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6 Ways To Avoid Jelly Legs! | Raceday Tips & Advice For Your Next Triathlon

6 Ways To Avoid Jelly Legs! | Raceday Tips & Advice For Your Next Triathlon

– Oh those dreaded jelly legs! Or what about the leaded jelly legs? Well a quick disclaimer here, there is no jelly involved in this video, it’s purely a metaphor. So, what am I talking about? Well you’ll be with me if you’ve ever tried to ride
your bike hard, jump off and run immediately. If you’ve not practiced
this or prepared for it, then certainly going to have
an odd sensation in your legs and quite possibly look a
little silly in the process. (whimsical music) (high pitched tone) When it comes to racing, you’ll
want to avoid jelly legs. Trust me, it makes running fast that much more of a challenge, so today I’m going to be covering six ways to prevent that feeling. (technical whirring) There are a couple of different
causes for jelly legs. One you might experience before a race when in theory your legs
are strong and fresh and should be feeling good, and then the other can quite
often happen during a race when your muscles are
starting to get tired. This is usually when you get
off the bike and start the run but both are equally unpleasant. (calming pop music) Let’s start with pre-race jelly legs. There’s actually nothing wrong with your muscles in this situation. You’ve probably trained and rested really well for this event so of course, your legs are ready to race, however you might still feel like you’ve got heavy, lethargic legs. Well, that is because of nerves so you’re going to be
apprehensive ahead of a race and this is going to start to
send adrenaline around your body, so the fight or flight response will increase your heart rate and actually make you
ready to swim, bike and run even if it doesn’t necessarily
feel so at the beginning. (calming pop music) Race day nerves aren’t fun but it usually means you care
about your upcoming event and that has to be a good thing so try and embrace this feeling and think about your body actually telling you that it’s ready. There are a few distraction techniques which you can use beforehand to get rid of that nasty feeling, such as reading a book
or chatting with friends or even a little bit of meditation but this obviously
distracts you from the race so make sure you allow
enough time afterwards to get back in the zone and make sure you’re mentally
and physically ready. (calming pop music) Sometimes, nerves can make
you feel tired and heavy but don’t let your brain trick you. Going for a walk or doing some leg swings or even a bit of light jogging will all help get the blood flowing and actually reduce that jelly leg feeling and it also doubles up
as a bit of a warm up to make sure that mentally and physically you’re ready to race. (calming pop music) If you’re doing a high
paced sprint triathlon then you’re likely to experience
a build up of lactic acid which can make your
legs feel really wobbly. In longer distance races, when you’re working your
muscles for a long time then you’re going to
deplete your glycogen levels which is also going to make
your legs feel rather weak so the idea is to prepare ahead of this so you can reduce the
feeling as much as possible. (calming pop music) The first bit of preparation
starts long before race day, so practicing a race simulation
in the form of brick seshes is a great way to get your mind and body used to that sensation and reduce the actual
feeling of jelly legs. (calming pop music) When it comes to an actual race situation then back off the intensity
towards the end of the bike to give your legs more of
a chance of feeling normal when it comes to the run, and then also drop down a couple of gears so you can increase your cadence which will help to naturally
loosen off your legs and increase your bloodflow, and hopefully it will get
your legs moving in a rhythm that’s more similar to your running stride so when you do come to the run, it should feel less of a dramatic change going from cycling to running. (upbeat pop music) Accepting that you’re unlikely to be able to start the run
part of a triathlon race at the same pace and stride as you would in a pure running race is a good start and it will help. Instead focus on just
trying to find a rhythm and again getting used to
actually holding your body weight as opposed to being sat on the bike, and it’s okay to shorten
your stride length, but compensate for this by increasing your stride rate a
little bit and your cadence, and you’ll find that
you’ll soon start to get that feeling back in your legs. As opposed to really
trying to force that stride that you know you are capable of, you just need to be patient
as it will come back. In a long distance race, you’ve got plenty of
time to find your rhythm and the actual pace that
you’re targeting to reach is going to be less of
a challenge in itself. Shorter distance races however, you want to get up the
pace as soon as you can and so really increase
that cadence to start with and then focus on increasing
your stride length once you start to find your running legs. (calming pop music) Earlier I mentioned the effect of fatigue and depletion of glycogen
levels on your muscles as a result of working hard in a race, so you want to make sure you’ve
got adequate energy levels before you head out onto the run as that will reduce the chance
of that jelly leg feeling. So think ahead and plan your nutrition, make sure you take on your last bit at least 20 minutes
before the end of the bike and heading into T2 and out onto the run. Jelly legs though, don’t always occur at the beginning of a run in a triathlon. In longer distance races
you want to make sure that you’ve got adequate
nutrition throughout to prevent that fatigue feeling, but in a shorter distance race, you’re likely to be working
partly anaerobically, so expect to feel a build up of lactic acid in your muscles and that will give that
horrible wobbly leg feeling. Now there’s not much of
a magic answer for this. You can back off slightly
and hope that it passes, or if the finish line is in sight then you’re just going to
have to battle on through. Jelly legs are just
such a weird sensation. It’s that feeling of not
having complete control that can be a little bit off putting, so sorting out your training, your pacing and your nutrition will certainly put you in a stronger position
ahead of your next triathlon and should at least
reduce the wobbly feeling. If you’ve enjoyed this,
give us a thumbs up and hit the globe to subscribe. If you like the look of any of our kit, these gilets or our new running t-shirts, then you can find the link
to the shop on the screen now and if you want some more
help with some brick workouts we’ve got a video on our top four workouts specially for that just down here and for a video on how
to run off the bike, you can get some tips just here.

Reader Comments

  1. 0:07 no jelly? Okay fine, how about peanut butter? Before I go any further into this video is there any peanut butter? 😎😎🤘🤘👍👍


  2. I heard apple cider vinegar was good for cramp and it helped a bit with jelly legs too when i used it. Bike setup used to be my issue. Started triathlons with a tt setup i used for 10 mile tt races and not much further and it overworked the quads so they would cramp up as soon as i got off the bike, or while still on the bike sometimes. At best they would be jelly and patience would let them come back. Had a few times gone too far and end up kneeing at the side of the path seeing everyone race past.

  3. completed my first ever triathlon today was an Olympic level.. found out real fast i need more work on my swim. the bike and run went great. feel good…

  4. Thanks for these informative videos. Really appreciate it. I've successfully used the cadence change on the bike to avoid the jelly leg feeling. If I've still got a little "jelly" going on, I start with a shortened stride on the run until the feeling is completely gone, usually no more than a kilometer.

  5. Can you pls do a video on how get rid of leg pain after a brutal training…Because my legs are feeling heavy and it is hard for me to even stand.

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