Three challenging disciplines combined into one ultra-endurance race. Training for such a race requires dedication and time; time squeezed in during the wee hours of the morning, lunch time, or after work. Training time needs to be maximized; training efficiency, correct training planning, form, fit, and technique are key.
The first step to increasing efficiency is following a well-defined training program designed to help reach specific performance goals. A well designed plan maximizes your training time. An effective plan allows for maximal physiological adaptations through proper intensity, duration, and recovery workouts. With a specific goal for each training session, overtraining and injury can be avoided and performance will improve quicker.
Another important way to improve performance as well as decrease injuries is proper technique, fit, and form. There are mountains of books written on swimming, cycling, and running form, but the goal is always the same — be faster with less energy and less injury.
In the Water
Technique is vital. Improving swimming technique requires a coach or an experienced training partner who can observe and offer suggestions to improve form. Video recording your stroke also helps identify areas where energy is being wasted.
On the Bike
Fit is key. It doesn’t matter how expensive or fast your bike is. If it isn’t fitted properly then it will not be as efficient and effective. Often saddle height is too low and reach is either too short or long. With improper bike fit, power is robbed and the likelihood of injury increases. Bike fit is best done with a partner who is trained on bike fitting. This will maximize your bike investment. Remember that proper bike fit allows you to ride at maximal power output and comfort, increasing your efficiency and speed. On the bike keep your cadence high– between 75-100 rpm (rotations per minute), eat and drink early in preparation for the run, and keep the upper body relaxed.
During the Run
The best runners always make running look effortless and relaxed. Some key points to remember: 1) Use energy to go forward, not up. 2) Stride – longer is not better. Regardless of pace; stride frequency should remain the same, around 160-180 strides per minute. Never over stride. 3) Relax – arms, face, hands, and breathing. With your legs spinning in circles, you are just along for the ride. Finally, remember that all great runners have a different physical makeup and therefore a different running form, but they are all relaxed and efficient, not over-striding or bounding.
Focusing on improving your efficiency with proper technique, fit, and form will not only increase your speed and decrease injury, it will maximize your energy – getting you to the finish line stronger and faster.
Keep Reaching Your PEAK,
Aaron has his M.S. degree in Exercise Physiology. His research focuses on endurance and resistance training and performance. As the owner of Peak Fitness and Performance in Provo, Utah, his goal is to help all his clients live at the healthiest and highest performance level possible. He is competitive at the pro level in cross-country mountain biking & cyclocross and races road bikes. Aaron coaches athletes in all cycling disciplines, as well as triathlons and running events. He has been a BYU instructor of swimming, weight lifting, jogging & cycling. Aaron knows what it takes to be successful in sport performance and the balance it takes when trying to squeeze training into a busy life.