Q&A on Triathlon, Running, GI Distress, and Knee Warmers, with Joe Gambles

Coach and pro triathlete Joe Gambles fields questions on triathlon training distribution, running outside versus inside, event prioritization, GI distress, and knee warmers.

Joe Gambles
Professional triathlete and coach Joe Gambles lives and trains in Boulder, Colorado.

Joe Gambles has been racing triathlon professionally for nearly 25 years and has been coaching for the last seven. We’ve gathered many of our triathlon-specific questions for the right athlete and coach—and Joe fits that bill.

In this episode, we discuss training distribution among the three sports within triathlon; the nuances of running indoors and how to effectively transition outdoors in the spring; how to prioritize triathlon events by distance; combating GI distress on the run; and Trevor takes on one of his favorite subjects of all time: why you should be wearing knee warmers more often than you think.

Training distribution

This question comes from Frank Bastion in Bellingham, Washington. He writes:

“I’m new to triathlon, but have a decent background in other endurance sports including running, which I did for five-plus years competitively. I haven’t yet hired a coach to work with me for triathlon training. What’s the best way (or ways) for me to determine how my training time should be distributed between the three sports?

For further background, I have the least experience on the bike. I used to swim in high school and was decently competitive. Running is what I’m most comfortable with.

Running outside after running inside all winter

This question comes from Hampton Pryor in Sheffield, UK. He writes:

“Last year I did a ton of my riding on Zwift during the winter. While I was doing that, I noticed increasing numbers of people using Zwift for running. So this winter I’m seriously considering moving almost all of my training indoors, and doing my runs on the treadmill on Zwift over the winter. But eventually I have to get outside, right? How can I make the transition to the road easier once the snow melts?”

Prioritizing events

This question comes from Stefanie Weidenhammer from Munich, Germany. She writes:

“In the past several seasons, my training and racing has been very disrupted. It has been three summers since I have been able to do a full Ironman distance event. As I rebuild toward a goal of completing one in the summer of 2022, would you recommend I use sprint, Olympic, or half Ironman events—or a combination of several of these—to prepare for a full Ironman event? How much time would you leave between each of them? How should I approach the shorter events when using them as practice for a full distance event?”

GI distress on the run

This question comes from Zdenek Novak from Prague. He writes:

“Tell me when you have heard this one before: I often will feel good on the bike, but once I start the run I will frequently get pains in the stomach or other symptoms of discomfort [GI distress]. What is the answer? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening? I have tried using all manner of nutrition on the bike, from all liquid to all solid, and everything in between.”

Knee warmers!

This question comes from Joe Melton of Utica, New York. He writes:

“I live in the northern U.S. and it’s starting to get cold here when I train. I’ve heard your podcast about covering your legs, but I think I can tolerate the cold better than most. I frequently wear arm warmers, but my legs are fine. Do I really need knee warmers?”

References

  • Brearley, S., & Bishop, C. (2019). Transfer of Training. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 41(3), 97–109. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0000000000000450
  • Issurin, V. B. (2013). Training Transfer: Scientific Background and Insights for Practical Application. Sports Medicine, 43(8), 675–694. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0049-6
  • Tanaka, H. (1994). Effects of Cross-Training. Sports Medicine, 18(5), 330–339. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199418050-00005

Episode Transcript

Chris Case 00:00
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host Chris Case today sitting down Coach Trevor Connor Is in the studio, and we have my neighbor Joe Gambles. Next season starts now. We want to help you ride your best season yet now through October 24 you can join Fast Talk Labs for half price. That’s right. We’re starting the offseason with our first ever sale, save 50% on your membership and get full access to all the sport science and training on fasttalklabs.com. Your membership will include pathways our guides to things like cycling, interval training, and performance analysis, over 45 of Dr. Stephen Seiler’s lectures and webinars, workshops on how to use training peaks, intervals about ICU, training stress score, injury prevention, how to create a personal sports nutrition strategy, and guides to exercising in the heat and during the winter. Library members get special member pricing on all our help sessions, sports nutrition consoles, testing, and sports medicine consoles. Your best season starts now with Fast Talk Laboratories join through October 24 for half price. Join today at fasttalklabs.com.

Who Is Joe Gambles?

Chris Case 01:34
Joe, welcome to Fast Talk.

Joe Gambles 01:37
Hi Chris. Yeah, thanks for having me on the show. Now we’re neighbors.

Chris Case 01:41
Yeah, now we’re neighbors

Joe Gambles 01:42
Yeah, stalking you. And now I’m finally on the show. So that’s pretty good.

Trevor Connor 01:46
And you didn’t even know it right?

Chris Case 01:48
Well, we didn’t even know it. So to let everybody know it’s not just my neighbor that I’ve invited onto the show. Joe if you don’t know his name, if you’re not from the triathlon world, Joe Gambles has been racing professionally since

Joe Gambles 02:01
I did my first pro race when I was 16. So that’s a long time ago

Chris Case 02:04
Wow, that’s a long time ago.

Joe Gambles 02:05
Long time ago. I would call myself a professional since maybe 2005.

Chris Case 02:11
And you retired 12 days ago?

Joe Gambles 02:14
Yeah, not officially, I haven’t announced or anything.

Chris Case 02:15
Oh,

Joe Gambles 02:16
But maybe this is how I announce it Yeah.

Trevor Connor 02:17
It has now been announced

Joe Gambles 02:19
I haven’t got around to posting on Instagram. So I guess it’s not official yet, right? Yeah, I did my last race 12 days ago at the World 70.3 championships in St. George, with my wife and son there to support me and greet me across the finishing line. And it really hasn’t sunk in yet. But yeah, the next step is to take my coaching to the next level. And it’s what I want to do and what I’m passionate about and to give back to the sport that has given me so much.

Chris Case 02:45
Yeah. You said, before we started the recording here, you’ve been coaching about six or seven years, it’s slowly ramped up as the careers wound down. Is that true?

Joe Gambles 02:55
Yeah, I sort of had a great start with my coaching career, I end up coaching a close friend of mine, Heather Jackson, in our first year working together, she actually got third in the world Ironman Championships in Hawaii. And then from that, I just started taking on some new athletes. And yeah, I really enjoy the process and sort of passing along some of the things I’ve learned along my 25 years of racing in the sport. And actually beginning of this year, started working with the Wahoo Sport Science Team and doing some online coaching as well. So more cycling-specific, although they do offer triathlon programs, I’m generally doing more cycling orientated programs now, which I’m really enjoying.

Chris Case 03:38
Yeah. And I think it’s worth mentioning because people that have listened to Fast Talk for a while will know these two names that have been in your past and have coached you and you’ve probably absorbed some things from them as coaches to bring to your coaching philosophy and methodology. Neil Henderson was a coach of yours for a while and Grant Holicky was a coach of yours for a while.

