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So you've landed here on my iWillNotBonk.com Triathlon Training Blog and you're probably wondering who the hell this Tavis guy is and what iWillNotBonk is all about.

I'm just an average age-grouper / weekend warrior blogging about Ironman Triathlon Training and this complex puzzle of juggling life, having fun and reporting on my various feats of strength and endurance adventures!

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If you’ve recently signed up for a bike tour, stage race, or other multi-day cycling event you might be unsure about how best to prepare. In this post we’ll lay out a clear training strategy to make sure you arrive with fresh legs and the fitness to propel you to a strong finish.

how to train for a bike tour

Understand the Demands

Start by answering these questions:

How many days will you be riding? What’s the longest block of back-to-back riding?
What’s the distance/expected duration of each day including elevation gain/loss? Is there a “queen stage” you’ll want to prepare for differently?
What’s the typical temperature range on your rides? How about the starting elevation?

Take these answers and construct a picture of exactly what your tour entails. The more details you collect, the more closely you’ll be able to align your training plan with the demands of your tour.

Ride Consistently

The single best way to prepare for an upcoming multi-day cycling event is to ride consistently. Two ways to make sure your training happens:

Improve your time management. The better you are at managing your time, the more likely you’ll be to make every rides. Getting Things Done, by David Allen, presents a simple and intuitive system that can transform how you manage your time. Essentially, you’ll want to plan well ahead and commit to spending time on your training.
When you can’t go long, go hard. Yes, slower Zone 2 type rides will improve your fitness [3], but if you’re crunched for time there’s no better way to improve all facets of your cycling than high intensity training [4]. Think you don’t have enough time to train?Even just a focused 10-minute ride (including warmup and cool down) can help keep you on track [5].

ten-minute-cycling-workout

Caption (Warm-up for 3 minutes, go as hard as you can for 20 seconds then rest for 2 minutes x 3. Yes, it works to improve your fitness!)

Use a Calendar To Create More Focused Training

Sketching a plan on a calendar should be your next step. The TrainingPeaks (TP) platform is a great tool to make your planning simple and flexible. You can even get started for free. Here’s how to make it work for you:

Start by entering the event date in your TP account. Check out this short tutorial for extra help.
Enter your available training time for each day of the week. Check out this short tutorial for extra help.
Match progressively more challenging workouts to your available training time. The graphic below is a nice guide:

bike tour training continuum

If you’re crunched for time, your training focus should be progressively riding with more intensity, or riding intensely for progressively longer durations. On the other hand, if your ride schedule is wide open, your progression should have a blend of intensity and distance/duration (often referred to as volume).
3-4 weeks before your start, try to string together a series of rides similar in volume/intensity to your tour. Again, if you can’t fit in longer rides, focus instead on nailing high intensity workouts in a sequence similar to your tour (see graphic below).

bike tour calendar plan

In the final 1-2 weeks (taper period) before your multi-day cycling event, remember to reduce your overall training volume (to shed residual fatigue) while maintaining training intensity (to maintain or slightly improve fitness) [1].

Practice Your Nutrition and Hydration

Chances are there’s room for improvement when it comes to your fueling strategy. Here are a few highlights to ensure you’ve got your nutrition dialed before your tour:

Match your carbohydrate intake to the duration and intensity of your ride [10].

To take a deeper look at fueling for an event, please check out this article. For a quick snap shot check out the graphic below.bike tour carb recommendations

Think About Environment and Intensity

Check out this article for an in-depth look at developing your own hydration strategy for a multi-day cycling event. If you’re looking for a single piece of advice, make sure to start your ride fully hydrated, then drink to thirst [11].

Practice!

Before you experiment with a new fueling strategy, make sure you’re regularly practicing your nutrition in the lead up to your tour. The gut, just like other working muscle, is trainable [10, 12]. The more you practice your fueling strategy in advance, the better you’ll be on event day.

Recover

Fueling for the next ride in your tour starts as soon as soon as you’re finished with the ride for the day. For long multi-day tours a high carbohydrate approach (≈10g/kg body mass/day) is essential [13]. Make sure you have plenty of supplementary carbs on hand (my favorite is a pot of rice) to fill in the cracks if you’re still hungry after or between meals.

