Triathlete.com http://www.triathlete.com The latest triathlon gear, training, nutrition, photos, races, movers, shakers, and more Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:29:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 http://www.triathlete.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/apple-touch-icon-180x180-120x120.png Triathlete.com http://www.triathlete.com 32 32 Beginner’s Luck: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Hit Register http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/lifestyle/beginners-luck-4-questions-ask-hit-register_309600 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:06:03 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309600 Setting up your 2018 race schedule? Take this advice from "Beginner's Luck" columnist Meredith Atwood before you hit that register button.

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Setting up your 2018 race schedule? Take this advice from “Beginner’s Luck” columnist Meredith Atwood before you hit that register button. 

As a newbie, I found that much of my time was consumed with looking at The Google for races that I might want to do. In fact, I did my very first triathlon in 2010 because it was the end of the season and I found a race called “Last Chance Triathlon,” and I thought: Oh my goodness. This is my LAST CHANCE to be a triathlete! I better register STAT.

Of course, it was not my “last chance,” but you never know, right?

Over the years, I have found some of the most important questions to ask myself before pressing “register” are these.

1. Where IS this race?

Location can be a super exciting reason to pick a race. The idea of a race-cation is not a new one. I think for shorter distance races, it’s super fun and easy because you are good to (ah-hem) walk afterwards.

Sometimes a tropical or exotic or new location for a long-distance race is lost on the person racing—because before the race, you don’t want to spend too much time on your feet, and after the race…well, you can’t seem to move your legs. Unless you have an extra five days on the back-end of the race, I opt for fancy location for a “real” vacation—for true and deep relaxation.

For a first race of any distances, I do believe that picking a location within driving distance is the best advice. You need not worry about bikes on planes, transport, or cases and the like. The money savings is, of course, notable. It’s the simplest trick in the world to take a ton of pressure off of yourself. Pick a race within 250-300 miles and do that one.

2. What time of year am I the best version of myself?

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that if I register for an early season (March, April, May) triathlon that I will likely not start the race—whether it’s injury (from over-training/cramming for the race), simple unpreparedness, or timing, I simply don’t thrive in early-season. I also do not train well in the winter months because I deal with a little bit of seasonal disorder and well, winter laziness and Christmas cookies.

However, when I have a full summer to train? I tend to do well. I am outside and sweaty, and I thrive in these conditions. I take into account this when I pick races.

3. What’s going on in my life and family?

When my kiddos were very young, it didn’t really matter what their schedule was—because they were in preschool and didn’t have activities. However, now that they are in soccer and baseball, as well as other activities, I do not want to spend all spring riding my bike. Rather, I desire to be on the baseball field and soccer field watching spring ball and eating greasy concession-stand French fries. #Truth

Sometimes it’s easy to forget what’s coming when races require advance registration. Keep in mind what’s going on with the family schedule, significant other’s travel and kiddo’s events—it will make you much happier in the long run.

4. How bad do I want it?

Race Registration Compulsion Disorder is a real thing. It’s easy to sign up for all the things, and then proceed to freeze, like a deer in the headlights when it comes to training and preparing for the races. I used to think that registering for the race was half the battle, but now I know that putting money on the line isn’t really that big of a deal. The money is a big deal, of course, but by the time the race rolls around, that money has long been spent. Something bigger has to drive us to the start and finish line of the race. Thinking about how bad I really want that particular finish line is another vital question in picking and choosing a race.

Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom) is a recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman. You can download a free copy of the book here. She is the host of the podcast, The Same 24 Hours, a show which interviews interesting people who make the best of the 24 hours in each day. Meredith lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children, and writes about all things at MeredithAtwood.com

More Beginner’s Luck

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This Barrier-Breaking Fighter Pilot is #trispo Personified http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/lifestyle/barrier-breaking-fighter-pilot-trispo-personified_309592 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:09:58 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309592 Christina Hopper has piloted a nearly $19M war machine and raced in our sport’s most iconic event—and faced seemingly insurmountable challenges in both.

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Christina Hopper has piloted a nearly $19M war machine and raced in our sport’s most iconic event—and faced seemingly insurmountable challenges in both.

As an Air Force fighter pilot, Christina Hopper has turned 9 Gs and dropped bombs from her F-16 Falcon fighter jet during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Air Force Reserve Major is destroying race and sex barriers as the first African-American female fighter pilot to see combat in a major war.

The daughter of U.S. Air Force parents, Hopper had no military ambitions growing up as a kid. In fact, swimming was her first love: She attended the University of Texas on a partial swimming scholarship (growing up, her father was one of the top swimmers on the Virgin Islands). But it wasn’t until she was walking past an Air Force ROTC table—seeing the men and women in the blue Air Force uniforms her parents wore so long ago—that she became interested in the military. “I said, I have to go home and pray about this.’ Two weeks later, I had a vivid dream—I knew I was supposed to fly fighters.”

After nearly two years of academic study and focused F-16 fighter training, Hopper graduated pilot training in 2002. During her five-month deployment in Kuwait, she participated in Operation Southern Watch, monitoring the southern No-Fly Zone. A year later, when the Iraq War started, she and her squadron were tasked with flying in support of Marine and Army ground troops as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an assignment that earned her the honor of becoming the first African-American female fighter pilot to see action in war. As a result of her dedication and service, Hopper earned the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Medal. It wasn’t until later that triathlon showed up as a blip on her radar.

“I was at a family reunion, and my sister Indira said she was doing an Ironman,” Hopper recalls. “ I’d seen the Ironman watches but really didn’t know what it was. When she told me, my eyes popped out of my head. I told my husband, ‘I think my sister is going crazy.’ I told my sister, ‘I’ll never do anything like that—but I’ll cheer for you.’”

Hopper watched her sister finish on Ironman’s live online feed. “She’d struggled through the race, but to see her cross the line and achieve like that? I just cried.”

Hopper later decided to join her at a local sprint tri. That segued into her first half Ironman-distance race at Ironman 70.3 Muncie. “That race,” she says, “lit the fire.”

Last fall, after competing at her first Ironman—the weather-abbreviated Ironman Texas—Hopper lined up with her sister for the big dance: the Hawaii Ironman. It would be her first true full-distance Iron- man race. Second out of the water in her age group, Hopper backed her swim with a powerful bike. But in the excitement of the race, she neglected her nutrition.

“That was my fatal flaw,” Hopper remembers. “By mile three of the run, I started feeling it. I was dizzy and unsure if I was gonna finish. I told my sister Indira ‘I think I need to walk—you need to go, I don’t want to hold you back.’”

In a show of sibling solidarity, the Hopper sisters stayed together. “She said, ‘C’mon Christina, just keep scooting,’ and I was able to run/walk with her,” Hopper says. “That was the heart of it, she sacrificed her race to be there with me. The sisterhood experience was unbelievable.”

The mother of three has more racing on the horizon as she represents and encourages minorities racing in multisport. “There’s been this thing with my friends where they say, ‘Black people can’t swim, we just sink.’ And that’s just not true,” Hopper says. “I’ve seen the same challenges in aviation. But a lot of it is just early education: The more we can teach and educate at the childhood level, we can change that mentality. Opportunities and encouragement. Kids need both to achieve hard things.”

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The Top 5 Reasons Why Triathletes Should Flip Turn http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/top-5-reasons-triathletes-flip-turn_309589 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:17:46 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309589 There are a number of reasons to consider learning this skill.

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Swimming can be daunting for many triathletes, so it may seem overwhelming and unnecessary to add more stress by asking them to add a flip turn into the mix. However, there are a number of reasons to consider learning this skill. Here, Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes author Sheila Taormina’s shares her top give reasons triathletes should flip turn.

1. You can learn to do a respectable flip turn in 30 minutes or less. Who wouldn’t want to acquire a new skill in such a short period of time? It may be rough around the edges at first, but with persistent practice you can refine your turn to be sleek and dynamic within a few weeks. Eventually the flip turn will be quicker than your open turn, so the people in your lane who gain on you at every wall will no longer have that advantage.

2. It is an athletic feat that hones your proprioceptive abilities. Proprioception is the awareness of where your limbs and body are in space even when you cannot see them. Gaining proprioceptive abilities makes you a better athlete all around.

3. It’s a great core workout. The turning motion involves going from a prone position to a tucked position and then back to prone. Athletes get a free core workout every length of the pool. You’ll notice your mid-section (front and back) tightening as the weeks go by.

4. You experience a unique and fast fluid flow when doing a turn, which prompts you to feel and carry that speed at the surface while swimming. If you have a half-way decent turn, then you will push off the wall at a speed that is greater than your swimming speed, and since your body is encased in water approximately 1 – 1.5 feet below the surface, you feel the speed of the water flow past your entire body. You will learn how to carry that speed as you stroke, making you a faster swimmer.

5. You’ll feel much more like a competitive swimmer rather than someone who does not feel completely at home in a pool. Acquiring the skills that experts in a sport have mastered is always a great feeling.

I hope these 5 reasons to learn to flip turn will encourage you to give it a try, but I know many of you have two concerns because I hear them often at my swimming clinics.

RELATED VIDEO: How to Do a Flip-Turn

Roadblock #1: Flip turns feel like cheating, because flip turns cut off the extra stroke into and out of the wall, and triathletes need stroking endurance for open water. Flip turns are not cheating! Flip turns actually make you swim more. It’s impossible to truly simulate the continuous swimming of race day if you are accustomed to snatching an extra breath every time you hit the wall for your open turn. Plus, open turns tempt tired swimmers to stop and take a break.

Roadblock #2: Physical concerns such as getting dizzy, getting water in the sinuses, or fear of hitting head on the bottom of the pool. These concerns are legitimate and a common issue for many people, but each one is overcome by learning the proper turning technique. Just remember this: you can learn a respectable flip turn in 30 minutes of focused effort. Once you learn to flip turn, you’ll always know how. Give flip turns a try!

