Archive for February, 2008

Triathlon Swimming – 5 Keys To Improve Your Triathlon Swim Stroke

Swimming is the hardest of the three triathlon disciplines to master for most of the triathletes I coach. Probably the biggest reason is that swimming is the most “technique dependent” of the disciplines.

If you just jump in a pool and start flailing around you not only won’t improve, but you may actually “groove” a bad stroke and make it even harder to train yourself correct form. Regular swim stroke analysis is critical if you are going to groove a good, consistent freestyle stroke.

Here are 5 keys I use to evaluate the swim stroke of the triathletes I coach:

1. Hand entry – If your head is at 12 o’clock, your hands should enter the pool at 1 and 11. This helps prevent “cross over” which basically makes you swim like a snake back and forth through the water. You lose a lot of energy constantly trying to keep going straight. This also prevents over-rotation of the shoulder and hips which can also bleed power from your stroke.

2. Hand glide position – This is where you start your pull. You want to make sure you hand reaches to the pool wall and glides for a moment at head depth before you start your pull. This lets you get every last bit of forward momentum before starting your pull and lets you get some “glide time” for a second or two on each stroke – that way you are fresh when you get out of the water.

3. Kick – You want your kick to be efficient and you need to conserve energy here for the upcoming bike and run. Your legs should be straight behind your body with no bend at the hip – not stiff, but also not too loose. Your kick should start at your hips. I like to pretend that I am wearing flippers while kicking.

4. Level in water – You want your head, shoulders, hips and legs to be in line and at the same level under the water. Watch to make sure your hips and legs don’t sink below the level of your arms, head and torso.

5. Hand exiting the water – Make sure your hands exit the water at the bottom of the hip – not at waist. This will give you an extra boost at the end of your stroke and again get the most forward momentum off of each stroke. I notice that students start pulling their hand out early when they start to get tired.

A lot of time it is better to see this in action to really get a picture of it in your head. I have posted some video of me illustrating each of the 5 triathlon swimming keys at my website (I call it the 3-minute swim class). That is a good way to study the keys.

You can use these same 5 keys to evaluate your own stroke as you swim. Try swimming a few warm-up laps at the beginning of each triathlon swimming workout focusing on just one key at a time. If you have a friend who can help you videotape your stroke you can also evaluate your stroke that way – it is really helpful to see yourself swim and you’ll see big improvements if you make stroke analysis a part of your swim training.

Triathlon Coach Janet Wilson is a USAT certified triathlon coach and ACE certified personal trainer. Janet is an accomplished and nationally-ranked amateur triathlete and she coaches triathletes of all skill levels, from a triathlon beginner to Hawaii Ironman qualifiers. To learn more about triathlon training, swim tips, coaching programs or just great tips on how to stay in shape visit her website at http://www.coach-janet.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - February 24, 2008 at 9:05 am

Categories: Triathlon   Tags:

Triathlon Training – 7 Triathlon Training Tips

If you are a beginner or just getting started in triathlon, here are 7 more tips on how to train smart for triathlon:

1. Try the distance – Do a “practice event” at your own pace a week or two before the event. You will learn a lot that will help you during your race. Think about things like:
– Pacing (for example, what pace do I need to do the swim in so the bike and run are doable?)
– Practice your transition strategy.
– How will you feel after riding and then transitioning to the run?
– Can you do the entire swim without resting? (most pool swims will let you rest at the wall but get out of the way of other competitors)

2. Do some “brick” workouts – Practice switching from the bike to the run by following up a long bike with a short run every once in a while. Yes it’s uncomfortable. But you can teach the body to adjust and it can get more comfortable (well, at least everything hurts the same.)

3. Don’t do too much the week before the event. A well-rested body performs the best. Don’t push through a tough workout the week of your first race. If you feel you need more workouts before your first event then skip this one and sign up for one next month.

4. Don’t let a hilly or challenging course be a surprise. Train on similar terrain.

5. Know the course. How do you enter and exit the transition area (swim to bike and bike to swim – sometimes they happen in different places)? Where are the turn-arounds? If you know what to expect the day will be a lot easier. Also know the rules – the USAT website has them posted.

6. Don’t try anything new on race day. No new breakfast or new triathlon shorts. Use your race suit in your training – especially during your practice event. Use nutrition choices that you know you can eat and equipment you are used to.

7. Check the bike carefully before the race. Especially look for the following:
– Tire pressure
– Check brakes for rubbing
– Make sure the handle bars, profile bars and seat are all on tight
– Check that the bike is shifting correctly – put the bike in the gear you will want to start out in (do you start by climbing a hill – if so you need the bike in an easy gear). That way you’ll be ready when you grab the bike.

Hopefully these triathlon training tips will help you get ready for your next race. For more triathlon training tips check out my web site.

