Efficiency and technique are the most under rated aspects of triathlon by most age group triathletes.
When working with athletes on technique change I sometimes get the immediate feedback that what I am proposing does not feel right, it feels awkward, odd. Quite often I find the athlete dropping back to the “comfortable” technique believing good technique should feel right immediately.
SURPRISE, change is never comfortable, it is always awkward. Top athletes get this, absorb and embrace the change, strive to achieve conscious competence as quickly as possible, then practice until it becomes unconscious competence. It isn’t easy, it takes focus beyond being strong and courageous, it takes dedication.
Efficiency is paramount in endurance sport. A lack of focus on efficient biomechanics to overcome resistance and optimise propulsion is a huge opportunity lost.
For swimming, stopping a cross over stoke, keeping the head down, keeping the wrist below elbow are adjustments that will feel unnatural at first attempt, it will not feel good. If it doesn’t feel awkward then you probably aren’t correcting enough. EXPECT AWKWARD!
Likewise for running, landing over the feet, landing with bended knee, leaning forward from the ankles will take getting used too. With running change needs to managed and progressive. Gait change needs to be gradual due to the impact nature of running. Fast change can lead to injury. It is recommended that new techniques and gait change is done at low volume while the muscular strength to support the landing stress is developed.
Video is a great tool for improving technique. The athlete can clearly see the faults, see evidence of adjustments, fulfilling the journey from unconscious incompetence through to conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and finally unconscious competence. It is a journey of change.
When training for endurance sport we expect discomfort, we expect to be pushed, we expect a little pain. Let me add to that!
Expect to feel awkward!