In case my top five reasons to flip turn didn’t convince you, here are a few more:

  • Flip turns expand your lung capacity. Because you interrupt your hard breathing to hold your breath for a few seconds about twice a minute, you expand your rib cage and lungs while also training your body to get used to holding your breath while your lungs are yelling at you for more air!
  • Flip turns are fluid. Open turns are interruptions. Think of it this way: what’s the equivalent of an open turn in running? Maybe a similar interruption for runners might be breaking stride to jump a hurdle every 30 seconds or skipping for two steps instead of running.
  • Flip turns help your rhythm as a swimmer. Nailing a fluid flip turn, holding a tight underwater streamline, and timing your breakout with your next stroke and breath is more than just an enjoyable feeling. For swimmers, that timing helps them improve their feel for their swimming cadence and the number of strokes they should take each lap at a given effort level.
  • Open turns are hard on your wall-side shoulder.
  • Open turns often keep you too high. A lazy open turn positions your body too close to the surface of the water, which leads to bad streamlines and shorter breakout times.

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These Nutrition Innovaters Are Shaping the Way We Fuel http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/lifestyle/nutrition-innovaters-shaping-way-fuel_309572 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:41:35 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309572 As these seven pioneers discovered, fueling for peak performance is so much more than calories in, calories out.

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There’s a reason we call nutrition triathlon’s fourth discipline: Fail to nail that critical piece and it doesn’t matter how much you’ve trained, your body won’t respond. Ace it, and you could conquer athletes whose VO2 max would put yours to shame. As these seven pioneers discovered, fueling for peak performance is so much more than calories in, calories out. It’s about timing, community, individuality, and hard, cold science.

The Professor

Asker Jeukendrup, Ph.D., 48

Ingredients
An athlete from a young age, Jeukendrup always had an interest in sports and all of the factors that contributed to his performance, including nutrition. After graduating with a degree in Human Movement Sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, he completed his Ph.D., focusing on the “Aspects of carbohydrate and fat metabolism during exercise.” Jeukendrup went on to become a professor, and then he began to delve deeper into sports nutrition research while continuing to pursue his own athletic endeavors.

What Happened Next
Over the last 20 years, Jeukendrup has worked with the likes of Chrissie Wellington, Andreas Raelert, and the Rabobank Pro cycling team. A triathlete himself, he’s completed 21 Ironman events, including six visits to the Ironman World Championships. And he has spent as many hours in the lab as he has on his bike, with stints as the editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Sport Science and director of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute.

“My nutrition philosophy is based on seven key areas: Evidence-based; focus on performance; back to basics but doing it well; real foods; education is key; personalized and periodized; and long-term view,” he says. “There are no shortcuts and no magic potions. If you want to achieve something, you have to work hard.”

After years of gathering knowledge through both his professional and personal experience, Jeukendrup decided it was time to make his evidence-based advice more accessible to everyday athletes as well, creating Mysportscience.com, a place where he distills the latest nutrition research for the masses, and helped launch nutrition–planning service CORE at Fuelthecore.com.

Endurance Impact
Jeukendrup has been published in over 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in the field of sports nutrition, many of which have been used to help formulate the guidelines we have today. His research on carbohydrate recommendations during exercise, for example, led to what the International Olympic Committee quoted as two of the four most important findings in the last 50 years: 1. That for endurance exercise over two and a half hours, athletes should take multiple transportable carbohydrates (e.g., glucose or fructose) at a rate of 90g/hour, and 2. That for exercise lasting one hour (or less), a carbohydrate mouth rinse is sufficient to improve performance.


The Women’s Advocate

Stacy Sims, Ph.D., 44

Ingredients
It didn’t take long in her studies at The University of Otago in New Zealand in the early 2000s for Stacy Sims to recognize that most sports nutrition/exercise science research had been performed exclusively on male athletes up until that point. “For so long women have been excluded or have been given generalized guidelines from research done on men,” says the Ironman athlete. This revelation left the environmental exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist wanting answers— both for herself and her friends who were trying to perform at their best.

What happened next
She focused on hydration and hyperhydration for her doctoral thesis, addressing how fluid availability and plasma volume shifts in both men and women, and then continued to perform sex-specific sports nutrition research at Stanford University for the next five years. Sims has been a pioneer in studies that look at how nutrition specifically affects female athletes ever since. “My academic career has been focused on looking at how women differ from men and finding ways we can garner those differences and use nutrition to help empower all athletes to work with their physiology, not against it,” she says. She went on to co-found Osmo Nutrition, where she served as the company’s chief research officer, and has consulted for USA Cycling, Clif Bar, and Nuun, among others.

Endurance Impact
Sims stands out because she was the first to talk about taking women’s menstrual cycles into consideration when creating nutrition plans, in an effort to better match their food/nutrient needs with their hormonal flux and performance goals. The concept received a bit of pushback in the beginning, but has garnered more attention recently as female athletes seek new avenues for smart performance gains. Her research continues to influence how female athletes choose to train, eat, and hydrate. (For example, women need to work harder to stay hydrated in the days just before their period, she suggests.) “By taking a more personalized approach to fueling and recovery, plus using windows of opportunity to maximize adaptations, not make it harder, we could give female athletes the ability to reap better results from their training,” she says.


The Cooking Coach

Allen Lim, Ph.D., 44

Ingredients
Allen Lim had just graduated from CU Boulder with a doctorate in exercise physiology in 2004 when he had his breakthrough moment. He was training a cyclist, who didn’t know how to cook and basically ate like he was living in a college dorm, for the Tour de France in Girona, Spain, when Lim realized that sports nutrition wasn’t just about bars and gels, that athletes also needed to learn how to prepare and eat normal, healthy food. “I found myself trading in my lab coat for a pair of apron strings and began making and teaching athletes simple, delicious, meals that I had learned cooking with my mom and dad as Asian immigrants in Los Angeles,” he says.

What happened next
Lim continued to tinker with his athletes’ nutrition until he ultimately founded his very own packaged sports-food company, Boulder-based Skratch Labs. Their goal: “To make real food that doesn’t taste like crap and actually helps athletes perform better,” he says. He also started encouraging athletes to eat family-style dinners instead of chowing down solo, as a way to create and maintain a sense of community around enjoying healthy food.

Endurance Impact
Yes, Lim has helped develop a product line that triathletes like two-time Olympian Tyler Butterfield swear by. But he’s also made it his mission to get more athletes into the kitchen, educating them on how to make meals and snacks that they can consume before, during, and after exercise through his Feed Zone Cookbook series. To that end, his mission is still a work in progress. “If you’re burning a lot of calories as a high performing athlete, you have to eat a lot,” he says. “Being able to do that in a way where the food is fresh, locally sourced, shared with others, and is as beautiful as it is delicious is a great way to make what we eat not just something that makes us better, but also one of the best parts of each day.”


The Futurists

Bruce Bean, Ph.D., 65, and Roderick MacKinnon, M.D., 61

Ingredients
Neither Bruce Bean, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, nor Roderick MacKinnon, a professor of molecular neurobiology and biophysics at Rockefeller University, ever planned to enter the world of sports nutrition. But the two seriously smart friends (MacKinnon has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry) were out sea kayaking together, staying well-hydrated and fueled, when rather unexpectedly, they both started cramping badly in their arms—and it got them thinking: What exactly causes muscle cramps, how do you prevent them, and why didn’t either of them know more about it? “We quickly discovered that everything we’d read about the subject in medical school—that it was caused by dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance or lactic acid build-up— turned out to not be true,” Bean says.

What happened next
“We eventually found (in the basic science literature) some properties of muscle cramps that led us to real- ize that the fundamental origin of the cramp resides not in the muscle itself, but rather in the nerves that innervate the muscle,” MacKinnon says. Essentially, cramping occurs when there is excessive firing of the motor neurons in your spinal cord that control muscle contraction. Given that they’re both biophysicists who study neural signaling, they were then determined to find a way to inhibit this effect.

Endurance Impact
These two are leading the charge in a category poised to be the next big thing in sports nutrition: neuromuscular performance. Triathletes will likely most likely recognize the consumer result of their research: Hotshot. This spicy concoction containing capsaicin, ginger, and cinnamon has been proven effective in inhibiting both electrically-induced and natural cramps. It works by stimulating sensory nerves in the mouth, before the effects spread throughout the entire system. “There’s always a balance of excitation and inhibition of a neural circuit. With cramping, there’s too much uncontrolled excitation. Our idea was that if you could stimulate the neurons that respond to sensation, exciting them naturally with ingredients like capsaicin (in hot peppers), then you’d also tune up the overall inhibitory parts of the circuit,” Bean says.

And while its initial product is directed toward athletes, their company’s focus includes developing innovative treatments for cramps and spasms asso- ciated with severe neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and MS. “The common denominator is there’s a hyperactive nerve, and we need to calm it,” says Hotshot spokesman (and Gatorade Sport Science Institute co-founder) Bob Murray.


The Paleo Promoter

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., 66

Ingredients
In 1987, Loren Cordain was teaching at Colorado State University in Fort Collins when he read Dr. Boyd Eaton’s classic paper about the paleo diet in The New England Journal of Medicine. He thought it was the best idea he’d ever heard about optimal human nutrition. Cordain reached out to Boyd and learned as much as he could about the concept, which basically involves a diet that’s rich on lean animal proteins and eliminates processed foods. Cordain’s first book, The Paleo Diet, was published in 2002, selling more than 100,000 copies and garnered a cult-like following, particularly among CrossFitters.

What happened next
Cordain co-authored his second book, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, with famous triathlete coach (and Cordain’s running partner) Joe Friel in 2005. “My original intention with the paleo diet concept was to help people with health issues (hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.) overcome their problems,” Cordain says. But given that he was a member of the track team at the University of Nevada, Reno, the head lifeguard at Sand Harbor State Beach in Lake Tahoe for almost 20 years, and married to a marathoner/triathlete, it seemed natural for him to introduce the paleo concept to the endurance sports world as well. “I suspected that athletes could also improve their performance with contemporary paleo diets,” he says. “Then along comes Joe, an international caliber triathlete coach, to prove it with many of his nationally and internationally ranked athletes.”

