Saturday, 10 December 2011
I think Matt's 'Pillars of Training' are a very good concept. The four pillars in relation to marathon and half-marathon training are: run training; recovery; functional strength and nutrition. In this case core stability sits within functional strength which in my opinion is where it should sit. More on this in coming weeks. I see a lot of people pay too much attention to the first pillar and neglect the rest. The number of times I ask someone 'Do you do much in the way of strength training?' and the reply is 'No, I get that from running don't I?' While running will certainly helps build running specific strength, functional strengthening can help build strength in areas that need it, areas that running may cause injury.
Recovery is also an often overlooked pillar. Have a look at your own training plans. Do you have adequate recovery built into the program or is your training load increasing from week to week every week until the taper? Does your long run come at the end of a normal training week where the effect of cumulative fatigue might increase your risk of injury? How will you assist recovery immediately after your long run? Is there adequate recovery built into your program in the days/week after your long run?
Nutrition must also be carefully considered. The timing, quantity and quality of your meals will either help or hinder your performance while training and racing as well as facilitate recovery. Pre and post training fuelling is vital if you are to get the most benefit out of your training sessions and obviously testing your race day fuelling strategy in training is essential. Here is another one of Matt Dixon's articles about nutrition that is worth a read.
This week we will continue our focus on breath timing in the swim session. Check out last weeks blog for some helpful links that will allow you to get a better idea of what is meant by breath timing and why it is so important. Remember your fins and pull buoys as we will be using both in the session. Our run session will be some longer intervals with a short burst of speed. While speed may not be the focus at this time of year there is not harm in doing a little speed work to remind body and mind of what is required to run fast.
See you tomorrow. Late post sorry! Tim (LFTC Coach).
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
It is a little bit technical but if you are interested in reading about triathlon related injuries take a look here.
This week we will be looking at breath timing. The most common observation from the poolside with regard to breath timing is the tendency for people to breathe two late in the stroke cycle. This often results in a quick flick of the head after the body has started rotating. You might also try to lift your head to create more time for the breath in. Check out the blog from Swim Smooth here for some great pics to help explain what ideal timing should look like.
See you Sunday. Pool buoys and fins are a must for this session. See ya, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Friday, 25 November 2011
Friday, 18 November 2011
This weekend in our swim session we'll be looking at stroke timing. Timing is so important and hopefully Sunday's session will demonstrate this. What we are aiming for is front 'quadrant or ¾ catch up timing'. Let's look at a couple of examples of timing faults first. Take a look at these Swim Types.
The first is the Bambino. Here you will see rotary timing with the arms 'windmilling'. Developing front quadrant or ¾ catch up timing in this type of swimmer gives better support and time to breathe, plus more time to develop an effective catch.
Now take a look at the Overglider. You will see in the first three videos that the swimmers almost swim with a 'catch up' style meaning both hands almost 'catch up' at the front of the stroke. For a swimmer with full catch up timing, developing a ¾ catch up removes the dead spot giving better rhythm. The increase in stroke rate, without increased effort, can also allow bilateral breathing in an Overglider who breathes unilaterally.
Now take a look at Mr. Smooth himself, Jono Van Hazel, demonstrating front quadrant timing. Catch up and variations of this drill are commonly used drills. You can see that for one swim type it might be very useful and for another it may be reinforcing bad habits.
During the session I want you to think about your breathing, your kick and your perceived effort with each drill. Hopefully the importance of timing will be revealed and you'll finish the session swimming like Jono! You will need pull buoys and fins so please don't forget them.
Coach Seb will be escorting you on a long run down to Victoria Park and back. Best to leave your kit in a locked locker and pick it up when you return. Take care crossing the road kids!
See you next weekend. Tim (LFTC Coach)
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Joe Dale was our highest placed male with an 11th place overall. Next across the line were James Ralph, Andrew Finn and Stuart Hitchcock in 20th, 29th and 42nd respectively. Sarah Allen was 5th female across the line but more importantly she was the first one wearing fancy dress! Ellen Greaves was 10th female across the line. Well done Wendy Musique and Sebastian Arroyave and anyone else who raced that I have missed. Great photos of Sebastian in action here and here.
Bean counter Rob Boulding finds counting laps more challenging than counting beans obviously and he miscounted his bike laps resulting in a DNF. Earlier in the year he completed an extra lap in a race so it all evens out in the end. NOT! Perhaps we could chip in for a bar mounted abacus to present to Rob at the club awards to help get him through next season without any DNFs. I really hope he doesn't make the same mistake at the Ball Buster Duathlon this weekend. It might be a little more costly....hence the name! Sorry Rob, just taking the Brett Sutton approach to coaching, you'll be mentally tougher as a result I promise. Just look what he did for Chrissie.
Unfortunately Seb Balcombe was out with a toe injury. Doesn't sound like much but you should have seen the pictures. Actually knowing Seb you probably did! I could not make it as I was on a coaching conference which was a shame as this ws supposed to be my last race for the year. We didn't have a veteran racing either which is necessary to get maximum points from the race. That was a real shame given how well everyone did. Next year we must try to get a full team in every event we enter. We're going for a podium finish for sure!
Our swim session this Sunday is one of the toughest sessions I have ever put together just in case you were thinking of partying Saturday night at our end of year shin dig. Just joking. We will have the same technique focus as last week but with a little less of the drills and little more of the full stroke. Take a look at this link from Swim Smooth if you have not already. While our swim session is not about breath timing this blog entry from Paul Newsome at Swim Smooth is also well worth a read. You will need fins and pull buoys as usual. I wouldn't say the run is going to be easy but we will take into account the miles you put in on the dance floor on Saturday night.
See you Saturday night at the Pub on the Park. Tim (LFTC Coach).
Saturday, 5 November 2011
When I think about the past twelve months though I am amazed at what we have achieved as a club in only our second season. We have run our own very successful race. We have competed in the London League and done very well in our first year competing. We have had people complete their first triathlon across all distances from super sprint to Ironman. We have set course records. We have had age group winners in some of the biggest races in Europe. We have started a junior section in the club. We have run an overseas training camp with great success. We have had our first GB representative. We have had our first top ten placing at a World Championships and we have had great fun doing all of it!
This weeks technique session is all about the catch and pull phases of the stoke. You'll need both your pull buoy and fins so please don't forget them. We'll be looking at trying to improve your propulsion with each stroke while minimising the effort thus maximising efficiency. This requires a good hand entry, good extension (without over-gliding or 'putting the brakes on') followed by a good catch and pull through. Take a look at this link from Swim Smooth. Watch the videos, looks at the pictures and read the text. Soak it all up! The session will make much more sense and you will get more out of it if you do. In the run we will be slowing it down a little and hitting some longer intervals now that the race season is all over.
Interested in some free stuff? You can get three free digital copies of Triathlete Europe just by following this link! See you Sunday, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Austrian Michael Weiss won the race. Lance Armstrong was going great guns right up until the run started. 5th in the swim, 7th on the bike and 100th on the run. Looks like the wheels well and truly fell off for LA. Lesley Paterson, the Scottish pocket rocket won the women's race. In fact she ran as fast as the male winner. With stats like that she would fit in nicely at LFTC!
This weekend at Lido we will continue our technique block. Remember your fins and pull buoys. We'll keep the focus on hand entry, body alignment and body roll. There will be a little less of the drills and a little more putting your new skills into practise. Remember to have a read of what Swim Smooth have to say about bilateral breathing and body roll before the session.The run session is all about pace management. How to go fast and then go a little faster!
I was only joking about the 'real' triathlon world champs. I thought I should say that before I get lynched by you die hard Hawaii Ironman fans at the next club session. Seriously though, check out the race highlights, does this not look more appealing?
Remember to wind the clocks back Saturday night. Go LFTC at the Jekyll and Hyde Duathlon! Give it heaps. See ya, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
This weekend Lance Armstrong is competing in the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii. I'm pretty excited about LA getting back into triathlon. He was 5th recently in the Xterra USA Championships. Not bad for someone who has been out of the sport for such a long time. A top ten finish would be very impressive in his first Xterra World Championships. He's up against some of the best triathletes in the world including Olympic Champion Jan Frodeno.
Last week someone accidentally picked up the wrong blue Zoggs swim fins (they were mine!). You probably have a pair that are slightly too small and I have a pair that are slightly too big. We can do a swap this weekend hopefully.
