Pro Insider – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com The place to learn about triathlon. Thu, 10 May 2018 23:38:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://university.trisports.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-tsu-button-32x32.png Pro Insider – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com 32 32 3 Ways to Optimize Your Nutrition and Recovery https://university.trisports.com/2017/07/21/3-ways-to-optimize-your-nutrition-and-recovery/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:25:43 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8505 First Year Professional Triathlete Kevin Portmann helps you nail your nutrition and recovery with his top three tips. After a relatively successful 2016 season, winning Ironman Coeur d’Alene and qualifying for Kona for the second year in a row, my wife convinced me to race as a Pro for 2017. So I did and left […]]]>

First Year Professional Triathlete Kevin Portmann helps you nail your nutrition and recovery with his top three tips.

After a relatively successful 2016 season, winning Ironman Coeur d’Alene and qualifying for Kona for the second year in a row, my wife convinced me to race as a Pro for 2017. So I did and left my full-time 9-to-5 to embark on this journey as a professional triathlete – all in! It is a scary life change; I think to myself, ‘what am I getting myself into?’ probably everyday, but I am enjoying the process. It has been awesome to see the slow, but sure progression.

Even before turning pro, part of the adjustments I made in my training regimen was with the unequivocal fourth discipline of triathlon: nutrition. TriSports.com and Klean Athlete have played a major role in my triathlon “successes.” TriSports picked me up on their Elite Team back in 2015 and their support – from gear, equipment, training and race day nutrition, you name it – has been nothing short of incredible. Klean Athlete has been helping me with my nutrition since Coeur d’Alene last year after I decided to make nutrition a priority for Kona. Having raced two Ironmans in five weeks (Canada & CDA) and with Kona only being six weeks after my last Ironman, I knew there was not much I could do to get faster or fitter. However, I needed to find ways to optimize my recovery and dial in my nutrition in order to maintain my fitness, minimize injury, and hold onto motivation. I was fatigued after CDA, and I knew that a fatigued body and mind would have a negative impact on my Kona build. I had to really focus on my nutrition.

Here is what I did:

1. Talk to an Expert
I decided to work with a certified nutritionist. I have always maintained a relatively healthy diet, eating clean and balanced meals, but what she taught me about fueling myself as an endurance athlete was eye opening. Needless to say she completely changed my diet. She walked me through what to eat, in appropriate portions, and when to eat in order to minimize the stress that training had on my body and get me ready for my next workout. Just as important, if not more, she taught me about how to properly fuel during times of recovery.

My nutritionist introduced me to Omega 3s, an antioxidant that helps with inflammation and helps protect joints, and daily vitamin supplements to increase my intake of key vitamins and minerals to boost the immune system. I started taking Klean Athlete Omegas and Multivitamin every morning.

2. Take Recovery as Serious as Training
I was introduced me to different types of recovery drinks. The recovery powder I used to take had a 2.8:1 carb-to-protein ratio, which especially for an endurance athlete, is sub-optimal. Studies indicate after a hard workout, your muscles are primed and ready to take in carbs to replenish glycogen and give you energy. So she strongly advised to find a high quality recovery drink that offered the necessary 4:1 carb to protein ratio to optimize the recovery process, which Klean Athlete Recovery provides. I forced myself to eat five or six times a day in controlled portions and macronutrients, and started having a recovery drink after each training session, regardless if it was an easy 20-30 minute run or a hard interval set. If my training was longer than three hours, I made sure to take an additional scoop of Recovery in my post training drink.

She advised me to take in extra protein with the Klean Athlete Isolate powder 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed. That would give my body a little extra help to repair all the muscle tissues damaged during my training, so the muscles don’t go to bed “hungry” for 8 hours while I sleep.

3. Stay Consistent
I followed my nutritionist’s recommended plan to the T in my 6-week build to Kona, and the day of the race I felt great, better than I had the year prior, and better than at Coeur d’Alene. I continue to follow her recommendations, and advice, and continue to see improvement in both my overall training and recovery. My body feels ready to go 95% of the time; there are still some training days that take a lot out of me, but that’s bound to happen at some point.

Nutrition is a literal science, so there is still a lot I am learning and continuing to adapt to as my body changes. Consistency not only in training but also how you fuel your body is key. Sure, I allow myself to indulge every once in awhile – because what’s life without pizza?! But after a while, fueling your body properly becomes second nature – a lifestyle adjustment, not a fad diet. It also helps to use supplements to complement solid training and nutrition. Klean Athlete can be found at TriSports.com and with their quick order processing, I have a replenished cabinet of everything I need with no hassles. I am one easy online chat away with Eric and Ross from the Trisports’ Customer Service team if I have any questions about the products. They always have an answer even if it means digging for one.

Supplements I use and Frequency

Favorite Recipes
I like to keep it simple. With Klean Recovery, I usually blend it with almond milk (mixing it with water does not taste as good), one banana, and some frozen berries if it is hot outside. Sometimes I’ll mix in a scoop of Klean Isolate into my yogurt. You can mix it with almost anything.

My wife likes to mix Klean Recovery with almond milk, one banana, a tablespoon of almond butter and a couple handfuls of spinach to get her greens in and you can’t even taste it. I have yet to add either Recovery or Isolate to cake dough, but that is on my experiment list.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Professional Triathlete Kevin Portmann won Ironman Coeur d’Alene in August 2016 and qualified for Kona two years in a row.  Born and raised in a small town outside of Evian, France. Kevin relocated to Carlsbad, CA in 2016 and is loving his new training and racing grounds. Learn more about Kevin and his upcoming races here.

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Travel Like a Pro https://university.trisports.com/2017/07/06/travel-like-a-pro/ Thu, 06 Jul 2017 21:57:49 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8466 Professional Triathlete Nicole Valentine shares her survival tips to make travel to your next race go smoother than your flight! Turning professional as a triathlete wasn’t the instant ticket to sponsors, success, glamor, or jet set travel to exotic locations that I hoped it would be. In fact, forget glamor and think gritty. It has […]]]>
Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico Photo Credit: Allen Torres

Professional Triathlete Nicole Valentine shares her survival tips to make travel to your next race go smoother than your flight!

Turning professional as a triathlete wasn’t the instant ticket to sponsors, success, glamor, or jet set travel to exotic locations that I hoped it would be. In fact, forget glamor and think gritty. It has meant a lot of sweat and sacrifice. From becoming your own agent to rethinking how you earn an income, monthly expenditures, your social calendar, and how you travel. Destination race travel is no longer a vacation, but a necessary part of the job. And to do my job well, I need to ensure the smoothest travel experience possible.

Here are my top tips for race travel:

Plan in advance – Advance planning helps you select the cheapest flights and best itinerary. Try to get a nonstop flight or the minimum number of connections possible. This not only minimizes your chances of arriving without your luggage, but it is easier on the body. It’s important not only to plan ahead, but to handle the travel well.

Pack your nutrition – Yes, I am the girl on the flight who packed my own breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner in a massive lunchbox with a cold pack. Not only because I can no longer afford expensive airport food, but because the burger and fries from the airport grill does not fall within my pre-race nutrition plan for optimal performance. Plus, I know everyone at the airport is secretly jealous of my homemade burrito when having to choose between Sbarros or McDonalds. Pack the food that you typically eat for optimum training and racing and that you know your body digests well. And then pack Pepto Bismol just in case. Montezuma’s revenge is a real thing.

Bring extra water bottles to fill up at the airport if you don’t want to purchase additional water and electrolyte drink mix as the body tends to get dehydrated from travel. You need to ensure you consume plenty of fluids, especially while traveling. Coffee, soda, and cocktails don’t count.

Take care of your body – stretch before getting on the flight, in the airport between flights, and make use of aisle time to loosen up legs when walking to the lavatory. Hip flexors, glutes, and calves can tighten up from travel. The best way to minimize the impact is to get up and move as often as possible. Additionally, it can help to bring compression socks for the flight. Try to get as much sleep as possible before and after the flight.

Nicole Valentine assembling her Dimond bike in Puerto Rico

Prepare for sh*t to hit the fan – I have on a few occasions, arrived at the race destination ahead of my luggage. Make sure that you have packed and prepared for this. Carry travel size toiletries in your bag, as well as swim and running gear. That way you can proceed as best as possible with your pre-race preparation in the event your bags arrive several days later. Also, be sure you know your equipment, especially your bike, what needs to be done to reassemble it. Carry spare tubes, tires, hand pump, as it can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming to locate bike mechanics at the race venue.

As a professional athlete, our priority is to have our best race ever, to maximize our income potential, and advance our career. Thus handling travel well is not only a necessity, but a critical part of our job. These tips have helped me weather some pretty bumpy travel experiences and still put in top notch race performances. I hope they help you as well.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Nicole Valentine is a Professional Triathlete specializing in long course, Ironman, and off-road Xterra events. She has been involved in triathlon for the past five years and prior to that, competed in endurance mountain bike racing. As an age group athlete, she won back-to-back Outrigger Double Award titles (for the fastest combined time at Kona Ironman World Championships and Xterra World Championships), placing fifth in Kona and third at Xterra in 2015. Now in her second year as a professional, she has been on the podium numerous times in Ironman and 70.3 events. Nicole leads mountain bike, running, and triathlon clinics for various local clubs and community organizations. She resides in Boulder, Colorado.

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Everyone Starts Somewhere: An Olympian’s Journey to Tri https://university.trisports.com/2017/06/12/everyone-starts-somewhere-an-olympians-journey-to-tri/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:07:16 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8360 Written by Katie Zaferes, USA Olympic Triathlete In 2007, right after graduating high school I was recruited to do my very first triathlon…by my dad. It was the South Carroll Tri-to-Win Sprint Triathlon that featured a 400 meter swim (in a pool), 14 mile bike, and 5k run. It was on Father’s Day and though […]]]>

Written by Katie Zaferes, USA Olympic Triathlete

In 2007, right after graduating high school I was recruited to do my very first triathlon…by my dad. It was the South Carroll Tri-to-Win Sprint Triathlon that featured a 400 meter swim (in a pool), 14 mile bike, and 5k run. It was on Father’s Day and though I am one of three daughters- I think I was chosen only by default because one sister was in college and the other sister was too young.

