Back from another full-on, excellent weekend up in Loughborough on the British Triathlon Level 3 coaching course. The focus this time was on running, physiology and nutrition, with world class experts leading on each.
For me, the most exciting lessons came from the run coaching sessions with Alison Rose. Alison is the physiotherapist credited with getting Kelly Holmes into 2008 Olympic medal winning form, overcoming a long history of injuries. She also worked with and guided Jessica Ennis to her extraordinary 2012 Olympic gold and works with the Brownlees. So you really can't get any better.
We looked at how to analyse run form and at strength and conditioning to prevent injuries, aid recovery and develop a strong, fluid, balanced style. Recent ZigZag clients and some of the coaches at Brighton Tri Club will have noticed I've been introducing more strength and conditioning into what we do. Alison's session encouraged me to take this up to a whole new level.
In particular, I have always been a bit wary of trying to radically alter someone's running style, even when I can see that some changes would make them more efficient and probably less prone to injury. Alison's session showed how to use specific drills and strength and conditioning work to transform how we run. I'll be looking to learn more and put it into practice on myself as well as bringing more into the ZigZag and Club coaching - so watch this space.
Take a look at some great tips from Alison, published a little while ago in 220.
Next acclaimed expert: Jamie Pringle, until recently the lead Physiologist at the English Institute of Sport (EIS). Jamie took us through how science can support the coaching relationship - with a big focus on the different processes at work in muscle adaptation from aerobic and anaerobic exercise and what this means for designing training programmes. Attention to "protecting" those sessions with the greatest pressures on the body's ability to adapt and recover was one of the many practical insights.
As if this didn't quite fill our plates, next up we had Dr Kevin Currell, Head of Performance Nutrition at EIS. Kevin took us through the fundamentals of nutrition for health, training and performance (not all compatible, as we found out) and also helpfully debunked several myths and misinformation about fads and fashions in nutrition. Again I came away with lots of ideas, things to try on myself (especially the tasty ones) and a better grasp of how to support clients.
So a pretty rounded, exciting weekend with some inspiring ideas that might even get me back to running stronger whilst helping others; feeling more assured about the basis for the programmes I set; and using the insights on nutrition to stay healthy, well recovered and able to perform at our best.
I'm feeling so privileged to be on the course and able to learn from the very top experts - hats off to British Triathlon for putting together such an advanced course. Great too to be learning with a super group of coaches from across the UK.