LFTC triathlete sets new course record!

OK, so it wasn’t quite Kona, nor was it as big as Roth but Ellen Greaves did set a new course record at the Oswestry Sprint Triathlon last weekend! Nice work Ellen. Have I mentioned how proud I am of the LFTC girls. They really are a strong bunch of triathletes. A big congratulations to all those who competed in the Hillingdon Triathlon London League event last weekend too. Nine of us competed in the race, which is a good turnout For a League event and we had our required quota of females and veterans which is great. I think all those who competed would say that it is a really fun race with lake swim followed by an on-road plus off-raod run and an undulating bike course. Well worth the small entry fee!

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)

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