walking – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com The place to learn about triathlon. Mon, 12 Nov 2018 21:36:09 +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 walking – TriSports University https://university.trisports.com 32 32 Slow Down https://university.trisports.com/2018/11/12/slow-down/ https://university.trisports.com/2018/11/12/slow-down/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 21:36:09 +0000 https://university.trisports.com/?p=8964 Here's my advice. Slow down. If you want to go faster, get stronger and be more healthy, slow down. Isn't the reason we exercise for health reasons? Did we lose this notion? Ask yourself, do you know your heart rate zones?]]>

Here’s my advice. Slow down. If you want to go faster, get stronger and be more healthy, slow down. Isn’t the reason we exercise for health reasons? Did we lose this notion? Ask yourself, do you know your heart rate zones?

I use this analogy with athletes. Think of the tallest building in the world. Let’s humanize this building and say it’s the fastest and strongest building. Now consider this. How big do you think it’s foundation is? Its base must be huge. The builders took a long time to design and create this base. They could not skip any corners. Think what would happen if the foundation wasn’t healthy, what would happen to the building as it was being created? We all should consider this idea when we embark on a fitness goal. Rushing through this base building step will lead to problems.

There is a lot of technical data available that discusses how the heart getting stronger gives you the ability to take in and utilize more oxygen. This, in turn, makes you stronger and healthier. There are many more advantages to this idea. I believe that true fitness comes out of our bodies working as efficiently as we can. Once you get all cylinder’s in good working order, then training becomes more efficient.

Take the time to learn what this really means to you. What are your heart rate zones?

Here are some ways to get those zones. Remember when we did this? To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery – which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.

There are numerous online sources to help you figure out your zones.  You can get assistance at your gym, through a coach, or if you own a Garmin, Polar or Timex watch these tools will also help you.

As you might find there are many opinions about zone labels and the number of zones. All correct in their own way. What I’m focusing on is the ability to know when you’re aerobic and in this case the low end of your aerobic zone.

If you don’t have the energy to figure this out, then try this. Walk more. It’s that simple. Walk with purpose. My grocery store is 1 and ½ miles from my house. I now walk to grab a few days of groceries, Yes, I take my daypack to carry it home. I walk. Do double duty if you have to. This is a great time to catch up on calls. Walking allows your body to grow aerobically without the pounding that running creates. I have my athletes do long hikes well into their event season, these can be in the mountains, or they can be urban hikes. That’s why I say to do this with purpose. Plan the route, take nutrition, set goals. It can be as complicated as you want to make or as simple as walking the dog. Do it with a group. Do more of it.

I called this article Slow Down for a reason. We are just going through life too fast. Walking is a great way to reverse this trend. Slow down and build that foundation. I recommend this approach if you want to have one of your best seasons ever and stay healthy while you’re doing it.


Gary Wallesen
Coach – Steelhead Coaching

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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.

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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. 






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.










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.


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.

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Brooks Cascadia 6 Trail Shoe. https://university.trisports.com/2012/01/16/brooks-cascadia-6-trail-shoe/ Tue, 17 Jan 2012 00:10:37 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=4038 The Brooks Cascadia has received consistently great reviews as an Editor's Choice trail shoe. In the Cascadia 6 version Brooks had the good sense to leave well enough alone and add a few fine tunes to dial a good shoe in even further. See it here. ]]>

By Tom Demerly.

The Brooks Cascadia 6 is the latest version of the popular Cascadia trail shoe.

The Brooks Cascadia lineage of trail shoes has won so many awards it’s hard to imagine Brooks making many changes from version to version. In it’s previous iteration, the Cascadia 5, the only criticism reviewers from Outside magazine could find was the laces.

The Brooks Cascadia 6 looks outwardly a lot like two previous versions but enjoys a few meaningful tweaks to make a great trail shoe even better. The Cascadia has never been a trendy shoe. It is solid running design from a solid running company. Although it has been lowered a trifle from previous versions it isn’t a minimalist or low drop shoe. The heel is 32.5 millimeters deep measured and the toe rides 22.2 millimeters measured height for a drop of about 10 millimeters. As a result the shoe rides high and soft, making it nice on the hard-packed level trails and forgiving on the rocky descents to the north of Tucson, Arizona where I did my tests this fall.