See you Sunday. I hope you will be showing your support for the New Zealand rugby team playing France this weekend in the Rugby World Cup final by wearing 'all black' to the session on Sunday! Kristal you are forgiven for wearing 'bleu'! Tim (LFTC Coach)
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
See you Sunday, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Congratulations to all those who competed. It was a great effort over a very challenging course and you can be very proud to have finished especially if you overcame cut feet, calf strains, shin splints and other issues to do so. Rob Boulding had a go at extreme bonking by completing the whole event on just two energy gels and few wine gums. Needless to say he found the darkest place on the run of anyone and crossed the line with a very ghostly white complexion and cheeks more sunken than Lance Armstrong's at the end of the Tour. In contrast I ate and drank so much I had a pee stop in T2 so long I thought I would get a round of applause as I came out of the port-a-loo and then proceeded to throw up at mile two on the run. I felt better for both though!
I love these videos from Rapha but I think this one captures the camaraderie you get when competing as a team in endurance events that really test you both physically and mentally. Take a look here. This is the kind of camaraderie I saw at the NFMDT within our club and I can't wait to do it again!
We will be focusing much more on technique over the next few weeks in our swim sessions on Sundays. Make sure you read the following pages from Swim Smooth: breathing; exhalation and kick effectiveness. We are continuing to build towards the Jekyll and Hyde Park Duathlon so we will be hitting the high intensity intervals in the run. See you on Sunday, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Congratulations Ailanore ‘Duty Finish’ Harper for getting 6th at the World Triathlon Championships in Beijing last weekend! We are incredibly proud to have our first GB representative from the club and now a top 10 finisher at a World Championships. Congratulations also to Andrew Finn for completing his first Ironman in Wales last weekend and to Guy Holbrow for completing the same race under very trying conditions. Incidentally, Ellen Greaves' Mum qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona next year by winning her age group at Ironman Wales. I think we should make her an honorary member of LFTC!
Thank you to all those athletes who travelled up to Wells-Next-the-Sea for the North Norfolk Triathlon. Thank you especially to those involved in organising transport and accommodation. We had the biggest team there and there were some fantastic performances. It seems we can’t compete in this race without a little drama though. We had few people hit the deck on the bike and the run, a few take a wrong turn on the bike, a flat tire, a strained calf, some nasty shin splints…but it was great! The highlight for me was Sebastian Arroyave completing the race in a very small pair of speedos and a crop top for £50.
Ellen Greaves won her category and was 2nd female overall! What makes this story even better is that Ellen stopped to give Sarah Allen a spare tube and tire levers when Sarah punctured on the course. Amanda Wilmer finished 6th overall even though she strained her calf and practically limped over the line. Sarah finished 9th overall despite losing 15 minutes when she punctured. She went on to post the fastest female run split of the day. Well done also to Katie Hocknell, Kate Guscott, Jane Dennyson, Kath Brasier, Wendy Musique and Lindsey Smith.
The boys did pretty well too. Joe Dale had the fastest run split of the day and finished 6th overall. It was a hard fought battle between Seb Balcombe, Rob Boulding and Tim Smith. There was less that 6 minutes between all three and less than a minute between Seb and Rob. Tim had a wee accident on the bike unfortunately otherwise I’m sure he would have been right up there with Seb and Rob. Russell Webley had a fantastic race knocking a whopping 43 minutes off his previous best time for an Olympic distance triathlon. Congratulations to all the other guys who competed. It was a mighty fine effort by all and we keep the interclub challenge shield for another year!
And if you didn't already know GB has two new world champions in Alistair Brownlee and Helen Jenkins. I am very pleased to report that a Kiwi won the women's elite World Championship Grand Final in Beijing. Andrea Hewitt out-sprinted Helen Jenkins to win by 14secs. You can watch the highlights here. Remember next year the World Championships are in Auckland, NZ. Here is the perfect excuse to fly half way around the world and visit little old NZ!
Get those entries in for the final London League event. The Jekyll and Hyde Duathlon is on October 30th. I would love to see us enter our biggest team yet for a London League event.
See you Tuesday for our final session at the Victoria Park track before heading back to Well Street Common. Enjoy your weekend. Tim (LFTC Coach).
