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Category Archives: Injury

Swimming paddles… whats the point?!

A bugbear of mine whilst swimming at my pool is people who use hand or finger paddles! Personally I just don’t see the point of them, and the use of them by swimmers on a Sunday morning lane swimming session really annoys me…!

I understand what they are used for, swimmers can increase their (stroke) strength by using them. However I strongly feel that they are counter productive (especially for a Sunday morning swimmer, who judging by their body-type does not undertake any other form of strength or conditioning training!).

  • Firstly, you will never be able to use them during any event or race
  • The sudden added resistance could potentially cause an injury in the very complex shoulder joint
  • Your technique changes when wearing/using them, but will that really benefit your stroke when you don’t have them on? (I can see people just slipping back to their usual technique when not using them!)
  • It could mask (and even promote) a poor technique because your times are good due to the extra force they create…

Personally I feel that casual swimmers simply use them as an ego boost at the pool, and it really bugs me when lane swimming in a busy pools’ fast lane that those users don’t space themselves, insisting on banging into my feet for the few lengths (at a time) they wear these things for. It doesn’t prove anything, and for the rest of the swim I simply adjust my stroke or starting space accordingly so as not to impact on their swim (as generally I am faster than them over a sustained swimming distance).

For me it is far more important and sensible to work on several stroke techniques, one for powerful strokes to sprint or create extra lift when you need to, and one for endurance and efficiency, keeping energy in the arms whilst maintaining a decent pace over distance. To enable me to develop my power I have been supplementing my swimming with a varied strength and flexibility training program, which is seeing real positive gains in the pool/lake/sea whilst greatly restricting any injury issues…

I’m no expert, but I’m starting to dread my pool sessions because of these people… I hope they aren’t out in force tomorrow morning!

Rant over… 😉

Paul.

P.S. I would love to hear what swimmers reading this think, please leave a comment… do you use paddles? 🙂

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Posted by on 31 August, 2013 in Injury, Swimming, Triathlon

 

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Brand new road bike, clip-in pedals & falling off!

Brand new road bike, clip-in pedals & falling off!

A few days ago I took my brand new Giant Defy 2 out for its first long ride. I had been waiting a couple of weeks since buying it as I had the Bath Half Marathon to complete and then needed a little time to recover with a sore knee before attempting to ride my first ever proper road bike for the first time.

I was extremely excited, and also a little nervous! This was new to me in many ways having only ever ridden on mountain bikes or hybrid bikes. I had never used:

  • Clip-in pedals and shoes
  • Drop handle bars
  • Tri-bars (which I had bought as part of the package for future Triathlons, and had fitted just so I could try them out once I’m used to the bike)
  • Road bike saddle(!)
  • Road bike combined brake & gear levers
  • Super thin road bike tyres!

I had taken a 5 minute cycle on it when I first got it home, and everything felt good. The main thing I was worried about was getting used to clipping in and (more importantly) out of the pedals!

So to my ride… I’ve got all the kit on and the bike ready to go… less than 5 minutes into my ride and I hit my first major problem! In fact, this is the first time in all my years of cycling that a car has suddenly swerved unexpectedly towards me when cycling. It was a bad time for that to happen! On my new bike, with such a steep learning curve!

I swerved, successfully avoiding clipping the car. But I have a bad acute angle going at the kerb next to me… I wobble, I try to unclip, I fail, I go down in spectacular fashion! It was all over so fast. I hit the concrete and gravelled ground hard and still fully clipped in to my pedals! Luckily I scrubbed most of the speed off before the fall, but it still hurt. I landed straight onto my elbow, hip and knee, which are now heavily bruised and covered in itchy sore scabs!

Bike fall!

At the time I was in shock for a few minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 22 March, 2013 in Cycling, Injury, Triathlon

 

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Improving Running Cadence & Mechanics

Since I’ve been more interested in Triathlons in recent months, and plan on taking part in some more this year, I have been looking at ways of making my runs more efficient for that crucial final stage (along with improving my swimming & cycling technique of course!).