With luxurious and stable cushion and excellent rock-strike protection the Cascadia 6 is the best version ever.

A big part of the cushioned feel comes from forefoot and heel Brooks DNA cushioning systems. These shock absorbers are installed independently in the forefoot and heel to take up foot strike. The DNA shock absorbers ride inside an encapsulated Brooks Bio Mogo midsole sheathed in durable carbon rubber outer. Brooks also added a fourth “Pivot Post” on the medial forefoot to give the Cascadia Mark 6 greater forefoot stability.

Having run recently off road in several Montrail, Salomon and Adidas styles along with the Brooks Cascadia 6 my overwhelming impression from Cascadia 6 is one of stability- even more so than cushioning. This is likely due to the width of the midsole and outsole at the arch and the medial posting in both the forefoot and heel. A “rock strike” layer is built into the midsole to prevent you from feeling sharp rocks. This has always been a useful feature of the Cascadia, especially in Tucson. This stiff layer likely also improves lateral stiffness of the midsole. And speaking of this sole assembly, a large portion of my local trail was recently paved so my first mile is now done on pavement. The Cascadia 6 rides well (but high) on pavement and isn’t excessively stiff as I’ve found with some off-road runners taken into the civilized world. Still lots of cushion-soft ride even on pavement.

An additional ride control "Pivot Post" has been added to the medial forefoot to even out the ride and further control shock and roll (left green circle).

No mention of a trail shoe is complete without commentary on traction. Especially descending, traction can be a boon or bust. Brooks has found a reasonable middle ground between adhesion and not getting your foot stuck at an off-angle and twisting an ankle. Even descending rocky trails I found them to have about the grip I’d like. A big part of the good traction is owed to the nice midsole design. It allows the outsole to work well by providing a reasonable level of conformity to the terrain for my 170 pound frame.

The breathable upper has been tweaked with webbing eyelets on the outside. The outsole (right) shoes three stripes of the rock strike protection, the yellow material visible through the outsole.

Brooks changed the lacing system to webbing eyelets on the lateral side of the shoe. Some previous versions used a lacing system that partially “wrapped” the forefoot to control volume and couple the upper to the sole more snugly. That wasn’t a bad system, but it isn’t missed on the current Cascadia 6. Fit is better than some Brooks road shoes in my opinion, very “down the middle” for my absolutely average volume size 9.5 feet.

A subtle change to the eyelets: An older Cascadia 5 (women's) in the foreground with the more recent Cascadia 6 with webbing eyelets in the rear. Notice also that the laces have changed in response to a critical comment about the (old) laces not staying tied in "Outside" magazine.

The remainder of the upper is “Hydrophobic Mesh” that is not waterproof but allows for adequate drainage. Since the shoe won’t get soaked or hold water it won’t gain much weight when wet.

There have been several treatments to the toebox on the Cascadia. In general trail shoe designers seem to look on toe boxes as a place to add off-road styling that make the shoe look like a trail shoe. It adds unnecessary weight. Brooks resisted the temptation on the “6”.  The Cascadia 6 has a full synthetic wrap toe box with a clear polymer grid layer for added protection. It isn’t excessive and it provides plenty of protection.

While some trail shoes have overbuild toe guards largely as a styling que the Brooks Cascadia 6 uses a lightweight and entirely adequate toe protection system.

The great fit, handling and under foot feel of the Cascadia 6 likely come from Brooks’ heritage as a running shoe company before being a trail shoe company. Many trail runners are lightweight hiking boots on a diet. While this design theme has its place that place may not be out for a trail run. The hybrid hiker/trail shoe is better suited for a day hike than a training run. The Cascadia 6 is still a running shoe from a running company.

New trim treatments in the enhanced heel counter ride on top of the Caterpillar Crash Pad in the heel, another ride improving upgrade in the "6".

