Foundations of injury free training.

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An interesting way to measure rest and readiness to train and race…

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Race review

The 5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself After a Bad Race


what-to-do-bad-raceSooner or later, it’s bound to happen: you’ll have a bad race or a DNF. You’ll get to the finish line area and feel overwhelmed—disappointed, frustrated, maybe even angry.

When a race plan is executed well, we rarely look back and ask, “How could it have gone even better?” Instead, we move forward with pride and ask ourselves, “What do I need to do to replicate this feeling at future races?”

But after a string of good results, a bad race can be crushing. So how do we move on from a poor performance? Working through these five questions will help you move forward with a clear understanding of why it happened and, more importantly, how you can move forward.

What went right?

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to let yourself think, “Nothing went right; it was a total mess.” Most of the time, though, that’s untrue!

Once you’ve had some time to think it over, after an appropriate “cooling off period, so to speak, ask yourself: Did you follow your nutrition plan? Did you stick with the pacing plan you and your coach discussed? Did you feel strong longer in the race than you have before? Did you run the furthest you ever have?

In other words, start by identifying the positive outcomes of your race. This will help you distill out the bigger-picture good vs. bad. We need to remember that we learn from failure—experience is what helps us improve. If we don’t understand what happened during a bad race, we can’t fully enjoy our success.

What did you do to make it right?

This may sound similar to the first question, but it’s about what you did before the race: How did you prepare for success? As the old ultra- and long-distance running adage goes, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

What did your crew do to help this go smoothly? What did your coach do that helped you feel good? How did your preparation (workouts, runs or rides) prepare you for the course? What are the controllable pieces that did you manage well? Maybe you followed your training plan to the letter, nailed your nutrition, and you had your most consistent pacing to date. Make notes of how you felt and why so you can replicate for future races. The past is the best teacher for our future. Don’t just look at a bad race as the sum of a whole; look at the pieces.

What was not quite right?

We’ve established what went well, so now let’s look at what could have been improved. Avoid blanket statements like, “Everything,” or even, “My entire nutrition/pacing/training plan was wrong.” If those things felt off, what specifically about them didn’t feel great?

This is a great place to fold in the emotional side of your training. How did you feel when things started to go poorly? What actions (or inactions) precipitated these feelings? Identifying these feelings—even the seemingly minor twinges or grumblings—can provide insight to improve your training plan for next time. For example, does that little twinge in your throat mean you’re thirsty? How about feeling a little grumpy—should you eat? Dissect your inner dialogue here so you can translate better in the future.

What’s the best-case scenario?

How did you imagine this playing out?. How and when did any problems/mistakes/mishaps direct you away from your ideal race plan?

Did you miss your bottle at aid station 3 in the marathon? Did you not feel confident on the climb where you’d planned to throw down the hammer? Did an opponent who you never thought would pass you catch you in the final miles of the race? Did you develop a blister after swapping into new shoes at mile 50 when you were hoping they’d feel comfortable and fresh? Define where you diverged from your ideal state so you can see it coming in the future.

What steps can you take to improve?

Here’s where you can move forward and set your future intentions. This part is great to discuss with your coach, friends, and fellow athletes.

Should you plan to take more salt to avoid the stomach cramps that slowed you enough to miss the cutoff? Do you need to drink more during hot races? Do you need to eat at the start of the climb? Use these questions to set your intentions—and make them known: “I will eat more before I start a big climb in a race, which will help me feel confident about my ascent. Then, actually incorporate those steps into your training.

There are times when a race goes poorly because of conditions beyond your control, like a thunderstorm rolling in during a race or a fall at mile 9 that prevents you from finishing. But barring unforeseen disasters, using these questions to analyze the situation can help you move forward.

They can also help you during a race. When you can be present and focused in a race, you will find yourself thinking about how all these pieces need to fall in place. The best race plans are adaptable, the best athletes know what needs to be done to execute even on the worst days. What we gain on our toughest days is experience – the ultimate teacher for future success.

About the Author

Andrew Simmons

Andrew Simmons is a USATF Level 2 and TrainingPeaks Level 2 certified coach and the founder/head coach of Lifelong Endurance. Athletes who want to improve their race times in distance running have found major success with his Individual Coaching and Training Plans. Andrew resides in Denver, Colo., where he still trains as a competitive amateur. Follow Coach Andrew on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.

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Running mechanics matter

Could running mechanics be the key to long-term success?
Posted: 26 Jul 2018 01:34 PM PDT
In order to run well, we need to train well, but we also need to move well. Endurance athletes need to be able to train at the optimal volume and intensity in order to stimulate the physiological adaptations required to perform. Developing this engine can allow athletes to run farther and faster than ever before. However, the limiting factor to long-term running success is not always the training that’s being set, but the training that’s being missed. Optimizing running mechanics may be the key to training consistency and longer-term success in competition, allowing our athletes to train longer and harder than before.

Running injuries are probably the single biggest cause of absence from training. According to some studies, approximately 50 percent of runners are injured annually with around 50 to 70 percent of these injuries classified as overuse injuries. Based on these results, you can probably expect one out of every two of your runners to become injured at some point during the training year. Not only that, but injury recurrence rates can range between 20 and 70 percent, with a previous injury being the biggest risk factor for future injury. This means that once an athlete gets back to training, the chance of a future injury and further absence from training is considerably increased. This leads to continued cycles of injury and deconditioning with the loss of training consistency and ultimately an inability to perform at their best.

Running mechanics may be one reason explaining the high injury rates and loss of training consistency. There is increasing evidence to suggest that aberrant running biomechanics — or poor running form — can lead to future injury development. Mechanics, such as increased inward motion of the hip (hip adduction), elevated impact forces and excessive braking as we land, have all been linked to injury development amongst runners.

Poor movement patterns contribute to injury by increasing the stress placed on the body during each stride. When this stress is repeated over a large number of strides, the total level of stress may be too much for the body to cope with. If we can identify abnormal mechanical patterns then this may provide us with an opportunity to intervene before the next injury occurs. By optimizing running mechanics we can reduce the tissue stress experienced during each foot contact. The end result is the ability to train harder and for longer.

Runners with poor mechanics are simply a ticking injury time bomb, just waiting to take that one stride too far before once again withdrawing from training. Being able to identify and correct poor running mechanics may be the long-term solution for athlete health, consistency and performance success.

Closely watching your athlete and using video feedback can be very effective for improving mechanics. Using video feedback and modeling good form can help the athlete become aware of their movement patterns and internalize their learning. This gives them an opportunity to self-develop and find ways to adjust their mechanics on their own. This works great when combined with coaching cues to help facilitate learning. Cues like “keep your hips high” and “pick up your feet” often encourage athletes to reduce pelvis drop and increase cadence. However, it’s important to remember that every athlete is an individual and all learn in different ways, especially when it comes to movement. So be prepared to adapt your teaching methods and try new things. Adjust your cues according to the changes you see and get feedback from the athlete as to what works best. Adapting as a coach is important if we are to optimize good running form and could be the difference between injury and performance.

The post Could running mechanics be the key to long-term success? appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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and finally, one of my fave “whiteboard wednesday” sessions from myswimpro: Early vertical forearm

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Why do more test sets? Myswimpro explains this too. I am clearly having a love fest with their site today…

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Myswimpro explanation of a useful swim stroke efficiency model: SWOLF

You can use/measure SWOLF if you have a garmin 920XT or higher, and here is an example of a workout using this metric. Again, it’s from the smart people at myswimpro (a great app).

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