Training Tool Reviews – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com The place to learn about triathlon. Thu, 08 Feb 2018 19:09:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 https://university.trisports.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-tsu-button-32x32.png Training Tool Reviews – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com 32 32 The Time Crunched Cyclist, Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week https://university.trisports.com/2017/07/28/the-time-crunched-cyclist-race-winning-fitness-in-6-hours-a-week/ Fri, 28 Jul 2017 22:55:54 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8552 When the folks at TriSports University asked me to review The Time Crunched Cyclist, I thought, “Sure thing. I’ve read some of Chris Carmichael’s other books and trained using his Carmichael Training System (CTS) DVDs. Plus I’m retired—I have all kinds of time.” Carmichael says it himself early in the book: inasmuch as we’re all […]]]>
The Time-Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg

When the folks at TriSports University asked me to review The Time Crunched Cyclist, I thought, “Sure thing. I’ve read some of Chris Carmichael’s other books and trained using his Carmichael Training System (CTS) DVDs. Plus I’m retired—I have all kinds of time.” Carmichael says it himself early in the book: inasmuch as we’re all time-crunched in our daily lives and need to make the most of our training, who has time to read a 430-page book about it?

The Audience
The audience for The Time Crunched Cyclist is primarily amateur road racing cyclists who want to improve their performance and results in criteriums and road races but have full-time jobs—and possibly families—that leave little time for training. As a road racer and sprint duathlete, the book offers several workouts to help me get faster. The book offers separate chapters with training programs for various kinds of cycling, including: criterium, road race, and cyclocross; century and gran fondos; gravel and ultraendurance mountain bike racing; and even a plan for making commuters “race ready.”

High-Intensity Training Model
Carmichael and co-author Jim Rutberg cite several research studies that point to the benefits of a high-intensity training model vs. the classic endurance-training model. Pro cyclists have traditionally use the latter—high volume and low intensity in the fall and winter, gradually adding intensity as the racing season progresses. The former model, which Carmichael and Rutberg define in the book as the Time-Crunched Training Program (TCTP), has been shown to get results quickly, but not easily. It is definitely intense.

Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of high-intensity training is its ability to improve mitochondrial density. In describing the human aerobic engine, the authors write:

The rock stars of the aerobic system are little things called mitochondria. These organelles are a muscle cell’s power plants: Fuel and oxygen go in, and energy comes out. For an endurance athlete, the primary goal of training is to increase the amount of oxygen your body can absorb, deliver, and process. One of the biggest keys to building this oxygen-producing capacity is increasing mitochondrial density, or the size and number of mitochondria in muscle cells. As you ride, more and bigger power plants running at full capacity give you the ability to produce more energy aerobically every minute.

Carmichael and Rutberg share research on how high-intensity training results in the development of mitochondria, which can deliver more energy to the muscles. In other words, riding all day at 14 miles per hour isn’t going to help make you faster. A 60-to-90-minute workout that includes high-intensity intervals, however, can make you faster.

The science behind the TCTP is based on our relatively recent ability to reliably measure power output. If you’re going to use this book as a cycling training guide, it is highly recommended that you equip your bike with a power meter. The authors point out that it was the use of power data that led to one of the most important trends in training today: the ability to know when you need to rest and recover. Carmichael and Rutberg emphasize the value of recovery in any training program.

Fuel & Hydration
The book offers some excellent tips on weight management, nutrition and hydration, and heat-stress management. The recipes they offer are hit-and-miss (they’ve published two separate books about food and diet), but they offer extensive research data on fuel and hydration. Notably, they recommend you get your calories from your food—not in your drinks.

Powered by Strava
Something added to this edition of the book is the tagline Powered by Strava. Mark Gainer, co-founder and CEO of Strava, writes in the book’s foreword about how the precepts of the TCTP helped him achieve his goal of competing in the Leadville 100 bike race. The book offers suggestions on how to use Strava’s analysis tools to gauge your progress and while they recognize that other applications like TrainingPeaks offer more robust tools for analysis, they think that Strava’s interface and tools are “far more accessible to the average time-crunched athlete and provide the essential information you need.” They discuss at length how to use Strava’s tools like Effort Comparison, Power Curve and Fitness and Freshness, which they describe as one of the most useful and valuable tools available for Strava Premium account users.

Retail Manager Jason Whittaker enjoying his lunch break read.

Getting Started
In order to begin the program, you will need to perform the CTS Field Test to establish a benchmark for your fitness. The field test consists of two eight-minute all-out time trials separated by ten minutes of easy recovery. Trust me: if you don’t like the idea of submitting yourself to that kind of punishment, you won’t like the TCTP program. As I wrote earlier, it is intense. The program suggests two main types of workouts: lactate threshold intervals and VO2 max intervals. They will hurt; and they will make you a faster cyclist.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com
About the Author: Don Davidson is a TriSports.com Ambassador Team Member and duathlete. Don resides in California, but recently retired, which means he is able to travel more to enjoy time with his grandkids and family. 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: Flaer Revo Via https://university.trisports.com/2017/07/26/product-review-flaer-revo-via/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:52:33 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8528 Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to triathlon. When you are racing anywhere from 5 hours for a Half-iron distance race to upwards of 14 hours for full-iron distance race, you know you want to save as much energy as possible. One of the best ways to sap energy on the […]]]>

Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to triathlon. When you are racing anywhere from 5 hours for a Half-iron distance race to upwards of 14 hours for full-iron distance race, you know you want to save as much energy as possible. One of the best ways to sap energy on the bike leg of a triathlon is to have a dirty, dry drivetrain. One company created a solution to that problem in a very unique way.

Most lubricants on the market are targeted at a certain environment or time frame for their optimal performance, but all of them will eventually wear off. That is the one thing that is true of all lubricants no matter how high tech. Even the special CeramicSpeed UFO chains have a specific performance life span. Flaér went about attacking that problem from a totally different perspective.

About Flaér
UK based Flaér Cycling originally launched their revolutionary product, then called the Scottoiler, on Kickstarter to catch the attention of the cycling world. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the company rebranded as Flaér Cycling and renamed their product the Revo Via. Since then they have expanded into a variety of bike cleaning products to take care of all your maintenance needs.

What is Revo Via
The Revo Via is a continuous chain lubrication system. It consists of three main parts: the pump, the tubing, and the applicator. The pump holds the fluid and dispenses a small amount of lubricant through the tubing to the applicator which is attached to the rear derailleur. It is programmable so that it dispenses fluid every 30, 90, or 120 seconds which in turn keeps your chain clean and lubricated throughout your ride. As stated before, this helps keep things running smoothly no matter what the weather or how long the ride.

Real World Use
This is all good in theory, but what. What you and I both want to know is how does that actually work in the real world. Thankfully, I’ve been able to have this new gadget in my hands for a few months to run it through its paces.

Installation
I won’t go into detail with the installation process because Flaér has done an excellent job with their walk through videos and instructions for installing the Revo Via. Just go watch them. I will say that they note you should set aside about an hour to do the installation and I found that to be spot on. I am not a novice when it comes to bike maintenance, but I’m not an expert either. I found an hour distraction free to be just about right to get everything up and running.

The biggest headache in all of it is deciding where to mount the pump. They tell you the best place is on the down tube or seat tube as low as you can get it. My bike did not allow that with the way its geometry is, so I settled with mounting it to my one and only bottle cage mount. Flaér sells Bottle Cage Extender for mounting the Revo Via below a cage without giving up the use of a bottle cage. I really would have preferred that but again, my frame would not accommodate that. Thankfully Flaer listed many options all detailed in the instructions and I am sure you will find one that works for you.

Every Day Use
Once you get the system set up and primed per the instructions, it is simply a matter of turning it on and off and adjusting the dispensing intervals for the weather. The special fluid the Revo Via uses (conveniently called Via Fluid) is not your normal chain lube. It is a special formula that is easy to clean off. It keeps gunk from building up in your chain and since longevity is not a concern with the continual application of new fluid, it is nice to be able to just spray it off at the end of a ride and call it good.

There is also an auto off feature that keeps you from accidentally letting the system run until it is empty. I must admit, I took full advantage of that feature one time and was glad I did. Instead of running all night, it only ran for two hours and when I got back to my bike the next morning I found only a small puddle of fluid under my rear wheel and not the whole reservoir emptied on the floor.

Another great feature is the “Boost” you can send to your chain. If you notice it is getting on the dry side, or you ride through a large puddle, you can hold the power button to send a 60 second continuous stream of fluid to your chain while you are riding. I never took advantage of this feature, but I can see where some racers could find that useful, especially off-roading or riding in less than ideal conditions.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations
At the end of the day, there is an understanding that a product like this has a select audience. Obviously a crit racer would not find this useful for their road races lasting an hour or less. On the other hand, a triathlete racing a full or half iron distance race can understand that the efficiency gains of a system like the Revo Via could save them precious watts and have their legs more fresh for the run. Those riding in wet or dirty environments such as off-road riders may also reap the efficiency benefits.

The question always come to “how much benefit?” Flaér claims up to 12 watts. I can’t confirm that, but I can say that I did notice my drivetrain was cleaner and quieter over the long haul, almost as if I cleaned and lubed it fresh every day.

“But, Aerodynamics!” some might say. The system is so well integrated that I don’t see that being much of an issue. The biggest aerodynamic penalty would come from the pump, and it is smaller and more sleek than a simply bottle and cage. I don’t see that being an issue, especially with the efficiency gain at the drivetrain.

If you are going long or off-roading, check out the Revo Via. It might just save your legs that little bit over your competitor, and it won’t break the bank either!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com
About the Author: Nate is a husband, father, triathlete, and teacher. Nate likes to help others learn from his triathlon mistakes and successes, aiming to encourage athletes new to triathlon. When he’s not hanging out with teenagers, he can be found swimming, biking, and running around central North Carolina, blogging, or on twitter @n8deck.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: Zone3 Buoyancy Shorts https://university.trisports.com/2017/06/26/product-review-zone3-elite-buoyancy-shorts/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:34:27 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8359 Written by Sarah Piampiano, 2x Ironman Champion Over the last few weeks I tested out Zone3’s Buoyancy Shorts. It was perfect timing for me, as I had been preparing for Ironman Cairns on June 11th, which was a wetsuit swim. When preparing for a wetsuit-legal swim, one of the best training uses of the buoyancy […]]]>

Written by Sarah Piampiano, 2x Ironman Champion

Over the last few weeks I tested out Zone3’s Buoyancy Shorts. It was perfect timing for me, as I had been preparing for Ironman Cairns on June 11th, which was a wetsuit swim. When preparing for a wetsuit-legal swim, one of the best training uses of the buoyancy short is to mimic body position in the water and create more stroke efficiency in a wetsuit-swim scenario.

