Thursday, 30 December 2010

The video doesn't lie!

There was an impromptu club session on Wednesday this week for those lucky enough to have the day off. I finally got my 'camera mounted on a mop' out and videoed a number of our clubbies swimming at the Lido. It was a very interesting session with a range of swimming backgrounds from absolute beginner to experienced open water swimmer.

Four out of five, including those swimmers at both ends of the experience spectrum, displayed the same problem...breath holding! The only one that didn't we had managed to video earlier in the year and he has made great progress since. Why is breath holding a bad thing? The build up in CO2 in the lungs causes you to feel breathless. Also many coaches will say that the increased buoyancy in the chest if held will cause the lower half of the body to sink. There are some coaches that argue this point and encourage breath holding and then an explosive breath out to increase buoyancy. I personally fit into the former category.

Some other faults that were common amongst the group were a cross-over of the leading arm which can cause all sorts of problems including shoulder injury, scissor kicking, ineffective catch set up and poor body alignment. The elbow of the leading arm dropping especially when breathing was also common. As the swimmer was about to take a breath they would push down into the water with the leading arm, keeping the arm straight and lifting the head out of the water. As a consequence of this we would often see over-rotating of the body especially when breathing towards the swimmer's weaker side and the lower half of the body sinking. These are areas we will focus on in the New Year as the majority of the club will benefit from improving the above aspects of their stroke.

There are people setting some hefty (but achievable!) goals next year. The New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon is on September 25th. This would be a great event for those looking at stepping up the distance next year from the standard (Olympic) distance triathlon. The girls lead the boys 2-0 so far with both Sarah Allen and Sam Hart signing up already. Can the girls outnumber the boys in this event? Let's see!

The North Norfolk Triathlon is three weeks before and this is an ideal time to compete in a standard distance race as final preparation for the middle distance race. If you have not competed in the North Norfolk Triathlon check out this video. Click on the link at the top of the menu on the left side of the screen. You'll see Jeremy exiting the water, Sebastian taking off on the bike, me crossing the finishing line (the black and white streak!) and a few of us including Guy, Seb, Sarah and me chatting post-race.

Looking forward to seeing you all again January 9. Have a happy New Year! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Monday, 27 December 2010

Tuesday 28/12 evening run cancelled!

Believe it or not there is still ice on the paths in Well Street Common plus it is a bank holiday so instead of running multiple laps of a small common in the dark I would encourage you to get out, get some vitamin D from the sun and try an alternative run session tomorrow. A few of us are heading out to Epping Forest mid-morning to get nice and muddy on the trails. We'll be back to the usual Tuesday night Well Street Common interval session next week.

In case you were thinking of picking up a new bike for the New Year London Fields Cycles is having a sale starting Wednesday 29th December. Also some of the London League events are now open. Both the Dragon Slayer Duathlon and the Thames Turbo Sprint Triathlon on April 10th and 25th respectively are open. You can Also enter the Victoria Park Open 5 Mile event on March 26th. It would be great to get as many people as possible from the club to sign up...go on do it!

Have a happy New Year! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Monday, 20 December 2010

Tuesday run cancelled!

Well Street Common is still looking very much frozen and with temperatures unlikely to rise significantly in the next 24 hours I can't see the situation changing. So tomorrow's run session is cancelled.

Thank you to all those who braved the elements on Sunday for our last session of the year. It was a great morning with Gabriel putting on a fantastic spread once the snow fights stopped.

I'll be putting together the itinerary for La Santa together over the break. Any suggestions about how much training and how much chilling out you are keen for would be much appreciated.

Need a little motivation? Check out Part 1 of the NBC's coverage of the 2010 Ironman World Championships here.

Have a great Xmas everyone! See you Tuesday 28th for a run if you are up for it. May be a long one or a trail run a bit earlier in the day? Tim (LFTC Coach)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The last Sunday session of the year!

So we completed a couple of time trials last Sunday. I will email you the results by the end of the week. What you can do is use the results to help make your own swim sessions more structured so you get the most out of every session. CSS is an acronym for Critical Swim Speed. It's an approximation of your lactate threshold speed. Lactate threshold is the point at which lactate starts to accumulate in your blood when exercising giving you that horrible (but very satisfying) sensation of heavy fatigue.

We found your CSS by doing a couple of swim tests over 400m and 200m. It's not exactly the same as lactate threshold but it will be within a couple of seconds per 100m, which is plenty accurate enough to guide your training. Have a look at the 'How to Train Using CSS' section of the Swim Smooth - Training for Swimming web page. There are some challenging sets you might try once a week for the main set in your quality swim session based on your 400m time and swimming at your CSS.

There is snow and icy cold temperatures forecast for this weekend. Unless the Lido is closed the session will be on. We may have to cancel the run if conditions are too slippery underfoot. We will make that call on the day. Some of you crazy people do want to run in the snow however. On Saturday a group are thinking of heading to Epping Forest for a trail run. This is not a coached session just a bunch of crazy people wanting to run in the snow (if it comes). There is a train from Hackney Downs at 8:10am Saturday arriving at Chingford at 8:29am. Too early? There is another train every 15mins otherwise. Obviously if the trains are not running neither will we.

So if you are keen for a trail run leave a message at the end of this blog. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear for a trail run in icy conditions.

See you on Sunday. Tim (LFTC Coach).

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Coaching is testing and testing is coaching

I was at a workshop a few weeks ago looking at athletic development. 'Coaching is testing and testing is coaching' was a phrase that the presenters used a number of times throughout the workshop. During our coached sessions we are constantly testing you in some way. Looking at your ability to perform technique drills, watching your coordination during the run warm-up exercises and seeing how you cope with the main set within each session. It is not formal testing but it is testing none the less.

We do perform formal tests intermittently to check on progress. We want to know if our coaching methods are helping you achieve your goals to become fitter, stronger, faster and technically more proficient. At the same time we can see how your technique changes under a bit of stress i.e. when you are trying hard. This is an essential part of coaching too. So this week we will be testing you during the swim session performing two time trials. Don't be scared! It is just a measure that we can use in another few months to check on your progress and also give you some idea of how you should pace your own swim sessions to gain maximum benefit.

There will be some technique work. Some more sculling (so bring pull buoys) and we will be using fins to help work on body alignment and streamlining. If you have been struggling with the sculling watch this video and see if you can mimic the technique on Sunday. Those swimming trunks are right up there with Seb's best!

See you in the morning! Tim (LFTC Coach)