Joe Gambles 04:01
Yeah, absolutely. And those two really helped my career as triathlon was sort of progressing to that next level in terms of professionalism and they really helped me bridge that gap to be able to keep relevant in the sport because it was getting pretty competitive really quickly. And Neil, especially his data-driven coaching methodology really got me interested in that. Which I didn’t really have an interest before that I just used to race hard but there Neil opened my eyes to power meters and heart rate and reverse periodization and all these things and sort of sparked an interest. And I definitely learned a lot from him, as well as Grant on the swim side. Yeah, they really complemented each other really well. And I learned about different ways to coach athletes and how you can get the best out of athletes depending on what they’re bringing to the table and what they need to progress in the sport.

Where Should I Focuses My Training For A Triathlon?

Chris Case 05:05
Excellent, well, today we’ve gathered up of several triathlon-specific questions. We’ve also got some cycling questions. Let’s dive in. This first question comes from Frank Bastian. He’s out in Bellingham Washington, and he writes a new to triathlon, but have a decent background in other endurance sports including running which I did for five-plus years competitively. I haven’t yet hired a coach to work with me for triathlon training. What’s the best way or ways for me to determine how my training time should be distributed between the three sports. For the background, I have the least experienced on the bike I used to swim in high school and was decently competitive, running is what I’m most comfortable with. Joe, I’ll turn it over to you. I would say that this is not an uncommon question. Generally, where people are coming from another sport to triathlon, they want to try it out, they might have a strength and two weaknesses, they might have a strength, a pretty good, and a terrible or some combination thereof. So how do you help somebody navigate the distribution question?

Joe Gambles 06:14
Yeah, definitely, it’s a great question. It’s actually probably the best-case scenario to have swam in high school, which is great because learning to swim after the age of probably 20 is pretty difficult. It’s a very technical sport. And then the fact that he’s got a background in running also helps because running generally is the highest rate of injury, I guess. So the first thing to do would be to look at how many hours a week he has available, and what event he’s training for. So if he only has six hours to train a week, and he wants to do an Ironman in six months, it might be a little bit tough. So let’s say 10 hours a week, and he is training for Olympic distance triathlon or half Ironman distance. So somewhere between two and six hours, I would, I would probably spend most of my time on the bike because he’s saying that’s his weakness, and it’s the lowest risk in terms of injury. And it’s a great way to build just a really big aerobic engine in a safe and methodical way. So I would probably look at maybe doing, if you said you had 10 hours, I would go four hours on the bike where maybe you do one pretty high-intensity bike session, and one longer ride and if he finds a little bit more time, on the weekend to ride, I would push that ride from two and a half hours up to three or three and a half hours, but keep it very endurance base. And then probably the next thing I would focus my time on is my swim, I think it’s a great way to build your aerobic engine in a very safe way. And you gotta remember, in triathlon, this huge crossover between swim, bike, and run. And the biggest thing is consistency in training and not getting sick and not getting injured. And that’s why I’d probably lean towards less running and do just more specific running off the bike to sort of get ready for race day. So I would say four hours on the bike, three hours probably of swimming, I probably do two hours of running and then two 30 minutes strength sessions a week would be sort of where I would start him. And with the runs, I would do one run off the bike, maybe off the high-intensity bike just to get that feeling of what it’s really like to try and runoff in a race.

Chris Case 08:47
So when you say that, how long should that run be? Does it have to be any more than a mile just to get the feeling or what?

Joe Gambles 08:55
Yeah, I would go off feel. I would go anywhere from probably 15 to 30 minutes running off the bike. I don’t know many athletes that do more than that, unless they’re getting ready for an Ironman. So I would go feel. And I would just more concentrate on running with good form. And yeah, really high technique focus. And then basically, you shut it down soon as you feel like your form is falling apart because that’s where the injury risk goes up. And then the other run you could cycle through anything from a hilly steady aerobic run to a more interval-based session where you might do something as mundane as three or four by one mile at a good effort around I guess 10k base pace. So sort of threshold sort of pace, and heart rate. And then I would sort of stick with that and I would really focus on the bike side of things to really improve that aerobic capacity. Which end of the day, it’s any distance over triathlon, your doing triathlon it is aerobic base so that’s sort of your limiting factor. And that takes the longest to develop. So I would get started on that. But it has to be controlled. You can’t go out on a Saturday group ride and start throwing in sprints and surges and King of the Mountain, that ride has to be steady. And the other one has to be a specific session, maybe on the train, and maybe do it by yourself so you do it at your level.

Chris Case 10:34
Great. Trevor, what would you add here?

Trevor Connor 10:37
Not a ton, I think you covered that really well, just a few points that I would make. One is, this is a mistake, I see a lot of people new to triathlon make, which is to think that they have to do equal time and all sports. And particularly if you have somebody who’s only training six to eight hours a week, -I actually sat down a long time ago with an athlete she was training about seven hours a week trying to do equal.- And when she explained her schedule, to me, I sat there and calculated the amount of time she had to spend changing clothing, shoes, all this sort of stuff, I was like, you’re probably spending more time changing than you are actually doing the sports. I just encouraged her to not feel like every day, she had to do all three or feel like she had to really balance them out. So I agree with you completely, that Cycling is a good to transfer. It’s much harder to injure yourself by cycling than it is running. So I think a lot of the bulk of your work, particularly your endurance work, should be done on the bike. And again, fully agree with you about the transfer. The one thing I’ll add, I’m just looking at the study by- an older study 1994 by Dr. Tanaka- that looked at the crossover effect, and basically said, running and cycling transfer really well running actually transfers the best. Swimming doesn’t quite transfer to running and cycling as well.

Chris Case 12:02
The first time I met you, Joe, you came up to me at the Niwot High School track and you were doing a track workout since that day, I know – we chatted about fast talk, we chat about a lot of things that day.- I don’t know why I bring that up. But just I’m curious how much track work you see triathletes doing if that, the speed work, I see going to the track as an opportunity for speed work, not for endurance work.

Joe Gambles 12:31
Yeah, absolutely. I think that the day, we bumped into each other, I was just doing pure neuromuscular training, I was trying to get my 39-year-old legs to turn over. Because that I saw was my limiting factor in terms of, I had a very low ceiling in terms of my top-end speed. So I was doing a specific four-week block where I was doing, yeah, 10 to 20 seconds, pretty much flat out, which wasn’t that fast, but I would focus on form. And then full walk back recovery, two to three minutes. And some drills in there. And yeah, just really trying to raise that ceiling. Because what I was finding if that ceilings low, right when you drop down to race pace, the gap between my top speed that I could run maybe over 20 seconds, and the pace that I want to sustain for 13 miles of the bike in half Ironman or 17.3 was too close. So 5:20 mile pace, felt really uncomfortable. So if you can sort of work the upper end in a safe way, which I’d been doing like the short hill accelerations, plyometrics, landing mechanics to sort of preparing the tissue to be able to run that fast. When you step back and run at your goal race pace. The limiting factor is not the speed, it’s more the endurance and holding your form. So that’s what I was trying to do. And at 39 I haven’t actually haven’t slowed down, because I’ve been doing that sort of stuff. And a big focus on strength elements. I think that’s a really big component. And to come back to the last hour of that 10 hour a week is the strength work, it’s really important. And in terms of time management, you can do that before you do one of your runs, or after a run session to really save time so you’re not changing in and out of clothes, and you can just sort of incorporate that into the session. So maybe a 30 minute run with a 30-minute strength session is better than probably just an hour of running.

