Archive for al lyman

Boston Marathon Race Week: Old Habits Die Hard!

“Mistakes are the portals for discovery.”  - James Joyce
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
“The obstacle is the path.”  - Zen aphorism 


This year’s Boston Marathon, which will be held next Monday April 21, will be among the most significant and historic in that race’s storied history, in part because of the bombing events from last year’s race. Today’s post isn’t about the bombing or about THE Boston Marathon per se.  It is about the fact that when it comes to LONG RUNS prior to a marathon, Ironman, or some other long distance race or run, old habits sure die hard.  

What’s the old habit I’m referring to? Running your last long run 3 or even 2 weeks out from race day.   

Its amazing to me that in this day and age, with all we’ve learned about how our body functions best, the idea of doing a “longer” run within 3 and even 2 weeks prior to a marathon is still very prevalent out there in the running community. As the title of this post states, old habits (like being afraid of doing any strength training, or counting mileage as the primary predictor of performance!) die HARD!    

So When Should You Do Your Last Long Run? 

I was first exposed to research about the amount of time it actually takes for deep cellular tissue (muscle) damage to heal (from training) around 1990.  That’s 24 years ago. One study, conducted at Harvard at that time, showed that tissue remained significantly damaged even after 4 or 5 weeks of “recovery” after that “long” run.

After learning about that study and then discussing these concepts with our former podcast guest and running expert Owen Anderson, PhD (who at that time was the editor of Running Research News) I decided to adjust my own training to reflect that longer taper period prior to race day. I immediately felt the benefits of it with my first 2:40 marathon in 1991.  To that point, I’d been able to run a 2:50, but with this new approach to tapering, I ran a full 10 minutes faster and felt better on race day.  I don’t necessarily credit that taper and distance between the last long run and race day as the sole reason for the 10 minute drop, but I do believe it was a huge factor.

Without a doubt, I am convinced that a huge percentage of the runners who are running marathons in this day and age, and in fact many of those lining up in Boston next Monday, toe the line with “still damaged” muscle cells from a longer run, too close to race day.  Maybe its me, but it always made sense that if I wanted to have an opportunity to run my best on race day, that my legs needed to be healed from what I had done to them in training. That might sound like a simple concept, but again, old habits die hard.

Keep in mind as you think about this, that a “long” run can mean different things to different runners. Someone running 90 miles per week can run longer, relatively speaking, than can someone who can only handle 30 miles per week. But in my opinion, even on an elite level, a lot of the country’s best marathoners are still running too long, too close to race day, even with their lofty weekly mileage totals. I’ve employed this taper strategy or some variation there of, with every person I’ve coached since I began coaching, and as I mentioned, used it myself since the early 1990s.

Obviously, doing this requires that you do GET IN those longer runs early enough in your preparation. But even if you fall short in either the number or length of those longer runs, trying to “squeeze in” one last long run too close to race day, ensures that you will toe the line with less than 100% of your capability that day, and that’s a shame. The best chance any of us have to run our best “on the day,” is to show up 100% healthy and healed and motivated to do well, with a solid strategy in place.  The key words are “100% healthy.” If you’re not, even with the best training and highest levels of motivation, you will very likely do less well than you might otherwise be capable.

Why Do Runners Continue To Run Long Too Close To Race Day?

Big Confidence Boost?: At first glance that close-to-race-day long run seems like a smart idea. Many runners believe they need to prove to themselves that they can go the distance on race day, and what better way to show you’re ready than to knock off a 20-miler just a couple of weeks before you go to the starting line! What a great shot in the arm to your confidence, right? Wrong.

It might sound logical to lay one last long run down to boost confidence, but that would be a mistake, and the reason is simple: You need recovery after your long runs.

Many runners dismiss the amount of pounding we put our bodies through running those miles. As I often say here in our Lab, a mile of running is the equvalent of 1500 one-leg squat jumps! That’s a lot of repetitive trauma.

