Q&A with Helen Jenkins

Next Tuesday lunchtime the 6th August SiS ambassador Helen Jenkins will be joining us for a Q&A webchat. 

Helen Jenkins is Great Britain’s leading female triathlete who has twice been an ITU World Champion (in 2008 and 2011) and is considered to be one of the most consistent performers at the ITU World Triathlon Series. More info here. 

She'll be here to answer any question you have about training with particular focus on performance nutrition. Get your questions in below. 

 

«1

Comments

  • Hi Helen,

    I was wondering if you have any advice on the best nutritional products for myself. I am about to embark on training for my first ever half and always struggle with deciding upon the right gels to use and when to use them

    Thank you

  • Hi Helen,

    Do you recomment using gels for a sprint triathlon? As it is such a short distance will this have any impact?

    Thanks,

    Morgan

  • Hi Helen,

    I've got a couple of questions for you:

    1. With regards to using gels to recover from races/training - is there really any marked improvement/nutritional benefits in doing this - will this lead to weight gain as they are not that filling.

    2. On a more personal note - when did you decide that you wanted to be a triathlete? And what is your most memorial sporting moment?

    3. What is one piece of advice you would offer me (the modest runner/triathlete) to continue improving race times, health and fitness?

  • Hi Helen,

    Im fairly new to running, started in March this year so still finding stuff out. What do you find the best pre race meal is?

    And do you have any tips on getting my legs higher on my back stride without going to much faster?

    Any help will be brilliant.

     

     

  • Hi Helen, 

    I am racing in my first tri in a few months and I have two questions:

    • Eveyone keeps saying that the transition is really important, do you have any tips to make this as smooth as possible?

    • I don't think I can stomach gels - can you suggest another alternative product?

    Thanks

  • Hi Helen

    I have been running for 7 months and I have a half marathon on September 8th in London.

    However two weeks ago I had a go on a track for the first time and I also did a 5k personal best on mixed terrain but my knee seems to have gone a bit funny. It was a dull pain around the outside of the kneecap but now its a pain on the back of my leg directly behind the kneecap its not severe but annoying. I have decided to rest this for 7 days.

    Have you got any tips or advise for recovery?

    Thank You! image

  • Helen, I have been in triathlon for over 20 years and swimming has always been my weak spot but since last summer I've been swimming progressively worse and am really struggling in all disciplines, even sprints and always get trailed off at the back of the field. Any suggestions? I'm tired of always being last out of the water.

  • Hello Helen,

    Across cycling, running and swimming, which area is your strongest and which is your weakest?

    Also, how strict is your training regime or are you always open to new plans?

    Thank you.

  • Hi Helen,

    I have one last question - I have plantar fasciitis (again), have you ever had it? Any advice?

    Thanks 

     

  • I've a question - what % of your training hours goes on each discipline - and does this change with the seasons or is it pretty constant.
  • TRTR ✭✭✭

    Helen,

    What does a typical week look like for you bike wise, and what sort of bike sessions are you doing, in terms of hours and session types ? Do you include turbo/computrainer in order to to get bike quality work in or do you save the turbo for foul weather in the winter ?

    Thanks

  • Hi Helen - is it ever possible to have TOO much isotonic drink and gel during, say, a marathon? What are the signs/effects?

     

    Thanks. 

  • Gemma Frostick2 wrote (see)

    Hi Helen,

    I was wondering if you have any advice on the best nutritional products for myself. I am about to embark on training for my first ever half and always struggle with deciding upon the right gels to use and when to use them

    Thank you

    Hi Gemma,

    Firstly Good luck in your training for a half. It is a bit different to Olympic as you are going to need to put more hours into training; this is where gel consumption becomes important. I would recommend the SiS GO Isotonic gel to start with as this is easy to digest and has the carbohydrate you need to keep going for a half! I would take them during your longer sessions to make sure your getting the most out of the training, you don’t want to suffer at the end of a session because you ran out of fuel! I also recommend the SiS GO + Caffeine gel for your race. Maybe not for the start but when your half way through and need that extra kick the caffeine gels work well. Hope that helps

  • Morgan Jones2 wrote (see)

    Hi Helen,

    Do you recomment using gels for a sprint triathlon? As it is such a short distance will this have any impact?

