Triathlete Europe http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Is The Gamification Of Fitness A Bad Thing? http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/is-the-gamification-of-fitness-a-bad-thing http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/is-the-gamification-of-fitness-a-bad-thing#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:00:03 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55311

We get it: It’s not necessarily fun to exercise. Although it’s great to have a mindset where you enjoy being active, many people would

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We get it: It’s not necessarily fun to exercise. Although it’s great to have a mindset where you enjoy being active, many people would much rather spend time relaxing on their couch than hitting the gym or going for a run. That’s why the concept of gamification has become so popular within the realm of fitness—it’s a way to make working out fun and enjoyable. It also appeals to a generation that thrives on a fast pace and has a shorter attention span. By crossing physical exercise with the motivation and objective of games, the goal is to get the game from the couch to the gym, right?

With the number of apps and programs to gamify fitness currently flooding the market, it remains to be seen whether or not this trend will continue upward, or go the way of other “fun” workout fads in the past.

The Motivation Behind Movement

Video games that get you moving have actually been around for a while—think: Dance Dance Revolution, or Nintendo’s Wii Fit, or Just Dance on Xbox. These games all work on the idea that you don’t need to go for a jog or head to the weight room to get fit. Not only is this more convenient (and presumably cheaper) than going to the gym, it also makes being active more fun by tapping into the way our brains work when it comes to motivation.

A paper by Richard Stålnacke Larsson for Umeå University explores the idea that gamification works in combination with sports and fitness because sports are based around motivation to reach a goal and get a reward, while staying fit is something people struggle to find the motivation to do.

“Underlying the concept of gamification is motivation. People can be motivated to do something because of internal or external motivation. Internal motivations are those that are driven by our core self, where the person acts because he finds the activity meaningful, even if there is no guaranteed reward,” explains Larsson. “External motivations, on the other hand, are driven because the goal will result in external rewards, like cash, social status or achievement points.”

Traditional exercise falls under the internal motivation category—that is, if you’re willing to be patient in order to see the results. Although the goal of exercise is to become more fit and healthy, that’s not something that happens overnight. A lot of people might become discouraged when they don’t receive their reward right away, especially new runners. That’s why gamifying fitness is so successful; people can receive their reward and get that sense of accomplishment immediately.

Lifehacker explains the psychology of gamification, noting that the rewards system is tied to chemicals in the human brain. “The basic premise is simple: your body releases dopamine when you experience pleasure. This pleasure includes all kinds of things, including rewards…” they say. “Basically, dopamine is your brain’s version of a carrot. The more goals you achieve, the more dopamine it releases, and the easier it is to stay motivated. Gamification tries to tap into this by offering you rewards for the completion of small goals.” By lighting up the pleasure centre of your brain, reaching your gamified goals can actually feel as amazing as nailing a high score in a video game.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Anything that can motivate you to get moving is a positive thing. So since gamifying fitness provides necessary motivation for short-term rewards, why haven’t gyms been abandoned in favor of in-home workouts with a video game setup, or jogging along to a zombie-apocalypse app?

Although there’s anecdotal evidence that gamification can help people get active, an issue is that it only seems to work in the short term—it can be pretty tempting to get bored of your gamified fitness routine and forget about it. Lifehacker also brings up the idea of “exploitware,” meaning companies essentially sell weak games to track success on unmotivated individuals and sell the results.

Having an array of fitness app games on your smartphone isn’t necessarily going to get you in shape, unless you put in the effort. The proper use of the tool is in the hands of the user and, as Lifehacker warns.

“Gamification is a tool that might help you achieve your goals. It isn’t a miracle worker, and like any kind of tracking, it’s more about how you use the tool than anything else. If you aren’t motivated, gamification won’t get you in shape or lose weight, make you more productive, or make you a better person. However, it can add to an existing foundation that could help you get there, if you want it to.”

That’s the key to gamifying fitness—it can work for you if you want it to, and if you’re willing to accept that it’s an ancillary tool to help you get fit, not make you fit without effort. To that extent, those looking to get serious about using tech nudges should consider fitness trackers or replay technology with motion sensors to monitor their movements. By setting your own goals and tracking your progress, you can get that same feeling of achievement and accomplishment without succumbing to boredom.