In an article Owen wrote in RRN some years ago, he referenced research conducted by Dutch exercise scientists with a group of marathon runners. “About two thirds had significant signs of muscle injury on the morning of the race, before they had run just one mile of the marathon!” According to the study, “the reason for this muscular mayhem, for the most part, was the long running the Dutch had carried out during the month before the race. The Dutch-athletes’ muscles were totally non-recovered on race day.” The Dutch researchers found that training runs with durations longer than 15 kilometers (~ 9.3 miles) were the ones which seemed to produce the greatest amount of muscle damage. Below 15K, little muscle damage accrued.  (The reason why I started back then, making 9-10mile runs my longest within four weeks of the race).

The BIG Myth.

The biggest myth that exists out there among runners getting ready for the marathon is that a long gap between the last long run and the actual marathon will make our body “forget” how to run long.  Going a full four weeks without a true “long” run, will cause our body to lose its ability to efficiently cover the distance, right?  Not so much! The truth is that provided you’ve done the necessary periodic long runs prior to that 4 week period and built to a distance of 20-22 miles on average, your body will not “forget” how to complete the distance on race day.   

In fact, if you approach your training in the right way, you can use this long-run-free four-week period to truly boost fitness and be more prepared than ever for a great race day! As your muscles heal and recovery progresses, you can…

  • step up the intensity of your training, allowing you to do more of the kinds of training sessions which will have a direct impact on marathon readiness. Those are sessions focusing on lifting vV02max, running economy, and threshold.
  • focus more time and energy on your overall fitness, specific mobility and flexibility needs, and topping off your running specific strength.

Most runners are so used to running on battered and bruised legs and being exhausted, that they never actually FEEL what it feels like to run on legs that are recovered and 100% healthy. What a shame!

The Bottom Line?

A smart marathon or long distance run training plan is one that builds fitness progressively and THEN ALLOWS for adequate recovery prior to race day. Many typical race training plans I see on the internet or written by other “experts” often leave out this critical recovery aspect, having runners run long 2 or 3 weeks out from race day. As a result, the runners following those plans or trusting that guidance end up toeing the line with damaged muscles, even though they “believe” they are 100% ready to have the best race possible.  If you’re reading this thinking “that guy is an expert running coach,” or “my fast friend does it this way,” stop and think for a moment.

Simply put, 3 weeks isn’t enough time for healing for the majority of runners, and 2 weeks is flat out absurd under normal circumstances. The exception might be if your weekly mileage totals are over 80 to 100 per week.  If your weekly mileage is below those numbers, you’ll be very smart to leave at least 4 weeks from the last long run you do until race day. Train smart in this way, and you’ll feel better and run faster as a result!

~Coach Al 

Get Out! (Of Your Comfort Zone That Is)

 A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown. ~ Denis Waitley

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again~Abraham Maslow


Life Begins Outside Of Your Comfort Zone!

Life Begins Outside Of Your Comfort Zone!

Throughout everyday life, each of us has certain physical and psychological  “comfort zones” that influence who we are and how we act.  Perhaps you follow the same routine when you wake up in the morning, or drive the same route to your job each day.  Similarly, from a training standpoint, do you tend to migrate toward the same pace, intensity, or routine, day in and day out, because it is “comfortable”?  I thought so!  :)

Physical comfort zones are usually easy to identify.  For example, if you have recently trained at or around 8 minutes per mile during your long aerobic runs and suddenly increase that pace to 6 minutes per mile, you will quickly step outside of your comfort zone.  Running at 6 minute pace quickly elevates your heart rate and perceived effort, immediately putting you outside your comfort zone! 

Psychological comfort zones can be a bit harder to quantify, but here’s an example. I think we can all agree that for most of us, talking one on one to a friend or two is usually not that tough.  But, stand up in a room in front of a live audience and try to give a speech while everyone is staring at you is a lot more difficult, and perhaps way outside of the comfort zone for many of us!

