Sunday, 13 January 2013

Analysing the Good the Bad and the Ugly!

“If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”

ACCESS:  What barriers do you need to break down in order to achieve success now and in the future?   What is holding me back from running, biking and swimming faster?  Technique?  Speed? Strength?
The answer to the question above “What is a barrier to running, swimming and cycling faster” seems endless. I will use Simon’s 3 categories (see here for Simon’s blog and some great articles)
-          Is my technique in all 3 disciplines allowing me to be the most efficient?        
      -           Do I have access to the right equipment/environment?
     -    Do I have access to appropriate training groups/buddies
     -    Is my training sustainable without getting injured/burnt out?
-Do I get enough sleep?                                                                                          Do I have enough time between training sessions?                                                     Do I feel energised by the next training session or am I still feeling tired for the last session?
- Do I eat the right foods at the right times?

So a lot to think about! I freely admit I can improve on all of the above, which feels great as it means I know if have lots of room for improvement. The potential gains are huge!

After the World Triathlon Championships in Auckland, I started thinking about 2013 and how I was going to improve and I knew whilst working full time increasing the amount of training I do is restricted. Also, knowing my body and how much training I can handle I realised that there was a limited amount of growth in training quantity.  So the focus needed to be on Quality.

Charlie Spedding outlines this brilliantly in his book “From last to First” (Charlie was the last British man to achieve a marathon Olympic medal, bronze in LA). Chapter 6 “The beer drinkers guide to sports psychology” includes some gems…

 “For years I assumed that my failure to run better was down to a combination of injuries and not training hard enough; but I started to wonder if it was my own self-image that was holding me back…. I picked up my pen and wrote ‘change my mind’….i had an attitude that made me diligent in my training; it wasn’t the same thing as having an attitude that would make me successful in my running. I needed to do, say and think things in a better and different way… I picked up my pen and under the heading of ‘what do I want’ I wrote ‘I want to feel absolutely fantastic’…how? I realised I had to change my vocabulary, if I changed my vocabulary, I could change the thoughts in my head. When I changed my thoughts in my head, I would change my actions. When I changed my actions I would get different results. So I wrote ‘think differently’ and underneath ‘improve my vocabulary= run faster’.
A key quote from Charlie that stands out for me is “I needed to do, say and think things in a better and different way”. I have realised better and different doesn’t mean “more” but an emphasis on SMART training. For me this means improving my technique (You would think that in 21 years of playing sport I would have grasped this sooner. Some of us are just slow learners!)
Therefore for all 3 disciplines; bike, swim and run I needed to find out
     1.     What my technique was currently like (I found this out through video)

2.    Analyse the videos with help of coaches to see how efficient the technique was and how it could be improved.

3.    Create a program designed to improve the technique.
I did this with all 3 disciplines but I will take swimming as the example:

The main issue: I am not using my arms to best effect, the photo shows my elbow being far too low so the power I am getting isn’t optimal.

How to get better: I could write a huge paragraph here! Essentially I am doing lots and lots of drills in an effort to use my arms in a more effective manner. Swimming drills exaggerate one aspect of the technique so you become more conscious of the right motion and it becomes part of your natural stroke. Practice, practice, practice is key.
This process has taught me that the only way to improve is to really stop and look at what is actually happening and create a schedule based on your own specific needs.

Video analysis of my swim technique has allowed me to know where I am at and what I need to improve on (lots to be done!)

Also well done LBT (Leeds Bradford Triathlon club) for a great Cross country outing last weekend in the West Yorkshire league. First XC race of 2013 for me, great to start with a victory (Thanks Clare for the picture).

Find of the week: There has been real momentum building within the community of sportswomen, to increase the profile of Women’s sport. Women’s sports trust has writing some great articles this week, this one interviewing Ex-EnglandRugby Captain Catherine Spencer on role models, media coverage and the importance of women's sport is brilliant.

Happy Swimming, Cycling and Running everyone!

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