Ask us Anything
September 28, 2023

Ask Us Anything Edition 02

From duathlon recommendations, to race day shoes, breathing techniques, bike repair courses and more, here is what you've been asked us this month.

p.s. please click here if you want to submit your own question.

Question | 1

Do you know where I can find a list of in-person (not online) basic bike maintenance classes? I'd just like to learn how to look after my bike properly, and check it is safe every time I go out. (Chloe, The Midlands)

Answer | 1

Great question. Admittedly none of the team actually live up in the Midlands currently, however we have done some research and found some options below that are local bike shops offering a variety of bike maintenance courses for different skills.

  • Birmingham Bike Foundry - a great small class option for covering the basics (which seems to answer your brief!)
  • Future Cycles Training in Leicester: - these look like they offer a great range based on different levels so you can always do more with them as you advance
  • Women in Tandem - While this isn't a course but a network of women who are into cycling, they offer a variety of  free 'Dr Bike' sessions where I'm sure you could learn how to fix any issues your bike has.  


From Lisa, Let's Do This team member, seasoned runner and aspiring cycling enthusiast

Question | 2


I am keen to avoid swimming! Can you recommend suitable duathlon events for me - First timer - so sprint event preferred initially, ideally with closed roads or v minimal traffic for the bike element near London [Mark]

Answer | 2

I think a great option will be Dorney triathlon/Duathlon - it's a great location with the iconic Dorney lake (famed for rowing in the 2012 Olympics) which sees both the run and cycle happen within the grounds (so no traffic)! There are plenty of options to compete with both the standard and sprint distances and even a relay if you wish to team up and tackle the disciplines. They also have swim/bike options and the full triathlon to really complete the menu for all things multi-sport!

From James, Let's Do This team member and seasoned triathlete

Question | 3

Hi - I have a question about breathing and running. What’s the best breathing techniques for long distance running? I.E. half marathons. What exercises can you do to practice this? Thank you

Answer | 3

For breathing keep it rhythmic and regular -breathe in for two steps and breath out for two. So it’s a constant in in, out out. If you start panting or irregular breathing then you won’t get the oxygen in.

From Frankie, Let's Do This team member and runner / triathlete-extraordinaire

Question | 4

When training for a half marathon do I need to incorporate additional protein into my routine? If so, when is best / any brands you recommend? [Emily, Surrey]

Answer | 4

When doing any training, the 'gains'/'improvements' come from your recovery. When you exercise whether that's running, lifting weights, cycling etc your muscles get broken down and the key component in their repair is protein. This doesn't mean you need to be smashing protein shakes every time you work out or even every day but a good rule of thumb is to eat around 1-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. Personally, I'm 62kg and all I do is ensure I have 20-30g protein in each meal (through meat/fish, beans, lentils, scoop of protein powder in my morning oats etc) and that works for me. On an extra hard day I might have a recovery shake that has 20g protein but it's not the be all and end all. Best tip: fuel your body properly with good, whole foods, lots of carbs, plenty of fruit and veg etc - now is not the time to be trying any sort of fad diet!

Please note I am not a registered nutritionist or dietician, this is just my advice from years of training for triathlons, running, hockey etc. Please speak with your GP or registered dietician if you are going to be making any drastic changes to your diet

From Frankie, Let's Do This team member and runner | triathlete-extraordinaire

Question | 5

Do I need to buy a separate pair of trainers for race day? How much of a difference will they make? [Sara, Dorset]

Answer | 5

Rule number one in racing - nothing new on race day and this includes clothing, footwear, food and drink! However, it is recommended to have a separate pair of race trainers for race day only and even a 'shoe rotation' during your training. Each time you wear a pair of trainers, it compresses the foam and insole making it less absorbent to the impact when you are out running which could in turn lead to greater risk of injury. You need to give your shoes time to relax after each run.

Personally - I have a few pairs of shoes I use in my rotation;

Saucony Triumph 20 - slow, long runs

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 - tempo efforts

Saucony Pro 2 - track or interval/max effort work

Nike AlphaFLY (carbon plated) - race day only (I always wear for an effort 5k before I race in them so they're not brand new on race day).

Each brand of shoe has their own version of the Saucony ones listed below - Brooks, ASICS, Adidas, Nike etc. It's about finding the right shoe that works for you. Now I admit this might be a bit on the extreme end of shoes and you can easily do your training in one pair, you just need to find the best 'everyday trainer' from your preferred brand.

