Running – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com The place to learn about triathlon. Fri, 14 Jul 2017 23:39:07 +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 Running – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com 32 32 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

]]>
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

]]>
3 Ways to PR Your Recovery through Nutrition https://university.trisports.com/2017/05/17/3-ways-to-pr-your-recovery-through-nutrition/ Wed, 17 May 2017 14:12:44 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8277 Written by Stevie Lyn Smith, Registered Dietitian An injury…something every athlete knows all too well, but no athlete expects or is prepared for when it happens to them. Coming off some well-deserved rest from last season, I was ready both physically and mentally heading into the New Year. I decided I needed to make changes. […]]]>

Written by Stevie Lyn Smith, Registered Dietitian

An injury…something every athlete knows all too well, but no athlete expects or is prepared for when it happens to them. Coming off some well-deserved rest from last season, I was ready both physically and mentally heading into the New Year. I decided I needed to make changes. With my new goals in mind, it was time to work on daily interventions in my training that would yield big results on race day performance.

That’s when I started researching tools for customized, science-based blood analytics. I had read about InsideTracker previously but being in my late 20’s, healthy, and a Registered Dietitian, I assumed this wasn’t for me. However, I took a chance and did initial testing and found out that my early assumptions were far from true.

The plan was set; I had a wealth of knowledge and a nutrition plan to boot that would help me reach my goals. Cut to my current state: now recipient of a bad sprain and avulsion fracture on my left ankle after a near miss with a car on a run.

You would think that I could kiss my big goals goodbye, but thanks to InsideTracker I can use the same information meant to help me destroy my workouts to provide a different value- PR my recovery! Armed with my physicians’ recommendations, fantastic coach’s guidance, and useful InsideTracker tools- I have a direct impact on speeding up my body’s healing so I can get back to swimming, biking, and running towards my goals sooner.

Step 1: Pay Attention to the Inflammation Biomarkers
One of those markers is CRP (C-reactive protein), a protein found in the blood and one of the best indicators of inflammation in the body. Beyond being a general indicator of inflammation and a response to injury in the body, it helps determine the extent of a soft tissue injury.

Tip: Add avocado, pistachios, and quinoa daily to help reduce inflammation.

Step 2: Pay Attention to the Antioxidant Biomarkers
In addition to focusing on foods to specifically reduce my CRP, I make sure my meals are balanced and rich in antioxidants (vitamin C and E). These nutrients play supporting roles to help lower inflammation in the body and promote healing.

Tip: Fiber and fish oils are your friend, especially because they stimulate healing since they are rich in antioxidants.

Step 3: Pay Attention to the Vitamin D Marker
Ensure continued adequate intake of vitamin D to encourage calcium absorption and support bone healing. Though both my calcium and vitamin D are optimized, I need to ensure I stay on top of it and don’t let my levels slip.

Tip: Try salmon, soymilk, pork, eggs, and spinach to ensure you get adequate vitamin D.

While I’m still not able to train, I have taken joy in putting together recipes for now. Whether it is trying recipes from the InsideTracker page or testing new recipes of my own, I’m discovering new ways to ensure I stay healthy and optimize my recovery.

There is eating healthy and then there is eating healthy for specific to what your body needs. How do you know what your body needs, if you don’t ask it? Through cycles of training, tapering, racing, and rest we all respond differently. Monitoring your blood biomarkers throughout the season can help you further personalize your nutrition, aid in injury prevention, and optimize your training.


About the Author: Stevie Lyn Smith is a Registered Dietitian residing in Washington, DC. She is practicing as a clinical dietitian at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as well as in sports nutrition for The Core Diet. At 28 years of age, she is an age group athlete who is a 5-time Ironman,11-time half Ironman, and 17-time marathon finisher, including Ironman 70.3 World Championships. She has also completed a 50 mile ultra marathon among other endurance events. Read Stevie’s blog at http://gritgracegreens.com/.