Comfort and Construction
When I first put the shorts on, the first thing I noticed was the neoprene was more pliable and the shorts were less stiff than others I have used. It gave me a more consistent feel in terms of buoyancy and overall movement in the water relative to wearing a full wetsuit. I also appreciated having the drawstring to be able to tighten the shorts as needed and create a comfortable and snug fit.

Function and Performance
Once swimming, I felt as though the shorts gave me the ideal amount of “lift” in the water that was, again, consistent with how I feel wearing a full wetsuit. With pull buoys, sometimes you have too much or too little lift relative to a wetsuit. Pull buoys don’t necessarily provide the optimal set-up for body position imitation. For me, this allowed me to feel most confident that the using the buoyancy shorts as a training tool would carry over to benefit my stroke directly in a race-setting.

Adding to the Training Arsenal
The buoyancy shorts are extremely beneficial as a training tool and a great replacement to the pull buoy. Because of the quality of neoprene used, it also allowed for a more natural feeling to swimming in a full wetsuit.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Professional Triathlete Sarah Piampiano has accumulated four 70.3 wins, two Ironman victories, and 16 podium performances, plus a 7th place finish at the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Championships. With a solid collegiate career in cross-country and downhill skiing, Piampiano discovered triathlon after college over a bar-bet and without much knowledge of what a triathlon even entailed. Visit Sarah’s website to learn more.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach https://university.trisports.com/2017/06/02/product-review-shft-intelligent-virtual-running-coach-2/ Fri, 02 Jun 2017 23:05:14 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8324 Written by Keri Ouellette, Field Test Expert and TriSports Ambassador Athlete  SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach is the latest in running technology, using wearable pods to capture data on running form. The goal of the Danish company, founded in 2014 (under the name Learn2run) is to create the most intelligent virtual running coach to improve running […]]]>

Written by Keri Ouellette, Field Test Expert and TriSports Ambassador Athlete 

SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach is the latest in running technology, using wearable pods to capture data on running form. The goal of the Danish company, founded in 2014 (under the name Learn2run) is to create the most intelligent virtual running coach to improve running technique and efficiency. The first prototype was developed in 2014, and after much collaboration with elite runners, doctors, scientists and the Swedish design studio, Howl, the current SHFT product launched in November 2015.

The SHFT is designed to capture a variety of running metrics to provide real time feedback on running form as a virtual coach based on the data collected through the pods. The SHFT running tracker consists of two small triangular pods, one to attach to your shoe and one to be worn on the chest. These pods capture data as your running which is sent to your phone and feedback is provided through your headphones via the SHFT app.

Easy to Use
I’ll begin this review with the disclaimer that I’m not much of a technology buff, having just purchased my first GPS running watch less than a year ago. That being said, the pods are very easy to use and the whole setup took only a few minutes– the time it took to download the SHFT app. Once the app is installed, you’re ready to start running. The pods have a simple design and easily clip onto the side of any running shoe. I’m not sure how exact the positioning of the pods must be, but the data seemed to be on target when I tested it. To charge the pods, they clip onto a strip with a USB connection. To use the product you need to carry your phone while you run. To start, SHFT requires the user to manually start, stop, and pause the run through the app.

Measure your Metrics
SHFT provides data on more aspects of running biomechanics than I could have ever imagined. In addition to the usual speed, distance, pace, cadence information, the pods also track things like body angle, body bounce, landing and toe-off angle, step length, watts and brake effect. Many of these metrics are not easy to interpret and compare through a video analysis, so having numbers to compare over time allows for a better evaluation of running technique and improvement. It is a lot of information to absorb, especially since you may not have any baseline to understand what the numbers mean for many of these metrics, but once you do a few runs, you can compare your personal data over time. It’s useful to see how each of these metrics changes within one workout. The app provides a simple explanation of what each metric. It would be nice to also have an explanation of how each metric affects running efficiency or potential for injury. Additional information on the website or app would be helpful about how to read the data and what it means. The Run with Power book dives deeper into these metrics to help you better understand running with power.

The Virtual Coach
Beyond the data collection, the other aspect of the SHFT is it provides coaching (as the name implies). The idea of real time feedback on running form seemed useful, however, the SHFT coach is not as flexible as I would have liked. The coach selects the component of running form that she would like you to focus on and provides feedback for only that metric during that particular workout. I’m not sure if selection of metrics is standard or not, but the ability to make adjustments to the coach’s workouts would be nice (admittedly, this criticism reflects of my own preference for self-coaching). Despite that, I found that getting feedback while running helped me really focus on my form and increase awareness of changes to my running form when I slowed down or started to fatigue.

Run Analysis on the Cheap
Other than this type of pod technology, the only other way to obtain this detailed running analysis is in a professional running lab. SHFT provides an inexpensive way to capture running form metrics. You may have to do a bit of research to understand what the data means and what form adjustments need to be made if you’re unfamiliar with some of the metrics.

Overall: A Great DIY Option
Since running is the sport where athletes are least likely to consult a coach, a DIY option for getting this information is tremendously useful for anyone who wants to improve their running form and efficiency. Runners also tend to experience a lot of overuse injuries, as a result of, sometimes very minor, issues with running form. Understanding one’s own running mechanics could likely prevent many overuse injuries. Overall, the SHFT running coach is a great way to understand and improve your running form. The coaching aspect could improve on the customization ability, offering athlete’s a choice of which running component to practice. I hope that SHFT continues to improve on this exciting technology to continue to make advancements for a user-friendly product.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Keri Ouellette is a longtime runner and swimmer, as well as an age group triathlete for over six years. She recently moved to Portland, Maine, where she’s now training, racing, and trying out new winter sports. 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: Sable WaterOptics Swim Goggles https://university.trisports.com/2017/05/26/product-review-sable-goggles/ Fri, 26 May 2017 19:01:09 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8308 Written by Chris Hague, Coach at TriSwim Coach Goggles are a dime a dozen in the swim and triathlon community, and I have tried most of them from swim “masks” to minimalist Swedish goggles and everything in between. It is hard to get me excited about a new brand and have me break from my […]]]>

Written by Chris Hague, Coach at TriSwim Coach

Goggles are a dime a dozen in the swim and triathlon community, and I have tried most of them from swim “masks” to minimalist Swedish goggles and everything in between.

It is hard to get me excited about a new brand and have me break from my trusted pair that I have been using since college. That was until I tried Sable WaterOptics Swim Goggles, which was on Oprah’s (yes the talk show host) “O List” back in 2008…who knew she liked to swim?

According to their website, the company has been around primarily in Asia since 1998, but has become an international brand.

The company is actually named after a small amphibious mammal, the Sable marten species found in the forests of Northern Russia and Finland; it typically lives and burrows near riverbanks and has eyesight adapted to be perfect both above and below the water. It is this unique feature that the company gets their inspiration from and their products live up to the name.

They have a variety of models for different purposes:, Women’s 924, Mirrored and Tinted 101 Competition, and their newly released GX-100 Professional with polarized lenses specifically for triathletes.

The competition goggles, which have a split strap, come in mirrored and tinted lenses and thus are better suited for open water swims or intimidating your lane partners in the pool, while the 924 model come in clear and tinted lenses and a uni strap.

You don’t have to be competing or competitive to use the competition models and enjoy the mirrored lenses, but if you prefer clear lenses then the 924 is the one for you. It comes with the same high-suction gaskets that do not fog or leak.

All of their goggles also have Flatlens™ technology that eliminates the headache many swimmers get from curved lenses. Even if you do not need corrective lenses, the standard lenses give you near perfect vision BOTH in and out of the water making them ideal for sighting in open water swimming, marking your flip turns, or scoping out your competition several lanes over.

Whatever you do, do not touch the inside lenses. Like high-end sunglasses, you will scratch and damage them so handle with care.

I personally tried out the RS100, their competition model. They came in a handy reusable, hard case to protect them and more importantly the lenses from being scratched and lost at the bottom of my swim bag. While I did not need to use them, they also came with three different nose piece sizes. Aesthetically, with their blue mirrored lenses, they look like goggles you would see on the Olympics and give you that ice-cold, “get-out-of-my-lane,” pure focus look, which is personally my style.

Upon first trying them on, I immediately noticed two things: the clarity of my sight compared to my previous goggles, which always had fuzziness around the edges as if I was looking through soda bottles, and their snug fit. It was as if I was wearing regular sunglasses. My vision was so clear that I could see all the nasty little dirt particles lying at the bottom of my gym’s pool and knowing when to do a flip turn became more accurate and less guess work.

When I tested them out in open water, I could easily see for better or worse through the semi-murkiness of the water to the bottom of the lake. Not only were feet and bodies swimming around me recognizable, but also, when sighting, I could easily distinguish between objects on the shore line. Obviously, this makes open water swimming much less intimidating because I can orient myself better and not focus on whether that is a red swim cap or a red buoy but rather on what I should be doing: swimming.

The fit too was incredibly snug with no slipping when diving, no fogging up as I swam, and continual comfort throughout the swim. Personally, I did get “raccoon eyes”–markings around the eye sockets after the first few swims–but they usually went away after I showered. This usually happens to me regardless of goggles because of my deeper set eyes.

Am I convert from my old brand? Most definitely. While pricier than your standard goggles, these are the only goggles that you will need for both pool and open water swimming and will last you quite sometime. Especially if you wear glasses, Sable is for you.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Chris Hague swam competitively at the collegiate level and has competed in triathlons since 2007. Chris is juggling a full time triathlon career while pursuing a career in psychology and public health. Chris is an Assistant Coach at Tri Swim Coach, where he helps provides quality content, with the latest cutting edge information on triathlon swimming, as well as helping members get the most out of their swim. Visit Tri Swim Coach at http://triswimcoach.com.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
5 Essential Swimming Drills for Triathletes to Strengthen Your Core https://university.trisports.com/2017/05/02/5-essential-swimming-drills-for-triathletes-to-strengthen-your-core/ Tue, 02 May 2017 20:56:31 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8220 Written by Maciej Konczewski, Engineer, Swim Instructor, and TriSports Elite Team Member Having a strong core is extremely important not only for triathletes, but athletes in general. A strong core helps with stability, posture, and overall body control. Furthermore, having a strong core improves how your body functions as a whole. It will not only […]]]>

Written by Maciej Konczewski, Engineer, Swim Instructor, and TriSports Elite Team Member

Having a strong core is extremely important not only for triathletes, but athletes in general. A strong core helps with stability, posture, and overall body control. Furthermore, having a strong core improves how your body functions as a whole. It will not only positively affect your swimming performance, but also aid in your bike and run performance. So without further delay here are my ultimate, favorite swimming drills for building a strong core.

1. Butterfly/Dolphin Kicks
This is not necessarily a drill, but rather a fundamental skill for any swimmer. Any variation of butterfly kicking will take you on your way to building a stronger core. A great way to start with this drill is on your back with fins. It is much easier to keep a tighter core, and a fluid kick this way. Make sure to focus on thrusting your hips and using your body to engage the legs, not the other way around. Work on mastering the body movement and the undulation.

Once you have mastered this you can do various variations:

  1. Without fins on your stomach or back
  2. Kicking on your side
  3. Arms in front of you or on the side

2. Pull Buoy Progressions (thighs, knees, ankles)
This drill is rather simple, but very quickly gets difficult. It is essentially a progression of doing regular pulls with the pull bouy. You start off with the pull bouy between your thighs, and then move it down between your knees and eventually between your ankles. Here are key things to focus on:

  1. Keep your core tight. Do this by squeezing your thighs/legs together as if you were trying to pop a balloon. This will force you to flex your abs and core.
  2. Focus on reaching and stretching your stroke.
  3. Tip: the biggest give away you need to flex your core and squeeze your legs is if you are fish tailing (legs moving side to side).

Bonus: If the pull bouy is too easy, band your legs together with a resistance band.

3. Water Polo & Tarzan Drill
Water Polo swimming, also known as Tarzan Drill, is helpful in two regards. Not only does it help improve your sighting and swimming with your head out of the water, it also works your core and strengthens your neck muscles. This is an essential staple for open water swimmers and triathletes alike. Most of our time is spent training in indoor pools where not swimming in a straight line is extremely difficult, while swimming in the open water is a completely different story.

  1. For beginners, perform this drill in lengths of 25s. This prevents an overly sore neck.
  2. Swim with your head up and out of the water looking forward. Keep your head still.
  3. Arch your lower back to keep your lower half from sinking. This will engage your core. You will need to kick stronger than normal to keep your body balanced and feet from dragging.
  4. Shorten your stroke. It is choppier and quicker than normal.

For newbie tips on sighting in open water, read more here.

4. Extended Streamline off the Wall
This is a simple drill that simply requires you to hold your streamlines longer coming off the wall. It can even be incorporated in your regular sets.

  1. Each time you push off the wall focus on tucking your chin in and stretching your arms tight together behind you head.
  2. Keep your feet and legs flexed and tight throughout the streamline. Challenge yourself to go further each time.

5. Vertical Kicking
This is an extremely effective and simple drill. It requires a deep pool, preferably a diving well, but the deep end of most pools should suffice. This drill not only strengthens your core, but also helps to develop your kick. Start off in the deep end and begin your regular freestyle kick, however, perform it vertically. Try not to help yourself up by using your arms. If this is too difficult use fins.

This drill is good for swimmers of all levels and focuses on the following:

  1. Doing flutter kicks vertically engages your abdominals and allows you to get a feel for the proper motion. This isn’t as easy to achieve swimming horizontally because we often tend to relax our abdominals.
  2. It will smooth out your kick and force you to kick with even more power.
  3. Having a strong kick is what will separate you from the pack.

Bonus: To make this drill more difficult, you can take your hands out of the water. Advance your progressions to place hands on your head or even holding a weight.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com
About the Author: Maciej is a swimmer/swim instructor turned triathlete/engineer. Driven by competition and desire to always get faster, and love for the sport. Team Trisports Elite Member who heavily enjoys destination races and seeing new places from the start and finish line, because you have to reward yourself somehow after staring at a wall on the trainer all winter.  Lover of sushi and connoisseur of mac and cheese. He can be found swimming, biking, and running around the suburbs of Chicago. Follow him on twitter/instagram @macheetri

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Open Water Swim Safety https://university.trisports.com/2017/04/21/open-water-swim-safety/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:00:35 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8193 Written by Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague, Coaches at Tri Swim Coach Open water swimming can be scary. Cold. Jarring. Frustrating. And in some cases, dangerous. If you feel anxiety bubbling up as you stand on the lake or ocean shore, you are not alone. But this fear is completely rational and can be easily […]]]>

Written by Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague, Coaches at Tri Swim Coach

Open water swimming can be scary. Cold. Jarring. Frustrating.

And in some cases, dangerous.

If you feel anxiety bubbling up as you stand on the lake or ocean shore, you are not alone. But this fear is completely rational and can be easily combated with the proper preparation.

Most of the anxiety stems from the fear of unknown. While statistics show that open water swimming is actually quite safe, it is always good to be prepared for any situation.

The most common fear people have is unknown potential creatures below them. Even though the odds of getting bit or eaten by something are tiny, there is a logical reason to the fear.

Hollywood combined with real life incidents give way to this very common fear.

Start With The Controllables
1. Cardiovascular Condition.
Before you even step into the water for either a race or just practice, make sure that you get your heart checked for any abnormalities. In the past 10 years, a large sum of open water swimming fatalities have come from athletes who did not realize that had an underlying cardiovascular condition.

Combining a cardio issue like this with the shock of the cold water and the anticipation of a race can result in a disaster. If and when you are cleared, a good warm up that includes pushups, jumping jacks, arm swings and jogging can help your heart ease the transition into cold water.

If for some reason you can’t get in the water before your race, at minimum, splash cold water on your face, as this will trick your body into preparing for the cold submersion.

2. Preparation for the conditions.
If you know the water is going to be cold (sub 15 degrees Celsius/59 degrees Fahrenheit), then definitely wear a long-sleeved wetsuit, preferably in bright colors like this one, a bright fluorescent swim cap. For extra warmth, use two caps: a neoprene with a silicone one overtop and neoprene booties, which also help navigating rocky beaches. If you know your event will be in extremely frigid waters, Blueseventy makes a thermal wetsuit designed especially for coldwater.

Warm clothes for after the swim are also important. Most hypothermia cases are not from the water temperature but from the drop in temperature after you strip off your wetsuit. I (Kevin) know about this first-hand; after swimming in 50-degree Fahrenheit water in the Alcatraz swim in the San Francisco Bay once, I ended up with early stage hypothermia! It’s not fun, but preparing can help you avoid this.

3. Wetsuits.
With their extra buoyancy, wetsuits can be a huge help and an extra safety measure especially for beginner swimmers, but be sure that it is well-fitted and that you have practiced in it.

A wetsuit that is too small will restrict your breathing and can lead to hyperventilation, while a wetsuit that is too large will cause drag and weigh you down. Practicing in the wetsuit as much as you can will allow you to get used to the feeling of swimming in a wetsuit, which is quite different from your swimsuit in the pool.

In both cold and warm temperatures, remember bright colors are your friend. Without them, boats, kayakers, fellow swimmers and–if it comes to it–emergency rescue–can not see you, and rest assured that the bright colors will not attract sharks or killer whales–unless you plan to swim at Sea World.

4. Never train alone.
Grab some friends who are either swimmers themselves or who can kayak or SUP near by and keep an eye on you. An emergency contact should also know where you are and when you are expected to get out. Personally, I (Chris) always text my wife before I get in with how long I am swimming and then again when I get out to confirm that I am alright.

5. Be present!
This seems cliché and may be obvious, but there are so many factors in open water swimming that can throw you off, this is well worth mentioning. Staying present will allow you to deal with each distraction as it arises- even getting hit or pulled can be easily absorbed with a mindful approach to swimming. A couple of ideas here are to simply count your strokes, or think of a word, and repeat that word in your head as you swim.

The Non-Controllables
1. Sight.

There’s a lot you can do to practice sighting, and this is a big part of the challenge of open water swimming- staying on course. However, some of it may be out of your control. Sometimes the person you’re following doesn’t know where they’re going. Other times you just mistake where the finish line is. Practice can help here but it doesn’t eliminate every possible thing that could go wrong. Read more about sighting with these 8 Tips for Sighting.

2. Things that can bite and/or eat you.
Well this one is very rare, but its true- in the ocean, there is the element of the unknown. Let’s look at the stats: From the Washington Post: “According to the file’s analysis of 2000 data, beachgoers faced a 1-in-2-million chance of dying from drowning and other causes based on visits to East and West Coast beaches. By contrast, they faced a 1-in-11.5-million chance of being attacked by a shark, and less than a 1-in-264-million chance of dying from a shark bite, since just one person died that year in U.S. waters from an attack. Put another way, more Americans were killed by collapsing sinkholes (16) than sharks (11) between 1990 and 2006, and more by tornadoes (125) than sharks (6) in Florida between 1985 and 2010.”

In the rare case something does happen, be prepared for the worst. An open water safety device or an inflatable is an excellent idea- especially for beginners. While it might seem like a hassle, it can be a lifesaving measure if the weather or your body were to go awry.

Still nervous? Practicing is the best cure for fear and anxiety when it comes to open water. Start small and swim close to the shore with friends close by and on a course that allows you to see the bottom. As you become more comfortable gradually swim further and further out. No need to be a hero in the early stages.

Open water swimming does not have to be scary. With the proper preparations, you can swim with calm mind and be able to focus on what is important: your workout.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com
About the Authors: Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague are coaches at Tri Swim Coach. Kevin is the Head Coach at Tri Swim Coach. He was an All-American swimmer in college and coaches masters swimmers and triathletes. Kevin contributes to Triathlete Magazine, Inside Triathlon Magazine, Men’s Health Magazine, Active.com, and many more.

Chris Hague is the Assistant Coach at Tri Swim Coach, and swam competitively at the collegiate level and has competed in triathlons since 2007. Chris is now juggling a full time triathlon career while pursuing a career in psychology and public health.

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: 2Toms https://university.trisports.com/2017/03/28/product-review-2toms/ Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:31:35 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8130 Written by Adrienne Smith, Triathlete, Yoga Studio Owner & Teacher Rooted in science and the love of sport, 2Toms mission has always been to provide the best comfort and care to athletes by offering the most technologically advanced products available. In 2002, Tom Lewis, an avid extreme athlete, went on a mission to create a […]]]>

Written by Adrienne Smith, Triathlete, Yoga Studio Owner & Teacher

Rooted in science and the love of sport, 2Toms mission has always been to provide the best comfort and care to athletes by offering the most technologically advanced products available. In 2002, Tom Lewis, an avid extreme athlete, went on a mission to create a product that would allow him to go on massive hikes without getting held back by painful blisters. Since then, the 2Toms brand has joined forces with Medi-Dyne, offering blister prevention, chafing protection, skin guard and odor eliminator products on top of Medi-Dyne’s array of cushioning, support, stretching, strengthening and massage products. Together they provide a compelling selection of products that offer solutions that offer both immediate relief and eliminate the actual cause of pain.

