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    How to Improve Your Running Time in a Triathlon.

    How to Improve Your Running Time in a Triathlon.

    One of the most common questions we hear is, how do you improve your running times in a triathlon. Some of the athletes at Team Airofin have said that they are capable of hitting under 40 minutes at 10k distance but when it came down to the 10k at the end of the triathlon they would struggle to hit under the 40 minute mark. We spoke with our team coach Jarrod Harvey @Jarrodharveytri who is the head coach at Tri Edge coaching https://www.triedgecoaching.net/ - Jarrod has previously finished 9th (25-29) at the Kona World Championship in 2017 with a time of 9:23:23 so we asked him for some tips and advice on trying to improve our run times at the end of the triathlon....

    Here are some of his useful tips for racing and training in improving your run times.

    Work on your cadence

    Now for those of you not familiar with the term cadence, it is simply put the number of steps you take per minute. If you can work on improving your cadence then you will be able to improve on your run time. But how do we increase cadence?

    First off, you will need to set your own cadence zones up. If your cadence at race pace is at 160 steps per minute, then you will want to try and increase that by 5-10% initially and work on that by implementing shortened intervals at a higher cadence. Instead of counting your steps you should try a metronome to help keep track of this.

    Practise running straight off the bike

    Bike Airofin

    (Image: @tri_kajtek)

    This seems like a really obvious one, but it is something that a lot of people miss out of their training. Jarrod recommends working on a long sustained strength effort (roughly 8 minutes) on the turbo trainer and quickly transitioning into a 2-3km run. This will help your body develop an understanding of what to expect coming from the bike to the run and programme the muscles to learn to adapt.

    Match your cadence on the bike to your run

    Now this is something we haven’t really heard of before but it is a great point to make. If  your run cadence is 180 steps per minute you should try and pair that with your bike cadence. 180 steps per minute is roughly equivalent to 90RPM on the bike. Having the bottom half of your body in unison and pushing at a similar ratio means your legs will be able to make that transition over from the bike to the run much more easily.

    Try giving these a go and let us know your thoughts on these points. 

    3 Hacks for Smashing 2018

    3 Hacks for Smashing 2018

    It’s that time of year again… When the New Years resolutions are flying around and people are convincing themselves this is the year to make some major life changes. In the happy haze of what remains of your vacation days, no bar seems too high. You’re fully prepared to leave this version of yourself behind.. Well wait… One more slice of left over Christmas cake for now—but once the clock strikes midnight on January 1, everything will change: You’ll be better, fitter, more confident, and altogether more together in the New Year ;)

    So how do we go about sticking to those New Years resolutions which by the end of January seem so unachievable… Well here’s 3 hacks for achieving your goals this year!!

    Write your goals down

    Writing down your goals holds you accountable for your achievements or failures. When you don’t have a plan, you don’t know how you will reach your destination.

    There will always be doubters against written goals as they require substantial behavioural change which will be resisted, as the brain is wired to seek rewards and avoid pain or fear. When fear or failure creeps into the mind of the goal setter it becomes a demotivator with a desire to return to known. However jotting down specific goals with small wins along the way will help you in achieving your overall goal. 

    If you set a goal with no deadline that sense of urgency will fall wayward and you become less accountable for any failures. If you are not sure how to goal set - check out - the Progress Journal by Performance Lab au and that will help guide you through the stages.

    Get Into a Routine

    In order to get things done it can be useful to get your body into a routine. Make those daily habits for success become an everyday occurrence. If your aim for example is compete in an Ironman by the end of the year and you hate swimming. Then set your alarm early, get up, get out and get in the pool. If you do that everyday and set goals in the pool of the distance you swim - you will be closer to your overall goal than if you had no routine.

    Routine helps instil good habits, become more efficient and proficient and also helps to build momentum towards your goals. 


    Change your Identify

    This may seem like a strange one. But when we say change your identity - we mean you have to change who you think you are in order to achieve your new goals. You can be taught the necessary skills to perform certain tasks required but underneath the knowledge and skills associated with the activities in order to truly succeed you need to change your identify before a behaviour change will occur. Set images, feelings and words around the person you want to be. I will be an Ironman, I will eat healthier etc. 


    Adopt a reward as well for achieving tasks and hitting milestones and have punishments for not hitting certain tasks or milestones. This will hold you more accountable and will ensure you reinforce the positive achievements and avoid not hitting targets.