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

]]>
Plan for a Stress-free Triathlon Weekend https://university.trisports.com/2017/03/24/planning-for-a-stress-free-triathlon-weekend/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:28:31 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=8115 Written by Keri Ouellette, TriSports Ambassador Athlete The opportunity to travel and experience new places in a unique way is one of the greatest aspects of multi-sport racing, however, traveling with all the extra tools, gear and equipment required for a triathlon can make for a stressful weekend. When forgetting one piece of equipment or […]]]>

Written by Keri Ouellette, TriSports Ambassador Athlete

Make your next triathlon destination stress-free

The opportunity to travel and experience new places in a unique way is one of the greatest aspects of multi-sport racing, however, traveling with all the extra tools, gear and equipment required for a triathlon can make for a stressful weekend. When forgetting one piece of equipment or being five minutes late to check-in can end your race before it begins, it’s essential to be as organized as possible. Make your next race trip less stressful with these tips.

Plan (Way) Ahead    
With many races selling out in just a few days or hours, most triathletes plan their racing season well in advance. It also makes sense to book travel plans as early as possible. Often, hotel reservations are fully refundable, so there’s no cost to booking in advance, and it’s worth it to have secured a room close to the race venue, rather than finding out at the last minute that there are no rooms available. Airline tickets are usually cheaper when booked further in advance, another perk to planning way ahead of time. If you can, plan to take time off work before and after the race. In addition to giving you extra time to prepare for the race and to relax after the race, traveling at off-peak times is usually much easier and often less expensive. A long drive or flight the night before a race will leave you drained for race day, and an extra day before the race will give you a cushion for dealing with unexpected travel delays (cancelled flights, traffic, weather, etc.). Similarly, a long trip home after a day of racing is no fun, very uncomfortable, and you miss out on the much deserved post-race beers.

Exercise due diligence and research!

Research Before You Go
The week leading up to your trip, plan the travel logistics and know where you need to go and when. Just as you would research the route and terrain for a race course, knowing the route for travel (if you’re driving), location of the hotel, race site parking and location of packet pick-up, all helps to make your trip and race prep go smoothly. In addition to planning out your route and schedule, consider other logistical issues. For example, make sure everything (and everyone) will fit in your vehicle, or, if you’re flying, check the airline regulations to ensure that you have a bike box or bag that is appropriate and will fit in the rental car. Review the amenities that are available where you’re staying (coffee maker, microwave, toiletries, etc.) so that you can pack any extra items  you might need for a comfortable trip. Print out important information like athlete guides and directions to have on hand, just in case.

Don’t Forget to Eat
I don’t usually forget about food, but with the excitement and stress of race prep and traveling, I have found myself on the road to a race without enough snacks and no plans for a lunch break. I’ve learned my lesson, and now always travel with plenty of snacks and water. Like many triathletes, I’m picky about what I eat the day before a race, so mapping out meal stops if I’m traveling by car, or packing my own food is key to keeping my gut happy and ready to go on race morning. Planning ahead and making a reservation for your pre-race dinner is also a good idea, since restaurants in host towns are not necessarily prepared for the 5pm dinner rush the evening before a triathlon. For breakfast before a race, many triathletes like to stick to the same meal each time, but don’t forget to make sure that your accommodations have the right appliances and utensils necessary to prepare your pre-race meal. Don’t forget any family or spectators traveling with you need to pack snacks too. Share this Spectator’s Guide to Triathlon with your Race Sherpa(s) and cheerleaders going with you.

Get Organized
I can’t think of another sport that requires as many pieces of essential equipment as triathlon. For this reason, a triathlon-specific gear bag is essential in keeping track of all your gear. There are a variety of transition bag options available, that include features like expandable pockets for larger items (helmets and wetsuits), mesh pockets for wet stuff, water bottle holders and lined pockets for shoes. I keep a general packing list of all race day gear and refer to the same list when packing for each race. Each item has a specific place in my bag, so it’s easy to find on race morning (one pocket for nutrition, one for cap and googles, etc.). Whatever bag you choose, make sure it’s large enough to fit everything. If you have loose items, it’s too easy to forget something critical. When I’m traveling for a race, I like to keep all race equipment and clothing in my triathlon bag and all other non-race stuff in a separate bag so important items don’t get lost.

Each season, I try to choose at least one race that is someplace I’ve never traveled to before and make it a triathlon vacation. If you’re still on the fence about whether spending an entire day swimming, biking and running is a fun vacation, traveling with triathlete friends, enjoying the local culture wherever you travel and taking advantage of post-race, no-guilt ice cream bingeing (or whatever guilty pleasure you prefer) will convince you that there’s no better way to spend a weekend. Happy travels!

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

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

]]>
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

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

Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The vast complexities of an off-season session:

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

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

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

Example strength training session:

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

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

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

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

Overnight Oats

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

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

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

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

]]>
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

]]>
IRONMAN Wisconsin Race Execution Tips https://university.trisports.com/2016/09/01/ironman-wisconsin-race-execution-tips/ Fri, 02 Sep 2016 00:42:39 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7536 Written by Rich Strauss, 10-time IRONMAN finisher & Endurance Nation Coach Racing 140.6 miles is too big of a problem to solve through fitness alone. Rather, it’s an exercise in making smart decisions as you efficiently drive your fitness vehicle around the course. Therefore, the more difficult races are the ones that force you to […]]]>

Written by Rich Strauss, 10-time IRONMAN finisher & Endurance Nation Coach

En

Racing 140.6 miles is too big of a problem to solve through fitness alone. Rather, it’s an exercise in making smart decisions as you efficiently drive your fitness vehicle around the course. Therefore, the more difficult races are the ones that force you to make frequent decisions on terrain in which making poor decisions can be especially costly. That is, if a course forces you to make frequent decisions on costly, hilly terrain, and you consistently make good decisions, you’re likely going to have a good day. But make consistently bad decisions and you’re guaranteed to have a bad day.

Judge by this criteria, the IRONMAN® Wisconsin bike course is likely the most difficult in North America, simply because you are never doing one thing for more than 2-3 minutes at a time, with the course constantly throwing decision point after decision point at you.

What follows are my IRONMAN® Wisconsin tips for you, gained from coaching at the race every year since its beginning in 2002, having run 10+ training camps on the course, and having raced it four times, most recently in 2015 where I was 35th overall and 5th in M45-49 with a 10:07.

13imwiscocarousel swim

The Swim
The IRONMAN® Wisconsin swim is one of the last remaining mass starts on the IRONMAN® calendar. However, with a wide and deep starting line, it’s not nearly as crowded or chaotic as other mass starts have been, and the thousands of spectators lined up along the shore and overlooking the swim from the Monona Terrace add a stadium-like feel to the swim start. My tips for you:

  • Exiting Transition to the Swim Start: Don’t go down to the swim start from transition via the “helix,” but instead find the stairs next to the elevator near the helix. Take the stairs and encourage your family to meet you at the bottom, in the service parking area of the terrace. Then, simply walk to the swim start via the bike path.
  • Swim start positioning: All of the fast swimmers like to line up right on the buoy line. Everyone else wants to get as far away from them as possible, so they are packed in close to shore, leaving the center of the start line, by the ski ramp, relatively uncrowded. So the best place to position yourself is by the ski ramp.
  • Swim Pacing: Our advice for all IRONMAN® swims is to only swim as fast as your ability to maintain form. If you feel your form begin to degrade, simply slow down. The best method to maintain your focus on your form is to simply count your strokes. The act of counting your strokes will bring your head back into the box of what you should be thinking about: what you can control and your swimming technique cues regarding head position, hip rotation, catch, pull, and so on.
  • The Course: The first leg of the swim is a standard 800 meters to the first turn, followed relatively quickly by another left. But this third leg of the sorta-rectangle is very, very, very long. Just be prepared for it.