Monday, 15 August 2011
This Saturday we have Zone 3 coming along to the swim session on Saturday. They are sponsors of the London League. They will be bringing a number of wetsuits for people to try. So if you don't have a wetsuit, or you are not happy with yours, test one of the Zone 3 suits this weekend. You'll get to be a human shoehorn for a friend. We'll get you to swim a time trial in the suit and then without the suit to see if you are any faster. I have heard you can also win a brand new wetsuit if you can get it off in a little over five seconds. It can be done I'm sure! This great little video shows you how the body position of one of the best swimmers in long distance triathlon can change wearing a wetsuit compared to a speedskin, using a pull buoy and wearing just a pair of trunks.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Guy Holbrow was 5th in his category on Saturday on the Hyde Park Olympic distance course. Matt Tilbrook led the wave out of the water, followed by Guy and then Allison McLean. Three LFTC athletes 1st, 2nd and 3rd out of the water...fantastic! I have not had a chance to check all the results but congratulations to all those who competed over the weekend.
The North Norfolk Triathlon is a week earlier than last year. Unfortunately this means it falls on the final weekend of the school holidays. As such the caravan park where we stayed last year is fully booked. I have made enquiries about other accommodation. Getting beds for twenty is not easy! I have booked a dorm for eight at the Deepdale Farm Back Packers Hostel. Six people have expressed an interest already. Please email the club with 'accommodation' in the subject line if you are interested. It may be possible for others to book camp sites, tipis or yurts at the Deepdale Farm if they don't mind sleeping in the great outdoors. Other options include the YHA in Wells Next the Sea which has a few spare beds or individuals/small groups may have to look at booking local B&B's or holiday cottages. Get onto it quickly though.
Most of the power produced during the pedal stroke is produced on the down stroke. Power production falls drastically as the pedals approach and pass through the top and bottom of the stroke. Pedaling smoothly through the two “dead spots” located at top and bottom of the pedal stroke will improve pedalling efficiency.
One day you might be able to ride your carbon road bike like the guy in this video!
I won't see you this weekend as I am racing on Saturday at another London League event and then moving house on Sunday. Remember those fins and pull buoys as you will be using both on Saturday and Sunday. Keep safe and see you again soon. Tim (LFTC Coach)
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Congratulations to all those who competed in events over the weekend. Gabriel Sayer completed his second Ironman of the year in Bolton just four weeks after completing Ironman Austria. He finished 12th in his age group which is another fantastic result. Enough of the Ironman racing Gabriel, let’s get you into the London League events! I spoke to a number of our athletes after the London Triathlon. There were some great results with super quick bike splits and a number of athletes setting PB’s for the 10km run. Stuart Hitchcock flew around the bike course in 01:00:05 averaging almost 40km/hr! Ellen Greaves was third in the F25-29 age group and posted a blistering 00:40:51 run. Well done Sam Hart and Wendy Musique for overcoming mechanical problems and Katie Hocknell for overcoming gastric problems to complete the race too!
I don’t have to tell you that this weekend is going to be massive in Hyde Park with the triathlon course for the 2012 Olympics being tested and Olympic qualification up for grabs! It’s a stacked field with none of the big names missing. For those that want to see the elite women’s race which starts at 8:30am on Saturday we could ride over to Hyde Park immediately after our swim session has finished. Depending on how many people want to go and watch we may cancel the run session but we will try to make a decision on this before Saturday. Leave us a comment on the blog saying whether you want to watch the race or run! The elite men are on at 1.00pm on Sunday. We also have a number of our own athletes competing in the age group races on both Saturday and Sunday and it would be great to support them with as much noise as possible!
We had the video on a number of our athletes again on Sunday during the swim session. This included uber swimmer Matt Tilbrook. Even Matt had aspects of his technique to correct. Yes I believe he can go even faster! The pathways that his hands followed during the pull phase of the stroke were different from side to side with one being less effective than the other. We saw this in a number of other athletes too. In some the hand would sweep very wide and in others the hand would sweep under the body. Take a look at this video of legendary marathon open water swimmer Shelley Taylor Smith(scroll down the page a little for the video). Watch the pathway of her hands when viewed from the front. See how they follow a straight path in line with the shoulder. Some of the drills we have used to help develop this aspect of the stroke are: sculling positions; doggy paddle and pull sets. There are many more including some of those mentioned below.
The tendency to press down on the water during the breathing stroke popped up again. If every 2nd or 3rd stroke you are pushing down rather than pushing water back behind you, you are losing a lot of propulsion and wasting a lot of energy. Take a look at this video of Shelley Taylor Smith again. Watch how her elbows bend and her shoulders internally rotate during the catch and pull phases of the stroke. Her forearm is in a vertical position very early pressing back on the water. There are a number of drills that you can use to correct this. Some of those that you are familiar with are: kick on side ‘superman position’; 6/1/6; 6/3/6; single arm FC; Popov and Unco. If you don’t practise the drills we use in our coached sessions during your own lido time you really should.
