Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY ADAM JOHN­STON

THE BEST TRIATH­LETES are not nec­es­sar­ily the fastest ath­letes. Typ­i­cally they are the most ef­fi­cient ath­letes. This be­comes more ev­i­dent as the length of a triathlon in­creases – Iron­man is a race of ef­fi­ciency, not of speed. We want to be ef­fi­cient ath­letes. But what do we mean by “ef­fi­cient?”

Ef­fi­ciency = Use­ful Work / To­tal Work

Use­ful work is work that gets you swimming, bik­ing and/or run­ning faster. To­tal work is the sum of the use­ful work and all other (nonuse­ful) work be­ing per­formed while you are try­ing to swim, bike and run faster. So what we want is to be able to pro­duce more use­ful work and/or less to­tal work when we swim, bike and run.

It is in ev­ery triath­lete’s in­ter­est to im­prove their ef­fi­ciency in each of the three dis­ci­plines. How do you im­prove ef­fi­ciency? One of two ways: 1) in­crease the amount of use­ful work you per­form when you swim, bike, and run, or 2) de­crease the to­tal work you per­form dur­ing each. “Great,” you say. “How do I do that?” Con­sider th­ese five sug­ges­tions to im­prove your ef­fi­ciency on the bike this sum­mer: Place your wa­ter bot­tles on your bike so that they are easy to ac­cess while rid­ing. If your bot­tles are in an aero­dy­nam­i­cally favourable po­si­tion, but you can’t eas­ily ac­cess them, your hy­dra­tion will suf­fer and so, too, will your per­for­mance (both on the bike and on the run). Ease of ac­cess trumps aero­dy­nam­ics. Fo­cus on ac­ces­si­bil­ity first, then work on aero­dy­nam­ics. Do­ing so will en­sure that you stay hy­drated and start the run in a bet­ter phys­i­o­log­i­cal state. Stay­ing hy­drated helps you gen­er­ate use­ful work through­out your race, which keeps your ef­fi­ciency high.

When you are bik­ing, be sure to move only what needs mov­ing: your legs. Do not move what does not need mov­ing: your head, torso and arms. (Aside from pe­ri­odic pos­tural ad­just­ments, th­ese ar­eas need not move.) Do not move your legs lat­er­ally – you don’t want to ride bow­legged or knock-kneed un­less you have an anatomic rea­son to. Do not need­lessly al­ter your an­kle po­si­tion, (for ex­am­ple, drop­ping your heel on the down­stroke and lift­ing your heel on the up­stroke) and don’t pivot your foot side to side on the pedal through­out the stroke. You will preserve more en­ergy for the

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