Several of the products were sent for testing and review. Here’s what I loved, liked, and thought about all the products.

SportShield and SportShield for Her!
I’ve been an avid user of SportShield for a few years. I use it to prevent saddle sores, blisters on my feet when I race and don’t wear socks, and the best use I have found is to prevent chafing on my neck from my wetsuit. I slather it on my neckline anywhere my wetsuit will rub and cause friction. I’ve also used it for my swim suits that are a bit too small or my speed suits when the water has been too warm. The ultimate test is saltwater – and I’ve found SportShield is the best lubricant to avoid the dreaded “hicky” marks on my neck. I always have SportShield on hand when it’s time to jump into the ocean with my wetsuit on for practice swims or full Ironman distance triathlons. I can still feel the slippery residue on my neck after 11 hours of racing. I don’t notice the difference between SportShield and SportShield for Her! besides the pretty, pink label.

Stink Free Spray
The ultimate test for smelly feet for me is my cycling shoes, I never wear them with socks, and they smell awful after a single ride. I’ve been spraying my shoes with the Stink Free Spray after every ride and my bike room does not smell as offensive. It’s not completely gone; however, it was a tall order after doing several races and leaving my bike shoes in my travel bag for a few days.

BlisterShield
I never have an issue with blisters if I wear socks, so I put this product to the test in my running shoes without socks. I noticed instant comfort, smoothness, and lack of friction for the bottom of my feet and the top of my feet, where my foot hits the tongue and seams of my shoe. My feet felt great during my session. Afterwards, I noticed the slickness of the BlisterShield stuck to my feet – not the white powder, and my feet were a bit slippery until I washed them again. BlisterShield really stuck to my feet. My only suggestion for this product is the packaging, as the powder does not come out of the shaker with much ease. When I stick it down into the nose of my shoe to get it towards the top and avoid powder going everywhere, it’s hard to tell if I have enough in my shoe or not.

Stink Free Sports Detergent
I teach and practice Hot Power Vinyasa yoga on top of living with a smelly endurance athlete for a husband. All of the clothes in my laundry have been sweat through profusely. We’ve tried all sorts of detergent cocktails in our washing machine. The Stink Free Sports Detergent works to get the stink out of clothes. We noticed it helps to use it in combination with another detergent; there just doesn’t seem to be enough in each individual pack to take hold of the stink in an entire load of laundry. Unless we are traveling and only washing a few items, my suggestion would be to increase the volume per package for the single-use travel packets. However, the Stink Free Sports Detergent does come in a 30 ounce size which would allow you to be more generous when adding the detergent if you have a load of sweat-laden clothes.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Adrienne Smith has been a fierce competitor since she was a little girl—everything from figure skating and circus classes to more recently trying her cards as a professional triathlete for a few years. Now owning and operating Power of Your Om Yoga Studio in Santa Barbara, California, she competes in running races and triathlons recreationally, and spends more time playing around at the beach, walking her dog and practicing more yoga.  Adrienne loves the commitment, discipline and courage necessary for endurance sports, yoga and being an entrepreneur—all require consistent focus on the reality of the present moment to face her fear of failure, the trap of comparison and the life-sucking goal of perfection. They have created several breakdowns, breakthroughs and transformations – inside and out. Studio website:  www.powerofyourom.com 

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: Hammer Nutrition Fully Charged, Pre-Exercise Ignitor https://university.trisports.com/2017/03/02/product-review-hammer-nutrition-fully-charged-pre-exercise-ignitor/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 20:15:04 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8050 Written By Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS TriSports.com is a family owned business in Tucson, Arizona which retails a wide range of products from athlete’s favorite brands. They provide personal service and recommendations for all levels of athletes as well as support the growth and quality of the sport across the country and in […]]]>

Written By Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS

TriSports.com is a family owned business in Tucson, Arizona which retails a wide range of products from athlete’s favorite brands. They provide personal service and recommendations for all levels of athletes as well as support the growth and quality of the sport across the country and in their backyard.

Fully Charged Use
Hammer Fully Charged is a pre-workout supplement that provides caffeine, sustained energy, and Nitrous Oxide exercise support to improve performance and maximize muscular and mental function.

What’s In It
Green Tea Extract, Nitrous Oxide Proprietary Blend, Taurine, Tart Cherry Extract, Beta Alanine, L-Carnitine.  These items will provide mental and physical sharpening, increased blood flow and supply to muscles, and amino acids for muscular efficiency.

Review:
During our racing careers we go through phases and experimentation with our diets. There is an endless supply of new and rediscovered super foods in a dietary world that feels cyclical in nature. Like many triathletes, I have tried most of them. I used Beta-Alanine a decade ago, started using beets two years ago, and grew up with a tart cherry tree which has made it easy to utilize tart cherries in my diet as a recovery aid. Hammer Fully Charged combines all three of those ingredients in their proprietary blend in addition to amino acids, taurine, and the everyone’s favorite supplement caffeine which comes from green tea. Naturally, an all-in-one product is preferable to three different concoctions each day, so I gave it a try through a training cycle including long runs, hill repeats, interval workouts, and three races.

Day 1: Mixed my first glass. Fully Charged mixes into cool water easily and provides a pinkish hue.  The flavor is tart cherry, I personally smell and taste a watered-down bubble gum which is pleasant enough for a supplement and not painful to drink. I went out on my first run 30 minutes after replacing my pre-run glass of water with Fully Charged. The biggest test of these supplements to me is if my stomach can handle it; I did not notice any difference in my stomach which was a great start from day one.

Day 2-7: I continued to drink a single glass in the morning before my first workout. I felt great during this week, it was my first week of build into a training cycle. A progression long run, hill workout, and my first race all occurred with good results and no stomach issues which has always been my complaint about other beet supplements.

Day 8-14: It took over a week until I started noticing the flush from the Beta-Alanine in the Fully Charged.  Research shows that Beta-Alanine requires a period of loading and then maintenance to provide the buffer effect. By itself, Beta-Alanine is usually cycled for 4-6 weeks prior to your primary event. This was my best week of the cycle.  Every day I felt I could meet or exceed my workout goals. There is no doubt the Fully Charged wasn’t hurting and I kept feeling good; I found a supplement that made my legs feel like my other beet supplements – faster and fresher. I continued to be happy about how easily my stomach handled the blend of supplements in Fully Charged.

Day 15-21: I continued to sleep and recover well this week which was the final of this cycle before a down week. One of the more common uses for Tart Cherry is as a sleep aide which is what I used it for in periods prior to beginning Fully Charged.  Sleep is vital to recovery, so a supplement that can provide some quality to your shut-eye can be worth its weight in gold during harder cycles. After making it through my last race and long run during this test period while hitting all of my goals has made me feel that there isn’t a fall off between Hammer’s all-in-one product and supplementing with the three separate products I was consuming otherwise.  I am a believer and since it is cheaper and easier to consume; Hammer Fully Charged will replace my other supplements going forward until I am convinced otherwise.

Pros:

  • Multiple Performance Enhancers in One
  • Easy on the Stomach
  • Caffeine source without the acidity of coffee before a run

Cons

  • Tart Cherry Flavor preference
  • For most this is a morning or early afternoon supplement only due to caffeine content
  • Beta-Alanine flush can be unpleasant but is short lived

Recap
After a three week hard training cycle I would highly recommend Hammer Fully Charged as a supplement to add to your arsenal. Hammer Fully Charged provided the same exercise-feel, similar to beet or blended performance-enhancing products at a lower cost and in an all-in-one supplement. Easy to dissolve and drink before exercise without the stomach difficulties of other products.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Colorado Springs, who works with athletes in their homes and in the field through Parton Physical Therapy (www.partonpt.com), spends his free time triathlon training with the support of TriSports.com, and enjoys getting lost in the mountains with his wife, Jessica.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: HOT SHOT https://university.trisports.com/2017/02/06/product-review-hot-shot/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:40:49 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7973 Written by David Tatum USAT Level 1 Coach and TriSports Elite Team Member Company History HOTSHOT was invented by Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and endurance athlete. After surviving life threatening muscle cramps while deep sea kayaking off the coast of Cape Cod, he discovered that existing cramp remedies that target the muscle […]]]>

Written by David Tatum USAT Level 1 Coach and TriSports Elite Team Member

Company History
HOTSHOT was invented by Dr. Rod MacKinnon, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and endurance athlete. After surviving life threatening muscle cramps while deep sea kayaking off the coast of Cape Cod, he discovered that existing cramp remedies that target the muscle didn’t work. Calling upon his Nobel Prize-winning expertise on ion channels, Rod reasoned that in order to prevent and treat cramps the treatment should focus on the nerve, not the muscle. The company has taken the approach that “muscle cramps are caused by the nerve, not the muscle;” their research has concluded that, “muscles cramp up when motor neurons in your spinal cord start firing off spontaneously and repetitively.”

The Product
HOTSHOT’s claim is that it stimulates Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels in your mouth, esophagus, and stomach, sending signals to calm your hyper-excited neurons, to prevent and treat muscle cramps. The product comes in a 1.7 FL OZ bottle that is meant to be taken before, during or after workouts. HOTSHOT is available for purchase in either a single or 12-pack and costs roughly $7 per bottle.

Product Features and Differentiators
HOTSHOT has basically invented a category of its own with its claim to solve the issue of cramping in a whole different way altogether. Most products in this category tend to take the approach that proper hydration and electrolyte replacement such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium will prevent the athlete from experiencing muscle cramps. Other products in this category include sports drinks, salt tablets or electrolyte pills. The biggest difference from other nutrition and supplement products is that HOTSHOT does not seek to solve the problem through hydration or electrolyte replacement.

The active ingredients and proprietary blend are made of the mixture of cinnamon, ginger, and capsaicin, which is an active ingredient in chili peppers. It’s worth mentioning, this product should not be seen as an adequate source of water or electrolytes for the athlete during training or racing.

Product Benefits
Many athletes experience muscle cramps during training and competition. The purpose for taking HOTSHOT is to prevent, treat or recover from muscle cramps. If you’re an athlete who experiences frequent cramping issues, this product may have the potential to save a race or help you finish a workout if the product worked for you in training.

Product Testing
In full disclosure, I do not tend to deal with cramps on a frequent basis as an athlete.  In my experience as an athlete, I have cramped for a few reasons, a lack of hydration or electrolytes, or both. My approach for cramps has been to remain properly hydrated and consume the right amount of electrolytes during training and racing to prevent cramps before they start, which has worked for me.

