Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Mindset, motivation and multiple sports, the Tri Me Tapes are the audio journal of an amateur athlete, Abi Dawson.
Seeking a new challenge and an opportunity to improve her mindset Abi made the commitment to try new sports and compete.
Initially, she identified triathlon as a true test of grit, physicality and most importantly mental fortitude.
Join Abi and her partner in crime Matt as they discuss the journey to competition, the highs, the lows and lessons learnt along the way.
In this tape of Tri-MeTapes, we find a Triathlon coach, hear about Abi’s injuries and the mindset to approach conditioning the body.
If you are a new listener to The Tri Me Tapes, we would love to hear from you. Please visit our Facebook Page and share your athletic adventures!
In this episode, we discuss:
00:08 Finding the triathlon coach
04:11 Starting with an injury or two
05:25 Unconditioned running and why its a seriously bad idea
07:41 Lessons learnt for running training
08:47 Mind Vs Body conditioning
11:00 Consultation, Assessments
12:24 Abi’s bum aesthetic
14:25 Imbalance in the body
17:00 Understanding assessments for clients
18:35 Modern daily stresses on the body
Matt: Tri-Me Tape 2.
Abi: You going to say anything?
Matt: No, I'm still processing how we are going to do this, I really am.
Welcome to the Tri-Me tapes and audio journal of an amateur athlete. I'm Matt
Abi: and I'm Abi,
Matt: and we're here to discuss Abi's athletic adventures.
Abi: Okay episode two
Matt: Tri-Me tape two what happened next.
Abi: Funny, you should say that because, um, the next blog is called next step. Let's introduce it. VO2 Max, shall we? So when I out loud, when I would do triathlon thinking, it would just fizzle away and the idea would just be buried, buried very, very deeply about went, Oh, I know someone who does triathlons and I've been meaning to get back together with him because we used to work together a long, long time ago.
And um so he was like. "Oh, shall I message him?" And I was like, "okay that be good"
Matt: You know when you ask someone, Hey, I can do this really positive thing for you. And they do that face where they say yes, but they look like they're uncomfortable. That was the face I got.
Abi: okay this is really exciting, thank you very much.
Matt: I'm stoked to meet him. I hope he replies instantly and he did reply pretty quick.
Abi: So he arranged a little meeting.
Jimmy is the owner of VO2 maximum in Tonbridge and he owns it with his wife, Paula, they coach triathletes and they have their own gym that they do a one-to-one personal training in, and they also have therapists. and a really cool building that just
Matt: they got it all going on over there.
Done really well.
Abi: Yeah, that was really cool. So we chatted and he kind of asked me a little bit of,
Matt: I think as Abi said, she put it out into the world. And didn't really think it through. So we had quite a lot of questions, didn't we about when you should be looking to rate season and a little bit about equipment and like, how does start, how often to train and all of these kinds of questions that we did both know the answers to, but it was nice to be reassured by a triathlon coach, and say, yep. You'll probably be doing this, looking at doing this, looking to compete in here, here and here.
Abi: So we ended the conversation. We basically agreed that he would coach me, which was very exciting.
Matt: Yeah. How did you feel at the time after that meeting?
Abi: Uh, I was actually really excited. I think that I love it when actually things progress and it's out of my control.
Abi: So now it's happened. There's somebody else there I'm accountable by that person rather than just be like, Oh, getting on my bike and you know, doing my own sort of training is actually going to be logged and discussed and yeah. With somebody else,
Matt: When you're in a car, would you rather be the driver or the passenger
Matt: Cause you to sound like a passenger right now.
Abi: I like driving.
Abi: Not if I don't know where I'm going.
Matt: Uh, so you like having a sat-nav in there and that's Jimmy.
Matt: Yeah. We'll find more analogies for people. This goes back to cars. I thought I'd throw a car one in because we had a car one last tape. So yeah, she met Jimmy agreed to do training.
Abi: Yeah. His advice really was to kind of just. Get outside and get started. So obviously he's going to create a little program for me. Um, and we'll have meetings where he'll do sort of an assessment as well. He asked about my previous experience of any of the disciplines, which I didn't really have any, but I was quite sporty. So I'd be quite. I'd be agile, a little bit more agile on, on my feet. So there's not any danger of me just going out for a run and kind of injuring myself.
Matt: No, no, definitely. There's no risk of injuring yourself. In fact, You went into it with a bad Achilles.
