How to run faster – Triple Flexion #RunFormFriday

This is the most common question I hear. If I had to give only a one-phrase answer, then it is summed up to “optimizing triple flexion-triple extension”. Now what does that mean? Triple flexion-triple extension is the position of the legs during running. This position allows for optimal force production.

Triple Extension – Back power leg, Hip Extension, Knee Extension, Plantar Flexed Foot

Triple Flexion – Front Deceleration leg, Hip Flexion, Knee Flexion, Dorsiflexed foot

Triple flexion run faster

Many runners tend to run with reduced hip flexion (think ‘knee lift’) for a given pace. With insufficient hip flexion, in order for them to achieve the required stride length for a desired pace, they end up extending (straightening) the knee excessively just prior to foot contact. This puts them in a position where all they are able to do is over-stride, landing the foot out ahead of relatively more extended knee than is optimal. Usually at this point the athlete will be heel striking heavily, but some may still display a plantar flexed ankle and forefoot strike, especially if they’ve been consciously trying to work on ‘not heel striking’!

Regardless of pace or foot strike type, we look to enable a runner to land their foot under a flexing knee to promote improved running form.

From an adequate swing recovery position of triple flexion (hip flexion, knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion) for a given running pace, the runner should be able to comfortably land the foot under a flexing knee, without conscious thought about contact position.

How To Work On This

1. Hip Flexor Stretching and Soft Tissue Massage (or Foam Rolling) – flexibility is important through the hip area, sitting lots reduces this.
2. Hip Mobility Routines (see here)
3. Glute Medius Activated
4. Core Activated (More specifically is the Transverse Abdominis needs to be fully activated) – exercises like dead bugs and moving planks
6. Resistance Training optimizing triple flexion and triple extension
7. Explosive training optimizing triple flexion and triple extension
8. Strength training to strengthen muscles needed to increase running leg power

Run faster Triple Flexion

Sprint starts are a great way of building explosive power – this is an extreme position, something you’d never get running a 5 or a 10k – but it will make getting to a fraction of that position “easy”

Something Important To Consider

Once I get runners familiar with the movement of combined hip and knee flexion bringing them into the recovery (foot under butt) position of swing phase, and they begin running in this way, the feedback is often that not only do they feel a lighter contact through not over-striding, but they can ALSO often feel an increase in Glute activity.

As always, I encourage your comments, experiences, and questions about cadence and technique in the comments section. See what’s up next week for our #RunFormFriday tip! For more in depth understanding on how to put this into practise, get in touch and we’ll see how we can help!

10 ways to make swimming fun! #SwimTechTues

Swimming fun

Swimming should be fun!

I’m often asked how to maximize pool time and prevent boredom. My answer is simple: Make It fun!

Here are 10 ways to make swimming fun

1. Switching up the time of day you swim can have a huge impact on your performance and overall mood.

2. Swim with your friends. Meet your pool mates.

3. Speed up. Give intervals a go. Speed workouts may hurt, but I promise you certainly won’t be bored!

4. Mix drills with your swimming. I find personally that half the reason for boredom is when I – or clients – swim aimlessly up and down. By giving particular lengths a focus, you can improve your technique and make your swimming fun by association.

5. Swim other strokes. Swimming freestyle and doing the same drills all the time can get pretty monotonous – especially if you’re in the water more than once or twice a week. Doing a bit of backstroke might help get rid of that awkward shoulder niggle, doing breaststroke might help improve your touch turns or egg beater kick. Doing butterfly should help improve your power, rhythm and coordination (or just give you a bit of a laugh!).

6. Share the journey. There’s is large triathlon community out there that wants you to succeed — so talk about it, and post about it with them! Social media and sharing options on various training forums are a great way to connect with like minded individuals to make your time swimming fun and keep you accountable.

7. Keep a written log of your life as a triathlete. Track your progress through spreadsheets or website, as you continue to improve and feel more comfortable in the water, you’ll be able to look back and have tangible notes of your training progress.

8. Reward yourself. Sometimes there’s nothing like some new gear to get us going. New training kit will make me want to swim faster and longer. Sometimes, I buy either a new pair of swim shorts or a google that acts as a reward for all of the hard work that I’ve done up until then.

9. Challenge yourself. Mix in sprints, mid pool turns, tumble turns, or something you don’t work on often. Can you beat personal bests?

10. Take a break. Sometimes, time off and taking a step back will help you go two steps forward.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here! Remember, you can always get your swimming reviewed in  the endless pool with our video swim analysis packages.

See what’s up next week for our #SwimTechTues tip!