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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Run or Be a Runner in Triathlon

To succeed at the highest level in triathlon in the run off the bike, does one need to be a runner, or just run fit? Those of you that know what I do for a living can clearly see this is a loaded question. Can sufficient run conditioning work propel a triathlete who can move herself through space on foot at the prerequisite pace to success in a triathlon race without having the running skills to do so; i.e. while looking like a runner? I say no – a Chris Lieto obviously does not arrive at the world championships not “in shape” to run a marathon that is sufficient to defend his prodigious bike result & get the W; so what’s missing then? Clearly our love of the sport lies in looking for that elusive day when we put it all together & the “gamble” that this entails every time we lay it on the line is where the magic lies.

Lately I have been standing before a new paradigm; sure, address the specific limiters I see with each individual triathlete, but perhaps more importantly & effectively, in terms of my mission to see beautiful runners in triathlon that please even the pure running fans, establish a baseline level of running skills through tried & tested key drills introduced from the beginning of the triathlete’s career if they have not come along a running pathway. All runners can skip, do the karaoke drill, bound, & sprint – not all triathletes, even VERY good ones can!

The more triathletes I work with, especially the higher performing ones with amazing swim & bike abilities, the more I realize that they have developed from a young age in especially the swim, through the regular pathway of swim drills & development – growing up to be swimmers. They eat, sleep, drink & visualize swimming (or whatever their chosen sport was) & became that thing. While maintaining those skills & giving up on some of the volume & frequency that got them there, they need to have a minimum level of cycling & running skills. It would seem to me that a far better way to approach this situation, rather than try to fix what is broken about their run, is to have them learn & master the basic skills & see if their run does not naturally progress in this fashion. Then, when they have a basic skill set in place, work on the specific limiters they display.

Bobby McGee

1 comment:

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