Test
In order to test this product I attempted to fatigue my body and deprive myself of water and electrolytes. I would not recommend this process to others; I did it solely for product testing.

Taste
HOTSHOT doesn’t make any claims to have created a great tasting product. I definitely would not drink HOTSHOT for pleasure or in any type of greater quantity.  Because of the cinnamon and capsaicin it has a burning sensation in your throat and stomach and leaves an after taste. I imagine it is similar to taking a teaspoon of cinnamon, chewing on a chili pepper, or taking a shot of the drink Fireball. You have to remember when taking this product, you’re taking it for its function, to stop muscle cramps, not for the flavor.

Workout
To test the product, I completed two independent workouts both on Fridays a week apart, I took a bottle of HOTSHOT at the end of a 70-mile bike ride and a 4.5 mile run. At the time of taking the product I was mildly dehydrated, low on electrolytes, and experiencing mild muscle twinges, but nothing that would stop me from continuing my training. Within five minutes, any slight spasms were eliminated; I felt recovered and didn’t have any lingering cramps. I was also hydrating and replenishing my electrolyte loss at that time. I would recommend that athletes who struggle with muscle cramps test HOTSHOT during training to evaluate whether it works for them. Since personal nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte replacement can vary greatly between individuals, it is crucial to personally try any nutrition and supplements you may  consider for yourself before your events. I’ve tried handfuls of products as an IRONMAN athlete before determining what works best for me on race day. Give HOTSHOT a try to see if it helps you, you only have cramps to lose.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About the Author: David Tatum is a USAT Level 1 Coach, a multiple IRONMAN finisher and 70.3 World Championship Qualifier. Visit David’s website at www.tricoachtatum.com.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: The Triathlete’s Training Bible & Diary https://university.trisports.com/2016/12/15/product-review-the-triathletes-training-bible-diary/ Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:07:57 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7843 Written By Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS  Background of the Triathlete’s Training Bible: Joe Friel made his mark on triathlon long ago with his first edition of The Triathlete’s Training Bible, and to his great credit, he did not stop growing when he achieved success with his first book. He went on to create […]]]>

Written By Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS 

parton-product-review

Background of the Triathlete’s Training Bible:
Joe Friel made his mark on triathlon long ago with his first edition of The Triathlete’s Training Bible, and to his great credit, he did not stop growing when he achieved success with his first book. He went on to create The Triathlete’s Training Diary and has recently updated the content of his training bible, the newly released 4th edition. Sports science is an evolving field, a lot like nutrition and other fields that try to identify what can be done to maximize the ability of the human body. As he mentions in the foreword, this book is for “high performance” and is meant for those who have some understanding of what it takes to train for triathlon regularly. As a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought this book would provide an interesting read and an opportunity to compare the current exercise science research with the information provided in this book.

Key takeaways on what the training bible can teach a triathlete:

  1. Succeeding in triathlon requires work on the mind and the body. Proper goals, focus, and purpose are as important as training volume, intensity, and rest.
  2. Determine the Three Physical Metrics to determine fitness: Aerobic Capacity, Anaerobic Threshold, and Economy. Develop your basic abilities, aerobic endurance, muscular force, and speed skills, then your advanced abilities, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, and sprint power, in order to improve your physical metrics.
  3. Learn to manage your training load. Utilize tools of pace charts, heart rate, and power to create zones of training that allow you to apply an appropriate training stress and also successfully rest. In the book you are able to use the information to create your custom zones.
  4. Plan your year based on your goals and your longest race/”A-race” for that year. Then drill down to determine training periodization with weekly volume and finally daily planning.
  5. Develop triathlon specific skills early to gain your competitive edge as it takes less time to maintain those skills after they are learned. Use warm ups to practice motor patterns and hone your skills.
  6. Mimic sport specific motions during weight lifting to maximize the benefit of your gym/strength training time.

the-triathlete-s-training-bible-diary-set-3

A valuable resource and training tool for triathletes:
I’m a firm believer that many athletes know just enough about sports science and nutrition to be caught in fads and poor training regimens. For most triathletes, The Triathlete’s Training Bible and Diary are as good as taking an entry-level exercise physiology class in college. It’s important to take the time to gain full and diverse knowledge about your body and training. From this book, a triathlete can acquire an improved in-depth understanding of how the body adapts to loads of training during rest and through periodization, which will help the athlete listen to their body with improved success and less guessing. Triathletes will learn about the concepts of training during the preliminary chapters of the training bible. Knowing how and why the body responds to training allows an athlete to find increased value in what sometimes seem like endless hours of training and commitment. Once these foundations of knowledge are established, the reader is then provided with workouts and explanations of workouts in order to apply those concepts. Athletes can utilize the training diary to plan, log, and analyze past performances. Examples of brick workouts and ideas of how to vary training are found in the appendices. Personally, I love how Friel lays out specific workouts for each of the abilities that a successful athlete needs; this allows the reader to further test themselves and improve specific weaknesses. We all avoid certain types of workouts that are our least favorite, but this book can help you understand if what you’re avoiding is actually a true weakness as well.

Bottom line: Utilizing the training practices in the book will allow triathletes to specialize, properly overload, and adapt their training for maximum benefit and time efficiency.

Happy Swimming, Biking, and Running!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

nick-partonpicAbout the Author: Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Colorado Springs, who works with athletes in their homes and in the field through Parton Physical Therapy (www.partonpt.com), spends his free time triathlon training with the support of TriSports.com, and enjoys getting lost in the mountains with his wife, Jessica.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Product Review: SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach https://university.trisports.com/2016/11/25/product-review-shft-intelligent-virtual-running-coach/ Fri, 25 Nov 2016 13:53:53 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7746 Written by Jesse Vondracek, Professional Triathlete and TriSports Elite Team Member The company SHFT was born in 2013 and started as an idea to help runners run faster and stay injury free. In 2014, this idea started to become reality as the idea of running power was able to be measured. Later that year, the […]]]>

Written by Jesse Vondracek, Professional Triathlete and TriSports Elite Team Member

shf16400-4

The company SHFT was born in 2013 and started as an idea to help runners run faster and stay injury free. In 2014, this idea started to become reality as the idea of running power was able to be measured. Later that year, the first food pod prototype was created, providing the company enough leverage to secure financial backing. Through SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach a runner is able to measure several  landing position, steps per minute, ground contact time, time in air, landing angle, toe off angle, steps length, G-landing (landing force), watt, running efficiency, brake effect, body bounce, and body angle. A year later, all the kinks had been worked out, along with a final system design consisting of two pods, one for the chest and the other for the right shoe. The Intelligent Virtual Running Coach hit the market and has taken the running community by storm.

How is SHFT Different?
SHFT analyzes your running form and tracks your development. It determines your weakest area, then it tells you how to work on improving your weakness in real time. This immediate feedback and assistance as you go sets this power meter apart, and earns SHFT the title of a coach. In an age of instant everything, SHFT nailed what consumers want, real-time feedback while training. Gone are the days of having to do your run first, come back and upload your data to be able to analyze your running efficiency. SHFT does all the work for you with instant feedback.

jesse-shft

How Does it Coach? 
My first question was, how does a power meter call itself a coach? Sure…it gives you a tremendous amount of data, but a coach? So, I took it for a spin. SHFT analyzed my run form and gave me all kinds of data. But the best part is that it immediately told me what to do with the data in order to make each body movement more efficient. It turns out I have an extremely high ground contact time. The virtual coach then led me through three rounds of six minutes training where I focused on my ground contact. During each six-minute segment, the coach gave me updates on my average ground contact time, as well as gave me parts of my stride to think about in order to encourage a shorter ground contact time. The coach told me to do things like focus on getting my heel closer to my hips, shortening my stride, and think about running barefoot in hot sand. These tools helped me to decrease my ground contact time during my three six-minute segments. The constant feedback and praise was oddly helpful. It was helpful enough to overlook the extremely robotic voice that could not seem to pronounce “successful” for the life of it.
This would be a great tool to begin using in the off-season. I could work on my ground contact time in the off-season, much like in cycling people tend to work on cadence. SHFT collects a variety of running metrics, with the SHFT Coach turned on, you will not only get the the information about a metric, but also instructions on how to improve any areas of weakness. One of these running variables will be your weakness, and you will want to work on it at some point in your season. SHFT helps you identify that weakness.

Like any new tool in your tool box, I would advise you to take some time to use it appropriately. For example, I have done a few test runs, but I am three weeks out from an IRONMAN. I am very curious about the data SHFT has given me, but I need to wait until after the race before I try to make a series of adjustments to my stride.

Added Benefit for Triathletes
On the same note, I am curious to test my stand alone running form to how I run off of the bike. This could be an extremely good use of SHFT for triathletes. The program stores data from each run you do. I am excited to see how my numbers from a fresh tempo run compare to a run off the bike. Exploring these differences is hard to do on your own, but could help reduce the gap between your open half time and your 70.3 run split.

shf16400-3

Ease of Use
Out of the box, this product was extremely self-explanatory. It was so easy, I second guessed myself while using it because of how simple it was. You simply charge the pods, download the app, pair the pods with blue tooth on your phone, place them on your chest and shoe, and you’re off and running.

Seven minutes into the first run, SHFT has your first data points set. It then gives you guided instruction while running to work on your weakness. This continued guidance helps athletes stay engaged in what they are doing while they are working on it. Six minutes is a short enough time to focus on something and short enough for mostly all runners to be able to run for the entire time. This is a great tool to have in the shed to improve run economy and efficiency for all runners. I hope that as time goes on, this technology can be paired with a GPS watch so that you do not need to carry your phone. My other hope is that SHFT will help you understand the rest of the data it provides. It gives you a ton of great feedback, but it doesn’t tell you much about it. I don’t know if 114cm is a good step length, or if my 9 watt break effect is high. It does a great job illustrating what the terms mean, but I would like a range of values for each metric.

All in all, after seven minutes of running I learned something new about my own form that I had not discussed with my coach over six years of competitive racing. The SHFT Intelligent Virtual Running Coach is a great tool to help unlock your running potential.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

shft-3About the Author: Jesse has been racing professionally for seven years. His career highlights include an IRONMAN PR of 8:44, 7th place at 2016 IRONMAN Vineman, 70.3 PR of 4:05 at 2016 Eagleman for 5th place and 0 DNFs. Jesse is a coach at http://www.topsteptraining.com and USAT certified. He’s been coaching athletes for the past six years. Besides coaching triathletes, he has coached high school cross country and track, as well as club swimming. Jesse spent ten years teaching and has a Master’s Degree in Education.