I’ve seen concept drawings of proposed future Cascadia designs with novel side-lacing systems and other radical departures from the generally conventional Cascadia design over the previous three versions. I got another pair of Cascadias in the “Mark 6” version while the gettin’ is good. Brooks isn’t prone to trendy overhauls of existing designs but with a shoe this good an extra pair is cheap insurance against any possible re-designs that may not be as future proof.

The Brooks Cascadia has earned consistent strong reviews as an industry leading trail runner. This latest version, the Cascadia 6, is the most refined version yet.
2XU Compression: The “Cankle” Killer… https://university.trisports.com/2011/08/16/2xu-compression-does-it-work/ Tue, 16 Aug 2011 23:49:37 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=2932 Does compression really work? The studies are published. Everybody is wearing it. We challenge 2XU to prove it – and grow some ugly “cankles” doing it.]]>

By Tom Demerly.

Compression is a strong trend in multisport- but what does it really do? We do a street level test to see the benefits.

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Compression garments: Do they “work”? What does “work” really mean? Is it a triathlon fashion fad?

I love equipment but I’m a cynic. I need proof that something like tight-fitting clothes provides a significant performance/recovery benefit. I’ve seen the studies and sat through the tech clinics. I wanted to experience the benefits of compression first hand- if they are real.

The brands that sell technical compression garments provide university medical studies that “prove” compression speeds recovery, improves circulation, reduces fatigue and improves proprioception (your sense of where your body is in space). What I set out to discover was: Does compression provide me- personally- the guy on the street, with any tangible benefit?

“Does compression provide me- personally- the guy on the street, with any benefit?”

2XU or “Two Times You” was founded in the sports mad city of Melbourne, Australia. The company and its name reflect their mission to advance human performance through their equipment- to literally give you “Two Times You(r)” capabilities.

2XU compression socks are tuned for activity, activity/recovery and for recovery using different graduated levels of compression.

Last year Chris Sinkovich and Richard Verney of 2XU sensed my cynicism about compression. I dismissed the compression category as a great money maker, but a fad. The two bristled. An exchange of e-mails, visits and phone calls took place over the next few months until I finally told the guys from 2XU: “Guys, it’s a nicely made product- but I would need to experience any benefits for myself. “ I was finally off the hook. I thought.

Two days later a box and an e-mail showed up. Sinkovich and Verney of 2XU challenged me to disprove the university findings about the benefit of compression. It was on.

The claims about compression benefits are lofty:

  • Increased circulation.
  • Faster Recovery.
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased muscle compression reducing unwanted muscle oscillation
  • Improved Proprioception.
  • Temperature and moisture management.

For the 2012 season 2XU has introduced three levels of compression performance:

  1. 2XU PERFORM: The active/movement line. Compression for exercise to control muscle damage and provide full range of motion and proprioception in action/endurance sports and manage moisture and heat.
  1. 2XU XFORM: For active recovery. These garments use graduated compression to further enhance recovery while retaining the benefits of the Perform line.
  1. 2XU REFRESH: For recovery. Powerful and graduated compression to reduce inflammation and facilitate recovery through fluid return.

For my test I used the 2XU Men’s Recovery Compression Tights, the 2XU Compression Recovery Sock, the 2XU Swim Recovery Compression Top and the 2XU Compression Race Sock.

Testing physiological response to recovery garments is a slippery slope that delves into constants and trials, protocols and other rigmarole. That’s in the university studies published on 2XU’s website. My test would be a trial to see if I could find/feel/see a benefit. It’s not science, it’s anecdotal.

“I wanted to see if wearing compression made me feel any better”

In the short term I wanted to see if wearing compression made me feel any better and if there was a tangible difference using compression. The recovery claims were of particular interest. I decided to take two weeks off running after a hard two months, then resume running and use the compression to manage the residual soreness.

It’s hot in Tucson. A requirement of exercising here is constant hydration. I drink at least 3-4 liters of water per day, much more on days with a bike commute and a longer run. The water produces edema, or inflammation of the lower extremities. I’ve had this in deserts around the world, from the Sahara to the Wadi Rum in Jordan. Edema is a function of acclimating to exercise in the heat. It is a particular concern for athletes travelling to a race in a different climate, especially after a long flight. Here in Tucson it wasn’t difficult for me to induce some wicked edema and grow some epic cankles.