A KEY TO PERSONAL GROWTH AND SUCCESS

 In my opinion, one key that can unlock the potential for greater personal growth and success in many of life’s endeavors is the willingness to step outside of comfort zones.   If you’re going to reach your potential as an athlete, as you execute your training program you must resist the temptation to always do the same thing, in effect resorting back to that which is “comfortable” for you.  After all, it feels absolutely fantastic when we do finally step outside and as a result, experience some success!  Remember what it was like when you were nervous about asking someone out for a date? For most of us, this was well outside our comfort zones, yet how great did it feel when they said, “Yes!”  From a training standpoint, do you remember ever focusing your time and energy on developing a certain skill or technique?  Do you remember how good it felt when you realized you were getting BETTER at that activity because you did things a bit differently?  Far too often we train and perform activities the way we always have, staying with what is comfortable for us.  Routinely doing things the same old way (training pace, intensity, route, focus, etc.) prevents us from growing and improving.  We like to be comfortable!  Resist it, reach out, expand your horizons, and take some risks!  Improve!

 WHY ARE COMFORT ZONES “COMFORTABLE”?

There are two major factors that stop most of us from stepping outside our comfort zones more often.  The first is habit.  Simply put, out of habit, we tend to migrate to that which we are familiar with or that gives us a sense of security and safety.  The second and perhaps most significant factor is fear.  Fear of failure. Let’s face it, at one time or another we are all afraid to fail.  But we all know but rarely admit to ourselves, that the real consequences of “failure” are truly inconsequential and never last long.

As athletes, most of the fear we have when we step outside our comfort zone and try something new is all in our head. The fear is a figment of our imagination.  It just never seems that way at the moment of truth!  As an example, all of you triathletes out there, take open water swim starts (which tend to give many first time triathletes a fit).  Be honest, you know you’re not going to drown!  You know that nothing “down there” is going to swim up and get you!  You know everyone in attendance wants you to succeed!  All the other athletes have the same goal as you, to get to the finish line!  Whatever fear you may experience is only in your thoughts, and you control your thoughts, no one else.  Fear limits what we do and who we are, and ultimately, what we can achieve.

COMFORT” ZONE AND “GRAY” ZONE:

IS THERE A CORRELATION?

 Applying these concepts to your training on a consistent basis can be a key to unlocking untapped potential.  However, and this is important, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to always go harder and/or faster!  As an example, getting outside of your comfort zone may mean running, riding, or swimming more slowly on certain training days, when your mind might be telling you that you “should” be going faster.  Or, it may mean doing more drill or skill work in a training session when it might be more “comfortable” if you didn’t include skill/technique work.  In fact, failure to get outside of your training comfort zones relates very much to smartly differentiating pace and intensity in training, something I routinely remind athletes about.

Gray zone training is addictive and easy to succumb to because going “sort of” hard can and often is “comfortable” for many of us.  Think about that. When you’re training “sort of” hard but not REALLY hard (e.g. gray zone), you are in no man’s land. You are much better off either going easier than is “comfortable” for you (aerobic or even easier for recovery), or if your training program calls for it, going much HARDER than is comfortable. In fact, getting the maximum benefit from your training program means being way outside of your comfort zone during hard (quality) training sessions. It means going VERY hard and being VERY uncomfortable!

 THE BOTTOM LINE?

Though it may not always be obvious on a daily basis, consistently getting outside of comfort zones even just a little bit can lead to unbelievable results in your training and racing.  Starting today, have the courage and mental strength to “step out” regularly both physically and psychologically, and I guarantee you’ll get better and faster than ever!  Make it a great day!

~Coach Al 

Ask Coach Al: Performance Enhancement Through Strength Training (Audio)

Coach Al Lyman, Pursuit Athletic Performance, Gait Analysis and Functional Strength Training Expert

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKS

Hello Everyone!

As many of you are well aware, the core of our mission at Pursuit Athletic Performance is to get each individual athlete the FASTEST they can be, performing to their ultimate potential with far less risk of injury. So, how do we do that? In addition to smart, progressive training, we train each athlete to be as  functionally strong, stable, and mobile in the way they, personally, need to be. Hand-in-hand with that goal, is our work re-educating athletes about the importance of strength training as it relates to PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT. And, believe me, it does relate.

