70.3 – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com The place to learn about triathlon. Wed, 26 Jul 2017 23:24:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://university.trisports.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-tsu-button-32x32.png 70.3 – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com 32 32 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

]]>
Training and Racing Effectively When the Heat Hits https://university.trisports.com/2017/07/14/training-and-racing-effectively-when-the-heat-hits/ Fri, 14 Jul 2017 23:34:32 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8489 Professional Triathlete Jesse Vondracek  shares his training and racing tips on how to acclimate to the heat and when to take it indoors. Given that my Facebook feed consists of posts lamenting 107 degree temps, it’s safe to say that summer is in full swing in Tucson and most of the United States. Heat is […]]]>

Professional Triathlete Jesse Vondracek  shares his training and racing tips on how to acclimate to the heat and when to take it indoors.

Given that my Facebook feed consists of posts lamenting 107 degree temps, it’s safe to say that summer is in full swing in Tucson and most of the United States. Heat is simply a form of stress on the body. If you are training in the heat, your body needs to spend energy to counteract that. Your blood must flow to your skin as well as your muscles. Your sweat helps cool you down, which works well in the short term. As time goes on, this leads to “fun” things like dehydration resulting in a huge decrease in performance. Even prior to becoming dehydrated, your perceived effort and heart rate go up compared to similar paces and power numbers on a cooler day. This is because your body is busy dealing with heat stress and your blood must be used for cooling. In a VO2 max test on elite athletes, athletes had approximately a 2% decrease in performance (Zhao). The important take away here is this is in a test lasting less than 15 minutes and even before dehydration has a chance to slow you down.

Stress is Stress
Before dehydration, we have heat stress. I am sure you’ve heard or read before stress is stress. In other words, your brain interprets all stressors similarly. Whether you had a hard day at work, are stuck in traffic, or are trying to do intervals in 110 degree heat, the same chemicals are released in your brain to deal with stress. The difference in these stresses is that the effect of heat increases over time. Since your boss is not riding with you that stress will likely lessen, while heat stress increases over time.

Creeping Dehydration
After life, heat, and physical stress from training, you’re now dealing with dehydration. If you are 2% dehydrated (e.g a loss of 3lbs in a 150 pound male) you will have a 5% decrease in performance in an event as short as a 5k (Jeukendrup). I challenge you to go for a run in the heat and see how much water weight you lose. This 2% dehydration causes decreased sweat rate, reduced skin blood flow, reduced blood volume, increased core temperature and rate of muscle glycogen use. All of these factors contribute to a higher perceived effort. Even just the increase in glycogen use forces you to slow down in order to conserve glycogen.

Perceived Effort
If you have to deal with multiple stressors at once or even just prolonged time in the heat, it’s important to remember that your pace or speed will be effected. It is in moments like this that perceived effort is so important to monitor. If you feel like you are putting out 300 watts, but only hitting 260, your actual effort is closer to that on a cool, less stressful day. Unless you are suffering from deep fatigue, you should still complete the workout, but understand that your times will be slower. Training in hot conditions taxes your body’s systems and takes a toll on overall performance, the training benefit is not exactly the same, but very similar.

Indoors vs. Outdoors
If you want the same benefit, or it is 110 out, you can train inside. This reduces the chance of heat-related injury and means you can nail the workout as it was written. There is a benefit to both training in less than ideal conditions and moving things indoors at times. For easy days and short workouts, I say get outside. Help train your body to deal with the heat. If you are preparing for a hot race this is crucial. There are many ways to acclimate to the heat. A good way to start about three weeks prior to your race is perform 3-5 low intensity workouts a week in the heat. You want to aim to be slightly dehydrated to train it to deal with similar race day conditions. As you adapt, your body will increase the relative temperate at which you begin to sweat, and lower your heart rate in the heat. You do not want to sacrifice your hard training sessions by making them all in the heat and losing quality. The heat sessions should be aerobic only, and I recommend moving key workouts indoors or doing them early in the morning to avoid the heat. Another way to aid heat adaptation is to jump in a sauna a few times a week for 20-30 minutes post workout. This has a similar effect to performing easy sessions in the heat.

Recovery After Heat Training
Keep in mind that heat training will increase recovery time and fatigue from a workout. You need to make sure you properly rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after these sessions. As you add heat sessions into your training, do so slowly. See how your body reacts first, then go from there. Keep in mind that the point is to be acclimated on race day, and be able to race faster. Keeping the goal in mind will help you balance quality sessions, heat acclimation, and recovery.

Racing in the Heat
If you are lucky enough to have a race day with high heat and humidity you need to be mentally ready for the challenging conditions. The number one way to do this is to plan your hydration strategy. I have heard a great deal of talk about relying on thirst to consumer liquids rather than drinking according to a plan. If you are going for a walk, I totally agree with this idea. If you are in the middle of a triathlon and have minimal energy to spend processing water/nutrition at any one time, I totally disagree.

Make Drinking a Priority
Prioritizing drinking might mean you slow down more at aid stations, or even stop to ensure you get a bottle. Your ride time might lose a minute or two, but as you run past people walking on the run course, you will thank yourself for the foresight. I set a timer on my watch to remind myself to eat and drink at various intervals throughout the ride. When I am riding hard, I need to focus on riding hard. If my mind drifts to water, heat, the scenery, I slow down. I need to keep as much as I can on autopilot. If it is hot, I make sure I am drinking about two bottles of water an hour and 300-400 liquid calories (water and gel mix). Your body cannot digest calories without water, so water is a must. The closer you can stay to hydrated at the end of the bike, the better off you will be starting the run.

Heat-Specific Pacing Strategy
In addition to a hydration strategy, it’s also good to have a heat-specific pacing strategy.  On both the bike and run your watts/pace might be a little slower to accommodate for the heat. You might be able to get away with your usual power on the bike if you are hydrating well, but the run will most likely be slower. Knowing your perceived effort levels will help you run as fast as you can without exploding. On the run, work the aid stations. They are all set up the same, and begin and end with water. Hit both. Drink water at every aid station. If you start peeing a ton, it’s okay to back off some. I also love throwing ice in my kit, which gives my body a few cold spots to focus my energy on. In addition to pacing and hydration, make sure you have a nutrition plan and try your best to stick to it on the run. I take a gel approximately every 30 minutes on the run, and supplement with gatorade and cola between cups of water.

Salt Up
The last thing to consider when preparing for a hot race is electrolytes or salts. I never thought these were an issue for me until I was running down the course at Ironman Arizona looking for chicken broth when it was 100 degrees and sunny. I then realized why I might be craving a hot beverage. If you are drinking bottles and bottles of water and sweating out more than just water, you need to help replace your electrolytes. This is a touchy subject because everyone sweats different ratios of electrolytes. It’s a good idea to try a few things well before race day, and find a plan that works for you. If things get funky on race day, don’t be afraid to deviate (and drink more cola), but start out with a calculated plan. I tend to add some electrolytes to my water and gel mix bottle and have a little salt ready in case I need it on the run. Most gels have a fair amount of sodium in them. Some do not, so know what you have, and know what is on the course in order to make good choices.

Have fun, stay cool, and stay hydrated!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Bibliography:

Zhao, Jiexiu Effects of heat and different humidity levels on aerobic and aerobic exercise performance in athletes. May 24, 2013. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1728869X13000087

Jeukendrup, Asker. Dehydration and its effects on performance. 2010. http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance

About the Author: Jesse Vondracek is a Professional Triathlete with an IRONMAN PR of 8:27. He has raced in hundreds of triathlons, 19 IRONMANs, and has 0 DNFs. Jesse is the Head Coach at Top Step Training. He lives and trains with his wife Amy Cole and their two mutts. He can be reached at www.topsteptraining.com or Jesse Vondracek on Facebook.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

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

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

Here are my top tips for race travel:

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

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

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

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

Nicole Valentine assembling her Dimond bike in Puerto Rico

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

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

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Swimskins – Worth It? https://university.trisports.com/2017/06/29/swimskins-are-they-worth-it/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 20:39:07 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8434 The swimskin is one of the newest pieces of apparel in triathlon. As a thinner and smaller replacement for a wetsuit, swimskins are growing in popularity for warm-water triathlons. For triathletes who compete in swimming environments where wetsuits are not allowed, the swimskin is the perfect piece of gear to reduce friction in the water […]]]>

The swimskin is one of the newest pieces of apparel in triathlon. As a thinner and smaller replacement for a wetsuit, swimskins are growing in popularity for warm-water triathlons. For triathletes who compete in swimming environments where wetsuits are not allowed, the swimskin is the perfect piece of gear to reduce friction in the water and shave valuable time off your swim.

When should I consider a swim skin?
While a wetsuit is still the best in terms of offering buoyancy, warmth and speed, the swimskin is a great alternative when racing in non-wetsuit legal races to provide an advantage over traditional triathlon racing suits. You will want to consider buying a swimskin if you are racing in areas with mild temperatures. For WTC events, wetsuits are not allowed in water temperatures above 76.1 °F. The USA Triathlon rules state that wetsuits are not allowed in water temperatures above 78 °F. A swimskin is an excellent option if you will be swimming in small bodies of water or areas where the temperatures get high.

What is a swimskin in the first place?
If you have never heard of a swimskin, they are a skin-tight “speedsuit” that goes over your tri suit or race kit and extends from the knees to the shoulders. They do not offer buoyancy or warmth, but the compression allows you to maintain speed and hydrodynamics while swimming through the water. The suit is meant to smooth out the contours of your body and race kit so you can glide through the water and exert less effort. By making your body smoother and smaller, these skins enhance your speed by reducing friction that typical race kits produce against the water.