Abi: Yeah. The Achilles was an overuse injury because I'd just gone into a better league playing hockey and I'd up my strength training up to the intensity of actually playing and something's got to give, and that was the Achilles we think, um, it was diagnosed as tendinopathy.
Which is just, basically either small tears or swelling of the Achilles and Ben, what happens is it becomes quite yes. Stiff. I'll just say stiff and you've got to work, do lots of exercises that are going to lengthen it. Well, we'll talk about the injury then that I was saying that I hurt my knee.
Matt: Uh, it was a very hurt.
Abi: It hurt
So this was something that I would say to clients of the gym that I work at not to do. If you are unconditioned to activity, in this case, running do not go out for a set distance without conditioning yourself beforehand for smaller chunks. So for example, here, I went out for a 10km run. I went out for a 10km run to see if I could do it and how my fitness held up because I thought I was pretty fit at this point. So I wanted to create a baseline to say, this was the time I did it in, where to go from there.
Matt: She, she did it.
Abi: I did it. It was also to test my Achilles, wasn't it? And to see how that held up and that tightened up, which then I feel like it put a lot of strain on the opposite leg, which took a lot of weight, which then created an issue with my knee, which was so painful that I couldn't bend it.
You couldn't bend it. You didn't walk on it. It hurt when you were sat down. I mean, she was really confident on this, uh, 10km.
Well, cause I walked it before, which took me, didn't it take me two hours and I split and I half the time and it took me an hour, which was all right.
I'd say it's pretty slow now, but it was so right.
Matt: So how do you think you damaged your knee running on a flat track?
Abi: Um, one, I had really shitty shoes and I think I've got some postural issues anyway, meaning that I've got a little bit of an imbalance. So maybe that one leg is slightly longer than the other.
Um, I've got some fat feet, so they might not offer as much support. So I might have a little bit of inversion. So when your feet turn in a little bit as, as you run, which is going to put a little bit more strain through the inside of the knee, which would make sense. Is that's where the injury kind of happened bottom of the quad, top of the knee?
Matt: You just weren't conditioned to run that distance yet
So what I would say with the knowledge that I have now is that you do interval training, run a little bit, walk a little bit, run a little bit, walk a little bit, and then you kind of increase your distance. Weekly or however often that you think you would want to run. And I think the advice is that you don't ever up your distance any more than a 10% each week.
Matt: I'm using the Nike run club and they only ever go up 0.5 on my long run.
Matt: Of a kilometre that is, not a mile
Abi: So no more than 10%. So if you were doing 5k, you wouldn't do any more than five and a half there.
Matt: So that was blog number three, the first run at first run, it was a strong start.
Abi: I was happy with my, um, efforts, but then not being able to walk was kind of a bit of a setback, I think.
And I think it knocked my confidence a little bit of being like. Christ is my body ready to do this?
Matt: Yeah. I mean, type one where you talked about mindset.
Abi: Yeah, that was big on the old mindset. For sure.
Matt: What we didn't discuss was when you were starting or your mindset, when you were starting, it was all about, I'm looking for a challenge. I'm looking to up my mental game. I want to be able to like focus and control my emotions. And, but you didn't say anything about getting super fit, being able to run long distances, having good body condition you didn't. And none of the physicality sides of things came into your head.
Abi: No, I think that was probably more of, um, a result rather than the focus,
Matt: But it wasn't a concern, so did you, were you either. Yeah. Were you arrogant to your own fitness before you started? Cause it definitely. I remember at the time it wasn't a conversation.
Abi: No, I think I did mention it about that. I'd never done any kind of endurance training before my sport was hockey to a bit more explosive, stop, start as a team.
So you kind of rely on other people to do a little bit of the work and share that. Yeah, so I knew it was going to be different and I knew it was going to be tough it physically, but I think if you can get a better mind with a sport and change that then you are more likely to overcome the physical failure.
Aren't you? Because you're better at dealing with the pain.
Abi: The pain or the disappointment, or
Matt: So at this time. With that sore knee. Was that the first time since you put out into the world that you felt that maybe you couldn't physically ...
Abi: I felt a little bit embarrassed actually, because obviously just told everyone that was going to do it. And then I was limping around everywhere and being like, yeah, yeah, I run a 10 K and it was a long time as well, but I haven't, it was a long time. And then I think the most comforting thing was that when I went, when I spoke to Jimmy about it, it wasn't like, Oh, let's stop. It was not going to work around it.
