Triathlon run performance tips
July 19, 2010 Leave a Comment
Economical running – Correct technique can maximize the economy of running by eliminating unnecessary movement, wasted motion and energy. To put it simply, runners want all their energy to produce straight ahead movement, as opposed to side-to-side, or up-and-down motion. Do you run with a long stride, or heel-strike? This means your foot and lower leg must stop and re-accelerate with each stride, thus wasting energy. For more information, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OE1OPzBc04&feature=related
Injury prevention – When we walk one foot is always on the ground, and our forward foot hits the surface with a force equal to half our body weight. When running, this force is much greater, as there is a non-contact phase when both feet are off the ground. During running, the foot strikes the surface with a force of 2 to 4 times our body weight. A combination of correct running technique and appropriate running equipment can help to reduce these landing forces by up to 50% therefore improving both your technique and your speed.
|Area of body||Correct running form|
|Head||The head should be upright, with eyes focused forward to a point on the ground about 50-75 feet in front of you.|
|Shoulders||The shoulders should be square and level. Do not round your shoulders or swing them forwards or backwards.|
|Arms||Arms should be swinging freely but in a general forwards and backwards motion, never crossing the body. Elbows are bent at 90 degrees with forearms remaining parallel to the ground. Do we have a picture we could hyperlink to? Or a video? Don’t think we need this here.|
|Hands||Hands are held in a relaxed manner. Don’t waste energy making a fist.|
|Torso||The torso should be erect or just slightly forward with chest up. This allows plenty of room for proper breathing action. The center of your chest should be over the balls of your feet.|
|Hips||The hips should be square and level with no sideways movement|
|Legs||The leg action should be relaxed and rather quick, with minimal to moderate knee lift. You should focus on beginning the push to the rear with your foot before your foot strikes the ground. On push-off, your body should go forward, not up.|
|Feet||The feet should be pointed straight ahead and land directly under the hips. Initial contact with the ground should be on your mid-foot. Cadence (see below) should be 90-92 for most adults.|
Cadence (speed of leg turnover)
Science and experience over years with elite endurance runners shows that a run cadence of 90–92 is best. This is an unnatural cadence for most of us and we must practice to achieve it. We are most comfortable at a cadence of 70-80. Use of a metronome can be a great aid to improving your cadence. Transitioning from a slow to a faster cadence may take as much as a year or two of practice. An audible metronome to use as a training aid is the Seiko DM50. If you don’t have a metronome, use your watch and count how many times your right foot hits the ground in one minute. That is your cadence.
You can run in any good running shoe that is comfortable. However, as you transition to a mid-foot gait, you may find yourself wondering why most of the running shoes have huge heel cushions. Up until recently it has been impossible to find shoes that are made for mid-foot runners. These runners need the cushioning under the mid-foot, not the heel. Now there are shoes that are made specifically for mid-foot runners. Newton, Zoot and K Swiss offer such shoes. You should replace your running shoes after 250-300 miles or 4 months of regular use.
R2R’s Running Pearls of Wisdom
Risk and Safety in Running
There are many elements of risk in going outdoors to run. But, there are more risks in staying on the couch. There have been several surveys over the last 30 years focused on causes of running injuries. Research shows that over 1/3 of all runners are injured each year, and that injury keeps them from running for at least one month.
Running and Injury Risk
- The surface you run on can influence your risk of injury. Very rough and uneven surfaces increase risk. So a relatively even surface is an important element. The hardness of the surface you run on contributes to impact forces. A concrete or paved surface can increase impact forces with each step by 10-20% compared with a dirt or gravel surface. If you chose to run on trails, gravel and or dirt-roads, then you should also do balance and core stability exercises regularly to reduce your risk of a fall or ankle sprain.
- Don’t Break The 10% Rule Unless You Want to Get Hurt: As the year over year change in your volume of exercise exceeds 10%, your risk of injury rises significantly.
- Blisters: Many triathletes train and race without socks, so extra care must be taken to prevent blisters. Paint any hot spot or area that has ever blistered with tincture of Iodine nightly, if you are not allergic to iodine. Lubricate your shoes with a shake of talcum powder or a lubricant like Body Glide.
- Plan on taking a break from running: Running every day or even every week takes a toll on your body. Take off at least one day per week from all triathlon training. Each year you should plan an extended period of rest. Read our article on this critical “fourth season” at:
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