Triathlete.com http://www.triathlete.com The latest triathlon gear, training, nutrition, photos, races, movers, shakers, and more Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:35:14 +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 One-Hour Workout: Strength/Bike/Run Hour of Power http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/one-hour-workout-strengthbikerun-hour-power_303922 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:51:20 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303922 "Triathletes are now hitting the gym to not only reduce their injury risk, but to also improve their performance.”

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Every Tuesday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 mins (or less!)

This week’s workout comes from Coach Si Bennett, the creator of TRI-FIT, a group fitness model specifically designed for triathletes as well as a certified Ironman coach. After a decade of working in Australia, Coach Si is currently residing in Derby, U.K.

“Strength and conditioning has always been a taboo phrase in the arena of triathlon preparation,” says Bennett. “Some swear by it and some steer clear of it. Nonetheless, triathletes are now hitting the gym to not only reduce their injury risk, but to also improve their performance.”

Below is a total body strength and conditioning session that anyone can do in their training space or at a local gym. For this workout, you’ll need a spin bike/trainer setup, a treadmill (or outdoor running), a foam roller, a medicine ball and a gym mat.

The run will serve as a building warm-up for the main strength set. The med ball circuit is designed to improve strength endurance for swimming, activate your glutes and build lower body strength for more power in the saddle. It also serves to increase the core stability needed to be a more balanced and efficient runner. For the first round, use a ball no heavier than 10 pounds—increase on later sets if you’re comfortable with doing the movements properly. The bike will serve as a cool-down.

Warm-Up
10 minutes of foam rolling, hitting all major muscle groups, emphasizing tight spots

10 minutes run on treadmill or outside: 5 minutes easy, then increase effort each minute until hitting 7/10 at end

Main Set (movement instructions/pictures below)
60 seconds of alternate lunge to twist, 30 seconds rest
60 seconds of close grip pushup, 30 seconds rest
60 seconds of Alekna’s, 30 seconds rest
60 seconds of high plank with alternate knee raise, 30 seconds rest
60 seconds of thrusters, 30 seconds rest

Repeat main set 3x through

Cool-Down
3 minutes bike on trainer or spin bike at 5/10 effort
5 minutes bike on trainer or spin bike easy
5 minute stretch

Movement Guide

Alternate Lunge To Twist 
Start by standing in an upright position with the medicine ball held in front of your stomach. Begin by stepping forward into a lunge, and as you land in the lunge position, rotate your torso to the same side that you have lunged from. Drive through the heel of the front foot and back to the start position. Repeat on the other side.

Close Grip Pushup

Begin in a pushup position on your knees with your hands on the med ball. Lower your chest to the ball, keeping your elbows close to your body, and push through your arms and chest until you have locked out your elbows. Advance to your toes if you feel like a challenge.

Alekna’s
Named after the Lithuanian discus champion, Virgilijus Alekna, this is a highly effective core stability exercise. Begin on your back with your knees flexed at 90 degrees and the medicine ball held in front of your chest. Lower the ball overhead and extend the legs so that your heels are just off the ground. Return to the start position.

High Plank with Alternate Knee Raise
Begin in a high plank position, resting your hands on the ball. Engage your core, and slowly raise your leg to the outside of the adjacent arm. Return to the start position, and change legs.

Thruster
Start in an upright position with the med ball held in front of your shoulders. Begin by squatting down so that your hips finish below your knees. Ensure your knees are flared out so you can achieve a deep squat. From this position, drive through your heels explosively, and as your legs extend press the med ball overhead.

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This Bike Race for 3 Year Olds is the Cutest Thing You’ll See Online Today http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/news/bike-race-3-year-olds-cutest-thing-youll-see-online-today_303914 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:57:25 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303914 First strider bikes, next triathlon!

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First Strider bikes, next triathlon!

Strider Bikes is aiming for world domination by tugging on parents’ hearts with their Strider Cup World Championship.

Four hundred toddlers showed up at Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center on July 22 with their game faces on for the event, including the youngest registered competitor: 18-month-old Walker Huntsman, who was racing on his home course. The oldest competitor to tackle the 750-foot plus course featuring obstacles, water features, cones and ramps was 5.

