I say this to everyone that I coach and I am always met with looks of disbelief
Why do I passionately believe this is true when all the magazines and so called experts espouse a ‘smooth stroke’ when swimming, high cadence when cycling and landing on your toes when running. It must be right they are experts, they’ve been to university and studied sports science.
It may be correct for individual sports but it’s not for triathlon. For after we have swum a minimum of 400m (which swimmers call distance events) then jump on our bikes and cycle a minimum of 20km before jumping of our bikes and then running a minimum of 5km. Whilst elite athletes whose job is triathlon can do this in under an hour the majority of age group athletes like you and me will take anywhere up to 2 hours to complete this.
So it stands to reason that we need a more joined-up approach to achieve better results.
For most age groupers swimming is the hardest discipline. Even if they learnt to swim at school it was often only breastroke, so the transition to front crawl with all its fears is the most difficult to master but that is the subject of another blog.
During the swim if you are trying to achieve a 6 beat kick you will have taken around 2400 leg movements before you’ve even got out of the water when we go to Olympic distance then its 9000 + synapse fires.
If you are a world class swimmer the kick only accounts for a maximum of 15% of propulsion; age groupers are not world class swimmers. It makes no sense at all to absolutely ruin your race by being tired out before you even get on the bike.
So here at Animis we follow the tried & trusted TriSutto method of swimming with a pull buoy in training. Again this is the subject of another blog but by swimming in the correct position, using paddles and band to develop the front end stroke we not only create better,stronger swimmers, they also enjoy training more so will swim more. Its not rocket science its swimming.
So to the bike, magazines recommend spinning at 90-100rpm after all Tour de France cyclists do this over 3 weeks it must be right. NO they have been cycling since they were 6 or 7 following a structured program often on the track where it becomes natural to spin with power at 100rpm. We are not professional cyclists we also have jobs and families. We need to be able to complete the bike and run at least 5km off it. The most efficient way to ride your bike is at 72rpm pushing a big gear. All the world hour record holders pushed a big gear, if you want to go fast in a time trial, push big gears.
We incorporate big gear efforts into our athletes training programs as its much more efficient to work at holding a cadence that feels comfortable and makes you stronger for the duration of the bike segment. You can make sustainable gains with less time in the saddle over a much shorter time span than the spinning doctrine
When it comes to the run discipline again we are a little bit different. We’ve got off the bike after spinning around 70-80rpm optimum cadence for running is around 85-100 its much easier for the legs to go at little faster after the bike than taking big long strides. Short snappy strides landing on the heel (the body’s shock absorber) its a better and more efficient way to run in a triathlon. The majority of athletes will have already been competing for an hour before they start the run so this has to be taken into account.
We advocate running tall with a heel or mid foot strike and a high cadence. Look forward. We need to hold our arms higher and move faster as this dictates our cadence, no high knees we are looking for little back lift as possible.
Putting everything together we aim to have a triathlete capable of achieving the best they can be. If you would like to be part of our team then have a look at our training details here