T1
Setup: Last year the race organizers let the athletes have their shoes clipped into the pedals, so that’s something to consider. Also consider every item in your transition plan and eliminate as many moving parts as possible. We highly recommend you plan to do stuff while riding on your bike versus in a crowded transition. That is, have your sunglasses, nutrition, and so on taped to your bike and put them on or in your pockets while you’re riding safely down John Nolen Drive at the start of the bike.

  • The Helix: The IRONMAN® Wisconsin T1 is a long one that begins with long run up the “helix,” the parking garage exit. Walk or jog, don’t sprint up the helix and be sure to enjoy the encouragement of spectators lined up on either side of you, but don’t put on a show! Take your time (sorta), this is a long start to a long day!

The Bike
For 2016, construction on the bike course has forced the organizers to make some significant changes to the course, most notably taking the athletes up Barlow Hill, a monster of a climb that has gotten the long course triathlon interwebs more than a little spun up. My advice: Don’t worry about it. Show up with enough gears on your bike, ride it and everything else on the course the way I’m about to explain to you, and realize that everyone else has to ride it too.

  • Gearing: Last year I rode a 5:13 bike split with a 52/36 chainrings and a 28-11 cassette, a rather girly setup if you were to ask your local bike shop for advice. Why? You simply can’t have enough gears on your bike in an IRONMAN® and I put enough gears on my bike so that I almost never see a cadence of less than about 70-75rpm. Therefore, I recommend that everyone race with either a compact crank (50/34) and a 28-11 or 12 cassette. If the compact crank is outside your budget, absolutely get that cassette or even bigger (i.e. 30-12) if doing so is within your budget. Be sure to ask your bike shop about what, if any, additional modifications they may have to make to your bike before installing such a big climbing cassette.
  • Flatten the hills on the bike: This is how we teach our athletes to ride hills on an IRONMAN® bike course:
    • Entrance: As you approach a hill and the road begins to go up while your cadence and speed begin to decrease, pay attention to the pressure on the soles of your feet and your cadence, then downshift quickly through the gears maintaining this same on-the-flats pedal pressure and cadence at the entrance to the hill. At the same time, watch the other athletes around you and observe they are NOT doing this, with the result that they instantly gap you by 2-5 bike lengths. Don’t worry, they are working too hard and you are not!
    • Body of the Hill: As you run out of gears and are now just getting up the hill, ask yourself “what is the effort I should be climbing up this hill, given that I still have to ride X miles and then run a marathon!” When you frame the question that way, it’s pretty clear that it’s not about how quickly you get up this hill, but rather what is the correct effort to set up the marathon. And the answer is…comfortably!
    • Crest: As you begin to reach the top of the hill and your cadence and speed increases (1) do our pedal pressure and cadence drill again, this time up-shifting quickly through the gears, maintaining your climbing effort across the crest and into the downhill. At the same time, (2) observe the athletes around you and notice their body language. They will likely shut it down at the crest and immediately begin to coast. More importantly, observe how little real estate they’ve gained on you despite their massive effort at the entrance and in the body of the climb.
    • Downhill: Keep pedaling and only coast when your speed is about 33-34mph. Very important: This speed on the downhill sets up your speed across the next flat into the next hill and the next. Always be thinking “Conservation of Momentum” and keep your speed rolling across the course through the intelligent and steady application of power in the hills.
  • Terrain-Centric Execution: As you pedal your bicycle around the course, simply ask yourself “how should I ride this terrain feature, this headwind/tailwind, take this turn, and so on in order to set myself up for the last eight miles of the run?” Don’t worry about this or that specific hill, especially Barlow, or what to do at mile X versus Y of the course. Instead, just focus on making excellent decisions in real time given the terrain that’s right in front of your nose right now.