Most racers were from the US, but 50 of them repped 14 additional countries: Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Tahiti, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Japanese dominated the races, taking home all world titles. The Strider Cup World Championship included the 2 and under class and the 3-year-old class, both sponsored by LDS Hospital. Kaisei Nishimura won the 2 and under class, and Raito Kaneko came out on top of the largest field of the day in the 3-year-old class title. Taiga Kuwahara took home the top trophy in the 4-year-old class, sponsored by Competitive Cyclist. Waku Kunitate won the 5-year-old class, sponsored by The Color Run.

The event also included the Special Needs Races sponsored by Chick-fil-A for 30 racers of all ages and abilities on the 12” models, as well as the 16” and 20” balance bikes. Several athletes with the Jimmy Jaguars and Bright Bears Special Olympics teams participated.

Prior to the championship race, Strider hosted three Strider Cup races in cities around the country: May 6 in Fort Worth, TX, May 27 in Pittsburgh, PA, and June 10 in Lincoln, NE.

Want to get your kiddos involved? Find more race info here.

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Photos: Challenge Iceland Is as Beautiful as You’d Expect http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/photos/photos-challenge-iceland-beautiful-youd-expect_303854 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:40:08 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303854 On Sunday, athletes competed in the picturesque country of Iceland for the second half-iron-distance Challenge Iceland.

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On Sunday, athletes competed in the picturesque country of Iceland for the second half-iron-distance Challenge Iceland. The 2.4-mile swim course took place in a crystal clean fresh water in a glacial lake, and the one loop 56-mile bike race with rolling hills and short climbs in the old main road is one the most iconic bike routes in Iceland. Another beautiful country road with long hills was the scene for the 13.1-mile run course.

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Beginner’s Luck: The Mystery of Open-Water Sighting http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/beginners-luck-mystery-open-water-sighting_303909 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:31:47 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303909 "Beginner's Luck" columnist Meredith Atwood on the importance of learning to properly sight in the open water.

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“Beginner’s Luck” columnist Meredith Atwood on the importance of learning to properly sight in the open water and get over typical fears that come with diving into the scary dark water. 

In the last installment, I covered my horrendous first open-water swim and also provided a few pointers about learning how to swim and then talking some “truth” into yourself about what open-water swimming really is.

Today, we’re going to talk “sighting” and the mystery around that beast.

When I started thinking about trying a tri, I did not think about all the logistics and complications that really surround open water. Once you wrap your head around the facts of open-water swimming, then it’s far less scary (see Part I, the “truth” section).

But one truth about open water, even if you are a comfortable pool swimmer, is that you don’t have a lovely black line to follow at the bottom of the river, ocean or lake. Also, you might further be spooked by the fact that some water is dark—and I mean dark. (Not trying to scare you, just keeping it real!). Despite growing up swimming the in Atlantic ocean (dark water) and even fishing in the Chattahoochee River parts of Savannah (dark water), I was not prepared for the first time I went to “real” swim in the lake in North Georgia (dark, scary, black water! Ahhhh!).

Okay, breathe.

Here’s the thingwithout a black line, a clear underwater cable at Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, or a pool lineyou gotta figure out how to see where you are going.

This is called SIGHTING.

Summed up, sighting is the process where you “peek” your head out of the water (while continuing to swim) to see where you are going. Sighting is not only necessary to stay on course, but also to make sure that you swim the least amount of yards. In other words, if you go off course, you will swim much farther than you anticipated and lose time and energy.

Find Your Focus

Depending on the swim course, it helps to find a focal point outside of the water in the distance, and check to make sure you are swimming towards that at all times—then adjust as you change directions. You can use buoys for the race course as a point to sight, but it’s important to become flexible with sighting points so you can adapt on race day. Having a focus point far off in the distance is a neat trick, and was a big saver on long-course racing.

How to Sight

Megan Melgaard, swim coach extraordinaire out of Atlanta, refers to sighting as using your “crocodile eyes”—you want to lift your head out of the water only a peek, only as high as necessary to get the job done. When the water is smooth, crocodile eyes are pretty easy. After you peek with your eyes, then rotate your head to breathe. That’s right, you want to peek, then breathe—always to the side: Peek and breathe. Peek and breathe. Peek and breathe. Then swim for another 20 or so strokes, then repeat.

You may want to sight a few times in a row to see where you are, correct your course, and get back into the right direction. You can then go for 25-35 seconds before you sight again.

When the water is chop chop choppy, do the best you can to keep the head lower, but keep in mind to not expend any more energy than necessary. You may have to lift your head high, but then try and sight a little less, relying on bigger focal points.