Triathlon Coach Janet Wilson is a USAT certified triathlon coach and ACE certified personal trainer. Janet is an accomplished and nationally-ranked amateur triathlete and she coaches triathletes of all skill levels, from a triathlon beginner to Hawaii Ironman qualifiers. To learn more about triathlon training, swim tips, coaching programs or just great tips on how to stay in shape visit her website at http://www.coach-janet.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janet_Wilson

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Posted by The Running Guy - February 18, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Categories: Triathlon   Tags:

Why Run a Marathon?

This is the question most of the people I know asked me, when I first announced I wanted to run one. Having completed (only just) a half marathon at the age of 18.

Since then I have had a very on-off relationship with running, more off then on. Briefly taking it up in an attempt to get fit and/or lose weight.

Three years ago, a friend and colleague Ronan and I managed to talk each other into entering the London 10K Bupa Featbeat (as it was known then), and we even started to train together during work lunchtimes and then individually over the weekend. We embarked upon an 8 week fairly easy training schedule, and we both wanted to complete the race in under an hour. The first couple of weeks of training were pretty hard as I had not done any kind of running for a number of years, but I was soon running solid for 30 minutes. We gently built this up to 45 minutes and then 2 weeks before the race managed to run or or less 10K to give the confidence. On race day, despite Ronan being somewhat fitter than me, we ran together and finished it in 56:30 and were both pleased as we had achieved our goal (I am still convinced Ronan could have ran it quicker, if he had gone at his own pace).

After that we both entered the Windsor Half Marathon, which Ronan carried on training for, but I unfortunately seemed to just lose motivation. So Ronan ran that one alone.

The next year, 2005, my wife got pregnant and in the November we had a beautiful son Sam. Unfortunately he was born with a genetic heart defect, and as a result in 2006 he underwent 4 lots of surgery, I am pleased to say that he is in good health now and brings me joy every day. Needless, to say it was a pretty difficult year and at the end of it as Sam started to get better, I decided 2007 would be a better year, so I decided I would get fit again and make sure I looked after my own health, so that I could always be there for Sam.

Back in March, Ronan and I managed to persuade each other to run the BUPA 10K London Great Run, this was ideal for me as it gave me the motivation to start running again. So I downloaded a 10 week training schedule, as I was already able to run 4/5 miles on the treadmill at the gym, I decided to try a harder training schedule.

I think having a more structured training schedule really helped me to keep motivation, as I was now training on my own (Ronan and I now worked in different offices). The first long run was a 6 miler, which straight away gave me the confidence to run 10K. I also learnt about different types of running e.g. speedwork, tempo runs, endurance runs, recovery runs. I also started learning about what foods I should eat before and after running (particularly longer runs). Before I knew it, I was really enjoying running, and finding motivation was not a problem. Ronan and I managed to do a training run together a few weeks before the race, a reasonably quick 4 miles. For the first time I was able to match Ronan for pace and also hold a (albeit fairly limited) conversation with him.

This was proof that I was now fitter than I had been since I was 18. The week before the race, very much aware that when we had run the same race 3 years back, straight after I just stopped running. I entered myself for the Burnham Half Marathon some 5 weeks later. I was already running 9/10 miles in training. On race day itself July 15th, once again, we ran it in 56:30, I must admit, I was quite disappointed as I had hoped to run quicker. But it is a very popular event and it was pretty crowded most of the way round the course.

With the Half Marathon looming fast, I then started talking about entering the Flora London Marathon, as I knew applications opened in August, at the same time I became aware that COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care) St Mary’s is where Sam had undergone 2 of his operations and had been in intensive care after the second one (which happened to be his last operation, November 2006), had 10 golden places on the FLM 2008.

So at the beginning of August I filled out my ballot application for the London Marathon and then a few weeks later I filled out my application for the COSMIC place. In the meantime I completed my first half marathon since I was 18 in just over 2 hours, I was well chuffed.

Last month I received confirmation that I had secured one of COSMIC’s golden places, I was absolutely over the moon. Not only could I have the chance to achieve a long standing goal, but I could now have the chance to say thank you to the staff at St Mary’s Intensive Care and give a little something back.

Needless to say I have started my training and fundraising, please visit www.justgiving.com/keithbadman if you would like to donate and www.cosmiccharity.com if you would like to find out more about COSMIC. Last week, I found out that I had also got a ballot place on the Marathon, so even better news as COSMIC can now let someone else run under their Golden Place and hence raise even more money.

So why run a marathon? Need I say more?

Please feel free to visit my blog which I will be updating with my training diary and sharing my joy, fear, pain and general madness as I continue on my journey towards my first Marathon.

Keith Badman, amateur running, http://www.myrunning-blog.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - February 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Categories: Training   Tags: