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Bruce Wilson on his strength training journey and the Norseman Triathlon Adventure.

Great write up pal, thank your trust! 

strength training for triathlon

A little bit of history

     At the end of the 2017 tri season, I was ready to take a good few years off from long distance triathlon. I’d done my First Ironman in Nice 2016, completed Celtman Extreme Triathlon 2017 with a 17th place position and my proudest achievement 20th place on the 2018 Celtman (due to the lack of time to train coupled with a stronger field and persistent back injury I found this my hardest race).

I needed a break not because I am tired of racing but because the burden of constant training isn’t fair on my partner Anna, I need to do some work on our new wee house and I could do with helping out with this wedding thing we have coming up in August 2019.

Norseman 2019

However, life is rarely straight forward… Imagine my surprise when I learned that I’d got a slot for Norseman 2019 at Celtman 2018. I was suddenly born afresh, ready to jump into training, give it my all – Anna was marginally less enthusiastic. 

After some discussion Anna was good enough to back me in my attempt at Norseman 2019. So I’m aiming to be in Eidfjord next August.

Why strength training for a triathlon?

For Norseman I have a strong desire to:

  • Do as well as possible (obvious perhaps)
  • Improve consistent power output, particularly whilst climbing on the bike
  • Improve swim stroke efficiency and upper body strength 
  • Improve running posture
  • Solve my recurrent sciatica issues 

In an attempt to address these, I decided to seriously consider incorporating some weight work into my training schedule, particularly pre new year. 

I have no background in weight training whatsoever and wouldn’t have known one end of a dumbbell from another. I decided to pick up the conversation with Leszek Stelmachowski from Fitness Soul in Edinburgh. To be honest I wanted to do weighted squats etc.. for quite a while but was a bit scared of injury through poor technique.

Leszek has set me up with a simple but effective programme involving the development of technique at the start and then gradually building weight as we go on. My basic programme involves foam rolling at the start of any session and then a mixture of body weight and weighted exercises and finishing with stretching.

I’ve been doing the programme for just over a month with a gradual build in weight. As a general comment I would say that I had been doing most things wrong or with poor technique previously and that (after some coaching from Leszek) doing the exercises with good technique is harder but brings better results and obviously less chance of injury. 

How does the strength training helps you become a better triathlete?

I have noticed:

  • Reduction in sciatica-related pain, I think mainly through better engagement and strengthening of glutes.
  • Reduction in sciatica-related pain through deep IT band stretches
  • Better running posture through core and glute strength
  • Improved front crawl catch through increased upper body strength in shoulders and lats 

Where I want to see improvement:

  • I still need to perfect my technique across all of my exercises
  • I would like to be able to do better pull-ups
  • I would like to improve my confidence with regard to pistol squats

Bruce Wilson

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Leszek Stelmachowski

Triathlete. Ironman Coach. Co-Owner & Personal Trainer of Fitness Soul. Life Lover. I am helping people to discover an incredible power of daily exercise and movement. Fitness for life.

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