Kenyan running drill

Train easy … and hard

The track sessions this week were a microcosm of everything I believe is important in triathlon. I always see the time I’m able to spend with people as precious. Like most coaches I might only meet up with people at training for an hour per week. In that session we not only need to do some training but also give everyone a focus for their own training sessions when we are not around. With our junior and senior triathletes the sessions focused on two key elements which should be found in any good training programme: training slowly and training hard. Too often we simply train at tempo. Training at race pace makes us feel virtuous. This however only brings the same benefits as training at an easy level (2% difference in the training effect) but takes longer to recover. On the flip side interestingly many people never train above race pace. As a result they never get quicker. This means most training results in us becoming better at racing at the same level of performance.

Kenyan running drill

Yesterday I introduced the groups to ‘Kenyan’ running, a drill stolen from watching a video showing the famous athletes of St Patrick’s school in Kenya running in line, one behind the other at an easy pace. The video showed the group running in a training session.     They were Focused on their technique. Aligned, running ‘tall’. They had great Stability from their core muscles. Their Timing was immaculate as they ran with light steps and minimum contact time with the ground. All this resulted in super relaxed, effortless running. F.A.S.T. This acronym can also be applied to swimming and biking. I see it as my role as a coach to help people perform in as a relaxed state as possible something ‘Kenyan running’ really helps to perfect.

Make it hard

Running hard 300m intervals adds the other side of the equation. A distance which for our groups is not a sprint but which allows people to run at above their race pace and helps people ‘feel’ what it’s like to run fast. Remarkably every single athlete as they ran faster also improved their style. They looked like ‘flowing’ runners. Something we notice regularly in running, swimming and biking sessions is that when we ask people to perform at above race pace for short periods their technique improves. If you want to learn from the best I can recommend this video and why not give ‘Kenyan’ F.A.S.T. running and hard 300m sessions a try.

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