Originally, swimskins came out with no sleeves; however, more brands are now offering sleeved versions as more triathletes use sleeved tri suits. In past years, you could not wear a race kit that had sleeves under your swimskin. This meant that you had to roll up your sleeves or roll down your race kit to your waist underneath the swimskin. In 2016, the WTC changed the rules that allow sleeves above the elbow to be worn under your swimskin.

How should a swimskin fit?
The swimskin should fit your body very tightly. In most cases, they require a friend to help you zip it up. If they fit too loosely and the suit is flapping against your body, then the features that reduce drag will actually do the opposite. This is a piece of compression equipment, so it should feel tight. Keep in mind that it will feel much different once you get in the water than it will outside of it. Although each person has a different preference, you must choose the swimskin that is most comfortable to you.

What are the performance benefits?
While swimskins are fairly new, there have been some studies done on their performance. In a pool test by the U.S. Olympic swim team, swimskims saved an average of just over 2 seconds per 100 yards when compared to a typical training suit. In comparison, the wetsuit shaved off 6 seconds per 100 yards against the training suit.

There are several major races that are typically borderline non-wetsuit races. Those include the Ironman World Championships, 70.3 World Championships, Ironman Texas, Ironman Chattanooga, Ironman Louisville, Honu 70.3, Eagleman 70.3, Buffalo Springs 70.3, Muncie 70.3, Racine 70.3, Ohio 70.3, Boulder 70.3, Maine 70.3, Atlantic City 70.3, Augusta 70.3, New Orleans 70.3 and any local race that occurs in the summertime.

What are the key features?
If you think a swimskin would be beneficial to you, there are many brands to choose from. While each one has been tested and designed to enhance speed, there are differences in fit and feel. Some of the most popular brands include Blueseventy, TYR, and Zone3. Here are some features of each swimskin.

BlueSeventy PZ4TX

Differentiator: Advanced ultrasonic welded seams
Building on ten years of swimskin development, the PZ4TX swimskin features advanced ultrasonic welded seams for reduced drag, which means that the seams are welded together using radio frequency and heat to melt the edges together for a stronger seam. With a breathable material on the back of the suit, it helps regulate your temperature while in the warm water. This suit actually does not have a lanyard attached to the zipper to reduce friction the lanyard may cause in the water. The zipper locks in place when pointed down and unzips easily when pointed up.

Zone3 Swimskin

Differentiator: Revolutionary fabric, elite athlete feedback
Zone3’s latest suit is built upon seven years of testing, elite athlete feedback, and thousands of customer demos. Based on the extensive testing, Zone3 chose the revolutionary X2R woven fabric with glued and heat bonded seams for less drag and ultimate speed. The fabric is one of the lightest hydrophobic materials available. The legs have a fabric called Energy-D, which offers more compression so that your legs glide effortlessly through the water. There is a lanyard attached to the zipper to allow for easier transitions.

TYR Torque Swimskin Series

Differentiator: Double-layer technology
The Torque Swimskin Series is the latest of TYRs offerings. This swimskin is constructed with two layers, a hydrophilic outer layer that works with the water and a hydrophobic inner layer that repels water to keep you dry. The fabric is a composite knit fabric that allows your body to move freely. Each suit has a coil zipper for a quick transition and a beaded grip on the legs so that the suit will attach to your body and not move around in the water.

At the end of the day, each brand offers countless benefits and the features have been tested extensively. Many of these suits offer similar race times, so it really comes down to the feel of each suit. Whichever brand swimskin suits your fancy, the data is in and swimskins deliver that little extra advantage when it matters most.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

 

About the Author: Alyssa is a writer and the wife of an Ironman and TriSports Ambassador. Not much of an athlete herself, she has learned the sport of triathlon from her husband over his years of competition. Now she wants to share what she has learned as a spectator with other triathlete supporters. 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
The Essential Superfood Smoothie for Athletes https://university.trisports.com/2017/06/20/the-essential-superfood-smoothie-for-athletes/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:02:31 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8398 Adding a daily smoothie to your diet is a great way to conveniently get additional quality nutrition just when you need it. It’s time to face the music, we all know we can stand to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, particularly brightly colored berries and leafy greens. For the training triathlete, […]]]>

Adding a daily smoothie to your diet is a great way to conveniently get additional quality nutrition just when you need it.


It’s time to face the music, we all know we can stand to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, particularly brightly colored berries and leafy greens. For the training triathlete, an additional dose of 20 grams of clean, convenient protein between meals, or at meal time, goes a long way to help aid muscle recovery and maintain lean body mass, crucial when you are doing two, and sometimes more, workouts in a day.

One of the best ways to do this is with a high-protein smoothie. It’s quick to make, portable so you can take it with you on the go (we know you’re busy, and we feel your pain), and customizable, allowing you to boost up the flavors or ingredients you particularly like or need. As a busy triathlete training for more than one sport who’s body is in constant need of fueling and/or recovery, it’s hard to beat the convenience and nutritional value of a good smoothie with the right ingredients, not to mention portability.

When we make our smoothies, we tend to look at them as the “catch all” for everything healthy we know we need to eat in a given day. Did you have a particularly hard run session in the morning? Throw in a little extra protein. Do you feel like lately you’ve been missing getting enough green roughage in your diet? Toss in a handful of spinach or another leafy green. It really is what you make it, and gives you the certainty and peace of mind that later in the day if all else fails because your swim went long and you just aren’t going to have the time to throw together that well-balanced dinner you planned for, forcing you to compromise your food choices (let’s face it, we all do from time to time), at least you had your healthy smoothie before.

Let’s address the nutritional elephant in the room and the smoothie’s not-so-equal counterpart: juicing. It is an alternative way to get micro and phytonutrients in your diet, but frankly, it is far inferior compared to a well-balanced smoothie. Juicing omits almost all the fiber from whatever you are pressing to make your juice, which means you are leaving nutrition on the table. Don’t get us wrong, we do believe in juicing and some of the benefits it may bring, but only when treated as a supplement vs. a primary meal, which is required to give your body what it needs for performance and recovery.

A well-balanced smoothie on the other hand should have a blend of low-glycemic carbs, micronutrients and fiber from whatever fruits and/or veggies you add, protein, healthy fats, and a general profile of other vitamins and minerals that an athlete’s body needs. It is hard to beat the nutritional punch this packs for a body that is constantly looking for a little reprieve. Not only will those ingredients provide a balanced and steady insulin response, you get the added benefit of providing your gut with pre-biotic fiber from the blended fruits and veggies, which can help maintain healthy digestive system flora, better known as the beneficial bacteria that keep everything “running smoothly.” Just make sure you use a very good blender (we prefer the Magic Bullet) for an ideal texture!

If you are using a Field Work Nutrition Primo Smoothie as your base, you will be getting 20 grams of high quality protein with a full spectrum of essential amino acids, whole food based carbohydrates, healthy fats from sources like coconut and flax, including omega-3’s, berries, greens, turmeric and tart cherry to help reduce exercise induced inflammation, probiotics, prebiotics, a whole profile of vitamins and minerals that triathletes are regularly deficient it, plus a whole lot more.

Read 3 Ways to PR Your Recovery through Nutrition to learn more about nailing your triathlon recovery!

If you are looking for one simple way to add some additional nutrition to your diet in an extremely user-friendly way, consider a daily superfood smoothie.

Try one of our favorite recipes:

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 8 oz milk or almond milk
  • 2 scoops Primo Smoothie Meal mix

Blend and enjoy!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

About Field Work Nutrition Co.: Field Work Nutrition Co. Develops products for a community of likeminded people that value living a healthy vibrant life by eating well and pursuing their athletic and active passions “in the field.” We believe that health is wealth and a life outdoors is a life well lived.  We value real food and clean ingredients, but know that our modern lifestyles leave us time crunched and seeking convenience.  This does not have to be at the expense of healthy nutrition.  Our Primo Smoothie Meal delivers superior nutrition specifically tailored to the needs of training athletes in a convenient format to fuel your everyday.  It contains 20 grams of high quality protein with a full spectrum of essential amino acids, whole food based carbohydrates, healthy fats from sources like coconut and flax, berries, greens, turmeric and tart cherry to help reduce exercise induced inflammation, probiotics, prebiotics, a whole profile of vitamins and minerals athletes are regularly deficient in, and a whole lot more.

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

]]>
Proper Run Form and Mechanics https://university.trisports.com/2017/05/12/essentials-of-run-form-and-mechanics/ Fri, 12 May 2017 17:22:44 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8262 Written by Lisa Roberts, American Long Course Professional Triathlete and TriSports Elite Team Member Is there a perfect running style?  Unfortunately, the answer to that simple question isn’t all that simple or clearly defined. So I’ll say “sort of” for each individual. Particularly when it comes to triathletes, there are more efficient ways of running. […]]]>

Written by Lisa Roberts, American Long Course Professional Triathlete and TriSports Elite Team Member

Is there a perfect running style?  Unfortunately, the answer to that simple question isn’t all that simple or clearly defined. So I’ll say “sort of” for each individual. Particularly when it comes to triathletes, there are more efficient ways of running. Especially when it comes to triathletes, working towards a more efficient running form is far more beneficial than striving for a perfect running form.

Efficiency is better, here’s why:
Triathletes come from varied athletic backgrounds and do not have enough training time to develop running form like pure runners and the physical demands running off the bike are drastically different. Therefore, any work you do to improve your running mechanics should place primary importance on increasing your running efficiency. For example, I began my athletic career as a distance runner and my running gait has gone from being described as a “gazelle” and now is likened to a “bull.” I take it as a compliment.