Pre-Race Nerves
I was so nervous going into my first triathlon race. Growing up, I identified mostly as a swimmer, until I picked up running in high school. The only cycling experience I had was riding here and there through my neighborhood. To help with the pre-race jitters, my dad and I rode the course a few days before. Rather than calm my nerves, the hills seemed massive and the bike leg felt like forever. Luckily the race started in a pool, so at least I had one bit of comfort since I came from a swimming background at that point.

Katie Zaferes during her first triathlon. A triathlete in the making.

From Rookie to Recruitment
I had the slowest transition onto the bike, but improved by the next transition. Then I was off, on my cycling adventure I went. I made it through the bike leg, but had to walk my bike up one of the hills. I went into survival mode for the run. It was no course record, but it was the first step in my triathlon career. It wasn’t until 2011 when I was recruited by the USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program that I began to focus my time and energy on developing as a triathlete.

Read more about Katie Zaferes’ preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

You have to Start Somewhere
I’ll never forget how nervous I was for that first race. Up until that point, I was a single sport athlete- never putting all three disciplines together. I had no idea what I was doing. However, I did feel reassured for two reasons: 1. I was doing a triathlon just for the fun of it, and 2. The tri was a way to bond with my dad. Fast forward to my first professional debut and draft legal race, when one of my fellow competitors yelled to me during the race, “Katie, what are you doing?!” I responded accordingly, “I have no idea!” It was that moment, as a Pro, I realized despite all the preparation and practice, my first race was still my first race. It was a learning experience, a starting point, and a chance to see what I could do. But it also served to show how much I could improve.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
The swim took some getting used to because I was used to swimming in a single lane. Now I was learning to swim with other people. I had to get comfortable getting whacked and jostled in the water and all the while needing to look for tiny little buoys to follow. To help deal with so many people in the water, my focus was to embrace it and learn to get comfortable being bumped in the first leg. That meant going to the pool with friends and swimming side by side in a less than courteous manner. When it came race time, the swim preparation helped; the contact with others didn’t seem so overwhelming and I could relax and stay focused.

Face Your Fears and Your Weaknesses
The bike was the scariest part for me and the most unfamiliar territory. I didn’t understand how to shift and was constantly trying to remember which side would make it harder and which shifter would make it easier. During one of my first Pro races, I was trudging up a hill on the bike and a guy rode past me calling out, “You have more gears to use!” I knew I had more gears, however, I didn’t want to chance that I would shift the wrong way and make it harder when I was going up a steep hill. On the downhills, I was and continue to be very wary. It takes time and practice to build confidence in your cycling and bike handling skills. Even now, I still practice my bike skills in grass fields and parking lots. I also join local group rides to get more comfortable riding with other people.

Learn from Mistakes
Running off the bike is never easy, but it does get better the more you do it. One of my first tris, I felt like my legs were still pedaling during the run; not a very good feeling. Even now, there are some races where I just feel like, “Crap, this is going to be a long race.” A pre-race check of all your gear is a good idea. I always recommend checking your shoes before a race, too. Why? Well, learn from my mistakes. I once had to complete a whole run with my hotel card key under my foot because I had forgotten that I decided to store the key in my shoe. Another tip, get familiar with the course ahead of time, a new recommendation of mine. Why? Because just last month I accidentally turned too soon on the run and had to go back to go around the cone, costing me ten seconds during a sprint.

Better with Time
My races have gotten better with time and I make fewer avoidable mistakes, but there are plenty of things I still struggle with even now. I look at each day as an opportunity to get better whether it be at a race or practice. If I fail or don’t perform as well as I would like, I don’t get down on myself. Rather, I take time to reflect on where I can improve. I let it go to get ready for my next opportunity to practice and develop that skill.

Focus On All You Can Do
One of my favorite things about triathlon is that there are always opportunities to get better and areas to improve. In some ways this can be overwhelming, but I think it helps take the pressure off each race. There will never be a perfect race and luckily in triathlon, if you make a mistake there is time to make up for it, so I try not to get too frazzled. I’ve found that the mental side of triathlon can often be more challenging than the physical. What helps me is to just “do me.” I’m the most proud of myself and my performances when I race like me and focus on myself. I am not concerned about the other competitors, what they are doing, what equipment they have, or what they look like. I am confident in my preparation and focus on my strengths. Come race day, there’s not much you can do about your weaknesses. Here’s my best piece of advice: Rather than freaking out about what you can’t do, think about all you CAN do!

It Takes a Village
What has helped me the most during my tri career is the amazing triathlon community and the people I surround myself with. There is no way I would have been able to make the progress that I have made without plenty of helping hands. When I began training for triathlon, I met and connected with a variety of athletes with whom I could swim, ride, and run with. I was fortunate to get a coach who helped me develop my swim, bike, and run skills as well as the transitions. I’ve learned from my teammates, family, friends, and other community members. We’re always learning and advancing our knowledge in the sport, so take advantage of the vast tri community out there. Reach out to your local triathlon club for help if you’re new to the sport.

And Remember…
Always remember why you’re doing multisport. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because everyone makes them at every level. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. Embrace the uncomfortable and look at each session, training block, and race as a chance to improve and be great. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

About the Author: Katie Zaferes has competed in the Rio Olympics, finished on 8 WTS podiums, won her first WTS race in Hamburg, and finished in the Top 5 of the World Triathlon Series in 2015 and 2016. Zaferes is training through another Olympic cycle in the hopes of competing in Tokyo 2020 and plans to begin dabbling in half distance races and longer. She is originally from Hampstead, Maryland and now resides in Santa Cruz, California. To learn more about Zaferes, visit her website here, follow her on Facebook and Instagram.  

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Pro Insider with Lisa Roberts https://university.trisports.com/2017/04/06/pro-insider-with-lisa-roberts/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 22:12:30 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8141 Interview with Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete Professional triathlete Lisa Roberts has been competing in the sport for over 15 years, professionally for the last eight years. Her triathlon career took root after a solid background of long distance running, which culminated running collegiate cross country and track in Illinois. Roberts focus is now on long […]]]>

Interview with Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete

Professional triathlete Lisa Roberts has been competing in the sport for over 15 years, professionally for the last eight years. Her triathlon career took root after a solid background of long distance running, which culminated running collegiate cross country and track in Illinois. Roberts focus is now on long distance events, particularly 70.3 and full-distance races. Roberts is feeling good about the 2017 season as she prepares for the 70.3 North American Pro Championships in St. George Utah in early May.

What nutrition strategies do you utilize to guarantee your body has optimal energy?
Proper nutrition is every bit, if not more important than the training itself. Without the proper fuel, I have no hope of getting good, hard, consistent training in every day. I am big on meal planning and scheduling so I have the right type and amount of nutrition available whenever I need it – even if I’m traveling or during hectic days of training.

How do you achieve your macro/micronutrient requirements in-season?
My macronutrient needs shift from off-season to racing season, mainly in the fact that carbohydrates start to play a bigger role in the racing season. In addition, I am always keeping tabs on my B vitamins, vitamin D, K, A & E as well as iron and calcium. Since I am convinced that a vitamin D deficiency played a very big role in my foot stress fracture, I have gotten myself out of that deficit by using the Klean-D supplement and Klean Multivitamin. I also eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get as much as possible from real food.

What are your typical pre-, during, and post-race fueling strategies and how do they differ from one another?
My pre-race fueling is focused on easily digested carbohydrates and some slower-burning nut butters.  Hydration and electrolyte balance is key during a race, as well as keeping the energy coming with simple carbohydrates, so I don’t bottom out or get too far in a calorie deficit. For the long races there will always be a deficit, since we can only uptake so many calories/hour. Post-race is all about recovery and repairing the inherent muscle damage caused by racing, so there will be a greater focus on proteins then.

How do you fuel up during training and racing?
I make rice cakes with peanut butter & jelly filling and use a variety of gels and other quick energy sources, depending on the workout length and intensity. I add a scoop of Klean BCAA +Peak ATP to my workout drinks and when the weather heats up, I’m sure to take Klean Electrolytes to keep in balance.

What’s the most important nutritional advice you’d give to an athlete new to the sport?
Your body needs the proper energy before and during workouts so you can get the training in, so don’t starve it of those needs. Practice a variety of nutrition types, timing, amounts and keep track of it during your training so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Always go into your training and racing with a nutrition plan – don’t just wing it.

What does competing clean mean to you and talk about the clean sport movement?
Competing clean is a no-brainer for me and always has been. But, nowadays that means I need to be extra vigilant about where the products I use come from and how they are processed. Products that go the extra mile to gain the NSF certification are a plus for me. I can never make assumptions about the quality of anything unless I’ve done my homework first.

How do you mentally prepare on race day?
I always sit on the ground next to my bike after I’ve set everything up, close my eyes, and just let the bustling sounds of the transition area buzz around me. It helps to get me centered. For Lisa’s tips on balancing triathlon, read The Great Balancing Act.

What are your tips for getting motivated on the days you’re not feeling it?
I don’t focus on getting motivated on those days; it seems too monumental a task at that point. What I do is start simple: that might be just putting my swim suit on or start out the door by walking. Every time I start at the most basic level, I always end up getting on with the workout.

What is your most essential piece of training gear?
I couldn’t be successful without a pair of comfortable, proper-fitting shoes…and fun socks. Everybody needs fun socks to wear.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Lisa has been an athlete all her life. Now a common sight on the triathlon, cycling and running podium at competitions, she is culminating years of hard work and dedication and turning it into results. This leaves only the sky as her limit with the goal of winning a World Championship title and qualifying for the Olympic marathon. Learn more about Lisa Roberts at lisajroberts.com and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.ribes, Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisarobertstri, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisarobertstri/.

