Coaching Tips for Long Course Weekend, LCW!
The Long Course Weekend is right around the corner, are the nerves starting to kick in?
We trust at this point your training plan has served you well, you have stuck to it and your feeling ready.
If not, and your training could do with a tweak, or you have your sights set on LCW 2018 then don”t go anywhere, this is a must read for you.
The first mistake that people make is that because a race of this nature is split up over a long weekend into separate events it means that it will be easier than doing it consecutively as in a triathlon.
Let’s get this myth out of the way to begin with, it’s not!
Having the race split up into distinct events means that your body has to adjust to racing, stopping stiffening up and racing again, combine this with the tendency to go out slightly harder than you would in a tri and these marginal increases in pace cause levels of fatigue out of all proportion to the % increase in speed.
So what is the best way to train for an event like this?
At Dinamic we often stress to our athletes that a common mistake is that many athletes do their slow work too fast and their fast work too slow!
Instead the majority of training gets done in a singular range.
Now bear in mind that there are distinct physiological benefits which occur when an individual trains at various intensities.
It is common sense to grasp that in order to get the benefits of speed work you need to do top end speed work so why do so many people not grasp that in order to gain the benefits of extensive endurance work (Strengthens & enlarges heart muscle, Improves oxygen transfer, Reduces heart rate (for given output), Improves ability to use fuel (food), especially fat) you also have to train slow.
…In short polarise your training.
Concentrate on form.
Use the opportunity of your easy training to work on technique.
Most age group athletes are so focussed on hitting times in the pool, holding power or HR numbers on the bike and keeping paces in the run that we forget about form and as a result we lose efficiency in the three disciplines.
Swimming is about reducing the drag of your body and insuring that your power/propulsion is pushing you forwards not sideways, or up.
It really is physics 101.
If you have never seen yourself swimming get someone to video you and look at the angle of your body and look at how you pull you arm back with a vertical forearm. If your body is angled and or your pull is going wide, under your body or you are using a straight arm under the water, stop wasting effort ploughing up and down a pool and spend some time working on drills to address these issues, if you are unsure go to a swim coach who does video analysis and stroke correction.
We frequently have athletes making gains of more than 20sec /100 in the pool just by working on technique over a 6 – 10 week period.
Running is easy!Everyone knows how to run!
Not the case.
When watching age group runners more often than not they run with really poor form.
No core engagement, minimal muscle recruitment of the powerful glute muscles, and a complete lack of understanding of what running fast entails.
Here is a dirty little secret all those articles in running magazines telling you shorten your stride were doing you no favours at all.
Here are some stats for your consideration, Mo Farrah in a 10km race ran an aver pace of 2:45/km with an aver cadence of 93 and an aver distance per stride of 2:05m / stride, Jonny Brownlee in Hyde Park held for the last km a pace of 3:00/km with a cadence of 91 and a distance per stride of 1.85. Recently an age group triathlete of my acquaintance did a 3km in an aver cadence of 90, in a pace of 3:45/km and a distance / stride of 1.48m/ stride.
This should be clear that in all three cases the differentiator is not cadence per se but is distance / stride. This being the case how does shortening ones stride help with speed?The answer to this is that shortening your stride is a band aid fix for over striding.
Over striding is not caused by reaching too far forward but is more often caused by our inability to drive ourselves forward to land with our centre of gravity over our foot.
The cause for this is often due to poor core, poor range of motion and poor muscle recruitment all things that can be addressed by focusing on technique and drills, making your run efficient to gain all the possible benefit of your running power.
As with the swim and run so with the bike. It does not help if you can produce and hold 360 watts for an hour if you can only do so while sitting bolt upright and you can only stay on the bars of your TT bike for 5min intervals.
Best advice I can give for the bike is get a bike fit!
A good bike fit which takes into account your range of motion, style of riding and bio mechanics will allow you to be far more efficient for far longer and with less impact on your body leaving you in a better position to take part in the marathon.
In all three disciplines I have used the word efficient.
In long course racing efficiency is as critical as speed.
It is often not the person with the outright turn of speed that wins but the person with the good level of speed and a higher level of efficiency.
In conclusion treat the race with respect, do the training it requires, make sure that the training is polarised and that you invest time in technique and efficiency, last but not least take time to enjoy the training, do all of that and the race itself will be your reward.