- Equipment choices
- Hydronamics (swimming), aerodynamics (cycling), and running economy
- Strength development
- Skill/technique development
- One of the most important aspects of proper swim technique is the concept of the high elbow catch. Grabbing water with a high elbow provides more propulsion, thus reducing the amount of strokes it takes to swim a given distance.
- In cycling, the ability to spin a naturally high cadence in easier gears versus the tendency to always mash big gears is a technique that spares the legs for running.
- With running, learning to not over stride is a technique that allows one to run at a naturally lower HR. Overstriding = higher HR, along with many other negative side effects.
SwimFist Drill. Fist drill is one of the best drills you can do to learn to catch water in a high elbow position.
- While swimming with your fists clinched, focus on catching water on your forearm with a high elbow catch. Your fist and forearm should catch water early - as soon as you engage your pull. It is important to 'feel' the water on your fist and forearm.
- Maintain swiveling body rotation from the hips.
- Keep a consistent flutter kick on top of the water while fist-swimming. Your balance in the water is challenged when swimming with your fists. Maintaining your kick will help keep your body elevated in the water.
BikeFast Pedal Drill. The Fast Pedal Drill will teach you to produce power when utilizing easier gears, and avoiding the ‘mashing’ of gears. Many triathletes will ride hours on end at cadences as low as 70-80. This is highly inefficient as riding lower cadence in gearing that is too large will tax the muscular system of the lower body. This will not leave you fresh for running. The key is to learn to ‘spin’ easier gears at cadences much quicker than this.
- Fast pedal drills are :30 to 2:00 long, with equivalent recoveries. During each fast pedal segment, reduce gearing to a VERY easy level, and spin at 100+ RPM’s. The highest you really need to go is about 110 to 115.
- While performing the fast pedal drill, focus on being smooth, and feeling the pedal circle all the way around. Don’t be choppy, and don’t allow yourself to bounce on the saddle. If either of these things occurs, reduce the RPM’s. And remember – super easy gear!
RunCadence Running. It is well accepted that running with a slightly higher cadence, is much more efficient than running with a slower cadence. A slower cadence is typically one of an over strider. By simply shortening the stride, we give our footfall a much better chance of striking the ground underneath our center of gravity. This reduces injury risk, eliminates ‘braking,’ and reduces perceived intensity once adapted. The best way to train your cadence is as follows:
- Go out for a nice easy run. During the run observe your cadence with Garmin technology, or you can use a cheap clip on style of metronome. Use one of these devices to determine your average cadence when running.
- The targeted cadence for running at comfortable paces is around 85 to 90 footstrikes per minute on each side. As close to 90 is ideal.
- If you find you need to work on increasing cadence, do it in small increments. Let’s say your test run shows a cadence of 80. Don’t try to get to 90 immediately, it will not work. Target 83, and build from there.
- You should also perform the same cadence work when running after cycling.