I observe things all the time in endurance sports workouts, at the gym or elsewhere, that either completely miss the boat of performance efficiency or make a really good effort, but maybe miss a simple principle that takes away from the rest of the effort in a major way. Best performance comes from understanding and implementing all of the elements together to make one injury resistant, efficient, powerful body that's capable of doing work. I'm going to call these blogs: Performance POVs. In other words: observations on day to day happenings from the point of view of true performance and movement efficiency.
This Performance POV is based on observations from two track workouts I did recently with two different triathlon teams.
Doing running drills as part of the workout = GREAT
Doing them mediocre or wrong = A WASTE OF TIME
DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME
1. Hurdle drills are great for joint mobility and muscle elasticity when done correctly. What I saw was athletes crunching at the waist, hunching their back over, neglecting their posture and any power through their pillar just to get their leg over the hurdle in a somewhat sloppy sing-songy kind of cadence. Posture should be the number one priority in any exercise if you want to maximize your efforts. In this case you could lower the hurdles or do skipping drills that allow you to maintain great posture.
2. Running form drills are great when done correctly. What I saw was athletes sent out for 2 loops of the track, doing a drill on the straights and jogging through the curves. Coaches weren't coaching and athletes (on the whole) were chit chatting away not focused on their body or the drill. Here's my thoughts: drills should be purposeful, coached, and run over shorter distances so attention can stay focused on the drill at hand. It gets hard to maintain good form with drills over long distances. It's a coaches job to understand how to coach the drills given to athletes and coach them through it. Athletes if you want to make the most of your time, focus on your body and the running drill, don't chit chat.
Picture a group of athletes, having been doing running drills for at least 30 minutes, sweating, hearts racing, looking at each other like, "I'm WORKED! And we haven't even gotten to the track workout yet!" I was stoked to see the running drills not only incorporated but actually taught, and taught well. Then there came what I've come to call a "so close and yet so far" moment. The coach asks: "How many of you warmed-up http://community.active.com/blogs/jessistensland/2009/05/27/performance-pov-at-the-track/meaning jogged for 30 minutes? 20 minutes? 10 minutes or less?" Most people raised their hands for 10 min or less. At this point the group was scolded for not having warmed-up enough. I thought, oh geez, really? These athletes are not "warmed-up" enough? Ha!
Is warm-up defined as simply jog for 20 minutes? Maybe its to "get your heart rate up."
If you understand running, you understand that there's a whole lot more to your performance than higher than average heart rate. Posture, glute activation, joint mobility, stability, elasticity, strength and proper running mechanics all go into every running step you take. Those athletes in that track workout had done all of that and yet were being told they hadn't warmed up enough.
The term warm-up is a bit one-dimensional. I prefer to "prepare my body to move" and give some physiological purpose to my preparation. My movement preparation involves little running. I prefer spending my 10-20 minutes with functional exercises, running drills, and a few strides. Even 5 minutes of it does a body good.
More PERFORMANCE POVs to come.