All the best to those competing in the Dextro Energy Hyde Park Triathlon this weekend. I hope to catch up with most if not all of you either before or after your races. I’ll be there cheering on the Kiwis (and Brits and even the Aussies too!).
See you this weekend for some full on racing! Tim (LFTC Coach)
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Last weekend someone asked me about running technique. Just like with swimming there is no right way to run that suits every individual. However there are basic principles that apply to everyone. An individual's technique will then be determined by things like relative limb length, relative flexibility and strength and preferred cadence among other things. Have a look at this video of Alberto Salazar and Galen Rupp. Alberto Salazar is one of the world's best distance running coaches. Galen Rupp is Mo Farah's training partner and one of the best distance runners in the world. It gives an interesting insight not only into coaching methods but also into running technique. Have a look at the following: arm swing; body position; pelvic control; heel lift during the swing phase and the position of the foot landing relative to the body. The soundtrack is also quite cool!
Note the relaxed arm swing where the arms swing backwards as far as they do forwards. This is important for linking the muscles of the upper limbs and trunk to the lower limbs. They also move toward the midline of the body but don't cross it as they swing forwards. The trunk is quite upright, there is not a marked forward lean as proposed by some running methods, allowing efficient use of the hip flexors and abdominals. The pelvis forms a stable base from which the legs can produce power effectively. The pelvis does not drop towards the swing leg upon landing i.e. lateral pelvic tilt. Galen is running quite quickly so you see the heel comes up towards the buttock allowing a quick and efficient swing phase. At slower speeds the heel does not come up so high towards the buttock i.e. the Ironman shuffle. The foot lands under the body so there is no over-striding creating a braking effect and potentially increasing impact loading.
We had the video out at Sunday's swim session. Often we see the most significant technique faults during breathing. We saw this with all three swimmers that were videoed. Take a look at Mr Smooth on the Swim Smooth website and have a read of the breathing technique tips. Note the timing of the breath and in particular the position of the leading arm during breathing. What we saw in our swimmers was a tendency for the leading arm to drop in the water as the swimmer tried to lift themselves up in order to breathe. This can have all sorts of consequences. We saw hips and legs drop in the water, over-rotation of the body, scissor kicks and a loss of timing in different people. Now take a look at the Swim Types micro site. Which Swim Type are you? Have a look at Jono Van Hazel, a real life Mr Smooth, see how there is no interruption to the stroke as he breathes. This what we should all strive for. Easier said than done but a very worthwhile long term goal.
All the best to those competing in the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon this week or this coming weekend at the London Triathlon. Give it heaps but above all enjoy the experience. See you Tuesday night in Victoria Park or next weekend at the Lido. Have a good week. Tim (LFTC Coach)
Friday, 15 July 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
London Fields Triathlon Club has just added another Ironman to its ranks. Laura Boyd completed her first Ironman in Switzerland last weekend in a very respectable time of 13h 52m 15s. Congratulations Laura you are an Iron(wo)man! So which of you girls in the club will be up for the challenge next year?
Challenge Roth is known for its huge crowds, party atmosphere and super fast course. Last weekend at Challenge Roth Chrissie Wellington beat her own long course world record when she finished 5th overall in a time of 8h 18m 13s. Will she make it onto the podium amongst the men soon? Now that would be great to see! The new men’s world record was only set a week ago. The man with one of the coolest names in sport, Marino Vanhonacker of Belgium, set the record at Ironman Austria. Just one week later Andreas Raelert went 5min faster at Challenge Roth setting a new world record of 7h 41m 33s.This weekend is another round of the ITU World Championship Series. Hamburg is the host and it is a great race that takes place in the central city. Did you know Hamburg has more bridges than any other city in the world? The swim actually goes under at leat one of them. Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack is racing. His bid to make the Australian Olympic team will be worth watching.
A number of LFTC members will be heading to Hillingdon in Buckinghamshire for the next race in the London Triathlon League. It’s an interesting format with a swim, run and then bike. For those competing in the race remember to have a look at the race pack for directions, timings and the all important course map! Some good performances could see the club move up a place or two in the rankings. So let’s give it some on Sunday morning!
The festivals have taken over the Victoria Park ash track again. We will meet at the grass track and use it if there is no cricket on or we will use a patch of grass adjacent to the ash track for our intervals until the festival set up has been removed next month.
