Another week has flown by. Did you achieve what you set out to achieve? If not, take some time to reflect on that and see what changes need to be made so you can achieve your process goals, that lead to …. your major goals.

I just finished an awesome book called Going Pro and it is not about going PRO in triathlon but making the choice to go PRO in life. To step up from being an amateur and to GO PRO. It’s a short read but a MUST read.

Get it from Amazon here for next to nothing on a Kindle.

Now on to this weeks QnA

Q: I’ve been following your blogs etc for the last couple of months, and have been really enjoying them, and I’ve enjoyed giving your sessions a go as well.

A question for you on running cadence: I’ve been trying to get my cadence up to 95 while running which I’m having gradual success with, but am really struggling to do it while doing an ‘easy’ run. I find I end up having to almost run on the spot to hold back my pace (i’m exaggerating but hopefully you know what I mean), but then because I’m trying to maintain a high cadence my heart rate is remaining relatively high. I struggle enough as it is to run ‘easy’ currently, as my natural instinct is to try to go hard all the time. I was wondering if you have tips on this please?

Thanks for the inspiration.
Marc

A: Marc, thanks for the note and the question.

What you’re finding is very common. I have written about developing stride rate many times and essentially it is a habit to be practiced every time you run. Not some of the time, but all the time. But lets step back a bit first and get to the crux of yours and many (most) athletes problem here.

“I struggle enough as it is to run ‘easy’ currently, as my natural instinct is to try to go hard all the time” – at least you’re honest here. Most athletes BS themselves that their easy is easy. All this is, is a FEAR based mechanism that you can’t be seen to be running slowly.

I had the opportunity and pleasure to run with Dan Hugo (2nd Xterra World Champs 2011) on a run during our Epic Unsupported Tour last year. Dan can run and run FAST, way faster than I can. However on this long run we did one afternoon he ran the whole thing slower than 5min/k pace, yet he races below 4min/k pace.

There are many physiological benefits from doing your EASY parts of the session truly EASY.

So ditch the BS fear and swim/bike/run your easy sections HONESTLY no BS EASY. That is step one. Dan had a great comment. There is time to build form and a time to show form. Choose wisely.

Step two. Understand and commit fully to that this will take time. There is no shortcuts.

Step three. Note your starting benchmarks acr oss all intensity ranges. Sure the goal is mid 90’s but if you’re running in the 80’s on your fast you’ll be along way from this on your easy. So make a note and then aim to increase your strides per foot per minute over time and at each pace/intensity level. Over time you’ll be able to run in the 90’s easy and not feel like you’re running on the spot.

Step four. Use tools at your disposal to help. A treadmill is your best friend here. Set it at 0% grade ALWAYS unless you have a hill set designed. This underrated piece of equipment is a fast track to developing your stride rate.

No treadmill access… then find a slight longish downhill to work on your stride rate. Best would be if you could find a loop with long gradual downhill, a flat section and then a short steeper hill that leads you back to the long downhill.

I know have a treadmill with decline function. -2% and it is perfect for stride rate development.

Yes your HR will be higher to start with. I’m not overly concerned with that. However, as above it takes time to run EASY and truly easy at a decent stride rate. So aim to increase it 102 strides per minute which won’t have a huge HR impact and overtime the body WILL adapt.

Good luck.

Q: Hi Kristian,

In your plans you mention to use the biggest Pull buoy you can find. I know you say it will help with your swimming by taking the focus off aiming to hold your body position so you can work on your stroke etc but the coach at the masters squad doesn’t believe this and many people say that the pull buoy is a crutch. Will a bigger pull buoy really help my swimming?

Thanks
Tom

A: Hey Tom,

Thanks for your question and perfect timing. See I first learnt the benefits of using a big ass pull buoy from the late Marc Becker and I believe Marc learnt it from his dealings with Brett Sutton.

Brett just wrote an article on this exact topic here and everyone should read this. In terms of where one finds a big pull buoy. That is the ‘difficult’ part. I made it simple and have just got two regular pull buoys (ones in Brett’s photo on the left) duct taped together. Simple and effective.

Remember you don’t always have to follow the heard. Triathlon swimming in mass start open water races IS completely different to pool swimming.

Listen… believe and then apply!

Q: Hey Kristian,

I know you have another business in Trigger Point Performance Therapy as I have seen and spoken to you at some expos in the past. I know massage is good for us but it is expensive and then there is the time factor. Can the TP tools really be as effective as getting a massage once per week and why are the TP tools better than one of those white or blue foam rollers I see around?

Thanks
John

A: Hi John and thanks for the question.

Massage is awesome. But it does come with two costs. 1. the cost of the session which many cannot afford more than once weekly – if lucky and then the time cost (getting to/from therapist and then the 60-90min session). Sure there is a cost with the TP tools especially over the foam rollers you mention and there is a time investment, but no where near the same as seeing the massage therapist.

To answer your questions. Yes the TP Tools can be just as effective or more so as you can provide the massage stimulus to the body daily. You don’t have to invest an hour each day but a short pre session roll makes a huge impact on your tissue health and performance. The TP Kit tools are designed to mimic a therapist hands so they’re soft to touch but firm enough to penetrate the belly of the muscle.The white and blue foam rollers just can’t do that. Yes they’re a start and will work superficially but they just wont get the real job done. I liken it too this. We have a toothbrush as its a specific tool to get the job done. A tee shirt could be used but it is only going to move the surface are plaque around.

I did a presentation on the Gold Coast last weekend for Commando Steve off the Biggest Loser (Australia) for his bootcamp and I have 10 kits left over from this. I had these kits made up a little differently than on the tptherapy.com.au site.

They are a full kit with both Footballer and Quadballer, the baller block and two x TP massage balls. They have or Ultimate 6 DVD in them and also the TP2 Ball
sleeve to work through your Thoracic spine. Basically the kit would be $211.95 as is. If anyone wants one of these 10, you can have it for $169.95 + $15 shipping. So that is a $42 saving – if you want one (they will go quick) email me.

“I just rode the fastest 90kms I’ve done in ages and got of and ran a couple kms straight after… these rollers F#@king work” JP 😉

Have a great weekend and good luck to those racing Ironman Frankfurt and Challenge Roth.

Kristian