“…it wasn’t difficult to induce some wicked edema and grow some epic cankles.”

For my first run I banged out 5.5 miles on the River Trail behind my house, a perfect desert proving ground. Temperature was high 90’s with the monsoon season humidity building. That night, my legs ached. Experience told me in the morning they would be worse. I put one 2XU Compression Recovery Sock on my right foot. I put my normal shoes and boots on my left foot. The following afternoon this is what I got:

Edema from training in heat after time off. I wore a 2XU compression sock on the right foot, and regular running socks on the left foot.

There was substantial inflammation in my left lower leg. The leg was larger in circumference and felt inflamed and “heavy”: The right leg below the knee, where the 2XU Compression Recovery Sock was, had less inflammation and was visibly smaller. I’ve had surgeries on both legs going back decades ago. The 2XU Compression Recovery Sock on the right leg prevented the edema and inflammation I had on the left leg.

“Nearly all of the inflammation from my left leg had gone down overnight while wearing the 2XU recovery tights.”

I found the sizing charts on the 2XU product to be very precise.

Next step was to use recovery while sleeping. I wore the 2XU Men’s Recovery Compression Tights while sleeping after verifying my fit on the packaging size chart. I found the 2XU size charts on their packaging to be accurate. Nearly all of the inflammation from my left leg had gone down overnight. My legs were sore, but it was more joint pain than muscle pain. The level of muscle discomfort compared to using no compression and coming back to running was lower.

2XU recovery tights allow active recovery even- and especially- while sleeping, speeding recovery for your next workout.

Finally, the following morning I got up, drank a liter of cold water, changed into the 2XU Compression Race Sock and did my long commute to work; 19.5 miles around Davis-Monthan AFB. I. I rode hard in rising temperatures already above 85 degrees. At work I racked my bike, took my shoes off, shot one photo in the 2XU Compression Race Sock, pulled the socks off, and stepped in front of the camera again. Less than 24 hours after the “cankle” photo this is how my legs looked:

Before and after. Not only is the edema from the left leg completely gone (right), it is easy to see that both legs appear leaner and retain less fluid. My legs felt lighter and more comfortable after wearing 2XU compression.

“…compression does provide a reduction of soreness and inflammation for me.”

My take-away is that compression does provide a tangible benefit in reduction of soreness and inflammation for me. The results feel more significant than any other recovery product I’ve used, including anti-inflammatories, aspirin and (unfortunately) even massage.

2XU compression sleeves for racing help reduce vibration, especially during the bike to run transition.

In retrospect I think Verney and Sinkovich knew they were shooting fish in a barrel with this project. I was an easy target because compression has easily verifiable benefits. In my role as a product review editor I see a lot of products that promise but don’t deliver. Three (other products) are in my cubicle right now. You never read about those because we don’t buy them, don’t publish the review. Verney and Sinkovich proved to me that 2XU Compression does provide a verifiable benefit to me, or perhaps I proved it to myself. In both cases my paradigm about compression as being trendy and fashionable among last-decade triathletes has been aptly shifted. For me, 2XU Compression provides tangible benefits

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Tips for My first Triathlon https://university.trisports.com/2011/07/22/tips-for-my-first-triathlon/ Sat, 23 Jul 2011 00:15:07 +0000 http://university.tri-sports.com/?p=2556 Make your first triathlon a blast with tips from athletes who know the sport. See what you need to know before your first triathlon here.]]>

By Tom Demerly with Contributors from beginnertriathlete.com Forum.

Your first race experience will shape your entire time in triathlons. Make your first race easy and fun and you may wind up on the course in the biggest races before you know it!

First timers get anxious when they don’t know what to do at their first race. What to bring? What to leave home? Where to go? How to set up a transition area?

We surveyed contributors to the beginnertriathlete.com forum for tips on what to know before your first race and added a few of our own. Here are the top tips for a great first race.

Become a student of the sport by reading the training and racing literature. Volunteering at a race before your first event will give you insights that could take an entire racing season to gain.