    If you haven’t already, try adding these into your 2018 plans and go out there and smash it!!

    The Importance of Sleep on Performance.

    The Importance of Sleep on Performance.

    Inadequate sleep can have hugely negative effects on our body and on our sporting performance. In order to recover from those gruelling training sessions it is essential to get the required amount of sleep in order to allow our body to recover. Usain Bolt, 6 time Olympic Gold medalist when asked what the most important part of his daily training regime was, he answered “Sleep - I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” Now this is not to say that he won all those Olympic Gold’s by just sleeping. We are just iterating the point that sleep should not be underestimated when taking on something like an Ironman, marathon, or other endurance sport. Our culture of hyper busy people almost discourages a good nights sleep, with some bragging that they can cope on less than 5 hours of sleep a night.

    Here’s how many hours some pro athletes get on average each night

    Roger Federer - 11 Hours
    Usain Bolt - 8-10 Hours
    Lebron James - 12 Hours
    Venus Williams - 9 Hours
    Tiger Woods - 5 Hours
    Rafael Nadal - 8-9 Hours

    As you can see, all athletes above get a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night on average, with the exception of Tiger Woods.... perhaps that’s because his sport requires you to stroll around a field hitting a small ball with a club a couple of times an hour. (Sly dig at golf ;)

    A Great night sleep is also crucial for water reabsorption as the kidneys balance water, sodium and the electrolytes during sleep. Without this - it can lead to dehydration which then leads to muscle pain and even poor performance. The majority of repair happens when the body is sleeping. The body will also repair and regenerate damaged tissues from the days workouts.

    During these deeper stages of sleep human growth hormone is released which helps rebuild that damaged tissue whilst also building stronger muscles. It also crucially helps convert fat to fuel and keep our bones strong. Concentration can also be negatively impaired with a lack of sleep and we know concentration is essential for being able to “push” at the end of a tough race. 


    What you can do if you get limited nights sleep?

    We know there are those nights when you get in late and have to be up early and with kids, sleep can’t always be scheduled however taking a 20-30 minute power nap can improve alertness by 100%.

    If you can keep the alarm clock set for the same time each morning and have a time you get to sleep each night, it will help with your body knowing when it is shutting down and when it is time to wake. If you don’t do this you end up in a constant state of jet lag without ever leaving home.

    As endurance athletes we must not underestimate the importance of sleep. Don't be one of those hero's that get's 4 hours of sleep a night - listen to your body and give it the rest time it deserves. 

     

    Don't forget to check out some of our new MEN'S and WOMEN'S Cycling gear ;) 

    How To Swim Faster.

    How To Swim Faster.

    Swimming faster usually comes from the result of increasing the distance and intensity of swim workouts, so that the overall fitness level increases. The key is to learn how to move through the water as efficiently as possible. One crucial thing in order to swim faster with less effort is to swim smarter not harder with the focus being on reducing drag in the water and improving propulsion.

    Decreasing Drag

    A large focus should be on decreasing the drag and becoming more streamlined in the water. Reducing drag requires skill rather more than excessive force. Here are some tips to help you work on limiting your drag. 

    i) Work on Balance
    The most efficient way to decrease drag is to improve balance by staying as horizontal and streamline as possible when moving through the water. When swimming freestyle keeping your head in line with the spine will help you keep your balance and reduce drag. If you have have an underwater camera film from just below the surface of the water to see how horizontal your body is when swimming. 

    ii) Compact and efficient kick
    The kick will contribute for less than 10% of the stroke propulsion while the arm stroke contribute for the rest. A compact kick should neither break the water surface nor move too low below the body line - otherwise unnecessary drag is created. Try some kicking drills to practice that compact and efficient flick of the legs and feet. Working on core strength will also really help with keeping the body in a streamlined position. 

    Improving Propulsion

    Once you have reduced drag to a minimum, you can work on improving your propulsion. Again, this is mainly done by improving your swim stroke mechanics, as well as building more strength in the required muscles.

    i) Work on shoulder and back strength 
    Having access to more power in the water will prove to be a big advantage when propelling through the water. That is not to say you need to spend hours in the gym bulking up but focussing on the areas which will have the biggest competitive gains. Some exercises to incorporate into into your gym routine to help improve strength in the required muscles would be - standing straight arm pull downs, lat pull downs, seated row and shoulder press to name a few. 

    ii) Using Your Core
    You engage the large back hip and torso muscles while rolling from side to side in the water. Working on core strength will give you better ability to utilise the require stabilising muscles. The synergy between your core muscles and arm muscles allows you to apply more force to your swim stroke.

    ii) Anchoring your Arms
    Before applying propulsive force in the water with your arm, you need to make sure that your hand and forearm are aligned and facing backward. You can then effectively move your arm backward like a big paddle. This technique is often called the “high elbow catch” in the freestyle stroke because you need to keep your elbow above your hand to be able to successfully do this.