Practice Makes Less Scary

Practice sighting in the pool by closing your eyes in the pool, then lifting to peek and breathe, seeing where you are. Find a point in the pool area as your focal point, and practice everything so you are more comfortable on race day. And don’t forget to get in the open water before your big day! The biggest part of the triathlon game is consistency and working to make all the fears less scary. This is your mission—choose to accept it.

Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom) is a recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman. She is the host of the new podcast, “The Same 24 Hours,” a show which interviews interesting people who make the best of the 24 hours in each day. Meredith is working with the incredible Dina Griffin, RD, in the new Metabolic Efficiency Training program, Optimal Thrive. 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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Is Peanut Butter Good for You? http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/nutrition/peanut-butter-good_303897 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:57:59 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303897 Don’t fall for the siren song of chicer nut butters. This simple spread should be a triathlete’s BFF.

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Don’t fall for the siren song of chicer nut butters. This simple spread should be a triathlete’s BFF. (Unless, you know, you’re allergic to it.) 

Pity poor peanut butter: The Forrest Gump of the nut butter world, it’s become the underdog to tonier spreads like almond, cashew and coconut. But jars of peanut butter once again should find a home in your pantry. For starters, the peanutty stuff has more protein than most of its competitors (4 grams per tablespoon versus 2 grams in almond butter). If you eat PB, you’ll also benefit from plenty of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and good amounts of vitamin E, a nutrient thought to bolster bone strength and brainpower. Besides, it’s budget-friendly and just flat-out delicious. So when something is so awesome, why relegate it to a slice of toast? Here are six fun ways to sneak PB back into your life–or get more of it, if you never strayed.

PB&J energy balls
Grind 3/4 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts into small pieces in a food processor. Add 1 cup pitted dates, 1 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup peanut butter and a couple pinches of salt. Blend until mixture clumps together. Roll into 1-inch balls. Eat as snacks or take along on a long ride in a small zip-top bag.

PB salad dressing
Whisk together 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and a couple pinches of salt until smooth. If needed, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach a pourable consistency. Serve over salads or mix into slaws.

PB hummus
Blend together one 15-ounce can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1/4 cup peanut butter, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and ½ teaspoon salt. If needed, blend in 1 tablespoon warm water at a time until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips or sliced vegetables, or slather on rice cakes.

A Better Grind

Justin’s Peanut Butter Banana Chip Snack Pack

These peanut butter products make it easy to skip over Skippy.

Big Spoon Roasters Peanut
$10 for 10-ounce jar, Bigspoonroasters.com

Small batch, made-to-order peanut butter made with roasted heirloom peanuts and wildflower honey.

Once Again Old Fashioned Natural Creamy Peanut Butter 
$5 for 16-ounce jar, Onceagainnutbutter.com

With just peanuts and a touch of salt, this uncompromised buttery spread is spoon-worthy

Justin’s Peanut Butter Banana Chip Snack Pack
$1.99 per pack, Justinsnutbutter.com 

Whether for a snack, dessert or post-training fuel, you’ll love dipping crispy banana chips into creamy PB.

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Prevent Achilles Tendon Injuries With This Exercise http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/monday-minute-eccentric-calf-raise-2_46973 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:10:08 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=46973 Learn about the eccentric calf raise, an effective move for the prevention of calf muscle strains and Achilles tendon injuries.

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This week Tim Crowley and friends demonstrate the eccentric calf raise, an effective move for the prevention of calf muscle strains and Achilles tendon injuries.

More one-minute exercise videos from Triathlete.com.

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The Simple Trick to Make Swim Sighting Easier http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/sponsored/simple-trick-make-swim-sighting-easier_303849 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:43:50 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303849 Goggles aren’t just for keeping salty, cloudy or chlorinated water out of your eyes. Nowadays, there are several tint options—pick the right tint for the […]

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Goggles aren’t just for keeping salty, cloudy or chlorinated water out of your eyes. Nowadays, there are several tint options—pick the right tint for the conditions, and your goggles can actually enhance your vision, improving contrast between the water, sky, landscape and buoys, and keeping glare out so you can sight perfectly. Goodbye zig-zaggy open-water swims and squinty morning workouts, hello happiness and efficiency. The trick is picking the perfect tint for whatever workout or race you’re doing. Here’s how.

 

If you only have two pairs of goggles…

Go for clear and mirrored. “If you have a clear pair, you can see buoys on an overcast day or an early morning swim,” says aquathlon world champ and pro triathlete, Sara McLarty. “If you have a mirrored pair, you can do swim practice in an outdoor pool when it’s sunny out.”