Notice, I’m purposely not going to tell you how to ride this or that section of the course because if you apply that hill climbing guidance and your focus on terrain-centric execution, the course will take care of itself! But if you want an inch by inch breakdown of the course, as well as Wisconsin-specific heart rate and power pacing guidance, please be sure to attend my FREE Four Keys of Wisconsin Talk at the Overture Center for the Arts. Details are here.

IronStruck.com-Ironman-Wisconsin-finish-line-image-1024x575

The Run
After such a challenging bike course the IRONMAN® Wisconsin run course is rather generic, with nothing super crazy-epic that you need to be especially concerned about. But there are some things to be aware of:

  • High Energy First ~2 Miles: The first couple miles of the race are very high energy as you run around the capitol square, down State Street, and through town. Don’t get caught up in putting on a show and instead run very, very, very easy!
  • Observatory Drive: Note the series of ~3 rather significant rollers on Observatory. These hills come at you at about mile 18-19 on your second lap so run all day in a manner that sets you up to run versus walk up these hills.
  • Crowded Bike Paths and Aid Stations: Much of the run is on a bike path through campus that, with hundreds of runners, volunteers, and aid stations, can get pretty crowded. However, it does make for nearly constant spectator support through much of the run.
  • Final Climb Up State Street: Finally, the last ~1 mile of each lap includes a grade up State Street to the capitol square. It’s relatively short, but just be aware of and prepared for it.

In Summary
Even though I live in SoCal, there are many reasons I consider Wisconsin to be my home race and why I’ve raced it four times: The course rewards smarts and execution skills versus pure fitness, the spectator support on the course is phenomenal, and the city of Madison is full of both small town and big city charm and things to do. The secret to a good race in Madison: Show up fit and smart, and be ready to exercise patience and discipline all day!

Join Coach Rich in Madison for your FREE Four Keys of Wisconsin Pre-Race Talk! Click on the image below for details and to RSVP!

EN2Interested in a FREE, 30-day trial of online coaching from Endurance Nation? It’s never too early to prepare for your next event; Register Now!

sign up

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Written by Stefanie Peterson

e8c8496ae963bf3599eaeec6256aa040

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

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

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

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

f53d555812fcd371873ccf46256fdd43

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

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

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

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

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

636021256134510341-Allysa-Seely

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

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

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

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

Save

Save

]]>
4:1 Recovery Nutrition for Optimal Endurance Performance https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/26/41-recovery-nutrition-for-optimal-endurance-performance/ Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:33:55 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7502 Written by Karlyn Grimes, MS RD LDN CSSD                     Whether you’re following an intense training schedule or have an event on the horizon, performance is on your mind. You train day after day whether your body is ready to roll or fatigue is knocking on the […]]]>

Written by Karlyn Grimes, MS RD LDN CSSD

running

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re following an intense training schedule or have an event on the horizon, performance is on your mind. You train day after day whether your body is ready to roll or fatigue is knocking on the door.  Let’s face it: some training days, your-get-up-and-go has got up and left. These days can affect your physical, mental and emotional health, and, if they occur frequently, can contribute to overtraining syndrome and put personal bests out of reach. The key to keeping your training fresh, invigorating, and effective is to invest in your recovery.

For many athletes, “recovery” refers to rest and nutritional support after training and competition, but real recovery involves key strategies before, during, and after exercise, as well as throughout the day.  Essentially, athletes need to be in “recovery mode” at all times.

Be Deliberate
It’s important to start your recovery immediately after intense training and competition. During this time frame, there is a high amount of blood flow to the muscles, and channels funneling glucose and amino acids into muscles are wide open. With every minute that passes, these channels begin closing and blood flow to recently worked muscles slows. If you wait too long to refuel your body, you will experience sub-optimal glycogen repletion and compromised muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This effect is particularly noticeable when there are fewer than eight hours between training sessions.