    Thanks,

    Morgan

    Hi Morgan

    I don’t think you would need a gel during a sprint triathlon, as you’re right it is such a short distance. But whatever race I do I take a SiS Go + Caffeine gel about 20 to 30 minutes before the start of a race. The caffeine gives me a lift and I’m certain I’m not going to run out of energy then as I have had some carbohydrate too. If you are worried why not have a gel taped on your bike and use it if you feel you need it. You could also sip on SiS GO Electrolyte during the race. Good luck for the race!

  • SRyder4 wrote (see)

    Hi Helen,

    I've got a couple of questions for you:

    1. With regards to using gels to recover from races/training - is there really any marked improvement/nutritional benefits in doing this - will this lead to weight gain as they are not that filling.

    2. On a more personal note - when did you decide that you wanted to be a triathlete? And what is your most memorial sporting moment?

    3. What is one piece of advice you would offer me (the modest runner/triathlete) to continue improving race times, health and fitness?

    Hi, thanks for the questions, I’ll answer them in order for you.

    1. I don’t tend to use gels for recovery, I use them for racing and during my longer tougher sessions to provide carbohydrate. I would use the SiS REGO Recovery products for after exercise. With regards to weight gain, it’s important to use the products at the right time, for example I wouldn’t use a SiS REGO Rapid Recovery drink everyday, but after my hard sessions they are perfect for me. Work out when will be the optimal time (after key sessions and long sessions) to use the products that work for you.
    2. I never really made the decision to become a triathlete; I sort of evolved into it! I came from a swimming background, gave Triathlon a go, then started running and biking a little more and ended up a triathlete! I was lucky to have people living in my area who guided me in the direction of triathlon.
    3. The one bit of advice would be to have a goal, it’s so much easier to do the training and motivate yourself on the tough days if you have a reason to be training. I love having an aim and something to strive, and then if you achieve your goal the satisfaction is brilliant. A weekly or bi-weekly training plan is also a way to keep yourself on track with a goal and training.
  • SRyder4 wrote (see)

    Hi Helen,

    I have one last question - I have plantar fasciitis (again), have you ever had it? Any advice?

    Thanks 

     

    I haven’t had really bad Plantar fasciitis, just a tight one but nothing severe that has stopped me training. The best things that worked for me were icing it and having acupuncture into the tender part of the plantar. If it’s a really bad problem I would look at orthotic insoles to help you.

     

     

  • Graeme Sapased wrote (see)

    Hi Helen,

    Im fairly new to running, started in March this year so still finding stuff out. What do you find the best pre race meal is?

    And do you have any tips on getting my legs higher on my back stride without going to much faster?

    Any help will be brilliant.

     

    Hi

    Hope the running training is going well so far! The pre race meal varies from person to person, I know one triathlete (a world champ) that will eat a four cheese pizza the evening before every race!

    If your race is early in the morning a good meal the night before the race helps, don’t eat anything you wouldn’t normally, if you don’t normally eat pasta then don’t tuck into a massive bowl. Go with what you know, don’t overeat but don’t deny yourself. In the morning try to eat something plain and simple, bananas, porridge, white bread, along those lines. I like something sweet too so will usually eat a few biscuits or a muffin. If you are too nervous to eat don’t worry try to get a little bit of food down you, and drink your calories by drinking an Isotonic or electrolyte drink. SiS GO Electrolyte is great alongside breakfast.

    With regards to running style, I am not an expert, I just run, I don’t coach it, it would be best to get advice from a running coach who can give you a few specific running drills to help you.

  • Kerry RW wrote (see)

    Hi Helen, so I'm finally going to bite the bullet and do a tri later this year but as with most people the swim is what I'm worried about. I'm strictly a holiday flapper-abouter in the sea and maybe a few lengths in the pool.