Endurance Impact
Regardless of your thoughts on paleo, there’s no denying that Cordain has changed how a number of world–class athletes approach nutrition and fueling. He shifted the focus from the traditional concept of carbo-loading to consuming fresh foods, lean proteins, fruits, and veggies most of the time, and then limiting carbs to just during and immediately after exercise—all in an effort to reduce recovery time, prevent muscle loss, and boost the immune system. “Joe also found that certain carbohydrates were more effective than others in restoring muscle glycogen, particularly specific types of sugar, such as glucose and net alkaline-producing starches in bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams,” he says.


The Green Guru

Brendan Brazier, 42

Ingredients
On a personal quest to find food that would help him perform better, Brendan Brazier tried just about everything possible until he finally landed on a clean, plant-based diet that naturally worked to reduce inflammation and increase mobility. But trying to maintain that diet while training as a professional triathlete was far more difficult than he’d anticipated. “I found myself on a mission to try and figure out how to recover more quickly, especially once I started doing longer events,” he says. At the time, the market was mostly full of whey- and soy-based proteins —they weren’t complete proteins or anti-inflammatories and didn’t provide nourishment to the adrenal glands, which make hormones, like cortisol, that help regulate the body’s response to exercise and other stressors.

What happened next
Brazier, who has had three top-15 Ironman finishes and won two 50K running national championships, started experimenting in his own kitchen with hemp protein, fresh veggies, yellow pea protein and Chlorella, an algae that is 70 percent protein and can lower cortisol. He developed a recipe for what would eventually become Vega’s very first recovery smoothie, launched in 2004. “Triathletes tend to be highest group of over-trainers, for obvious reasons. There’s no shortcut, you have to put in those workouts to get your body ready. You can’t pack in more training, but if you can be more efficient with your nutrition, that makes a difference,” he says. “Choose to eat foods that are easier to digest and return more nutrients. Your muscles don’t have to work as hard to move if they’re being fueled properly.”

Endurance Impact
Athletes of all levels now look to Vega for an easy-to-digest source of plant-based proteins. Brazier also devotes a lot of time and energy to educating others about performance nutrition, so they can make good choices (and meals) on their own. He’s written a bestselling book series, Thrive, and now has a free web series, called Thrive Forward, that provides how-to cooking videos, meal plans, and recipes to athletes looking to ditch the meat. “That’s the root of it all, helping people learn to make recipes that are synergistic with the right amount of carbs, protein, fat. We open-source information to get better quality food to more people, regardless of whether they buy any products,” he says.

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Quick Set Friday: Swim And IM Switch-Up http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/swim-workout-swim-and-im-switch-up_73674 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:27:10 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=73674 A fun and creative workout from Triathlete contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty.

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Triathlete contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program in Clermont, Fla. We’ll feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (Mastersswimworkoutsbysaramclarty.blogspot.com), you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

A:
600 warm-up (100 swim/50 kick)
4×100 IM on 1:45
3×200 swim on 2:50
4×100 IM on 1:35
3×200 swim on 2:40
4×100 IM on 1:30
3×200 swim on 2:30
100 easy/recovery
12×50 on :50 (2 FAST!/1 easy, repeat)
200 cool-down
*4500 Total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: What Is The Point Of Longer Sets?

B:
600 warm-up (100 swim/50 kick)
4×75 on 1:30 (free/non-free/free)
3×150 swim on 2:40
4×75 on 1:20 (free/non-free/free)
3×150 swim on 2:30
4×75 on 1:15 (free/non-free/free)
3×150 swim on 2:20
50 easy/recovery
9×50 on :60 (2 FAST!/1 easy, repeat)
200 cool-down
*3500 Total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Making The Most Of 30 Minutes

C:
600 warm-up (100 swim/50 kick)
4×75 w/ :15 rest (free/non-free/free)
3×100 pull w/ :10 rest
4×75 w/ :15 rest (free/non-free/free)
3×100 pull w/ :10 rest
9×50 w/ :15 rest (2 FAST!/1 easy, repeat)
200 cool-down
*2500 Total*

More swim workouts from Sara McLarty

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A Beginner Triathlete’s Super Simple 12-Week Sprint Training Plan http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/beginner-triathletes-super-simple-12-week-sprint-training-plan_309564 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:13:20 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309564 You will find the rhythm of workouts to be fun and achievable for even those with busy work or family commitments.

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Planning to tackle a sprint triathlon in early 2018? Here’s your plan!

This plan is ideal for beginner to intermediate triathletes who are currently able to complete a 15-minute swim (with breaks as needed), a 30-minute bike, and a 30-minute run/walk. You will find this plan quite easy to comprehend, and the rhythm of workouts each week, as well as from week to week, to be fun and achievable for even those with busy work or family commitments. You will enjoy progressing through assorted training ‘phases’, such as ‘test’, ‘build,’ and ‘recover,’ and as such will be able to note improved fitness and speed throughout each 4-week cycle.

When the plan calls for a day off, spend as much time off your feet as possible. Spend some time preparing meals for the week, as well as arranging work and family schedules to best allow for succesful completion of assigned workouts.

Week 1

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Swim: 30 minutes
WU- 5 to 10 minutes easy swim
MS- Swim 15 minutes max distance… taking breaks if/as needed.
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence.

Thursday
Build run: 40 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/jog
MS- 4 x 4 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/jog

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed.

Saturday
Bike test: 45 minutes
WU- Ride 10 minutes easy
MS- Ride 30 minutes maximum distance
CD- Ride 5 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed.

Week 2

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Build swim: 25 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy swim
MS- 4 x 3 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval)
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence.

Thursday
Build run: 40 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/ jog
MS- 4 x 4 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/ jog

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed.

Saturday
Build bike: 1 hour
WU- 12 minutes easy
MS- 4 x 8 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 10 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 3

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Build swim: 30 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy swim
MS- 4 x 4 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval)
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Build run: 45 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/ jog
MS- 4 x 5 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/ jog

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed.

Saturday
Build bike: 1 hour
WU- 12 minutes easy
MS- 4 x 9 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval). Then run 5 minutes gradually building to TP
CD- 10 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 4 (Recovery week)

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Wednesday
Day off

Thursday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Sunday
Day off

Week 5

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Swim test: 30 minutes
WU- 5 to 10 minutes easy swim
MS- Swim 15 minutes max distance… taking breaks if/as needed
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Swim test: 45 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/jog
MS- Run/walk 30 minutes maximum distance
CD- 5 minutes easy walk

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Bike test: 45 minutes
WU- Ride 10 minutes easy
MS- Ride 30 minutes maximum distance
CD- Ride 5 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 6

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Build swim: 30 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy swim
MS- 4 x 4 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval)
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Build run: 45 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/ jog
MS- 4 x 5 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/jog

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Build bike: 1 hour
WU- 12 minutes easy
MS- 4 x 9 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 10 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 7

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Build swim: 35 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy swim
MS- 4 x 5 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval)
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Build run: 50 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/jog
MS- 4 x 6 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/jog

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Build bike: 1:05
WU- 12 minutes easy
MS- 4 x 10 minutes TP (test pace), with 2 minutes RI (recovery interval). Then run 8 minutes gradually building to TP.
CD- 10 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 8 (Recovery week)

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Wednesday
Day off

Thursday
Easy bike: 45 minutes

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/ walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Sunday
Day off

Week 9

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Swim test: 30 minutes
WU- 5 to 10 minutes easy swim
MS- Swim 15 minutes max distance… taking breaks if/as needed
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Run test: 45 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/jog
MS- Run/walk 30 minutes maximum distance
CD- 5 minutes easy walk

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Bike test: 45 minutes
WU- Ride 10 minutes easy
MS- Ride 30 minutes maximum distance
CD- Ride 5 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 10

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Build swim: 35 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy swim
MS- 4 x 5 minutes TP (test pace), with :30 sec RI (recovery interval)
CD- 5 minutes easy swim

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/ conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Build run: 50 minutes
WU- 10 minutes easy walk/jog
MS- 4 x 6 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval)
CD- 8 minutes easy walk/jog

Friday
Easy run: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Build bike: 1:05
WU- 12 minutes easy
MS- 4 x 10 minutes TP (test pace), with 1 minute RI (recovery interval). Then run 10 minutes gradually building to TP
CD- 10 minutes easy

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 11

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Peak swim: 25 minutes
WU: 5 minutes easy
MS: Swim 75% of goal race distance at goal race pace. Take breaks as needed.

Wednesday
Easy bike: 45 minutes
Ride easy/conversational, and use an easy gear with a high cadence

Thursday
Peak run: 30 minutes
WU- Walk/jog 5 minutes easy
MS- Run/walk 50% of goal race distance at goal race pace
CD- Walk/jog 5 minutes easy

Friday
Easy swim: 20 minutes
Swim easy, taking breaks as needed

Saturday
Peak bike: 45 minutes
WU- 5 minutes easy spin
MS- Bike 75% of goal race distance at goal race pace alternating 10 minutes ‘on’, 5 minutes ‘easy’
CD- 5 minutes easy spin

Sunday
Easy run: 30 minutes
Run/ walk easy (conversational), taking breaks as needed

Week 12 (Race week!)

Monday
Day off

Tuesday
Taper run: 20 minutes
Run 33% of goal race distance at goal race pace alternating run 4 minutes/ brisk walk 1 minute

Wednesday
Taper bike: 30 minutes
Ride 50% of goal race distance at goal race pace alternating 10 minutes ‘on’, 5 minutes ‘easy’

Thursday
Taper swim: 15 minutes
Swim 50% of goal race distance at goal race pace, taking breaks as needed
Note: Practice in wetsuit if you plan to wear one in the race. Use the swim venue if possible, otherwise it is OK to wear the wetsuit in the pool.

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Pre-race workout: 20 minutes
Bike 15 minutes progressing to race pace, then run 5 minutes progressing to race pace

Sunday
Race day: Arrive early, trust your training, have fun!

More training plans

The post A Beginner Triathlete’s Super Simple 12-Week Sprint Training Plan appeared first on Triathlete.com.

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Mind Blown: Tacx’s New Smart Trainer is Also a Treadmill http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/gear-tech/mind-blown-tacxs-new-smart-trainer-also-treadmill_309552 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:14:03 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309552 The Magnum Smart combines a running treadmill with a cycling trainer and turns the indoor training world upside down.

