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HTC Efficient Runner Blog 2

Why you need to focus on technique?

‘Never practice struggle’ Terry Laughlin: Total Immersion Swimming

Knowing no better in 2007 I decided to enter Wimbleball 70.3 as my first triathlon. At that time, it was the hardest 70.3 on the planet. I knew nothing about triathlon, these were the days when you worked out what to do the hard way. Luckily, I noticed an ad for ‘Total Immersion Swimming’ and signed up for a weekend course. Here learned the most important lesson of my triathlon and coaching career.

NEVER PRACTICE STRUGGLE.

If you have bad technique, you can become faster by training harder. Unfortunately, this is what many triathletes, runners, cyclists and swimmers do. Eventually you can’t train harder. By this time, you’ve put hours into creating inefficient neural pathways and bad habits. You’ve learned movements which will eventually mean more injuries and as you get older you will get slower.

LEARN EFFICIENT TECHNIQUE.

Run like a kid

Kids are naturally beautiful runners. (Unless they are growing when they become ungainly as they adjust to their new longer limbs). This means you have been a beautiful runner. You know how to run efficiently. Over the years chairs, sitting, and hours with no movement take their toll on your body making it harder for you to move as nature intended. Returning to efficient running means focusing on reawakening those neural pathways you used as a kid.

Ageing means you need more focus on your technique

As you age your maximum heart rate goes down. There is nothing you can do about the physiology of getting older. This means you have fewer heart beats to push oxygen to you muscles as you run. You cannot get away with simply training harder if you want to race well. Add to this your VO2 max goes down which means less oxygen to your muscles. Not to mention your muscle mass goes down. This means less muscle to absorb the diminishing supply of oxygen. This means you need to work harder on your technique as you get older to run well.

All is not lost

Neural plasticity means your brain can learn new movements throughout your life. To do this you need a change in mindset.

Traditionally we train runners. As a coach I’ve prescribed triathlete a programme of more running, longer runs, intervals, hill intervals etc to help them compete. Efficient running is different. It’s time to reawaken your natural ability to run. As you relearn how to become an efficient runner you will also get fitter, faster and less injury prone. As your age group rivals get slower you will gain athletic longevity. If you believe you can’t run then why not start by learning to run beautifully. There is no need to be a lumbering jogger. Running can become a very enjoyable, easy, experience.

Efficient running can be learned.

Dave Bradley

HTC Coach. BT Level 3 Coach. Training Peak Level 2 Coach

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