For anyone who has ever gotten the heavy legs after transitions, you know it can be very frustrating. But there are ways & tricks to get around it.

Before I tell you those, lets get to understand why exactly it happens.

Reason 1:

When cycling, the blood is mainly directed up into the quads in what is called the vasodilatory effect in the blood vessels and capillaries. When you transition to run, the blood is still in the quads, causing them to feel heavy. That’s until the blood is redirected to the other muscles used to run.

Reason 2

The brain playing tricks on the body.

Basically when you pedal in circles for any length of time, the brain message needed to send your legs in circles gets into a routine but when you move onto running, those messages suddenly stop and change, telling them they now need to take your body weight but your legs are just not ready and need longer time to react.


Solution 1:

Block training. This is what triathletes do roughly once a week in the coming weeks before a race. It usually consists on long moderate cycle transitioning into a long moderate run. These sessions let the muscles get used to the jump in movement patterns by triggering the brain signals needed for change.

Solution 2:

As I mentioned in past blogs, you should always try to get in hill training in preparation for multi-sport races. The reason being, the muscles used to get you up those hills are the same muscles used for cycling. So it’s beneficial to both disciplines to hill run.

Solution 3.1:

With a few km to go before bike to run transition, you need to start “thinking” running. Get the mind into what lies ahead so there wont be too much of shock when there is no bike under you to carrying you on your merry way.

Solution 3.2:

Turn up to a higher gear (tougher/harder rotations) for a few hundred meters. Make sure to get out of the saddle and pump those legs.

Solution 3.3:

Now drop the gears to lower gear(faster rotations). Sit back in the saddle and let your legs spin as quickly as you can with as a little less effort. This will help re-distribute the blood around the different muscle groups in the legs.

Solution 3.4:

As soon as you are off the bike, if you can afford the time, a quick stretch of the calfs, quads, hamstring and lower back.

Solution 4:

Not really a well known option but something I have found which will definitely help when transitioning from bike to kayak and the pending run after. Each event will have different types of kayaks, usually duel kayaks, but here is the gem. Some have seat backs on them and some do not. By getting your hands on one with a back, you get to rest the middle third of your body by leaning back and not having to support it and this, in turn, will give your upper legs a well required rest, which also reduces the possibility of cramping.

I hope this is of some benefit to you. If you know someone who regularly suffers from heavy legs, share this blog out to them, they will definitely find it helpful.