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.

Week in review

Last Thursday I had a group swim session for the triathlon training group at the Y.  The instructor told me that I was wasting energy lifting my right arm up.  Everything that I had heard until then was that I should be lifting the elbow high on recovery.  This swim coach had some very unorthodox ideas about swimming, but he was also pretty pragmatic.  He feels that swimming for a triathlon is all about energy conservation.  That is something that makes a lot of sense to me.  I gave it a try and it felt really good.

I focused on pushing my arm out in front of me to lengthen my stroke, and I focused on pulling from this longer position.  It was the end of the night for me, so I didn’t get to try it for more than just a lap or so.  I was anxious to try it again during my next swim session.

On Saturday I did the P90X chest and back workout.  I am really enjoying these workouts.  It is a dead basic but killer workout.  I have really been pushing myself lately and I can really notice a difference in the max reps and weight.

On Sunday I had my spin class.  It was tough but doable.  I did about 16 miles and felt pretty good.  I met my wife at the pool and tried my new stroke.  It felt like I was moving pretty slow, but at the same time it felt much more comfortable.  I timed a lap and it worked out to about 1 minute.  That wasn’t as fast as I had been swimming before, but it wasn’t that much slower either.  After a few warm up laps I decided to go for 11.  I noticed right away that I wasn’t as winded when I got to the end of a length or a lap.  I didn’t need much time to catch my breath.  I kept plugging away at it and eventually I finished the 11 laps.  I checked that time and it took me exactly 13:30 to do the 11 laps.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had shaved 3 minutes off of my best time ever!  I wasn’t even that tired.  I can’t tell if it was my new stroke or just an increase in fitness.  I actually had enough gas in the tank to sprint the last length, it felt great.  This despite the fact that I was sore from a killer chest and back workout the night before.  And, to top things off, when I got out of the pool my legs were fresh as daisies.  Note to self, find something more masculine to compare yourself to going forward.  Things are looking up, if not linguistically, at least athletically.

On Monday I did the P90X arms and shoulder workout.  That is a really great workout too.  I love how it makes my muscles burn and my arms feel tight right after the workout.  I know that I’m going to be feeling it for days.

I am ramping up for this weekend’s big race.  I’m really excited to bring it on Sunday.  My goal for the week is to get another swim workout in and do the P90X Yoga and stretch DVD’s just to get myself nice and loose.  After this Tri my wife and I are going to put together some training plans.  I would like to start working on my running.  I would really like to do a half marathon this year, but I know I can’t do that without some focused, and planned training.  I have been researching training techniques for some time and I plan to post some of the information that I’ve learned just to keep it all in one place.

Gimme Data

I have been reading Triathlon Training Blog and various other sites and see how much these athletes depend on data in order to improve performance.  I feel like I am way  too early for most of the data to be useful.  I am still at a point where I have little technique, and even less endurance.  However, I think that it will be fun later to be able to look at early data.  That way when I get down about how little progress I’m making I can look back and see how far I’ve come.  And they say I’m not proactive!

Now I need to figure out what data is the most important so that I can make sure to track that.  What?  I’m a computer programming geek, what do you expect?

Oh, and my Pose Running book should be arriving today!  Yay!

My training plan

Since I really have no base, I’m just going to work on building endurance.  I plan to continue my weekly spin session.  It is a killer workout and I think it can only help me in biking.  As it stands, in the hour or so of spinning (there is a warmup and cool down period that last about 15 minutes all together) I put enough distance on the bike to do the biking portion of a sprint triathlon.  I will try to balance this with some running where I can.  I’m also not too worried about the running portion of the sprint triathlon.  I think I will be ready to do a 5K.   My biggest concern is the swimming portion.

I can’t swim at all.  Not even a little bit.  I mean, I can float and I can make a little forward progress, but I have never swum in water that is deep enough to go over my head.  This will be my biggest challenge, and I plan to dedicate most of my time to learning how to swim and then building endurance.  So to sum up:

Biking: I will continue my weekly spin class

Running: I will fit it in when I can

Swimming: I will give it my total focus until I become proficient.

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