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/02/training-tips/is-the-gamification-of-fitness-a-bad-thing_53778#RhI0c2ViM6RR66ty.99

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Why (And How) To Learn To Bilateral Breathe http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/why-and-how-to-learn-to-bilateral-breathe http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/why-and-how-to-learn-to-bilateral-breathe#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:00:04 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=49364

Learning how to breathe bilaterally can be beneficial in chaotic situations. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Professional triathlete and super-swimmer Sara McLarty explains why you should learn to breathe bilaterally, and it’s not just because

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Learning how to breathe bilaterally can be beneficial in chaotic situations. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Learning how to breathe bilaterally can be beneficial in chaotic situations. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Learning how to breathe bilaterally can be beneficial in chaotic situations. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Professional triathlete and super-swimmer Sara McLarty explains why you should learn to breathe bilaterally, and it’s not just because all the cool kids are doing it.

Which of the following scenarios have you ever found yourself in during a triathlon?

• Waking up on race morning and checking the weather by peering out the hotel window. Howling and gusting winds greet you with the rising sun. The open water that you splashed around in the day before is now a frothy mess of white water.

• Standing on the beach before a race, you notice that the water isn’t exactly flat like the pool. Instead, there are beautiful sets of four- to five-foot breakers crashing into shore. The race course is about to take you 100 meters out, then along the shore line before leading you back through the waves to dry land.

• Settling into your pace and getting into a grove in the middle of the swim leg of a race. You find some clear water and space to stretch out and find a rhythm. Suddenly, another racer decides that your swim pace and sighting line is perfect, so they just come on over and join you. Right next to you-stroke for stroke, yard for yard.

If you ever had a basic introduction to swimming or taken Swimming 101 (some colleges actually offer this), you know the reasons why bilateral breathing is important. Breathing on both sides of your body while you are swimming creates smooth, even strokes. You get a better balance in the water by alternating your breathing and you develop uniform muscles.

Breathing to both sides of your body becomes even more important when you move from the pool to the open water. Let’s look at the race-scenarios above-waves, wind and other competitors. Being comfortable with bilateral breathing can make you a much calmer athlete in each of these scenarios. Imagine that the swim course puts the shore-line on your right side. If you can breathe to the right, you’ll always have the shore in sight. Or perhaps a competitor starts swimming directly on your right side and sends a giant splash at your face with each of their strokes. If you have practiced bilateral breathing in training, you can just turn you head the other way and forget that she’s there. Finally there is the element of wind. I have swam multi-loop courses where the wind came from all four directions. Sometimes it seems like you get smacked in the head with rough chop at every buoy turnaround. As long as I remember to breathe away from the chop, I avoid getting smacked in the face and swallowing a gallon of saltwater.

These are just some of the scenarios I might describe to a new swimmer, or an old and stubborn one, to encourage them to practice breathing on their “weak” side.

RELATED: 5 Ways To “Swim Smooth”

How To Learn To Bilateral Breathe

I am aware that giving someone a reason to do something doesn’t mean that she’ll actually do it-especially when it comes to bilateral breathing. Why? Because breathing to your non-dominant side feels awkward and uncomfortable at first. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting past that uncomfortable hump:

First, you should try to increase flexibility in you neck and shoulders. One side of your neck is always tighter (usually as a result of your preferred sleeping position), so stretching before you get into the pool is a simple solution to a seemingly complex problem. Second, I suggest starting the breath earlier in your stroke cycle. If a swimmer feels she can’t get a full breath of air on her weak side, it’s likely because she is starting to turn her head too late. Your head should begin to rotate as soon as you start to extend the opposite hand forward. But remember: Never lift your head forward to breathe. Your head should rotate directly to your side as you roll your hips in the same direction.

Finally, pay attention to the underwater arm-pull during a breath to the weak side. Most swimmers struggling with bilateral breathing will try to pull with a straight arm or will drop their elbow after the catch. If this is happens while taking a breath, it causes the head and torso to sink in the water. This can be the difference between sucking in some quality O2 or some not-so-fun H2O. The solution is to work on proper arm position through the entire pull with lots of high-elbow catch drills during practice.

Bilateral breathing can be the difference between an enjoyable day at the beach or a life-saving rescue (maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the point). All it takes is practice at the pool, or a calm day in the open water, to become comfortable breathing to both sides of your body. Your stroke will thank you for becoming more even and fluid. Your lungs will thank you for not trying to breathe in liquid. The lifeguards will thank you for not making them take a break from tanning to save your life. Most importantly, your competitors will hate you for being calmer and faster in the water!

RELATED: A Better Way To Breathe?