Take Care of Yourself

Acclimate to the environment. If your cycling tour is taking place in a warmer climate or at higher elevation, try overdressing on rides [6, 7] or taking a hot bath immediately after rides [8] every 3 days for 10-14 days before your tour. Acclimating to heat in advance of your tour is a great strategy to make sure you’re prepared for hot weather or higher elevation [9].
Get more sleep. A recent study showed those who slept under 5 hours a night were over 4 times more likely to catch a cold than those sleeping more than 7 hours a night [2]. If you expect to be healthy enough to stay on the bike, start by getting more sleep.

Put it all Together

With a bit of planning and hard work you should be well on your way to enjoying the best multi-day cycling event of your life!

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As part of the partnership between the Global Triathlon Network (GTN) and TrainingPeaks, we’ll be bringing you regular episodes of the new “Triathlon Training Explained” show. Hosts and former pro triathletes Mark Threlfall and Heather Fell will answer your triathlon training questions, with the help of TrainingPeaks software, coaches and industry experts from around the world.

Whether you are looking to win your age group in an IRONMAN 70.3 or to simply cross the finish line of your first IRONMAN, bike pacing is an integral part to any race day. As the longest leg of a triathlon, it’s especially crucial to determine just how much energy output you should be expending. Once you enter T2 you want to have the stamina to hit a certain run pace consistently.

In the latest episode of “Triathlon Training Explained,” Heather Fell and Mark Threlfall conduct their own pacing experiments on an evenly-paced time trial, followed by another time trial effort where they go hard right out of the gate, with lots of surges thrown in throughout.

Check out the full episode below:

By analyzing TrainingPeaks metrics including Normalized Power® and Variability Index® they were able to determine their optimal pacing strategies.

Fell and Threlfall also spoke with Best Bike Split and TrainingPeaks Chief Scientist Ryan Cooper about how triathletes can use Best Bike Split to predict their bike split times and help them dial-in their race specificity training for an optimal triathlon performance.

Triathletes in the know use TrainingPeaks to help plan, track and analyze their training. Get dialed-in with a free 7-day Premium Trial today!

The post GTN Presents: Bike Pacing for a Triathlon appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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When I considered training for my next triathlon using Apple Watch as much as I could, most other triathletes shook their heads and said “I don’t get it, just use a Garmin/Suunto/Other brand?”

But I was intrigued. Apple Watch is only three versions in but has already made great steps in improving battery life and capability. It also shows a renewed focus on health and fitness, and you know Apple will be relentless in improving it each year.

Since my next IRONMAN is in September this year, I have to focus on what the current Apple Watch (series 3 LTE) can give me now. And since TrainingPeaks is my platform of choice for planning and monitoring my progress, I set out to understand how Apple Watch and TP can work together.

Disclaimer: In case you think I am a lifetime athlete, I am not. I have been cycling for around 8 years, doing triathlons for about 4, and always just as hobbies outside of my day job—which involves a lot of sitting in front of a computer. I have completed just one other IRONMAN (Maastricht in 2017) and quite slowly as it happened. In most measures for my age group (I’m 53) I am just below average in terms of performance, but I am delighted I have made it to there. I am slowly climbing up the results—and up the hills now I come to think of it!

Apple Watch & TrainingPeaks – is that even Possible?

Yes it is.

Okay, there is more. Quite a bit actually. Some is great, some is not so good, but if you are like me and are intrigued with the idea that Apple Watch could be your next sports watch, read on.

Let’s Talk Apps

The first thing to realize with Apple Watch is that what you get in the box is not the whole story. Every Apple Watch comes loaded with the Apple Workout app, which is, in classic Apple style, very competent at what it does, but may not meet all your needs.

Luckily, just like your smartphone, the Apple Watch can utilize a multitude of apps to meet your needs for swim, run, bike and tri training. This post and my blog can help you choose which apps will work best for you, and we’ll focus here on how they’ll work with Training Peaks.

Creating or Getting a Training Plan

Training Peaks is my go-to place for storing and logging a training plan. To help you reach your goals with an Apple Watch, you’ll start with the same options as you would with any other device:

Buy a plan from the TP store

I’ve bought a few of these in the past, with varying success. The key is to make sure the one you chose matches your current fitness and goals, has understandable workouts that you can execute. In other words, don’t choose a power-based cycling plan if you don’t have a power meter!

Do it yourself…

You can search the web (outside of TrainingPeaks) for various free plans and then enter them into TP directly, perhaps adjusting as you see fit. This is your cheapest option and gives you plenty of flexibility. I have used this approach in the past, but ultimately it ends up being a little unstructured, and for me leaves too much wiggle room to get out of training.