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Take Your Triathlon to the Trails https://university.trisports.com/2017/02/27/take-your-triathlon-to-the-trails/ Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:28:59 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8028 Written by Barret Fishner, Pro Team USA World Championship Team Off-road triathlon is quickly growing all around the world. Here in Europe, a single Xterra can draw over 1,000 competitors. Racing off-road brings a variety of different challenges than its road counterpart. Here are some tips to help you nail your next, or first, off-road […]]]>

Written by Barret Fishner, Pro Team USA World Championship Team

Off-road triathlon is quickly growing all around the world. Here in Europe, a single Xterra can draw over 1,000 competitors. Racing off-road brings a variety of different challenges than its road counterpart. Here are some tips to help you nail your next, or first, off-road triathlon.

Why Go Off-Road?
It’s fun! Super fun! You get to flow some great trail through the woods and be one with nature. Off-road is great for the adventurous spirit. Every course brings its own unique set of challenges. Each venue is unique and different as well, usually set in some small mountain town.

Boredom Buster
Off-road allows you to explore during training. Where does that dirt road go? Or that trail? You may be surprised what you find in your area once you start exploring. Not to mention the lack of cars and traffic during training. Every course is different and unique. No one course or venue is similar to the other…the ultimate boredom buster for those easily bored.

Gear Up
Your gear choice will be vital to your success; the equipment you use will significantly impact your race. First, you will need a mountain bike. Not sure what kind of mountain bike will suit your needs, check out Mountain Biking for Dummies: The Frame to determine which bike would suit your fancy.

Tires. In regions where weather conditions change frequently, it’s a good idea for off-roadies to have a few different tires in their arsenal with different tread patterns in their collection: low profile knobs for dry hardback, mid-range trail for loose rocky roots or slightly wet, and open spaced knobs for mud.

Tire and Fork pressure will determine how the bike rides. Make sure you have enough pressure to not roll the tire off the rim or bottom out against it. Bring a spare tune, CO2, and multi-tool. Off-road courses can be 12mile laps, you want to be able to continue, or at least get home if something happens.

I highly recommend mountain bike shoes and pedals. Many Xterra courses keep it old school with hiking sections in several of their races. Plus, mountain bike pedals clear mud better so you can still clip in if rain or mud are on the forecast.

As far as running shoes, look for a shoe with adequate cushioning, tread, and ankle support. If the trail portion may be muddy or technical, look for a good trail shoe with appropriate tread, especially for those muddy races. Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail Shoe.

Bike Handling Skills
Racing off-road is very bike heavy, and a large part of a fast bike is your technical riding ability. Races can be won solely on who was able to navigate the course the best. Riding a mountain bike is very different than on the road. Yet the skills you learn riding off-road will make you better back on the pavement. Your body position should be low, to get your center of gravity down. Bend your elbows and knees, but stay relaxed. Pretend the grip is slightly bigger than it actually is; no white knuckles. Look ahead where you want to go, and point your hips in that direction. Remember, the bike knows what to do, allow it to do so.

Improve Race Tactics & Fueling
This is another deal breaker for off-road racing. Off-road races are significantly longer, sometimes 3-4 hrs, so your intensity and nutrition will determine how your day goes. If you’re new to off-road racing, it’s always best to play it conservative at the start so you can go harder later. You will have a much better race and faster time than if you blow up and are trying to survive to the finish.

Prepare ahead of time; go online and find all the information you can on the course. Study the elevation profile and terrain. How many climbs are there? What’s the average grade? How long (in minutes) are each? Do this for the bike and run. This will give you an idea where to hammer and where to conserve. Are there any aid stations? This impacts nutrition, as you’ll want to have enough food and water to get through. Most Pros go with just bottles because of weight. Depending on the course, it may elect for a hydration pack.

Core Strength
An easy area to forget is your core strength, as juggling three disciplines is already hard enough. Your core strength greatly impacts your performance off-road. Off-road can beat you up depending on the terrain and elevation. It takes a strong core to endure and carry you to the finish line. The stronger your core is, the better your endurance will be on the course. Don’t worry about making it to a gym, there’s plenty you can do at home. Check out these training articles for ideas: Strength Training for Triathletes and Prehab Exercises to Stay Run Healthy.

Swim in Open Water
You must train in situations you will be racing in. The biggest challenge in open water is often sighting. Off-road swim courses may have an unusual pattern. For example, take last year’s ITU Cross World Championships,  it looked like a heart shape loop with a tail. That’s nine buoys to navigate, twice (2x750m laps)! Before your race, get some open water training swims in and you’ll be thankful you did come race day.

Warm Up
A good warm up will really help your event. Your engine needs to be primed to race off-road. Do a gradual intensity build over 15 minutes on the bike with a five minute cool down. Just enough to sweat some and feel warm, loose, and ready. Besides prepping your body, you are prepping you mind.

Practice Your Transitions
Transition is like the 4th sport, and the more smoothly it goes, the better your mindset will be for the bike and run. Practice it frequently. Getting more smooth on your transitions will help settle your nerves, especially for an off-road transition where your hands are dirty or muddy.

Go with the Flow
In off-road racing, ‘stuff’ happens out there. You may slip on the bike or run, get a flat tire, have an unexpected obstacle or conditions, to name a few. It’s all part of the adventure. Everyone has days or sections of a race where things just do not go smoothly. The best thing to do is deal with it and move on. Get back to a clear, relaxed state and go with the flow. Remember, this is fun!

With these tips, you will be able to nail your next off-road triathlon. Good luck, now go Grip-N-Rip!


About the Author: Barret was born and raised in the coastal mountains of Oregon, where he discovered mountain biking and racing in his teens. He loves the outdoors and all activities in it, especially off-road. Barret is a RAAM finisher, Pro Team USA World Championship team, competed in the World Championships 3x (cyclocross, duathlon, off-road triathlon), and holds a pro card in off-road triathlon and off-road cycling. Barret and his wife (US Army) are currently stationed in Belgium, where he is utilizing the time to pursue is passion for off-road racing. 

 

 

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5 Ways to Create a Winning Off-Season https://university.trisports.com/2016/12/01/5-ways-to-create-a-winning-off-season/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:57:41 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7800 Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete The races are done. The sweat sweated. An exhausted satisfaction mixed with uncertain excitement about the upcoming season.  But a mandatory break from training and racing seems counter-intuitive. How could time away from your primary sport really make you better? The implication of an “off” season is incorrect; […]]]>

Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete

The races are done. The sweat sweated. An exhausted satisfaction mixed with uncertain excitement about the upcoming season.  But a mandatory break from training and racing seems counter-intuitive. How could time away from your primary sport really make you better?

The implication of an “off” season is incorrect; we never stop being athletes. I prefer to think of it as a transition season, a time when we absorb the past year and can organize and prepare for the season ahead. I mean, for this period we can replace training with the way more enjoyable activity of talking about training. Glorifying your threshold power, those 30-hour training weeks, and how close you came to race weight absolutely reinforces your connection to the process of becoming a phenomenal athlete.

Begin 2017 feeling re-energized for triathlon instead of just being fatter and lazier than you were a few months prior with these five tips!

1. Length
Every year, I will take a month without any structured training and 4-5 months without any racing. That can seem like an eternity. And it is. While not everyone needs that long, a few months away from the adrenal stress of racing improves the overall quality of your competitions. There is a similar effect for time away from structured training, so the following items detail how I use the first six weeks after my final race to prepare for the next season.

By month 5 without racing, there’s a certain amount of… tedium
By month 5 without racing, there’s a certain amount of… tedium. Joe Maloy left, Greg Billington right.

2. Mental Preparation
Nothing compares to hours of pedal mashing before redlining a run. Because what is best in life, but to crush your competition, see defeat in their eyes, and hear their lame excuses at the finish line?

But racing with that much gusto is unsustainable. We take down time partly for physical reasons, but more to mentally restructure and rekindle the competitive flame for the next season.

Take a week to write down the high points of the year: when you absolutely demolished the Group Ride World Championships, swam way faster than that doofus with the shaved chest, or flawlessly put on your race number. Think about how you approached those moments, when they occurred in the season, and what you can do to recreate them next year. If you find meaningful insights, these should be incorporated into your training program.

During my transition phase, I’ll also pick up a few lighter activities to maintain the all-important drive to destroy the will and general well-being of my competition. Ping pong is my usual favorite. Badminton, similarly. Also, Scottish shin-kicking. Regardless of what it is, it’s vital to keep that competitive edge throughout the year.

3. Training Preparation
The transition season can leave a great deal of free time which wreaks havoc with your normal routine, making it harder to restart training. Immediately replacing the usual shammy time with purposeful activities can help you prepare for a great season.

I start habits which I want to keep in the coming year. If you’ve wanted to add stretching, meditation, upside-down dumbbell sit-ups to your routine, now is the time to add it in during the time that you would normally be doing real training, like running.

My meditation habits started early.
My meditation habits started early.

It’s also a great opportunity to incorporate new training tools that can be critical for making improvements. This is when to make the biggest changes to your Bike Fit. That way you have the maximum amount of time to become comfortable in the new position and make any minor adjustments before you risk injury during long training blocks.

You should go for runs in new shoes, try out new wetsuits, and take a deliberate look at your training and whether or not you can deal with your coach for another season.

Ehhhhhhh, yeah he’ll do for another season. Coach Paulo Sousa
Ehhhhhhh, yeah he’ll do for another season. Billington’s Coach Paulo Sousa smiles for the camera.

4. Transition Training
You’ll end up training during those first 4-6 weeks of real down time. I mean, it’s fun. That’s why we’re here. As you do train, though, you’ll need to give your body a break from certain types of training. Specifically, there needs to be at least a good six-week period where you avoid threshold efforts. This is the type of training that can lead to high levels of fatigue and burnout. If you’re going to do any type of activity, it should be long and easy (like a hike) or very short and very intense. You’ll have time to recover from these activities and especially those short burns are a great way to remind you of the fun that awaits in the coming season.

The vast complexities of an off-season session:

  • 15 minute warm up
  • 4-6 x 30 second sprints (uphill if running or cycling)
  • 10 minute cool down

This is also the part of the season where you have the time to incorporate strength training. This helps prepare your musculoskeletal system for the demands of repetitive cardiovascular training and reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries.

The following are some of my favorite exercises. Obviously cater the duration to your individual fitness level and keep in mind that strength training should never be so taxing as to interfere with your real workouts. Before I start my routines, I’ll make sure to do at least eight minutes of easy cardio, anything from jumping rope to cycling.

Example strength training session:

Beyond this basic level of core fitness, strength training is difficult to incorporate into a program. Attempts to build power and speed through strength training need to be highly individualized.
Beyond this basic level of core fitness, strength training is difficult to incorporate into a program. Attempts to build power and speed through strength training need to be highly individualized.

5. Food
Like life, the off-season is really about food. It’s the time of year you are supposed to be way off-race weight and generally jollier. Literally (figuratively), everyone is about 10% nicer each pound they are further away from race weight. Sadly, a good rule of thumb is to weigh yourself each week and top out at about 5-6% over your race weight. You can pretend this happens because you started a strength program, but this will mainly be due to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is also helpful to take this time to experiment with new recipes and whatever health fad you feel will power you to that next performance breakthrough. it’s the cage free, gluten free, quinoa encrusted white veal diet this year! Maybe kombucha in my race bottles to aid gel digestion?

Here’s one of my favorite breakfast recipes. I put the concoction in a jar the night before and then additional ingredients in the morning if I feel like it.

Overnight Oats

  • 1:1:1 ratio of Old Fashioned Rolled oats, milk, and yogurt
  • Small banana
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt (I sweat a lot)
  • Cinnamon
  • Palmful of almonds

There are many ways you can prepare for a season, but it is easier to find success by picking a few and doing them well. The above are simple ideas, but success is usually found by simplifying complex processes and mastering them.

So, good luck, enjoy the transition season, and prepare to smash 2017!

38872-medium_gregbillington1About the Author: Greg Billington is a 2016 triathlon Olympian. Billington began swimming, at age 8. He discovered track and cross country in high school, where he ran at Wake Forest University. Billington’s first international triathlon competition was in 2006 racing for the U.S. in the ITU Elite Junior Worlds. He is part of the USA Triathlon Project 2016 Squad and coached by the one and only, the USA Triathlon Certified Coach, Paulo Sousa.

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Product Review: Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet https://university.trisports.com/2016/10/07/product-review-giro-aerohead-mips-helmet/ Fri, 07 Oct 2016 18:21:45 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7650 Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete Giro has been at the forefront of aerodynamic helmet design since creating the Giro Advantage in 1985. Between snow sports and cycling, they specialize in helmet, glasses, and apparel technology. Over the last three decades, they have been perfecting their trade; based on current wind tunnel testing, the […]]]>

Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete

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Greg Billington on the left, testing the Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet

Giro has been at the forefront of aerodynamic helmet design since creating the Giro Advantage in 1985. Between snow sports and cycling, they specialize in helmet, glasses, and apparel technology. Over the last three decades, they have been perfecting their trade; based on current wind tunnel testing, the new Aerohead series represents the pinnacle of their research, shaving 15 watts off their current Advantage series.

As I was preparing for the Rio Olympics and the ITU World Championships, my coach Paulo Sousa and I were looking for ways to save precious time. I invested in ceramic bearings, the nicest tires – when he saw the data on the new Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet, we decided that we needed to try the product to see if it could be beneficial.

I ran it through the paces to see if it could be useful, even during a draft legal triathlon. There aren’t many opportunities for gains from an aero helmet during peloton racing, but when it does play a role, it is critical.

“If you don’t look fast, you aren’t doing it right!” -Greg Billington

The helmet is one of the fastest on the market. I wasn’t going to a wind tunnel, so with that as a given, my primary concerns were with transition time and cooling, although I also took into account comfort, safety, and looks as well. If you don’t look fast, you aren’t doing it right!

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Transition
This helmet was designed with triathletes in mind. The visor can be stored in a flipped up position, which makes the helmet easier to put on. I practiced my transition a number of times, but had no issues with this stage of transition. The helmet buckle is slightly small, but with practice this is fine for T1. It takes practice to perfect putting the visor on with one hand while cycling; as with many things, the effort is worthwhile. In Cozumel, the race was so hot that I opted to race without the visor and use glasses instead. The vented holes in the Aerohead MIPS Helmet were perfect for inserting my glasses into, so I could put these on during the race and not waste time in T1.

Speed
At the Cozumel Elite World Championships, I had the fastest ride and made the swim/bike breakaway with seven other athletes. The helmet was critical during the first three minutes and in maintaining and increasing our advantage to 90 seconds over the 40k course. I was about 12th out of the water and needed to make up about 10 seconds before the breakaway was established. The helmet cannot be discounted as I was the last athlete to make the breakaway, ahead of four athletes who exited the water before me.

Photo: Viviane Sloniewicz
Photo: Viviane Sloniewicz Greg looks fast, so he must be doing it right!

Cooling
I was impressed with the amount of ventilation this helmet offered. The four vents deliver a powerful flow of air while cycling. Both the Rio Olympics and the Cozumel World Championships were very warm races; Cozumel was 80-90% humidity and 80+ degrees during the bike ride. I opted to remove the visor to maximize cooling, but during training I felt good both with and without the visor. The brow pad is made out of a hydrophilic material, in order to efficiently wick away sweat and enhance cooling. It is, however, 14% warmer than the Giro’s Air Attack Shield, so take that into consideration if you are easily affected by the heat.

Visor
There is a significant amount of extra visibility when using visor instead of glasses. When wearing glasses, I have sweat build up on the lens about 45 minutes into most rides, which obscures my vision. Obviously, that was not an issue with the visor. It also provided more shielding so I was not constantly bothered by the usual cycling wind noise.

The visor is also cleverly designed so that it can be stored or placed in transition in the flipped up position. Among other benefits, this helps protect it and save space during travel.

Visor flipped up
Visor flipped up

Materials/Safety
The Aerohead MIPS Helmet is made with cutting edge technology. MIPS, multi-directional impact protection system, refers to the plastic insert designed to distribute force during side on impacts. This version is constructed with a polycarbonate shell and strong magnets so that the visor is always safely attached.

Looks
For Star Wars aficionados, this helmet is a dream come true. While I was leading the Cozumel World championships during the ride, my coach’s tweet gained in popularity:

tweet
Follow Paulo Sousa on Twitter @pstriathlon
original-rotj-imperial-guard-006
Multi-purpose helmet, can be used on the bike and on the job

Even still, compared to other helmets of similar aerodynamic quality, I prefer this design. It eschews an extended tail or excessively rounded shape. If this design had initiated its category of aerodynamic advancement, perhaps we triathletes would not be ridiculed for this aspect of our obsession with speed, however, the shaven legs would probably still be an issue.

Summary
This is the best helmet I have used, maybe in a class of its own. In aerodynamic testing, it significantly improves over almost all aero helmets. In transition it is fast and, with a bit of practice, has the potential to be very fast. The venting, while minimal, is effective and well designed; I felt good competing in the sweat box that was the Cozumel World Championships. The $250 price tag is competitive and if you are trying to save watts while staying cool, there is every reason to invest in the Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet.

38872-medium_gregbillington1About the Author: Greg Billington is a 2016 triathlon Olympian. Billington began swimming, at age 8. He discovered track and cross country in high school, where he ran at Wake Forest University. Billington’s first international triathlon competition was in 2006 racing for the U.S. in the ITU Elite Junior Worlds. He is part of the USA Triathlon Project 2016 Squad and coached by the one and only, the USA Triathlon Certified Coach, Paulo Sousa.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Allysa Seely https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/29/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-allysa-seely/ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:06:49 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7526 Written by Stefanie Peterson The 2016 Paralympic Games are drawing near, soon to debut the Games’ first Paratriathlon at Rio. Allysa Seely, Paratriathlete, is a two-time world champion for 2016 and 2015. Seely competed in her first tri in 2008 as an able-bodied competitor. However, shortly after her first competition, she began to develop what […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson

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The 2016 Paralympic Games are drawing near, soon to debut the Games’ first Paratriathlon at Rio. Allysa Seely, Paratriathlete, is a two-time world champion for 2016 and 2015. Seely competed in her first tri in 2008 as an able-bodied competitor. However, shortly after her first competition, she began to develop what would later be discovered as neurological symptoms, which started a long, two-year journey to finally get a correct diagnosis. Seely faced the tough decision to have her leg amputated below the knee as her neurological injuries became more problematic. But not long after after her amputation, a mere seven weeks, she was back and competing again.

What has been the biggest positive influence and motivator for you despite all the challenges and curve balls you’ve faced?
My motivation has been completely internal. I loved running, triathlon and being active before my diagnoses and from day one I wanted to get right back out there. Sport is my peace, my calm, my meditation—you may say—everyday I do it for the love of sport and for myself.

In 2010, doctors gave you not one but three diagnoses, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Chiari II malformation, and basilar invagination; did you struggle at all to find the strength to prove to yourself (or the professionals) you were capable of anything you set your mind to?  
Once I finally had a diagnosis—I waited over a year and a half for a correct diagnosis and treatment—I was ready to take my life back. I never doubted I would be participating in or competing in the sport I loved again. I did not get back on the bike, back in the pool or put my running shoes back on to prove anything to anyone, to motivate or inspire anyone. I got up and got out the door to take my own life back… To find my happiness again. To live a life I loved once again.

What are the biggest hurdles you face and how do you overcome or work around it?
I think the biggest hurdle I face, currently, is my neurological condition. It is constantly changing and I am constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the chronic pain, the muscle impairments and the multitude of other symptoms that rear their ugly heads. I have always been a person whom strives for my very best in everything I do. I have always chased my dreams and known that life doesn’t come without bumps in the road. I have adapted to the obstacles put in my path. None of that has changed, except for the size of the obstacles.

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How do you feel about representing the US in the debut of Paratriathlon in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio?
I am honored to be one of the first athletes to race triathlon in the Paralympic Games. It is going to be a historical day and to be apart of that is unbelievable. To race under the United States flag is a dream come true.

What are you doing to prepare for the Paralympics mentally and physically?
I am training everyday under two amazing coaches. Over the past two years I have worked to improve my weaknesses. I have also been working with a sport psychologist to make sure I am as prepared mentally as I am physically.

What has been the best piece of training advice?
Listen to your body it knows more than your brain.

Do you have any favorite training gear or tools that you like to use?
My favorite swim training gear is the Finis Tempo Trainer. With guidance from my swim coach it has helped me to reach a new level of fitness in the swim.

What is the hardest training session that you have logged to date?
That is a hard one, I have had one in all disciplines that I can think of, but if I had to choose one it would be 8×800 starting at race pace and descending each interval pace by 20 seconds.

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How does nutrition influence your success?
Nutrition is as important as having a good training plan. I learned that early on if I wasn’t eating enough or eating properly, my training and especially my recovery suffered.

How do you get motivated on those days you don’t want to get out of bed?
I always tell myself that I have to get up and get through my warm up and at that point if I am still tired, not feeling well or whatever it is, then I can be done, but by that point I usually feel great and am so glad I got up and got started.

After the Paralympics, what are your next goals?
I will be taking a few weeks off and enjoying some vacation with family. Then I will be running my first half marathon in January and I am looking forward to planning my 2017 season.

Do you have any secret talents?
Yes, but they wouldn’t be a secret if I told you… now would they?!? Okay if you really want to know I can put my feet behind my head.

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Melissa Stockwell, Paratriathlete https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/19/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-melissa-stockwell-paratriathlete/ Fri, 19 Aug 2016 19:07:43 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7431 Written by Stefanie Peterson Melissa Stockwell is used to being first. In 2004, Stockwell was the first American female soldier to lose a limb in Iraq. Then in 2008, she became the first Iraqi Veteran to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, representing the US Swim Team in the 100 and 400 freestyle, and 100 […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson

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Melissa Stockwell is used to being first. In 2004, Stockwell was the first American female soldier to lose a limb in Iraq. Then in 2008, she became the first Iraqi Veteran to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, representing the US Swim Team in the 100 and 400 freestyle, and 100 butterfly. Two years later, Stockwell entered the world of Paratriathlon, and she has not looked back. She took the sport by storm, crossing the finish line first at the 2010 Paratriathlon World Championships, presently a three-time World Champion. And now, Melissa Stockwell is preparing herself to compete in the first Paralympic Games to debut Paratriathlon.

Being at Walter Reed, what was the biggest positive influence and motivator for you?
Walter Reed is a very powerful place. When I was able to look around and take in my surroundings I saw so many other soldiers worse off than I was; missing multiple limbs, their eyesight, TBI’s (a.k.a. traumatic brain injuries). It put things in perspective, realizing I was one of the lucky ones only missing one leg. Instead of seeing the devastation, I chose to see the resilience we all had and that inspired me.

Were you confident that you would continue to be an athlete?
I needed to let my body heal first before I thought about being an athlete. But once I learned to walk and realized I could be independent, being an athlete was next on my mind. When I heard about the Paralympics it was a new dream that somehow, someway I was going to be a Paralympian. As soon as I got back in the pool and out on a race course, my competitive spirit came back quick. I am so proud to live a life of athletics with just one leg!

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How do you feel about representing the US in the debut of Paratriathlon in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio?
It’s amazing and I am so thrilled to be a part of its debut! To show the world what we can call do on the World’s biggest athletic stage is such an honor!

What are you doing to prepare for the Paralympics?
I swim, bike and run A LOT! I train 2-3 hours a day and recover 1-2 additional hours so it is a part time job. Mentally, I work with a sports psychologist and we work on keeping my mind focused and in the moment. The mental side of things is just as important as the physical side!

What has been the single best piece of training advice?
To take things day by day and to trust the process. After the birth of my son 20 months ago, it was easy to get discouraged when I compared my times against my competitors. I had to learn to be happy with my small progress day by day and ultimately it paid off!

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At Rio, what are you at most looking forward to?
Representing the greatest country in the world with my USA uniform! That and having all my hard work and sacrifices over the past 2 years pay off. I can’t wait to hug my family at the finish line. I didn’t get to Rio on my own, it was a team effort.

Out of the disciplines, which one is your favorite?
I love the water so swimming is my favorite. But I’ve been working hard on the bike and have learned to love it as well. I really love all three!

Do you have any favorite training gear?
I am obsessed with my Garmin 920XT, almost to a fault. I simply can’t do a workout without it! I don’t use anything special for swim training. The standard pull buoy, paddles and fin (just one) are used often.

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What is the hardest training session you’ve logged to date?
Probably a track workout. A few weeks back I had 8×800 descending paces and my heart rate was at an all time high. Brick workouts can also be challenging but the hardest training sessions are typically my favorite.

How does nutrition influence your success?
Nutrition plays a huge part in my training which is tough because I have a big sweet tooth. I try to balance my protein, carbs and healthy fat depending on my workouts that day and the following day. I feel better and my workouts are on track when I eat healthy. My favorite post workout snack is a Chobani yogurt, it’s tasty and packed with protein!

How do you get motivated on days you don’t want to get out of bed?
I look at my son and that gets me going. I want him to see his mom with big dreams so that he grows up with big dreams of his own.

Former Army soldier Melissa Stockwell, speaks to fellow injured service members during one of the annual Paralympic Military Sports Camps at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
Stockwell speaks to wounded service members at the annual Paralympic Military Sports Camps.

After the Paralympics, what are your next goals?
My husband Brian and I would like to expand our family so that will cover me into next year. After that, I’m not sure! I know I will always compete it’s just a matter of deciding what level I want to compete at. I am 36 years old now so another 4 years isn’t out of the question. I would like to get more into coaching continue my motivational speaking career.

What are your hopes for Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club you founded?
Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club is one of my proudest accomplishments. We help youth, adults and injured service members with a physical disability get into the sport of triathlon by providing coaching, training, adaptive equipment and more. The confidence and self worth our athletes gain is immeasurable. We have become one of the nation’s leaders in Paratriathlon and we’ve grown larger than we ever imagined. Our goals will be to recruit more athletes to come see what they are capable of and to continue inspiring many. You can read more about it www.dare2tri.org.

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Do you have any secret talents?
I can walk on my hands across a large room. And I love handstand contests. I also have an unusual ability to eat a full bag of BBQ chips or a plate full of cookies in one sitting. That’s a talent right?

Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I once ate gummy works the night before a race and had the race of my life. So now I try and eat a few gummy works the night before every big race.

 

 

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Gwen Jorgensen https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/18/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-gwen-jorgensen/ Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:28:40 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=7244 Gwen Jorgensen Finish LineWritten by Stefanie Peterson Gwen Jorgensen is concentrating all her energy towards one single objective, with her sights set on the 2016 Olympic podium. “I have one goal for this year and that’s the Rio Olympics on August 20th,” said Jorgensen. Six years ago, Jorgensen competed in her first triathlon after being recruited by USA […]]]> Gwen Jorgensen Finish Line

Written by Stefanie Peterson
Gwen Jorgensen Finish Line

Gwen Jorgensen is concentrating all her energy towards one single objective, with her sights set on the 2016 Olympic podium. “I have one goal for this year and that’s the Rio Olympics on August 20th,” said Jorgensen. Six years ago, Jorgensen competed in her first triathlon after being recruited by USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program and just two years later she was competing in her first Games. With her quick mastery of triathlon, it’s hard to believe that Jorgensen at one time doubted her Olympic potential.

What was your reaction when the USA Triathlete team recruited you?
I dreamed of going to the Olympics for swimming. I came to the realization in high school that I would never go into the Olympic system, I just wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t making the national teams; I wasn’t even making the junior national team, so I thought I would never be an Olympian. When the USA Triathlon team approached me, the first thing they said was, “You can be a USA Olympian.” I was in shock. I basically laughed at them. I said, “No, I tried that when I was younger and I don’t have what it takes.”

What was it like finding out you had an aptitude for triathlon?
I didn’t know triathlon was an Olympic sport when the USA Triathlon team recruited me. Triathlons weren’t really on my radar. I did my first triathlon after being recruited in 2010 and I got my Pro Card. My next race was an international competition and I won second place there, and that’s when I was thought, “Oh boy, this is something I should focus on more.” When I qualified for the London Olympics, I took a leave of absence from work and started focusing on triathlons because I believed I could be a world class triathlete.

How are you preparing mentally for the Olympics?
Every race is completely different and that’s something that I like about this sport. You go into a triathlon and you have no idea what can happen on race day. You have to be prepared for anything, which really makes it a hard race and makes it exciting to watch. The Olympics is going to be completely different from all the other races I race in…it’s something that we try to prepare for and try to have as many weapons in our tool bags as possible.

Gwen Jorgensen Swim
How do you like the course that you are going to be racing in Rio?

I was very impressed with the Rio course last year. The road conditions were great, everything was set up, road closures and everything; it was very safe. The course was really good, it’s tough, there is a big hill on the bike and that makes it an honest course, everyone is going to be tired. It will be interesting to see how quickly you can run after that hard bike ride.

How are your competitors doing this year?
I think everyone is trying to beat me and I’m trying to beat them. It’s really competitive and an Olympic year everyone really steps up their game even more. People are testing things out and really pushing their limits. You never know what’s going to happen on race day.

Do you have any race strategies for Rio?
I don’t really have a strategy because in a triathlon a lot of things can change and if you have one strategy you have to change that strategy in the heat of the moment. So I try to go in with an open mind knowing that there’s a lot that can happen during the race. I try to focus on the practice of swimming, biking, and running the best I can.

How do you prepare for efficient transitions?
Transitions are something that doesn’t happen with luck, it’s something we need to practice. Once a week, I go out to a parking lot and practice my transitions. I practice putting on my shoes and hopping on my bike. It’s the little things you do during a transition in a race that you need to practice in training.