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Dear Coach: Should I Do An Ironman? http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/dear-coach-should-i-do-an-ironman http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/dear-coach-should-i-do-an-ironman#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:16 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55314

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Dear Coach: I’m a competitive age-grouper who has always done sprints and Olympic-distance races, but I feel like I should make the move

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Dear Coach: I’m a competitive age-grouper who has always done sprints and Olympic-distance races, but I feel like I should make the move to Ironman. How do I know if I’m really ready?

Ask yourself this: What’s driving my urge to do an Ironman? I’m always a little concerned when an athlete tells me what they feel they “should” do. If you’re thinking about it because you like going long and are willing to put in the requisite hours of training, then by all means go for it. But if you’re considering it because you think it validates you as a triathlete, please reconsider.

Certainly Ironman is the glamour event of our sport, and it presents the ultimate challenge for a lot of triathletes. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not an accomplished athlete if you don’t want anything to do with 140.6.

RELATED: How To Nail The Ironman Marathon

Consider some of the advantages of shorter races. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, you get to compete far more often. (If you love racing more than you love training, this is a big plus.) If your sprint race is derailed by illness, injury or a mechanical, you can bounce back and do another one a few weeks later. (Good luck getting into an Ironman in a few weeks’ notice.) And don’t underestimate the value of doing well in sprints, or the challenges they present. Sprints allow for less of a margin for error than longer races since even a small lapse of concentration and effort can make the difference between earning hardware or watching the awards ceremony from the sidelines.

If you’ve got a major sponsor or book publisher pressuring you to make your Ironman debut, by all means do what you “should.” Otherwise, do what you want.

Jonathan Cane is founder and president of City Coach Multisport in New York City. He is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weight Training, and has coached for Nike Running and JackRabbit Sports.

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Build a foundation for running fast http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/build-a-foundation-for-running-fast http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/build-a-foundation-for-running-fast#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:00:46 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=51401

The top training priority of every runner should be to establish a solid foundation for future development as a runner. How is this done?

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The top training priority of every runner should be to establish a solid foundation for future development as a runner.

How is this done? The physiological foundation for running performance has two components: aerobic fitness and neuromuscular fitness. You know what aerobic fitness is: the ability to generate large amounts of energy efficiently with oxygen taken from the environment. Neuromuscular fitness is the ability to generate a high level of stride power in an energy-efficient manner.

When you first take up running, you need to focus your training on developing these characteristics in a manner that is appropriate for a person starting at square one. Veteran runners, who have already developed a solid foundation of aerobic and neuromuscular fitness, need to focus their training instead on advanced types of workouts that build on this foundation and on “specific-endurance” workouts that combine high aerobic and neuromuscular demands and thereby simulate race intensities.

Aerobic Training 101
The best way to lay a foundation of aerobic fitness is quite simple: Perform a gradually and steadily increasing amount of running at a comfortable pace. Start by running every other day and work toward running six or seven days a week. Start with short (15-20 minutes) runs and slowly increase the duration of your average run to 45 minutes or so. Do one “long run” per week on Saturday or Sunday. Keep increasing the duration of this run until it’s long enough to carry you to the finish line of the longest events you care to do.

Total running volume is the single best predictor of running fitness. That’s why the vast majority of elite runners work out twice a day and run upwards of 100 miles per week. You can improve as a runner for years simply by increasing the amount of easy running you do each week until you reach the maximum level you’re comfortable with (even if it’s nowhere near 100 miles per week!).

Sure, you can mix in some more advanced types of aerobic training, such as threshold runs, which consist of extended segments (10 to 30 minutes) of moderately hard running between a warmup and cool down, but as a beginner you should keep this type of training to a minimum and prioritise sheer volume.

Neuromuscular Training
If the best way to build a foundation of aerobic fitness is to go long and slow, the best way to build a foundation of neuromuscular fitness is to do very short, very fast efforts such as speed intervals (e.g. 6 x 300-meter relaxed sprints a track), fartlek intervals (30-60-second hard efforts sprinkled throughout an otherwise easy run) and steep hill sprints.

Start with steep hill sprints. These short, maximum-intensity efforts against gravity provide two key benefits. First, they strengthen all of the running muscles, making you much less injury-prone. They also increase the power and efficiency of the stride, enabling you to cover more ground with each stride with less energy in race circumstances. These are significant benefits from a training method that takes very little time and is fun to do.