Remember if you want a LFTC tri-suit get your orders in quickly so that there is enough time to get them made before the end of the race season. It would be great to everyone in North Norfolk wearing the club kit. It does look great.
See you Saturday for a threshold swim followed by a run similar to last week's but with a shorter recovery. Karl will take the Sunday technique swim. Be safe. See ya, Tim (LFTC Coach).
Thursday, 7 July 2011
I spent Sunday following Gabriel Sayer’s progress at Ironman Austria. He had a fantastic race setting a new PB in the swim and finishing the race in 9h 24m 55s! Going under 10 hours is a real milestone in long distance racing. So he smashed that milestone good and proper! Nice one Gabriel.
Following on from the first blog on 'Arousal and Performance' here are some strategies that might help you regulate your arousal level before and during a performance:
To increase arousal levels
- Goal setting: Write down some challenging performance goals that you want to focus on. Put your goals in your pocket or bag so that you can review them before the race and think about them during the race if you find your effort levels falling.
- Visualisation/imagery: Spend some time visualising positive performances from the past or imagine yourself performing exactly the way you want to in the event you are about to compete in.
- Positive self-talk: Try repeating positive words or statements to yourself or have a positive quote in your pocket for quick reference. For example: ‘I will swim strong and relaxed’. Remember what Chrissie Wellington said – ‘No limits!’
- Body language: Try to project a positive, energised, confident image. The body can influence the mind just as the mind can influence the body. You don’t have to strut around like a peacock dressed head to toe in compression wear but at least try breaking into a smile!
- Environment: Surround yourself with positive people (this is pretty easy when you have a club like ours) and place yourself in an environment where there is some activity such as in the transition area. No matter how small the triathlon is there always seems to be a buzz of excitement in transition.
- Music: Listen to some high-energy music. No personal music devices are allowed in transition or on course however.
- Physical activity: A structured warm-up routine is a great way to get both body and mind prepared for racing. If you watch elite athletes you will see them take a very methodical approach to warming up for this reason.
To decrease arousal levels
- Reduce your mental load: Share your thoughts and feelings with someone in your support network such as a coach or club mate. Ask about their experiences with anxiety/high arousal and how they coped. I can share a few nightmare swim experiences with you for sure. It’s ok to be nervous – every athlete experiences anxiety/high arousal at some stage! The trick is to be able to control it and turn in into something positive.
- Distraction: Talk about things unrelated to triathlon or engage in a distracting task (i.e. listen to calming music, read a book, magazine or a newspaper).
- Environment: Distance yourself from anxiety-provoking people and situations. Set yourself up in transition next to someone you feel will have a calming influence if you can. If you find the transition area a bit stressful, get set up and then leave the area so that you can find a somewhere to relax pre-race.
- Focus: Remain focused on the things that are within your control – yourself, your performance, and the present moment.
- Thought control: Reduce or “switch off” any inappropriate or negative thoughts. Try to decrease the amount of time you spend thinking about your performance and allow your body to perform automatically.
- Visualisation/imagery: In your mind, rehearse performing well and feeling confident and relaxed.
- Physical activity: A warm-up can also have a calming influence depending on how you perform it. The key is having an established routine that works for you.
- Relax: Engage in activities that relax your mind and body (e.g. breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, meditation, having a laugh, having a pre-race massage). Ask Andrew Finn and Joe Dale about their experience with laughter at Wimbleball. Here is a clue: Would you pee on the bike or hold it in?
- Preparation: “Tick all the boxes” with regards to your physical and mental preparation, plan your performance and be organised. Get to the event in plenty of time and allow yourself adequate time to set up warm-up and make last minute toilet stops if need be.
It’s a good idea to trial several different strategies over a period of time. After each performance, keep a record of the strategies you used and rate your arousal level on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 = very low, and 10 = very high). The goal is to try to find the strategies that help you reach your optimal arousal level (a number somewhere in the middle) and achieve peak performance and then reproduce them every time you race.
This Saturday is our aerobic swim session. With some big races coming up we will include some open water skills as well. Sunday is a technique session but there will still be a fitness component. On Saturday you will need fins and Sunday you will need fins and a pull buoy. Our Saturday interval session is another tough one. 5km pace and 1km pace efforts over 300m and 100m respectively.