    If you can work on these points whilst increasing distance and the intensity of your sessions we can guarantee your swim technique and speed will make a drastic improvement. 

    What Most Triathletes Don't Know About Strength Training

    What Most Triathletes Don't Know About Strength Training

    It is always a controversial subject when we talk about strength training in relation to becoming a more efficient triathlete. There is a wide debate around the effectiveness of an integrated strength plan however we here at Airofin are huge advocates of incorporating some relevant strength based exercises to improve efficiencies and aid in becoming a better all round triathlete and athlete.

    Each discipline in triathlon consists of a few basic movements that are repeated over and over. The movement patterns consist of two patterns - application of force followed by recovery. If the recover aspect of the movement becomes under utilised, the joints and muscles involved in a specific movement can become imbalanced which can bring about the risk of injury. In essence performing specific strength training exercises that target both force application and recovery parts of the movement patterns will provide you with the biggest gains when competing.

    We have outlined a few strength exercises which could be carried out to improve each discipline. In addition to all of these exercises triathletes should always include some core work to help the stabilising muscles.

    Exercises for swimming

    For the force application phase in swimming, you want to hit the big muscles in your back, shoulders and core that are activated by the stroke action and the body rotation through the stroke.

    A lat pull down is a really good exercise to improve the movement pattern for a high elbow position in the freestyle stroke.

    Another great exercise would be the one arm cable pull where you set the cable to a height where you can bend over and create that high elbow position.

    One final exercise would be the cable straight arm pull down - this is great for the strength aspect for the motion your hand takes through the water - if you can increase strength aspect in this area then when it comes to the arm stroke brushing through the water it will feel much easier.

    Exercises for cycling

    In cycling, you have two different exercises for applying force – one for seated and one for standing cycling.

    The main exercise here to develop strength would be the standard barbell squat. The squat will activate many other muscles including the core and lower back however the main focus will be on the quadriceps.

    Another Leg exercise to incorporate would be the leg curl as in the recovery phase of the cycling motion where your hamstrings do the work to drag the pedal up from 6 to 12 o’clock requires strength for improved cycling efficiencies.

    Exercises for running

    For running and also standing cycling the ultimate exercise if the single leg squat. There are many ways to do it, and most of them are good. But I just happen to think that the one that best mimics the movement patterns of running is the version where you elevate yourself using a box. When you want to maximise power, doing single-leg squats in a Smith machine with more weights is a better choice though.
    Whichever version you do, never let your technique deteriorate. Make sure the knee of your bent leg doesn’t track inward.

    Core exercises

    There are a number of specific core exercises that can be done, including exercises which incorporate the core muscles without being the primary focus. We find that spending a session or two a week for 10-20 minutes is one of the best ways to develop that strong core. We have added a 18 minute core workout below which can be done anywhere.

    Video HERE

    Frequency of training

    For the training frequency, aim for at least once a week in race-season and twice a week in the off-season. Training once a week can still have a relatively big impact, depending on where you start. In race-season, your emphasis is on swimming, biking and running, and you should focus on that and do a low-volume of strength training more as maintenance, or to get small gradual strength gains.
    Your focus is on the three triathlon disciplines, and you shouldn’t go into your key sessions fatigued from weight lifting. The exception to this is core exercises, which you can (and probably should) do at least twice a week, but more is even better. A 10-15 minute core session won’t overload you.

    Sets, reps and weights


    Let’s get straight to the main point here General consensus today is that low-rep high-weight strength training has more benefits than high-rep low-weight. Doing the exercises correctly is always the most important thing however. Between 5-10 reps would be the ideal rep range. By training this way you build strength and power by improving your neuromuscular system and by learning how to activate more muscle fibres. With a high-rep low-weight regimen you build strength by increasing muscle mass. That is, you bulk up. As a triathlete, you probably don’t want that to happen.
    Note that the same principles doesn’t really apply to the core exercises, especially not if you’re just doing body-weight exercises.

    Thanks #teamairofin