To go back and answer the question properly, no you do not need to buy a new pair of trainers for race day but, it will make a hell of a difference on tired legs if you have fresh shoes! Barely used foam and padding and a lighter shoe will give you a spring in your step and it'll help stop your legs feeling as tired at the end of the race. If you opt for a carbon plated shoe, you could be looking at anywhere between 2-5% faster - there's a reason all the top athletes and professionals choose these types of shoes for race day!

From Frankie, Let's Do This team member and runner | triathlete-extraordinaire

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From Pro Triathlete to Coach: Colin's journey with Triathlon

Professional Triathlete turned Coach Colin Norris is here to share his journey within the world of triathlon in our new series Take on a Tri, where Colin will be sharing everything you need to know about Triathlon from "How to balance life and training" to "how to best minimize your chance of injury". Before we jump into the series we wanted to get to know more about Colin's journey in the world of triathlon, what he learned during his time competing around the world, and what made him transition to the world of coaching.

Professional Triathlete turned Coach Colin Norris is here to share his journey within the world of triathlon in our new series Take on a Tri, where Colin will be sharing everything you need to know about Triathlon from 'how to balance life and training' to 'how to best minimize your chance of injury'. Before we jump into the series we wanted to get to know more about Colin's journey in the world of triathlon, what he learned during his time competing around the world, and what made him transition to the world of coaching

When did your love for sport begin?

Growing up, I was a runner, mainly competing in track and cross country. Unfortunately, I was in the same cohort as Mo Farah, who won every race there was! After some troubles with injury, I transitioned from running to swimming in my late teens before leaving sports entirely until I entered the world of work in my early 20s.

What brought you back to sports and ultimately led you to triathlon?

As soon as I started working and tried to sit down for longer than 5 minutes, I quickly realized I needed to burn off some excess energy. I rejoined my childhood track group at Blackheath Harriers in South London. Soon after, by pure chance, I met Trevor Simmons, a sports massage therapist who had already caught the triathlon bug. Given my running and swimming background, Trevor suggested I give triathlon a try!

How did you first manage the transition to training for a tri?

Trevor and I quickly formed a close bond, and he offered to coach me for free with the aim of racing the London Triathlon in 2011. We trained intensely for six months, and although short on cash, I managed with the cheapest bike and borrowed gear from Trevor (luckily we were the same size). I finished 2nd overall, which buoyed my enthusiasm for the sport. We immediately booked future races, and my fire for triathlon was lit.

When did you decide to pursue triathlon professionally?

After finishing 3rd in my age group at the amateur World Championships the following year, I started to believe that with more time to train and recover, I could be faster and maybe even transition to the pro ranks. However, as my training increased, my work performance declined but fortunately, my manager supported my decision to leave corporate life and pursue professional triathlon.

How did your first professional season go?

At the end of 2012, I quit my job, took a loan from my mom’s partner, and moved to Lanzarote where Trevor was based. Despite his warnings about the loneliness and financial difficulties, I relied on naivety, belief, and enthusiasm to get through those tough early years. Trevor and his friend Alan Ingarfield set my training for the following season, using an unorthodox approach to keep it fun. This included long hikes with kettlebells, sea swims without goggles, and running up and down volcanoes. Living on £10 a day, I was wholly committed to triathlon. The 2013 season involved racing 70.3s in Europe with varying success and many mishaps, but ended on a high note with a 2nd place at the National Champs in Scotland, securing my pro license.

Were there any challenges you faced transitioning to Pro?

Reality set in quickly as I ran out of cash and moved back to London, taking various jobs to support my training. During this time, I started coaching a few athletes, building on everything Trevor had taught me. With further mentorship from Mike Trees and Luc Van Lierde I was able to join the ITZU triathlon team, a Belgian professional team that Luc was coaching at the time. This gave me access to all of the resources I needed to really focus on racing to my full potential.

Can you share some highlights from your professional career?

In 2018, I had my best season yet, with five top-6 placings, competing against top athletes like Ali Brownlee, Javier Gomez, and Jan Frodeno. My professional racing career concluded at Ironman Israel in 2022. Though I didn't win a major race, I was considered one of the fastest runners in 70.3, with over 30 top-10 placings at the professional level.

How did you transition into coaching full-time?

I set up APB Coaching in 2015, building on my mentorship from Trevor, Mike, and Luc. My goal is to help athletes get the best from themselves while managing the competing demands of their family and work life. We've built a network of top practitioners in nutrition, physiotherapy, bike fitting, sports psychology, swimming, running, and strength training to support our athletes, from first-timers to National and World Championship medalists.