What’s it like to have all the pressure of the Olympics on your shoulders?
I have a really good support team around me and I think that’s what keeps me grounded. I haven’t gotten too nervous yet, but I still have some time to get nervous. I get my confidence from training, so I’m building up. I think my training is going well. I’m trying to get fitter in the swim, bike, and run, and that’s something that gives me confidence. You can only do so much in racing, I want to go into the race and be as prepared as possible. Thankfully, I have my husband, Patrick, and I have my coach, David, who are really helping me get there.
Gwen Jorgensen Run

Do you have any tips for working out while you are constantly on the road?  
One of the things I love about running is that you only need one pair of shoes and you can do it anywhere around the world, that’s one way to stay active. When I travel, I bring little pieces of gym equipment; you can bring a little dumbbell or resistance band to do gym exercises in the hotel room.

Besides training, what else helps to give you a boost of confidence before competition?
I try to focus on the process of what I’m doing on the bike and run. Everyday, I write down three things I did well and three things I can improve. If I feel like I need more confidence, I go back and look at three things I did well in, and it gives me confidence leading into a race.

How are you preparing for Rio after your streak at London?
Going into every race, I wasn’t thinking about the streak at all. It was more of me wanting to go into a race and execute what I have been training for every day. I wanted to go in and get the most out of myself; that’s why I love competing. I love going out there, pushing myself, and pushing the limits to see how for I can go and how quickly I can cross that finish line.

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Joe Maloy https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/06/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-joe-maloy/ Sat, 06 Aug 2016 18:51:38 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7479 Written by Stefanie Peterson Rio-bound triathlete, Joe Maloy, shares his practical training philosophies in preparation for his Olympic competition. While Maloy’s training is serious as he readies himself for Rio, he still manages to keep it light and have fun doing what he does, competing as the top-ranked American triathlete. What are you doing to […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson

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Rio-bound triathlete, Joe Maloy, shares his practical training philosophies in preparation for his Olympic competition. While Maloy’s training is serious as he readies himself for Rio, he still manages to keep it light and have fun doing what he does, competing as the top-ranked American triathlete.

What are you doing to prepare for the Olympics?
I don’t separate the mental training from the physical training. When you’re properly training, the two go hand-in-hand. Even though competing in the Olympics presents a bigger opportunity than any other race, my preparation needs to stay constant. I cannot be anything more than who I am, Joe Maloy. Leading into the Games, my preparation will continue to focus on the goal of being the best Joe Maloy that I can be.

What has been the best piece of training advice?
“Have fun.” The process of working towards any goal is critically important. If you’re not remembering to have fun along the way, then you ought to do something else.

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What’s your favorite training gear?
I’m very careful about the tools I use during training. It’s important for training to be an expression of yourself in some unique way. Training tools should not dictate that action, but rather guide the expression in a more focused, deliberate way. I make all of my equipment choices based on this criteria.

That being said, my favorite training tool is a running stick. Oftentimes, I’ll pick up a fallen twig, snap it in half, and run with a twig in both hands. Having the light reminder in each hand is a good cue for me to think about my arm carriage…which is something I’ve been working on over the past few years. Plus, it’s kind of fun to spend the first few minutes of a run scanning for good sticks! I’m picky…no sap, nice and smooth, just the right width.

What’s the hardest training session you’ve logged to date?
I think training is hard (and effective) because it is repetitive. No one session is really all that key, but rather it’s the cumulative effect of weeks of training strung together.

Every January and February, my training group (The Triathlon Squad) does overgear bike exercises on Bandy Canyon (a quiet road just northeast of San Diego). Over and over, week after week, we’ll go up the hill a prescribed number of times. By the end of this training block, I’m usually toppling off my bike at the end of the reps.

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Which of the three disciplines is your favorite?
I know I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think of triathlon as three disciplines; it’s one race. That mindset is the strength that I’m going to capitalize on in Rio. I’m not going to rely on strength or weakness in one discipline or another, but rather capitalize on the magic that happens when I string everything together over the course of an hour and 45 minutes.

How do you get motivated when you’re feeling unmotivated?
I accept that I’m not feeling very motivated and go from there! The key is not forcing an unwanted change in attitude, but rather acknowledging that attitude and going from there. If you’re not motivated to work towards your goals…why aren’t you? Do you need to change the goal? Do you need to change your methods? Do you just need another cup of coffee?

How does nutrition influence your success?
I used to think nutrition didn’t really mean a whole lot. I subscribed to the “If the furnace is hot enough, it’ll burn” nutrition plan. As I’ve grown in the sport, and some maturity has helped, I’ve come to look at food as medicine. It’s something we put in our bodies to achieve a desired affect.

After the Olympics, what are your next goals?
Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Sarah True https://university.trisports.com/2016/07/29/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-sarah-true/ Fri, 29 Jul 2016 19:17:48 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7490 Written by Stefanie Peterson How do you think your preparation during this Olympic quad differs from last quad? The biggest difference between this quad and the last one was first my Olympic preparation. Last time around I was simply happy to be an Olympian, to be apart of the Olympic experience. Then when I finished […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 05: Sarah True of the USA leave the water during the Elite Women's race in the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi on March 5, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
True in the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi on March 5, 2016 (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

How do you think your preparation during this Olympic quad differs from last quad?
The biggest difference between this quad and the last one was first my Olympic preparation. Last time around I was simply happy to be an Olympian, to be apart of the Olympic experience. Then when I finished a very close 4th place, it made me realize that I was a potential medalist.

Does it help to know so far in advance that qualified for Rio?
We are incredibly fortunate in triathlon, in that, we have an opportunity to qualify a year in advance of the Olympics. In 2012, we had a similar qualification process, and I also qualified a year out. I have realized the value of having a year to prepare for the Olympic Games. It gives you time to process your qualification, to have a nice off season. Then, slowly and gradually, build into peak fitness for the Olympics. Some athletes are able to sustain a really high level of competition throughout the year, I’m the kind of athlete who does well with one specific peak.

How are you going to balance the atmosphere of the games this year but also being prepared for your event?
One of the things I learned from 2012, is that until my race is over, it’s strictly work. So I’m going down there and up until my race, I’m there to do my job, which is to represent myself as an athlete to the best of my abilities. After my race, once I take a shower, and I have a snack, and spend time regrouping after the race…after that, then I get to enjoy the Olympic experience. Now obviously you get a little taste of it when you’re racing because it’s hard to escape the excitement of the Olympic Games during your competition…but I’m definitely looking forward towards the celebratory part afterwards.

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Do you have any personal goals for yourself that you are trying to accomplish at the Games this year?
It’s very strong field, and going to be an incredibly hard race. So I can’t go down with any sort of expectation for results. I do want to go down there and race like as if I am a medal contender. I want to be in the mix, I proved to myself in 2012 that I’m capable of being in the medal mix. Whether or not I come back to New Hampshire with an Olympic medal, that only remains to be seen based on how other people race. If they are better than me on that day, there is not a lot I can do, but if I put everything into the race and put myself into the medal mix, I would be pretty happy.

Since the 2012 Games, what have you learned from that race and how are you applying it to your training for Rio?
I have just gotten stronger, and I’m better. I’m trying to move forward in all three sports, but also I have become a better racer. I think that is the biggest difference in that, going to 2012, I didn’t have that much experience racing for a major podium. Where now, I have a few years under my belt, I have been able to get some podium finishes. I have been in the mix for medals at races. That is the biggest difference- that I have a little more experience with being a medal contender.

How is training different because you know you can now be a medal contender?
It’s all mental. My training going into 2012 really isn’t different, in the big scheme. For my training going into 2016, so much of it is visual representation, so it’s intense as you train. It’s not simply just going out there and doing the training, it’s going out there with a specific purpose. For me, that’s obviously to race to my best abilities. There are times where I’m doing a specific track session and I imagine the finish and being in the medal mix. Hopefully putting myself through series of those mental dress rehearsals over the last few years, allows me to be more prepared for the race in August.

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How do make sure you are holding onto that confidence when you don’t have a bunch of races and podium finishes leading up to support it?   
The confidence comes from the training, the preparation. One of the good things about being a more experienced athlete is that you know that the results don’t necessarily reflect your abilities. I have gone about my training a different way to be able to peak for August. Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves the long term perspective instead of getting caught up in what my last results were.

How does the Olympics in London differ from the Olympics in Rio?
It was harder to make the Olympic team this time around for the women and men. USAT has done a really good job with the college recruitment program, identifying talent on the women’s side and cultivating talents. Both Gwen and Katie are products of that program, quite a few of the other up-and-coming athletes have been identified and are brought up through this program. So I only expect this is going to continue to happen. It’s really exciting to be apart of a women’s Olympic team that is so strong. We push each other to succeed and I know that I had to find something special last year in order to qualify because I knew how strong the other women were. Having that level of performance, I suspect that we are going to continue to see really good results.

 

 

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Greg Billington https://university.trisports.com/2016/07/28/qa-with-greg-billington-rio-olympian/ Thu, 28 Jul 2016 20:37:52 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=7267 Written by Stefanie Peterson TriSports.com had the opportunity to talk with Greg Billington, the 28-year-old Spokane, Washington native, about his preparation for the Olympics. The first-time Olympian has been training with Joe Maloy, both coached under the watchful eye of Paulo Sousa. How are you getting prepped for Rio? The training for Rio is no […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson
Greg Billington
TriSports.com had the opportunity to talk with Greg Billington, the 28-year-old Spokane, Washington native, about his preparation for the Olympics. The first-time Olympian has been training with Joe Maloy, both coached under the watchful eye of Paulo Sousa.

How are you getting prepped for Rio?
The training for Rio is no different from how we prepare for any other race. Every day Paulo Sousa expects me to bring my best to training and that’s the same if I’m training for a continental cup or the Olympic Games. The course in Rio will present unique challenges, so we’ll alter our training to prepare for the heat and the hills. I’ve been working with a sports psychologist for a few years, and I’ll continue working with her as Rio gets closer. The most important things will be to stay relaxed and focused on executing my own race.

What has been the single best piece of training advice throughout your triathlon career to help you get where you are today?
As we grow as athletes, we’ll always face new challenges and many of the practices which make us successful early on aren’t going to be the ones that makes us successful as we progress. The best advice I’ve received is to fully commit to the decisions I make each day. Fully committing leaves no room for doubt, allowing you to stay utterly in the moment during racing and training. That has allowed me to develop as an athlete and person in order to arrive in Rio as the best possible version of myself.
Triathlon Bike Transition

At Rio, what are you most looking forward to?
I’ve wanted to become an Olympian since I won the 50m fly at my under 9 county championships back in 1998, so the only thing on my mind is representing the USA at the most important sporting event in the world.

Are you going to be employing any new race tactics?
While we have our plans going into every race, it’s vital to be adaptable. There are a thousand ways the race in Rio could play out, but I know that the swim will be all out from the beginning and that there will be a lot of people who want to ride extremely hard to break up the field. I’ll be sticking to the same plan I always employ – red line from the beginning and hang on until I cross the finish or die, whichever comes first.

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Do you have any favorite training gear?
We do a lot of work with floating fins in the pool as well as with a variety of paddles. Probably my least favorite tools are ankle bands and parachutes. They’re extremely effective at improving my swim, though, so I guess I like them conceptually, even if they’re absolutely miserable in practice. 

What’s the hardest training session you’ve logged to date?
At the triathlon squad, it’s less that we do individually hard workouts than we consistently do very hard days. It’s all about keeping the pressure on and making sure that we stay on top of our recovery so that we can perform every day. We’ll do 10-12 x 1k repeats on the track as well as a couple k’s of threshold work in the pool, but the biggest challenge is making sure that immediately afterwards I’m always eating within 30 minutes and doing the foam rolling and strength exercises so that I don’t break down from the heavy load.

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Katie Zaferes https://university.trisports.com/2016/07/22/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-katie-zaferes/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 21:00:10 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=7229 Written by Stefanie Peterson Coming off a big win at the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg, Katie Zaferes has a first place finish under her belt in the last race before Rio; not a bad way to begin one’s first Olympic Games. As Zaferes said herself, “To say I am stoked would be an understatement; I […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson
Katie Zaferes Bike Transition

Coming off a big win at the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg, Katie Zaferes has a first place finish under her belt in the last race before Rio; not a bad way to begin one’s first Olympic Games. As Zaferes said herself, “To say I am stoked would be an understatement; I am so excited to capture my first WTS win at WTS Hamburg. What an incredible atmosphere!” With a slower start in the beginning of her season, Zaferes contributed it to overcomplicating things; she made the decision to simplify her game. Her strategy in Hamburg? “I just decided to keep it simple… go as hard as I can in the swim, bike, and run. That’s what I did, and I believed in myself.” Zaferes’ simple race approach and increase in self-confidence will serve the first-time U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team member well going into Rio.

What has been the single best piece of training advice throughout your triathlon career to help you get where you are today?
The single best piece of training advice is to focus on the process and not so much about the end results. By doing that, the results will come.

At Rio, what are you most looking forward to?
Being an Olympian and being surrounded by an atmosphere that is full of greatness and pride.
Katie Zaferes Finish Line

What are you doing to prepare for the Olympics both mentally and physically?
To prepare for the Olympics, I’m just focusing on the process. Really making sure that I zone in on my weaknesses and just prepare myself fully by doing course-specific training. However, besides that, much of what I am doing to prepare is the same as what I do for every other race.

Do you have any favorite training gear or tools?
My go to shoes are my HOKA Cliftons that make me feel like I’m always running on clouds. I also love my ROKA apparel for all three sports. My favorites for swimming are the F1 goggles and the MaverickX wetsuit, the cycling kits are amazing, and I have been loving the new run apparel!

What’s the hardest training session you’ve logged to date?
I would say yesterday’s bike session. It’s not ever about how hard a session is, it’s about the state you’re in while doing the session. For me, the hardest sessions are the ones where I’m dead-tired physically and emotionally. Yesterday was one of those days and we had four loops of a hill circuit with 30 seconds fast/30 seconds strong for about 35 minutes.
Katie Zaferes on the Run

Are you going to be employing any new race tactics?
I’m sticking with what is tried and true. I’m going to race like me, and race how I know I am capable of racing. This race is no different than any other race, I don’t have to do anything fancy… I just have to give it all I’ve got.

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Preparing for Rio: Q&A with Ben Kanute, First-time Olympian https://university.trisports.com/2016/07/15/preparing-for-rio-qa-with-ben-kanute-first-time-olympian/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 19:40:39 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=7173 Written by Stefanie Peterson Ben Kanute is no stranger to hard work. Growing up in a family of triathletes will make one accustomed to weekends of training and racing. Both of Ben’s parents competed in ultra-distance triathlons and his siblings participated in junior triathlons. Choosing the prestigious college prep and military high school, Marmion Academy, […]]]>

Written by Stefanie Peterson Ben Kanute
Ben Kanute is no stranger to hard work. Growing up in a family of triathletes will make one accustomed to weekends of training and racing. Both of Ben’s parents competed in ultra-distance triathlons and his siblings participated in junior triathlons. Choosing the prestigious college prep and military high school, Marmion Academy, was one of the many decisions Kanute would make that would ultimately lead him to his road to Rio. Although his disposition is humble and unassuming, you can sense the overwhelming ambition lurking just below his composed demeanor. On his way to his first Olympics and competing as one of the youngest athletes in the field, Kanute will continue to be a rising star in the sport.

What are you doing to prepare for the Olympics both mentally and physically?
I’m just trying to do the same thing that got me here, doing the same types of workouts. I work with a sports psychologist and I guess all the confidence comes from doing consistent hard work. We are not making any huge changes because I qualified in May and the games are in August, so it’s not a whole lot of time to go out and try anything new, so I’m sticking with what works.

What has been the single best piece of training advice throughout your triathlon career to help you get where you are today?
There is so much; it’s an accumulation of all the different advice, but probably the best is consistency. It’s just being able to consistently put in the hard work. Back when I was a junior on the team, you would always look forward to training camps, where you put in this big block of work. That is all good and fun and some people still do that, but you want to able to consistently put in good hard work over a period of time. That’s what makes you better. It’s just like racing; you want to be able to consistently put up results again and again, instead of being up and down.

How has this season been overall in regards to any injuries or burn out?
This season has been great. I feel like I have been the most consistent than I have been in a long time. Last year, I struggled a little bit with consistency. I was living in Santa Fe at the time and for me it was like being at one big training camp. So it was a little too much triathlon all the time, so I decided to come back to Tucson, Arizona. I just found that this has the best balance for me.

At Rio, what are you most looking forward to?
I think the entire experience; I just want to soak in everything. I got to go down there last year for the test event to see the course and race on it. That was one of those races where nothing went well for me. It’s my first Olympic Games; I want to soak in the city, the atmosphere. It’s such a huge stage; I want to make sure I make the most of it.

Are you going to be employing any new race tactics or are you sticking to what has been tried and true?
It’s the Olympics, so I mean if anything strange happens there like a break out performance, it might as well happen there. But my racing has pretty much always been the same thing, to go hard on the swim, bike, and then try to follow it up with a great run. I mean a hard race suits me the best, that’s what I’m hoping for, and that’s what I’m expecting for sure.

Ben Kanute on the swim

Do you have any favorite training swim gear or tools that you like to use?
I keep it really simple. I have paddles that I love to use, I love to mix it up with the pull buoy, but I’m not a huge fan of kicking- so I use the kick board pretty sparsely. Recently, I have been training with the Ford Aquatics team and they do a lot of kicking, so I have been using it a little bit more. In the past, when I was growing up, we used everything from paddles to snorkels and fins. I have even trained kicking with tennis shoes on in the pool.

What’s the hardest training session you’ve logged to date?
One of the hardest training sessions is the Micro Burst Set. You can do this running or riding, where you’re going 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off for a period of 10 to 15 minutes, but for those 40 seconds it’s all out, like 100 percent go. That one is always one that I know it’s going to hurt really badly.

Which of the three disciplines is your favorite?
This is always a hard question. I like all of them, that is why I do triathlons because it switches up and keeps me interested. I bounce from one to the other on which one I enjoy doing more. Traditionally, my strengths have been the swim and the bike, but I feel like my run is coming along and becoming just as good as the others. I feel like I’m becoming better all around.

How do you get motivated when you’re feeling unmotivated?
At that point, if I’m not prepared to go out and get it, it’s still my job. It’s the same reason why everyone else has to get out of bed and go to their job that they may or may not like. I may not love triathlon every minute, but you have to put in the work. I’m working towards a goal. I reached my first goal of going to the Olympics. Now the next is to compete well in the Olympics. So I have that going for me right now for the next month or so leading up. The goals have always have kept me going, between those and just trying to be as fit as I can possibly be for each race.
Ben Kanute Swim Transition

How does nutrition influence your success?
I watch what I eat pretty closely. It’s a lot of fruits and vegetables, making sure I get enough protein. I don’t really take any supplements or anything like that. I’m trying to get everything from what I eat. I usually monitor my blood panel levels when I’m at really high altitude, if I’m really lacking in nutrition I take supplements then, but usually it’s through a healthy diet. But I still think everything in moderation, like grab a beer with my friend or a cookie once in a while.

After the Olympics, what’s next?
For long term goals, I think Tokyo 2020. I feel like I’m young and have quite a bit more to improve on, so I’d like to stick around with the ITU stuff for a little bit longer. But I would also like to try my hand at some 70.3 races. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but it’s a post-Olympics year, so I’m going to try different or new things out.

Do you have any secret talents?
Not necessarily, but I can juggle. I can casually juggle; I guess you could say I’m a casual juggler.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I don’t know if I have any specific rituals, but usually the night before races I watch some really bad made for TV movies. Growing up, if I was traveling with my dad we would always look for really bad movies to watch to brighten up the situation.