Trevor Connor 14:36
Right. Not to get you excited. Just wait until you see the speed in your 50-year-old legs it only gets better.

Joe Gambles 14:44
really?

Trevor Connor 14:44
It’s so fast.

Joe Gambles 14:46
I’m not sure if I believe you.

Chris Case 14:48
Yeah, it’s really interesting. I kind of want to go down this track you did your first pro race at 16. You retire at the age of 39, 23 years. You could tell people a lot about how your training has changed in 23 years. I don’t know if we can get into that right now. But yeah, it’d be a long, long podcast, right? Let me ask you this next question because it pertains to running, maybe some of these elements can come out, maybe you can bring up some of these things that you’ve learned over a really long career about yourself that can apply to others.

Trevor Connor 15:26
This is such an interesting question because four years ago, this question really wouldn’t have existed.

Joe Gambles 15:32
I love this question. Yeah.

Is The Treadmill The Key To Winter Training?

Chris Case 15:34
So this one comes from a Hampton Pryor. He’s in Sheffield in the UK. And he writes, last year, I did a ton of my ridings on Zwift during the winter. While I was doing that, I noticed increasing numbers of people using Zwift for running. So this winter, I’m seriously considering moving almost all of my training indoors and doing my runs on the treadmill on Zwift over the winter, but eventually, I have to get outside right? So how can I make the transition to the road easier once the snow melts? Joe? Do you ever run on Zwift? First of all, do you ever run inside?

Joe Gambles 16:09
I do run inside. I think it’s a great tool. I haven’t actually tried running on Zwift. Because running for me- I don’t know that’s just a distraction- runnings like meditation for me, and I like to sort of zone out and just focus on my breathing and rhythm. This too much distraction I think on swift for me, but I do ride on Zwift sometimes. And when I need a hard session or need to be pushed, I will jump on Zwift and do a session. But yeah, it’s a really good question. And there’s a lot of people are turning to a treadmill, which there is a lot of positives from it. Like in winter, especially like in Colorado, or I’m sure they do get some snow and ice and in Sheffield England, but it’s safer to run on a treadmill. And if you want to do any intensity in the winter, it is a really good option. But there are a few things you need to sort of be aware of with treadmill running. And especially if you’re trying to prepare for triathlon, anything Olympic distance, half Ironman, or Ironman. I think you need to be really aware of the eccentric component of running on a treadmill, I don’t think -unless it’s one of these fancy treadmills that you can actually run at a negative grade, you’re basically running at 0%, or up to whatever 10%, which is, which is great for leg strength.- But a limiting factor in 70.3 racing and Ironman racing is that essential component, which really breaks down. And then once that sort of breaks down, you lose all form when you’re running and your pace can drop off significantly. So I’m not saying don’t run on a treadmill, I think it’s a great tool. But I think there’s certain things if you just want to run on the treadmill over the winter that you need to incorporate into your training. So I would suggest looking at some landing mechanics work. And this doesn’t need to be an hour session, you could do five minutes of like some jumps, some skipping, and really focus on force absorption. And then another component is actually getting into the weight room and doing some eccentric loading work. So we’re lifting pretty heavyweights. I’m talking deadlifts, front squats, anything where you can lower pretty heavyweight, slowly. So three to five seconds on the down. So in the squat, as you’re going down, you’re actually that’s the real focus of the exercise is lowering. So on a three to five-second count, squatting down and then coming up on a one to two count. And you’d be surprised how little way you can actually lift, doing that sort of work. Because 10 to 12 reps of that even with the bar doing a deadlift or a squat, you won’t be able to walk very well the next day. And that’s because you’re really targeting that eccentric component that people neglect. When you run outside and you run downhills, you’re actually getting that, which is what you don’t get on the treadmill. So that’s the only thing unless you have one of these fancy treadmills that can run downhill. So actually, I do use the GMA runner in winter, here in Boulder you can go minus three degrees. And I will do a session where I’ll do four minutes up will with five to 6% -sorry, percent, not degrees- and then on the recovery, I’ll keep the speed the same, but I’ll do it to minus three. So you’re actually getting that eccentric load while you’re still running at a decent pace, but you’re recovering because you’re running downhill. And that’ll be a good way to replicate what you sort of need to deal with when you get outside and run on the road.

Chris Case 19:55
In terms of that transition period, maybe it’s spring, things are warming up. Would you suggest that people do half time on the treadmill still get outside and half out there or some percentage of each so that they’re not going straight from treadmill out onto the road and smashing their legs.

Joe Gambles 20:14
Yeah, honestly, I would still, I would be reluctant to just run treadmill all through the winter.I would try, if it’s good enough, get out at least once a week and just run on the road because it is a different sort of running. It throws in like coordination, neuromuscular, you are just keeping up with the treadmill, when you’re running on treadmill, you’re not really generating the force in the same way. So some people be like, Oh, I’m running really well when they run on the treadmill, and then they go outside and actually it doesn’t feel the same. And especially when you’re doing triathlon, when you’re already heavily fatigued, getting off the bike, you need to be able to recruit those muscles and really generate this force yourself. But as I said it’s a great tool, people still even in the summer months, professional athletes will use treadmill for that more neuromuscular training, because it’s probably safer than running on a track, because you don’t run around a bend. So you start getting like some interesting patterning, when you start running around a curve on the track. And you can really get some top end speed out on a treadmill in a safe way. So there’s definitely a place for it. But it’s just another tool, you can’t really get away from the fact that you need to be outside.

Chris Case 21:32
Trevor anything to add here?

What Is Eccentric Load?

Trevor Connor 21:33
Only thing I want to add is just an explanation of what you’re talking about with that eccentric load for anybody who is unfamiliar with this. -And I’m just trying to think about how to simplify that whole running motion and explain it without getting into a lot of technical terms.- But essentially, so if you’re running on the flats, basically, as your foot strikes the ground, you are actually doing a little bit to control your speed and control your motion. So essentially think of it as a slight braking motion A) to control your speed B) it also kind of loads that spring action and allows you to launch into the next stroke. Your hamstrings are responsible for a lot of that so they’re basically as you said, a big eccentric load on the hamstrings to have that little bit of braking and load the spring. If you’re going uphill, gravity is going to take care of a lot of that for you. So there isn’t really that big a load on the hamstrings. If you’re going downhill unless you’re willing to start running out of control and eventually just kind of roll and probably lose balance and roll down the hill. You need a lot more that breaking motion so there’s a huge load on the hamstrings every time you strike the ground eccentric load to control your pace to control your motion. And that can actually be quite damaging. It’s one of the reasons when a cyclists in the offseason gets off the bike and goes and runs and if they’re doing hilly terrain I am like walk the downhill. Don’t try to run it until you have you’ve had a few sessions and adapted your legs to that eccentric load.

