Nail the run

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - SWIM BIKE RUN TRANSITION - —GREG KEALEY

The run is the dis­ci­pline that gets you on the podium, if you’re in po­si­tion to do so. Ef­fi­ciency is the key – triath­letes are fa­tigued as they start the run and need to be able to do their best work in the fi­nal one or two kilo­me­tres. This is an im­pos­si­ble feat if you are in­ef­fi­cient. Elite run coaches all em­pha­size rhythm as the foun­da­tion of good, fast run­ning.

FOOT STRIKE: The foot should hit the ground flat, with heel slightly raised. Never run on your toes. Hit­ting the ground too far for­ward pre­vents the large mus­cle groups (ham­strings and glutes) from pro­duc­ing power. A flat foot plant en­gages all the mus­cle groups for bet­ter, more ef­fi­cient power pro­duc­tion and re­duces in­jury po­ten­tial.

CA­DENCE: Your train­ing and race ca­dence should be the same. Too many ath­letes do their base train­ing at one ca­dence (i.e. 70–80 rpm), but then want to race at 90 rpm. Un­der fa­tigue or stress, how will you main­tain a ca­dence you prac­tice only 20 to 30 per cent of your train­ing? Main­tain­ing a higher ca­dence helps re­duce over-strid­ing, im­proves run met­rics and sup­ports the neu­ro­mus­cu­lar train­ing that will help main­tain turnover un­der fa­tigue.

RHYTHM: It’s the num­ber-one item on an elite coach’s list. De­velop rhythm and build your speed from that. Your breath­ing, stride and arm drive all need to be co­or­di­nated for you to run fast.

RUN MET­RICS: Stance time (the amount of time your foot is on the ground), swing time (how long your leg takes to move for­ward) and ver­ti­cal movement (how much up and down mo­tion you have in your stride) are all im­por­tant as­pects to run econ­omy. A proper run gait anal­y­sis can give you ideas on how to im­prove your run econ­omy.

DRILLS: Will help with run form and biome­chan­ics and help with in­jury pre­ven­tion and run econ­omy. When do­ing drills, do them with pur­pose. Know what you are do­ing, why you are do­ing it, how to do it prop­erly and how it re­lates to per­for­mance.

PAC­ING: De­vel­op­ing ath­letes need to work on neg­a­tive splits – the abil­ity to fin­ish faster than they started. While sea­soned ath­letes with many years of spe­cific train­ing can start faster and then “set­tle in” to a given pace, a young ath­lete does not have that ca­pac­ity and needs to un­der­stand how dif­fer­ent paces af­fect them, how to mea­sure an ef­fort (pace) by feel and how to build that pace through the event.

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