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Pro Insider: What’s in Pro Lisa Roberts’ Transition Bag? https://university.trisports.com/2016/04/14/pro-insider-whats-in-pro-lisa-roberts-transition-bag/ Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:13:07 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8162 Here’s what Lisa is packing in her transition bag: Blueseventy Swim Skin Blueseventy Element Goggles Shimano Tri Shoes Skratch Labs Fruit Drops First Endurance Efs Liguid Shot Gel Kask Bambino Pro Helmet and Kask Bambio Pro Visor Saucony Type A Shoes Bolle Sunglasses Trisports Visor Skins Compression Socks Learn more about Lisa Roberts at: lisajroberts.com.  ]]>

Here’s what Lisa is packing in her transition bag:

Learn more about Lisa Roberts at: lisajroberts.com.

 

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Pro Insider: What’s in Pro Matt Hanson’s Transition Bag? https://university.trisports.com/2016/03/25/pro-insider-whats-in-pro-matt-hansons-transition-bag/ Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:42:09 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6845 Ever wonder what professional triathletes consider the racing necessities? Our Pro Insider talks with Matt Hanson, Professional Triathlete and Coach, as he prepares for IM 70.3 California. Hanson shares what he is packing for Oceanside. Here is what’s in Hanson’s transition bag: Transition Bag: Ogio Endurance 9.0 Huub Archimedes II Wetsuit Aphotic goggles Magnolia master’s […]]]>

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Ever wonder what professional triathletes consider the racing necessities? Our Pro Insider talks with Matt Hanson, Professional Triathlete and Coach, as he prepares for IM 70.3 California. Hanson shares what he is packing for Oceanside.

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Here is what’s in Hanson’s transition bag:

Learn more about Matt Hanson Coaching.

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The Great Balancing Act https://university.trisports.com/2016/03/14/the-great-balancing-act/ Mon, 14 Mar 2016 19:03:07 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6836 Written by Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete Our lives are full of tasks, day in, day out.  And that triathlon you signed up for isn’t going to train for itself.  While you think you may be at a disadvantage because of your jam-packed lifestyle, it’s actually good to have other commitments and interests outside of triathlon […]]]>

Written by Lisa Roberts, Professional Triathlete

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Our lives are full of tasks, day in, day out.  And that triathlon you signed up for isn’t going to train for itself.  While you think you may be at a disadvantage because of your jam-packed lifestyle, it’s actually good to have other commitments and interests outside of triathlon – and you CAN prepare well for a race while succeeding in life. You just have to strike the right balance.

Yes, it’s GOOD to have commitments besides triathlon. On one hand, it gives you a break from work and on the other it stops you from over-training.

What would I do with spare time on my hands? Probably ride my bike for an extra hour (because it’s gorgeous outside!), or do another run (because I’m feeling great!), or hang out by the pool (to even out my tan lines because I just rode for an extra hour!).

So, just how do we accomplish ALL those things we’re committed to AND do them well?

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Stick to a schedule
Create a realistic schedule: use it, update it, live by it. The key to it all. Otherwise, how will you know where you’re going and how to get there?  I just finished writing down everything I currently know is coming up in 2016. I put it all in there – work schedule, races, games, family, school, meetings, conferences, travel, birthdays, volunteer time, home projects, deadlines, and so on. Don’t forget to schedule chill time and social time, you know, “real person” time.

As you fill up this big calendar take a good look at it.  Eliminate what isn’t necessary.  Organize and combine what you can. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea how much time is REALISTICALLY available for training. The operative word here is REALISTIC.

Create a training plan that fits within your schedule to reach your particular goal. Don’t compare this plan to others. Your life, your goals, and schedule are different. Do this well and you won’t fool yourself into thinking you have more availability and then beat yourself up for not getting things done.

I am the queen of honestly thinking I can accomplish a four-hour bike ride in a two-hour time frame. Needless to say, I have ended more than one day in a foul mood because I over-scheduled myself and couldn’t fit it all in.

Be consistent and maintain quality
No training plan will be effective unless you are consistent, so plan for it. Organize longer training sessions on days you have more time available. Get up early to get a workout in (if that’s what it takes) then you’re there for family when they get up. Plan ahead, organize your gear the night before, and make sure you’ve allowed enough time for prep, setup, and driving to your session.

Lisa Roberts

Do everything with purpose
Smart training is always better than more training. You have scheduled designated times to train; you don’t have the luxury to drag your feet. Get up, show up, get it done, and get on with it!

Prioritize, don’t multitask
Be in the moment and be PRESENT.  Multi-tasking ends up taking you more time to finish a task and doing so will makes you constantly feel unfocused and stressed. If you’re always stressed you won’t have the time or brain power to be able to step back and look at the bigger picture when you need to.

You can’t do it all
Understand, know, and admit that you can’t do it all. Ask for help when you need it.  We all need help at times.  Then return the favor when you can.

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Stress is stress
Remember that work, family, school stress and training stress are treated exactly the same by your mind and body. Therefore, avoid having important deadlines, commitments, and a huge training load at the same time if you can. Quality will suffer and you’ll be more likely to get injured or sick trying to cram it all in.

Take a break
These should be part of your schedule if you can’t seem to do it on your own. Am I good at doing this regularly? Nope. But I’m better than I was a few years ago.

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Social time is important…don’t skip it
Chances are many of your friends, family, loved ones are sacrificing for you while you pursue your racing dream, so show up if you said you’d be somewhere.

I have to actively practice and remind myself of these tips every day.  I apply them not only to the bigger picture of the year or racing season, but also to the upcoming week, this day or even to this hour! But I know when I do these I am calmer, more focused, more prepared and ready to go hard on race day!

About the Author: Lisa has been an athlete all her life. Now a common sight on the triathlon, cycling and running podium at competitions, she is culminating years of hard work and dedication and turning it into results. This leaves only the sky as her limit with the goal of winning a World Championship title and qualifying for the Olympic marathon. Learn more about Lisa Roberts at lisajroberts.com and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.ribes, Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisarobertstri, and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisarobertstri/.

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Head Games https://university.trisports.com/2013/10/14/head-games/ Mon, 14 Oct 2013 22:09:59 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8628 This blog brought to you by former Team TriSports athlete Nicole Ramsbey. Check out her blog at www.nicoleramsbey.com and follow her on Twitter – nicoleramsbey.

I raced a sprint tri the other weekend and was not in peak form to say the least.  I managed to perform, and perform not too badly, which led me to thinking about a few things.  One of the things I started thinking about was how much of triathlon is physical fitness and how much is mental fitness? At this point in the season when you may be approaching your ‘A’ race, now’s the time to figure it out.

Finished, and Done

I guess my first thought was, how many people, when they reach a tough moment, give in to the negative Nancy talk?  I hit many negative points throughout racing, but rarely do I “give in” to those thoughts.  Say you are coming up on a big hill during a sprint tri, you’re maxing out your heart rate and you get halfway up…what’s the first thing that you typically hear in your head?   Is it, “I can’t do this anymore, I have to walk”?  If that’s a typical thought process for you, how do you respond to it?

If you respond by giving up the race in your mind and walking, then I’d have to say your mental toughness might need a swift kick in the @**.  I may get this thought once in a while, but I immediately counter it with a positive thought.  During the sprint tri, I had my own mental battle, but I won.  Every time a negative thought comes to mind, I always attempt to counter it with a positive.  Last weekend when I hit the hill, I had to remind myself that I can do anything for a mile.  My responses are almost automatic now, and if yours aren’t they will get to be that way if you continually work at it.

I’d say mental toughness is at least half of triathlon…if you can’t handle the mental stuff then the fitness won’t matter.  Even though you may not be physically fit, if you are mentally fit going into a race, you can still do well.   Imagine the day that you are physically AND mentally fit…you can OWN that day like no other.  Don’t short change yourself, and remember it’s not always about how many miles you’ve logged.

Race with a Smile

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Fight the Sun https://university.trisports.com/2013/06/04/fight-the-sun/ Tue, 04 Jun 2013 23:12:00 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8650 This article on sun safety tips was written by one of our wonderful TriSports Champions,
Elizabeth McCourt.

When I did the Florida 70.3 last year I knew it was going to be hot…really hot. I knew I had the possibility of getting cooked like an egg on the run, so I tried to prepare. I bought white arm coolers that would not only protect my arms from the sun, but add water and “voila!” my own personal air conditioning. I threw water on them and used what I like to call the Torbjørn Sindballe method of cooling (putting ice in your hands and in the sleeves). In addition to the coverage, I lathered myself up with some waterproof sunscreen early in the morning so that it would dry and my numbers wouldn’t smudge (If you try to put it on after body marking it can be a smeared mess!).   At the end of the race I ended up buying a white long sleeve top to get the sun off me as I waited for my friend to finish the run.

As triathletes, we spend a lot of time out in the sun, training and racing.  When World Champion Leanda Cave gets a diagnosis of skin cancer, it’s a wake-up call for all of us. A triathlete friend of mine also got diagnosed with skin cancer last year and I was shocked to learn that she didn’t wear sunscreen. She felt there were too many chemicals in them but she hadn’t researched any alternatives.   Since you absorb what’s put on your skin, you do have to consider the ingredients and if you can, a mineral based sunscreen is a better option, especially on your face where your skin is particularly tender.  I also use something mild on my face so it doesn’t sting my eyes when I sweat, in addition to a visor. It’s a year round ritual, rain or shine.

I’m always going to love being out in the sun in the summertime and in my travels, but the reality is that the sun is strong and damaging. Since we’re not going to avoid being in the sun here are some things to do/remember:

  1. Wear sunscreen and reapply when you can.
  2. Wear a hat or visor.  If you have hair, you’ll protect it. If you’re bald, protect your scalp!
  3. Go to the dermatologist once a year and monitor any moles or freckles that change or darken.
  4. Wear arm coolers for protecting against the sun as well as cooling your body.
  5. Bring a long sleeve top for after racing to get the sun off your skin.
  6. Know that you can get very burned in the swim, depending on the distance, and prepare accordingly (the 10k swim in Bermuda can leave you crispy, as can Kona!)
  7. Remember, white deflects the sun and black absorbs it, so choose your race kit with that in mind.
  8. You can still get a tan even wearing SPF 30!
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