Having fun with Jason!

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All photos in this Blog are by Jason Dodd Photography

I contacted Jason Dodd from Jason Dodd Photography back in April 2016, stating I had qualified for the European Aquathlon Championships for June and wished to enquire about a photo shoot to show off my new GB kit and for him to become a sponsor. This was to help me out, attract new sponsors for the future and raise my profile.  I am very proud to have Jason as a sponsor and extremely happy with the pictures he has produced for me.

We met early in the year before my race and Jason produced some great pictures for me to use with my GB kit and race kit. You can see two of the first pictures from the original photo shoot above and more on my website.

The first photo shoot was taken at Jason’s office in Canterbury at the University of Kent. These were taken opposite the woodlands which provided a good location for some running photos, and at the back of the Innovation Centre is a tired car park; with me standing on the top set of steps this gave Jason a low down viewpoint in which to cut out the background and just concentrate on the thundered sky.

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Jason was due to come to one of my races and get some action shots but sadly a minor niggle resulted in me pulling out of the race. So we decided to meet up again on the 15th of August at Whitstable Harbour with permission from Canterbury City Council and he came down with the new Land Rover Equipe convertible car. A very nice car and very expensive, I am pretty sure it would pay peoples mortgages off. The car got a lot of attention and Jason took photos with me and the car around the harbour. It was nice for me to show off my Bronze medals too and take photos that we haven’t done before and to get some more photos. The photo shoot was fun with me probably annoying Jason asking him if he wanted a serious or happy pose (I think I need to work on my poses more…).

Below are some photos from the photo shoot, what do you guys think? My favourite below is the photo with the boat in the background.

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I am happy to announce that Jason will continue our partnership for next year, which I am grateful. Please check-out his website out.

http://www.jasondoddphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 triathlon running drills to improve form

Top 5 triathlon running drills to improve form

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Yiannis Christodoulou, Level 2 running coach & GB athlete

Hi All this is my top 5 drills I give to my athletes when training for triathlon. Any questions feel free to contact me.

90 degrees arm drive

Arm drive is something that is very much neglected in athletes, as they think they have perfect running technique. A better arm drive will make you more efficient and quicker.

Looking at the picture below your arms should be at 90 degrees angle and when you run, your arm should come back next to your hip and the forward part of your elbow should be to your hip as you move your arm forward. You should check your arms when warming up and perform this on the warm up.

 

 

Lift your knees high

The importance of this drill is to improve running form and teaches your body to have a better technique.

You start by having a 90 degrees arm drive like when you are running, but walking with your knees up high.  The high knees will help with the loading phase and the importance of getting this right is that it allows you to focus on driving the foot and springing back off the ground. See picture below.

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I would say that you should do this before some of your runs for around 1 minute. You could put it into reps and repeat 3 times then go on to your session.

Running with Bike

We know you can run but the most difficult problem for triathletes is when they come off the bike into running; their legs don’t move and are like jelly. Your body needs to get used to this and one aspect of training the legs is to practice coming off the bike and into the run.

There are two ways I always recommend even if you are not doing a run session after the bike session. The first one is to get off the bike and to run with the bike for half a mile, just like you would in transition, then leave the bike at your place and jog for half a mile.

The second way is to come off the bike, leave it at home and run at 60% of your race pace for a mile. These two techniques are quite popular with triathletes in getting their legs used to running after the bike.

Running backwards

When running you are always moving forwards, so people think why run backwards. By running backwards you are using different muscles that you wouldn’t normally use and will help improve your stride length by moving quicker and being more efficient and also help in stopping shin splints. This also makes your glutes and hamstrings stronger.

So what should you do before you start your run? Stand tall with your core straight, push off with your forefoot to run backwards. The hamstrings and glutes will be working hard and lead the way. Do this for around 30 seconds, then take a recovery and repeat twice more.

Lunges while walking

Why lunges? Well lunges are important for balancing while running and provides flexibility. This should be done by lunging one leg forward like the picture below. I always recommend that runners do 20 of these before they start their main session.

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Building for Mexico

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 With Mexcio just under 6 weeks away I turned to my target race of Whitstable Surf N Turf on the 31st of July. Training has been tough in recent weeks, perhaps not enough rest in between the Euro’s and too much racing. With a minor leg problem in training recently it has been a struggle to be able to push it in the run and Ii have felt like my running form has dipped.

Due to the race being a local race for me and just down the road, I was really looking forward to it and was very excited. Before I even got to the queue to register, someone came up to me and congratulated me for my European result which was nice. I then registered and took my bits to transition with quite a few people coming over and congratulating me and speaking to me about the Euro’s.  I always like a good chat and helping others; I felt like a local celebrity. I went into transition and met some locals.