Joe Gambles 23:11
Yeah, definitely. I love cyclists cause they have such a big engine and they’ll be like I’m going to go running my off season and then they can’t walk. They can go all day. They could go run for three hours if they wanted to. But if they’ve hit some downhills, yeah, their body’s just not used to absorbing force in the same way even though their heart and lungs they could just keep going the next day there Yeah, probably for the next week they’re sore and their coaches like let’s maybe hold off yeah, it’s a little bit too much.

Chris Case 23:41
That’s why it’s good to if you -this is what basically what I’ve done is I just -have that maintenance run periodically throughout the summer months when primarily I’m riding and that prevents the Dom’s from all that soreness from kicking in every time I go out. If you just do it once a week maybe once every 10 days whatever it happens to be you don’t have to do too much

Joe Gambles 24:05
20-30 minute run once a week but your body quickly forgets if you don’t do it within a couple of months of not running you pay for it. Like I haven’t been lifting many weights and I’m sort of dreading those first few sessions

Chris Case 24:17
You don’t have to. Wait a second you’re retired you don’t have to do it anymore.

Joe Gambles 24:20
But I have to stay injury-free and chase around my four-year-old son that’s all my motivation now he’s getting fast. Yeah, well, I’m going to tear a hamstring kicking the soccer ball or something if I’m not careful. So strength work especially that’s actually really probably another great question is to talk about strength work for the older athlete.

Chris Case 24:41
absolutely.

Trevor Connor 24:41
Important thing to do

Joe Gambles 24:42
That’s a whole podcast.- Im sure you’ve done many of them.- But at my age it’s like the only reason I’ve been able to keep racing is because I have been really diligent with my strength work since I turned 30.

Trevor Connor 24:55
I think you have to do it at all ages.

Joe Gambles 24:57
Yeah, I wish I started earlier.

Trevor Connor 24:59
Right? But when you’re older, if you don’t do it, you’re gonna have injuries, you’re gonna have issues, you’re not going to perform your best. It’s just a necessity. I actually spoke with the chiropractor for the Canadian National Cycling Team one time and asked him, what is your busiest time of the year? And I was expecting him to say, like spring or March or something like that. And he goes, hands down October. Why is that? He goes, because you have a whole bunch of cyclists with the engine to run a marathon and the knees to run about 10 minutes.

Joe Gambles 25:28
Yeah, that’s about right. And that transition from people having a complete break, like two weeks of doing nothing, and then getting back in that’s a pretty high-risk time to get injured. Especially in running I try and have a couple of weeks at the end -like right now I’m on a break ,obviously retired break, but I’ve actually still ran a couple of times.- Because if I don’t run and load the tissue, like for me to go and do a trial run, which I want to do, because I enjoy it. It’s just not possible because everything, your body doesn’t care that you want to go and run for an hour and a half in the trails. So you got to keep loading that tissue. And the older you get, the less time you have actually it goes back, it snaps back pretty quickly and it’s a lot of work to get back to that flexibility.

Trevor Connor 26:25
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What Events Should You Race To Prepare For An Ironman?

Chris Case 27:16
All right, great. Let’s move on to a next our next question. This one comes from a Stephanie Weidenhamer. She’s in Munich, Germany, and she writes, in the past several seasons, my training and racing has been very disrupted. It’s been three summers since I’ve been able to do a full Ironman distance event. As I rebuild toward a goal of completing one in the summer of 2022. Would you recommend I use sprint, Olympic or half Ironman events or a combination of several of these to prepare for a full Ironman event? How much time would you leave between each of them? How should I approach the shorter events when using them as practice for a full distance event? Probably a lot to unpack there, Joe, what would be your recommendations here?

Joe Gambles 28:03
Yeah, I think using everything from sprint distance through to your final goal of doing an Ironman is a great way to plan out or map out your whole season. This sort of leads itself to a more reverse periodization type of planning. So you do more of your higher intensity in the winter, which I think probably would work in Munich, you probably don’t get a chance to get out and ride much outside in the winter. So you can sort of focus on more high-intensity work, which sort of sets you up well for an early season, sprint race, maybe in April. And then as the weather gets better, you can start adding a little bit of volume and start bringing back some of the intensity, which then leads itself to Olympic distance, maybe four to six weeks later. And then as you come into summer months, you can start really building out the volume. And the intensity is sort of maybe once every 10 days, you’re sort of doing maybe a high-intensity bike workout. But a lot of the training you’re doing is coming back to more race pace orientated work, and then a half Ironman sort of six weeks out from an Ironman, maybe- well the biggest Ironman in Germany are in July. So you got Challenge Roth and Ironman Frankfurt, and they’re in July. So if you did a 70.3, maybe end of May or June, and then gave yourself sort of six weeks to do a specific Ironman training block. That whole sort of progression would really set you up well, I think for an Ironman sort of in July, August time. And you sort of start that in January, which sort of gives you a general prep phase of eight to 12 weeks. And then you sort of move into more specific work. So you finish that block with sprint distance sort of to test, it’s a great test to find out what your numbers are what your 5k speed is what your 20-kilometer speed is, so maybe 30 to 40 minutes sort of power and then from there you can sort of start bring the paces down a little bit and the intensity and start sort of building the volume around. Yeah, so that I think it works perfectly and it’s funny enough any triathlon fans out there will know who Lionel Sanders is so- I’m not sure if you guys know-

Chris Case 30:30
Yeah we do

Joe Gambles 30:36
Okay. And he’s got his own YouTube channel not that we need to promote any more than he already is. But he actually

Chris Case 30:42
Are you jealous?

Joe Gambles 30:43
Ah a little bit. No I’m not jealous of Lionel, his work ethic maybe. But yeah, he’s, he’s a beast. But he actually did this. And if you go back to his YouTube channel, he did a sprint distance, specific block. And then he did, I think all sprint or Olympic distance, so short course racing. And then he did a 70.3 specific block. And then off that, he won the North American Championships. And then after that, he went to his Ironman block. And off the back of that he’s actually done i think three Ironmans now, two of them really successful, but the other one, not so good. But he sort of documents how he went about that. And it’s really very polarized to start with, getting ready in the general prep phase, and to get ready for those short course races. And then once he sort of got that under his belt, then everything sort of became a little bit more race-specific. So in that sort of gray zone training, which I know that’s like a dirty word in cycling, but it’s sort of where we race. I’d love to ask Stephen Seiler about that. What do you do for triathlon? Because we race where he says, don’t thats what we are trying to avoid.

Trevor Connor 31:59
That gets back to the whole question of specificity versus training systems. And my argument would be, yeah, probably as you get close to the race events need to do some specific training, but I don’t think that’s where you best train the systems. So it’s still polarized. Yeah, I’m very polarized. But if you ask me to sit right in the middle of that zone two for five hours, not a problem.

Joe Gambles 32:25
Yeah. It’s amazing. And this is where I’ve actually learned a lot from you guys. Listen to your podcast for last couple of years. And I’ve changed my training. I’ve become uncoachable at this point now, because I think I know everything just from listening to you guys.