    Practising technique in the pool is one thing but in choppy open water I imagine it's altogether different. Is strength just as important as technique once you get into the thrashing maelstrom of the group swim, and if so what upper body exercises do you do?

    Hi Kerry

    Congratulations on deciding to do the tri! Swim technique is an important thing to try to master; even though when you go open water it can go out of the window a bit!

    I usually do most of my training in the pool and then when I get to the open water stuff I have the strength and technique from my pool swimming. The first open water swim is always pretty nerve wracking, as it is very different from the pool. Firstly make sure you get your wetsuit on well and then be prepared that you’ll get a little bit bashed around, if you are prepared for it that can help.

    The upper body exercises I do are mainly press-ups; I’m not very good at upper body strength so I do have to work at it! I also use my paddles in some swimming sessions for strength. Hope that helps!

  • Todd Malloy wrote (see)

    Hi Helen, 

    I am racing in my first tri in a few months and I have two questions:

    • Eveyone keeps saying that the transition is really important, do you have any tips to make this as smooth as possible?

    • I don't think I can stomach gels - can you suggest another alternative product?

    Thanks

    Hi

    I would practice your transitions especially leading up to your first race. It is always different in the actual race to your practices as you are under more pressure and your heart rate is higher when racing. So the more practice you do of transition, the more it will help in the race. Also a little mental practice, just run through in your head what order you will do things, for example, goggles and swim hat off, wetsuit off, helmet on etc. This will hopefully make it feel a bit more natural and automatic.

    Gels do take a bit of getting used to, they are probably the most efficient way of getting the energy you need in a race, but if you can’t handle them use a sports drink in your race with carbohydrate and electrolytes, I use SiS Go Electrolyte. This will help provide the carbohydrate you need. If you do want to think about using gels, try them in training first, I wouldn’t recommend use any sports nutrition in a race if you haven’t tried it in training beforehand.

    Hope that helps!

  • TR wrote (see)

    Helen,

    What does a typical week look like for you bike wise, and what sort of bike sessions are you doing, in terms of hours and session types ? Do you include turbo/computrainer in order to to get bike quality work in or do you save the turbo for foul weather in the winter ?

    Thanks

    Hi

    I normally ride 5 to 6 times a week. I do two longer rides of three to four hours, one harder chaing gang type ride, one intense turbo session of specific efforts and then easy riding. The turbo sessions I use watts as guidence. I use the trubo once a week and more if the weather is really bad. I crashed in icey conditions a few times over the last couple of years when our winters have been so bad so I don't like to risk it too much when the weather is shocking, just need some good music and a seesion on the turbo is fine!

  • Twister wrote (see)

    Hi Helen

    I have been running for 7 months and I have a half marathon on September 8th in London.

    However two weeks ago I had a go on a track for the first time and I also did a 5k personal best on mixed terrain but my knee seems to have gone a bit funny. It was a dull pain around the outside of the kneecap but now its a pain on the back of my leg directly behind the kneecap its not severe but annoying. I have decided to rest this for 7 days.

    Have you got any tips or advise for recovery?

    Thank You! image

    Hi, I have had my fair share of knee problems over the past year so I know how frustrating it can be. Congratulations on doing a personal best in your 5k, it sounds like your improving well. The trouble is when you change terrain or do something new like track, the change can cause small injuries as your body gets used to running on a new surface. It sounds like its not currently too bad, but if possible it might be worth seeing a physio or massage therapist to get some advice (try to see one that has been recommended, preferably from other runners). Doing some strengthening exercises of quads, hamstrings and general core work tends to help the knees too, but I would research the exercises before jumping into doing some weights. Check out websites that recommend exercises for knee problems. If all else fails rest is a good thing to do, its not what you want but a little rest now might save your knee developing into a major problem. Good luck!

  • Bionic Ironwolf wrote (see)

    Helen, I have been in triathlon for over 20 years and swimming has always been my weak spot but since last summer I've been swimming progressively worse and am really struggling in all disciplines, even sprints and always get trailed off at the back of the field. Any suggestions? I'm tired of always being last out of the water.