Employ a trainer

TrainingPeaks has hundreds of coaches who can upload your personalized plan to the platform on a weekly basis, and then provide feedback on your progress and adjust if necessary. My coach, John Rowland from CycloForm, actually lives many miles from me, but provides me with great detailed training plans which he adjusts based on the data I upload from each workout.

A good coach (like John) will be reachable by text or email. There is nothing worse than waiting for a response from your trainer when plans go awry. Sure, you could take a guess, but it’s nice to pass that responsibility on to the coach who should know best (and hope he says take it easy for today, Ian!)

 

OK, I have a plan. How’s this going to work with Apple Watch?
Ideally we could have the following setup:

Your Plan in TP would have all your workouts entered into the Workout creator tool TP provides.
These plans would automatically sync down to your Apple Watch when needed.
You would perform the training session guided by the plan loaded onto Apple Watch.
The log from the session will be uploaded back to TP for analysis by you and/or your coach
Other health data such as sleep duration or HRV are also synced daily to TP.

1, 3, 4 and 5 work great today. But step 2 of syncing the workouts to an Apple Watch app currently involves a manual process of recreating the session in the app you want to use. There is no reason why a developer couldn’t fix this in the future though.

Let’s break down how I approach this:

 

Swimming

TP has good support for creating swimming (pool and open water) workouts, but doesn’t as yet include the ability to specify drills or detailed sessions and strokes for example.

Instead, you can outline a session using RPE, threshold pace or heat rate, which is fine.

Pool Swimming

Having tried various swimming apps that attempt to provide a structured session to follow, I have reverted to just memorising or printing out my plan, which I put it in a waterproof bag. If that works for you, then the standard Apple Workout app produces great stats for pool swimming automatically—no add-on apps needed.

However if you want to log drills, then the Swim.com app works much like the Apple Workouts one, with the extra ability to mark a drill.

Once you have logged your swim, you can use the nifty HealthFit app to export the data directly into TP.

See my detailed swimming focussed blogs here for full details:

Structured Swimming Sessions with Apple Watch 3
I was blown away by the detailed swim metrics from an Apple Watch pool swim
Pool Swimming with Apple Watch 3 and the Workout app

Open Water Swimming

I love the quality of the GPS tracks I get from Apple Watch in open water swimming. It’s better than anything else I have tried, which means pacing is more accurate. I should note that I typically do not create structured sessions for open water training. Usually it’s a simple endurance swim around the lake a few times, followed by a nice cup of tea. Beautiful.

Again, once you’re done, use HealthFit or RunGap to export to TP.

 

Cycling

Cycling training is the most challenging of the three disciplines for Apple Watch but is still achievable with some small adjustments.

Outdoor Cycling

One challenge with using the Apple Watch outside is that it’s hard to see the watch on your wrist while cycling—and if you mount it on your handlebars, you’ll lose the wrist-based heart rate monitor function. That means you’ll need a bluetooth heart-rate strap to track this basic workout metric (the Apple Watch is currently not compatible with ANT+ straps).

That can be problematic, because the Apple Watch can only connect with two bluetooth sensors at a time. So if your bike has a power meter, speed/cadence, DI2 or other sensors, you’ll need to stick your iPhone in your back pocket to log that data. To me, this is not the end of the world (at least when it comes to training) and comes with the added bonus of extended battery life.

Personally I keep my Apple Watch on my wrist, put my iPhone in my back pocket, and use an app called CycleMeter (with the Elite upgrade) which has some nice configurations for Apple Watch. It also comes with a decent workout editor to match your planned session (though iSmoothRun also looks good for cycling and I will be trying that too).

Unfortunately for navigation (and route art), I have not found a good option on the Apple Watch yet. You can use Apple Maps, but it doesn’t allow real fine tuning. I have been known to use my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt for GPS and leave heart rate tracking to the Apple Watch. At the end of the ride I’ll upload both files into TP and combine the data.

Indoor Cycling

When spending those joyous hours on a turbo trainer over the winter, my preferred option is to use Zwift, which syncs with my TP workouts, and supports Apple Watch biometrics.

Read my full review of it here: Using Apple Watch as an HR monitor for Zwift

 

Running

Running is perhaps the easiest and most convenient sport to do with your Apple Watch.

Indoor Running

On the treadmill you can just use Apple Watch Workout app and export the data into TP using the above mentioned apps. Alternatively I quite like using Zwift for this too, especially when coupled with a Stryd pod. Check out Running with Zwift and Apple Watch for more.