 

]]>
Product Review: Lumo Run Sensor & Clip https://university.trisports.com/2016/10/28/product-review-lumo-run-sensor-clip/ Fri, 28 Oct 2016 22:19:57 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7690 Written by David Tatum, USAT Level 1 coach and IRONMAN All World Athlete Company History The Lumo Run is based on the sports biomechanics research on distance running done at Loughborough University in the UK. Lumo comes to the table with some expert knowledge led by Mark Mastalir who used to work for Hoka One […]]]>

Written by David Tatum, USAT Level 1 coach and IRONMAN All World Athlete

lumo-run-2-1474425980-9a9e-full-width-inline

Company History
The Lumo Run is based on the sports biomechanics research on distance running done at Loughborough University in the UK. Lumo comes to the table with some expert knowledge led by Mark Mastalir who used to work for Hoka One One and Rebecca Schultz who has a PH.D in clinical Biomechanics. Rebecca has eight years of experience at the Stanford Gait lab.

About the Product
Lumo Run is a small pod-like product that attaches to the back of your run shorts while you run. The pod charges through a mini-usb cable like many other products. It attaches easily and is hardly noticeable while running. The product syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth to your iPhone app.

lumo-picture-1Key Features
The Lumo Run provides real-time, biomechanical feedback to help an athlete adjust their running form to become more efficient. The Lumo Run Sensor measures your:

  1. Cadence: How frequently your feet touch the ground in a minute
  2. Drop: The side-to-side motion of your pelvis
  3. Brake: The change in your forward motion/speed
  4. Rotation: The twisting motion of your pelvis
  5. Tilt: The amount of forward and backward motion of your pelvis
  6. Bounce: The up and down movement your body experiences while running

The app provides coaching through short tutorial videos teaching the runner how to adjust their running.  The app also provides exercises and tips for the runner to work on when they are not running.

lumo-picture-2

Benefits
Running with the Lumo Run measures body mechanics and delivers feedback on how to adjust for improved running form. Offered through real-time audio coaching feedback when you run with your phone. The Lumo takes the place of a coach’s eye and measures more specifically what your body is doing.

Review
Here is a picture of what I received in the mail.

lumo-picture-3

Pros
Overall, the Lumo Run is a great product that worked seamlessly when I tested it. I completely forgot that I had it on when I ran with it. The product is super light weight and attached easily to any of my running shorts. The app is very easy to navigate and intuitive for the user. The product gives very useful data and feedback to help adjust running mechanics and improve posture, form and overall running efficiency.

Con
The biggest drawback to the product is that in order to get GPS data which includes your map, pace and distance you need to run with your phone. For some runners, this may be a drawback because they already have a running watch like a Garmin 920xt and have ditched their bulky phones a long time ago. For others, this will integrate into what they are already doing as they run with their phones to listen to music. Lumo Run says they plan on partnering with a third party application, such as Garmin or Strava in the future to get the GPS data.

Data Application
The biggest question I had was would the average user be able to take the data that is being recorded and translate that into adjusting their running in order to see gains in their biomechanics. With so many new devices being developed to track data the biggest and most important question for the athlete becomes ‘how do I translate that data into something that I can use to better my performance?’  GPS watches, HR monitors, Power Meters and running biomechanical measurements can all help an athlete if they know how to use the data.  I asked Lumo about this concern and they said:

“We are continuing to improve this experience since helping the runner improve their form is our number one goal. We do not want to just track data for them. In the future we will be adding more exercises and more tips. We are continually coming up with our own from research or know coaching tips, as well as receiving new ones from our coaching advisors.”

I believe if Lumo is able to help the user translate the acquired data into useful changes in biomechanics they will be very successful. I am excited to see what they come up with to make that happen. Lumo Run is a great product that helps you analyze and improve your run biomechanics, I would recommend this product to anyone wanting to analyze and improve their running form.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

89cf41_f8c191fc0dac409b93463b855f3d48f0mv2About the Author: David Tatum USAT Level 1 coach and IRONMAN All World Athlete. David has over ten years of experience as a swim and lifeguard instructor, and coach. As a coach, David has a passion to see athletes succeed and grow in their abilities. To learn more about David Tatum and his coaching, visit www.tricoachtatum.com.

]]>
Swim Tools to Boost Your Swim Performance https://university.trisports.com/2016/09/30/effectively-use-your-swim-tools-to-boost-swim-performance/ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:27:03 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7611 Written by Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague, Coaches at Tri Swim Coach Pool “toys,” like fins, paddles, snorkels and all the other dorky looking objects that fill triathletes’ pool bags, can be a curse or a blessing. If used incorrectly, too much, or without specific purpose (i.e. because the gal in the swim lane next […]]]>

Written by Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague, Coaches at Tri Swim Coach

fin15006-blk-3

Pool “toys,” like fins, paddles, snorkels and all the other dorky looking objects that fill triathletes’ pool bags, can be a curse or a blessing.

If used incorrectly, too much, or without specific purpose (i.e. because the gal in the swim lane next to you is using them), they can be Band-Aids and crutches; they hold you back from obtaining good, strong form by smoothing out your stroke’s flaws.

Once they are taken away, you go back to your same sinking legs, straight arm pull and mistimed breathing pattern. However, when used correctly, they can be highly effective tools that boost your swim by correcting and improving your form so that you can take your swim to the next level.

How to correctly use a swim toy as an effective tool?
The type of swim tool that you use plays a huge role in as well as what your goals are for that workout. Below you will find some of the most common toys as well as why they work and when to use them.

fin15401-5

Pull buoy:
The pull buoy can easily be misused and abused by those whose legs sink or sway to prop their lower body up. It works great until you take the pull buoy away, and they sink like a stone and struggle to keep pace as their effort goes through the roof.

However, that does not mean you should throw it out since you can use the pull buoy to actually improve your form.

Instead of putting the pull buoy between your legs just above the knee, by putting it at your ankles and then using an old inner tube or laundry loop to bind your legs, you increase your proprioception–awareness of what your lower body is doing. This method is particularly effective for those whose lower body tends to sway from side to side.

With this awareness, you can feel yourself rotating more from your core to keep your lower body from swaying. Pull buoys are also good when you want to isolate your upper body and use paddles, or do the first drill. After a tough weekend of cycling and running, pull buoy sets help prevent you from using your legs and gives them a much needed rest.

agility-paddles-usage-2-lr

Paddles:
Like pull buoys, paddles can do more harm than good if used improperly. In particular, for those with weak shoulders or who have had shoulder injuries, paddles can put too much strain on the labrum and aggravate those old injuries.

The standard dinner plate sized paddles that you sometimes see do not help correct your pull, which is why we like the Finis Freestyler Paddle. These actually help correct your freestyle high elbow catch and pull without stressing your shoulders. In workouts, you will want to use paddles for muscular endurance. Try doing sets of 200-400 at the beginning of your workout then do (or try to do) sprints without them after.

Fins:
Fins are a cornerstone of our training tools. But let’s start by mentioning that fins can also easily be misused, especially if you kick simply to rack up more yards on your Garmin to pad your workouts.

If you use those giant scuba fins, then you are getting little to no benefit from those laps.

fin16400-3

Zoomers, however, turn those would be unproductive meters and yards into an opportunity to give you better ankle flexibility, and build leg strength. They are also excellent for helping your kick technique. We recommend starting out using Zoomers with the vertical kicking drill, which helps build the muscle memory for a proper freestyle flutter kick.

Tempo timer:
Low swim cadence and turnover is fairly common. Swimmers like to glide through the water and take as few strokes as possible. Although less common, taking too many strokes is also a problem. Swimmers thrash around and do not get very far, but expend a bunch of energy doing it. This is where the tempo trainer comes in; it gives an audible beat in order to match your stroke to the sound. Over time, you gradually increase, or decrease in some cases, your stroke to find the optimal turnover for you.

How do you know?
You can tell if you are reaching an optimal turnover for you when you begin to swim faster with less energy expenditure, good rotation, and without any dead spots in your stroke.

swimmers-snorkel-usage-web

Snorkel:
The snorkel is a great tool for learning stroke technique while leaving out the most difficult part of freestyle, breathing. Snorkels allow swimmers to isolate the stroke, without having to worry about getting air. They are also a big help in getting the right head position in freestyle, and will help build stronger lungs. Like fins, there can be an over-reliance on snorkels, so it’s best to use them on specific sets or drills as opposed to the majority of workouts.

So don’t throw out your toys quite yet. Use them tactically, sparingly, and with purpose to improve your form and increase strength!

kevin-koskella-tsc-300x300About the Authors: Kevin Koskella and Chris Hague are coaches at Tri Swim Coach. Kevin is the Head Coach at Tri Swim Coach. He was an All-American swimmer in college and coaches masters swimmers and triathletes. Kevin contributes to Triathlete Magazine, Inside Triathlon Magazine, Men’s Health Magazine, Active.com, and many more.

chris_hague-300x300Chris Hague is the Assistant Coach at Tri Swim Coach, and swam competitively at the collegiate level and has competed in triathlons since 2007. Chris is now juggling a full time triathlon career while pursuing a career in psychology and public health.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Become a Faster and More Efficient Swimmer https://university.trisports.com/2016/06/02/tips-for-a-faster-and-more-efficient-swim/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 19:32:41 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6997 Written By Keri Ouellette, TriSports.com Elite Team Athlete Unlike running and cycling, simply increasing your turnover in swimming will not necessarily make you go faster. This may seem counter-intuitive to triathletes who are new to swimming, especially those coming from a running or cycling background where moving your legs faster generally results in a faster […]]]>

Written By Keri Ouellette, TriSports.com Elite Team AthleteEfficient Swim Stroke
Unlike running and cycling, simply increasing your turnover in swimming will not necessarily make you go faster. This may seem counter-intuitive to triathletes who are new to swimming, especially those coming from a running or cycling background where moving your legs faster generally results in a faster finish time. I’ve had several triathletes ask me, “I’m swimming several times a week and working on drills and doing recommended swim workouts– why am I not getting any faster?” Here are some things that may be holding back your swimming progress and what you can do to improve.

You’re not aware of your form and body positioning

Most triathletes know that good form is essential to improve in swimming; however, the techniques learned from reading articles, watching videos, and talking to coaches does not always translate to faster swimming in the pool. Reducing drag by adjusting your body position to be more streamlined is the easiest way to swim faster. Think of your body on an axis, from the top of your head down the center of your body and between your feet. Your body should be rotating on this axis while minimizing lateral movement to reduce drag, like a rotisserie chicken.  This sounds easy, but often what our bodies are doing in the water is not exactly what we think they’re doing. Hours spent doing swimming drills are often wasted if you’re practicing incorrect form.