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The Magnum Smart combines a running treadmill with a cycling trainer and turns the indoor training world upside down.

Today Tacx announced that their new combination run/bike indoor trainer, the Magnum Smart, would begin shipping in the Netherlands and Belgium at the start of the new year. In a press release, the Dutch brand says that the new treadmill accommodates both cyclists and runners through the use of a unique design: A foam core sandwiched between two aluminum plates creates a feel as “stiff as concrete” when riding, while the deck is more forgiving with the specific pressure of a runner’s footstrike. The treadmill driver is also unique to the Magnum Smart as it adjusts the belt’s speed based on the speed of the rider—not the other way around—to keep the cyclist from sliding forward or backward on the belt.

The Magnum Smart also boasts an elevation feature allowing both cyclists and runners to adjust the incline up to 15 percent. While this is nothing new for running treadmills, it’s an incredible boon for cyclists trying to train climbing-specific muscles (see also: Wahoo’s Kickr Climb). A belt-driven cycling trainer also means no more worn-out tires.

For triathletes, a trainer/treadmill is a no-brainer, as it allows users to transition from bike to run quickly while taking up less home gym real estate. Unsurprisingly, the Magnum Smart outputs power and speed for cycling, while displaying speed and distance for running (no word yet on power for running). Tacx also lists a maximum speed of 30km/h (~18mph), which is amazing for even the most serious runners (that’s 3:20 min./mile!). 

Tacx says the treadmill can be controlled via a remote and the included 32” screen or with a more old-school built-in manual controller. It also connects with most virtual-training platforms (Zwift, Trainerroad, Bkool, Sufferfest, and many more) to control the incline/speed/power via ANT+ FE-C protocol.

While they’ve previously had great success with their cycling trainers and rollers, this is Tacx’s first dive into the treadmill world. Boasting a $9,300 price tag and a yet-to-be-announced U.S. release date, if the Magnum Smart lives up to the hype, Tacx may be ushering in a new realm of indoor training.

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How to Cope with Not Starting a Race http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/cope-starting-race_111649 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:55:01 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=111649 How do you get over a DNS (did not start)? Triathlon coach Gordo Byrn tackles this question.

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How do you get over a DNS (did not start)? Triathlon coach Gordo Byrn tackles this question.

With the months of preparation you put into preparing for your “A” race, getting injured or sick at the last second can be devastating. The decision to drop out before things get worse is not an easy one, considering the time and money invested.

First and foremost, give yourself time. It can be tempting to make a quick decision: to push through an injury, to sign up for a “redemption” race or to change direction. Wait a while before making any major decisions.

After some time passes (I recommend at least two weeks), you will gain perspective on the true cause of your DNS. Learn from the experience so you can adjust your approach. Even seemingly random events, like bike crashes, can stem from a deeper root cause of pushing ourselves too hard.

The next step is to focus on recovery. Whether you were derailed by a crash, an illness or simply lack of preparation time, the answer is not additional stress. Use the planned setback of the DNS as the start point for a deep “unloading” block of at least four weeks’ duration. Stay active but resist the urge to do any real training. If you are recovering from an injury, create space in your work and family life. Once you have your health back, focusing on a non-triathlon project can be an excellent way to channel your energy.

If you were derailed due to a stress fracture, consult with a sports doctor who can help you evaluate your approach to nutrition. These injuries are often signals related to your relationship with food.

The first few days after a setback are never much fun. For a couple of days, give yourself some time each morning to recognize your emotions. Then, set a fresh goal and start the journey anew.

Gordo Byrn is the founder of Endurancecorner.com, the co-author of Going Long and a past champion of Ultraman Hawaii.

RELATED: Is It OK To Quit During A Race?

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4 Holiday Desserts Done Right for Triathletes http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/nutrition/4-holiday-desserts-done-right-triathletes_309542 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:52:40 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309542 Indulge your taste buds with full-on flavor, half the guilt.

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Indulge your taste buds with full-on flavor, half the guilt.

The Main Ingredients (And Why We Chose Them)

Cinnamon
This antioxidant has anti- inflammatory properties that help repair tissue damage.

Vanilla Bean
High magnesium content helps regulate the nervous system for better brain and mood health.

Almonds
Healthy fats help boost energy, immunity, and maintain blood pressure and cholesterol.

Dark Chocolate
It’s loaded with minerals and antioxidants; may improve blood flow.

Plating: Chef Mikel Anthony
Photos: Sam Wells

Cacao Almond Banana Ice Cream

This creamy and delicious dairy-free ice cream is easy to make and even easier to devour.

Ingredients
3 large bananas, sliced
2 T coconut oil
1⁄2 vanilla bean (cut widthwise)
2 T pure maple syrup
2 T cacao powder
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
16-ounce can coconut milk
1⁄4 cup almond butter
1⁄4 cup toasted almond slices
Optional: cacao nibs

Directions
In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the bananas, and sauté until all sides are golden.

Cut the vanilla bean in half length- wise, use the knife to scrape the vanilla beans from each side of the pod into the bananas, and stir to combine.

Add the maple syrup, cacao powder, cinnamon, and salt, and stir to coat the bananas. Turn off the heat and stir for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a parchment or wax paper-lined dish and freeze bananas.

Remove bananas from the freezer, and place in a food processor. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to thaw slightly. Process bananas until smooth, stirring occasionally.

Remove the solid “cream” from the coconut milk, and add to the banana puree, processing until smooth.

Add the almond butter, and process until well combined.

Remove mixture to a plastic container, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Serve with almond slices and cacao nibs over the top.

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Challenge Re-Starts its Engines in the U.S. http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/news/challenge-re-starts-engines-u-s_309538 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:36:57 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309538 The Challenge Family announces a return to American soil with a unique event at Daytona International Speedway next December.

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The Challenge Family announces a return to American soil with a unique event at Daytona International Speedway next December.

Challenge Family, Ironman’s largest competitor throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, has announced plans to return to the U.S. with the debut of the half-distance Challenge Daytona on Dec. 8-9, 2018. It’s potentially big news for a brand that had a big—albeit brief—splash in North America when it announced plans to expand throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2013.

Challenge debuted with events in Penticton, British Columbia, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, and then announced a partnership with the Rev3 series for the 2014 season that saw popular Rev3 events like Quassy, Cedar Point, and Maine rebranded under the Challenge name. That marriage ended swiftly after one year, resulting in a lawsuit that was settled behind closed doors before Rev3 reemerged with its own name and events in 2016. Challenge Penticton lost its licensee and ultimately disappeared when Ironman came into Whistler; Ironman replaced Challenge in Atlantic City, and less than three years after it’s arrival, Challenge was nowhere to be found in North America, aside from one-off events in Aruba and Mexico.

Needless to say, today’s announcement of a Challenge Family event coming to Florida came as a bit of a surprise, and not only because of the unique venue at America’s most iconic speedway. Whether or not this will be a one-off event or the beginning of Challenge’s second attempt to expand into the U.S. remains to be seen, but Challenge CEO Zibi Szlufcik did say in an interview that he’s had conversations with at least a dozen potential venues around the United States over the past two years. With the debut of Challenge’s “The Championship” in Slovakia this past June, Challenge is no doubt interested in giving U.S. athletes a chance to qualify on home soil to bolster their championship event’s international appeal.

One unique aspect of Challenge Daytona is that three different companies will have equity in the race. It will not be the case of a local organizer owning the event and merely licensing the Challenge brand. Challenge, the Daytona International Speedway, and local organizer Case Imagine will all share ownership of the event and all have a vested interest in the event’s success. For Szlufcik, it was crucial to come back to the U.S. market with a splash, and he’s confident Challenge Daytona will do just that.

“It was important that if we were going to reenter the U.S. market, that we do it with something big—something that’s adding value to the sport on a global scale,” he said. “We had to not only reevaluate our business model, but we needed to reenter the market with something monumental. I think a race at one of America’s most iconic sporting destinations will be just that.”

In keeping with Challenge’s commitment to support professional athletes, Challenge Daytona will host a pro field, but the amount of prize money on offer is not yet known. Andy Potts attended the press conference announcing the event, and Szlufcik indicated that Jesse Thomas has also been involved in the planning of the race and has put his support behind the event. Szlufcik said he’s also interested in working with his partners at Daytona International Speedway to have NASCAR drivers compete in the event, and they will entertain the idea of a drivers’ category for athletes from all walks of motorsport that would like to compete.

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Driver Landon Cassill is no stranger to half-distance tris and has the event marked on his calendar. “This will be an incredible venue for a long-distance triathlon,” he said. “This is a racetrack that has meant so much to me and our sport, and it’s definitely a race I will have to get ready for.”

The 1.2-mile swim will take place in Lake Lloyd, a manmade lake on the infield of the 3.56-mile speedway. The 56-mile bike will take place partially on the track, but mostly on the roads surrounding the track. The 13.1-mile run will take place entirely within the speedway grounds.

“The venue itself is spectacular. It’s almost built for triathlon,” Szlufcik said. “Our plan is to turn it into a festival. There will be music and people will be able to camp within the speedway—we hope to create a great atmosphere around the event.”

In addition to the half-distance race, there will also be a pit-stop challenge a sprint-distance tri, a 5K run and a relay triathlon. Registration for all events will open on Dec. 14 at Challenge-daytona.com.

The post Challenge Re-Starts its Engines in the U.S. appeared first on Triathlete.com.

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5 Moves For Strengthening the Posterior Chain http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/5-moves-strengthening-posterior-chain_309531 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:18:05 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309531 If you spend most of your day sitting, you can pretty much guarantee your posterior strength leaves something to be desired.

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If you spend most of your day sitting, you can pretty much guarantee your posterior strength leaves something to be desired.

The posterior chain is our power house and is comprised of some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the body. These muscles, including those of the back, glutes, hamstrings and calves, are critical to all athletic movements, including running.