Outdoor Running

My current favourite app for running is iSmoothRun. Although it can’t currently import the workouts directly from Training Peaks, you can use the iSmoothRun app to create an equivalent workout, then sync it to Apple Watch to follow during your session.

What’s nice about iSmoothRun is that it supports your workouts when running with Apple Watch alone, no iPhone needed. In addition, you can customise the data, selecting from a wide selection of fields that you want to display on Apple Watch.

Once you have finished a run, iSmoothRun can sync the data back into Training Peaks directly. All the data is synced, including HR, GPS track, pace, and even running power if you pair a Stryd power meter.

There are many other running apps available of course. Many of them will have workout builders and options to sync data into Apple Workouts. If they don’t have a direct integration into TP, you can easily use an app such as HealthFit or RunGap to export it instead. HealthFit will even do that automatically for you now (once it detects a new workout has been logged)

Strength and Conditioning

Apple’s built-in workout app is perfectly fine for this. If you want a timer, then there are plenty available on the app store to take a look at. Intervals is good, and also handy for timing intervals on a treadmill!

 

Exporting Data from Apple Activity app to Training Peaks

As noted in various places above my preferred option for all apps is that they:

Export activity data into the Apple Activity app (and by definition the Apple Health app)
I then use HealthFit to export that to Training Peaks. You can configure this to happen automatically in the latest version which makes the whole process “set and forget”

Alternatives such as RunGap are also good.

Exporting your Apple Workout data to FIT files and Strava with the HealthFit app
Uploading Workout data from Apple Watch to Strava and others using RunGap

Other Health Metrics (HRV, BP, Sleep etc)

I have recently been getting more interested in logging other metrics along with my training logs. This has given me an opportunity to buy new gadgets, which is always great.

 

In the morning (while my wife is doing her 7 minute daily workout) I spend a few minutes connecting devices to my body, syncing other data to the Apple Health DB, and exporting it to TrainingPeaks. You can export this data via HealthFit, or use built in TP sync in the various apps (such as HRV4Training or Masimo Health)

 

HRV using HRV4Training
HRV using Apple Watch Breath App
Temperature using Nokia Thermo
Blood Oxygen Levels using Masimo Health MightySat
Sleep quality and duration using Beddit
Weight using Nokia Smart Scale
Resting Heart Rate using Apple Watch
Blood Pressure using a Nokia BMP
Various other manual metrics such as Sickness, Mood, Motivation etc which I enter via HRV4Training
VO2Max from Apple Watch (strangely it doesn’t seem possible to sync this one to TP currently)

 

Check out the TrainingPeaks blog on how you can use HRV (Heart Rate Variability) to determine your readiness to perform on a day (and comparing it to the hidden HRV records Apple Watch creates automatically throughout the day and when you use the Breath app – to see it open the Health app and search for HRV).

Logging a Triathlon Event

Currently you have two options for this:

Use the built in Activity app and/or third party single event apps. The issue with this is the complexity of switching apps during transition – which is typically a time where I am sort of dazed and confused and just trying to stagger out of my wet suit without falling into the mud. You can read how that worked out for me.

Use the Tri Tracker app – this is the only one currently available to record a Triathlon in its entirety and make it easy to switch sport by pressing the digital crown and side button together. Simple.

Future Enhancements

Apple have recently announced watchOS 5 which is now available to developers in a beta (test) release. This has a few immediately interesting new features for running in the standard Apple Workout app such as setting a rolling or average pace alert, and showing cadence (you can always use third party apps for this, but it’s nice to see in the standard app).

In addition automatic workout detection offers to start and/or log a workout if you forgot to start it, and will suggest you stop it at the end (which save’s logging the car journey home as part of your workout).

A new communication feature called “walkie-talkie” could potentially be an interesting way to easily communicate with your coach (“Keep it up Ian”) or family (“Go Dad!”) while out training (or even during an event if allowed), and a new Activity Competition feature could be fun to keep you motivated over a 7 day period.

They have also dramatically simplified the programming interface to Apple Health which will hopefully mean bigger and better third party apps becoming available.

The next hardware generation of Apple Watch (series 4) is expected to be announced in September of this year, and will most likely see a larger screen (in the same size watch), better battery life, and rumored new taptic (rather than mechanical) buttons which could also allow for more sensors (such as ECG readings that are currently available through third party straps). I also hear faint rumors of blood oxygen sensor being built in, which would be interesting especially if you train at altitude.