Video analysis is helpful in understanding exactly how your body is moving through the water. Have a friend take a video of your swimming, from the front, side, and underwater (if possible), and review it in slow motion. Focus on one or two adjustments each time you go to the pool. Do another video analysis two to three weeks later and see how you’ve improved and what you still need to work on.
You’re not breathing correctly

Breathing while swimming is unnatural, and it’s common to feel short of breath even during easy swimming if you’re not used to breathing in the water. This is a big obstacle to feeling comfortable during the swim and can waste a lot of energy. Exhaling fully while your face is in the water is necessary so that you’re ready to inhale when you turn your head to breathe. If you hold your breath underwater, you will be trying to exhale and inhale each time you take a breath, resulting in shallow, inefficient breathing.

Simple exercises like bobs, can help you adjust. Standing in the shallow end of the pool, lower your body until your head is underwater, exhaling slowly. Raise your head up above the water, just long enough to inhale quickly but fully, then lower again, exhaling slowly. Once you get used to exhaling underwater, you can practice breathing while swimming.

Find a breathing pattern that is comfortable for you to sustain for the duration of a race, making sure that you’re getting enough oxygen. Some open water swimmers prefer bilateral breathing which can help you to swim in a straight line and keep your body balanced. If breathing every three strokes leaves you feeling out of breath, try taking two breaths on one side, three strokes, and then two on the other side. If you feel out of breath, try breathing more frequently (every stroke, if needed) or slowing down your stroke until your breathing feels more relaxed.

Learning to control your breathing will allow you to swim more efficiently and swim faster without getting out of breath as quickly. This is critical for triathletes who have a bike and run to follow. Slow, controlled breathing is also a useful skill during the swim start of a triathlon. The chaos of the swim start can cause your heart to race. Focusing on breathing can help to keep you calm and not waste energy.

swim-6
You’re not pulling hard enough    

Once you’re breathing comfortably and your form is looking good, what’s next? A common mistake for new swimmers is to maintain the same arm speed throughout the cycle of the stroke from entry, through the underwater pull and recovery. By increasing the speed of your stroke– actually pushing harder –from when your hand is just below your torso through the completion of the stroke, when your hand reaches your hip. This will allow you to take advantage of the larger lat and chest muscles used during the pull phase. Think of this phase of the pull as pushing your body past your hand by engaging the larger muscles of your upper body, not just a rotation of the arm and shoulder.

If you’re not used to engaging these muscles, building strength through pulling drills and land-based strength training can help increase the power of your swimming stroke. Using paddles can help improve strength by forcing you to pull more water than without them. Make sure your form is correct before doing heavy training with paddles, to avoid shoulder injury or reinforcing poor form. Stretch Cordz are an effective land-based strength training tool for swimming and a great way to supplement your swim training when you don’t have time to get to the pool. Stretch Cordz are used to mimic the underwater pull movement, isolating the exact muscles used while swimming.

There are so many factors of swim technique that it can get overwhelming to try to remember all of them while you’re swimming. Even experienced swimmers do drills and continue to make adjustments to their form to improve efficiency. The more you practice these techniques, the more natural they will feel and the faster you’ll be swimming!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

]]>
Sodium: What Is It And Why Do I Need It? https://university.trisports.com/2016/05/23/sodium-what-is-it-and-why-do-i-need-it/ https://university.trisports.com/2016/05/23/sodium-what-is-it-and-why-do-i-need-it/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 18:22:45 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6982 Written by Nathan Deck, TriSports Team Champion Nutrition. At some point in the training process every triathlete has come to the point of wondering about nutrition. What do I eat before my race? What do I eat on the bike? What do I eat on the run? How much should I drink? Should I drink […]]]>

Written by Nathan Deck, TriSports Team Championsalt

Nutrition. At some point in the training process every triathlete has come to the point of wondering about nutrition. What do I eat before my race? What do I eat on the bike? What do I eat on the run? How much should I drink? Should I drink coffee or not? But one item that tends to get pushed to the wayside in these discussions, even those about hydration, is the simple nutrient of sodium.

What is Sodium?
Sodium (Na) is a mineral that is vital to our human existence, but is also rarely found in its pure form in nature. The most common form we encounter sodium is that of sodium-chloride, also known as salt. Because of the various chemical properties of sodium (which we won’t get into here), it is very water soluble, which leads us to our next question.

Why do We Need Sodium?
Sodium plays multiple roles in the human body. The first is that it conducts electronic impulses. In other words, it helps your brain send signals to your muscles and other areas of your body so that everything functions like the brain tells it to. You can imagine, then, what would happen to an endurance athlete who has a sodium deficiency and therefore cannot send signals to his muscles as efficiently.

trisports-10

 

The second major role that sodium plays is that of maintaining the fluid balance and blood volume. This is done through osmosis, which simply means that fluids will travel to areas of lower concentration. That means when there is a high concentration of sodium (and therefore a lower concentration of water) that water will flow in that direction, therefore diluting the area whether it be the blood stream or inside a cell and so on. A reduction of sodium means that the body cannot help regulate itself as easily which leads to a drop in blood volume and consequently an increase in body temperature and decrease in oxygen going to the muscles. Again, something endurance athletes want to avoid.

The other major role of sodium is in the process of digestion. Sodium and glucose are absorbed in the digestive system together, and when molecules of sodium and glucose are transported into the body, they carry with them a large quantity of water. This is why athletes will constantly see so many advertisements for sports drinks that tell them not to simply drink plain water. While the body needs water, it is sodium that helps the body absorb that water much more quickly.

How do we lose it?
The next major concern with sodium is how a person would become low in sodium. Quite simply: sweat. Yes, I know, nothing earth shattering there. We all know that when we sweat we lose fluids and “salt.” The bigger question here is: How much? Now that varies from person to person and can range anywhere 220mg to 1,100mg per liter of sweat, with the average being around 500mg. So what makes the difference? Genetics play a huge role in it, but so does acclimatization to the environment. What it comes down to is that each person needs to figure out what their sweat rate is and how “salty” their sweat is.

IMG_0414

The best way to go about identifying your sweat rate is to test it. Yes, just like you test your fitness periodically, you need to test your sweat rate. The best way to do this is to weigh yourself nude before a workout. Go workout for 60 minutes. Keep track of how much you drink, and then weigh yourself immediately following the workout. For every pound of weight you lose that is one pint (16oz) of fluid. Make sure to add any fluids you consumed to that number and you have your sweat rate in oz/hour (while slightly less accurate, you can do this for 30 minutes and then double the number for your hourly sweat rate). The last piece of the puzzle is to evaluate how “salty” your sweat is. The more white streaks on your clothes, the more sodium you perspire (gross, I know). I recommend doing this test every 4 weeks as the seasons and temperatures change as well as your adaptation to those temperatures. This will give you a good starting point to experiment with replacing the sodium you lose during exercise.

How do we replace sodium?
When it comes to replacing sodium, we need to think about various scenarios and apply what we know to each one.

Day to Day
In day to day life, we will all be fine with just plain, old water to drink. There is really no need to add extra sodium to the average person’s diet. Yes, there are exceptions; there always are. But for most of us, we could probably do with less sodium in our diet, not more.

1511 sweat rate

Exercise
For an endurance athlete who loses an average of 500mg of sodium per hour of exercise there are generally two ways to replace lost sodium. The first is drinking a hydration mix, and second is consuming sodium supplements. Either of these is a personal choice and one that only you can make for yourself through some trial and error.

chart
Nutrition Comparison Chart to help you decide which supplements are right for you!

If you plan to use hydration mixes for sodium replacement, there are varieties that also add carbohydrates for energy, such as Infinit Nutrition or the classic Gatorade, and others that stick to straight electrolytes such as Nunn or Skratch Labs. Take a look at the nutrition information to understand how much sodium is in each bottle and see how that compares to what your sodium needs are. Then, do some experimenting with a few brands and go with what works best for you.

To replace sodium using capsules, there is a plethora of supplements such as Saltstick and others to increase sodium levels. These are generally only needed in extremely hot environments such as Kona and other races in locations known for lots of sun, high temperatures, and held in the hotter months. But again, it all comes down to your personal tastes and sodium requirements.

Overall, we know sodium is important, and most of us use a sports drink of some kind. But with a little science and a bit of testing, we can fine-tune our nutrition plan to get the best performance possible come race day.Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

]]>
https://university.trisports.com/2016/05/23/sodium-what-is-it-and-why-do-i-need-it/feed/ 2
Unboxing the Garmin Forerunner 735XT https://university.trisports.com/2016/05/13/unboxing-the-garmin-forerunner-735xt/ Fri, 13 May 2016 18:53:59 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6956 As Garmin has moved through their development cycle of product over the last few years we have seen a recurring theme of the merging of two or more platforms into one – a phenomenon I will coin “Tech Mating.” The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is the latest of this new tech mating ritual, which is the […]]]>

3 As Garmin has moved through their development cycle of product over the last few years we have seen a recurring theme of the merging of two or more platforms into one – a phenomenon I will coin “Tech Mating.”

1
Tech Mating: Garmin’s 920XT and Fenix3 HR = 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is the latest of this new tech mating ritual, which is the offspring of the Garmin Forerunner 920XT and the Fenix3 HR. Make no mistake about it, the Forerunner 735XT is a multisport/triathlon powerhouse of a watch that is packed with some incredible features and can be used for triathlons or other events lasting in the 12-14 hour range.

4
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT Tri Bundle Unboxed

New add-ons to the Garmin Forerunner 735XT (over the Forerunner 920XT) include:

  • Strapless Optical Heart Rate Sensor (does not work in the swim)
  • The first Garmin wearable to support the new Garmin Varia Vision heads-up display
  • Strava Suffer Score (requires the HR functionality to be turned on)
  • Stress Score
  • Shimano Di2 shifting integration
  • Structured swimming workouts
  • Cycling FTP
  • Running Lactate Threshold Test
  • Intensity minutes
  • Phone-based audio prompts
2
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT

If you are considering a multisport watch or already own the Garmin FR920XT, then there are a couple of key things you need to know about the FR735XT. Below is a list of these key points:

  • Battery Life: The battery life is 14 hours compared with the 920’s 24 hour life; this is very important information based on how long you think you might be racing.
  • Quick Release Kit: The 735XT does not have a quick release option due to the Optical HR Sensor. The quick release is used to remove the head of the watch from your wrist to place on your bike and vice versa.
  • Barometric Altimeter: The 735XT purely uses GPS data to derive elevation. This can degrade some accuracy, but is not a game stopper.
  • WiFi: The 735XT does not have WiFi, but it does transfer data from the head unit to your compatible device (e.g. iPhone, Android) via Bluetooth.