Why? The contracting of the posterior chain is what propels your body forward with each stride—the back muscles act to straighten and extend the spine; the glutes extend the hips and keep the femurs aligned; the hamstrings extend the hips and flex the knees (while also stabilizing the knee joints); and the calves extend the ankles and play a role in knee stabilization.

As runners, it’s easy for us to fall into a quad-dominant scenario, taking our hamstrings and glutes out of the picture or, at the very least, moving them to the back burner. Add to that the amount of time many of us spend sitting on our butts. In a sense, these posterior muscles forget how to work, forcing our anterior muscles to take over and do jobs they were never designed to do. This leads to a host of problems with reduced running performance and increased risk of injury topping the list.

How do you know if your posterior chain is weak? If you spend most of your day sitting, you can pretty much guarantee your posterior strength leaves something to be desired. If you regularly experience knee pain, your quad-to-hamstring ratio may need some improvement (i.e. stronger hamstrings). If you regularly experience back pain during runs or at rest, you may have tight, overdeveloped quads and hip flexors that are causing excessive anterior pelvic tilt and spinal lordosis (sway back). If your kick isn’t there or you feel your power is lacking, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not running on all cylinders.

The key to optimal stride efficiency and power is balance between the intricate system of the anterior and posterior chains. Because running is flexion dominant, adding extension exercises that target the posterior chain to your training will balance out the stress your body consistently endures. Work a few of the following moves into your routine to increase your power output and up your running:

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Now is the Time to Improve on These Swim, Bike, And Run Skills http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/now-time-improve-swim-bike-run-skills_309525 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:44:45 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309525 Here are some ideas for skills and workout drills to do during the off-season so you can start next season primed for speed and performance.

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Here are some ideas for skills and workout drills to do during the off-season so you can start next season primed for speed and performance.

After a long year, the body and mind do need a bit of a break, or change in focus. Top athletes are always looking for opportunity to improve. I like to refer to the months of November to January as the “shoulder season,” transitioning from race mode to recovery with skill acquisition, prior to starting early season base phase. The goal of the adult athlete is to improve, which means getting faster, stronger, smarter, and more skillful. Rather than continuing to push hard day in and day out, use this precious window of time to work on skills. With the three different disciplines in triathlon, there are plenty of areas to work on. As adults, the acquisition of a new skill is a huge boost to confidence. Here are some shoulder season focal points for you.

Swimming

Interestingly, I recently had a conversation with a well-respected Olympic swim coach, who mentioned that the most important innovation in swimming in the last 50 years was the advent of the pace clock. All swimmers use a pace clock. Do you? If not, how do you know if you are swimming faster if you don’t know how fast you are swimming? Learning to swim specific paces teaches a cognitive association between a number (time) with feel, flow, and momentum. An experienced swimmer can tell you how fast they did their last 100 without even looking at the clock because they have been timing their paces for so long. Using the pace clock, not the watch on your wrist, is great way to learn even pacing and rest. Peek at the pace clock each 100 just after your turn to recognize whether you should slightly adjust for going too fast or too slow. Learn how to incorporate the pace clock with set “leave” times in your workouts. To do this, you would say, “I am going to swim 6 x 200 on a 4:00 leave time, averaging 3:30. When I peek at the clock at 100m I will look for 1:45.”

Rather than trying to get faster, initially aim to be consistent in your swim times. Start with shorter distances like 50s and 100s, and then progress to longer distances like 200s and 400s. The shorter the distance, the closer the times should be. Keep all intervals within 3 to 5 percent.

Additionally, most adult swimmers need to focus on two main technical areas: propulsion and body position. Improve either of these and you will go faster.

Always include some drills in warmup that aim to develop a better catch. 25m of front scull with a high elbow followed by 25m of swimming with a long smooth stroke and strong pull is a good choice. This reinforces a high elbow catch and feel for the water.

Commit two months to D.P.S. (Distance Per Stroke). For different intervals, count your strokes while timing yourself for a portion of every swim. First, spend two weeks reducing your stroke count by pulling more water harder (not pausing between strokes). Second, spend six weeks maintaining that stroke count over gradually longer distances or reducing your time at that same distance and same stroke count. These are both gauges of increased stroke efficiency. Either way you are travelling further with every stroke.

An indication of good body position is low head, shallow read-end, and your heels just breaking the surface of the water during your kick. Practice kicking without a board for 25m on your stomach, and on either side, rotated 45 to 60 degrees for the 25m. Focus on looking straight down at the bottom of the pool between breaths, instead of forward. When breathing, keep body roll efficient by only looking to the pool gutter rather than the ceiling or bleachers. Focus on one or two elements of body position per workout rather than everything at once.

Cycling

Improve your future performance by including trainer workouts that challenge different aspects of pedal stroke.

For strength and power, focus on sets at 50 to 65rpm with high pedal force and low heart rate. This also slows your pedal stroke allowing you to focus on engaging the full circumference of the stroke, not just the downward push on the pedals. Think of pushing “up and over” the top of the stroke, or “scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe” through the top and bottom of your pedal stroke. As an added challenge, increase to 90rpm at high effort for the final minute to simulate cresting the top of a hill.

To encourage smooth and proficient pedaling, and efficiency maintaining pressure on the pedals for tailwind or downhills, aim for 120 to 140rpm. Begin with short intervals of 15 seconds and increase by that amount until you reach two or three minutes. The goal is to do this workout without bouncing on the saddle.

Last, do single-leg drills to improve individual leg pedaling efficiency. Ride at 70 to 90rpm with one leg clipped in, the other unclipped against you seat stay. Start with 15 seconds and work your way up to two minutes. If you are finding this daunting or difficult, envision the para-triathletes riding an entire Ironman course with one leg.

Running

One common skill that many athletes need to work on is posture. The goal is to have a straight line pass through the head, shoulders, hips and ankles, with a slight lean forward. A common mistake is letting your hips drop as you fatigue, resulting in running in an upright seated position. The cause can be as simple as a weak core or a lack of awareness. During base runs and on the hills consciously think about keeping the hips forward and over top of the foot strike as you run. Run with your head high and proud, and your eyes scanning the ground about 30m in front of you. Finding a 200 to 400m stretch with a slight downhill grade of one percent is a great place to work on posture. Lean slightly forward from the hips and chest, and run at 10k race pace for short stretches.

Run cadence is an important factor in run economy as well. I have coached seasoned runners to personal bests by simply refining their stride rate. They find they have better second halves in their run races as they are not fatigued from over-striding during the first half. Quantify cadence for all runs and all paces. Keep cadence higher that 90 strides per minute (counting one leg only). Count one single leg for 30 seconds with a goal of 45 or more foot strikes regularly through your runs, or better yet, invest in a watch (Timex, Polar, Garmin, etc.) that has cadence measuring technology.

This is a short list of small changes that can be made easily when there is no pressure to perform. Use the shoulder season to work on a skill or technique before training begins in earnest.

This article originally appeared on Trainingpeaks.com.

Lance Watson, head coach of LifeSport, has trained a number of Ironman, Olympic, and age-group champions over the past 30 years. He enjoys coaching athletes of all levels. Contact Lance here. 

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17 News Stories That Shaped Triathlon in 2017 http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/news/17-news-stories-shaped-triathlon-2017_309517 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:29:21 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309517 Triathlon saw big performance, big money, and big changes.

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Triathlon saw big performance, big money, and big changes.

A lot can happen in a year, and 2017 was no exception. Triathlon saw big performances, big money, and big changes. The 17 news stories that shaped 2017:

17. Short Course Gets a Major Makeover

“Ironman owns the luster of triathlon and they’re out to dominate the world…but short course triathlon has almost fallen off the map.” said Scott Hutmacher, Brand Manager of Life Time Tri. To change this, Life Time announced a major overhaul of its short-course race series to make the sport friendly and accessible to new triathletes while getting vets stoked on going short. Changes include an elimination of USAT fees, self-selected start waves and transition placement, and a qualifying series for a championship race in New York City.

Hoffman went sub-8 in South Africa. Photo: Finisherpix.com

16. Sub-8s For Everyone!

First it was Ben Hoffmann and Nils Frommhold in South Africa. Then fiveyes, fivemen at Ironman Texas. Not to be outdone, Tim Don unleashed a record-breaking day in Brazil. Jan Frodeno picked one up in Austria, as did Bart Aernouts at Challenge Roth and Joe Skipper at Challenge Almere. The men’s podium in Barcelona, as well as the top four men in Cozumel, were members of the club, and Lionel Sanders bagged one in Arizona. In case you lost count, that’s 19 sub-8 hour performances in 2017, the most ever recorded in a single year.

15. Rocky Steps In

When Rob Urbach stepped down as CEO of USA Triathlon in May, he left some big shoes to fill. After all, his legacy included a collegiate recruitment program that yielded the likes of Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen, securing triathlon as an NCAA emerging women’s sport, and membership that reached all-time highs for the sport. Rocky Harris, a former COO of the athletic department at Arizona State University, was selected as the new boss. In an interview with Triathlete, Harris shared aspirations to further the momentum of success by fostering collaboration across race organizations, leveraging technology, and retaining athletes for lifelong participation in the sport.

14. Alistair Brownlee Goes Long

When the two-time Olympic gold medalist announced he would give 70.3 racing a go, many were curious: Could the British star successfully translate his ITU speed and aggressive style to the 70.3 distance? The answer was a resounding yes. In his first attempt at the distance, Brownlee not only won, but set a course record at Challenge Gran Canaria. He followed that up with another win and course record at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships in St. George, Utah. He returned to ITU less than a month later to successfully defend his title at his hometown race in Leeds, proving that going long doesn’t have to mean slowing down.

13. Double the Racing, Double the Fun at 70.3 Worlds

For the first time in history, an Ironman championship event featured a two-day, split-field format. This allowed male and female professionals clean, fair competition for their respective $125,000 prize purses. Ironman also increased the number of female pro spots to be equal to the men’s pro field as well as upped their allocation of age-group spots for women. The format was a unanimous hit for pros and age-groupers alike, and will continue for the 2018 World Championship in South Africa.

