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?”


  • 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

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