So where do you start?
Begin with body alignment, posture and using gravity. This can be described as an “up tall and proud” chest, looking up the road, not down at your feet, with a slight forward lean originating from the ankles. This gets you using gravity to push forward, keeps your chest open, relaxed, and puts you in the correct position for a good foot strike and push off.

Leg drive and Push Off
Next, we look at leg drive and push off. Your running power comes from your hips, glutes, core, particularly when our legs are tired from riding the bike. Try this: from a standing position, lean forward slightly from the ankles. At a certain point of leaning you will need to pick up one leg and stick it out in front of you to stop you from falling on your face (see picture above). That combination of the ‘drive’ feeling coming from the hips along with the push off coming from the rear leg is what we’re after. Your arms will naturally follow in an alternating pattern. Don’t underestimate your arms; however, we’ll cover this later with cadence.

Foot Strike and Stride Length
Foot strike stride length and are next and conflicting opinions abound as to how this should happen. There is some debate between whether runners should avoid heel striking or forefoot striking at all costs. Some of these opinions are made in hopes of selling a particular type of running shoe and some are held based on biomechanics and other historical research. Let’s go with somewhere in between and settle on striking somewhere in the midfoot, which is what most of us do anyway. There is some advantage to being able to control and shift to various foot strike patterns. Most triathletes have a tendency toward a slight heel/midfoot strike, this helps the leg absorb the impact through the knee, ankle, and outside of the foot then spreads the weight across the foot as it makes full ground contact. With decent hip mobility and drive from the core, the knee, ankle, and foot are set up to achieve an optimal position.

As for stride length, here’s where I shifted from the “gazelle” to the “bull.” Many years of cycling (and sitting at desks) has tightened the hip flexors and shortened my stride. But what has resulted is a very efficient stride length and rate for long distance triathlon.

Is there an ideal cadence?
Stride rate (a.k.a turnover or cadence) is your rhythm. It holds the entire running motion together and is your flow.  According to USAT, numerous surveys indicate that the best runners and triathletes take 90+ steps per minute (per single leg). Some of this is a function of their speed, but even runners and triathletes with less ability and subsequently lower speeds who run well for their ability display similar cadences. We can also control our stride rate by swinging our arms. Often times I focus on my arm swing and connecting it with power emanating from my core – especially when I am starting to feel fatigued.

Read more about Running the Right Way from ITU Olympic Distance World Champion and 6-Time Hawaii IRONMAN World Champion Mark Allen.

Don’t forget your arms!
Finally, let’s discuss your arms and their importance in run form. Aside from helping you keep your balance and rhythm, they are also your first aspect to monitor in staying up tall, relaxed and symmetrical. Keeping a rhythmical swing, with hands and shoulders relaxed and not crossing them over our body’s center-line simply helps to keep all the other form metrics in place.

Running form mechanics can be a complex subject; my hope is you can take these basic points and start to drill down on each one in more depth. There are a variety of drills you can perform to really hone in on these mechanics. Happy running!

About the Author: Lisa Roberts is an American long course professional triathlete living in Tucson, Arizona. She has run competitively for 25 years, competing specifically in triathlon for 15 years, professionally for 8 years. As a professional she is a 3x Ironman World Championship finisher, has 17 pro Ironman podium finishes and 3 Ironman/70.3 run course records. She is a USAT Level 1 Coach, European cycling tour guide and Registered Landscape Architect.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
A Spectator’s Guide to Triathlon https://university.trisports.com/2017/03/15/a-spectators-guide-to-triathlon/ Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:57:44 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8088 Written by Nate Deck, Field Test Expert and TriSports Ambassador Team Athlete Beginner triathletes spend many hours learning the ins and outs of the sport. They swim, bike, and run. They research and buy new toys gear. They learn the flow of the race and practice their transitions. But sometimes, they forget one thing…or I […]]]>

Written by Nate Deck, Field Test Expert and TriSports Ambassador Team Athlete

Beginner triathletes spend many hours learning the ins and outs of the sport. They swim, bike, and run. They research and buy new toys gear. They learn the flow of the race and practice their transitions. But sometimes, they forget one thing…or I should say person.

Triathlon is a very individual sport, except when it’s not. Look no further than Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen and her husband Patrick Lemieux; he quit his job to support her (successful) quest for Olympic gold. Read more about how Gwen Jorgensen prepared for the Rio Olympics here. When it comes to race day, your support structure will be right there with you. They may be just as overwhelmed as you are by all of this, so here are some helpful hints to share with your beginner triathlon spectator.

Arrive Early, Before the Pre-Race Meeting
If you drive separate and you don’t want to be there at the crack of dawn, still plan to be there early. Races have limited parking and you don’t want to be walking a mile or more just to get to and from the car. The car will also be your friend in the time between quick glimpses of your athlete. Read more tips here on making the most of your race-day experience.

Familiarize Yourself with the Transition Area
The transition area is where all the activity happens. Most races have just one transition area where the athletes transition from swim-to-bike (called “T1”) and bike-to-run (called “T2”). Some races may have two separate areas, but these are point-to-point races that come with their own set of challenges. Knowing your way around transition will help you know how to position yourself to get the best glimpses/pictures of your athlete. It would be a bummer to be standing by the “Swim In” part of transition when your athlete is coming through the “Bike-In” area. You will also want to ask your athlete how long they think it will take them to complete each leg of the race. That will give you an idea of how much time you have before they get back to transition.

Pack Snacks and Water
Triathlons can take a long time, don’t sit there and be miserable with a stomach rumbling for something to eat. Avoid being a hangry spectator and bring something to snack on; you’ll have a much better experience. Also, if this is going to be one of the longer distance races, you’ll want to plan on a picnic!

Bring Something to Keep You Occupied
Along the same lines as bringing a snack; it can be a while between glimpses of your athlete. Bring a book or something to keep you occupied. There will be lots of other spectators to chat with as well, but you should always have something available to fend off the boredom that can creep in. If you have young children with you, on to the next tip.

Know Where the Closest Playground is
Most races will set up in parks or near schools. Keep your eyes peeled for a playground. Not every race will have a park nearby, but if they do, it will help keep the little ones from getting restless while they wait to cheer on their favorite athlete.

Bring a Cowbell
Nothing is more energizing to an athlete on course than hearing the cheers of their family and friends. And there is no better way to cheer on an athlete than with a cowbell, and of course your hand-decorated signs to keep them motivated for the finish line. Yes, they are obnoxious most of the time, but in a race setting, nothing is better. Bonus, it will keep the kids entertained too! Plus,

Thanks to you, your athlete doesn’t have to be this guy on race day (sorry selfie-stick guy). You’ll be there to help capture the moment.

Take Pictures
There will most likely be an official race photographer, but take your own pictures anyway. Don’t stress about getting a perfect shot, but documenting the race from your perspective will mean a lot to you and your athlete in the future. This doesn’t just mean the race part of the race. Take pictures of the fans and what you (and the kids) are doing at the race. Your athlete will care just as much about those memories as those of the race itself.

Make Friends
You won’t be the only one there. Chat with other spectators and triathlete families. Race day is a great time to get a glimpse into other athlete’s lives and make friends with other people you would probably never meet otherwise.

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

]]>
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

]]>
Get Fit https://university.trisports.com/2017/02/17/get-fit/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:48:07 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8012 Written by James Haycraft This title is a bit misleading, as the reader may think I mean something along the lines of “aerobic fitness” gainz made in training. Au contraire, mon frère. Today I am talking about getting fit in the context of getting a bike fit. My title missed that crucial middle word for […]]]>

Written by James Haycraft

This title is a bit misleading, as the reader may think I mean something along the lines of “aerobic fitness” gainz made in training. Au contraire, mon frère. Today I am talking about getting fit in the context of getting a bike fit. My title missed that crucial middle word for the sake of sucking you in and getting you interested.

Triathlon fitting is both hugely overrated and hugely underrated at the same time. Paradoxical, you say? I agree that triathlon fitting is a bit of a paradox. It’s overrated in the sense that there are too many bad fitters out there yelling about how important it is for you to come see them and pay for a multi-hundred dollar fit before choosing a bicycle without realizing that they are bad fitters. You’ll also see many athletes crowing about their amazing fit and suggesting that a fit with their guy or gal is imperative to your success as a bicycle rider.

Are all fits created equal?
No sir. 90% of fitters who partake of the triathlon business segment are bad. I am using hyberbole and exaggeration for the purpose of making a point, so stay with me for a bit. Too often fitters focus on hitting numbers and angles that they have read out of a book or been taught in a one-day class by someone who has been taught in a three-day class. They are fitting a system and not an athlete. Just like coaches who simply coach a program and not an individual, these types of fitters are to be avoided at all costs both for the sake of your wallet and your triathlon fit.

Getting the right fit
Now, on the other hand, good triathlon fits are incredibly underrated. A fit with someone that understands aero fitting in general and its related principles and goals who also understands you as an athlete – your injury and race history along with your short and long term goals – AND has an ability to understand bicycle fit as a system insofar as it relates to your bike is an invaluable tool in your success as an athlete.