What can the LDT Community expect from the Take on a Tri series?

I'm here to answer any questions and educate the audience about all things triathlon. Drawing from my experience as both an amateur and professional athlete, as well as a coach, I aim to provide insights and support to help you achieve your triathlon goals. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced triathlete, I'm excited to be part of your journey and help you succeed.

Quickfire Questions

1. Favourite event you’ve ever done

Alp d’ Huez long course triathlon 

2. In one word what motivates you?

doubt 

3. Favourite hype-up song for training?

Bicep - Glue 

4. Trainer of choice 

new balance fresh foam 1080

5.  Favourite pre or post-workout snack?

Jacket potato cheese & beans

Things I’ve Learned Training for My First Ever Ultra

Training for my first ultra-marathon has been a transformative journey, full of valuable lessons and unexpected joys. From embracing early bedtimes to prioritizing recovery baths, I've learned to balance a demanding schedule with the physical and mental demands of ultra training. If you're considering this incredible challenge, prepare for an adventure that will test and reward you in ways you never imagined. 

Training for my first ultra-marathon has been a transformative journey, full of valuable lessons and unexpected joys. From embracing early bedtimes to prioritizing recovery baths, I've learned to balance a demanding schedule with the physical and mental demands of ultra training. If you're considering this incredible challenge, prepare for an adventure that will test and reward you in ways you never imagined. 

You will be tired a lot of the time.

  • Training for an ultra puts your body through a lot. Coupled with a demanding job, a 9pm bedtime became non-negotiable for me to be able to perform well.
  • Recovery baths with Epsom salts on weekends have been essential, along with yoga sessions after my long runs so I can still (just about) touch my toes.

You will need to change your diet - protein is your friend.

  • Following a 90% vegetarian diet, I struggled to get enough protein. Protein shakes have helped me feel fuller for longer and aid recovery. The best (or least bad tasting) ones I've found are from Form and Huel Black Vanilla flavor.
  • While I love baked goods, I didn’t want to rely on them post-runs. Greek yogurt with berries and some peanut butter became a handy go-to snack.

You can’t do it all. And that’s OK.

  • You’ll miss social events, have to go easy on the booze, and prioritize early bedtimes over watching the latest Netflix craze since you'll need to squeeze in long runs before work.
  • I stripped down my daily life to work, exercise, and rest/chill time. After long runs, weekends left me exhausted, so I only arranged a few low-key social events. It’s not forever, and my friends have been really supportive of my goals.
  • As your training progresses, your body adapts and it does get easier.

It pays to make your runs more enjoyable:

  • Listen to podcasts you love.
  • Go on runs with friends, your partner, or a family member.
  • End your long weekend runs somewhere great. Gails Dulwich has been a staple and has taken an embarrassing amount of my paycheck every month.
  • Make sure you mix it up!

You don’t need to stick rigidly to the training plan.

  • Strength training twice a week has been a key component of my regimen.
  • I also use a Peloton bike for cross-training.
  • In my opinion, my dedication to strength training was one of the key reasons I was OK on race day and I’ve been able to stay injury-free.

Your body will change.

  • Your feet, for starters, will suffer (I’ve lost three toenails and counting). I look at them fondly as battle scars (and thankfully, I have a very good local pedicure spot!).
  • My legs and core have never been stronger!

Gear I found really helpful:

  • A range of trainers, including cushioned ones and good trail shoes.
  • A running vest is KEY. I highly recommend the Salomon vest for its options to carry fluids in a camel pack as well as bottles, plus lots of pockets for snacks.
  • Good running socks - your feet go through a lot. Treat them well.
  • Epsom salts - as mentioned, they became part of my post-long run ritual every weekend.
  • Snacks you enjoy and can eat while running - I refused to ‘endure’ taking on that many calories with things I didn’t enjoy eating. This should be something you look forward to on your runs so find fuel that you like to eat!! 
  • Running sunglasses - they might be a placebo, but they make me feel like I look the part.

On race day

(FYI, I did Race to the Kings - a 50km coastal loop and could not recommend it more to anyone trying out an ultra for the first time.)

The saying is so true: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

Remember to enjoy the experience! 

  • Ultras have much less of a time pressure compared to road races I’ve done previously, and for good reason. You are already superhuman for tackling a distance of this magnitude—you don’t need to prove anything else.

Enjoy your surroundings!

  • Most ultras are set in epic scenery, and there were several times we just stopped to take in the view, snap a pic, and then crack on!

The community will carry you.

