Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Technique - work in progress

I have really not much to report on training front because writing “run for 30min, ITB felt great (although that’s kind of exciting to write), bike for 90min, swim with H96” gets boring. If I were doing some hard core track workouts or trying to push big watts on a bike that would be a different definitely more exciting story.

So instead I am coming up with these “technical” ramblings based on my experience. I think about it and putting it down on paper helps me to collect and nicely organize my thoughts. Although it might not always seem like that, but that’s just my pure writing abilities. All my thoughts are nicely organized in my head afterwards.

You remember how I was cursing last year during my bike rides? I was working on a nice smooth pedal strokes, engaging muscles all the way through rotation, especially pulling up and then through top and bottom of a pedal stroke. It was freaking hard! I had to concentrate all the time otherwise I would just start pushing down. And my hip flexors were never happy with me.

I have been working on that since October or so, and I think that I have made quite a progress. I do not have any tangible proof though, it is only my feeling that I am more efficient and that I pull and push through top and bottom without having to concentrate on it.

Although now I sometimes think that I do not push down hard enough. So I guess that now I should again start concentrating on my pedaling and make sure that I do all the phases of pedal stroke efficiently and correctly.

I was also working on my cadence but I do not think that I have made huge progress there. Still work in progress although I still try (which is not very difficult these days because I cannot shift to the biggest front ring so I am always on the middle ring. So that crappy bike has at least one advantage) to keep cadence higher than feels natural to me. I do not have cadence sensor or I am doing this entirely by feel.

Now to swimming. Yesterday I went to the H96 workout and we did a lot of drills (catch up, one hand, kick) and although I can swim with those guys and even go faster than some of them I cannot “drill” with them. I am so pathetically slow. I do not know why. I was also pathetically slow at CH’s workouts. Even he could not figure out why I was so freaking slow when we were doing drills since I was ok swimming. I did not mind being lapped at CH’s but here it is different because here I just joined whatever lane (well, coach told me to join them based on my looks…), I do not know people there and I feel really bad being that slow. It is not really an ego thing, I know I need to go slow if I want to do it correctly and thus I am wiser than trying to go fast and sacrifice a correct form for ego. I just do not like jeopardizing anyone’s workout if they have to go around me and they probably think what the heck is she doing here if we are lapping her in 50m pool! Move to a different lane! Ok, this is not about technique anymore so I will stop now.

I have been working on the “elbow first and forearm just handing there until it touches water” arm recovery technique that CH wanted me to do. And I think that I am getting better. I still need to concentrate on it but it is coming more naturally to me now. Before my arm recovery was as soon as my arm was out of water I lifted the forearm forward, kind of like I was already preparing for entering the water again. CH said that I was wasting a lot of energy that way and thus it was not a real recovery.

Both CH and H96 coach told me to glide more and stay on my side longer. I have not mastered that yet. I think that I am not gliding on my side at all when we swim fast. I am working on it, but it is hard, it feels like I am going to sink if I tried to glide longer. But I do my best in longer easier sets and w/up and c/d. And on days when I do my own workouts. Those days are entirely about technique. So still work in progress.

And running? It is similar to my fall biking days. I am cursing constantly! It is hard.

Basically I am trying to land under my center of gravity as opposed to kick my lower leg forward (although I think that I have been doing that only during slow runs, not when I run fast but who knows, I have not run fast forever so I cannot really tell) and as of now I think that the only way to do it is to exaggerate the whole movement. Which requires me to lift my knees quite high and it is a lot of work for my hip flexors, and I had to concentrate on it. Which is both mentally and physically draining (just like those bike rides). At first I felt like I was hopping too much, it felt like doing high knees drill and it felt very unnatural. It is much better now though. It seems that change in running technique is coming along more naturally than learning a proper biking technique because it took me only around 4 weeks for this new running technique to feel somehow natural. I do not have to think about it too much although I sometimes still try to remind myself to lift the knee and land under it. And sometimes I try to simulate my old slow runs technique and I can tell that there is a huge difference between the two! And the new one comes more naturally to me than the old one now.

I do not know whether it is perfect yet, I will try to meet with CH when I am in Slovakia next week so he can have a look and give me some pointers.

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