Let’s be frank: I don’t see any point in buying a triathlon bike if you’re not going to use it for its intended purpose: moving efficiently in straight lines. The only reason people buy or upgrade triathlon bikes is to be more competitive or more efficient. You may say that you bought it to be more comfortable in your triathlon racing, but that really just means efficient. A tri bike is designed completely around the philosophy of making you as a rider more aerodynamic for long periods of time while remaining comfortable. Let’s not forget that there are several balls to juggle in a triathlon fit:

  • Sustainability: This is key and often forgotten in the days of wind tunnel testing and a market that has been inundated with marketing catch phrases like “saves 3 watts” or “uber aerodynamic sleeves” and so on ad nauseum.
  • Efficiency: This means a mix of being fast (aerodynamic) while also being powerful. A good fitter is playing with the different demands of being aero and powerful as it relates to the athlete’s race goals and history.
  • Adjustability: I’ve changed this third one quite a bit over the years, but currently I think this is a good third ball to juggle. Many bikes these days have a specific (and limited) range of adjustability that comes into play at times when a fitter is trying to optimize an athlete’s position to a bike; again, keeping in mind the context of that athlete’s dynamic. Or if the morphology of that athlete is such that they are an outlier (e.g. extremely long and low, very tall, very short, super long legs with super short arms, etc.) finding them a bike in general makes a fitter’s job more…ummm, dynamic and interesting.

So in recap, the whole point of a tri bike is to be more efficient. Long story short, it’s my guiding ethos in fitting someone to a tri bike. Take that for what it’s worth…

How do we do that, you might ask?
Well, a good triathlon bike fit that juggles those three balls successfully starts entirely at the saddle. If you ride with a traditional saddle (i.e. think: it has a single nose), I can tell you that you are likely not as comfortable or as efficient as you could be. The original triathlon saddles were basically just more padded versions of their road saddle brothers and sisters. You were supposed to scoot your hips forward, “roll” (I’ll use that word a lot from now on) your hips forward and basically perch on the nose of the saddle. Doing this correctly allowed you to have an aerodynamic position. It was not, however, particularly comfortable or sustainable. Most people that still use those types of saddles have what has been termed (I’m borrowing this from my coach, David Tilbury-Davis) a “pooping dog” position; you don’t have to try hard to imagine what that looks like. This can generally lead to lower back discomfort, SI joint issues, back/shoulder fatigue, among other issues.

Ideally, you sit correctly on a noseless saddle (think ISM Adamo, Cobb JOF, Fizik Tritone, Dash, Specialized Sitero, etc.) which supports your bony parts, your seat bones, and leaves your soft tissue be, allowing your pelvis to “roll” forward. Think perching your butt vs. sagging your butt, flattening out your lower back and relieving it of the weight of your entire upper body. You want a position that supports you at your seat bones, elbows, and feet all using mostly bony support. The less muscular tension you have to apply to relax in your aero bars, the more sustainable that position will be long-term, both in terms of years of racing and hours of racing.

Postural coaching cues
Postural guidance, as I’ve dabbled in above, may be ignored by many of the fitters I’ve encountered. Most athletes, including myself, need to be told what to do and ideally shown what to do. Some have good kinesthetic awareness, but some do not, so either video feedback post-fit or ideally some sort of immediate and direct feedback allows them to make the postural adjustments that the fitter is hopefully suggesting and guiding them through. Many athletes are often surprised when a position that is more aero is actually more comfortable. Allowing your body to breathe so to speak (i.e. making your fit longer horizontally and a bit lower vertically) can often be a complete game changer for athletes who don’t even really think about triathlon cycling as being about going fast or being aero. But it can be a very fortunate byproduct!

Optimized fit for increased performance
A good triathlon bike fit is often mentioned as a way to aid your run, which – I believe – is definitely true, although I believe it’s true for slightly counter-intuitive reasons. Let’s say, for example, that you have a position on the bike that is not particularly optimized (i.e. not efficient using our jargon from above) and you expect a roughly six hour bike split at IRONMAN Arizona.  Well, with a good bike fit that yields a more efficient and aerodynamic position while still being sustainable by you, the rider, could possibly take 20 minutes off your time on the bike using the same effort or watts as you were originally planning. So all of a sudden you get to the run having worked out less than you would have before. There is less stress on your body and you’ve endured one third of an hour’s less working out so you obviously get to the run fresher than you would have otherwise. I am not completely sold on the idea that a good bike fit changes certain muscle engagement (although typically there is more glute and quad usage in an optimized fit) such that it affects your run, but that could be argued as a positive as well.

What to expect from your fit
I think, at a minimum, you should expect a couple of things out of your bike fit and the fitter. The fitter should be able to explain his reasoning behind every single change he or she makes to your bike and posture. There should be purpose and confidence to their actions and guidance.  They should listen to you and understand your goals and have the ability to translate that into what you want out of your bike and your fit on that bike. As far as outputs go (as in, if you are not getting fit on an actual bicycle but are instead fit on a “fit bike” with the goal that you will buy a bike later using that fit), you should expect numbers that describe your saddle position (i.e. how high is it and how far ahead or behind is it as those numbers relate to the bottom bracket) and cockpit position (i.e. where the arm pads are in relation to the bottom bracket, called “x” and “y” or armpad stack and reach) as those will place those items (the most critical items of a bike fit) in “space” and any competent fitter should be easily able to translate those numbers onto a real bike or adjust your bike accordingly. Ideally, the fitter can also explain those numbers to you in such a way that you understand them and can appreciate their meaning as it relates to your fit now and in the future.

So in summary, a good triathlon bike fit starts at the saddle and contains postural and fit coordinate guidance that allows an athlete to better understand themselves on a bicycle and makes them more efficient on their bicycle as well, ideally leading to a better bicycling experience in triathlon!

About the Author: James is a recent transplant to the southwest who has spent more money during his time in triathlon than he’d care to admit. An adult onset triathlete, he has had the privilege to race in the professional field before realizing that they are simply too good for him and is now back to the age group ranks, where he has discovered a love for all things off-road and has (temporarily, most likely) forsaken his road-going ways in favor of getting dirty.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
Master the Climb: Cycling Tips to Climb Better, Easier, and Faster https://university.trisports.com/2017/02/05/master-the-climb-cycling-tips-to-climb-better-easier-and-faster/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 03:56:06 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7967 Written by Dawn English, OutRival Racing Premier LII Coach When you climb on your bike you cannot escape! Walking your bike is certainly no fun, plus it is difficult to get going again. What can you do to climb your best? Know Thy Gears Go through all of your gears, feel comfortable using all of […]]]>

Written by Dawn English, OutRival Racing Premier LII Coach

When you climb on your bike you cannot escape! Walking your bike is certainly no fun, plus it is difficult to get going again. What can you do to climb your best?

Know Thy Gears
Go through all of your gears, feel comfortable using all of them on a flat road and a climb. Often, athletes get comfortable only using a few gears, but not being able to smoothly change gears. Only shift one gear at a time.

Anticipate
At the base of the climb change into a lower a gear one by one until you find a gear that you can pedal with some pressure and stay smooth.

Body Position
Shift your hips to the back of the saddle and make sure to drive your heels down on the downstroke. Doing this will engage your hamstrings and glutes, the biggest muscles in your body. Make sure to have your torso and upper body relaxed and open. Remember to also keep your hands relaxed. Tension in your upper body translates to tension in your pedal stroke that will decrease your efficiency, power and speed.

Don’t Completely Stop at the Top
Congratulations, you made it to the top of the climb! Do not stop pedaling. Just as you did at the base of the climb, gradually decrease your gears to one where you can pedal at a steady cadence with control.

Cadence
Cadence, or RPMs, refers to the revolutions per minute of your pedal stroke. Much debate has taken place regarding cadence for triathletes. Most research done on the subject has been taken from professional cyclists. But, even among professional cyclists the ones at the top seem to ride at a higher cadence than those in the middle of the field. This could be because faster riders have a more efficient pedal stroke and can ride in a bigger gear. But, pedaling around 80 rpms, even on a climb is often preferred and is a good place to start. In the study, Effect of Cycling Position on Oxygen Uptake and Preferred Cadence in Trained Cyclists During Hill Climbing at Various Power Outputs by Chris Harnish, Deborah King & Tom Swensen found: “Collectively, our data show that the trained cyclists preferred a relatively high cadence of 80 rpm during seated climbing on a moderate grade at power outputs greater than 65% of PPO (Peak Power Output).”

Gaining Power and Losing Some Extra Baggage
How much power you can produce relative to your weight makes a big difference in your ability to climb. Take your body weight and divide by 2.2 to convert your weight to kilograms. Then, take your 20 minute TT average power and divide the kg number into the wattage number. The bigger this number, the more power per kilogram you produce. To give you an idea, a 130 pound female that rides 180 watts for a 20 minute TT churns out 3.05 watts per kilogram. A 190 pound male that rides 220 watts for a 20 minute TT churns out 2.64 watts per kilogram. Guess who wins up the mountain? You got it…the 130 pound woman. Increasing your power output and/or losing a little weight can make the hills come and go faster.

Body Position
Shift your hips to the back of the saddle and make sure to drive your heels down on the downstroke. Doing this will engage your hamstrings and glutes, the biggest muscles in your body.  Your waist to the top of the your head should be relaxed and open. Keep your hands gently holding your handlebars. Tension in your upper body translates to tension in your pedal stroke that will decrease your efficiency, power and speed.

Don’t Stop at the Top
Congratulations, you made it to the top of the climb! Do not stop pedaling. Just as you did at the base of the climb, gradually decrease your gears to one where you can pedal at a steady cadence with control.

Training Tips
Make Hills

  • If you do not live where you have mountains, consider alternatives such as parking garage ramps, course simulation programs or even the occasional spin bike at the gym.
  • To make up for a lack of big climbs, take whatever small hills you have in a bigger gear that you would normally to simulate steeper climbs.