Summary

That’s probably quite a bit of info to take in. But the bottom line is that using Apple Watch for training in TP is perfectly possible, and with a few caveats works very well.

On the wishlist I’d love to see an enterprising developer work with TP to sync training workouts to an app that you could use on Apple Watch without iPhone, and I have no doubt that will eventually happen, and I’d like to see better support for navigation and sensors (such as power) for cycling.

But for now Apple Watch receives an ‘A’ for running and swimming training from me and a ‘B+’ for cycling overall. I believe the future looks especially bright for what is already the biggest watch business of any kind in the world, what with Apple’s investment in health and fitness and renewed focus on this for Apple Watch I can only see it becoming more and more competent and innovative in the coming years.

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The demands of training paired with time at a desk can leave many of us with tight hips. Tight hips manifest in many ways, from back and knee pain to decreased power and performance in your chosen discipline. The exercises below will help increase strength and mobility in your hips, helping negate those desk-hours and relieving any tightness or pain.

Exercise #1: Deep Ab Exercise

Endurance athletes could possibly benefit the most from this first exercise for two reasons: (1) This exercise focuses on relaxing the diaphragm and (2) it facilitates stimulation of the deep abdominals. As endurance athletes we love to take big inhales (diaphragm contracting) but we also don’t like to exhale (diaphragm relaxing and deep abs working). This can create hip and low back problems. The diaphragm actually shares an attachment to the low back with a hip flexor called the psoas (both have attachments on vertebrae L1-L3). This means what happens to one of these muscles will probably affect the other. The takeaway: If you want to relax your hip flexors, then you must relax your diaphragm (and vice versa).

Steps:

Lie on your back in a 90/90 position with your feet on a chair/ball AND against a wall.
Have a wedge (or towel) under your tail bone but allow your low back to rest on the mat.
Have a head pad such as a book or towel under your head.
Blow up the balloon focusing on long sustained exhales while relaxing the rest of your body (i.e. hips, neck, back, feet).

Exercise #2: Liquid Hips*

This exercise is called liquid hips because that is essentially what it creates. Your hip is known as a synovial joint. That means that a lubricating fluid (called synovial fluid) is produced within a membrane that lines the joint space. This fluid helps to keep your cartilage healthy as well as provide greater joint flexibility.

Steps:

Lie on your back with your feet on the mat in your socks.
Allow your leg to “fall” to the outside as you extend the knee/hip and then rotate it to the inside as you pull it back to the start
Reverse directions
Perform this 3-5 times in each direction.*

* Three to five reps in each direction should be good for most of us. More is not better in this case as you don’t want too much synovial fluid in the joint capsule at once.

Exercise #3: Respiratory Hip Bridge

One exercise that will help strengthen the gluteals while keeping the low back protected is a single leg respiratory hip bridge. The difference between this and a traditional hip bridge is that your back is protected by keeping one hip supported and flexed beyond 90 degrees. This support is increased by using a balloon to stimulate the deep abs.

Steps:

Lie on your back with your feet in close.
Bring one leg in close towards your chest (enough so your low back flattens) and then grab behind your knee.
With a balloon in your mouth (or not) extend perform the bridge as high as you can.
Do not let your big toe leave the mat. Try to keep your weight centered through the foot that is on the mat.
Lower down to the mat slowly.

Exercise #4: Side Leg Lifting

This is a great way to put help strengthen the hip abductors. This muscle group helps to take pressure off your groin and knee. Strong hip abductors are most crucial when standing on one leg (as in during running).

Steps:

Lie on your side with the leg slightly elevated (against a wall) with your low back slightly round and your top in line with your shoulder. – Make sure that it is not in front of your shoulder or any other part of your body. The leg must be either in line with the body or slightly behind it.
Make sure that you are reaching through your heel with the top leg
Focus on “reaching your leg away” from you as opposed to seeing how high you can lift the leg.
To add a little more intensity to the exercise slightly roll your hip forward, turn your knee down to the mat and (very) slightly extend your top leg to start.
Do not go too fast!

Exercise #5: Proper Clam Shelling

The clam shell is an excellent exercise for the posterior gluteal region. It is often performed at incorrect angles and extending and rotating the back rather than the hips. This exercise can be performed with resistance bands and/or a balloon as well.