If you have never done a steep hill sprint before, you should not leap into a set of 10 of steep hill sprints the very first time you try them. These efforts place a tremendous stress on the muscles and connective tissues. Thus, the careless beginner is at some risk of suffering a muscle or tendon strain or another such acute injury when performing steep hill sprints. Once your legs have adapted to the stress they impose, steep hill sprints actually protect against injury. But you must proceed with caution until you get over the hump of those early adaptations.

Your very first session, performed after completion of an easy run, should consist of just one or two eight-second sprints on a steep incline of approximately six percent. If you don’t know what a six-percent gradient looks or feels like, get on a treadmill and adjust the incline to six percent. Then find a hill that matches it.

Your first session will stimulate physiological adaptations that serve to better protect your muscles and connective tissues from damage in your next session. Known to exercise scientists as the repeated bout effect, these adaptations occur very quickly. If you do your first steep hill sprints on a Monday, you will be ready to do another session by Thursday — and you will almost certainly experience less muscle soreness after this second session.

Thanks to the repeated bout effect, you can increase your steep hill sprint training fairly rapidly, and thereby develop strength and stride power quickly. First, increase the number of eight-second sprints you perform by two per session per week. Once you’re doing eight to 10 sprints, move to 10-second sprints and a steeper, eight-percent incline. After a few more weeks, advance to 12-second sprints on a 10-percent incline. Always allow yourself the opportunity to recovery fully between individual sprints within a session. In other words, rest long enough so that you are able to cover just as much distance in the next sprint as you did in the previous one. Simply walking back down the hill you just ran up should do the trick, but if you need more time, take it.

Most runners will achieve as much strength and power improvement as they can get by doing 10 to 12 hill sprints of 12 seconds each, twice a week. Once you have reached this level and have stopped gaining strength and power, you can cut back to one set of 10 to 12 hill sprints per week. This level of maximum power training will suffice to maintain your gains through the remainder of the training cycle.

Taking the Long View
As the seasons and years go by and assuming you train sensibly, your training should evolve first by adding layer upon layer to this foundation of aerobic and neuromuscular fitness through increasing mileage and more challenging aerobic workouts, including longer long runs, and also through more challenging high-intensity neuromuscular training. As these types of training begin to reach a point of diminishing returns, gradually shift your focus toward specific-endurance training for your primary race event.

The longer you continue training for competitive performance in the sport of distance running, the more your overall training mix should move away from general training at the extremes and the more it should focus on specific endurance.

About The Author: Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit www.mattfitzgerald.org.

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Two Ways To Prevent Running Injuries http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/two-ways-to-prevent-running-injuries http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/two-ways-to-prevent-running-injuries#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:42 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55308

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Two ways to vary your run training to prevent injury. Triathletes are all about variety. That’s why the results of a recent study

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Two ways to vary your run training to prevent injury.

Triathletes are all about variety. That’s why the results of a recent study regarding running injuries—or rather how to prevent them—are welcome news. Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers recruited 69 male and female runners to determine whether there was any relationship between step-by-step strike differences and running injuries. The participants were split into two groups—those who had sustained a running injury in the past year and those who had not.

After putting participants on treadmills and assessing things like their “stride-to-stride variability of strike index,” contact time, flight time, stride time and stride length, the researchers made some complicated calculations to determine each runner’s “coefficient of variance.” Put simply, this showed how much each person’s foot strike varied from one step to the next. What they found was that those who had greater variability were less likely to have suffered an injury in the previous year. The assumption is that when you have less variance upon striking the ground, you load the same tissues step after step. However, when there is greater variability in each step, you spread the work around.

Since overhauling your stride can be a tricky endeavour, the two easiest ways to ensure variability in your strike pattern are to train on different types of terrain and to rely on more than one pair of running shoes.

Varying Terrain

From grass to dirt to gravel and even sand, there are many terrain options that exist beyond pavement. “Your stride will naturally adjust depending on terrain,” explains Dara Wittenberg, a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field-certified coach in Boca Raton, Fla. “There’s nothing repetitive about running on trails—your tempo varies, stride varies, strike varies. The diversity of running surfaces can help eliminate the incredibly repetitive nature of running, add strength, and decrease risk of injury.”

RELATED: The Importance Of Varying Your Running Surfaces

Using More Than One Pair Of Running Shoes

Switching up your shoes is another measure that you can take to offer your legs and feet some variety. “Some athletes will buy three pairs of the same shoe and alternate through an older, middle and a newer pair,” Wittenberg says. “Others will choose a pair with a lower heel drop that mimics barefoot running a bit more and then have a pair with more support for long-distance training.”

