Beginner advice

Keen runner, ok recreational cyclist, appalling swimmer here.....

Just dipping my toe into the world of triathlon, want to attempt a short tri in a few months (once I can string 16 lengths of a pool together), have had a couple of goes at bike then run, expected the jelly legs and difficulty of it all, but for the first mile of the run my calves went like granite and cramped a little.  is this usual for a newbie and is it just a case of keep at it and it will improve? should I start the run particularly slow? Any hints and tips appreciated.


oh yes, for info, it was 15 miles on the bike followed by a 5 mile run.


  • the bike to run transition is always challenging.  For me I feel sick for the first 1-2km, but you just have to push on through it.  If you are struggling with it, do it more often.  Go for a cycle and then get off and run a couple of km.  It'll never be nice, but you just get used to it.

    I'm still struggling to do the 16 lengths, but its fun and you should be in a lane with folk of the same speed so you don't have to worry about being too slow.

    there are lots of threads on here about all things triathlon, have a look and see what you find...the training for the shorter tri thread is a good place to start.

  • It may be your saddle is a little too high so you are overstretching throughout your pedal cycle, not allowing the tension in your calves to be released - hence the cramp.

  • a 15/5 is probably not right when you're starting off - bike miles are fine, but to start keep the runs very short (maybe 30mins tops) until you get used to running off the bike at pace

    and as raf says, your bike fit may need looking at.

    also as you come to the end of the ride, reduce the gearing and up the leg cadence so that it mimics more running leg cadence - that helps

  • The best bit of advice I ever got was to shorten your usual stride for the first little bit and slowly extend it as you feel more comfortable.

  • Spin at a higher cadence towards the end of the bike will  get the legs going easier

    FB is right also, shorten those initial runs or add a short turbo before a long run

  • Thanks everyone, will put the advice into practice on Sunday morning and see how things turn out.

  • Regardless of how long your bike and run was (or wasn’t) you shouldn’t have granite calves. Could be a sign of already being in a dehydrated state when you started or simply not being used to that workout. You’ll definitely improve and your body will adapt fairly quickly in time. While the physical training is important, remember that your mindset, focus, self-talk and managing your emotional state all make a massive difference in the quality of your training, enjoyment and fulfillment.  The body will do what the mind tells it to! Best of luck and welcome to triathlon!

Sign In or Register to comment.