Ryf celebrates her Kona victory. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

12. Ryf Dominates (Again)

The fact that Daniela Ryf had another stellar year is not newsshe steamrolls the competition in just about every race she enters, after all. Her three-peats at both the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships are yet another brick in cementing Ryf’s status as one of the greatest triathletes of all time. But this year’s performances did not come easily, as Ryf battled injuries mid-season. At the finish line in Kona, she stated her victory was “the hardest I’ve ever had to fight for a win.” For someone who has seemed superhuman for years, this admission is surprisingand inspiring.

11. Wildflower is Back, Baby!

The Woodstock of Triathlon is returning in 2018, and it’s kind of a big deal. Legendary for its intensity, on-site camping, and occasional nude cheerleaders, the California racing festival fostered a sense of camaraderie unlike anything else in multisport. Drought and low water levels in Lake San Antonio canceled the 2017 event, but with new ownership and a whole lot of rain from Mother Nature, the festival will be back and better than ever May 4-6.

10. WTF is Ostarine?

Chances are you entered 2017 having never uttered the word “ostarine.” But by the time the year ended, the banned substance was on everybody’s lips. Several pros, including Beth Gerdes, Lauren Barnett, and Lucas Pozzetta tested positive for the banned substance in 2017, and all three claimed tainted supplements. Independent lab tests have verified some of these claims, leading to increased concerns from professional and age-group athletes alike about the safety and compliance of their sport nutrition products.

9. Lights, Action, Triathlon!

2017 is the year triathlon became must-see TV. In addition to increased airtime for ITU events (19 live broadcasts in total!) and live coverage of the Ironman World Championships on NBC Sports, several new initiatives emerged to bring triathlon to the masses. Perhaps the most exciting is the two-day Collins Cup, an event pitting three teams of triathlon’s best in a head-to-head race in June 2018. Coverage will include live metrics, microphones on each competitor, visual and auditory commentary, and a thrilling, spectator-friendly race format.

Bozzone crosses the finish line at the Ironman Western Australia triathlon. Photo: Delly Carr/Bahrain Endurance

8. Terenzo Bozzone is a Boss

4 races, 4 weeks, in 4 countriesit’s an effort that would leave most triathletes feeling wrecked, yet New Zealand pro Terenzo Bozzone simply got stronger. Less than one month after his best-ever finish at the Ironman World Championship, where he took sixth place, Bozzone jumped back onto the race circuit, placing first at Ironman 70.3 Los Cabos, second at the Island House Invitational, second at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championships, and first at Ironman Western Australia. In total, his four-week spree yielded $67,000 in prize money and all but guaranteed a spot at the 2018 Ironman World Championship.

7. Show Pros the Money!

It’s a tough time to be a short-course, non-drafting triathlete. What used to be a lucrative specialty for pros (the Olympic-distance Hy-Vee Triathlon once boasted the richest prize purse in the sport at one million dollars) had become all but obsolete, as sprint and Olympic races eschewed professional prize purses in favor of focusing on the age-group experience. But there’s hope: In January, IMG, the owners of the iconic Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, announced a five-race series with a combined professional prize purse of $180,000. Can it breathe life back into professional short-course, non-drafting racing? Time will tell.

6. All Hail Patrick Lange

Just about everyone was surprised to see Patrick Lange break the tape at the Ironman World Championship this yearincluding Lange himself. His 8:01:40 victory set a new record for the event, and brings the sport tantalizingly close to breaking 8 hours on the notoriously tough Kona course.

5. Retailers Rethink Their Strategies

In the Age of Amazon, triathlon brands are rethinking their strategies to stay relevantand profitable. Market researchers show consumers who live an active lifestyle are more likely than the average consumer to shop or buy online, leading many brands to consider cutting out the middleman with a direct-to-consumer model like that of Canyon Bikes, which began sales in the U.S. in 2017. The year saw a lot of interesting changes to business models: some went big (the merger of Felt Bicycles with ski manufacturer Rossignol) and others went small (Zoot Sports returned to its triathlon roots in October). Which strategy will pay off? That’s anyone’s guess.

Rachel Joyce and son Archie. Photo: Oliver Baker

4. Racing Like a Mother

Until this year, a pregnant professional triathlete was a rarity. Most professional women postponed motherhood until after retirementthe consequences of taking time away from training and racing simply seemed too great. However, some pioneering pros, including Sam Warriner and Gina Crawford, showed that it could be done. The sport’s recent baby boomnew moms include Mirinda Carfrae, Jodie Swallow, Rachel Joyce, Gwen Jorgensen, Eva Wutti, and Meredith Kesslerreveals a major change in the way pros view pregnancy. The all-mom podium at Ironman Chattanooga or Wutti’s win at Ironman Austria only a year after giving birth shows parenthood doesn’t have to come at the cost of performance.

The system isn’t perfect, of courseRachel Joyce’s fight for a Kona spot underscores how women are unfairly penalized for taking maternity leavebut the conversation for balance and fairness has begun, thanks to these tough mothers.

3. Mixed Relay Olympics

Though there were no Olympic games in 2017, we still had Olympic fever as ITU officials, athletes, and fans campaigned heavily in the beginning part of the year for the addition of a mixed relay triathlon event to the Games. It workedthe International Olympic Committee officially added the event to the program for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, giving triathetes the possibility to earn another medal and the sport to showcase a thrilling, spectator-friendly format to a world audience.

Jorgensen at the 2016 NYC Marathon. Photo: Photorun.net

2. Goodbye, Gwen

Though we don’t yet know who will be on Team USA for triathlon at the 2020 Olympic Games, we do know Gwen Jorgensen will be absent from the list. That doesn’t exactly mean she’ll be absent from the games altogether: in a shocking announcement late this year, Jorgensen said she would be leaving triathlon to pursue an Olympic gold medal in the marathon.

1. The Year of Flora Duffy

Is there anything Flora Duffy can’t do? Her year was simply outstanding: a second-straight ITU World Championship title, a history-making fourth-straight XTERRA Championship win, and the top podium spot at the Island House Invitational. In 2017, she pocketed almost $300,000 in prize earnings alonemore than any other professional athlete, male or female, in the sport.

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Brainy Bottle: Hydration is Going High-Tech http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/gear-tech/brainy-bottle-hydration-going-high-tech_309514 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:00:56 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309514 Yes, a $55 water bottle may seem like overkill, but the Hidrate Spark 2.0 may do more to keep you healthy than most nutrition products.

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Yes, a $55 water bottle may seem like overkill, but the Hidrate Spark 2.0 may do more to keep you healthy than most nutrition products. Attached to the lid and running the length of the 24-ounce bottle is a device that not only measures how much you drink (and stores the info internally for up to two days), but also wirelessly transmits that information to your iOS or Android-equipped smart device, where you can track every sip you took. The free included app also does some impressive heavy lifting: It matches air temperature, humidity, elevation, body type, and level of activity (it also syncs up with fitness trackers like Fitbit and Apple Watch) to calculate your custom personal fluid goals. Not only were we shocked at how much more water we needed to drink in a given day, but the detailed graphs also showed how inconsistently we were hydrating. While the accuracy of the sensors wasn’t always perfect, it was well within reason. The biggest trick was remembering to put the bottle down immediately before and after refilling to get all of the water credit we were due. The bottle glowed when we were behind our pace, and the app has reminder notifications and a social function to create a hydration leaderboard among friends. And while it may not be cheap, it’s worth it if you need the nudge to drink up.

  • A BPA-free hinged lid keeps it shockingly water tight. Standard CR2032 watch batteries power the low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter.
  • The bottle is dishwasher safe, but the sensor is hand-wash only.
  • An LED inside the bottle lets you know when you’re behind on pace to hit your hydration goals for the day. It also performs a colorful light show when you hit your goal.
  • Three-axis accelerometers help know when the bottle has been set down. Capacitive touch sensors read when you’ve taken a drink and know how much.
  • The bottle has a soft rubber coating and an indented shape that allows it to fit in most water bottle cages and cupholders.

Hidrate Spark 2.0

$55, Amazon.com

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2017 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Stocking Stuffers http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/gear-tech/2017-triathlete-buyers-guide-stocking-stuffers_309510 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:18:23 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309510 10 of our favorite picks for your triathlete's stocking!

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10 of our favorite picks for your triathlete’s stocking!

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Bike, Run, Beer: A Look at Strava’s Year In Sport Report http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/lifestyle/bike-run-beer-look-stravas-year-end-report_309460 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:14:33 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309460 The report breaks down the where, when, and how of each Strava user’s activities worldwide.

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Strava’s Year In Sport Report is out, and it appears we’ve had a busy year of bike and run! The report breaks down the where, when, and how of each Strava user’s activities worldwide.

Within the data deep-dive, these key figures stand out:

– Americans rode 709 million miles in 36.5 million rides
– Americans ran 151 million miles in 30 million runs
– People worldwide rode 4.54 billion miles in 203 million rides
– People worldwide ran 699 million miles in 126 million runs
– Americans climbed 32 billion feet on the bike
– American climbed 6.3 billion feet on the run
– Riders worldwide ascended 227 billion feet
– Runners worldwide ascended 34.4 billion feet 
– Morning people make up 43 percent of athletes who train weekly
– Commuters aren’t just weekday riders—they upload 43 percent more weekend activities
– Romain Bardet’s stage win at the Tour de France in Pau, France was the ride given the most kudos: 22,736 thumbs-up from cycling fans worldwide
– Strava users documented 627,239 marathon finishes throughout the world (with 134,966 of those taking place in the U.S.).

Apparently we all think about beer while working out. Beer was mentioned in activity titles 102,033 times.

And beer isn’t just coming after workouts anymore! 39.28% more athletes attempted the Beer Mile (chugging a beer after each lap of a mile) in 2017. The number are up, but did the beers stay down?

Strava also breaks down commuting data and carbon offsets. According to its calculations, commuting reduced carbon emissions by 1 billion pounds in 2017, up from 810 million pounds in 2016. For example, in the United States, the average commute by bike is eight miles and about 34 minutes.

As commute numbers rise in genera, run-commuting sees a large increase as well. Run commutes grew this year by 51%, with the number of commuters increasing by 43%. London, Amsterdam, Paris, NYC, and Sydney have the most run commuters.