1. Learn the Sport.

The user named “Red Corvette” on beginnertriathlete.com forum mentioned that volunteering at an event before your first race is an excellent way to see how a triathlon works in person. Many of your questions about what to wear, how to set up a transition and how the race flows will be answered if you work a local event as a volunteer. You’ll also get a feel for how much work goes into producing a triathlon.

Reading about the sport will also familiarize you with the technical language. The Cycling Hall of Fame Coach Mike Walden once said “Be a student of the sport”. Walden’s insight, along with great coaches like Michael R. Rabe, reinforces the need to own the knowledge and understand the language of our sport.

Inspect and maintain your equipment frequently. A dirty, worn drivetrain; rusty bolt;broken stem and worn cleats can end your race and even contribute to a crash. Take responsibility for maintaining your equipment.

2. Learn and Do Bike Maintenance.

Whether you race boats, cars, airplanes or triathlons your performance will be better if you know how to maintain your equipment and do it regularly. Racing bikes are different from the bikes we had as a kid. They require more maintenance for best performance since they are optimized for racing. Even entry level bikes benefit from basic maintenance. Bike maintenance is as simple as learning to air your tires, keep your bike clean and lubricate your drivetrain. If you own the knowledge you will be less dependent on others, more confident and self-sufficient on race day and during training. You can learn bike maintenance from classes at your local dealer and from books and cycling/triathlon clubs. Inspect your equipment regularly to insure it is safe and to optimize performance. The photos above are all from bikes headed to events. Had they not been serviced before the race there may have been race-ending technical problems.

Learn to be self sufficient on race day if you have a mechanical. Make sure your equipment is adjusted correctly and fits right. The helmet on the right is dangerously far back on the rider's head.

3. Know How to Use Your Equipment.

Take responsibility for being certain your helmet is adjusted correctly and is not damaged. Know how to be mechanically self-sufficient on the course. The most common problems are flat tires and dropped chains. Be sure you have practiced changing your own flats before race day. Know how to avoid your chain falling off and practice how to get it back on if it happens. Practice fixing these problems before race day to improve your confidence and self-reliance. If you do get into to trouble on race day, you can get yourself out. Be certain your helmet is adjusted correctly to provide protection in case of a fall. When you own the knowledge you don’t need to fear the outcome. This makes you a more relaxed, confident athlete.

Take your new gear home from the race expo and try it in training before using it in a race. Find out what nutritional products are being used on race day and use them in training to get accustomed to them.

4. No New Equipment on Race Day.

The bling at the race expo is hard to resist. If you just got a new bike after waiting for it for weeks it is nearly impossible to resist riding it on race day. Any experienced athlete they will tell you, “No new equipment on race day”. It takes time to become familiar with new equipment. New bikes need break in, fitting and adjustment. New shoes may cause blisters and goggles may leak. On race day, go with what you know. New equipment almost never provides an advantage on race day, but frequently creates problems. Remember the investment in time and entry fees you’ve made in your race. It isn’t worth risking on untried equipment, no matter how cool it is. For nutritional products be sure to try them in training before you use them on race day. It’s wise to know what products will be used in the aid station at your race and practice in training with them before race day.

Do an open water swimming dress rehearsal before race day. Some new athletes have anxiety during the swim. Practice in the open water will reduce anxiety before race day.

5. Do Some Open Water Swimming Before Race Day.

Almost every new athlete agrees the swim is the greatest source of fear. Username “Brown dog us” from beginnertriathlete.com’s forum recommended you “Do an open water swim before race day.” That is solid advice.

If you put on your wetsuit, goggles, a swim cap and ear plugs before race day and practice open water swimming in a safe location with a partner and/or life guard you will be less anxious on race day. This is especially important when swimming with a wetsuit for the first time. It is common for new triathletes to experience hyperventilation and anxiety during their first wetsuit swim. Some athletes report feeling their breathing constricted, even when the wetsuit fits correctly. Be certain to get in the water, even if it is only the pool, before race day to familiarize yourself with how your equipment feels before race day.

If you get to the race early the porta-johns are clean, there are no lines and you have a relaxed morning.

