Author Archives: Ross
Make the most of winter, by training indoors for your triathlon
Training for a triathlon is hard work, and regardless of whether you’ve just completed your first race or have dozens of competitions under your belt, you’ll know the determination it takes to succeed. With the three core skills of swimming, cycling and running essential to being able to complete a triathlon successfully, it’s vital that every one of these disciplines is finely tuned. The winter months can be depressing, particularly if you’re a fan of training outdoors. However, there are many activities you can enjoy in an LA Fitness London gym to maintain your enthusiasm and keep your body in peak condition.
The start of the winter months officially end the triathlon season, and you might find yourself wondering what to do. It’s the perfect opportunity to take some time out and recover, both physically and mentally. You won’t be actively training for a particular event, so as long as a good base fitness level is maintained, you can afford to spend time with friends and family, reduce your exercise and even indulge in a few festive treats.
At this time of year, you can do a large range of activities to build core fitness. These don’t necessarily have to be race-specific, and you can dabble in areas such as Pilates and weight lifting, or enjoy different levels of spin classes which are offered at LA Fitness gym locations. Activities, such as rock climbing, are also a fun way to stay fit whilst building core strength, and there’s a great climbing centre in Mile End so you don’t even need to travel outside London to enjoy this hobby.
As you take time away from race-specific activities, it’s still a good idea to run, swim and cycle at least once a week. This ensures your conditioning for these disciplines remains at a comfortable level so that when you start commence triathlon training in the spring, you’re not starting from scratch. Both running and cycling are great activities to get the heart racing and keep you warm, so there’s no reason to abandon outdoor training altogether. London has a large variety of parks, and Green Park, Regents Park and Hampstead Heath are ideal locations to train on days when the weather’s good.
Whilst you can relax your training a little during the winter months, it’s still a good idea to aim for at least five or six days of exercise every week. Your workout sessions don’t have to be long; under an hour a day in most cases. You might like to space out your swimming, running and cycling on alternate days, filling the gaps with weight sessions, yoga exercises for flexibility and spin classes. Winter is also an ideal time to allow a little fluidity into your training regime. For example, if you have an hour’s run scheduled but you’re invited on a weekend away to do some hiking, take the opportunity to get away from London and indulge in something new.
You might be daunted by the months of downtime ahead, and without a clear race date, it can be hard to keep your motivation going. However, if you get into the right mindset and use these coming few months as a time to plan 2014 and keep a nice base fitness level, you’ll find that next year’s training is much easier. There are plenty of outside locations in London to run and cycle, whilst you can use an LA Fitness London gym to access pools, spin classes and weights to keep you in peak condition for 2014.
First Bike Tips
Picking your first road bike is a daunting task. Not only are there thousands of bikes to chose from but each has a different fit, feel and more importantly, price tag. With so many different bikes on offer how do you know that you are buying the right bike for you? Follow these top tips to make sure that your first bike is up to scratch and will have you setting personal best race times for seasons to come.
Bikes largely fall into one of three price bands. under £600, £600 – £1700 and £1700+. Although this may seem fairly obvious these are generally the bands that you should aim for depending on your level of experience.
If you are a beginner cyclist or triathlete only looking to race one race then you shouldn’t look to spend more than about £600 on a bike.
If you think that you would like to take your bike right through to long distance triathlons and are likely to carry on your triathlon career for a few years after your first race then you should aim for bikes that are between £600 and £1700. The reason for this is that they will have a better gear set, will be carbon and will be generally lighter.
Bikes that are over £1700 are usually either very high end road bikes or are triathlon specific bikes that should only be invested in if you are a club level triathlete (or have more money than sense!)
See the Argos website for hundreds of bikes available for delivery.
The Component Trap
When starting out it is very tempting to rush off and buy the best bike that money can buy. Bike shops are very good at adding good components to poor bike frames in order to make them seem better bikes than they actually are.
Components are replaceable and you will more than likely need to replace them at least once every year if you are serious about your training. With this in mind it is always best to sink your money into the frame of the bike by opting for a carbon frame instead of aluminum, even if that means taking a hit on poorer components.
Even if you buy the best bike in the world, if it isnt the right fit for you then you might as well have bought the cheapest bike on the market. Cycling is an endurance sport and your bike needs to be setup to ensure that you are able to deliver the most power through the pedals in the most efficient and comfortable way.
Even if you are zeroing in on a suitable bike and you think you have found your perfect machine, make sure you have a shop assistant fit the bike to you. This is where is pays dividends to buy your bike from a bike shop or an online retailer that accepts returns as you will only be able to see if you and your bike are a perfect match if you actually ride it.
For a huge selection of bikes, cycle helmets and other cycling accessories see the Argos.co.uk website
How To Pick The Right Running Shoes
The vast majority of running related injuries in endurance athletes can be attributed to poor footwear. Trainers that are not the correct type, are not fit for purpose or are not properly fitted are virtually inviting injury and can put training plans back weeks or months if not replaced. Follow these top tips to help pick the right shoes for you as well as ways to protect yourself from running related injuries
Pick the Correct Shoe Type
Many people are unaware that trainers come in several different types. Support trainers are made specially for people who have collapsed arches or flat feet and seek to prevent the foot from tilting inwards or pronating whilst running. “Control” running shoes seek to prevent the foot from rolling outward on impact and are suitable for people with high arches. Lastly, neutral running shoes are made for people with a normal running gait that means they need no additional pronation support or control.
