Practicing Form In The Offseason

The offseason has now officially begun for me and that means that the focus is on form.  Form in all three disciplines will help me become more efficient and eventually faster.  I have been practicing my form in the pool for about two weeks now, ever since I was directed to Mr Smooth.  I have watched that little 3D image multiple times over and especially the night before I head to the pool in the morning.  By focusing on form I have been able to shave seconds off of my 100y times in those two weeks.  It is amazing to me how I can swim faster splits and be less fatigued. This week I also was forced to focus on form with my running.  Ever since the weekend after 70.3 Austin I have been dealing with a pain on the top of my foot right where the foot and the leg meet (that 90* angle when you are standing up.)  It has been a throbbing pain when I run but I knew that I wanted to run the Las Vegas marathon so I ignored the pain.  Two days after the marathon I tried to get a 30 minute easy run in and almost quit after a minute.  I decided to walk because I knew I needed the lactic acid out of my quads.  After walking for two minutes I started to run again but focusing on a mid-foot strike and all the sudden there was no pain.  I was conscious to make sure I wasn't compensating on my right leg and wasn't.  Yesterday I ran outside for almost 23 minutes and covered 2.76 miles at a pace of 8:18/mi with no pain.  Today I ran 3.80 miles in 35 minutes for a pace of 9:13/mi and neither time did I have pain.  I can say that I could feel it in my calf but that is to be expected with a change in landing. Yesterday I got an email from Active.com regarding the aero position and I immediately thought of two things.  The first was how I could benefit from practicing better form on the bike and how that could help save my legs for the run since both of my runs in 70.3 California and 70.3 Austin were not the best.  I also recall pictures of Craig Alexander from Kona whose rear saddle water bottle was parallel to the ground.  Most of us ride with our water bottles vertical but this was the first I had seen a water bottle be horizontal (Kona World Championships are this weekend so tune it to see the angle of Craig Alexander's water bottle.) Here are the points that Frank Bures wrote for Bicycling magazine that was re-published on Active.com: 1. Cover all exposed brake and derailleur cables. "This can be difficult, but I use a lot of electrical tape and flexible cables," says Frey. "You can tell that you have done a good job if you cannot see any cables when looking straight on at the bike from the front, seeing what the wind sees." [caption id="attachment_4821" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Notice the water bottle in the vertical position"]craig_alexander_kona_aerodynamic[/caption] 2. If you buy a time-trial helmet, make sure it's tail is flat against your back when you're in the aero position. "Airflow separation between your helmet and back will negate much of the benefit of having the teardrop helmet in the first place." 3. Smooth out. "Always use a skinsuit with no wrinkles or excess fabric as well as spandex shoe covers. Do not wear gloves!" Quiet your ride: How to silence a noisy bike 4. Flatten out "Make sure your forearms are parallel to the ground and that your thumbs point forward with flat aerobar extensions, giving you leverage to pull up on the extensions when going up steep power climbs while also making a more aerodynamic shape. Always think of what you look like to the wind." 5. Shield yourself "Pedal with your knees and legs inward, so that your forearms block the wind for your legs. You want to be as low and narrow on the bike as possible while still being able to breathe and produce power. Roll your shoulders inward and keep your head as low as possible." [caption id="attachment_4822" align="alignright" width="276" caption="Notice the water bottle and the flat aero helmet on his back"]craig_alexander_kona_triathlon_2011[/caption] 6. Front first "Most important in terms of aerodynamics is the front of your bike—it is the first thing to see 'clean' wind, and this means your front wheel, fork, aerobars and helmet are the most important pieces of equipment. I think the Zipp 1080 front wheel and Zipp Tangente tubular tire make up the fastest wheelset on the planet. An Oval Concepts A900 Jetstream fork with HED aerobar give you the most important thing: adjustability so it fits you perfectly. The new Giro TT helmet is great for a person with a good TT position and flat back, and the Louis Garneau Rocket is the best for a curved back."  

What will you be focusing on in the off-season?

DID YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE? SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS:
Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

Related Stories

  • Race Reports

2015 Bandera 100k Ultra Trail Race will not be an event I will forget for a very long time.  When Jeff mentioned that we should do this race as a great way to end the peak weeks of training for Rocky Raccoon 100 I thought it was a great idea. &n...