7

6

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT comes in two colors and three variants – Watch Only, Run Bundle (includes HRM Run Strap), and Tri Bundle (includes the HRM Tri Strap and HRM Swim Strap).

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

 

Save

]]>
5 Triathlon Tips to Save Time & Money https://university.trisports.com/2016/05/02/5-triathlon-tips-to-save-time-money/ Mon, 02 May 2016 14:02:16 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=6912 Written by Patrick McCrann, Endurance Nation founder and 22-time IRONMAN finisher Whether you’re new to triathlon, or a seasoned veteran, you fully understand the true cost of our sport: time and money. As the sport of triathlon has evolved over the past 20 years, it has gotten increasingly more complex and specialized. While it might seem […]]]>

Written by Patrick McCrann, Endurance Nation founder and 22-time IRONMAN finisher1 Whether you’re new to triathlon, or a seasoned veteran, you fully understand the true cost of our sport: time and money. As the sport of triathlon has evolved over the past 20 years, it has gotten increasingly more complex and specialized.

While it might seem like everyone on race day takes triathlon very seriously, that’s not a prerequisite for success. In this article were are going to explain to you five critical areas that you can focus on to maximize your training time and retain your triathlon dollar.

As a beginner, when you go to a race it is probably difficult to figure out who is doing this for fun and who is doing this professionally.

As background, Endurance Nation has been around for over a decade. We’ve had more than 1,000 Ironman® finishes a year, every year, since 2010. We are the Ironman® Division I World Champions for three years in a row.

Translation — we have worked with countless athletes to help them refine the training schedules and improve the results within the framework of their existing lives. This is no small task, but we learned quite a few things along the way which I want to share with you.

2Tip Number One: You Don’t Need A Triathlon Coach
Remember the thing we said before about complexity? Introducing a coach into your system dramatically increases the complexity of your triathlon experience. The coach is going to have a bias around how you want to train. Your coach is going to introduce many different types of workouts that require you to change your schedule frequently.

You become dependent upon a coach for those workouts. Will they be here on time? Are they different than last week? Is Coach going to answer my email? My text? We have consistently found that the most successful triathletes are also the most self-sufficient. Do yourself a favor and start things off on the right foot by taking charge of your training and racing.

3

Tip Number Two: Get Social
Humans are incredibly social creatures and triathlon is no exception. We are very adept at following the lead of others – from clothing to training to cars to dogs…you get the idea.

Do yourself a favor and find a local triathlon club. This will be a great place for you to learn a ton about the sport and to stay connected with others as you progress down the experience road. This group will have workouts, social events, learning events, and so on. They might even have discounts available at local stores, or can recommend you to local professionals if you need help in a certain area (injury anyone?).

Just as importantly, training with others will help keep you motivated and hold you accountable. It’s really hard to snooze the alarm when you know there could be ten people waiting for you at the pool that morning. Think of a social group as using a carrot to motivate you, where is hiring a coach is more like using a stick.

4

Tip Number Three: Build A Basic Week
Back in the day, there were very few resources on triathlon training. It was honestly hard to find out how to prepare. Today there are millions of articles countless resources and very little of it is coherent or makes sense. So where should you begin?

The most important thing that you could do as a triathlete is to define a week of training that works with your schedule. It might be fantastic to swim one hour before you get on the bike for a three-hour ride. But if that workout doesn’t fit into your life without causing major friction — it’s just not worth it.

Getting in your training in is a constant balance – not battle – between what you want to do and what you need to do. If you start out by making the training fit, then you have effectively eliminated that friction.

You can do this by sitting down and taking a look at your week. Where can you carve out approximately an hour a day to do your training. For many of us, the early morning is the easiest time to do this before work.

Life has a way of getting away by the end of the day between extra work, meetings, traffic, kids, activities, and so on. Stack the deck in your favor by focusing on an earlier bedtime with an earlier wake time to get those sessions done before the world wakes up and gets crazy.

In the same way, we recommend you structure your bigger training sessions on the weekends when there is more time. If you have a long-run in the program or a long ride- put those on Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t matter which one goes on which day — both options are better than trying to squeeze those sessions into your existing Monday through Friday schedule.

Most Age Group triathletes create time for training by reducing their sleep. This is a critical mistake that can lead to undue fatigue, and even injury or illness. Do your best to stay as close to 42 to 45 hours of sleep a week.

Our final training tip for you is to make sure that you have at least one day of rest the week. For most triathletes, this is the hardest session to schedule. If I’m not working out – I must be going backwards – is the usual train of thought.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every workout, even every week, requires a window of recovery. During this time your body is processing the work that you’ve done and giving you space to get stronger.

For example, if we just did a massive squat workout at the gym with tons of weight, chances are you and I are exhausted. When we walk out of the gym (or stumble!), we are probably the weakest two people within a 250-mile radius! Give us a day to recover and we’ll come back stronger.

Don’t allow for recovery? All of your workouts for the remainder of that week will suffer… so plan accordingly. 5

Tip Number Four: Get Smarter To Go Faster
Inside Endurance Nation we spend the vast majority of our time creating resources and opportunities for athletes to learn. It’s not a mistake that the fastest athletes you know are also some of the smartest. Not necessarily book smart, but they know their body, they know their limits, and they figure out a way to make the most of what they have.

As a beginner, this is an incredible area for you to grow. So do yourself a favor and spend some of your time in the evening trying to learn more about how you can improve. There are three distinct ways that you can do this:

  1. Get Your Lead On: It’s very easy to fire up your smart phone and find hundreds, if not thousands, of articles on travel and training. Be specific in your search terms or pay attention to the authors’ names. Odds are you’ll find a common thread and what you like to read and can find more articles from the same source over time.
  2. Find key, online resources: There are a few key websites that cover triathlon 24-7, these are good places to start as well. I don’t recommend buying a book as most of those are quickly outdated…and are ultimately more complex than the bite-size information that you probably need (and are actually able to absorb).
  3. Watch and Learn: Head over to YouTube or simply search for videos on triathlon. There are plenty of great examples of things to do – and not to do! – When it comes to triathlon. You can find videos on swim technique, cycling skills, running technique, and more.

If you’re looking for a good laugh there are probably some great “triathlon fail” videos out there of people making mistakes. You will learn a great deal by watching the folks that you train with, which you can continue that learning curve online using your computer.

Tune into Triathlon: There are many many triathlon podcasts available now thanks to a growing market and portable technology. Get on your phone and find a few of the podcasts you’re interested in so you continue to learn. Podcasts are great because you can listen to them while you’re doing something else. You can listen to them in the car, when you’re commuting, even when you’re running.

These are nice ways of complementing experience and don’t actually take away from the other things you are doing in the moment. Plus, there are some great interviews as well as plenty of of stories and anecdotes to make you laugh. 6

Tip Number Five: If It’s Not Fun, Why Do It?
At the end of the day, triathlon is meant to be a hobby. The minute it feels like a job, the less likely you are to want to do it. This is partly while having a training group is an excellent means of getting faster because it’s fun, you want to go, and they will challenge you.

But starting to put yourself in a silo, or putting external pressures on yourself to perform…odds are you are going to ruin your fledgling triathlon experience.

You can keep triathlon fun by picking lots of other races you can do along the way. Any local 5K or 10K run will do. The first charity bike ride in your town, go sign up for it. You are a triathlete, you can do it! While open water swim events are hard to find, if you’re fortunate enough to live near a good body of water, chances are there are some some groups who will be better and you can join.

Take on new experiences. Search for new running routes or cycling. Get outside of your comfort zone and use triathlon as a means to explore, not only your fitness and potential, but your neighborhood too.

It’s important to keep triathlon fun because the longer you play the game, the better you get at the game.

Bonus Tips!
We hope you enjoyed these five basic ideas for how you can improve your triathlon training for fun — and maximum results. But as athletes move down the spectrum of experience, they begin to look for other ways to get faster, stronger, and better. Here are a few bonus tips for those of you looking to go the extra mile.

Bonus Tip Number One: Get Fitter By Using Intensity, Not Time, To Your Advantage
Inside Endurance Nation we use a fixed training schedule so that every week you know that your Thursday workout is an hour. We make every Thursday — each week — incrementally harder by changing the intensity of the main set so you are doing more work.

So instead of having a 60-minute workout this week, a 70-minute workout next week, and an 80-minute workout the following week – you always train for an hour. Not only can you create a positive training stimulus, you are doing so without adding extra time which might interfere with your basic life or sleep patterns.

Tip Number Two: Stack Your Workouts To Save Time
If you have a bike and run workout – commonly known as a “brick” workout for the way your legs feel when you try to run — try to put them together.  Any time that we can combine two workouts into one training session is more efficient for your schedule.

Two workouts, typically means two showers- which is often a deal breaker. Combining two workouts into one,  can make just one shower and freeing up a bit of time. Do yourself a favor see how well you can bundle things together to reduce the impact on your daily life. As for Tip number three: keep a training diary…

Tip Number Three: Past Performance Is the Best Predictor of Future Performance
Nowadays with electronic trading gadgets and online logs, you have very little to no excuse for not tracking your workouts. However, it doesn’t have to just be the data. For example, you can talk about how you feel or what sessions you enjoy that week. However you choose to record it, I encourage you to do it.

Often times being able to go back and look at your training is a great way to discover how you ended up injured. Or how you got sick. Or, what worked last time you went so fast. But without the personal history, you will never know and overall improvement will suffer.

Tip Number Four: Take on Additional Resources
Endurance Nation has a compilation of articles, podcasts, and videos designed to help triathletes regardless of the specific area that they are interested in. We’ve created several key pages on our website where we have aggregated this information to help make your life easier.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the topics covered here, feel free to visit us online: www.endurancenation.us. As the online home of a triathlon, Endurance Nation is here to help you improve and tackle your next endurance challenge. Come on over to browse our website, and see if we can help you out.

Interested in getting a 30 day, free trial of Endurance Nation to take it out for a “test ride” befor you make any obligations?

About the Author: Endurance Nation founder Patrick McCrann is a 22-time IRONMAN finisher with seven trips to Hawaii. He lives in Rhode Island with his family where he enjoys trying to fit the swim, the bike and the run in between all of the soccer practices, dance recitals, and after school activities that make life fun.

sign up

 

Save

Save

Save

]]>
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 […]]]>

MH 4

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.

20160323_215821_zpscmwgsnry

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

Learn more about Matt Hanson Coaching.

MH3

Save

]]>