Six Words That Will Make You Faster, Guaranteed!

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Six Words That Will Make You Faster, Guaranteed!

So you read that and are tempted to think, “Yeah, right. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” I don’t blame you. Flaky and false advertising abounds. Good advice would be: Be sure to read the small print. Don’t trust 90% of what you hear and read, etc.

I totally get it and yet, below are six words that I KNOW will make you faster. They are however, based on what I call, Repetitious Concentration. If you do a quick Google search you’ll find that average adult attention span is 15-20 minutes. A very fast sprint tri will take the very speedy an hour, so, we’re all in trouble seeing how most of our races will take us from one to 16 hours. 

The discipline of repetitious concentration is something to practice and work on so here are six words (two for each discipline) that will make you faster IF you practice R.C.

SWIM – The two words are, “Wide” and “Early.” 

WIDE – A majority of triathlete’s hand/arm entry into the water is not wide enough. The hand either crosses over that invisible line coming straight out of the top of your head or gets very close to crossing over. I’ve done swim evaluations where this is the first, most obvious area for improvement and I’ll video the swimmer, telling them to widen their stroke. They try to and there’s hardly any change, that’s how engrained it is.

As you swim down the pool lane, keep your body right over the black line on the bottom but keep your hand entry to the outside of the black line, over the blue part of the pool bottom – trying to do this will help (though in actuality, it may not be exactly happening). Another idea is to picture your fingers, as they enter the water, pointing towards the outside lower corner of the end of your lane at the end of the pool. Also, do one-arm stroke drills with a paddle board in the other hand. IF your stroke feels a little too wide, you’re probably perfect. That’s how it is with me. 

EARLY – When your hand enters the water (wide) starting your catch-phase, as soon as possible…I mean in a second…as early as possible, get your hand/forearm vertical with the bottom of the pool. Early vertical forearm or EVF. This will keep your elbow from dropping, keeping it “high” in the water. Pull your vertical hand/forearm straight back, pushing the water with your hand back towards the pool wall behind you. As you establish that EVF, “anchor” it in the water then pull your body over that spot – at least think about making that happen. Visualization!

BIKE – The two words are, “Wipe” and “Lift

We all learn to ride a bike by mashing down the pedals during the front half of the pedal stroke. This is engrained when we’re young riding around the neighborhood. If this is how we ride as adult athletes, we’re leaving a lot of speed behind. 

Wipe is to simply to picture yourself wiping your feet on a welcome mat before coming into the house. At the bottom of your pedal stroke, simply pull your foot back with your leg, getting “the dirt off the bottom of your foot”.

Lift is to purposely think about pulling UP on your pedal immediately after you wipe.

Let’s say you’re riding along on a flat road. With no additional perceived effort at all, if you just think the words, wipe and lift, I guarantee your speed will increase .5 mph to 1 mph, again with no additional effort. Technique. It’s all about technique and thinking these words will improve that tremendously.

RUN – The two words are, “Under” and “Coals

You want your foot to strike the ground under your body not out in front which causes a braking effect, slowing you down. As you run, concentrate on that! A slight, full-body forward lean from your ankles will help this.

Coals, meaning hot coals. If you were running barefoot on hot coals you’d want your feet to touch those coals for as short a time as possible. Same when you’re not running on hot coals, which, I assume is most of the time. 😊 180 total foot strikes per minute is a great goal to shoot for. Have each foot stay on the ground for as short a time as possible. If you’re concentrating on these two words, 180 is not hard to achieve.

So, there you have it. Six words that will make you faster…IF you can execute Repetitious Concentration. You have to actually think about what you’re doing and the longer you can concentrate, using these words as a mantra, the faster you’ll go. This is a great time of year to really work on making these a sixth-sense so to speak, engrained in your swimming, biking and running technique. Concentrate and remember, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Lincoln Murdoch
Lincoln Murdoch
As an accomplished endurance athlete, Lincoln has been competing in running events for 40 years and racing in triathlons for 25 years. He is a 3x USAT National Champion, 14x USAT All-American and 3x ITU World Championships Top-Ten finisher. Lincoln is passionate about helping athletes meet their goals through books, online resources, coaching and motivational speaking. You can learn more at
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