This past weekend, I participated in a triathlon clinic put on my Barb Lindquist. Barb, ranked #1 in the world in 2003 and 2004, represented the US in the 2004 Olympics on the triathlon team placing 9th overall. The clinic was offered to members of Striders Tri Group that I belong to as well as some participants . A couple of the members are coached by Barb so they organized everything.
The clinic began on Friday with a dinner that everyone to meet each other. There ended up being 20 total participants in the clinic at all different levels from experienced triathletes to triathletes just starting their 2nd season of racing. After dinner, Barb shared her story about how she started life as a competitive swimmer and ended up as a world class triathlete.
On Saturday morning we started out at the pool to work on swim technique. I learned lots of new drills to improve my body position and overall form. Each participant was then video taped from the front and side. Here are my videos.
So, what did I learn from my video analysis? I need to work on my head position – it needs to be lower in the water and I need to make sure I am looking to the side as I breathe; not forward or back. Getting my shoulders (and thus head) down will help pull up my legs. As Barb would say, “We need to see butt checks!” I also have to work on keeping high elbows and making sure I don’t cross the center line especially with my left arm.
The afternoon on Saturday was spent working on some running drills and running form. To be honest, I sort of tuned out a bit here. Yes, I know the drills help, but I am very skeptical of changing running form. I just know far too many people who have ended up injured because they tried to fix something that wasn’t broke. I am happy with my running performance. I have seen incredible gains over the past few years and have remained injury free throughout. So, while I understand that it might be possible to improve efficiency by changing things up, it really isn’t something I am interested in right now.
On Sunday, we started off the day doing running strength exercises. These included things like stair climbs, tire dragging (not tire throwing Jeff), strides, and 100 yd sprints with short recovery. These really kicked my ass. I think it was mainly the stair climbs, but my legs are trashed now. It is that good kind of trashed though that feels like you worked your ass off.
After the running workout, we moved on to bike handling skills and improving transition speed. The bike handling skills were pretty helpful, but it seemed to be even more helpful to the participants who were only on their 2nd season of riding and less comfortable on the bike to begin with. The bike handling drills focused mainly on turning with making tight circular turns and weaving through a slalom course.
Once we had the cornering drills down, we moved to the grass and worked on contact drills to get comfortable riding with other people near by. Even though most of the participants are planning on racing USAT races rather than ITU races (where drafting is legal) it is important to be comfortable riding in a group just in case something happens. For these drills we paired up and practiced riding while leaning on each other. Riding shoulder to shoulder actually wasn’t that bad, but because the grass was so bumpy, it was hard to ride in a straight line.
I had a lot of fun practicing transitions. There were a lot of people who had never started with their shoes in their pedals and it is something I myself hadn’t practiced in a while. I didn’t do it at all last year because it wasn’t allowed at IMWI so it wasn’t on my radar. It is definitely something that gets easier with practice and I know that I need to spend some more time on it before my first race in June. After practicing everything individually, we put it all together with some mini races – run to the the bike, helmet on, run with the bike to a mount line, mount, put feet in the shoes, do a lap around the parking lot, dismount, change shoes, and run out.
Overall, the clinic was great and I learned a lot. There was a bit more classroom time than I expected and some of the stuff it seemed more like demonstrating what drills/exercises we should be doing without a lot of time actually spent doing those drills/exercises. Even so, I was really worn out by the end of the weekend. I did my best to get in my scheduled workouts on top of the clinic, but I was short on time (and already pretty tired) so I had to cut back on a few of them.
My long ride took the biggest hit. I was supposed to ride for 4:15 and ended up calling it a day after only 45 miles (less than 3 hours). It was brutally hot and my legs were already zapped. I stopped halfway through at a gas station and made what is easily the best $1.50 purchase ever:
Why spend $0.99 on Dasani when you can get a whole gallon for $1.50??? I’ve never seen this at a gas station before but this gas station was near a lake and campground so I think that is why they had it. Between filling my bottles, and drinking straight from the jug, I used nearly 2/3’s of it. The rest I dumped over my head.
I’m on a recovery week now so I’m going to let the body rest up and hit the training hard starting on Monday again.