    Hi

    As you have been doing the sport for a long time now it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what you could be doing to feel like your getting worse. Is there anything you have done that has changed since last year, have you changed your swim training? Dropped the sessions? Changed coach? More gym? It would be worth looking back over your training through the season to see if you could pinpoint anything significant that has changed. If nothing has changed maybe a change is what you need?  A change of swimming sessions could help, or try working with a specific swim coach on some technique work, I work on my technique every swim session. I know that my answer does contradict its self, but a drop in form is usually down to a lack of consistency in training (due to many things sickness, family stuff etc) or that everything is a bit stale, and a change is needed. I hope that can be of some help!

  • cougie wrote (see)
    I've a question - what % of your training hours goes on each discipline - and does this change with the seasons or is it pretty constant.
    I usually spend more hours on the bike than running and swimming but this is just beacsue the bike training takes up more time, for example my longers ride is 3 to 4 hours and my longest run is only 90 mins to 2 hourse. So percentage wise biking is the most. It stays pretty even through a season, I will drop of total volume leading into races for tapering but always keep some intenisty in the training leading up to a race. In the winter we may do longer hours to build a good aerobic base. Hope that answers your question!

     

  • SAM PELIZA 2 wrote (see)

    Hello Helen,

    Across cycling, running and swimming, which area is your strongest and which is your weakest?

    Also, how strict is your training regime or are you always open to new plans?

    Thank you.

    Hi, thanks for the questions

    I would say I am pretty even over all three disciplines, so I think that is my strength. I am able to adapt to most races and racing conditions as I try to work hard on all three sports so I don’t have a weak area.

    My training regime is not too strict. My husband is my coach so it is quite relaxed and if we need to change training around because I am tired or we need to work harder on one area, it is easily done and adaptable. We are open to new ideas and take advice on board from many different areas of expertise; we have lots of great people to help us at our disposal due to the staff around us from British triathlon. But you have to figure out what works for you as an athlete, stick to the training that is going to make you good and use the expertise to enhance the training plan.

    Hope that answers everything for you!

  • Atanarjuat wrote (see)

    Hi Helen - is it ever possible to have TOO much isotonic drink and gel during, say, a marathon? What are the signs/effects?

     

    Thanks. 

    Hi

    I would try to stick to the guidlines of gel consumption, for example the SIS GO isotonic gel recomend 1 to 3 gels per hour. So I wouldn't go over tis, especially when running a marathon you wouldn't want to be drinking litres upon litres of fluid as this would be uncomfortable to run! I would go for gels but spread them out as recommedned over the hours. Good luck

  • Hi Helen, 

    I've got a couple of half marathons and a duathlon all within a matter of weeks and I was wondering how you best deal with intense periods of competition and what rest/training strategy you take?

    Thanks.

  • Hi Helen,

    I was wondering if you had any tips for how to run faster outside of just upping your mileage and doing speed intervals?

     

    Thank you.

  • Ben RW wrote (see)

    Hi Helen, 

    I've got a couple of half marathons and a duathlon all within a matter of weeks and I was wondering how you best deal with intense periods of competition and what rest/training strategy you take?

    Thanks.

    Hi Ben

    Its probably one of the hardest periods to manage rest and recovery when you have a lot of races on. I think it's important to start recovery immediately after your race, get a recovery drink in, I use SIS Rego, and do a little warm down if possible, I know it's normally the last thing you want to do but even a 15 minute jog or quick spin on the bike helps. The weeks inbetween your races you have to get training in but expect yourself to feel a bit tired and maybe times and pace to be a little slower, its important not to push too hard but still get a bit of training in, you also don't want to detrain from resting too much! So it's finding the right balance of keeping training ticking along but not taking too much out of yourself if you are recovering. Good luck for your races!

  • Hi

    I am and established club runner who suffers from ME,and has done so for 2 years. I could run 40m 10k and Sub 1:30 Half Marathon last year but have gone downhill this year. I find high intensity hard. I am aiming for 1h27 at the Great North Run. How can i train for this time goal with out high insensity. Distance isn't an issue as i did my first marathon in April

     

    Thanks

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.