Here are some interesting videos looking at 5 steps to learning flip turns. Have a look and see what you think. If you want us to incorporate flip turns into our sessions let us know. Just click on the links: One, two, three, four, five.
See you on Saturday, Tim (LFTC Coach). PS. Promise not to skive off early for breakfast this week!
Friday, 1 July 2011
- Were Harry Wiltshire's tactics 'just part of the sport' or was he breaking the rules?
- If he was cheating and deliberately trying to slow Javier Gomez down was he acting alone or were these team tactics?
- If these were team tactics then who gave the instructions to use such methods in a race?
From the way I have described the video in the paragragh above you can probably see what I think. Actually, it's as clear as day! I would be interested to hear what you think. I am a Javier Gomez fan. I think he is a great athlete and a great sportsman in terms of his attitude and the way he races. You can read his own account of the race on his blog if you are interested.
So leave some comments and let me know was it cheating, was this team tactics and was it worthy of disqualification?
See you in the weekend. Tim (LFTC Coach)
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Arousal can be described as the level of energy that an athlete develops and applies to any sporting situation e.g. in anticipating competition. This energy results from both psychological and physiological activity within the body. Many things can affect an athlete’s level of arousal, such as performance expectations, negative thinking, self-doubt, motivation, injury, preparation and readiness, general life stress, as well as external factors such as weather conditions, facilities, and spectators.
Over the years, sports psychologists have applied a number of theories to explain the relationship between arousal and performance. One of the most commonly used models is called the 'Inverted-U Hypothesis' (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). The Inverted-U Hypothesis suggests that when an athlete’s arousal level is low, performance is also low. The mind and body aren’t energised and prepared to face the demands of competition. As arousal level increases, performance increases up to an optimal point. You may have heard people describe this as being ‘in the zone’. You might even be able to tell when someone is in this state by the way they look. A facial expression, a look in the eyes, a certain posture or way of moving can all indicate when someone is in the zone.
When arousal increases past this optimal point to a very high level, an athlete may begin to feel anxious and performance is likely to decline. Excessive arousal can interfere with the body’s ability to perform both physically - muscles become too tense, coordination and skills break down and early fatigue sets in, or psychologically - difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly, making decisions and thinking positively or losing confidence.
Athletes face the constant challenge of trying to keep their arousal at the ‘optimal’ level in order to achieve peak performance. Each individual’s optimal arousal level is different. For example, Usain Bolt appears very relaxed before a race and plays to the crowd. Tyson Gay looks very serious before a race and points to the sky as if asking for some form of divine intervention. Furthermore, each sport and activity has a different optimal arousal zone. Even each discipline within a triathlon probably has a different optimal arousal zone. A rapid breathing rate at the swim start is likely to cause anxiety but is easier to deal with on the bike and run.
My main motivation to participate in triathlon is not to win or set a new PB every time I race. I do it because it's great fun and helps me lead a healthy lifestyle which is of great importance to me. So if you are feeling too worked up or anxious at the start of a race just have a think about why you are there in the first place. Relax and enjoy the feeling of seeing what your body and mind is capable of. There are other ways to both increase and decrease arousal and get in the zone. But I’ll save these for next week.
It's a tough run session this week with some sprints to get your running pace up and give you the confidence to cross the finish line flying. The swim session on Saturday will be more technique based so you can save your energy for the run to follow. Sunday will be threshold swim session to help build your race pace in the water. You will need fins and pull buoys for both.
I'm not sure I used the word 'arousal' so many times in a single sitting! See you at the track tomorrow or at the Lido Saturday. Tim (LFTC Coach)
Friday, 17 June 2011
Seeing and hearing about your performances is also very motivating. I am still blown away by some of the results from both the Blenheim Triathlon and the Fritton Lake Triathlon.
The boys did a great job in Wimbleball over the weekend at the UK 70.3 event. Gabriel Sayer had a fantastic race and finished 12th in his category. Coach Scott finished 22nd in his category with one of the fastest swims of the day in the age group field. Andrew Finn put together a great race finishing just outside of 6hrs in his first attempt at the distance. Dan King (aka Richard on the day) completed the swim in a very respectable 31mins 53s. Joe Dale (aka Dan on the day) also had a great race with the exception of breaking his chain on the bike leg. He flew on the run posting the 22nd fastest time of the day and clocking 1hr 27min for the half-marathon! Coach Karl told me he had an average race. Looked like he had a power nap in T1! By his own admission he felt good on the bike but had a nightmare run due to issues with nutrition. Yes even coaches make mistakes!
