On Saturday 2 of my athletes, Fiona and Simon, were due to race the Tranent Sprint Triathlon, organised by the Edinburgh University Triathlon Club. Unfortunately Simon’s heel started hurting somewhat out of the blue 2 days earlier so he had to sit this one out.
Fiona on the other hand did race. Tranent it a pool based triathlon with 10 heats of 16 swimmers each. Fiona was in heat 7 which meant a rather long wait from the race brief before the first heat at 9 am to here heat at 11:25. It did though give me time to cycle over from Balerno where I was coaching in the morning to watch Fiona and a number of my Edinburgh and Pentland Triathletes club mates race.
Fiona had a good controlled swim matching her 200m TT effort pace from earlier in the week, her bike leg though was marred with a couple of problems, her chain coming off at one point and being held up at a temporary set of traffic lights. The latter though was an issue a number of athletes faced and something that the race organisers could take into account for the results. The transition entry and exit area is also a bit cluttered but must have been the same over the years. It did mean that Fiona’s recent transition practice didn’t quite come to effect this time. Tranent was my first ever triathlon in 2003.
Fiona’s run was strong and she finished 4th in her category in a time of 1:15:56 hrs. The weather on the day was good – calm but a bit cold in the morning with the sun coming out later. I was rather warm on my cycle home after spectating.
On Wednesday I had two very interesting swim coaching sessions. One was a 1 to 1 session with Alvaro and the other a coincidental 1 to 1 session with Trish.
Alvaro had had a few sessions with me a few months ago and had improved vastly. Last week’s session was set up because something had suddenly gone horribly wrong with his swim which he couldn’t explain as his times suddenly got much slower. Luckily it was quite easy to fix as Alvaro had put too much focus on slowing his stroke down to conserve energy and thus overnight became an overglider. By getting his stroke rate back to the right levels and ensuring that he starts pulling his hand back as soon as he has reached the furthest away point we managed to put him back on track.
Alvaro wrote this later as feedback on my booking page: “Really good class. After a few weeks my swimming came worst. This class helped me to get it back again.”
Trish was with me in the Wed evening session and gave me a great analogy to take forward when I was trying to explain how to get a better pull and she likened this with a scene from Terminator 2 in which the T1000 claws his way up the back of a car with metal hands. The visualisation worked for Trish.
Since last summer I have been regularly going to yoga. Fiona and I go to a place in Gorgie called Yoga’s got hot. My reason for going was that my physio Julie Kealy suggested I should. I roughly go once a week and initially I wasn’t sure that my flexibility was getting that much better but that I was only getting better at doing yoga as it was something new.
More recently though I have noticed a couple of things that can be attributed to the yoga. Both in running and cycling my hips feel much more freed up and it is those that I try to focus on most in yoga. I have been out on runs and longer rides and at times when I was expecting to feel a stiffer hip, it wasn’t there. Flexibility has improved but it is more the further improvement in body proprioception that is making a bigger impact. I do feel that my improved race times this season can in part be linked back to the yoga too.
In the last couple of weeks I noticed something different. Yoga puts you in some unusual poses as does swimming. Some of the yoga poses can be very well linked to situations you get in when swimming front crawl. The 2 I identified at this moment were a pose called ‘standing T’ in which you stand on one leg with the rest of the body being horizontal stretch as long as possible from head to toe. This does relate very well back to the long body required for streamlined front crawl swimming. The other pose was ‘standing bow’ in which you again stand on one leg and hold the foot of the other whilst pushing it away behind you with the other hand stretched out in front of you. This is similar to the long reach out front with the leading hand in a front crawl swim and the other arm pointing back for an open chest and a wide rotation.
I think it is important to not just do supporting activities such as yoga, pilates or strength and conditioning but making direct links between those and the sport you do will greatly enhance those sessions and what you get from them.
Less on my training for last week but I did want to add that Fiona and I managed another days skiing on the Nevis Range. We extended our stay at Corran Ferry Bunkhouse which I mentioned last week by a day and ended up with the best day of the weekend waking up to glorious sunshine.
I rushed us both up to the slopes to get dug into the skiing before the snow would melt. Sadly I hadn’t considered that a bit of snow softening would be beneficial, especially to Fiona’s skiing. Our first few runs were on rather icy slopes but eventually the conditions did improve. Being a Monday and the snow not being as good as a couple of weeks earlier meant that the ski centre was very quiet and allowed us to uplift at will. We stayed until 4pm and had a great day with Fiona’s skiing making another leap forward and me having had some time to explore the Back Corries once I’d plucked up the courage to go over the edge.
That’s this week’s report. Next week we’ll have some news on the races over the Easter Weekend and hopefully my first run in my new Inov8 X Talon trainers.