January 22, 2018

The 27.2 Mile Marathon

Ron Saetermoe

Efficiency in sport is critical for those wishing to do their best. I see inefficiency everyday with the athletes here at Triathica – especially with their swim.  Many people fight the water rather than work with it.  Good thing; helps keep us busy.

And while being efficient in the swim is probably the most critical event to the triathlete, it is also important on the bike and run.  If you’ve ever ridden a bike that was poorly fit and another that was expertly fit, you know the difference.  In fact, you can see it even if you’re not an advanced triathlete.  The well-fit cyclist rides with a lot of power and stays out of the wind.  Their leg extension is perfect and the back is nice and flat.

Triathletes don’t seem to have a problem spending money on swim coaching or bike fit, but they often don’t think about how efficiently they run.  There has been a lot of research and much written about running form, but much of it goes ignored.

The latest thinking in running comes from a number of angles.  Pose and Chi running methods have gained some popularity.  The OC expert in Pose is Michael Collins of Multisports OC.  He’s a Level 3 Pose instructor and can teach you all about it.

There’s also a good book out on Chi running by Danny Dreyer called “Chi Running, A revolutionary approach to effortless, injury-free running.”

So okay, how much can you really improve?  It depends on how you currently run.  You may have been born with perfect running form.  If so, thank your ancestors.  However, if you’re like the rest of us, you’re probably working too hard and not going fast enough.

In fact, did you know, that if you have a vertical bounce in your step of 3” and you run a 4-hour marathon with a leg turnover of 90 that you’re running a vertical mile over the course of your marathon?  As if 26.2 weren’t hard enough!

A great way to review your form is to have yourself video taped.  The best way to do this is to film yourself on a treadmill from a number of angles and distances.  For example, to review your vertical bounce, tape yourself from a distance with something in the background to measure your bounce (a simple piece of masking tape on the wall in the back will do the trick).  You’ll be able to approximate how much bounce you have and begin to work on this.

You should also tape foot-strike.   If your heal hits the treadmill first you do what is referred to as “heal striking.” Heal striking is generally thought to be less efficient than a mid-foot strike.  And if you’re racing any distance you want to be as efficient as possible.

Here at Triathica, we can help.  We’ve got the video equipment (including an underwater camera) and the video capture software to fully analyze your swim, bike or run.


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