In this audio post I talk about strength training and its value. Here are just two reasons why this issue is important to understand:

1. If you are muscularly balanced, stable, and functionally strong you will be far more durable, be much more resistant to fatigue, leak less energy, and be able to create power and speed. You absolutely will BE FASTER as a result—AND be more durable and able to resist fatigue.

2. If you take the time to understand and learn, you will execute a strength program more precisely, be more committed, and enjoy the process more!

I think there is lots of valuable learning here. Hope you find it helpful, and let me know if you have any questions.

Coach Al

Play audio here:

Play

Coach Al and James Wilson of Mountain Bike Strength Training Systems: Improving Athlete Performance

Renowned movement experts (our own) Coach Al Lyman and James Wilson of Mountain Bike Training Systems present an outstanding talk about the fundamental importance of becoming a strong, mobile, and stable athlete in order to reach one’s full performance potential in sports as diverse as running, triathlon, and mountain biking. This podcast is loaded with information and inspiration for ALL athletes, no matter your sport. Coach Al and James give you the no-nonsense truth about what it takes to excel to the best of your personal ability. A few of the topics they touch on are:

  • Why functional strength matters greatly in activities normally viewed as endurance sports
  • Training the miles is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of unleashing ultimate performance
  • Why “just train more” is just plain wrong
  • Why “strength training” is a misnomer, and what it really is
  • How training outside of your sport manifests itself in your sport
  • Training as a lifetime endeavor — longevity vs. short-term gains

Our downloadable podcast is below. Direct download here. Enjoy!

Coach Al Lyman, gait analysis and functional movement expert, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC is the co-founder of Pursuit Athletic Performance, a movement-based sport training company. He is a nationally-recognized coach of endurance athletes from novice to elite, since 1999. He coaches the reigning 45-49 Age-Group Ironman World Champion and course record holder, Lisbeth Kenyon. As an athlete, Coach Al is a 25-time marathon finisher with a personal best of 2:39 at the Boston Marathon, and a nine-time Ironman Triathlon finisher, including three finishes at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

James Wilson, Mountain Bike Training Systems

James Wilson

James Wilson is an author and professional mountain bike coach dedicated to using “strength training” to help athletes climb better, descend faster and “basically dominate all aspects of mountain biking.” He trains all levels of cyclists including world cup mountain bike racers. He writes for Decline Magazine, and has built a following for his writing and his training program from coast to coast.

 

Coach Al: Race Day Pep Talk

Coach Al Lyman, gait analysis and functional movement expert, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

Hello Everyone!

Coach Al here with a race day pep talk! I am always very confident about my athlete’s preparation going into races. They toe the line ready to have a great day.

I always like to leave them with some important thoughts that I know, if they apply them, will help them on race day. These are skills we work on every day in training. I hope these words of advice will help you to have the best race you’re capable of and that you’ll enjoy it more as well!

1. STAY IN THE MOMENT, BE TASK ORIENTED, AND EXECUTE. A great race only happens if you keep your emotions in check AND remain present where you ARE at any moment in time from the minute you wake to the second you cross the line. Being task oriented keeps your mind focused, not allowing it to move ahead to something in the future, or spiral backwards to something which is past. BE IN THE MOMENT. Execution means doing the things you need to, when you need to, to ensure the best chance for success.

2. EXPECT DIFFICULTIES TO COME AND BE READY TO DEAL WITH THEM IN A POSITIVE WAY. In a race like Ironman or in any race that you will feel challenged to complete, it isn’t a question of IF things will go wrong or become difficult, it is only a matter of when. That is racing! So, expect it, and decide ahead of time how YOU are going to deal with those difficulties. Decide in advance that your response is going to be POSITIVE. Every single challenge can be framed as having a positive element, if you decide it is so, and allow yourself to see it that way.