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve come across recently was written by Andy Bullock in a small Q&A section of the 220 Triathlon magazine. In it he was talking about the foot striking close to, or beneath your ‘centre of mass’ (COM) and also about measuring and developing your ‘cadence’.

Cadence seems to be the buzzword in running at the moment, and there is a LOT of talk about it. Most opinions seem to suggest that the ideal cadence is 180 (foot strikes per minute), however I also found some research which suggests that this number should be a minimum cadence to aim for.

Why care about this? Well, the number of times your foot hits the floor, and conversely, the amount of time you spend in the air between strides, all has an impact (literally) on your body. The slower your cadence, the more you are in the air and the harder you land on the foot. This slower turn over means there is a higher impact, which in turn could cause more injury and is a far less efficient way of running.

How to measure cadence? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 18 March, 2013 in Injury, Recovery, Running, Triathlon

 

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The Bath Half Marathon 2013

The Bath Half Marathon 2013

Yesterday I ran in my second ever Half Marathon, in the beautiful city of Bath. Irina, as many of our readers will know, was unfortunately unable to take part in this event due to injury. I didn’t have the best preparation mileage-wise leading up to this event, but was feeling good and determined to run it for Team PI! Irina came along and offered amazing support, giving me a real boost when I needed it.

We decided to take the train into Bath as it seemed likely to be easier and less stressful than driving in with many thousands of others. Our journey in did prove to be easy and we had plenty of time to get into the runners village, familiarise ourselves with everything and get ready for the start.

The day itself was very cold, and the covering clouds kept it that way for the whole day. Luckily the event organisers informed us via email before the event that if we wanted to wear an old hoodie or fleece top on the start line before the off, then they would be going round and collecting the discarded clothes and passing them on to charities. So I had a 12 (ish) year old hoodie with me for such a ‘donation’! Glad I did, but even so and even in the huge crowd of people, it was still a cold start.

Bath Half 2013 Start Line

Bath Half 2013 Start Line

 

It took a few miles for my legs to fully warm up Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 4 March, 2013 in Injury, Races & Organised Events, Running

 

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Not the best start to our running year & Bath Half Marathon tomorrow!

Unfortunately Irina suffered a stress fracture in the hip during a late December run, and I suffered a muscular injury on the same run, which kept niggling away at me throughout January and into February.

This has resulted in a LOT of forced rest for Irina and plenty of rest for myself. (Although we have taken to the swimming pool to work the body, more to come on that…)

Before Christmas we both entered the Bath Half Marathon after enjoying our first ever Bristol Half Marathon in September so much. Our plan was to increase mileage through January and February in preparation to attack the Bath Half on 3rd March and beat our 2 hour time from the Bristol run last year.

The forced rest has meant that Irina is nowhere near able to sensibly take part in the run tomorrow, although she is now fully healed up (properly) and back on the road again, fighting fit, fully motivated and with new lessons under the belt!

I was able to get some running in through February, although due to a crazy busy schedule (including my dreaded night shifts) and re-niggling of the muscular injury, mileage was limited. I completed 9 miles a week ago, which went smoothly, although it is clear that the full 13.1 miles is going to be hard work tomorrow!

It will certainly be a challenge, but I want to complete it tomorrow for Team PI! Irina will be there to support me, and carry the all important post-race food and drinks. 🙂

Looking forward to enjoying a new experience and I’ll be blogging about it tomorrow or Monday.

Wish me luck!

Paul.

 

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Self Massage for Runners

We’ve just come across this short article on the Runners World website about self massage, which has some good tips to get started.

We’ve definitely felt great benefits from doing this kind of thing. We also use our large firm foam roller on the hamstring area, which we’ve found is a tough area to get a really good stretch into, and after long runs Paul in particular finds this a sore area when stretching. Using the roller regularly (when fully warmed up) has really helped improve flexibilty and recovery speed, and after those longer runs the area is not as sore now.

These self massages also help you to get to know your body and where it hurts most after running and will help speed up recovery and increase flexibilty. We highly recommend this, especially as you increase mileage!

Paul & Irina. 🙂

 
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Posted by on 18 October, 2012 in Injury, Recovery, Running

 

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