RELATED: How Often Should I Replace My Running Shoes?

The Takeaway

The good news is that many triathletes are already taking these measures, perhaps more with comfort and enjoyment in mind, rather than injury prevention. Regardless of the motives, adding a bit of variety in your life—whether it be via terrain or footwear—will do your body good over many miles.

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Quick Set Monday: Kickboard Drills http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/quick-set-monday-kickboard-drills http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/08/quick-set-monday-kickboard-drills#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:00:10 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55305

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program in Clermont, Fla. We’ll feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (Mastersswimworkoutsbysaramclarty.blogspot.com), you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

A:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
4×300 on 4:30 (100 free/100 IM/100 free)
8×200 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–4, 5–8)
4×50 kick on 1:10 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on :60 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :50 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*4,500 Total*

B:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 on 6:00 (2×100 free/50 non-free)
6×150 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–3, 4–6)
4×50 kick on 1:20 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on 1:10 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :60 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*3,500 Total*

C:
600 warm-up (2×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 with 30 sec rest (2×100 free/50 non-free)
4×150 pull with 20 sec rest (descend time 1–4)
8×50 with 10 sec rest (descend stroke count 1–4, 5–8)
100 cool-down
*2,600 Total*

Drills

Catch-up With Stick: As you take a stroke with your right arm, keep your left arm extended forward in the water, holding on to a sideways kickboard or stick. Complete the stroke with your right arm and after it enters the water above your head, tap your left hand. This signals the start of the stroke with your left arm. Repeat on other side.

Tombstone: Hold a kickboard upright in the water and push it forward. The more of the board you hold under the water, the harder this drill is!

 

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Essential Run Drills For Speed And Efficiency http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/essential-run-drills-for-speed-and-efficiency http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/essential-run-drills-for-speed-and-efficiency#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:00:37 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55287

Photo: Mark Doolittle Photography

                          Do these consistently to help improve your

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Photo: Mark Doolittle Photography

Photo: Mark Doolittle Photography

Photo: Mark Doolittle Photography


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Do these consistently to help improve your running form.

If you want to improve as a runner, you’ve got to do more than just run. You’ve got to make time to do the extra stuff, too. Taking 20 minutes to do a handful of drills, such as those demonstrated here by Colorado-based 2012 Australian Olympic marathoner Benita Willis, can dramatically improve your running form and economy (or the ability to run fast efficiently) and increase your stride cadence and racing speed.

Each of the drills highlights one or more aspects of good running form and accentuates them through repetitive motion, which trains the body to become comfortable with that movement so it can be inserted into your typical running mechanics. These drills can serve as a dynamic warmup routine after a 10-minute easy jog before your regularly scheduled run or workout, or they can be completed after a run to reinstate the notion of running with good form while fatigued.

Try to do these drills three to four times per week on an ongoing basis, focusing on the precise movements outlined below. There are numerous other drills you can incorporate into your routine, including acceleration strides, but the most important factor is doing them consistently.

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4 Pre-Season Focuses For Triathletes http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/4-pre-season-focuses-for-triathletes http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/4-pre-season-focuses-for-triathletes#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:00:47 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55280

Photo: iStock

Use this pre-season time to (finally!) focus on all the things you should be doing to become a better triathlete. Though it can be tempting

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Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Use this pre-season time to (finally!) focus on all the things you should be doing to become a better triathlete.

Though it can be tempting to jump right back into swim, bike, run preparation for 2016, there might be better areas to focus on in the off-season that could lead to more gains.

During the season, it’s difficult to focus on that extra 10 percent, which is why the winter is the time to do all the things you’ve been putting off. Sure, there are no prizes awarded at the end of the pre-hab finish line or 30-minute core workout, but it will pay off come next year.

Here are some ideas on why and how to emphasise the “extras” so when you hit triathlon-specific training, you’re healthy and ready to go!

Focus: Rehab or pre-hab

Got that one nagging little issue (or nervous to acquire any in the future)? Treat the off-season as injury prevention time. For many types of injuries, you need rest combined with proactive treatment for best results. Josh Glass, owner of Georgia Sports Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga., points out that the majority of endurance athletes’ injuries are overuse in nature, and hands-on treatment, improved biomechanics and rest can all help.
„
Your training plan: Work with a healthcare professional to devise a rehab or pre-hab “training plan.” Making sure you’re not weak or lack mobility in a key area will pay dividends when you ramp up the volume down the road.

