Archive for January, 2011

Coach Al’s Run Clinic

Tonight I attended a running clinic put on by the Farmington Valley Runner’s Group with Coach Al Lyman.  I just wanted to jot down a few notes from what he said for future reference.  Just a brain dump really.

  • One big issue that he identified was similar to what my physical therapist mentioned previously about muscles firing in the correct order.  He mentioned that the glutes often aren’t firing during the run which leads to compensation by other muscles and eventually to injury.
    • One thing he mentioned was doing proper bridges to get your glutes to fire more effectively.
    • Doing these exercises 3 times a week or more will help get the glutes going, focus on keeping your core steady and not curling your hips when you lift.
  • He also mentioned training purposefully.  Don’t just slog out the miles, understand what the goal is for the run and attack it, could be speed training or endurance training, it doesn’t matter focus on that
  • Slow down the endurance runs, should have maybe a couple miles at the end at a faster pace, the rest really easy
  • Train for the race, match the conditions, i.e. same hills in the same places, in order to prepare for the race
  • A hard training run will make your normal pace seem easier, it is all about managing perception
  • Your glutes should work the hardest when running, and the downward and backward pressure, i.e. the pushoff on the back of your run stride is the key to increasing propulsion.
    • As an aside, this makes sense, use your arms to swim, your quads to bike, and your glutes to run
  • I need to focus on keeping the cadence up 100+ steps per minute, while keeping my feet under my body for higher propulsion

That’s it for now.

DC Rainmaker – Garmin 310XT Giveaway

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New Swim Technique

I’m in the process of transitioning computers, so I haven’t been able to edit the video clips I got from Coach Al into bite sized pieces.  But I will do that over the coming weeks.

Today I tried some new techniques based on that video and Coach Al’s suggestions.  It involves making some pretty wholesale changes to how I move my arms.  I have to say, it feels quite awkward to change the way my arms move, even with only a few months of swim training under my belt.  I showed my wife the new technique, and she took to it quite well.  I, on the other hand, felt like a newly born giraffe.  All arms and joints.  The issue, I believe, is that my arms are moving too rapidly.  I specifically tried to slow them down.  Focus on the catch, focus on a slow and controlled pull.  We were circle swimming in the same lane with someone else.  She was swimming at a decent clip.  I gave her about a quarter length and started my slow controlled, drill-like stroke.   I focused only on moving my arms properly but slowly.  It was effortless and relaxed.  Pretty soon I felt my fingers hit the wall, well, I thought it was the wall.  It turns out that my “slow and controlled” was propelling me through the water more quickly than my old fast and messy.  I had caught up to her and hit her feet.

I was shocked, and the beauty is that it was totally effortless.  I wasn’t out of breath in the least.  This is the winning stroke for sure.  I just have to get out of this awkward learning stage so that I can focus on breathing which is my real nemesis.

Swim Clinic Review Report

Last weekend I attended a swim clinic put on by Coach Al Lymon at the YMCA. He spoke for about an hour and then video taped us swimming. Last night I got the results of the swim analysis. Let’s just say I was not graceful. Ultimately, I came away with four things to work on, plus one other thing that I know is an issue.

  1. Keep the rotation down.  In the video it is clear that I am over rotating, or rolling as Coach Al says.  I am rolling to nearly 90° I need to rotate much less.
  2. Fix the Leg kicking
    1. I kick too much, but I already knew that.
    2. I don’t kick efficiently, but I already knew that too.
  3. My arm movement in the water, specifically my “catch” and my “pull” are a mess, I mean a real mess.
  4. I lift my head out of the water too much when I breath.
  5. Lastly, my own issue that he didn’t identify, perhaps because he was too overwhelmed with other issues, is that I need to do stop holding my breath under water.

So what am I going to do about it?  Well, for one I am going to pull snippets from the video and dedicated a post to each one pointing out the issues and what I plan to do to correct it.  I will bring my underwater camera with me and video tape the drills so that I can watch the results and tweak.   And in the words of the infamous Sarah Palin, I am going to drill baby drill.  (But not in the wilderness in Alaska).

Triathlon Training Log

I am working on “finalizing” my current training log. I am using a google spreadsheet based on a spreadsheet that has been around since the 90’s created by Alan Rube and David Hayes as a running log, converted to a triathlon log by Alan Rudson, and upgraded and converted to google spreadsheets by Ray Suarez.

I used it last year and have been updating and correcting it’s inner workings for the better part of the year. I added the ability to track time used for other work outs, and corrected some issues with things that didn’t work well because google spreadsheets lacked a scripting language when Ray Suarez made the conversion.

I have also added the ability to interactively input data which simplifies the process of inputting workout data substantially.

I am currently working on automating the spreadsheet setup for a new year (the process that I went through manually early this week) and once that is done I have a small checklist of other enhancements and testing to do before I release it into the wild. I want to review and create some new charts (I haven’t even looked at the current ones so I don’t know what they look like.)

Once that is ready, I will share it. I think it is a really great and useful tool, and I’m really happy to be coding away at it. Tons of work, but lots of fun.

Back in the saddle

I had my first spin of the year today. OK, so it was actually the first spin in a very long time. At any rate, at first I thought I was going to die. It took a good 10 or 15 minutes before I settled into a groove. I didn’t slow down, or ease off on the tension even when I was hurting, so I’m proud of myself for that. By the end, however, I was beat. I couldn’t keep the cadence up and I was honestly glad when it was over. It was just about the right amount of pain for the day. Heidi, the spin instructor, is almost uncannily good at taking you right to the edge of exhaustion and then bringing you back. It felt good to get the lungs going again.

After spin I met the wife and kids at the family pool, and got to play with the little ones while my wife got in a few laps in the big boy pool. I had a lot of fun with my little guys, and my oldest son is starting to really hold his own in the pool. The months of swim lessons are really paying off.

After play time we had a quick lunch, and I headed into a swim lecture with triathlon super coach Al Lyman. He is a great guy and had a lot of really good advice for swim training. After the lecture he video taped us and will be doing a swim analysis with video and sending it to us along with some specific drills. I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I have decided to dedicate the next few swim sessions to drilling on breathing. I need to get that down. I think that is the single biggest limiting factor for me. I hold my breath, and Coach Al was very clear that holding your breath is going to make you tired for no good reason. I will scour the web for breathing drills, but I think I have an idea on how to drill on my own. I’ll give that a try and report on my progress.

2011 Off to a…start?

This weekend officially kicked off the training season for me. I have new running shoes which I hope help me kick my IT Band issue in the butt. I plan to run on the dreadmill at work when I can.

My first active training session was Sunday. I hit the pool and did about a dozen or so laps. Man am I out of shape. It was a struggle to do 9 laps and my form broke down almost immediately. But, if I put it into perspective, last year at this time I couldn’t even finish a single length without struggling. So, I think I’m going to be ok.

This weekend I will be attending a swim clinic put on by a local triathlete coach Al Lyman. He will video tape us and provide feedback and drills to help us improve. I’m looking forward to it. I’m also thinking about hiring him to do a gate analysis to see if there is something I can improve in terms of my running form.

I still have some work to do to put together a training plan, and a race schedule, but that should come over the next couple of weeks.

  • The Narcissist Section (a.k.a. Me Me Me)

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