Chris Case 32:37
Uh oh.

Trevor Connor 32:39
We’ve ruined you. I’m sorry.

Joe Gambles 32:41
I apologize to Neil. But it’s sort of, yeah, the actual race specific, at my point in 25 years of racing is that little block is very small now it’s like two, three weeks of specific. It’s more about practicing nutrition, and dialing in pacing and the end running off the bike then actually sort of improving the systems which I think the polarized model is the way to go. For sure.

How Has The State Of Triathlons Changed?

Chris Case 33:10
When you were 14 years old, before you did that first race when you were 16. Did you ever think that you would race until you were 40? As a professional athlete?

Joe Gambles 33:23
I actually did my first triathlon when I was 12. And before that, I was competitive runner from when I was like five so yeah, I only known competitive sport. I sort of wanted to be a runner, but quickly realized I just didn’t quite have what it took to be a runner. Running is my passion. I love running, but I was actually probably better at cycling. But when I raced a little bit through the junior ranks and then got an opportunity to race in my home state against some of the best guys in the world. Yeah, they had the Oceana championship, so I got to race against my idols. Guys, like Greg Welsh, who was the first Australian to win the Hawaiian Ironman, he was racing. Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, all the guys that I had, like, posters of, I got to race when I was 16. I actually went back to race, just amateur for a couple more years after that, because I realized I had a little bit of work to do. I’ve always loved the sport of this. And I think I’ve never lost that love for it. I’ve always tried to keep a really good balance between racing, training, and things outside of that. From family and just my interest in music and other things outside of the sport I’ve kept a really good balance for me. And that’s why I just keep coming back and before I knew it I’m 39 still racing. Near the top. I’m not quite where I was five years ago, but that’s okay. The sports moved on and I tried to go with it and now I’m just off the mark. And I’m leave the sport with no regrets. And I honestly did more in the sport than I ever thought I would. I sort of reached my goals when I was 28 and everything else beyond that was like a bonus.

Chris Case 35:13
Yeah. Well, you say the sport has gone to a new place. What do you mean by that?

Joe Gambles 35:22
If you go back and even look at bike position from like the 1990s in Hawaii Ironman, and the technology and like people’s position and aerodynamics, that’s gone. But it’s really improved, even in the last five years, and you’ve got guys that are really pushing the envelope so young. Frodeno who’s the greatest of all time, Olympic champion 2008 made the transition won 70.3 worlds and now has the world record at the Hawaiian Ironman Championships. And he leaves no stone unturned. And so he’s just dragged everything up, which is great. It’s great for the sport, he’s bringing the sport to such a wider audience. And yeah, it’s just progressing really fast. And with the science and the technology that’s available now, I think he’s really important. And people are looking after themselves better, like people are getting in the gym two, three times a week and really looking after their body. They’re building a team around them from physical therapies to chiropractors to sport psych, nutrition. Guys are still in their fourties, Frodeno is 41 I think this year, and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. But he’s had a team around him for nine years, I think, he’s got his own masseuse, his own physical therapists that he has on retainer that just work on him. So that’s the level we’re talking about. It’s basically he’s built a cycling team sort of support network just for himself. So obviously, it’s a big investment in time and money. Mainly money, but that’s sort of what’s happened now.

Chris Case 36:57
I know your biased. But is triathlon, the most time consuming, most demanding endurance sport there is.

Joe Gambles 37:06
I only know triathlon, but I’d say It would have to be. Even some of the ultra runners, Like you can’t run more than probably 15 hours a week. There’s some Ironman guys that train 40 hours a week. They’re training like a marathon runner. They’re running 80 miles a week, 70-80 miles a week. Riding 500 swimming, I don’t know 15-20. Then strength work, two massages Cairo, physio. It’s nuts, It really is. And that’s the thing like, I think people start to realize now that more is not better. But I learned the hard way ,Yeah, I definitely put myself in a massive hole a few years ago, especially when I started coaching myself, because you just keep moving the goalposts. You’re like, oh, I don’t need a recovery day. But when you’re just doing aerobic work all the time, you can just keep pushing it until you realize that you’ve gone way too far. And then when you realize that, the best way to realize that is put yourself in a race. And you can’t go. Yeah, but I think Yan is one of the really smart trainers, I was lucky enough to do a little bit training with him when my wife and I lived in Girona 2015. He doesn’t do anything crazy. He’s just consistent. And he’s injury-free 99% of the time, he’s 41. He’s got a huge engine, he’s been doing this since he was a kid as well. It’s just about sort of pushing at the right times, and sort of keep yourself healthy and maintaining really more than -and that’s for afford that’s for a guy who’s been doing it a long time or females. -But then you got young guys that are in their 20s they can just handle so much. There is this guy Sam Long, who trains like a maniac. He’s getting into results right now he was just second at the World 70.3 championships. But he recovers so quickly. Whereas if I tried to do one week of his training, I’d been up in bed for a month. So it’s just different. And depending on the training differs depending on where you are in your career. Not sure if that probably maybe a little bit less for cycling, because you don’t train as many hours and you don’t have the running component. But I don’t know if that’s true for you, or for cycling. I’m not sure if professional cyclists in their 20s train different to when they’re towards the latter part of their careers.

Chris Case 39:38
I’m sure it’s quite individual as most things are, but yes, there are probably some patterns you’d see in older athletes that maybe don’t need to- like you were saying -that specificity block doesn’t have to be as long or the base period might not have to be as long things like that.

Trevor Connor 39:56
There’s certainly some differences. This is true of all the sports younger athletes tend to be a little stronger they don’t have as good of an endurance engine. So as you get older you can certainly handle more volume you just probably have to be more judicious with the intensity than you can be at a younger age. But you know certainly your tour athletes will train similar sort of volume, you know, they’re putting in 600 miles a week, which is about 40 hours. What I would say is triathlon is a more complicated sport, because while they’re putting in that volume, it’s mostly just easy riding, where triathlon, you have to balance all these sports. And as you said, cycling could be a lot more damaging, it needs a lot more to recover from.

Joe Gambles 40:38
Yeah, absolutely. And this is where Stephen Seiler’s work is amazing. And I think it’s so important for triathletes to understand it, because I think we get caught right in the middle all the time. And especially when you self coach. And that comes from my own personal experience. You just, you sort of start justifying, Oh, I didn’t hit my numbers because of well, yesterday’s ride and yesterday’s run and, and all sudden you just end up, still do the training, still doing 30 hours a week, but it’s junk, its absolute junk. And you just get more tired and more tired. There’s no strong signal for the body to actually adapt. It’s just basically in shutdown. You don’t really realize it until you don’t race. And you realize, wow, I am exhausted.

Trevor Connor 41:22
The biggest issue I’ve seen in triathletes is that they are just chronically tired.

Joe Gambles 41:27
Yeah. And the pandemic is what actually showed me I think we talked about this, because we bumped into each other at the track in the middle of the pandemic. And yeah, there was no racing last year. So I cut my training from 25 hours a week to 12. And I’m like, Wow, my numbers have just shot up my rounds up, I feel better. Yeah, I’m actually looking forward to training. I can’t wait to I get to push myself again. Whereas before I was like, sort of have to drag myself out to- Okay, I’ll give myself 30 minutes to warm up on the bike, and then I’ll do the session oh, I need another 15 minutes – then warmup gets longer and longer. And then you try and do the sessions there’s nothing there. But in the pandemic, I was like 12 hours a week, it felt like I was healthy again. See 12 hours still extreme for most people, but it’s nothing for a triathlete that doesn’t even count as a recovery week. Our recovery weeks are still 18 hours a week.

Trevor Connor 42:22
Yeah no, it’s not a recovery week. I’ve worked with triathletes where I’m like we’re gonna take a recovery week and they’re they’re planning all that. And I’m like, No, you don’t do anything for five days. And they flip out.

Joe Gambles 42:35
Yeah, I just got anxious just hearing that. What? five days off what are we doing?

Trevor Connor 42:43
but you know, some of these triathletes I’ve worked with I’ve kind of quipped that, well, I’ve got a secret strategy for your big race, and we get close to the big race they ask what’s the secret strategy? I’m like, I’m going to take you to the race rested, because everybody else is exhausted. It’s really

Joe Gambles 43:00
It’s really true. People don’t realize you are that fatigued and that you actually don’t realize how tired you are.

Chris Case 43:07
It’s chronic fatigue,

Joe Gambles 43:09
you just get used to it. That’s how you feel. Yeah, and like you’ve watched a good example of this is when an athlete gets injured. They come back better than ever, right? Not only because they’ve done the rehab work to actually make their body’s more resilient and stronger.They’ve rested.

Chris Case 43:27
Yeah.

Joe Gambles 43:28
I’ve had some of my best races. I won my first Ironman off being injured that year. I didn’t run for three months because an Achilles injury. And I went and won an Ironman off basically six weeks of running. I was definitely very sore because I didn’t quite have that resilience. But I was hungry for it and not tired. Yeah.

Trevor Connor 43:48
So many triathletes would perform better, if they just learned to rest more. It’s not

Joe Gambles 43:54
Its not in our psyche.

Trevor Connor 43:56
Not at all

Chris Case 43:58
You’re going to try to change this.

Joe Gambles 43:59
Absolutely. And that is my whole coaching philosophy. I sort of love I do as least amount of work for the most possible gain. Just do enough to be consistent and not break down, not get injured, not get sick and just keep pushing a little bit at a time. Just tighten your screws, week by week, month by months and build months on months and years on years. It’s not just one season, you can’t go from A to B. You need three or four years of consistent work. Yeah, is my opinion.

Where Does That Accent Come From?

Chris Case 44:38
Perfect. Well, let’s move on to our next question. I bet this is one that a lot of people in the triathlon world struggle with. This one comes from Denis Novak. He’s from Prague. We have a lot of international listeners today, or international questions. He writes, tell me when you have heard this one before. I often will feel good on the bike. But once I start the run, I will frequently get pains in the stomach or other symptoms of discomfort, GI distress you’d call it, what is the answer? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening? I’ve tried using all manner of nutrition on the bike from all liquid to all solid, and everything in between. But every time once I get to the run, it kicks in.

Trevor Connor 45:22
So Chris I just got to express my disappointment that we got all these international questions, and you didn’t even attempt an accent for any of them.

Chris Case 45:28
No, I’m not going to do that. We’ve got our accent on the program today. I know the Australian’s listening are like Who is this? Where is this guy from? He’s actually from Australia. You were born in England?

Joe Gambles 45:39
Born in England.

Chris Case 45:40
You’ve lived in the US for?

Joe Gambles 45:42
13 years.

Chris Case 45:43
So you’re a hodgepodge. You’re a man without a country with an accent.

Joe Gambles 45:48
I’m from Tasmania, actually. So yeah. Which I’m not sure how many people know where that is. But they probably do its where Richie Port is from. Richie he has brought, awareness to Tasmania and the cyclists that come out of there pretty good.

Trevor Connor 46:04
So you’re in this wonderful place like me, where no matter where you go, everybody recognizes you’re not from there.

Joe Gambles 46:09
Yeah, absolutely

Trevor Connor 46:10
People from the US can tell I’m not from the US. But when I go back to Canada, they go like you’re not Canadian cause I don’t have my Canadian accent really anymore.

Chris Case 46:19
You just get picked on everywhere you go

Joe Gambles 46:20
I do. I’m used to I have thick skin.

Trevor Connor 46:22
You are Australian, but probably when you go to Australia, they’re like, Where do you get that American accent?

Joe Gambles 46:27
Yeah, it comes back pretty fast. But it’s more the words I picked up from living in the US. Like gas station and sidewalk.

Chris Case 46:36
What do they call a sidewalk and I don’t

Joe Gambles 46:38
I don’t even know anymore. I forgotten. pavement?

Chris Case 46:42
The pavement? Do you call it a petrol station petrol. Do you call it a boot? For the trunk of a car in?

Joe Gambles 46:48
Yeah, we call it a boot.

Chris Case 46:50
And bonnet for the hood of the car?

Joe Gambles 46:52
Yeah. See there you go.

Chris Case 46:54
I mean, it’s very much like in the UK, right?

Joe Gambles 46:57
Yeah absolutely. I love that.

Trevor Connor 46:59
You know what’s the one that I lost that I’m trying to get back? In the US you call it a bathroom in Canada we call it a washroom. I like the washroom better.

Chris Case 47:09
And you probably call it a toilet?

Joe Gambles 47:11
Or a Dunny.

Chris Case 47:11
A dunny?

Trevor Connor 47:13
That’s even cooler.

Chris Case 47:15
Is that like, slang?

Joe Gambles 47:18
Yeah,

Chris Case 47:18
You can bleep that out

Joe Gambles 47:20
It’s not rude word Yeah, it’s just Australian slang. What was the question again?

Chris Case 47:26
Okay the question is

Joe Gambles 47:28
I remember.

How Do I Refuel Properly During An Event?

Chris Case 47:29
the guy,- you know, this is probably not an uncommon thing, It’s probably a very common thing.- Where you’ve pushed yourself for hours -I don’t know what distance this guy’s doing. What’s typical for him?- But regardless, you get to the jostling of the run, your guts just throw fit. What’s the fix?

Joe Gambles 47:48
That’s a really tough question. Let’s say that he’s focusing on more 70.3 Half Ironman distance to Ironman because that’s generally where you’ll get the GI issues. So anywhere from depending on how fast you go four hours to well, 17 hours is the cut-off for an Ironman.

Chris Case 48:09
18 hours to complete the bike?

Joe Gambles 48:11
No to complete the whole thing. So that is the cut-off to get a finishes metal is to complete under 17 hours. Yeah, it’s a really tough one.

Chris Case 48:21
Did you ever have problems with this yourself?

Joe Gambles 48:23
No.

Chris Case 48:23
So you are really lucky?

Joe Gambles 48:24
Yeah, I’m really lucky. And the only way- things that I could sort of think of, or the one thing that I think a lot of- people neglect is actually practicing their nutrition and training the gut like a race simulation training. So people go and do their Ironman ride, but they’ll stop at a coffee shop and have a bagel and coffee. They won’t eat anything that they’re going to eat in a race. And then they’ll go and try and force 18 gels down their throat in a race and wonder, Well, what went wrong? And I know there’s a quite a lot of research -and you’ve probably got a paper already up- about how you can actually train your gut to absorb more carbohydrate.

Trevor Connor 49:08
We actually did a whole episode on that with Dr. Juekendrup.

Joe Gambles 49:11
I didn’t want to have a go at pronouncing his name but yeah, give that episode a listen, amazing stuff. And I’ve incorporated that into my preparation for Ironman events in the last five or six years because of that. And if you mess it up, it’s better to mess it up in training and I’ve messed it up big time. Just with things like concentration, like you go out and have a water bottle that you’ve managed to fit 800 calories in and then if you don’t drink enough water that’s coming back up. And I’ve done that in a prep ride around boulder before and gone. Wow I really mess it up and I figured out what the concentration of what I was drinking was like 16%. I was like, Oh yeah, I was meant to drink three water bottles with that. And so these are the mistakes you make, it’s good to make them in training. But actually practicing what you want to take in race day in training is really important. Like this guy sounds he’s probably explored a lot of these things, I would think about getting a metabolic test and figuring out what actually, you need to put into body maybe it’s less than you actually think. And some people can put in 400 calories an hour, but maybe he can’t tolerate that, and maybe he doesn’t need to, maybe you could get away with 300. And you want to maybe play around with like, less fructose, some people have problems with fructose, and I know some of my professional colleagues they can’t do it. Like I know you can absorb more if you bring fructose with a multi dextran. But some people that comes back to haunt them on the run. But if you explored a lot of the avenues I would go and get metabolic tests and figure out what at Ironmen power,- so it’s around, say 80% of your threshold power,- and then we can have a discussion about what threshold it. Basically, your aerobic your first breakpoint, so your aerobics sort of threshold, go to your test and figure out, Okay, I need X amount of calories, and then start with that would be my advice if he’s explored everything else.

Chris Case 51:25
Yeah, Trevor, just give people who don’t know what a metabolic test is the briefest of explanations.

Trevor Connor 51:32
So yeah, I mean, basic metabolic tests, we’re hooking you up to a cart, we’re measuring your oxygen intake and co2 and oxygen exhalation. And believe it or not, from that, we can determine at each intensity, basically how much your fuel is coming from fat versus how much is coming from carbohydrate metabolism. I’d actually made a note, I wish we had Ryan here for this one, because this is right in his wheelhouse, where he would do this test with you. And then figure out what you can absorb, what you can handle and make these recommendations to you of what might help because everybody’s gonna be very different. Some people are gonna be heavily reliant on fat, some people are gonna be heavily reliant on carbohydrates. And to give you an example, I think of my brother who went and did one of those big adventure mountain bike races, one of those six days, where you’re going six, seven hours every day. And he has a real hard time handling carbohydrates. They were killing his stomach. But, six hours a day, he had to do something. So he started pretty much just eating beef jerky, because he’s one of those people that’s heavily reliant,

Chris Case 52:39
He’s Canadian, they eat a lot of beef jerky,

Trevor Connor 52:41
He is heavily reliant on fat, you know, beef jerky, actually has a little bit of sugar on it so it gets a bit of carbohydrate. But it ended up being a better ratio for him. And I’m certain if we did a metabolic cart test on him, that’s what we would discover. So there’s a lot of questions I’d have for this athlete. One of them is exactly what you brought up, are they just pound in tons and tons of gels. And maybe they have to look at alternate fuel sources that are a little bit better for them that they can tolerate. The other question I would have is the length. If this is an Iron Man Yeah, you can’t just not eat on the bike and the run that’ll kill you. But if this is a say, on Olympic distance, this is where you might need to weigh the differences, the pros and cons of getting a little bit of fuel in the system versus having your gut function, I would probably say maybe right before the bike wolf a couple things down and then just not eat the rest of the race. It’s short enough.

Chris Case 53:33
Is there any reason to think that poor hydration could increase your chances of GI distress at some point in the race? Is that a is that a factor?

Trevor Connor 53:44
Absolutely. I mean, a lot of what leads to GI distress is your digestive system, basically just shutting down and not be able to -basically just sits in your gut. and ferments and cause you-a lot of exactly what it says distress. If you don’t have a lot of fluid in the gut,- the main thing that’s causing that is your body’s trying to keep the legs functioning. It’s trying to fuel them. So more and more of the blood flow. The fuels sources are going to your legs, which means you’re you’re taking it away from the gut- and the gut isn’t going to function as well. Evolutionary reason for this generally if you’re going that hard, your body’s going, I’m probably being chased by a lion right now. I’m more concerned about keeping my legs functioning then digesting. I’ll deal with digesting later I just don’t want to be digested myself.

Chris Case 54:35
Right, right, right.

Trevor Connor 54:37
So it shunts it away from the gut. And if you’re putting a lot of foods, especially food that your digestive system normally has an issue with digesting into a gut that’s not functioning very well. That can cause a lot of distress. You have to be careful about that. And that’s why I always tell people on long races go towards more and more simple things that your body doesn’t really have to break down and can just absorb. But certainly if you’re dehydrated and you’re not getting fluid to the gut, that’s also going to affect the motility.

Chris Case 55:12
All right, let’s turn our attention to the final question here. It’s almost as if Trevor wrote this one so that he could get on his soapbox about knee warmers.

Trevor Connor 55:25
What are you implying Chris?

The Importance Of Leg Warmers

Chris Case 55:28
No, we actually got this question from Joe Melton, he’s up in Utica, New York. He says, I live in the northern US and it’s starting to get cold here when I train. I’ve heard your podcast about covering your legs, but I think I can tolerate the cold better than most.- I bet a lot of people think that you know? this is a good question.- I frequently wear arm warmers, but my legs are fine. Do I really need those knee warmers? Trevor, I’m going to let you lead on this question. Because I know you have a thing.

Trevor Connor 55:58
Boy, I’ve been itching for this question.

Chris Case 56:01
For the last hour and a half.

