Coach AJ

USAT Level 1 Coach
"My coaching philosophy can be summed up in two words: listening and balance. By combining these two elements I feel I can help each athlete achieve their full potential."

avatarCoach AJ

USAT Level 1 Coach
"My coaching philosophy can be summed up in two words: listening and balance. By combining these two elements I feel I can help each athlete achieve their full potential."

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