Although at first glance most trainers may appear to look essentially the same, beneath the hood they are sophisticated and technologically advanced beasts that can make or break a running career.
If you don’t know what shoes are correct for your running style and gait then the best thing to do is to head to your local specialist running store for a fitting. The staff at the store will more than likely make you run on a treadmill in order to analyze your stride. Following your consultation they will recommend a few pairs of shoes that are suited to your style and most will even allow you to take the shoes back to the store if you have problems during your first few weeks
If you have collapsed arches but already have a pair of trainers then there is good news. Instead of rushing out and buying a brand new pair of top of the range shoes you can simply place some good insoles into your current pair of specialist running trainers. Flat feet insoles provide support for collapsed arches, meaning you can help prevent running injuries without having to spend a fortune. For insoles and fallen arches treatment see the simplyfeet.co.uk website
Take Care Of Your Trainers
Trainer care is important. If you are a serious distance runner then chances are that you are running four to six days a week and sometimes twice a day. It is not uncommon for marathon runners to clock up in excess of 50 miles a week in training runs and it is this distance that can place your body and your trainers under exponential stress.
The cushioning in your shoes is compressed every time that your foot strikes the ground as it soaks up the vibrations and impact that running causes. If you don’t give your trainers time to rest between runs then the cushioning doesn’t have adequate time to re-inflate. This can lead to poor shock absorption on subsequent runs, leading to higher amounts of vibrations passing into your body and a higher risk of injury.
To reduce the risk if injury from overworked trainers it is a good idea to have a backup pair of trainers that you can cycle between during your week. If this is not an option then another trick is to try and run on less impact generating surfaces such as grass and trails instead of concrete and roads.
What are Orthotic Gel Insoles?
Orthotic insoles come in many different forms and can be placed inside footwear to provide extra comfort and support. These insoles are often used by individuals suffering from foot pain or foot conditions such as overpronation, flat feet or plantar fasciitis.
These insoles differ from the slim, simple inserts that are often included in footwear when first bought; those inserts provide little in terms of support and comfort and should ideally be replaced, particularly if you already suffer from pain or discomfort in your feet.
While many different types of insoles are available, gel insoles are a particularly popular choice. These insoles provide cushioning and also occasionally offer a massaging effect for tired feet. Gel insoles are particularly beneficial for those whose days involve spending a lot of time on their feet. The cushioning effect puts less strain or pressure on the feet and can help stop blisters from developing. If you are looking to buy insoles to relieve the discomfort that occurs from spending a large portion of the day on your feet, simple foam or gel insoles are usually the best choice.
One of the main goals of orthotic insoles is to improve pressure distribution while walking or running. Good-quality insoles provide a high level of shock absorption, minimizing the impact of walking on hard surfaces. Without appropriate insoles, when our shoes come into contact with hard surfaces, the heel and ball of the foot take most of that impact. This can not only cause pain in the feet, but in other areas of the body such as the ankles, knees and back. Orthotic insoles provide firmer support, distributing pressure equally throughout the entire foot.
Due to the fact that orthotic insoles realign foot posture and redistribute pressure, they can be of help in correcting problems such as overpronation and relieving any pain or discomfort usually felt when walking. Insoles designed to prevent overpronation typically lift and support the arch of the foot and discourage the ankles from unnecessarily turning inwards.
If you are looking to purchase insoles to help with an existing condition such as plantar fasciitis, your doctor will be able to provide recommendations regarding the type of insole that will be best suited to your needs. Custom-made insoles are sometimes recommended to individuals with more severe foot conditions, but unless recommended otherwise by a doctor, most people can opt for pre-manufactured insoles, as they typically provide sufficient support for a much lower price.
Orthotic inserts are available in many differing lengths. While most choose a full-length insole, these can be inadequate for some footwear due to the shoes’ design or amount of internal space. If your shoes would feel too cramped with a full-length insole, a variety of shorter-length or slimmer inserts could be purchased instead. Heel cups, which cover only the heel, could also be considered as they take up less space and are less visible, but don’t provide the same level of support as standard insoles.
There are also plenty of specialised types of insoles available to buy, many of which are designed to help with a specific foot condition, or simply provide extra unique features. Athletes may want to look into purchasing insoles that are designed with their sport in mind; specialist inserts for use in rugby, tennis and other sports are available, which are better equipped to manage pressure and impact caused by running, jumping and other activities involved in any particular sport. Magnetic insoles are equipped with magnets and offer the extra benefit of improving blood circulation, which is particularly beneficial if you often suffer from cold or numb feet.
Child-sized insoles can also be purchased by any parent concerned about their child’s posture; kids’ orthotic insoles can be used to help correct problems with walking or flat feet from an early age. While some choose to purchase adult insoles and trim them down to a more appropriate size, insoles that are specially designed for children generally eliminate the need for this, thereby avoiding having to waste money if you accidentally alter the insoles too much.
Insoles do need to be replaced after some use, typically around every 12 months. However, this depends on how often they are used, so they can sometimes last longer. Most insoles can also be removed and gently washed by hand to remove any built-up dirt or odour.
The range of choice available with orthotic insoles is ever-expanding; this article covers just a small selection. If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort when walking, you will almost certainly be able to find insoles that perfectly fit your needs.