Olympic-distance triathlons – and the 10km run – are all about speed efficiency.
For us triathletes, sprinting can often be seen as a bit of a waste of time, but treated correctly they can provide a massive boost to your weekly programme.
So let’s start off with a tough, running form-based speed session where you’re going to work on form and relaxation – vital for running faster. You’ll run 1 x 60, 1 x 70 and so on, moving up in 10m increments until 200m; walk or jog slowly as your recovery.
Don’t worry about flat-out speed, simply work on fast, relaxed form. It’s a great session for drilling perfection into your running style. You’ll also find that you naturally carry that fast, early speed into later efforts, thus killing two birds with one stone – improved speed endurance and better form.
Equally a session of 9 x 200m, running easy, easy-fast and so on with a walk recovery does the same job. Work on perfect form, high knees, relaxed upper body on the easy ones and translate that into the fast runs.
Sports scientist John Brewer argues that the best runners are certainly the ones with the best form at speed, so sessions like this are definitely worth looking at.
In terms of simple drills, think about hip flexibility and mobility and you won’t go far wrong. Most running research will tell you that the greatest fast runners are those with the best hip mobility. So with this in mind, dynamic stretching before a workout – just once a week – will pay dividends.
Leg swings or arcs either across your body or up and down, holding onto a table or chair will do a great job. I also like lunges and sideways cross-over drills where you’re moving from side to side, crossing in front and then behind – think of a crab scuttling along the sand.
A couple of quick rules for you when doing classic drills such as heel flicks, fast feet (small pitter patter strides) and rolling off your ankles (walking slowly, small steps, roll up onto your toes with each step).
Work over 15m, stay tall, go slowly and be relaxed. Do them when you’re fresh – so before a run – for perfect form.
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