3. BE MENTALLY STRONG AND PHYSICALLY STRONG when it matters most. Every athlete out there on the race course is “tough” during the early and middle stages. Few, however, are truly mentally strong and resilient when it gets really difficult in the late stages of the competition. Decide you’re going to dig deep and have NO REGRETS. Be strong.

4. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS– act accordingly. You are in complete control of what you do, how you think, and how you react to what happens out there. Make a choice to respond positively, to THINK positively, and to believe in yourself. Have that powerful tool at the ready when it gets most difficult or challenging.

Be great and enjoy every moment of elation, suffering, and boredom. Walk away with pure joy!

My best to all of you!

Coach Al

Ask Coach Al: Let’s Talk Recovery

Coach Al Lyman, gait analysis and functional movement expert, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

Hello all!

Recovery is such an important topic for endurance athletes. I am very careful with the athletes I coach to be sure they not only work hard to achieve their goals, but that they also learn to recover well from hard training sessions and racing. Part of the training I prescribe includes regular and ongoing personalized functional strength work in order for my athletes to work from a body that is durable and resilient. This is immensely important to not only reaching athletic potential, BUT also to essential to proper recovery. My athletes, I’m happy to say, race regularly, reach incredible goals, AND come back to train and race year after year.

This audio is a general conversation about issues relating to recovery. I talk about stress in its many forms–training, nutritional, adrenal, etc.–and how all of it impacts the ability to recover. Does diminished soreness mean you are recovered from that long race? With so many of you gearing up for your A races of the season, it’s a good time to revisit issues related to this important topic.

Play

Coach Al

###

Get our FREE 29-page ebook, Unleash Your Full Potential 101! Like us on Facebook, and be registered to win a free Virtual Gait Analysis (VGA) AND receive 15% off any gait analysis package! Drawing for the VGA to be held in early June.
Unleash Your Potential 101, Pursuit Athletic PerformanceNot on Facebook? No problem! Get your download and register to win here!

Training for an Ironman? Read This

Coach Al Lyman, Pursuit Athletic Performance, Discusses Brick Run in Triathlon Training

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

I think you will find interesting a current situation I am working through with one of the triathletes I coach. He is having a crisis in confidence about his run preparedness for Ironman Coeur d’Alene coming up in June. This athlete has been at the triathlon game for a while, but–like so many of you–has experienced repetitive cycles of running injury. Before we started working together, he had not been able to run with any consistency–or at all–for a year.

His current injury cycle came on the heels of his last round of Ironman training two years ago. He trained for that race with a mass coaching program that strongly stresses the “train more” philosophy with punishing levels of intensity day in and day out, week in and week out. And while this program touts it is “the way” to train for faster race times, in the end it robbed this athlete (and many others) of ANY ability to train or race at all.

As a long-time and experienced coach, I know one thing for sure–the “just train more” message is very seductive to triathletes. In a very real way, the mindset of “just train more” or “no pain, no gain” pervades much of our sport, and is almost like a drug. Many of us joke about it, but the fact is it seems to tap into a primal need to test ourselves and prove we can handle pain and not wilt under pressure. Once we drink that Kool Aid, it’s hard to turn back. Many don’t know any other way once exposed to it, and are often led further down the path by coaches who flat out don’t know what they are doing. The bottom line is, my triathlete’s concerns about run preparedness come from old, worn out training tapes replaying in his head. He has been duped into believing that you need to do week upon grueling week of long, hard running in order to be “ready” to run a marathon off of the bike.

That’s simply not true. Not on any level.

Here’s what is true–and this is where athletes find the place of phenomenal power, authentic fulfillment, and, yes, truly outstanding race day results.

IF you are functionally strong, TRULY healthy, and are building run and overall fitness steadily throughout training, that creates the conditions for an outstanding race. Then you must SHOW UP on race day, be TRULY healthy and rested, race smart, and be mentally ready to go after it. Put the two pieces together and it is then that you have the best opportunity for a GREAT race, especially off the bike–which is where it matters the most. Sounds too simple, and not “hard enough”?