Congratulations are in order for California, which took the crown as the most active state on the bike with 7,949,234 activities. Colorado came in second with 2,106,918 activities. California also topped the list for running, with 5,620,083 activities being uploaded. Texas was second in this run category, with 1,925,123 activities.

Among the U.S. states, Vermonters have the hilliest routes on the bike, averaging 1,361 feet of climbing for each ride. What they might lack in climbs, Kansans make up for in average speed, topping the rest of Americans with a 20.1 mph average for 2017 rides. Floridians take the longest rides, averaging 23.5 miles, and Arizonans ride the longest in terms of time, averaging 1:54.

On the run, Wyoming is the top state across three continents: hilliest average run (427 feet), longest average run distance (5.6 miles), and longest average run duration (1:06).

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4 Healthy Oils That Probably Aren’t In Your Pantry http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/nutrition/4-healthy-oils-probably-arent-pantry_309449 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:22:58 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309449 If EVOO is the only grease you eat, you might be missing out on some key fats and nutrients.

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Chances are you have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil stashed in your pantry. It’s true that this lynchpin of the Mediterranean diet is crazy healthy for you. But if EVOO is the only grease you eat, you might be missing out on some key fats and nutrients. Just as a runner should switch up the training routine for better results, a body in motion can also benefit from running toward a greater diversity of culinary oils.

Not only do oils vary in their flavor nuances, they can also vary hugely in nutrition. In other words, switch up the oil you douse your greens in or use to sizzle up pork chops. You can benefit from eating a wider range of healthy fats, vitamins and oh-so-important antioxidants. And no longer are we being told to approach high-fat liquid oils with more caution than a hungry grizzly. So reach for any of these slick picks, and get ready to strike oil.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Avocado Oil

This oil, extracted from the flesh of the fruit that everybody is smashing on toast, is blessed with a buttery flavor. Its nutritional résumé is brag-worthy, too. For starters, avocado oil is brimming with monounsaturated fats (10 grams per tablespoon, the same amount in olive oil) and the compound beta-sitosterol. Both of these can bolster heart health by improving cholesterol numbers. You’ll also take in lutein, an antioxidant shown to improve eye health.

Researchers at Ohio State University determined avocado oil can make your salad bowl more potent. The oil can improve absorption rates of fat-soluble antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene found in vegetables. With a sky-high smoke point, avocado oil is at home in and out of your frying pan. This oil is available in more delicate “virgin” varieties, which have a greenish tinge and stronger avocado flavor, and refined versions, which have a more golden hue and milder taste along with a much higher heat tolerance. To prolong shelf life, store in a cool, dark place such as a pantry cupboard away from the oven.

Make: CRISPY AVOCADO POTATOES 
Poke several baby potatoes with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel and heat until tender and nearly cooked all the way through, about 6 minutes. Slice potatoes in half or quarters and heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil (not virgin) in a frying pan over medium-high. Add potatoes plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and cooked through.

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Conquer Your Open-Water Fear http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/tips-for-relieving-open-water-swim-anxiety_74940 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:08:02 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=74940 Whether it is a panic attack, fear of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” or simply an aversion to murky water, you are not alone.

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Discomfort in the open water is very common. Whether it is a panic attack in the middle of the course, fear of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” or simply an aversion to dark and murky water, you are not alone. Anxiety is normal among athletes at all experience levels. The answer to conquering your fear lies in your pre-race training, mental preparation, and creating and utilizing a personal race strategy.

RELATED: Three Essential Open-Water Survival Tips

Consider these strategies:

Mimic the chaos of open water by swimming with a large group in the pool. Share a lane with other swimmers where you’ll be forced to make contact, and swim side-by-side to become more comfortable.

Practice in open water as often as possible. Gather a group of training partners for a trip to the beach and attend any open water clinics in your area. Take advantage of every opportunity to swim in your wetsuit to get accustomed to constriction around your neck, shoulders and torso.

Use visualization to mentally prepare. Imagine stressful situations that can occur and think about staying calm, controlling your breathing and continuing to swim forward.

Compose a personal race-day strategy that helps you maintain confidence. Cut out all negative self-talk, use calm and deep yoga breaths when you feel anxious, familiarize yourself with the race course and positions of safety personnel, and position yourself at the back or outside of your start wave.

Even with the best preparation and practice, you might still suffer a panic attack during the race. If that happens, just move away from other swimmers, roll on your back and focus on breathing and lowering your heart rate. Resume the event if you feel confident to continue. Stop and seek medical help if you experience chest pain/discomfort, light-headedness or an unusually high heart rate.

RELATED: Fearful Of The Open Water? Try Hypnotism

Follow Triathlete on Twitter @Triathletemag for inspiration, new workout ideas, gear reviews from our editors and more.

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One-Hour Workout: Racing on Empty – FTP Booster Bike Workout http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/training/one-hour-workout-racing-empty-ftp-booster-bike-workout_309443 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:06:26 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309443 Use this killer set to practice riding well with fatigued legs

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Use this killer set to practice riding well with fatigued legs

This week’s workout comes from Cody Moore of APEX Coaching & Consulting based out of Boulder, Colo. Cody coaches professional cyclists and triathletes including the current Mexican elite road race and time trial national champion. He is certified by USAC, USAT, and the NSCA, and is currently APEX Coaching’s administrative manager and bike fit specialist.

“Time-crunched athletes need to find creative ways to target improvements with the amount of training time they have available,” Moore says. “There is a balancing act each week between combining the proper amount of intensity with the proper amount of rest. More specifically, it can be difficult for triathletes to find ways to boost their FTP (Functional Threshold Power) in a shorter workout window, but it can be done.

“This workout can be done outdoors on a shallow climb or indoors, on a trainer. The shallow climb helps to maintain the limited rest during the 20/40’s in the first half of the workout. Before beginning this workout, you should determine a goal race cadence for your nearest event, usually within a range of 5-10 rpm.

“The workout begins by depleting your ‘anaerobic battery’ in preparation for a focused, race-like effort at the back end of the hour. Forced to rely on your oxidative energy systems, you’ll have an opportunity to hone in on your chosen race cadence, and get ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable.’” 

Warm-up
4 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion, on a scale of 1-10)
3 minutes build from 70% FTP to 100% FTP (5-7.5 RPE)
1 minute easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
5 second sprint “opener” (90% of max effort)
2 minute easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

Main Set
8 minutes of 20/40’s as:
20 seconds ON @ 140% FTP (9.5 RPE)
40 seconds “OFF” @ 80% FTP (6 RPE)

5 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

8 minutes of 20/40’s as:
20 seconds ON @ 140% FTP (9.5 RPE)
40 seconds “OFF” @ 80% FTP (6 RPE)

5 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)
20 minutes at 90-95% FTP and goal race cadence (7 RPE)

Cool-down
4 minutes easy spin (<55% of FTP, <3 RPE)

More one-hour workouts

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This “Treeathlete” Consumes 8,000 Calories Per Day http://www.triathlete.com/2017/12/feature/treeathlete-consume-8000-calories-per-day_309427 Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:10:16 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=309427 Ross Edgley broke the tri internet one year ago when video of the Brit racing an Olympic-distance tri carrying a 100-pound tree trunk went viral.

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Ross Edgley broke the tri internet one year ago when video of the Brit racing an Olympic-distance tri carrying a 100-pound tree trunk went viral. This year he completed the #strongmanswim campaign to drag his tree across lakes and seas. Pulling off these feats takes a lump of insanity—and a ton of carefully curated calories, turning the former pro water polo player into a veritable endurance nutrition guru. Say hello to the world’s first (super jacked, super-fueled) treeathlete.

Editor’s note: The article originally appeared in the November issue of Triathlete magazine. To keep up on Edgley’s latest adventures, follow him at @RossEdgley.

Chances are Ross Edgley’s first triathlon was harder than yours. The 32-year-old from Grantham, England, has a knack for taking on daunting fitness challenges then finding bizarre ways to make them even tougher. He ran a marathon while towing a 3,000-pound MINI Countryman, which took more than 19 hours to complete. He once spent nearly 24 hours climbing a rope until his vertical gain totaled 29,029 feet, the height of Mt. Everest. For his first triathlon, on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Edgley opted to do it with a 100-pound tree trunk strapped to his back.

“It’s an odd concept I know,” says Edgley about racing with a tree. “First and foremost, it was a means to promote Nevis’ pioneering eco-friendly ambitions. Secondly, I have to admit that the athlete in me just wanted to see if I could condition my body to do it.”

To understand how Ross Edgley became Treeathlete Ross Edgley, you have to take a leap back in time to Grantham, a small city in central England about 100 miles north of London where he was born and raised.

Sports came naturally to him, and as the middle of three brothers, so did competition. “My brothers were my training partners and rivals growing up,” he says. “There’s literally nothing we wouldn’t compete at.” While he excelled at everything from tennis to soccer, it was in the water where Edgley found his true calling, and by age 13 he found himself competing on the British junior national water polo squad. One year later, his coaches decided he was ready to play with the senior national team, and that call up is ultimately what led him to becoming the athletic super-freak he is today.

While Ross was already very strong and physically advanced for a 14-year-old, competing with grown men in a sport as aggressive as water polo was a huge wake-up call. “I remember one match in particular against the national team from Malta,” he says. “I took an absolute beating at the hands of this bear-like man with a giant beard and vice-like grip. We got into a fight and he held me underwater for what seemed like an eternity. Just before passing out, I took a bite out of his calf so that he’d let go. It’s something I’m not proud of, but it was the only thing I could do. It was at that point that my coach and I realized we needed to refine my training if I was going to have any longevity in the sport.”

True to his nature, Edgley’s commitment to training consumed him, and a few years after that calf-biting incident, he found himself enrolled at Loughborough University’s School of Sport and Exercise Science. He also found himself with 40 extra pounds of muscle on his frame, thanks to countless hours at Loughborough’s gym and an obsessive drive to learn all he could about various training methods and techniques.