Trevor Connor 56:05
I was actually up in Toronto at, end of September and I went to one of those 5:30am group rides and it was chilly day. And I showed up with knee warmers and arm warmers, and everybody else showed up completely exposed just shorts and jersey. And it was probably 55 degrees out. And they started making fun of me like why are you wearing all of that and I was probably a little mean about it, which is like, Oh, well, I’m just the only person here who’s dressed right.- Yeah, so this is my soapbox. Let me see if I can answer this and just help with the understanding of this.- It is not about felt the point of wearing clothing when you are training is not about feel. We have thermal receptors throughout our bodies that tell us whether we’re hot and cold, you have the least in your legs, you can’t feel when your legs are cold, that’s really important. Everybody goes, my legs don’t feel cold, so I’m fine. No, your legs don’t feel cold because you don’t have the thermal receptors there. So I could go out when it’s freezing with my legs exposed and actually be relatively okay because my legs can feel it. But I’m not okay, cuz I’m doing a ton of damage to those legs. So the thing I want to point out in that comment that said, I frequently have arm warmers. Well, we wear arm warmers before we wear knee warmers because we have more thermal receptors in our arms, and we do feel it. But your legs are just as cold. And just as intolerant of it. And because you’re trying to train your legs that’s the part you want to keep warm. That’s the more important part to keep warm. So as strange as it sounds. And as contradictory as this feels. It’s more important to have knee warmers on than it is have arm warmers on. So if you ever go out on a day, and you put arm warmers on and you have your knees exposed, you are not looking Pro.

Chris Case 58:09
Let me put this in there because I bet there are some people that are saying, Well, my legs are doing the work, they’re generating the heat. So therefore they don’t need to be covered up. Whereas my arms are just sitting there preventing me from flopping into my handlebars and they’re not doing any work. And to that you would say

Trevor Connor 58:29
You’re still getting that wind exposure, you’re still getting the surface cooled down, so you’re putting a bit more of a load on your body. So that’s actually going to cause that vasso constriction. So that not going to impact blood flow deeper into your muscles, but it’s certainly going to affect any sort of muscles or tissues that’s closer to the surface. Where I would personally rather have the knee warmers to keep blood flow throughout my legs, particularly around the knees, because you don’t have a lot of protection there, you don’t have a lot of fat to keep you warm. And so there’s this effect where as temperature decreases, enzymatic activity decreases. So your ability to rapidly contract, relax, contract, relax muscles goes down. So if those muscles start getting cold, you’re basically then forcing the muscle to lengthen quicker than it can actually respond. And so the muscles still might be in a somewhat contracted state and your lengthening it and so you’re gonna get muscle tension, you’re gonna get damage. And where you have a lot of tendons around the knees, that can be a particular issue that you start getting a lot of tearing and damage around there. So really important to keep those knees covered so you don’t get that damage that can lead to knee issues that is going to hurt your adaptations it’s going to have a whole lot of negative effects on you. So again, This isn’t about, do my legs feel warm or cold? This is about you’re going out to train what’s best to help your training and to prevent injury. And you’d actually be surprised how warm it can be out and you should still be wearing knee warmers. So I got this from Dr. Pruitt when I discussed this with him and the rule among pros is below 70 degrees. So that’s about 19 degrees Celsius. Wear knee warmers below about 55-60 degrees leg warmers. And I know everybody’s listening is going that’s crazy. Why would I ever do that? But again, it’s not about feel. It’s about performance and aiding adaptations and preventing injury. But I’ll give you this rule, because that was in the question. If it is ever cool enough for you to feel you need to have your arms covered. You have to have your legs covered.

Chris Case 1:00:55
Trevor will come and haunt you.

Trevor Connor 1:00:57
I will track you down and make fun of you. Because again, you have more thermal receptors in your arms than your legs. Your legs are just as cold and miserable. You’re just not as aware of it.

Chris Case 1:01:11
Anything to add here, Joe? Or did he just cover it.

Joe Gambles 1:01:14
Yeah, I was just gonna ask about the cut offs but you just address that. So no. And the damage is- Yeah, you address that too about what damage- you’re actually doing and yeah, and limiting the training effect and stuff. So no, I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that. I’m learning.

Chris Case 1:01:32
You’re learning. Yeah, you just went through your entire career without knowing that you should have covered your knees.

Joe Gambles 1:01:38
I actually was told back in Tasmania when I started racing bikes A former pro that raced in Europe. He asked me why am I not wearing legwarmers all the pros wore leg warmers. And I don’t think it was cold maybe 60 degrees Celsius so yeah, 60s and he’s like no, they always covered the legs you got to look after them. Actually runners do the same thing, you look at good runners you watch like track and field athletes warm up and stuff. They’re all wearing leg tights and they’ll take their leggings off just before the start. I think it affects me more with my running. If I go out with shorts, and it’s below 60 my knees ache for like two hours after I run.

Trevor Connor 1:01:38
I see runners out when it’s below freezing they’re just in shorts. It kills me.

Joe Gambles 1:02:32
Runners are crazy. Like in Colorado you’ll the CU cross country team

Chris Case 1:02:37
shirtless

Joe Gambles 1:02:38
Shirtless in January because the sun is out, it’s still 28 degrees. Am like you guys are crazy. At least put some leggings on don’t wear a shirt if you don’t want to but wear some leggings.

Chris Case 1:02:49
It’s a thing now. Yeah, it’s not even so much that they’re warm. It’s a running thing. It’s a show thing.

Joe Gambles 1:02:56
It’s a running thing. Yeah and I run in leggings from probably about October because I just hate that feeling of aching knees if I go and run.

Trevor Connor 1:03:07
So that you know this is a soapbox for me so I can sometimes be a little nasty. So I remember many years ago I was going out to the gateway ride here in Boulder it was in the winter. It was a warmish day it was probably about 50-55 degrees and an old teammate of mine David came up to me as we were both heading towards the ride and he had just gotten a pro contract and was really proud of it . So he wanted to show up to the ride in his team kit. So it’s cold out, or, it’s cool out and he’s got his arms exposed he’s got his legs exposed and he comes up to me all proud of it and I just look at him go boy Dave I’m glad you’re not on my team anymore. He goes what do you mean, I’m like because I would be embarrassed if you wearing that little in our kit. And he’s like what? I’m fine I can handle it, I train in the cold and all that sort of stuff. And as he’s making all these excuses to me Taylor Finney and another top pro ride by us and just start ripping into about what he is wearing and he spent the entire ride at the back of the group because he was so embarrassed.

Joe Gambles 1:04:15
Probably never turned up again. Yeah,

Chris Case 1:04:17
Right? He never made that mistake agian.

Trevor Connor 1:04:19
He never made that mistake again no.

Joe Gambles 1:04:21
Or he rode by himself the rest of the time I don’t know.

Chris Case 1:04:25
Well Joe, it’s been a pleasure to have you on Fast Talk. It took us a while to get you on the show. But here you are. Thank you again and congratulations on a very long and successful career.

Joe Gambles 1:04:33
Thank you. Thank you for having me I appreciate that. I really had a good time.

Trevor Connor 1:04:37
Great having you on the show. Thanks for joining us.

Chris Case 1:04:40
That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts and be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback. Join the conversation at forums.fasttalklabs.com to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of Fast Talk Laboratories at fasttalklabs.com/join and become part of our education and coaching community. For Joe Gambles and Trevor Connor. I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening. On October 24, our half-price membership sale ends this is our biggest sale of the year and your only chance to save 50% to join Fast Talk Labs. Get all our training science and member pricing on services and testing. Join today at fasttalklabs.com

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