  • The Solution: Consume carbohydrates and protein in a 4-to-1 ratio as soon as possible after training and competition, and continue fueling up until the two-hour mark. The International Society of Sports Nutrition found nutrient timing to be a critical component to recovery. An adequate mix of carbohydrates and protein immediately after a workout creates an anabolic environment that supports glycogen repletion and MPS, increasing MPS up to three times.

aKlean RecoveryTM, a carbohydrate-protein supplement, delivers the rapidly absorbed 4:1 macronutrient ratio that is essential for muscle building and promotion of a positive nitrogen balance.* If you have fewer than eight hours between training sessions, be sure to choose a more nutrient-dense liquid, such as milk, to ensure you receive 1.0-1.2 grams of carbohydrate and 0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per hour. Water is the perfect mixer when you have more time between training sessions or competition, since expedited repletion is not required.

Be Proactive
Recovery can be initiated even before the start of training or competition.  According to a recent (2016) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine, consuming 20-30 grams of total protein comprising 10 grams of essential amino acids during or immediately after exercise can lead to enhanced MPS and improved nitrogen balance.  Both of these scenarios are essential for supporting the numerous metabolic adaptations your body experiences during the various stages of training. A special note for master’s athletes: due to slower recovery rates and possible impairment of muscle remodeling mechanisms, additional protein consumption after training and competition, as well as throughout the day, may be advantageous.

Waiting for the Start of the Triathlon in San Diego - April 20,

  • The Solution: One to two hours prior to exercise, it’s vital to obtain 20 grams of a high-quality whey protein isolate, chock-full of essential amino acids such as leucine, a muscle protein synthesis dynamo. A whey protein isolate such as Klean IsolateTM will fill up your amino acid pools so they are prepared to synthesize muscle proteins, enzymes, mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell), red blood cells, and other key bodily components that support your training efforts after your workout.* Studies have also found that multiple feedings of protein throughout the day can help maximize MPS. Fruit smoothies containing whey protein isolate will promote faster recovery.* The addition of Greek yogurt, flax and chia seeds, unsweetened frozen fruits, baby carrots, kale, mini peppers, and any other favorites can provide your body with a steady infusion of protein, as well as numerous phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Be Innovative
While whey protein isolate and recovery concoctions containing the proper carbohydrate-to-protein ratios will set the stage for optimal recovery, you may benefit from going the extra mile by consuming specific essential amino acids that have been linked to expedited muscle tissue repair, enhanced immune system function, and overall recovery.* These powerful amino acids – namely, leucine, valine and isoleucine – are referred to as branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Research has also shown that a 400 mg dose of ATP, a direct energy source for our muscles and other energy-requiring processes, can stimulate vasodilation in areas needing oxygen (i.e. highly taxed muscles), allowing for enhanced blood flow and heightened recovery.*

  • The Solution: Supplementing with a BCAA and ATP before, during, and post-exercise promotes improved recovery and increased blood flow for better performance.* There are few nutritional supplements that provide oral ATP. Klean BCAA + Peak ATP® is one of the only products on the market that offers the combination of BCAA and ATP. This dual concoction is best consumed before, during, and after exercise to infuse your body with the ideal ratio of BCAAs and ATP to optimize performance and recovery.*

With the most current research-based knowledge surrounding promotion of optimal recovery at your fingertips, I wish you the best of luck in your recovery adventures!

About the Author: Karlyn Grimes is the founder of Simply Simple Health (SSH), author of The Everything Anti-Inflammation Diet Book, and a retained medical advisor for Klean Athlete.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>
What’s the Point of Compression Clothing https://university.trisports.com/2016/08/22/whats-the-point-of-compression-clothing/ Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:39:54 +0000 http://www.university.trisports.com/?p=7421 Written by Nate Deck, TriSports Champion Team Athlete Knee high socks on a hot day? Compression tights? Those look uncomfortable. Those look goofy. That’s just one of those trends that will pass sooner or later. Maybe you have heard, thought, or even said some of these things. Let’s dive in and cut through the myths […]]]>

Written by Nate Deck, TriSports Champion Team Athlete

Knee high socks on a hot day? Compression tights? Those look uncomfortable. Those look goofy. That’s just one of those trends that will pass sooner or later. Maybe you have heard, thought, or even said some of these things. Let’s dive in and cut through the myths and misconceptions around compression apparel.