  • I absolutely loved how friendly everyone was. People were chatting with one another, the volunteers were incredibly supportive, and while the route wasn’t packed with crowds, the pockets of people cheering us on felt much more personal and truly spurred me on.

For anyone who I’ve convinced to sign up for an ultra, GOOD LUCK!! It’s such an incredible experience and something you will look back on in later years with immense pride.

Explore the cities with Brooks Ghost 16

As the weather warms, we're seeing more people than ever out running with friends. If our last post about the rise of run clubs inspired you to round-up your crew and head out for a run, then we have more summer-ready running tips here. Continuing our partnership with Brooks and their new Ghost 16 running shoe – the fail-safe choice for urban explorers – we’ve created the ultimate guide for social city runners. 

As the weather warms, we're seeing more people than ever out running with friends. If our last post about the rise of run clubs  inspired you to round-up your crew and head out for a run, then we have more summer-ready running tips here. Continuing our partnership with Brooks and their new Ghost 16 running shoe – the fail-safe choice for urban explorers – we’ve created the ultimate guide for social city runners. 

Here, with help from Brooks and some of the UK’s biggest run clubs, we share the very best of where to go and what to see, eat and drink en-route. From scenic parks to steep climbs, try these routes in the Ghost 16 to experience the shoe’s perfect comfort for yourself. If you fancy trialling them, why not apply to be one of our testers? 

Explore London with the LDT Run Club

This may be a shameless plug for our own Run Club but hey, if there’s one thing we know best it’s running! Kicking off along the Mall, right next to St James’s Park, best known for being the finishing straight of the London Marathon. Snap a selfie in front of Buckingham Palace before heading north towards Regent’s Park. 

Loop the park, enjoying the super-soft cushioning of your Ghost 16s. This shoe is perfect for warm-weather days – the breathable fabric helps to keep your feet dry and blister-free, a dream combo! Finish up at one of our favourite spots, the Lucky Saint pub, where you can sip on a cold 0% lager and plot your next running adventure. 

Explore Manchester with Snappy Runners

At 5km, this is a perfect short route for a quick jog with friends. You can trust the Ghost 16’s cloud-like cushioning to tick all the boxes for comfort on inner-city runs. The shoe’s super lightweight design is perfect for this route, shared by the Snappy Runners club. 

Head to Ancoats and check out one of the many local coffee shops for a caffeine kick before your run starts! Fan favs include Cafe Cotton and Just Between Friends, but you’re spoilt for choice here. Crew assembled, make a b-line for Mayfield Park and enjoy the wide-open green space, perfect for group running. Lap the park and turn back towards Ancoats, finishing at The Crown & Kettle, an old school pub with a huge beer garden. The perfect spot to while away the rest of your day. 

Explore Edinburgh with We Run Edinburgh

We’ve traversed the flatter land of London and Manchester; now let’s put the Ghost 16s to work in the hills of Edinburgh. Shared by We Run Edinburgh, this route starts on Princes Street with views of the Edinburgh Castle. From here make your way through Meadow’s Park on the way over to the western entrance of the famous Arthur’s Seat. 

Follow the path down the backside of Arthur’s seat, following the unbroken path that is popular among local runners. As you tackle the hills you can rely on the Ghost 16’s stretchy yet supportive fit that hugs your feet as you climb. Take in the views (and a couple deep breaths) before continuing on your way towards the Portobello Promenade. Breathe in the fresh sea air and finish your route at Civerinos Pizza, for THE best pizza in the city. 

Explore Bristol with Queens Square Runners

Our final city running route, shared by Queen Square Run Club, loops around Bristol’s harbourside. Meet at Society Cafe by the Queen’s Square and enjoy some specialty coffee alongside homemade cakes. Once you’ve gathered your friends, make your way out on a loop around the harbour. 

This route can serve up some tricky terrains, featuring uneven surfaces like sunken railway lines, adding to the sense of exploration. Thanks to the Ghost 16’s resilient RoadTrack rubber outsole, you can be sure of an extra sturdy grip, leaving you to focus on the waterfront views. Finish with a well-deserved lunch from the Pump House. Their beautiful harbourside patio and seasonal menu is perfect for that post-run refuel.  

Ready to try one of these routes?

Sign up to Brooks’ 5k Strava challenges to get started. Here, you can join routes (or map your own), gain digital medals and share your achievements with friends. Even if you’re running alone, the Strava community supports and celebrates your goals. Plus, you know you can always count on the Brooks’ Ghost 16 shoe to be the perfect plus-one.

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