Matt: So you went into the, have your consultation with Jimmy with a gippy knee,
Abi: Yeah, so he wants to watch me run a little bit so that he could see if there's any like technique or so basically, you know when you go to like get trainers for, and they have taken those and that, I want to watch you and like check your gait and stuff like that.
Um, he just wants to watch me do that basically, just, but, so I said that I couldn't run because it was actually that painful to run and he just said, we'll do a walk and then a jog and see how you feel. But it was very small when he said that there was actually no issues with my running, which was again, comforting that, there was nothing wrong. Yeah. It was probably more about the mobility side. So. Within assessment as well. You have like a postural assessment. So I'll just check. I don't quite a lot with it as a therapist, you just check and make sure that you know, people are balanced and if they're not, is it causing them a problem?
And then that's where you can kind of, use exercise to correct that imbalance also like a dynamic assessment to see if you've got good mobility. If you haven't got good mobility. So like with the hips or the ankles, um, that could be causing you to have poor technique or not using your muscles efficiently, therefore injury or therefore crap.
Matt: Which one were you at the time?
Abi: Um, both I was injured on crap. I was actually very immobile, uh, thinking about it, going back then, like, I think if we had a pic like we were talking about in episode one of a before and now picture, what do you think my bum would have looked like, but then, uh, flat.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Probably a bit flatter. Yeah. Yeah.
Abi: And jiggly, because I just used my quads overtime time for squats and things like that. So
Matt: it's just efficient. Just use one muscle for everything guys.
Abi: And you never realize that you are so inefficient until you are efficient.
Matt: Yeah. I had the same thing with my back a few years ago when.
I had movement in my L 4 and 5, and I saw two osteopaths and they both said the same thing, they said, you don't use your bum for anything. You have no glute strength whatsoever. And I didn't really, I didn't know. And I've got a half GCSE in PE. I didn't know that my bum wasn't working and you don't know until something.
Abi: Yeah. Well, it's pointed out to you. Yeah. So like with that, you'd probably have like a bit of a, a tilt in your pelvis, um, which is obviously probably putting a little more strain on certain other muscle groups and then you're not using yeah. Your glutes, which are massive. Like they're a big muscle in your body.
Matt: Yeah. You just assume because they're so big that there'll be doing most of the work
Abi: To do hip extension, but it's that correlation between your brain telling the muscle to work. And if you've created an easier pathway to do an exercise or to complete something, it's going to choose the easier pathway.
Matt: Is It? Right.
Abi: So you've got then reconnect that.
Matt: Yeah, I'm using my hamstrings and my upper back, like massive hyper leverage of everything.
Abi: Really easy to correct it. You just, it's just, it just takes a bit more practice.
Matt: It took a while, but I did it. Um, yeah,
Abi: so, yeah, so for me, like my, my tushy is a lot stronger than it. Ever was before. Yeah. Which just makes me more powerful and efficient.
Matt: So you had your consultation with Jimmy and he told you your tushy wasn't strong enough.
Abi: Yeah, told me I had weak glutes.
Abi: Um, and that I was quad dominant, which would make sense. Like if I was doing the squat, then I'd obviously be focusing on using my legs to stand me up rather than engaging the butt.
Matt: Do you think quad-dominant comes from playing hockey as well? That kind of little weird squat run. Yeah.
Abi: Yeah. and, obviously with hockey as well. You're so you're lent forward a lot. So you're relying on your quads to, to take the weight as you're running as well, right? Yeah.
Matt: What else did we find from your assessment.
Abi: Flat feet, which is what I was saying. Like, if you've got flat feet, you haven't got a higher arch, which means that your feet can kind of cave-in, but we didn't find that. So I think when you have imbalances in your body, your body's actually really clever of trying to counteract it, and your body will always try and make sure that your eyes line is levelled to the horizon.
Matt: Why are your glasses on wonky?.
Abi: So for example, if you had a wonky neck you would change your body position.
Matt: So for the listeners, she is tilting her neck lifting her shoulder.
Abi: I'm trying, I'm trying to.
Matt: Live it
Matt: articulate through living it.
Matt: I get it. Yeah. Yeah. It moves from side to side as like a zigzag to counteract to make sure that the spirit level eyeballs are level.
Matt: Cool. I did not know that that's something new every day. It's got a nice shopping list here of things. Flat feet, flat back, tight hamstrings, quite dominant, weak glutes, back dominant. Right-side dominant, weight shifting. And the next thing you write is yikes!
Abi: I think it's just when you list out all of the parts that are, that maybe need a little bit of work, you're like, Jesus, I didn't realize I was so broken.