Get Hill-Ready Workout
Here’s a workout to get you hill-ready, perform this workout 1x a week and add additional sets as you get stronger.  Complete this on a trainer or find a climb on the road of similar length.

Warm up
15 minutes of steady …warm up with single leg drills and get a little sweat going

Main Set
Repeat this 2-3 times:

  • 5 minute hill climb, keeping effort at 70%-75%, up your gear at 2.5 minutes and then go all out, out of the saddle for the final 30 seconds
  • Recover for 4 minutes
  • 10 minutes increasing effort from 70%-80%, with 3 gear increases (change every three minutes), go hard for the final minute out of the saddle
  • Recover for 5 minutes

Cool down
Cool down well and stretch out

About the Author: Dawn English is a coach with OutRival Racing and has been a triathlete since 1999. Dawn is a regular podium visitor as an Ironman Age Group Athlete, a USAT All American, and juggler of family and life.

 

Save

]]>
New Challenges to Avoid Burnout! https://university.trisports.com/2017/01/19/new-challenges-to-avoid-burnout/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:23:43 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7929 Written by Keri Ouellete, TriSports Ambassador Athlete One of my favorite aspects of triathlon is that, in training for three sports, I rarely get bored. However, in my sixth season of triathlon training, I’m feeling less excited than I was last year about those same trainer sessions, speed workouts and more laps at the pool. […]]]>

Written by Keri Ouellete, TriSports Ambassador Athlete

triathlonswimstart

One of my favorite aspects of triathlon is that, in training for three sports, I rarely get bored. However, in my sixth season of triathlon training, I’m feeling less excited than I was last year about those same trainer sessions, speed workouts and more laps at the pool. If you’re feeling the same way, here are a few ideas to mix up your training and racing schedule with some new adventures and challenges.

Single Sport Events
Just one sport? Sounds boring, right? Not necessarily. Doing a single sport race is a great way to improve your skills in one discipline and is more fun than simply adding more bike or running mileage or time in the pool. Need to work on cycling endurance? Sign up for a century ride or Gran Fondo. This is an opportunity to try a new route and ride with a group while learning from more experienced cyclists. Working on swim speed? Try a US Masters Swimming swim meet or open water swim race. Pool swimming can get boring, but, if you’ve never done it before, a swim meet can be an exciting challenge and an opportunity to learn from faster swimmers. Also, you won’t have to worry about getting kicked in the face during the swim start or trying to get your wetsuit off. Longer open water swimming races (5K, 10K, or even a marathon swim) will build swimming endurance and make you more comfortable with the open water.

mazzola20HP20pic

While training for a marathon during triathlon season might not be recommended depending on your experience and past training, racing a 5K, or other shorter distance, can be a fun way to add some speed work to your training. Look for a race with the best post-race party and/or some great scenic views. Road races are a great excuse to travel and to take a break from your usual running routes. With no bike or swim gear needed, the logistics of traveling to a running race are much easier and can make for a relaxed, but still active weekend away.

Adventure Races
Triathlon tends to draw adventurous folks who are looking to be challenged. If that’s you, and you’re feeling bored with standard format triathlon races, there is a growing variety of multisport endurance events available and new events being created every year by adventure-junkies like you.

If you like watersports but want a break from swimming, there are triathlons that exchange the swim leg for a paddle leg (kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding). Other adventure triathlons keep the three sports but vary the order and/or terrain and may have multiple legs of each discipline.

adventure_racing_world_champions_team_seagate_comp_509f380658

If you’re looking for a team-oriented event (and a more extreme challenge), adventure racing (also known as expedition racing) and SwimRun are relatively new multidisciplinary team events. SwimRun is becoming a popular sport in Europe and is now being introduced to the US with the first official SwimRun race recently held in Portland, Maine. This is not your typical aquathlon– the format involves multiple legs of open water swimming and trail running. This is a self-sufficient race, meaning you have to swim in your running shoes, run in your wetsuit and carry all of your own nutrition. To add to the fun of this race, you compete side-by-side with a partner for the duration of the course. Adventure racing (or expedition racing) involves navigating a course by mountain biking, hiking, climbing, white water paddling, skiing, or a number of other disciplines. Races typically involve teams of two to five people and can vary in length, anywhere from two hours to two weeks.

Volunteering
If a break from racing is what you’re looking for, consider volunteering. Anyone who has ever competed in a race knows that a successful race experience is contingent upon dedicated volunteers– attending to aid stations, course marshaling, wetsuit stripping, etc. There are numerous opportunities to give back to the endurance sport community by volunteering for a race or with a non-profit organization.

Race volunteering reminds us to appreciate the individuals who volunteer their time, before, during and after races, and also the race organizers who have the huge task of managing the coordination for three disciplines, thousands of athletes, volunteers and course support so that we can have a successful race experience. Experienced athletes make excellent volunteers because they understand the race logistics and are often able to provide better support to first-timers.

NYC+Half-Marathon

Organizations like Achilles International and Girls on the Run have chapters nationwide and are always looking for new volunteers. Achilles provides a community of support for athletes with disabilities and connects volunteers with athletes who require a guide for training sessions and races. Girls on the Run is a youth program that uses running and physical activities to encourage a healthy and confident lifestyle for young girls. These are just a couple, but there are many more organizations that are doing excellent work to improve access to endurance sports and provide support for athletes of all levels and abilities, offering endless opportunities to share your love of triathlon and inspire (and be inspired by) others.

Whether it’s volunteering or trying a different multi-sport or endurance event, these are all great opportunities to grow the sport of triathlon while challenging yourself to try something new.

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

Save

Save

Save

]]>
“Prehab” Exercises for Staying Run Healthy https://university.trisports.com/2017/01/13/prehab-exercises-for-staying-run-healthy/ Sat, 14 Jan 2017 00:38:21 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7900 Written by Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS Spending your time divided between three sports with three different postures and range of motion demands leads to different things for different people. For some, injury risk reduction is achieved because each sport provides a balance between muscles, such as swimming providing your legs with counter-balance and […]]]>

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

shutterstock_127479152_winter-running-gear

Spending your time divided between three sports with three different postures and range of motion demands leads to different things for different people. For some, injury risk reduction is achieved because each sport provides a balance between muscles, such as swimming providing your legs with counter-balance and core strength – sort of like the old running mantra “strong arms carry tired legs.” However, each sport in triathlon occurs primarily in one plane, straight forward motion. This has the potential to be a problem if an athlete’s muscles become exceptionally powerful and efficient in straight forward motion, but lose balance in lateral control musculature and stabilizing musculature compared to the primary movers. Thus it is important to include some full body strength and balance. Most athletes know that core is an important addition to our training regimen as it can reduce the stress on the body and make us more efficient and stable in extremity movements. Additionally, balance and stability training as well as rotational and lateral control activities can be important additions to your training regimen. Including these activities in your strength program two to three times per week can help reduce the stress that can accumulate with the repetitive single plane motions of the sports in which we participate.

Running is the most jarring of the triathlon sports and the force from landing combined with the muscular fatigue of performing the swim and bike first require you to have a certain degree of strength and flexibility to avoid overstressing your musculoskeletal system and ending up in a physical therapy office. So let us try to prehab you away from a physical therapy office and into continued healthy running. Let’s test out and try the exercises below, which I divided into three different common problem areas, to determine what could be beneficial to keep you on the road and trails. If running isn’t your favorite of the three sports, maybe these could help out as well.

Some things to focus on and think about during these exercises:

Can you do the motions under control?
Do not advance the basic exercises and recruitment exercises until you can perform the baseline exercises with consistent muscular control.

Are you rocking or rolling and recruiting other movements to complete the exercise?
If so, you are not ready for that exercise and need to focus on the recruitment pattern with the preliminary exercises. When you undertake any new exercises, especially ones with multiple movements, the first thing you should focus on is if you are performing the range of motion properly while recruiting the correct muscle pattern. If you are not recruiting the muscles appropriately and cannot perform the basic single exercises properly, you will not be helping yourself by moving to more advanced exercises that require proper control to be performed in a healthy manner.

Are you having trouble with certain aspects of an exercise?
Break it down. For example, if you can’t do a single leg squat because you lose balance, perform that piece of the exercise separately. Start with single leg balance while you brush your teeth every morning and night. Then balance on a pillow with one leg, followed by balancing on a pillow with one leg while reaching left and right. This will in turn assist you to keep your balance during future high-level exercise. Do you find you can’t get up from a single leg squat? Try a wall sit and alternate kicking one leg out straight in front of you. There are many options to break down advanced exercises into pieces which will allow you to put it all together in the future. Creativity will be rewarded!

Area 1 :  Core and Gluteal Stability and Basic Strengthening

bridge11

Exercise 1:1 Gluteal Bridge
How it’s done:  Lay down on your back with your feet underneath bent knees. Drive through your heels by squeezing your buttocks to raise your buttocks off of the ground until your weight is shared between your shoulder blades and heels.

How to Advance it: Try it single legged!  Keep your pelvis level, kick one foot out straight and rep it out on the planted leg.  Then reverse.12

Exercise 1:2 Bird Dogs
How it’s Done: Start on all fours. To get your balance you may begin by extending one arm or one leg straight while maintaining a neutral spine. Pull your belly button into your spine and keep breathing. When ready, raise one arm and the opposite leg into the air. Keep a strong neutral spine and engage the shoulder blade and buttock muscles. Alternate this diagonal lift pattern back and forth 20 times.

