Thursday, 26 April 2012

Junk miles

We had some very interesting discussions at the two education sessions on Saturday morning. My plan is to run a workshop on 'Planning Your Own Triathlon Training Program' in the near future. This will be more of a practical session where you will put together your own six week training block. We will certainly run some transition practise sessions as well with the first one on May 12th when Zone3 will join us at the Lido to allow you to demo their wetsuits. You can practise getting out of the suit as fast as possible. Your goal is to beat Sarah Allen's record time set last year when she whipped her suit off in under five seconds and got to keep it!

After my talk about 'Planning Your Own Triathlon Training Program' someone at the education session asked 'What are junk miles?' Some people would say there is no such thing as junk miles and that all sessions are beneficial because they add something to your weekly training volume and the fact you are adding volume is the most important point. I'm not so sure.
As an example, if you have a 10km tempo run planned after work but you have had a really tough day, get home late and decide to just run 5km instead, is that junk miles? It could be if you decide to run the 5km in such a way that you feel there has been no benefit and the way you ran actually makes you wish you hadn't bothered at all. How might you make the session more beneficial?

Start the session with a structured warm up. An easy jog, some drills and some strides. This will hopefully get you in the right frame of mind for a better session. You might find that after you warm up you actually have more energy to put into the session than you thought. Even if you stop at this point you have worked on technique with the drills and running efficiency with the strides and the session has not been a waste of time. Now run your 5km. May be you're still tired so decide to take it easy, focus on a technical aspect of your running instead of intensity. May be now you have a bit more energy, so you do a 5km tempo run and finish feeling positive about the effort you put in. May be your running mojo just isn't there so you treat tonight as a recovery session, have a nice easy run that clears your head and rearrange your session plans for the week so you do your 10km tempo run when you have a little more gas in the tank. 

Some take home points then. 'Easy' does not necessarily mean 'junk'. An easy run that helps clear your head, reduces non-training stress allowing a peaceful nights sleep is not junk. Junk miles are sessions performed without any purpose and without any real benefit. Flexibility within any training plan is essential and while your goal should be to complete all the key workouts within your training plan sometimes it just can't happen. Hopefully the suggestions above will help you modify your own sessions when circumstances force you to and allow you to get more out of your training by training with purpose and remaining consistent with your training.

This week we will have a technique focus in the swim session with some open water skills as well as working on correct hand pathways in the catch and pull phase of the stroke. Videoing the group has shown up some interesting hand pathways from hands sweeping right under the body to hands pulling very wide of the body. We'll be using pull buoys and fins and you can use paddles for some of the session if you have them.

For those that like mind games, here is an interesting article about 'The Mental Game (And How to Win It)' with contributions from Brett Sutton, former coach of Chrissie Wellington. Lastly, for those Javier Gomez fans, a nice little video to watch to get you motivated to train...and buy Oakley sunnies! 

All the best to those Slaying the Dragon this Sunday.  See you Saturday (and Sunday...lucky me!), Tim (LFTC Coach).

Friday, 20 April 2012

The ITU WCS kicks off in Sydney

The ITU World Championship Series kicked off in Sydney over the weekend. It was a good chance to see who had early season form. Those who have already qualified for London 2012 were never going to be at the top of their game but there are still a large number of triathletes trying to pick up final qualification points.

Both the men's and women's races were closely fought. Erin Densham from Australia looked very strong and certainly had the run speed over the rest of the women's field. She pulled away from Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Helen Jenkins (GB) in the final stages of the run. In the men's race it came down to just three athletes in the final stages of the run. Stefan Justus (Ger) took the win followed by Richard Murray (SA) and Laurent Vidal (FRA). You can watch video highlights of the women's and the men's races by clicking on the links.

Just a reminder that we have a couple of experts in to discuss transition training and planning your own training program after training. Karl and I will be giving you the low down at The Pub on the Park at 10:30am. Speaking of training, this week's swim session will be a mix of steady and hard efforts for the high volume group and some negative splits for the low volume group. We will of course be throwing in some technique and open water skills so bring your fins and pull buoy. The run session will have one group heading out for a tempo run and another working on technique and high intensity intervals.

Oh by the way, if you have not read Chrissie Wellington's autobiography you should. It was recently given 10/10 by Triathlete Europe. I have also read the book and it is a fantastic read. She is very open and honest about all things, from ablutions to anorexia and there are some very interesting comments about Brett Sutton's coaching methods. A Life Without Limits is seriously good reading and not just for those long distance junkies.

Bring your wet weather kit we could be in for some down pours! Tim (LFTC Coach).

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


LFTC now offer a FREE coached juniors session for 11-16 year olds that runs alongside our Saturday session (7-9am, Saturdays).

The session consists of an hours coached swim, developing technique and fitness, followed by a run. We have a small group already involved and are hoping to develop a a new and enthusiastic juniors team.

As long as you can already swim, you are more than welcome - we're not just about elite athletes! For more information please email us!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Get your speedos on boys!

For two races in a row our girls have beaten the lads in the water. Sarah Paterson in fact had the second fastest swim time in the entire field at our aquathlon. She was even quicker than our Red Top rivals! If you haven't seen Sarah swim she's like our very own Jono Van Hazel. That's a very big compliment Sarah. Just ask Coach Amanda 'Minky' Wilmer about Jono!

It was newcomer Joe Edmonds who was the first LFTC member across the line in our aquathlon in a very respectable 6th place overall. Ellen Greaves was the fastest female from LFTC and she came in 12th overall. Both were 4th in their respective categories. It was another great event. Congratulations to all those involved in the planning and organisation.

Ellen had the fastest swim time of the LFTC crew at the Thames Turbo Triathlon last weekend. Rohan Byles was only 10sec off the pace (You'll get her next time eh Rohan?). Ellen was our fastest female and Felipe Almeida our fastest male in the race. Nice work everyone who got up early on Easter Monday to brave the awful conditions.

We still need people to sign up for upcoming London League events including the Dragon Slayer Duathlon and Kingfisher Aquathlon. The Dragon Slayer will suit those strong cyclists and the Kingfisher Aquathlon has a great long off-road run with a short swim so ideal for those strong runners. I did both events last year and can thoroughly recommend them.

It's a big session this weekend. A full house! Please get to the Lido to start the session on time with your fins, pull buoys and paddles if you have them. We'll need your cooperation with such a big group for things to run smoothly. Our soon to be Level 2 coaches, Seb Balcombe and Amanda Wilmer, are planning the sessions for the next few weeks. Let then know what you think of the sessions. With regular feedback from our members we can deliver the kind of sessions you want.

For those of you that have been videoed recently and watched videos of others you might have noticed the various head positions people hold while swimming. Swim Smooth posted an interesting blog about this very thing. Take a look here. Being told to swim 'downhill' to get a better body position is something you might have heard before. It can do terrible things to your technique for some swimmers. Test out a few different head positions this weekend and see how it feels.

See you this weekend, Tim (LFTC Coach).