Any coach can react to an athlete’s nervousness and write an overly aggressive run “build” phase. I always tell my athletes the easiest thing I can do is write harder plans. After all, I only have to type! Many knucklehead coaches, however, take pride in making stuff “hard” because their own egos are their biggest concern, not the athlete’s health and well being. As a responsible and experienced coach, I know that when an athlete returns to running after injury, the first few weeks absolutely DRIVE what happens, good or bad, with all the run training to follow for this race, this season–and beyond!

For example, if my triathlete is running slightly beyond his true functional capability due to an aggressive build designed to “get him there,” odds are he will fall back into old dysfunctional and compensated movement patterns. Remember, it is those same patterns that created injury in the first place. Also, he will be building TIREDNESS, instead of true run FITNESS. That means as he gets closer to the race, he will be thinking and believing he’s ready to race, when, in truth, he has been moving backwards on a number of levels–not the least of which is inching closer to re-injury.

I can guarantee that if my triathlete is FULLY PRESENT on race day with strong mental fortitude and toughness, AND a completely healthy, rested and ready body, he will surprise the heck out of himself with a run to be proud of–and a run that reflects his true potential. And the beauty is, this Ironman will be the start–NOT the end–of a training period. By ensuring true run health, athletes find a deep well of resiliency they never thought they had. They are able to dig deeper and find a resolve they always thought had to come through “force,” and a “train-more-and-suck-it-up” philosophy. Truly healthy athletes RECOVER, and come back to train and race year after year. Instead of beating the body to a pulp, Ironman becomes the beginning of a long period of steady improvement in strength, durability, and speed.

Most importantly, finishing this Ironman healthily and well will allow my triathlete to MANIFEST the power of the accomplishment in his everyday life, not simply adopt a persona. His personal reasons for undertaking the challenge will be with him with every breath he takes after the race. It’s what Mark Allen referred to as a “raw reality.” My triathlete will be authentically healthy, authentically athletic, authentically positive. He will be an IRONMAN, in the truest sense of what finishing the distance is supposed to mean. He will live it, and in his own mind, he will know he did it right.

I wish this same sense of peace, accomplishment, and good health for every single triathlete I coach. It is the place where true fulfillment and satisfaction are born. Believe it, and make the decision to BE IT.

###

Spring Promotion!
15% Off On-Site or Online Gait Analysis Packages NOW Through April 30!

 

 

 

Training Run Cadence

Coach Al Lyman, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Coach Al Lyman

A few days ago, a discussion began in the USA Triathlon coaches group about running stride rate and cadence. Below is the original question that started the thread. Based on my work as a movement expert, it was clear I have a very different perspective than the other responses offered, and I would like to share my point of view.

Fellow Coaches, I’m a new USAT Level 1 Coach. I am currently working on running with a 90+ cadence. I understand the lean at the ankles to increase speed. How does one stay in the RPE 3-4 (Zone 2) while keeping a 90 cadence? Before taking this to my clients, I’m trying it and it is a bit exhausting. Is there a period of getting used to it that one must go through? Any drills to help with this? Is this tied to run durability? Thanks.
————–

Hi Coaches,

I’d like to offer a different viewpoint from the responses so far.

Stride rate is not simply a function of some kind of conscious decision or choice on the part of the runner to move their legs faster–especially if the runner actually WANTS to run faster AND be more efficient as a result of that faster stride.

Stride rate is a function of applied force to the ground. It is Newton’s third law of physics in action (Issac, not the shoes). That is, stability and strength are the determinants of ground contact time (GCT), and shortened ground contact time results in a faster stride rate (SR), all things being equal.

The same is largely true in cycling. As noted physiologist and coach Allen Lim said with respect to Lance Armstrong pedaling at very high cadence compared to his competitors, “a fast spin isn’t a technique for producing power. It is the result of having power.” Words to remember.

