Monday, 15 August 2011

Zone 3 wetsuit trial this weekend.

I can thoroughly recommend 'the Clash' as an event to compete in next year. It is extremely well run with great prizes on offer to winners as well as spot prizes. 500m in a 25m pool followed by a 5km run which is mostly flat and predominantly on grass. Unfortunately we did not have a veteran racing so the club missed out on getting the maximum points available. Those athletes from the club that did race raced really well and there was a healthy dose of in house competition especially once Sarah told me her run time as I put my shoes on in transition! Sam Burch posted the fasted time of the day from LFTC. Nice one Sam!

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.

Lausanne in Switzerland is the host of a huge weekend in triathlon again. We have the sprint distance world championships on Saturday and the team triathlon world championships on Sunday. Johnny Brownlee is the defending sprint distance world champion and Switzerland are the defending team triathlon world champions. All of the races should be great to watch and will be on the BBC either be shown live or delayed.

If you are coming along to the North Norfolk Triathlon it looks like we have accommodation now sorted thanks to Colin Steele booking an entire boat called the Albatross that is moored in the quay. The dorm at Deepdale Backpackers is now full too. I understand there are still campsites available if you would like to pitch a tent. Best check the Facebook page for up to date information.

I'm looking forward to checking out these Zone 3 wetsuits. Have fun and ride safe all those heading down to the New Forest for a recce of the bike course. See you Saturday. We will still be using pull buoys and fins so remember to bring them along. Later. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Great Britain dominate Hyde Park!

What a great weekend for triathlon in Great Britain. The Dextro Energy Hyde Park Triathlon was a huge success in more ways than one. If you didn't manage to watch the race live you can watch highlights here. Helen Jenkins did the unthinkable by running away from some of the fastest runners the sport has ever seen. Alistair Brownlee was nothing short of awesome. I'm quite sure Johnny Brownlee could have been second if he wanted to but I think he took one for the team by staying in the chasing pack and letting his older brother go in the break.

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.

We don't get to refine our cycling skills as often as we do our swimming and running. However, maximizing pedalling efficiency is very important as the bike is the longest leg of a triathlon no matter what distance you race. Improving your pedalling efficiency could result in both a faster bike time and run time if you finish the bike with less fatigue.

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.

Here are some ways to improve pedalling efficiency:

My favourite: Get a fixie!

Unlike a bike with a free hub there is no ability to freewheel (i.e. spin without pedaling) on a fixed gear bike. Using a fixed gear bike forces you to learn how to pedal correctly because you must unweight the leg during the up stroke to avoid braking. So if you don't have a fixie it could be time to add one to your stable of bicycles. Spinning has the same effect due to the fly wheel. So those of you taking Karl's classes should be flying.

The hard yards: Big gears on hills.

Overgeared, high-power, low-cadence workouts are essential. Climbing hills, seated, in a big gear forces you to keep force flowing to the pedals over the top and through the bottom of the stroke. It is the only way you can maintain enough momentum to keep the bike moving forward. Later on you can add sprints up steep hills, again in a big gear and with slow, rolling starts.

One at a time: Single leg pedalling.

Single leg pedaling drills are another great way to improve pedalling efficiency. This allows total isolation and concentration on each leg. You can really feel if you have a dead spot in your pedalling action. You will feel a surge of power on the down stroke and then a sudden drop at the top or bottom of the stroke if you're not pedalling efficiently. Start with 3-5 reps of 30-45 seconds on each leg. Don't try to push to big a gear, just work on a smooth action.

Rockin and rollin : Get a set of rollers.

I have been using rollers for the past year. They are great over the winter when the icy roads prevent you from getting out and about. They require some getting used to. An inefficient pedalling technique will have the rear wheel swinging from side to side. As your efficiency improves you will find you can ride bigger gears without the feeling of riding on sheet ice.

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

Another massive weekend for triathlon!

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)