While most who look at Edgley’s extraordinary physique label him a “bodybuilder,” he’s quick to point out that he’s never trained for or competed in any form of bodybuilding. Yes, he has a genetic predisposition for building massive muscles. And yes, he could probably win a lot of bodybuilding competitions. But Edgley’s paramount philosophy when it comes to training is all about building functional muscle so that he can use his body as an apparatus for accomplishing remarkable feats of strength and endurance. Like lugging a 100-pound tree trunk through an Olympic-distance tri.

Edgley’s training methods have evolved throughout the years as he’s learned more about his own physiology, and in accordance with whatever insane undertaking he’s currently preparing for. But whether he’s trying to tow a car for 19 hours, climb up a rope until he literally loses all the skin on his hands, or strap a tree to his back and race a triathlon, his focus on “adaptation energy” remains his guiding principle. Regarding training, this concept of adaptation energy is something uniquely Edgley. He seeks to ensure that his body’s energy reserves are always high enough that he can apply enough training stress to produce the adaptations he desires.

The basis of this ideology is making sure his body is always ready to respond to training stress so that he can go all out every day, or at least as close to 365 days per year as his body will allow. Periodization does not exist in Edgley’s world. “This idea of adaptation energy can be accurately measured with a few simple blood tests, but relying on men in white coats to tell you how to train every day isn’t practical for most people,” he says. The most common marker used in oxygen saturation, or SpO2, which is a measure of how much oxygen your blood is carrying on a scale of 0-100. A reading below 95 may indicate you’re on your way to overtraining. “Instead, become your own expert and listen to your body. Although your program might say you have a 10-mile run, don’t feel like you have to do it if your adaptation energy is low.” In other words, if you don’t feel like you can nail that 10-mile run hard enough to produce a positive adaptation, don’t do it.

Edgley is currently training for a stunt he’s deemed the “Strongman Swim,” which is a total of 100K of swimming over the course of four giant open-water swims, all while towing a log similar in size to the one he used for the “treeathlon” in Nevis.

One look at his weekly training plan and it’s clear that his adaptation energy is never very low. The final segment of the Strongman Swim will be a 40K jaunt from Martinique to St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea. If he completes it, he’ll be the first person in the world to do that crossing— with or without a tree in tow. To prepare, Edgley has been swimming up to 100K per week, including a 20K session in the pool each Sunday that is usually made up of 100 200-meter repeats at the fastest interval he can sustain.

If 100K per week in the pool seems insane, consider that it only accounts for about half of Edgley’s weekly training volume. There’s also at least 30K of running, a couple of bike rides, and, of course, a good hour and a half of gym work every day.

While such ridiculous volume would give most athletes the physique of an East African marathoner, Edgley’s mastery of nutrition has enabled him to maintain and even build functional muscle while training more than 30 hours per week.

He boasts that he can consume up to 15,000 calories a day when his workouts call for it, but an average day of eating is about 8,000 calories. He’s particular about his numbers and estimates that his diet is roughly 62 percent carbohydrates (or about 1,240 grams per day on average), 27 percent fat (240 grams) and 11 percent protein (220 grams). The science nerd in him settled on those percentages after years of poring over research published in the Journal of Sports Nutrition.

To jam in such a massive amount of calories, Edgley has found ways to make his favorite foods as nutrient-dense as possible. That includes things like loaded oatmeal with blueberries, flaxseeds, vegan protein powder, cacao nibs, and peanut butter. There’s also his favorite post-workout recovery snack of “chocolate protein cheesecake” that includes everything from yogurt, muesli, coconut oil, berries and whey protein. (See the recipe below.)

Unable to find sports nutrition products on the market that would help him push himself to the preposterous levels he desired, Edgley co-founded one of Europe’s largest sports nutrition brands, The Protein Works, which makes high-end pre- and post-workout supplements, as well as baked goods like protein cookies and brownies. “I’m constantly in the lab with the sports scientists trying new pre- workouts, proteins, recovery formulas, and anything else we can come up with,” he says. “I’m basically like a human guinea pig fueled by this insatiable curiosity to understand how the human body works.” While he prefers to get as many of his calories as possible from real food, omega-3, vitamin D, and creatine have long been his three staple supplements. “Those three in particular are backed by so much research that they should feature in every athlete’s diet,” he says.

Edgley already has the first three legs of the Strongman Swim out of the way. All that’s left is his record-breaking Caribbean crossing in November. Once that’s behind him, the man who never seems to sit still admits that he’ll allow himself 10 days of R & R in St. Lucia before heading back to the U.K. to sit down with friends and family and plan what crazy stunts he’ll attempt in 2018. “We have at least 20 crazy ideas already,” he says. “I’ll speak to my charity partners and just pluck one out of the mix. Whatever it is, it has to be bigger and better to continue raising the bar.”

One idea that’s been gaining momentum as of late: An iron-distance treeathlon.

“I’ve always said I’d like to do an Ironman with the tree,” he adds. “Not just to finish it, but to do it in a legitimately good time too.”

Crazy for a Cause

There’s meaning to the madness behind Edgley’s seemingly psychotic endurance endeavors. Each one is carefully planned to raise money or awareness for causes he feels passionate about. His marathon and rope-climbing stunts raised thousands of dollars for the Teenage Cancer Trust and spent nearly
an entire day trending on Twitter in the U.K. As for why he’d attempt to finish an Olympic-distance triathlon accompanied by a massive piece of driftwood? Edgley, a passionate environmentalist, wanted to raise awareness of Nevis’ commitment to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island by 2020 so other places around the world would take notice and follow suit.

Log-gistics

Edgley’s swims and tri have each featured different wood. Here’s how trees become contenders:
1. It must be special to that area. “In England you might get an oak tree, but Caribbean something more tropical,” he says. On the Caribbean island of Nevis, where he raced his treeathlon, news spread quickly that he needed a 100-pound tree. “We had people from all over the island looking for one for me,” he says. “We had so many trees to choose from in the end, but I just gravitated to this oddly shaped one—it just had character. It had been blown down in the hurricane just weeks before and I just felt it had some fight left in him and one last adventure.”

2. Fallen trees are first pick. If he takes one, he replants one.

3. It’s gotta have heft. The log makes its official weight dry. “But it’s always heavier when I get it out of the swim and onto the bike,” Edgley says. “What I finish the swim with is not the same log as I started with as it soaks up water.”

Home Schooled

Wisdom Edgley gained from being his own guinea pig

Stunt #1: The Tree-Athlon
Lesson Learned: Love the carbs and fats
“One thing that I loved about the tree-athlon was that it allowed me to experiment and explore new nutritional protocols. Most traditional nutritionists would argue that carbs are the body’s primary fuel source, and for many sports that’s true. But recent research has shown that the energy needed to sustain exercise for a long period of time needs to come from two fuels—carbohydrates and fats. When I stepped onto the start line in Nevis I had a dual-fuel approach to nutrition. Did it work? Well it allowed me to train up to 12 hours a day and fueled every mile of the world’s first tree-athlon.”

His race day regimen:
Breakfast: Banana and peanut butter protein pancakes
During the race: A carb/electrolyte blend from his company’s lab
Recovery: Meat, veggies, and more carbs to replenish muscle glycogen

Stunt #2: Pulling a Mini Cooper for 26.2 Miles
Lesson Learned: A little extra can go a long way

“I could only manage to pull the car for one mile when I first tried. My ligaments, tendons, and immune system all wondered ‘what are you doing?’ So I had to develop this horse-like work capacity. Work capacity can be defined as the total amount of training the body can perform and then positively recover and adapt to. The three ways I increased my work capacity—to the point I could pull a car for an entire marathon—was to add more sets to my workouts, add supplementary cardio, and add ‘finishers.’ The first two are self-explanatory. ‘Finishers’ are quick, intense, movement-specific exercises you can add to the end of your workouts to ‘finish’ your muscles. Examples could include sled sprints after a big leg session, rope climb repeats after a huge arm workout, or tire flips after a colossal dead lift.”

Stunt #3: Climbing a Rope to the Top of Everest
Lesson Learned: Technique is everything

“You can only get by on athleticism, strength and stamina for so long. You need efficiency to keep going. All movements have what’s known as a kinetic chain—how all your joints and movements work together during certain movements. Without it, your legs and core fail to work in unison with your arms and your biceps are forced to battle gravity on their own. During a 24-hour rope climb you need one incredibly efficient kinetic chain. It’s worth noting that there are many ways to climb a rope—from the Navy Seal-inspired methods to CrossFit and Marine techniques. The key is to find what technique works with your individual physiology and then become incredibly efficient in it. For me this was the Marine-style brake technique. I found that it wasn’t the quickest, but it was the most efficient in terms of energy expenditure and sustaining my technique for 24 hours.”

Ross’s Recipe: Chocolate Protein Cheesecake

Makes 6 Servings
Ingredients
Filling
• 17 ounces quark, a creamy cheese
• 8 ounces natural yogurt
• 4 T whey protein
• 3 tsps cocoa
• 2 tsps vanilla extract
• 2 egg whites
• 1 packet of gelatin (optional but helps create a thicker texture)
• 1⁄4 cup blueberries
• 1⁄4 cup strawberries
• 1 cup milk

Crust
• 1 cup muesli
• 2 tsp honey
• 1 tsp coconut oil (nut butter is optional)

Directions
Filling
1. Put the gelatin into water
2. Mix milk and cocoa, add gelatine 3. In bowl mix yogurt and quark
4. Add milk, vanilla, and cocoa to quark
5. In separate bowl, whisk eggs
6. Slowly fold eggs whites into quark mixture

Crust
1. Heat coconut oil and honey until melted
2. Stir in oats until fully coated with oil and honey
3. Place in springform tin and gentlly press mixture into place
4. When cooled, spread topping mixture over gently, careful not to mix the two
5. Place in fridge for at least four hours

Nutritional Information (Approximate, per serving)
• 438 calories
• 23g protein
• 74g carbohydrates
• 7g fat

Update: Edgley fell just short of his Caribbean goal. He made the attempt twice and totaled up over 100K of swimming, but technically wasn’t able to touch the shore due to water conditions. See his posts below.

The post This “Treeathlete” Consumes 8,000 Calories Per Day appeared first on Triathlete.com.

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