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The race consisted of a 400m sea swim followed by a 5k run, which was some of the Whitstable Park run route. The sea was choppy and I got into the sea pumped up and ready to go. For some reason I was very excited about this. The swim started and it was very choppy after a few minutes; it appeared to me that I was swimming on my own. Towards the end of my swim I pushed on and came out the sea to find out that I was 1st out, not the normal routine for me, so I was happy about that. I then raced up the hill to transition where a person was cheering my name – thanks for the support whoever you were!

I started the run fast and unlike in other races I had no one to chase which mentally can be tough; after a mile I discovered my leg was bothering me but I kept pushing on. I had an Adalta team runner, who was part of a team effort, shoot past me and at this point I realised this was not going to be my fastest 5k run. I started to struggle but raced up the final hill, had a look around and no one was there. So I eased off to the finish line to come home comfortable in first place, nearly two minutes in front of the next competitor. This is my 2nd win overall and 2nd win of the year! I was over the moon because I love my local events and grew up in the area. It was nice to see so many people supporting the event and supporting me and cheering, I really appreciate this. I will be back next year to compete!

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So what’s next for me? Picking up a niggle can be annoying however I am going to rest a week from running and concentrate on my swim and strength. It’s just 6 weeks now to Mexico and I am now ready to build for it. I have two Aquathlons and then Mexico. So not a lot of racing and hopefully plenty of training. My proud Dad in the photo below.

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So what did I think of the race this year compared to last year?

I think Active Life Ltd, Giles and Elliot got the race spot on this year. After last year’s complicated route and people missing laps and being sent the wrong way, the race was a slightly different route. The one lap route of Parkrun was much better and all the marshals knew what they were doing this year. The whole race was much better and is one of my favourite races now. Good work guys! Keep it up for next year!

June!! What a month

Photo above from Jason Dodd Photography

It all started last year the following day after I got back from my Honeymoon. I gave a local Auqathlon a go and produced a good time and a top 5 position. I decided to train more for this discipline and by the time I raced my last race of the year in September I had knocked 3 minutes off my time and was going to ITU European Auqathlon Championship (in Chateauroux, France) on June 25th 2016 to represent Great Britain. This was an achievement I did not ever dream of or expect.

The winter came round quickly and I started to train regularly for this and made sure I worked hard in training. I decided to take coaching from a local Swimming coach as I needed to improve my swim and make improvements as I was only just swimming lengths at one speed all the time. The running wasn’t a problem as I am a running coach so this was easy for me.

By the time May had come round I had been training well, four runs a week, four swim sessions with 2 gym sessions as well. I done a local Auqathlon came 2nd and was over 2 minutes quicker which was great. At this point I didn’t really have any ambitions for the European Championships but jut to go and enjoy it.

However first stop was the National Auqathlon Championships in Leeds two weeks before my trip to France. It was a long journey to Leeds and once  I was there I helped out at the Zone 3 tent for a few hours and everyone was nice and friendly. The following day was race day and all though I had won a local Auqathlon a few days earlier I was very much very tired and suffering from the races I had been doing the previous weeks. I was very nervous but got to the start line and started. As soon as the race started I got my googles knocked off and had to grab them and put them back on. By that time is was near the back and therefore had to swim hard, I made up ground but then got boxed in with other swimmers. I knew I had to push the run and with the course being hilly at Rounday park it was going to be tough. I came out 45 in the swim and not where I wanted to be but I pushed on to come 23rd overall by pushing it on the run, I was very happy with how I performed on the second part of the race, but when I found out I was 3rd in my Age group and automatic entry to the World Championships in Mexcio, I was over the moon.

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After gaining this massive achievement and bronze medal, I had a few weeks left for the European’s. I decided to just try my best and enjoy the whole experience. The week leading up to France I came down with a bad cold and was unable to train for the whole week. I was advised to rest although feeling ill  I packed my stuff (Including my amazing Vanquish wetsuit) and arrived in France the day before the race. It was very warm and we had a long Journey from Paris to Chateauroux which made me feel quite ill again. Once there I had this buzz and felt much better. The next day was the race day and all though was feeling slightly better I was very relaxed about the race. The time came to start the race and we were told prior no wetsuits allowed as the lake was 26 degrees. The swim was 1000 metres so a bit further than my normal races. We started with a large crowd watching and at the 500m point we had to get out and run back in, I noticed I had large group in front of me I pushed hard to get close to them. Once I came out of transition I then started my run and just went for it. I was picking people off throughout the run and I then saw two guys in my Age group in front of me at the last 4oometres, I somehow found something extra and sprinted passed them to take 3rd on the line. Another Bronze medal and another achievement I never thought would happen. I was over the moon and something to tell the Grand Kids in the future. I have taken a week off and now getting back into it, looking forward to Mexcio.