13.1

Exercise 1:3 Forearm Plank and Side Plank
How it’s Done: Form! Form! Form! Your butt belongs in line with your body and your belly button should be pulled inward towards your spine engaging your deep core muscles. Avoid dropping your pelvis or raising it up into the air. Engage all of your muscles from your chest through your abs down into your quads.  Keep breathing at a steady pace and count 10+ breaths. Give each angle a break by rotating between forward, sideways, and reverse planks as you try to increase your total time planking each week or two.13.2

How to Advance it: First off, you could add the other fantastic similar exercise of pushups. For the forearm plank, try tapping each foot out to the side in a slow controlled motion while maintaining your breath and rigid core and back. If that’s too easy, move to one arm raises in front. For the side plank, try using a weight in the free arm and performing arm raises, if that is too easy, try side leg raises with the upper leg or combine leg and arm raises.

Area 2:  Hip Rotation and Lateral Stability

Fire hydrants 21

Exercise 2:1 Fire Hydrants (Hip Abduction and External Rotation)
How it’s Done:  Start on hands and knees in quadruped. Raise one leg out directly to the side opening up the hips. Focus on squeezing the outer part of your buttocks. Start with 10 reps as long as you can keep good form and control. We want quality over quantity.

How to Advance it: Once into the finishing position, kick your leg out straight to the side in a slow controlled motion, bring it back to the original finishing position, then down towards the mat without letting your knee touch, kick straight backwards into a donkey kick, bring back under your belly, then back out the side completing the cycle. Stay controlled and roll through without resting that leg for 10 reps.
22

Exercise 2:2 Clamshells to Monster Walks
How it’s Done: Clamshells (left picture) are another bread and butter activation exercise. The effort comes from the outer part of your buttocks or outer hip/pelvic region. Keep feet touching and open up from closed to open knees to perform the exercise. You should be able to perform this in a controlled and stable manner which will assure that you can recruit these muscles properly during dynamic standing exercise. Work up to two sets of 20 reps.

22.2

How to Advance it: Monster or Band Walks (right picture) are a functional way to advance clamshells and fire hydrants into standing. With a band around your ankles step outwards to create tension. Keep a wide stance and tension through the band. Walk forwards with a diagonal outward force trying to pull your feet inwards each step, do not let it pull you in! Go up and down a hallway 10 times.
23

Exercise 2:3 Diagonal Reach – Single Leg Deadlift Balance
How it’s Done: Place two objects on the floor equidistance apart,  about 2 feet works well, and stand 2 feet behind the objects. In a slow controlled fashion, reach with the arm opposite the object you will touch down and forward towards the object while bending forward with a neutral spine and lifting the same side leg. Control your descent with your planted leg and strong core posture. Do not let your leg/hip fall out to the side. E.g. reach towards the object on your right with your left arm while lifting your left leg straight behind you. Repeat on each side back and forth 10 times in a controlled fashion.
3.1

Area 3:  Ankle Stability and Balance

3.2

Exercise 3:1 Runner’s Single Leg Balance
How it’s Done: This exercise goes through the balance on the striking leg. Do not leg your balancing leg collapse inward nor planted leg’s knee bend in further forward than your toes. Choose a starting leg and attain upright posture. March the leg to 90 degrees in front, then slowly lean forward and extend the leg without touching it down to the ground. Focus on control and balance with a slow and smooth motion. Repeat 5 times on each leg and 2 times through.

32.1

Exercise 3:2 Single Leg Balance on an Unsteady Surface
How it’s Done: Use a pillow, balance disc, or foam pad on the floor. Perform in a safe area of the home where you can prevent a fall if necessary. Step onto the surface, then lift one leg in order to balance on the other. Hold for 10 seconds to start and work upwards to a minute. Once you can perform for a minute on each leg, begin reaching up/down and left/right with your arms to increase dynamic ankle stability and balance.

33.1

Exercise 3:3 Single Leg Hops in Square and Diagonal Pattern
How it’s Done: Place a cross on the floor with tape or rope. Choose a leg to begin and perform controlled hops in clockwise, counter clockwise, and diagonals between the outer squares. Repeat each 10 times on each leg.

Nick PartonPicAbout the Author: Dr. Nicholas Parton, DPT, MTC, CSCS is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with Manual Therapy Certification and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Colorado Springs.  He 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.

Disclaimer: Exercise is not without its risks and this or any other exercise program may result in injury and/or death. Any person who undertakes these exercises does so at their own risk. To reduce the risk of injury you should consult your doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you believe conditions to be unsafe or begin to feel faint or dizzy, have physical discomfort, or pain, you should stop immediately and consult a physician. It is important to perform exercises properly to avoid injury, it is recommended that you acquire help and teaching in order to undergo any new exercise program safely.  Exercise at your own risk.This is a Home Exercise Program that may be appropriate for most runners. Certain exercises may not be safe for you to perform based on health conditions. Home Exercise Program images utilized from Home Exercise Builder on Medbridge Education™

Save

]]>
What To Do When You Have a Workout and You’re Out of Town https://university.trisports.com/2016/12/23/what-to-do-when-you-have-a-workout-and-youre-out-of-town/ Fri, 23 Dec 2016 18:55:10 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7862 Written by Hilary JM Topper, MPA Ever have to go out of town on business in the middle of your training? You get to the hotel, only to find that the pool is smaller than your bathtub! We talked with Bill Brenner, Educational Director of the US Masters Swimming, for some helpful advice. He told […]]]>

Written by Hilary JM Topper, MPA

hanoi-tirant-hotel
Tiny pool?! Fear not!

Ever have to go out of town on business in the middle of your training? You get to the hotel, only to find that the pool is smaller than your bathtub!

We talked with Bill Brenner, Educational Director of the US Masters Swimming, for some helpful advice. He told us to:

“Get a resistance tube and attach it to something stationary like a pole or something around the pool,” said Brenner. “By using a resistance tube, you will get your heart rate up quickly, it may alter your stroke a little, but you will definitely get a workout. The best part is, it’s easy to fold up and store in a suitcase!”

Plan to use resistance tube for approximately 15-20 minutes. In addition, you can do a couple of the following drills:

  • Sculling Drill (also called a breaststroke drill) – This is where you keep both your arms in the water and you actually look like you are a window wiper on a car. Some people also call this the windshield wiper drill. The drill is specifically for triathletes to learn how to feel the water. Brenner says this is perfect for a small pool because “you can’t go fast with this drill.” To see the sculling drill in action, here is a YouTube video with a demonstration.
  • Vertical Kicking – In this drill, go to the deep end of the pool. You can use a kickboard or something to hold you up if need be. Kick while standing still.
  • Eggbeater Kick – Also in the deep end, if there is one, tread water. Then go into a breaststroke kick using both legs. When ready, use one leg at a time. Keep thighs parallel to the water and kick out to the side. This almost looks like an eggbeater. Here’s a YouTube video that demonstrates this drill.

For the kicking drills, figure between 15 – 20 minutes, for a total workout of 30 – 40 minutes, every other day that you are out of town.

Looking for more swimming tools to help boost your swim performance? Read Tri Swim Coach’s article to improve your swim today.

Brenner also suggest checking out the USMS.org website. “On the home page, you can search via zip code for Masters Swim classes across the country. If you’re traveling and you want to catch a class, you can email the organizer and for a nominal fee, you can swim with folks from all over.”

Brenner says that if you don’t swim for four to five days, “it’s like starting over. The first day can be challenging, as opposed to an opportunity if you have been training while you’re away.”

So when you go away and you see a tiny pool, don’t despair! You can get these drills done and still stay fit and ready to get back to serious training when you get home, without taking a step back.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com
hilary-topper-2About the Author: Hilary JM Topper, MPA is the CEO of HJMT Public Relations in NY. She is also chief curator of HJMT Media Co, LLC, which houses http://www.ATriathletesDiary.com, http://www.NYLifestyleBlog.com and Hilary Topper on Air, a national podcast on Blogtalk Radio. She is also the show producer of the NY TRI EXPO at http://www.NYTRIEXPO.com.  Contact her at @hilary25 on Twitter or Hilary@hjmt.com.

 

Save

]]>
Yoga for Triathletes: The Triathlete & Yogi Parallel https://university.trisports.com/2016/11/08/yoga-for-triathletes-the-triathlete-yogi-parallel/ Tue, 08 Nov 2016 19:34:03 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7725 Written by Adrienne Smith, Triathlete, Yoga Studio Owner & Teacher You wake up excited to conquer the day, put your shoes on and head out the door for an aerobic five-mile run. During the first mile your mind is like a runaway train. It sounds something like this, “Alright, I made it outside. Wow, the […]]]>

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

unspecified-8

You wake up excited to conquer the day, put your shoes on and head out the door for an aerobic five-mile run. During the first mile your mind is like a runaway train. It sounds something like this, “Alright, I made it outside. Wow, the air feels nice! Hmm, these shoes feel a little weird and there’s this strange twitchy feeling in my right hip. Maybe I shouldn’t do this run today. Yeah, I’m kinda tired. I do have another workout I have to do later…and if I’m tired tomorrow, that’s going to crush my big weekend of workouts.” Your mind is so busy thinking, you don’t even realize you are running. Can you imagine if you spoke all of these thoughts aloud as you ran? Anyone you passed would think you were an absolute nut-job!

Get in The Zone
After mile one though, you start to hear that breath and your feet have created an almost-perfect symphony and you can’t believe it, but a few minutes have gone by where you haven’t tried to quit your run. Something shifted, almost as though you fully committed to the fact that you will run these five miles. You are in a different state. You’ve stepped into “the zone.”