There were minor things and that can be again, fixed with corrective exercise. But when you think that you are maybe like fit and strong, you don't actually take into account that you've got
Matt: Discrepancies little things. Do you think it's dangerous for an average gym-goer to have? And assessment or how, or know the outcome of their assessment. For the hypochondriacs out there.
Abi: So what I was taught is, um, through my course is that if they have an imbalance and they're coming to you, Because they've got pain or an issue, like a joint issue or something like that, then that's kind of your duty to then say, I think it's because of this. If they are standing there and they've had something for years and it's not causing them any pain or issue, and they haven't come to you with an issue that you think is related to that.
Abi: Maybe imbalance, then there's no point in you bringing it up because no because sometimes they'll then try and think about it and try and correct it, which might make it worse. But for example, this might not cause somebody's problem, but it happens. So like if a lady has had a baby, they always carry their baby on their hip.
And it's usually on their right side.
Abi: So create imbalance overtime where they re leaning over to the left side because they're holding a bigger weight on their right side. So then they have like a sort of curvature over like the spine or maybe of the hip that can cause a problem or it can be okay.
Matt: Unless they complain about pain in their hip. You probably wouldn't tell them after an assessment. Like, Ooh, you're
Abi: no, let me rephrase that because pain can be referred. So if they had a bad shoulder, it could be due to the hip. So if I thought it was due to the hip. Because I saw the imbalance and lots of pain are referred from a particular problem or an imbalance.
Then I would treat the problem, but I wouldn't just go, Oh, that's a bit wonky. Ooh, that's a bit wonky.
Matt: It causes more problems than it solves
Abi: So you don't really need to do that.
Matt: Just get them fixed without them knowing.
Abi: Yeah. And also, maybe this is a little bit better example. Um, so with technology being the way it is and everyone has an iPhone, you're constantly looking down at your iPhone.
Abi: Your head is at a different angle, which has never normally been that before. Like you normally look up as you walk. So as your heads are at a different angle, you're putting more strain on your neck. So you're adding, I think it was like every time you put your head down, it adds another, either five kilos, heavy like five kilos.
Matt: You told me about this when you were training
Abi: your head. Which is then putting more strain on the neck muscles, which are trying to hold your head up. So they may kind of lengthen and then puts your head in a new position. And if you actually look, you'll be quite surprised of how many people now have this they call it a forward head or protracted head, um, because of technology and iPhones
Matt: Why don’t people get that whenever it books.
Abi: I mean, they probably did. Like, if you think about old people like that, they kind of
Matt: I think that just age babe
Abi: they're looking at newspapers and shit.
Matt: Well, there you go. Corrective exercise assessment
Abi: You can correct that as well. Yeah. Yeah. And people would probably get like a little bit of neck pain if they're like looking down all the time and then you find yourself all of a sudden getting this like burning sensation on your spine that you is like, just because you, your head's in that. Yeah.
Matt: So that was your assessment/consultation. Let's go back to that. How did you feel after that consultation?
Abi: I actually love feedback like that.
Matt: Do you?
Matt: Even though some people might perceive it as negative.
Abi: Yeah. But I like having something to try and fix. So with that, it's not just like, Oh, these are all your weaknesses go and fix them. It's like, okay. We know that. This might be a problem and we want to better this. So we're going to make all of our strength, exercise, one leg, and we're going to really focus on the glutes in your hourly sessions to make sure that it's going to relate to your running. And I liked that kind of
Matt: synergy, everything kind of links to each other.
Yeah. I'm doing squats because you've got weak glutes and I've got to activate those glutes first. So I might be doing some glute bridges. Yeah. So that was your consultation done. Did you talk about training in your consultation or was it just like assessment wise for your body?
Abi: So it was a quick overview of the way Jimmy trains, his athletes.
Abi: He uses training peaks. That is almost like a calendar for you. So you can check program and record your progress, um, using your Garmin watch, which is what he specifically told me to get.
Matt: So everything's in training peaks,
Abi: Everythings in training peaks.
Matt: And we'll find out more about the training peaks in another tape
Matt: End tape two. Press the button.
Abi: Thank you for listening to the Tri-Me tapes. Don't forget to subscribe, to hear the rest of the tapes. If you'd like to give a review, please head to your Podchaser.com or to share your athletic adventure. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/trimesport.
Matt: I feel like it took us a long time to actually get to the point. Wasn't it.
Abi: Why am I so crap at this?
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