The performances of British athletes at the elite level is also inspirational. Alistair Brownlee finished first and Helen Jenkins second in Kitzbuhel over the weekend in great races. If you are interested in seeing the race highlights click here. I suspect the European Championships this weekend will be dominated by the British triathletes.
This weekend we are back at Hackney Marshes for the Park Run 5km. Remember to register before Friday. Saturday is our threshold session at the Lido and Sunday will be an aerobic fitness session. You will need fins and pull buoys for both sessions. I can't stress how important effective sighting is to having a great swim in an open water event. Have a look at this link from Swim Smooth for some great technique tips about sighting. We'll see if you can put them into practise at the weekend and in your next race (bring on Hillingdon!).
See you at the track or Lido. Tim (LFTC Coach).
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I have spoken to some of those who competed at Fritton Lake on Sunday and got the lowdown on how people fared. In short, pretty damn good! Amanda 'Minky' Wilmer (club captain) won her age group. Ellen Greaves won her age group. Dave Price took a massive chunk off his PB and all the other lads competing finished under 2hr 30mins with five of them doing 2hr 20mins or better. Paul smoked the swim, Stuart and Felipe smoked the bike and 'G.I' Joe smoked the run with Seb, Tim S and Tim P hot on their heels. You can check out the results online here.
With a number of those competing at Fritton Lake stepping up to Olympic distance for the first time a common complaint was how difficult the first lap of the two lap run felt. It is a technical run course, off-road with plenty of twists and turns in it, this does makes it difficult to find a rhythm initially. Running 10km after biking 40km is also a very different sensation to running 5km after biking 20km. So what can you do to make the transition easier?
It is true that I spend my spare time trawling electronic databases for research articles that link exercise to either injury or performance. Some call it geeky. I prefer to think of it as having a keen interest in the subject. "Cycling has a negative effect on some highly-trained triathletes ability to execute optimal neuromotor strategies specific to running" (Chapman et al 2008 and 2009). What the? To summarise, cycling prior to running means that you do not activate your muscles in the same way that you do when running on fresh legs. Surprised? Neither am I.
Practising the transition from bike to run is one way of improving your ability to cope with running off the bike in a race. The bike to run brick is a key training session in any triathlete's training program. Different coaches and athletes will place more or less of an emphasis on such sessions. One thing I would say is that your key run session should be run on fresh legs and your key bike session should finish on the bike. Why? Running on fatigued legs may increase your injury risk and/or reduce the quality of your key run session. You are also likely to finish your key bike session more fatigued that you would be following the bike leg of a triathlon. So I suggest running off a moderate intensity ride. You do not need to run 10km off the bike either when training for an Olympic distance race. You only need to run for as long as it takes for your body to adapt from bike to run. All things being equal you should notice this time coming down with training.
Some recent research by Bonacci et al (2011) suggests plyometric training may help the transition from bike to run too. Plyometric training is a specific form of strength training that utilises the stretching-shortening cycle of muscles with activities such as jumping, bounding and hopping (See why I make you do those silly drills on Tuesday!). The muscles shorten rapidly after they have been lengthened rapidly just like many muscles do when running. In this study, with plyometric training, the triathletes' muscle activation patterns when running off the bike were more like the activation patterns seen when they ran fresh. The small sample size in the study means we should be cautious when interpreting the results but at least there is some preliminary research to support the theory that plyometric training may help the bike to run transition.
There are of course numerous other factors that contribute to how well you run off the bike. Your strength on the bike, your pacing strategy, your energy status pre-race, your nutrition and hydration strategies, your position on the bike just to name a few. So it is not as simple as adding some bike run bricks and plyometrics into your training. With more training and racing experience I am quite sure running off the bike will get easier.
This weekemd is our long aerobic swim session. Given where we are in the season though we will be practising some race skills too and yes you will need your fins! This weekend's run session is a combination of 200s and 800s. So you get to swim slow(ish) but you have to run fast!
Just for a bit of a laugh check out this video it's pretty funny. The joys of big city cycling huh?
All the best to those guys off to Wimbleball this weekend; Coach Karl, Andrew Finn, 'G.I.' Joe Dale; Gabriel Sayer and Coach Scott; do us proud lads!
See you later in the week. Tim (LFTC Coach)