The Yoga Parallel
Let’s compare that first mile of your run to the first 10 minutes of a power yoga class. You step onto your mat excited about the opportunity to win this class. You are a triathlete after all, and you do more exercise in one day than most people do in two weeks. The teacher, in a weirdly creepy yoga voice, calls out downward facing dog and leaves you there as she tells you to notice your breathing, or better yet, perhaps she talks about some nonsense that makes no sense in your athletic world. At this point, you’ve tuned her out and your “I’ve got this” mentality has been replaced by an insane shoulder burn. You quickly remember that you have a killer swim workout tomorrow and are convinced that this down dog, as well as the rest of the chaturangas that are to come, are going to majorly screw up that workout.

unspecified-9

You are now sweating, as you think that this yoga session was not a good call for your training. Then to make it worse, you take a big breath in and notice how bad the guy next to you smells. You’re dripping in sweat already and you are only one pose in. “Yoga should be peaceful,” says your thought bubble and you simultaneously curse your yoga teacher because she has ruined your workout for tomorrow…plus you have to endure the smelly guy for the next 50 minutes. All of a sudden, the teacher leads you into a few repetitive postures (called Sun Salutations) and the entire class is moving in unison, connecting each posture with one breath. You’ve somehow stepped into some sort of yogic trance, a “zone” of sorts.

You forgot about the swim workout that hasn’t happened yet and you are now feeling quite fond of your yoga teacher. You forgot about the rest of your life, actually, and you connect to precisely where you are now. How did this happen?

Achieve The Zone
Yoga, like triathlon, has received accolades for the benefits it creates in our bodies and minds. In athletics, the best performances happen when we are “in the zone” – those moments where we get swept up in movement, sport, task or action and time simply flies by. Being in the zone just happens most of the time and we don’t even know how we got into it. The same happens in yoga, but it is something that a great teacher helps you access. Great yoga teachers aren’t focusing only on alignment, where you place your body or perfecting the shape that it is taking, but rather they focus on the relationship we have with the alignment, the shape at that moment where we are now, not where we think we should be.

Yes, yoga does help us strengthen our muscles and work out the tight spots so that we can support our bodies as we beat them up swimming, biking and running, but more importantly than that, it gives an athlete (or any human being for that matter) a setting to be curious and explore body sensations as well as our minds’ relationship with those body sensations without needing to get anywhere. There is no finish line in yoga. If we truly “get” yoga, we realize it engulfs are entire life. Like anything we try to master, we need to diligently practice it. If we spend a few hours each week practicing this mind-body connection, we will connect better with our bodies and minds as we swim, bike and run during training and racing. We will see patterns and habits not only while we train, but everywhere else.

Get Uncomfortable to Grow
Connection and concentration is cultivated moment by moment in a regular yoga practice in a similar fashion as it is while training; the difference though is there are times when you are not in motion (insert triathlete’s biggest nightmare). Holding yourself somewhere uncomfortable is the most necessary aspect of training to expose us to our biggest potential and our looming blindspots. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class where poses are held in reverence (think Warrior 2) – you’ve probably come head on with your biggest gremlins. Let them be your friends; connect with them and learn from them.

11914023_10103650074837621_7919060890203956042_n

Imagine yourself running up a hill for a training session. As the distance covered gets longer, the intensity gets more intense and our desire to walk increases. What if, instead of focusing on how hard it is, you created more connection with your body as it runs up the hill? Focus on your form, your elbows driving back, your knees driving forward, your feet lifting and landing quickly and lightly while the quality and pace of your inhales and exhales are both acknowledged and respected. You surprise yourself by finishing and going farther than expected while keeping yourself mildly calm.

Create Good Space: Master Your Mind
In yoga, we have a book called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Sutra 2.46 is most commonly translated as “the posture should be stable and comfortable,” but is literally translated as “resolutely abide in good space.” As you perform hill repeats or hold a long warrior two, notice what it is that you are creating. It is your mind that will support you in creating good space in your physical body and vice-versa. Practicing this each time you roll out your yoga mat makes it more likely you are going to tap into your yoga-ninja mindset when you are running up the next hill or crushing your next session on the trainer.

After doing your first triathlon, you probably realized that triathlon became a way of life and you called yourself a triathlete – swimming, biking and running became something you practiced, you currently work on mastering with hopes for great finishes, but more importantly a joy for the practice and learning. Practicing yoga is the same. You aren’t doing it anymore, you are being it.

adrienne_bioAbout 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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete

fb_img_1474670328432
Greg Billington on the left, testing the Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet

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

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

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

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

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

gro16506-whsl-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visor flipped up
Visor flipped up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

Save

Save

]]>
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

]]>
Newbie’s Guide to Open Water Swimming: 8 Tips for Sighting https://university.trisports.com/2016/09/23/newbies-guide-to-open-water-swimming-8-tips-for-sighting/ Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:33:34 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7597 Written by David Tatum, USAT Level 1 coach and IRONMAN All World Athlete Swimming in triathlon happens to be an area in which you can actually make the course longer than it really is. Most people do the majority of their swim training for triathlon in a pool and they are used to having a […]]]>

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

screen-shot-2013-07-26-at-07-21-43

Swimming in triathlon happens to be an area in which you can actually make the course longer than it really is. Most people do the majority of their swim training for triathlon in a pool and they are used to having a visual marker at the bottom of the pool to follow during their entire swim. Come race day, the majority of triathlons are done in open water with little to no visibility. With the loss of visibility, it’s no wonder many swimmers have a hard time swimming in a straight line. Even the best swimmers may end up off course to some degree if they simply swam by feel and didn’t sight occasionally. Here are eight tips on how to improve your swim by traveling the shortest distance in the water from point A to point B.

1. Pick a visual object that is larger than the buoy itself
For many swims there are visual references in the distance that are much bigger than the buoys themselves.  These visual references can be much easier to sight. If you can, choose a building, a tree, a lighthouse, or any other object that is lined up with the buoy as a visual guide. Be careful not to use a moving object such as a boat or a lifeguard on a paddleboard. Pick a stationary object that will be easy to see and remember.

2. Use side references if possible
There are some races like IRONMAN Vineman 70.3 that are done in a river. The swim is simply an out and back course design.  For a race like this, you can really limit your forward sighting by simply using the side of the river as a guide every time you breathe. When you take a breath just look and make sure the distance from you to the shore is remaining the same. On occasion, look forward to remind yourself how close or far you are away from the turn.

sight-like-an-alligator

3. Visualization
Visualizing can be a powerful tool that will help in this area of the race. Use you minds eye to visualize a straight line in front of you and follow that line. Every time you look up, visualize a line straight to the buoy and try to think of swimming along that line. As you swim, you might find that you tend to turn one direction or the other naturally. Try to counter balance that tendency by adjusting where you are visualizing that line.

4. Site for the turn buoy, not the ones in-between
Many people make the mistake of sighting the reference buoys between themselves and the next turn buoy. Reference buoys are sometimes different colors (yellow) and the turn buoys will usually be red. There are buoys in-between to give you a visual reference of distance and help guide you, but they are not always lined up straight. If you can see the last buoy in line, always use that as your guide.

5. Goggles
This should go without saying, but make sure you have a good pair of goggles that are not going to fog up on you. There are several defog products out there to help with this problem. Also, think about where the sun will be in the morning. The best way to get an idea is to swim the course the day before at the same time as race start. Decide then, if you will need tinted goggles or not.

swim_start_

6. Sighting
Depending on how straight of a swimmer you are, you may need to sight more or less in an open water swim. To site properly, breathe on the first stroke and then lift your head on the next stroke.  Lift your head straight up just enough for your eyes to break the plane of the water and get a picture in your head of where you are. After you have a good mental picture, relax your neck again and face down. Because you will be doing this a lot, make sure to use some Body Glide on the back of your neck to avoid a painful rash from your wetsuit.

7. Follow the feet in front of you
If all else fails and you are not comfortable sighting while you swim, you can always follow another swimmer’s feet in front of you. Drafting can save both time and energy, but you are relying on the sighting ability of that swimmer…which may or may not be a good idea.

8. Practice
Don’t wait until race day to build your sighting muscles! This is a huge mistake many beginning triathletes make. They get out of the water race day and don’t understand why their neck hurts.  Take the time a few weeks leading up to the race to start sighting in the pool during training. To do this, simply take a breath and then sight on the next stroke once every 25 yards. Try sighting every time you get half way across the pool. This will help you develop the technique and build the needed muscles for race day.

 

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.

 

 

Save

Save

]]>
Running The Right Way https://university.trisports.com/2016/09/08/running-the-right-way/ Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:19:32 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7517 Written by Mark Allen, ITU Olympic Distance World Champion and 6-Time Hawaii IRONMAN World Champion Human beings are the best endurance runners on the planet! We are designed to run better than any animal over long distances. That’s why we have an Achilles tendon. That’s why we have enough fat stores in our bodies to […]]]>

Written by Mark Allen, ITU Olympic Distance World Champion and 6-Time Hawaii IRONMAN World Champion

Human beings are the best endurance runners on the planet! We are designed to run better than any animal over long distances. That’s why we have an Achilles tendon. That’s why we have enough fat stores in our bodies to cover about 500 miles if we could access all of it, but only enough carbohydrate to go 20-miles at best.

But there are two types of running. One is how we run when we grow up wearing shoes and sitting in front of a computer all day. The other is how we would run if we grew up walking barefoot, squatting to sit, carrying loads on our backs or head, and having to track prey over great distances for food rather than go to a store to get dinner. The first will never make the fastest runner. The second, even if simulated in our modern world, will transform you into an endurance runner with elite characteristics!