A runner who is more stable through the lumbar spine/pelvic girdle, and whose entire body is more functionally strong, will have less energy leakage when the foot comes into contact with the ground, thus shortening the GCT and facilitating a faster SR. The analogy I often use in our Gait Analysis Lab is what I call the “bouncy ball effect.” If I take a bouncy ball and throw it at the ground, it will bounce back up at a speed directly proportional to how hard I throw it. If I throw it “harder” and have it hit the ground with more force, it bounces up FASTER, and goes farther as a result. Our body is the same way. Note that I said our body–NOT our legs, or our core, or our feet, OR our shoes! We run with our entire body, not just the feet or the legs.

In my work, I help runners understand that if their stride rate is well below 90 cycles per minute (and especially if they present with a tendency to over stride), they will benefit from GRADUALLY and progressively increasing that rate to 90 cycles or faster. (Leg length is a factor in determining any “optimal” rate, obviously). I remind them that since they are not striding quickly, a progressive, gradual increase over the course of a few weeks will likely cause a spike in heart rate due to the change in a neuromuscular habit. They are not efficient yet at the higher SR. They are also moving larger muscles more quickly, which tends to increase HR as well. As they become more efficient at the higher SR, heart rate usually comes back down to the normal range.

So, the bottom line is this….

“Thinking” and “trying” to change to a higher SR won’t result in a FASTER or more powerful runner UNLESS that runner is ALSO working to get stronger and more stable at the same time. Stability and strength come first, right after appropriate mobility.

When I coach runners on increasing SR, I also teach them that their ability to stride faster–and to RUN FASTER and be more efficient–comes from building the proper combination of stability, mobility, and strength. When those appropriate levels are built, THEN I add the “frosting on the cake”–form changes and drills.

Very often, when a runner gets stronger and more stable one is surprised to find that very little stride rate “coaching” is actually required! The body is smart. Changes come authentically, from the INSIDE, not the outside.

My advice is to resist the urge to make conscious changes to any arbitrary run mechanic issue, including stride rate or GCT, without FIRST examining the ESSENTIAL issues of pelvic stability and true functional strength. TRUE stability and strength is required of EVERY athlete in any sport who wants to be faster and better. Real and meaningful changes that last–and result in faster running speeds and improved efficiency–always have, and always will, come from the inside.

Coach Al

Gait Analysis Winners from Multisport World Boston!

At the Multisport World expo in Boston we offered a drawing for two gait analysis packages. CONGRATULATIONS to our prize winners!

First Prize: Michael Graffeo
Winner of a comprehensive, on-site GOLD Gait Analysis Package!

Second Prize: Dan Coons
Winner of a comprehensive, online VIRTUAL Gait Analysis Package!

Pursuit Athletic Performance, gait analysis, multisport world boston

Coach Al and Dr. Kurt Strecker at Multisport World Boston

We look forward to working we these awesome athletes to uncover the weaknesses, compensations, and instabilities that are holding them back from training and racing to their true potential. The 2012 season just got a whole lot brighter for both of them!

###

15% Off On-Site or Online Gait Analysis Packages NOW Through Marathon
Monday, April 16

 

Core Stability and Swimming: What’s The Connection?

Coach Al Lyman, gait analysis and functional movement expert

Coach Al Lyman, CSCS, FMS, HKC

I had a great conversation worth sharing on the issue of core stability and its vital role in swimming. Triathletes, in particular, ask me about this all the time.

In the audio below I discuss what it means to have a stable core, and I explain the purpose of training that stability. Let’s just say that consciously trying to “engage the core” when swimming–or doing any other sport for that matter–is NOT the way to generate power. Rather, it’s all about building core stability as the foundational element of proper and powerful movement that translates across all sports.

Myths about core strength and core stability are rampant. I talk about a number of these issues in the audio, and you can learn more in our blog post series on the core beginning with What You Don’t Know About the Core Can Hurt You.

Train smart, and have a great weekend!

Coach Al

Play

###

15% Off On-Site or Online Gait Analysis Packages NOW Through Marathon
Monday, April 16

pursuit athletic performance, gait, gait analysis, online gait analysis, virtual gait analysis, boston marathon, triathlon, cycling