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Q What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a bike com­puter and a power me­ter? Peter War­riner a At its sim­plest, a bike com­puter shows you how far and how fast you’re go­ing. GPS helped turn it into a so­phis­ti­cated nav­i­ga­tion and train­ing tool, but no mat­ter how many fea­tures a bike com­puter has, it’s still es­sen­tially a han­dle­bar-mounted de­vice for dis­play­ing data to the rider.

A key bit of data for mod­ern riders is power and, for your bike com­puter to dis­play that, your bike needs to have a com­pat­i­ble power me­ter.

Power me­ters utilise strain gauges to mea­sure a rider’s out­put. A strain gauge is com­posed of a sil­i­con or foil pat­tern mounted on an insulating back­ing. These are then placed in lo­ca­tions which are sub­jected to strain, such as the cranks, hub or pedal spin­dle, and an elec­tri­cal charge is put through them. Flex on the part con­tain­ing the gauges cause them to de­form, al­ters their elec­tri­cal re­sis­tance and this can then be mea­sured and ex­pressed as the rider’s power out­put in watts. Us­ing a data trans­mis­sion sys­tem, typ­i­cally ANT+ or Blue­tooth, this in­for­ma­tion is then dis­played and recorded by your bike com­puter. Nik Cook RAC­ING TWO IRON­MANS Q I com­pleted my first Iron­man this year and fancy hav­ing a go at two next year, but how long should I leave be­tween them? What’s a re­al­is­tic train­ing plan to com­plete them both well? Matt Charleton a When plan­ning two Iron­man events al­low 12-15 weeks to suc­cess­fully

com­plete the sec­ond one. There are four phases of train­ing be­tween each event. You need 10 days for re­cov­ery and for ta­per­ing, which leaves you with ap­prox. 9-12 weeks. Spend one third re­build­ing and two thirds in the com­pe­ti­tion phase. Phase 1 Af­ter your first Iron­man keep mov­ing. Don’t run for the first five days but start train­ing more fre­quently in the three sports once your de­sire re­turns. Phase 2 Build phase. Get back to 75% of your big­gest vol­ume week. Phase 3 Com­pe­ti­tion phase. Focus on race-pace swim, bike and run ef­forts. Phase 4 The ta­per will take care of your race-day speed. Af­ter your first event, focus on ar­eas that need the most at­ten­tion and train specif­i­cally for the de­mands of your sec­ond Iron­man dur­ing the build and com­pe­ti­tion phase. Mark Klean­t­hous DOU­BLE RUN DAYS Q Should I sched­ule a dou­ble run day into my train­ing plan? What are the benefits of this type of train­ing? Paul Ben­son a I’m a big fan of the dou­ble run day and would ad­vise in­clud­ing one a week into your sched­ule. The benefits de­pend on your race dis­tance, but can in­clude stim­u­lat­ing run adap­ta­tions at gene-level, learn­ing to run with fa­tigue and feeling smoother when run­ning. Try these:

Sprint/stan­dard dis­tance AM and PM 30-40mins. These small chunks of time are eas­ier to crow-bar into rou­tines. Both are re­laxed in the off-sea­son, but with skills drills in the PM ses­sion. In-sea­son: AM is real easy, PM is 4 x 4mins around thresh­old or just above.

Mid­dle dis­tance AM steady, 40-60mins; PM dur­ing off-sea­son is ei­ther time on your feet with slightly tired legs or skills/ above race-pace ac­cel­er­a­tions for 16-30 strides. In-sea­son, in­clude 3 x 1-mile at Olympic race pace.

Long dis­tance AM 60-90mins steady; PM 50-70mins us­ing a tread­mill, run­ning at tar­get Iron­man pace. In the off-sea­son, add in some deep-wa­ter run­ning (DWR) and swim­ming, e.g. AM 1hr swim + DWR; PM 40mins steady run out­doors with re­laxed 16-stride ac­cel­er­a­tion ev­ery 6mins. Joe Beer SWIM STROKE STYLE Q I’m con­fused, should I be swim­ming with straight arms or bent at the el­bow? What’s the quick­est style through the wa­ter? Lyn­d­sey Sheri­dan a This de­pends on what part of the stroke you’re re­fer­ring to. Over the wa­ter, i.e. your re­cov­ery, it re­ally makes no dif­fer­ence as long as your move­ments are con­trolled and smooth, and your arms are go­ing for­wards.

Un­der the wa­ter it be­comes a mat­ter of de­grees. The straighter (and there­fore deeper) your arm is, the more your shoul­der will take the brunt of the work. The more bent the el­bow, the more you can re­cruit the back and side mus­cles of your lats to do the job. Your lats are the big­gest mus­cles in your up­per body, and there­fore much stronger than your shoul­ders. They’re why swim­mers have the iconic tri­an­gu­lar back shape – think Michael Phelps!

In an ideal world your arm will track a mostly straight path back from en­try to exit, with a slight curve un­der the wa­ter to gain the best con­tact and hold on the wa­ter. The key here is the ‘high el­bow’ that is of­ten coached – ide­ally keep­ing your hand be­low your el­bow – and then look­ing to press/push the wa­ter back­ward us­ing not only your palm but your fore­arm too. John Wood

Dou­ble run days are a great way to boost tech­nique, learn how to run with fa­tigue and de­velop a smoother run style GETTY IM­AGES

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