On April 22nd, Andrew Adeane (Kiwi tri coaching) and I delivered a one-day triathlon skills day for beginner triathletes at Sportspace in Hemel Hempstead.
12 athletes signed up for a very practical day of swim, bike, run and transition skills.
The day started with a brief introduction to the coaches and each other, and the venue (incl required H&S matters), before kicking off with some running on the track.
Our run session started with warm up stretches and drills, to get everyone limbered up for the day and reduce risk of injury. From then we spent a good hour on technique, focusing specifically on body position and use of arms, and also posture and lean. We complemented technique tips and drills with 400m reps around the track at different intensity levels. The last aspect of technique we looked at was on cadence and so using a metronome and some basic counting skills, we worked on optimal cadence for runners at different speeds.
From them we moved onto transition practice, which is the most fun part of the day, particularly for coaches. We set up a dummy swim/bike transition and then bike/run transition. After several practices and coaching tips, the athletes did a full swim/bike/run transition set on the track.
Time for lunch, rest and re-application of sunscreen. We were fortunate enough to have a lovely sunny day of around 22'C.
After lunch we headed to the main campus at Sportspace for a bike hill/skills session. Cars parked and bikes unloaded, we took the athletes through a series of hills, starting with gentle and moving to more steep if each athlete wished. Working on technique up and down hills, there were a few tired legs at the end of set, but some notable improvements in gear selection and body position.
Finally we headed to the pool for some open water drills. We had the exclusive use of the training pool at Sportspace which meant we could make it 2m deep throughout, simulating open water. After a 10 minute warmup we moved onto sighting drills, stopping and taking off goggles mid-swim, turns and race starts.
I'm not sure who was more tired at the end - the athletes or the coaches. I certainly needed to be in bed for 9pm that night, but here's what some of our athletes had to say about the day:
'Exciting, tough but fun triathlon practice day, learned loads about transitions and kit needed plus pitfalls to avoid, really, really useful day' Janet
"My thighs were a little tight the next day and my shoulders hurt, think that's due to the fact I haven't been in the pool since last October! The day was excellent, well planned and thought out, you both made us/me feel very comfortable and at ease all the time. You made the learning fun especially when try to hop off my bike 😊" Patsy
"Well that was a brilliant day, thank you! Learnt lots – although I’ve been running for a large number of years, it was good to have some warm up ideas, and think about the way I run to improve – and learn new stuff about cadence and stride length, not sure I’ll get to beat Mo anytime soon but I’m optimistic I can improve even at my ageJ I was a bit doubtful about the bike bit, but enjoyed that and its inspired me to try to incorporate more cycling into my schedule (good time of year for that!) and maybe even wear a helmet!! Love the idea of open water swimming and it was great to learn about sighting and experience mayhem in the pool. The transition bit was the most fun – like an obstacle course! All in all, its definitely inspired me to move a tri up to the top of the bucket list, the variety and I think cross training aspects to help prevent injury is appealing. What I’d say to someone considering the course is it’s a fun way of giving you the confidence to give a Tri a go..and who knows what that might lead to!"Jo
"Yourself and Andrew delivered great tips and guidance on helping me progress to my first triathlon and ongoing training goals. I would certainly encourage others to sign up to this and other training days. " Gary
"As I sit aching all over I thought I would email you regarding yesterdays course.
Many thanks for arranging such a full and informative day. All aspects of the course were well covered and explained, whatever the level of the participants.
I for one have come away with running techniques which I will try to work on.
Again many thanks for the pain this morning." Michael