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!