6. Get to the Race very Early.

Forum contributor “goosedog” from the beginnertriathlete.com forum said to get to the porta-johns early. Know the race schedule by looking on the event website in the week prior to the race. Get to the race as early as you can to avoid traffic jams, get a good place in transition, have a leisurely time setting up and gain access to clean bathroom facilities. Always bring extra toilet paper and wet wipes- enough to share with other competitors who may not be as well prepared. It helps remove one more layer of worry over small comforts on race day and makes you feel more prepared.

Do a careful review of the course before the race, learning the route and the way the transition area works. Attend the race meetings and ask questions.

7. Know the course, Go to the Race Meeting and Learn the Transition Area.

While every race director makes an effort to mark the race course well the USAT rule says it is “incumbent on the athlete” to know the course and follow it. That means if you go off course it is your fault– not the race director’s- even if the course is poorly marked. If you know the course you will be more confident and safer. The pre-race meeting may offer important insights on weather, course direction, rules and officiating. It may also provide an opportunity to ask questions about the race.

Use a simple transition set up and remember the transition area will be crowded. Learn the flow of athletes through the transition area to avoid being in the way of other athletes.

8. Use a Simple Transition Set-Up.

Contributor “bryancd” of beginnertriathlete.com’s forum said simply “K.I.S.S.” Leave the buckets and folding stools at home. Be considerate of the other athletes in the transition area and remember transitions get congested with bikes and gear. As athletes get more experienced their transition set ups tend to look more alike and have less gear in them. Learn the flow of the transition area so you move through it efficiently with other athletes and don’t create delays or bottlenecks. Forum contributor on beginnertriathlete.com’s forum named “Shop Cat” suggested to “Be sure your bike is in an easy gear out of transition” so pedaling is easier as you begin.

Get your wetsuit on well before your wave start and get in the water for a good warm-up swim. This helps you adjust your wetsuit fit and get accustomed to the suit.

9. Put your Wetsuit on Early and get a good Warm-Up Swim.

Wetsuits are hard to get on correctly alone and need to be “swam into place” for best performance. If you get to the race early enough you can ask for assistance from other athletes to help you zip your suit up. Then you have time to get in the water, get a layer of water between you and your wetsuit for best performance and make final adjustments so you are comfortable in your swim. Warming up by swimming in the water makes you more confident and reduces anxiety during crowded swim starts.

Learn the swim course and the wave start schedule before your wave starts.

10. Know the Swim Course. Start in the best place for your Swim Speed.

You may have heard stories of athletes who panic when they get “swam over”, bumped or lose their goggles during a crowded swim start. Finding a good location to start based on your experience level can eliminate any problems. If you know the swim course you can avoid the congested areas and save time by swimming more efficiently. This also gives you better confidence in the swim and reduces anxiety.

Know the USAT rules on drafting and understand how to interact with other athletes on the bike.

11. Understand Drafting Rules.

Know what the USAT drafting rules are from the USAT website and the USAT rule book that is mailed to every USAT member. The contributor to beginnertriathlete.com’s forum named “Duder5189” mentioned to “Learn the rules of the bike leg.” It’s a strong tip.

Understand what “position violations” are and how to overtake. Other athletes may draft during the race- intentionally or accidentally- but it is up to you to observe the rules on your own to have a race you can be proud of.

Your first race is a big event. Take time to appreciate it and have fun!

12. Take Time to Celebrate the Day and Have a Good Time!

You only have one first race. “Blbriley” from beginnertriathlete.com forum mentioned to, “Have fun, set realistic goals and be adaptive.” His advice is solid since events on race “Give yourself credit for beginning the sport and expect to learn by making minor mistakes. It is part of becoming a better triathlete.”

Remember that triathlons are swimming, cycling and running- the things we did playing when we were kids. Keep the sport in perspective and enjoy the privilege of being able to participate. Triathlon is a tough sport but it is filled with fun people, places and experiences. The contributor named “New Clydesdale” put the experience in fine perspective: “This is your first race.  It is not likely to be your last.  It will not likely be your best.  Come, race, learn, enjoy!” Make your first race a day to remember!