There are five things we can measure in running that are intimately linked to this quest of running the right way. Each is a marker that if improved on will affect all of the other four markers. None is more important than the next. But if worked on together will enable you to move like the most graceful marathoners in the world! Are you ready for them? Here they are:

runner_470

Braking. This is the biggest issue that modern world runners are doing incorrectly. It is how your foot first comes into contact with the ground. With shoes, the way we end up doing this is to hit the ground with our heel first. From there we roll onto the midfoot and then eventually either through brute force or with momentum, get our center of gravity out in front of our midfoot and are then able to push off and continue on.

Landing with the heel first is like putting on the brakes. Our center of gravity is behind the midfoot. It takes force or energy to get the bulk of our body then up over the midfoot and eventually past it to be able to toe off and keep going.

Think of it this way, is there any way to push forward in your running stride from your heel? Absolutely not! It only takes place when the bulk of your body, your center of gravity, is in front of your midfoot. Any amount of time spent in contact with the ground behind your midfoot is a loss of efficiency and is in reality putting on the brakes rather than accelerating you forward.

This never happened to our ancestors who ran without any kind of foot covering. The good news is that you can learn how to run with a midfoot strike very easily! Here’s how: Go to a track or grassy area that is lengthy. Take off your shoes and socks. Run for a few minutes barefoot. Do you see how you are landing? I guarantee you that you will not land on your heel! You will naturally and immediately run the right way. You will land on your midfoot. You will also run lighter on your feet, which is something that I will address later when I talk about bounce. But for the moment, just become aware of how you are running when you land on the midfoot.

Now put on your shoes and try to recreate that same feeling. You can do this drill daily or a few times a week until you are able to translate the midfoot barefoot strike into how you run with your shoes on. This is a key piece in learning to run the right way.

trendelenburg_test
Pelvic Drop

Pelvic Drop. This is intimately related to braking in one specific area, and that is from how we operate by wearing shoes. Our ancestors had to develop the ability to stabilize their foot plant when running without the aid of a shoe to help them. When your foot comes in contact with the ground it cannot accept the full weight of your body if the muscles in your feet are not able to create a stable platform. Another way to think about this is if it takes a few milliseconds to become stable from your foot upward through the trunk of your body when your foot hits the ground, there is going to have to be another area of your body that holds the impact until it does. Your body can’t just collapse until your feet muscles create that platform. And guess where that happens? Yes, in the pelvis.

Without shoes, our feet get really good at developing the small muscles and the neural pathways that get that platform to happen upon contact of the foot with the ground. But with shoes, our feet don’t develop the same ability to sense the ground nor are they ever required to work the very small muscles that are necessary to create that platform. The result is that when our feet come into contact with the ground, there is a lag time before the foot is stable enough to support the weight of the body. In that small but significant interim, the downward force of our body weight is managed and slowed by the pelvis dropping, kind of like a spring taking the load rather than a stable platform handling it.

To run the right way, we need to train our feet to do their job the way our ancestors’ feet did. Here is a simple drill that will help you to do that.

Take off your shoes and socks. Stand on one foot with your arms relaxed at your side and the leg you are standing on straight. Are you stable? Okay, now for the drill, close your eyes! You will likely find that you are immediately starting to wobble wildly! You will also notice that you are starting to feel fatigue in muscles in your feet and ankle that you never knew you had. These are your ancient running muscles that never get worked with the support of shoes. Stick with it until you get stable or until you just can’t take it anymore. Now switch to the other leg and do the same thing.

th

You can go back and forth between legs a number of times until you start to feel more stable. Again this is with your eyes closed. This is teaching your feet to be stable in the first part of the stride, which is when your foot actually comes in contact with the ground.

Now for the second part of this drill. Once you are stable on one leg, lower yourself just slightly by bending your knee and lowering yourself a few inches. Get stable in that bent leg position. Work both legs, first one side then the other. If you notice one knee is fine, but the other wobbles when you bend your leg slightly, this is usually the knee that you also find gets sore when you run. It has to do with training this neural pathway and once you can do this drill, you will likely find that your knee pain goes away.

single_leg_squat
Remember To Close Your Eyes for This Single Leg Squat Drill

This part of the drill is helping to train your feet to be stable enough to accept the full load of your body weight. It is also the piece that will help you reduce the majority of any pelvic drop that happens when you run.

Now for the final part of the drill. Once you are stable in the bent leg position, again with your eyes closed, straighten your leg back to full extension and get stable. This as with the first two parts is done with your eyes closed. Do this standing on one leg then on the other as in the first two parts as well.

This trains your feet to be stable in the push off part of your stride. All three pieces (getting stable upon contact with the ground, accepting your body’s weight, then pushing off with a stable force) are essential for having a stable pelvis and not having it drop as a compensation for instability in your feet functioning below.

You can also do core strength workouts to help stabilize the pelvis and those should be done! But ultimately, if your feet are stabilized and creating a solid platform to accept your body’s weight, then to push from, your pelvis will remain stable as well since it is not being called upon to be a weight bearing mechanism in your running. This is running the right way.

runningcadence

Cadence. When someone is landing on their midfoot and when their feet are creating a stable platform to accept the body’s weight, cadence rate goes up, and that is running the Right Way. When we deaden the sensation between the foot and the ground, heel striking takes place, pelvic drop starts to occur because you cannot immediately support your body weight on a spongy platform (shoe) that lands on the heel. And with all of that the rate at which you get on and off your foot slows dramatically.

An ideal elite cadence rate is about 180 foot strikes per minute (90 per side). If you are on stable terrain this is a target to try to see if you can approach. If you are significantly lower than that, you are likely braking and have pelvic drop. Both braking and pelvic drop will go away if you can increase your cadence rate.

This is one of the beauties of proper running form, if you can increase your cadence rate from say 150 foot strikes per minute (which I can guarantee you if you video taped yourself you would see this) up to 180 foot strikes per minute, you would see both braking disappear as well as a minimization of pelvic drop.

To increase cadence, you can do the drills above and both will help. You can also engage your arms. Your body will follow what your arms are doing. So if you are targeting an increase in cadence rate, increase the back and forth rate of your arm swing. This will require reducing the range of the swing and will also work to correct another of the five elements of running the right way that I’ll talk about in a moment, which is rotation. But a primer on that, if you reduce the amount of rotation, you are able to increase your cadence rate. It’s all about getting every motion in your body to propel you forward.

465892589

Bounce. If you have a lot of up and down motion off of each foot strike and push off, efficiency drops significantly and huge amounts of energy are used that need not be.

When we come in contact with the ground and then accept the load of our body via a knee bend, the achilles tendon is stretched. This tendon then returns that energy in the push off free of charge! That is what makes us the greatest endurance running animals on the planet. We are built for efficiency via our achilles, and a few other adaptations. But that efficiency is only maximized if its recoil is used to drive us forward rather than upward. Upward is not the most efficient use of the achilles, and it requires a lot of muscular energy other areas like from the calf muscles, glutes, and even quads. Forward propulsion is almost free of charge if we reduce our vertical component in the running stride. That takes place from the force stored in the stretched achilles as well as from utilizing gravity to pull us forward.

A positive direction in your cadence rate will reduce bounce. A focus on your arms helping you drive forward will reduce the inefficiency of bounce. Visualizing your head being stable and all rotation going on below your neck will help reduce bounce. Having the image of you moving forward over ground rather than pushing off it to generate speed will reduce bounce. Visualizing your upper sternum moving up and forward of your body will help reduce your bounce. It is the opposite of having that same area of your body dropping down and concaving in. The first image helps all of your momentum follow a forward line. The second requires an upward movement to overcome it to go forward. Running the right way is low bounce!

Rotation. Here comes the chicken or the egg. If nothing is working right to build your running fast, rotation can help. Think of it this way, if you are trying to increase your cadence rate, reduce braking, pelvic drop and bounce then a rotation can help. But if all of those things are working right, then rotation will slow all of them down and work against you.

If this is your starting point of running the right way, here is how to maximize it. Rotation starts and ends with the arm motion. Here’s the drill. Imagine that you are holding two fairly heavy rocks in each hand and are going to run with them. Where will your hands be? They will be close to your chest, and they will most likely go in a slight up and down motion. In no way will they cross over the midline of your chest and in no way will your hands drop way low or swing really high. You will be working economy of motion.

Build your upper body motion off of this image. If you can do this, you will get enough rotation to gain forward momentum without over rotating and reducing your efficiency. With this image you will reduce bounce and get all of your economy of motion to propel you forward. With this image, once you gain access to its motion, if you drop the rocks you will be able to use your arms to increase your cadence rate as well as reduce excessive pelvic drop as your arms help drive you forward.

These are the skills required to run the right way. If you are looking for a way to measure where you are with each one as well as how you are improving on each, I highly recommend trying the Lumo Run Sensor.

Lumo Run Sensor
Lumo Run Sensor & Clip

I’ve been using Lumo Run for a few months to help upgrade my running form and economy. It tracks each of these key components. Each is important to help you run like an elite regardless of your pace. I wish I had been able to utilize it during my competitive career because I am absolutely sure that with it, my IRONMAN marathon in Kona would have plummeted below 2:40:04, which still stands as the best marathon split at the World Championships in Hawaii!

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Headcrop-214x300About the Author: Mark Allen was the first ever ITU Olympic Distance World Champion in 1989 in Avignon France, the 6-Time Hawaii IRONMAN World Champion, and the 10-Time Undefeated Champion of the Nice International Triathlon to name a few of his historic racing accomplishments. In 2012, he was voted “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time” in a worldwide poll conducted by ESPN. Now he serves as founder and coach of MarkAllenCoaching.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>