What Is Compression Clothing?
The first thing to know is that compression socks (or other clothing) are not just tight socks. Compression clothing has graded compression. The compression is tighter towards the extremities and gets looser as it gets closer to the core. That means compression socks will be tighter at the feet and ankles than they are at the calf and knee. This helps aid in blood flow from the extremities back to the heart.

The idea behind this comes from the medical field where compression clothing has been prescribed for patients at risk of blood clots for various reasons, such as sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, and so on. My brother was even prescribed compression socks because he was in such good shape aerobically, that after sitting for a long period of time he would pass out when he stood up due to blood pooling in his feet. Athletes took this concept of increased blood flow and realized that it would lead to more oxygen being available to the working muscles.

17og8l4q9r09xjpg

Does It Even Work?
The next question is obvious…do they even work? The answer is not as clear cut as some manufacturers would have you believe. While there are multiple studies on the topic, none of them are 100% conclusive. Some even conflict one another. On the one hand, many of the studies have been done in a lab setting, testing athletes in simulations of various activities of shorter duration and high intensity, such as 5K runs and even rugby. None of these showed a definite increase in performance, but some of them did show a quicker recovery with the use of compression socks or tights.

The most applicable test was performed at the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon in South Africa. What sets this test apart from the others was that it was performed in a real world scenario, as well as being the only test for a long distance event. The results showed the runners wearing compression socks averaged 12 minutes faster than those without them, and their muscles showed fewer signs of damage than the other runners. The runners were also tested 24 and 48 hours after the race. Those wearing compression gear were further along in their recovery than those without compression gear.

Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross pulls on compression sleeves before a 400-meter race at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul in 2012.
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross pulls on compression sleeves.

The scientist running the test, Elmarie Terblanche, indicated that the results are probably due to multiple things. First of all, during the race, the socks supported the muscles and reduced the amount of wear and tear throughout the event. Second, the recovery was also aided by this support allowing the muscles to heal in a pseudo soft cast. The final aspect was the increased blood flow, which, in turn, increased the speed of the natural healing functions in the muscles.

The take-away from this is that while compression gear may not give an immediate boost in performance, it may delay fatigue and prevent unnecessary muscle damage in longer events. It also helps speed up the recovery process, especially within the first 24 hours and when used in conjunction with other tried and true recovery methods like foam rolling, ice baths, and elevation.

Calf Sleeves
Compression Calf Sleeves

Should I Wear Them?
Ah, yes. The final question. Should I wear compression gear? Assuming you read the sections above, I would guess you can probably answer that for yourself. While I wouldn’t put them on for the first time on race day and expect a PR (aside from the whole “nothing new on race day” concept), I would say that using compression during and immediately after your long run is a safe bet for increased performance. Recovery is just as important as training. The ability to recover after a hard workout and hit the next one just as hard will definitely increase your performance if done consistently over time. Adding compression garments to your recovery arsenal is a good move if you get some quality gear and use it consistently.

About the Author: Nate is a husband, father, and teacher. When he’s not hanging out with teenagers he can be found swimming, biking, and running around central North Carolina or on twitter @n8deck.

Buy This Product Now on TriSports.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Written by Stefanie Peterson
Gwen Jorgensen Finish Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Written by Stefanie Peterson

rio_teste_event_WA8_4295-1080x717

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

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

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

del_2660b-633x421

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Written by Stefanie Peterson

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

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

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

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

true_sarah_082215_800x400

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

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

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

15672

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

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

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

]]>