Category Archives: Running
Triathlon Strength Training
As a triathlete you be well aware of the struggle to balance work and personal life with your training. With limited time, fitting in those extra gym sessions that improve your strength and resilience to injury can be a real challenge and every minute spent lifting weights, performing crunches or stretching becomes a precious commodity. So how should you utilise your time in the gym to train those important muscle groups effectively, without wasting time on those exercises that provide very little in the way of racing benefit. Below are some of the essential exercises that you should incorporate into your gym routine as they provide the maximum training gain and performed properly they will improve your strength, co-ordination and ward off those annoying injuries that crop up all too often in a triathletes career.
Lateral Pull Down
This is hands down one of the best exercises for triathlon strength gains. Working your lats using resistance weights will pay huge dividends when it comes to the swim section of your race as the stronger your lats the faster you will be able to swim. Aim for three sets of 10 using your own body weight and try to hold the bar wider than shoulder width appart to really work your lats hard.
One Legged Squats
Any sort of squat movement will improve your leg strength if performed properly but one legged squats are the clear leader for so many reasons. As well as working one of the largest and most used muscles in your legs (the quads) having to perform the exercise using only one leg forces to to engage all kinds of stability muscles around your core, pelvis and knees. Therefore not only will your improve your cycling power, running speed and running form but you will also reduce the chance of running injury cased by weakened stability muscles. During my own marathon training I suffered from muscle wastage in one of my legs due to over training and it was only through one legged squats that I was able to build up the supporting muscles around my knees enough to run without pain.
Core exercises come in many shapes and sizes. From crunches to planks to V-ups, these exercises are designed to engage your core stability muscles around your abdomen, making you a better, stronger runner, swimmer and cyclist. As well as improving strength they also can help guard against injuries caused by overuse of the smalle supporting muscles – a common problem for endurance athletes.
Savage Strength provide a huge range of gym equipment to help with your strength based training and also have a wide range of track and field gear.
High Octane Sports
High Octane sports stocks a wide range of adventure sports gear for athletes of all abilities. This shop started life supplying skiing and snowboarding accessories for your winter sports needs but have evolved into a one stop shop for all your day to day adventure sports needs.
As well as providing a huge range of winter sports clothing and accessories including jackets, pants and goggles, High Octane sports also stock compression wear for a wide range of sports and have the entire latest range of 2XU compression wear for you to chose from. As well as stocking calf guards and compression tops, they also stock the high and PWX Elite compression pants which are the pinnacle of training and recovery kit. Designed to both support your muscles during training as well as promoting repair and recovery when you are resting, these pants have been developed in conjunction with elite athletes to give you the best performance compared to any other compression kit of the same design
As well as 2XU training gear, high Octane Sports also cater for the serious triathlete’s kit needs as they offer high end 2XU triathlon suits including one and two piece items.
Although the shop doesn’t cover the entire triathlon kit spectrum such as bikes and running kit, it does offer a very good range of triathlon clothing alongside its other adventure sports kit ranges and these are all available for same day UK delivery as well as international delivery for an additional charge. Check the High Octane Sports online shop for more details
Challenge Henley and the Henley Half Ironman
Challenge Henley and the Henley Half Ironman are two of the most loved races in the British triathlon calendar. Situated close to the Chiltern Hills, both races will take you through areas of outstanding natural beauty and giving you a triathlon experience like no other…although you may be too distracted with the pain in your legs to admire the scenery!
The Challenge Henley race is a full Iron distance triathlon. Starting on the Royal Regatta Course the 3.8 km swim follows the same best loved route of one of the most famous rowing races in the UK along a section of the Thames in-between Reading and Windsor
The bike section of the course takes place over 180 km of closed roads as you race around the Oxford country. As well as some incredibly fast sections of road, there is also one of the most infamous hill sections of any British Ironman course. Howe hill is a three mile slog with a section of 13% incline that tests even the fittest triathletes. Although you will have to climb this section of hill three times during your three lap route, the bike section of Challenge Henley is pound for pound on of the fastest courses in the British Isles.
The run section of the course is a relatively flat route that takes in a large section of the Thames footpath as well as some more stunning scenery and closed trails. 4 laps later you will be recovering in one of the best equipped the athletes village on the race calendar after sprinting down the famous horse shoe finish area to the applaud of your fans.
For fitness and gym equipment see the following website
Home to the Olympic Rowing team, these two races take place in an area of outstanding natural beauty and athletes will take race over the Chiltern Hills, Henley Town as well as by the side of the River Thames on completely closed roads on a course only 40 minutes away from London.
Both courses start in the stretch of the River Thames best known for its yearly royal regatta and athletes will be set off in waves to avoid congestion and to give more space to those who need it. Swimmers headtowards the town of Henley and will pass the focal point of Temple Island before turning back just past Fawley Court to race back towards T1 at Henley Business School. Henley Half athletes will swim 1.9km, with the turn point just past Temple Island
The bike course stretches into the idillic surroundings of the Chiltern Hills, the sight of which may balance the pain of 1800m of ascent over three loops. This scenic course consists of completely closed roads so there is no danger of being run off your bike as you speed over those hills. Henley half cyclists will complete one and a half loops of the same course before dismounting at T2 in Phyllis Court for the start of the run.
After T2 athletes will run four loops of Henley, totalling 42.2km on private footpaths, roads and the Thames path. Half athletes will run two loops of the same course before finishing back at Phyllis Court. The cutoff time for the full event is 16 hours.
It’s sometimes a little on the easy side to hit a plateau with running-if you’ve been running the same route for a while and got into a routine, it’s possible to get into a bit of a staid routine-although arguably not true to the same extent as with anaerobic weight training and similar activities where variation is essential in order to derive real benefit,
It’s often beneficial to mix your training up, though, and take in some alternative scenery-if you are training specifically for a marathon your training will have to be tailored to the distance you’re doing, and plenty has already been written on how to prepare yourself for a marathon in a scientific manner. If you’re taking a break from marathon-focused training though, something along the lines of hill-running or trailrunning could be a great idea to add another notch to your running belt.
The changing elevations, greatly different running surfaces and the differing demands placed on the muscle groups in your legs can make running in the countryside rather demanding; if both you and your legs have been used to running on the flat then concentrating on hills might prove a bit of a challenge-with the right preparation and gear, though (several makes of Merrell Shoes are pretty good for trail running, for example) it’s possible to get a great deal out of it and add another edge to your running-being able to adapt to a more natural environment and develop more all-around power in your legs. A good place to start looking for fixtures and news on cross country running is the English Cross Country association, to give you a general idea of what the sport entails and how you can work your way into it.
Once you’ve got yourself all the gear you need and a decent location, you’ll need to come up with a good programme to make the best of it-you might need to do a short warm-up on flatter ground before trying out any particularly steep inclines, maybe going between a couple of small hills to start off with. Your stride ideally needs to be quite short and controlled to reduce the chances of losing grip and falling, and you need to be more aware of the ground itself (without deviating from good running posture and keeping your head level) so as not to sprain an ankle on an unseen rut or stone. If you’re going to be going cross country, going flat-out isn’t necessarily advisable-70-80% of your max should work well. Over a period of time you can get more aggressive with tacking the hills (powering your way up them is more the case than with road-running) and you should notice a difference in the power your legs are generating after several weeks of training.
As beneficial and fitness-improving as cross-country running is, it’s best not to get too caught up in it and forget your road running technique, as the two styles are rather different-trying to run in a cross-country manner on a road will cost you in muscle efficiency, time and effort. All the same, it’s a very useful way to broaden your running horizons.