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Sat 1st Oct 2022
Rodger Bowen goes running...
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 20th June 2013

Tags  Lois Rosindale  |  Rodger Bowen  |  Skechers  |  Team CWUK

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We introduced our newbie triathlete Rodger Bowen in May, and then sent him off to the Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day for a crash course in 'learnng the sport fast', to get him ready for the Blenheim Palace and London Triathlon events this year.

Now, we wouldn't want him to be unprepared... and so his latest mission was the Skechers Run, part of the Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Series to get his running technique to Brownlee brothers standards. Well, perhaps not quite yet...

Here is how his latest training venture went.

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Series: Skechers Run

I'm reliably informed that most triathlons are won or lost in the running stage and that even the most spectacular swim and bike section will not compensate for a dud run. I've been a casual runner for a couple of years; so surely my hard work will pay dividends on race day. Wrong! As training has progressed I've come to realise the pitfalls of my poor technique. It goes a long way to explaining why some of my early runs, far from the boundless grace of Mo Farah, would end with me hobbling home soaked in sweat, rainwater and tears, awkwardly crawling into bed as slowly as possible to minimise the pain only to do the same thing all over again four days later. I should have realised that standing with one leg knee-deep in a bucket of ice water after a 5k run is medically pointless, athletically pathetic and a sure sign that something was very wrong with my running style.

I've had some guidance over the last few months on some of the things I can do to improve and I was pleased to be invited along to Virgin Active in Barbican for their Skechers Run training session. Jenny Gowans and Matt Molloy of Team Freespeed would be leading the session and taking us through some drills designed to improve the most important aspects of our run. Lois Rosindale of the Challenger World Triathlon team had also come along to offer some support and advice not to mention a healthy dose of inspiration given her steadfast assent to the top over the last few years.

Skechers Run

Skechers kicked things off with a presentation on their next generation of running shoes. I was lucky enough to demo a pair of their new GOrun2 trainers. One of the biggest changes I've made to my running style is a transition from a heel-strike to midfoot/forefoot strike, so understandably I was quite excited by what these had to offer. First off they are extremely lightweight; they can't have been more than a couple of ounces. The sole has a slight rocker profile from heel to toe; it's stiffer at the heel and more flexible from the mid-foot to the toe. From what I understand this promotes a midfoot strike and I definitely felt the benefits during the session. Apart from that they were nice and breathable and they came in some completely outrageous colours; well and truly approved!

Skechers Run

Matt took us through some dynamic stretching; building movement into our heels, knees and hips before Jenny had us do some warm up drills. With our legs nice and supple we took to the track. The first drill was designed to make our feet strike the ground correctly underneath our hips. As Lois demonstrated, we had to spring off the balls of our feet but kick our legs forwards instead of raising our heels backwards; this forced our feet to strike in the right place as we brought them back down. Next up we practised a fast feet drill designed to increase the frequency of ground contact. More ground contact gives you more time to propel yourself forwards whereas less ground contact will simply have you wasting energy jumping higher into the air. We took this a step further in our next drill which focused on raising our cadence applying the same logic as before. Lois explained it can be useful to simply repeat the tapping tempo in your head and follow on with your feet; It'll increase speed and can help to drown out that little voice in your head which keeps asking for a warm bath and a lie down! Finally we looked at running posture, body alignment and that all-important forward lean.

Skechers Run

We finished at the track and packed back into the studio for a warm down session lead by Lois. We learned that pre-workout stretches focus on movement and post-workout stretches should be static and concentrate on elongating muscle to release tension. I thought my repertoire of stretches was complete but lo and behold there are many more. Lois took us through standing calve stretches to laid-out hamstring stretches leaving us lean and limber for the recovery.

Skechers Run

I departed Virgin Active Barbican with a head full of new and useful advice. Unfortunately I have the memory of a goldfish so this blog may be a little incomplete. I can not recommend highly enough the advice of professional runners and coaches. It's astonishing how small tweaks will have you knocking minutes off your personal best.

This blog is over. Go out and run immediately.

You can see all of Rodger's 'newbie' series, charting his progress from zero via Blenheim to the London Triathlon on these links:

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