Steps:

Lie on your side with your back in a slightly rounded position
Keep your hips slightly open with your knees/hips flexed to about 60 degrees.
Shift your top hip forward over your bottom slightly.
Imagine “reaching your top knee” away from you as you clam shell.
Lower down slowly or maintain the position at the top and blow up a balloon then lower your leg.

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There are plenty of articles about swimming in triathlons, and various films on YouTube showing different technical drills—so why does progress in the water come slowly for so many athletes? Below, you will find my point of view on this question, based on several years of intensive and direct work with amateurs.

Minimize Resistance, Maximize Efficiency

Whether we are talking about professional or age-group athletes, the limited time for swimming training is very important. That is why it is crucial to choose the right areas to work on. You want your return on investment to be as great as possible!

Apart from the time it takes you to cover the swim course, the key factor is how much energy you spend in the water. In most popular triathlon distances, the swim leg covers only 10 percent of the entire race time, but it can consume a disproportionate amount of energy with poor technique.

Generally speaking, technical proficiency in swimming can be divided into two categories: minimizing resistance and the maximizing the efficiency of the energy source. In the first category, the most important aspects include the position of the head and the movement of the legs. In the second category, they include stroke frequency, early vertical forearm position and the final push phase underwater. Properly performing these elements should translate into about 25 minutes in the half-ironman distance.

Note that I have put the movement of the legs in the category of “minimizing resistance”. Did you know that the world’s top freestyle swimmers in 1500m (the effort here lasts over 15 minutes) generate only 10 to 15 percent of their power from their legs? In a wetsuit, the efficiency of the leg movement decreases significantly, resulting in finishing times that are usually several times longer. In other words, your legs should not get in the way and should use as little energy as possible.

Repetition is Your Friend

Improving technique always takes time. Studies show that changing a technical element takes at least 6-7 months, and stabilizing a newly-taught technique in different conditions takes up to 12 months. In reality, I often see coaches and athletes choosing a different focus for one-month blocks or less. The result is that all elements remain weak.

When working with athletes, I avoid drawing attention to more than two elements at the same time, and I move on to subsequent aspects only when I see considerable improvement. In other words, too much variety in training reduces its effectiveness.

To induce the desired post-training adaptation, it is necessary to use a repetitive stimulus of a specific intensity and duration. This loads the neuromuscular system long enough to induce the desired adaptation.

Train like You Race

Let’s have a look at the endurance workout that I have seen in the training diary of one of my athletes who swims with a group trained by another coach:

4x100m medley
400m freestyle with paddles (hands)
4x100m medley
400m freestyle with fins (legs)
4x100m medley
400m freestyle with breathing exercises

Unfortunately, in a medley, the neuromuscular system receives a specific stimulus for only about 1/5 fatigue duration (freestyle is faster than other styles), and after that, it rests. When you swim with a pull buoy, your legs rest; and when you swim with legs, your hands rest.

Worse, the longest interval in this workout which will load the muscles and nervous connections in the same way as a race is only 400 metres. This is just a drop in the ocean, especially for an athlete who has to swim almost 2 kilometres during a race.

In my opinion, technique is simply not good if it disintegrates as fatigue grows. The athlete must be physically prepared for the challenges that lie ahead of them during the race. If your longest intervals do not exceed two kilometres, then your technique will dramatically deteriorate, wasting precious energy for the other parts of the race.

Know the Difference Between Technique and Mechanics

It’s important to distinguish technical mistakes from problems relating to the mechanics of motion. Even with all the practice and visualization in the world, many technical elements simply cannot be performed by some athletes because of mechanical limitations.

A prime example is the early vertical forearm position under water, widely known as the “high elbow catch”. When you lack proper mobility of the shoulder girdle and movement patterns allowing rotation in the shoulder joint, you simply cannot perform the high elbow catch. It doesn’t matter how many technical drills you integrate into your training. The added efficiency of proper mechanics is well worth the daily mobility work.

Find the Flow

“Flow” is a psychological term describing a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in the process. A Flow state comes with increased focus, satisfaction and fulfillment; freedom from a fear of failure; and a sense of control connected with the loss of self-awareness. You probably know this state from your best training sessions and competitions.

Of course it’s possible to set a personal best without achieving a flow state. However, flow is a sign that you’ve tapped directly into your mental “hardware”, rather than relying on “software,” which can be advantageous when the going gets hard. The aim of the training process is to give you the repetition needed to reach a state of flow, or unconscious performance, on race day.

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