Glass says that the most important part of treating or preventing any injury is identifying the cause and getting an individualised treatment and home rehab plan you can do daily. Give yourself goals such as getting to the point where you can do an activity pain-free, achieving X range of motion or improving to a level of strength that your healthcare professional advises.

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Pick The Swim Drill For Your Weakness http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/pick-the-swim-drill-for-your-weakness http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/pick-the-swim-drill-for-your-weakness#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:05 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=55274

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Improve your technique by doing drills catered to your weaknesses in the water. Drills are most effective when they target your specific

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Photo: Nils Nilsen

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Improve your technique by doing drills catered to your weaknesses in the water.

Drills are most effective when they target your specific stroke limitations. Instead of aimlessly lollygagging through another Fist Drill, identify your problem first then do the drills that focus on your weakness.

Your problem: “I don’t move forward when I kick.”

Vertical kick: Focus on a small and quick kicking cadence that originates at your hips.
– Novice: Keep arms underwater and use a small sculling motion with your hands for added buoyancy.
– Intermediate:
Lock arms at sides and do not use hands.
– Advanced: Hold hands above surface of the water.

Kick with fins: Use long, pliable rubber fins. Fins will allow you to feel the correct kicking motion and help you build muscle memory.

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How To Build Your Triathlon Base http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/how-to-build-your-triathlon-base http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2016/02/05/how-to-build-your-triathlon-base#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:00:07 +0000 http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/?p=32903

Photo: Nils Nilssen

Many triathletes believe that the best way to build your base is to focus on long, slow distance training with no intensity, for several

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Photo: Nils Nilssen

Many triathletes believe that the best way to build your base is to focus on long, slow distance training with no intensity, for several months. But is that the best way?

Let’s first define “building your base.” It is a term that is thrown around in the triathlon world, but seems to have many definitions and meanings. For the sake of this article we will define base as your “aerobic development, or increasing the ability to utilise oxygen in the process of creating energy.” This, in theory, improves our ability to use stored fat for energy and allows improved overall efficiency and endurance.

Most people would agree that a great aerobic capacity is critical to an athlete’s performance, and one train of thought believes that the only way to gain this ability is with long duration training at very low intensity. While I most certainly agree with the importance of aerobic development, I do not subscribe to that methodology. It should be noted that I do believe that aerobic development takes years, and this is a major reason that I always try to lay out a multi-year plan for any athlete, which will allow progression and benefits from consistent and progressive training.

Any training plan that suggests sticking entirely to one low intensity for an extended duration defies what we know about how the body responds best to the stimulus of training. It responds well to variance in intensity and a balance of stress with recovery (to allow adaptations). The biggest negative hormonal stress comes from high volume and duration of training—which is what is needed for the stated approach to be beneficial—combined with monotony, or one intensity. Low intensity and higher volume training actually places plenty of stress on the system without providing additional gains that it often claims.

The claim is often made that it is critical to keep intensity low to improve fat utilization, but this is only partially true. Various factors can affect fat utilization, including diet, state of fatigue and training at much higher intensity, thus aiding buffering of lactate and increasing fat uptake. It is very hard to pinpoint the optimal intensity for fat uptake, and not even really needed to improve aerobic ability in training. Through consistent training at a range of intensities you will increase aerobic development and your uptake of stored fat. What is worth knowing is what those intensity ranges are as well as how to monitor or feel them in training, hence one of the benefits of physiological testing.

I would suggest to always hit every intensity, from high to low, each week. That said, the ratio of your training load that is made up of high or low intensity should change as you go through your phases of training. Early in the season, which could be called your base phase, you should be preparing the body for heavier training loads later in the season while ensuring that you remain injury-free. You should therefore have the greatest portion of your training at a lower intensity, but still include some medium and higher intensity training to maintain speed, neuromuscular firing and hormonal balance. As you progress there should be an increasing focus on intensity, with subsequent drop in volume, before becoming specific to your race intensity in the weeks before your race.

The concept of aerobic “base,” or development, is certainly key, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the only way to gain it is through miles and miles of very low intensity. While training should be highly individual, with a focus on needs of the athlete versus a “one size fits all” methodology, there is no doubt that every athletes always needs to hit each intensity, each week, to become the most well-rounded and successful competitor possible.

Matt Dixon is an exercise physiologist, former professional triathlete, elite coach and the owner of the San Francisco-based professional coaching company Purplepatch Fitness.

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