Thursday, 27 October 2011

So the 'real' triathlon world champs took place in Hawaii last weekend. A race that not only requires endurance but also great skill to complete a rough water swim, a rocky mountain bike course and a challenging trail run. It was the XTERRA World Championships. No smooth tarmac, pointy helmets or wind cheating bicycles here just blood, sweat and dirt!

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

Lance Armstrong racing triathlon again

Just one week to go until the Jekyll and Hyde Duathlon. Very exciting. This means our run session on Sunday will be firmly focused on developing your race pace. So yes, more high intensity intervals to get the heart pumping and the legs burning. Just the way you want to start a lazy Sunday!

We are now three weeks into a technique block in our Sunday swim sessions. We will be using fins again so please bring your own. We will also be using pull buoys. As we now share our sessions with the public you MUST bring your own pull buoy as there will not be enough to go around.

This weeks focus is on alignment, hand entry and body roll. These three aspects of technique are intimately linked. We will insist on a bilateral breathing technique during the session to develop a balanced symmetrical stroke. Correct alignment allows an ideal hand entry and extension of the arm in front of the shoulder. This in turn will reduce the risk of developing swimming related shoulder pain and will often correct a scissor kick too.

Have a read of what Swim Smooth have to say about bilateral breathing and body roll before the session. It is very good advice especially for those reluctant to give up their unilateral (breathing to one side only) technique. This technique block is the perfect opportunity to practise bilateral breathing to encourage a balanced symmetrical stroke as the intensity of the sessions is relatively low.

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

Crowie and Chrissie reign supreme

So my prediction was right. I should have been an Ironman Live commentator clearly. Craig Alexander was in a class of his own in Kona setting a new course record, albeit by just 12 seconds, on his way to winning a third Ironman World Championship title. It was looking pretty ominous when one of the sport's fastest runners posted the second fastest bike split of the day. It wasn't all plain sailing though as 'Crowie' started to suffer severe cramps in the last few miles of the race. Fellow Australian Pete Jacobs crossed the line in second with a very impressive 2:24:29 marathon finishing just under two minutes ahead of Andreas Raelert of Germany.

Chrissie Wellington didn't have it her own way for a change. After a slow start in the swim, a result of injuries sustained in a bike crash two weeks earlier, she was 21 minutes behind race leader Julie Dibens after the bike. Mirinda Carfrae was another 4 minutes back. These two are super quick runners although with very different styles and it was not long before both started eating up the time gaps to the girls in front. In the end Chrissie set the second fastest time ever at the Ironman World Championships and finished just 2:49 ahead of the Aussie battler Mirinda Carfrae who got in the way of a GB 1, 2 ,3. This is the closest anyone has got to Chrissie in her entire Ironman career. If Mirinda 'Rinnie' Carfrae can improve her bike without negatively affecting her run she will give Chrissie a real run for her money next year.

So you know you have chosen a drill people hate when they start asking 'Why are we doing this?'. The dolphin kick on your back is a good warm up exercise to stretch out through the shoulders and chest, to engage the muscles of the trunk and lower limbs and it requires a touch of coordination too. The ability to relax the legs allowing the knees to flex (bend) slightly as the hips flex, and extend (straighten) as the hips extend is necessary to generate propulsion. Swimming with very stiff legs does not make for an effective kick. Watch this video of the dolphin kick underwater so that you are clear about the movement patterns you are trying to reproduce. Get it right and maybe one day you'll swim 50m underwater in 25secs like Ryan Lochte... without fins! We will be doing this again this weekend so be sure to give it some practice to impress the coaches!

This weekend we will continue our technique focus in the Lido. I hope you read up about breathing, exhalation and kicking last week. This week have a read of the Swim Smooth webpages looking at body position, posture and stroke rate. You will need to bring your fins again this week as we will be repeating the drills from last week to consolidate what we have learnt so far. Our run session will be geared towards improving your ability to maintain race pace as we head towards the Jekyll and Hyde Park Duathlon. Once the duathlon is out of the way we will introduce an optional long run on Sundays for those that would like to leave the confines of London Fields for a change!

All the best to those of you competing in Barcelona this weekend. Give it heaps. I hope you find the same cava bar we did. It was the perfect place to 'relax' pre-race with very tasty 1 euro glasses of cava. And I mean very tasty!

See you Sunday, Tim (LFTC Coach).

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The dark places

A phrase I heard over and over after the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon (NFMDT) was 'I went to some dark places on that run'. The great thing however was that everyone completed the race and evidently in fine style too. We received numerous comments about our fab looking club kit (yours is on it's way if you have placed an order!). We were in fact the most well represented club at the race with a total of ten of us competing. While the race is very tough and was a real struggle that brought some people to tears I am convinced overcoming such challenges is good for you both physically and mentally. You learn a lot about yourself when pushing yourself to the limit. If you are thinking about competing in a middle distance race next year I can recommend the NFMDT. It's not the easiest course but the scenery is amazing and the race very well organised and it has a nice grass roots feel about it, the way triathlon used to before it started being used as a money making machine. Controversial!

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!

It's a big weekend for those obsessed with 'going long'. It is the Ironman World Championships this weekend in Kona Hawaii. It is quite possible that GB could have three women on the podium. I am looking forward to seeing the battle between Chrissie Wellington, Julie Dibens and Mirinda Carfrae not to mention the battle between these three and some of the male pro's! In the men's race there should be some great Northern versus Southern hemisphere battles. My money is on Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington but I think Chrissie will be pushed harder than she ever has been by Julie Dibens in the swim and bike and Mirinda Carfrae once they hit the run.

The boys from the club are making a late season bid to compete with the girls' success over the summer. Sam Burch, who won our own aquathlon last weekend, finished second in the Sprint Distance Cross Triathlon England Championships. So it seems our bearded bone cracker who swims like a fish and runs like a Kenyan can also throw a mountain bike around the trails pretty well too! Andrew Finn won the USN Dorney Lake Super Sprint Triathlon on September 25th. Not bad off the back of his first Ironman in Wales a few weeks before! I promised Amanda I would mention that I won my age group at the NFMDT but will have to beat some very fast younger and some very fast older triathletes to finish higher up overall next year. I blamed the extended stop in T2. The benefits of a two piece tri-suit were made plainly obvious! Not to be out done however the girls have also impressed recently. Sarah Allen was second in her age group and fifth female overall in her first middle distance triathlon at the NFMDT and of course Ellen Greaves beat her own course record to win our aquathlon on Sunday.

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).