 

About those mirrored goggles…

Don’t take them for granted. The tech behind that glare-fighting coating has made huge advancements in the past few years. In well-made goggles, that layer is a real metal or an oxide of a metal that reflects most of the sunlight—and getting that layer to stick in a uniform fashion is a tough process to perfect, says Aqua Sphere’s Italy-based product manager, Michele Olmo. That’s why Aqua Sphere brought in the  machines necessary to do it in house at their Italian manufacturing facility in order to keep a tight grasp on the quality—don’t expect that coating on a pair of Aqua Sphere’s Kaiman Exo, for example, to scratch or peel off.

 

What about the other tints?

Glad you asked. In the totem of tri gear, goggles are pretty cheap. “So if you want to be prepared for different situations,” McLarty says, better goggle up. What kinds of situations? At a recent race in Australia, race organizers put out pink buoys 90 percent covered in dark navy flags that blended in with the water. Clear goggles would’ve been ok, but wouldn’t have offered any advantage. An orange or amber tint, like the amber found on Aqua Sphere’s Kaiman, will help bring out the orange, red (and even pink!) buoys often found at races, especially against dark or foggy backgrounds. Sighting off of yellow and green buoys? Go for a blue tint. It’s like Spidey vision, but for triathletes.

 

So my goggle quiver should look like…

To recap: grab clear and mirrored to start. That’ll cover your light situation bases. For an extra orange and red buoy sighting advantage, look for orange (for lower-light conditions) or amber (for brighter conditions) tints. For yellow and green buoys, go blue. And if it’s really sunny, a few companies including Aqua Sphere now offer polarized lenses to nix the glare and increase contrast. Aqua Sphere’s polarized Kayenne is worth every penny at $50, because they make orange buoys pop and cut sun glare at an impressive level, on even the sunniest of days.

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Garmin Just Made a Move to Make You More Aero—In Real Time http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/gear-tech/garmin-just-made-move-make-aero-real-time_303837 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:29:13 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303837 Best known for watches and bike computers, Garmin just jumped into the aero analysis business with the acquisition of Alphamantis Technologies.

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Best known for watches and bike computers, Garmin just jumped into the aero analysis business.

Garmin announced yesterday that it acquired Alphamantis Technologies Inc., a privately held designer of aerodynamics testing and measurement technology for the cycling industry based in Montreal, Canada.

“Alphamantis is on the leading edge of aerodynamics analysis in the cycling world, and that makes the company a perfect fit for our robust suite of bike products,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and CEO, in a press release. “Aerodynamics is another way for cyclists to measure and improve their performance—something our customers crave.”

Alphamantis develops technology that allows cyclists to test and refine their drag coefficient in everyday riding conditions—no need to head to the wind tunnel. It’s similar to what Argon 18 introduced to much excitement at last year’s Eurobike trade show: a sensor-laden unit for triathlon bikes that could allow average triathletes to fine tune their aero positions. (In fact, gear guru Ray Maker says the two Quebecois companies may have teamed up on the tech at one point. Note: Argon 18’s sensor isn’t available for consumers yet. Sources say the consumer product could be released the end of this summer at Eurobike.)

Given that Garmin owns its own factories, “if Alphamantis was already close to shipping product, then the time between now and when we see a Garmin branded version could be very tight,” Maker wrote on his DC Rainmaker blog. And the announcement might give other companies working on similar tech, like PowerPod, a kick in the pants to refine their product to compete.

Fun aero times ahead!

 

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4 Resorts That Cater To Triathletes http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/lifestyle/4-resorts-cater-triathletes_303728 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:20:53 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303728 These four destination resorts recharge both the body and mind with heavenly packages tailored to multisport athletes.

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Train hard, recover harder

Week after week, your body performs on demand, so give it the love it deserves (and requires to sustain your training). These four destination resorts recharge both the body and mind with heavenly packages tailored to multisport athletes. Train hard, then bliss out.

Photo: John Segesta

Four Seasons Hualalai

Fourseasons.com/hualalai
Kona Coast, Hawaii

Pamper score: 10 

The Dave Scott Experience at this uber posh Four Seasons is the triathlete’s fantasy camp. Imagine training for five days with a six-time Ironman world champion in what is simply one of the most beautiful places on earth. Don’t expect a swim, bike, run smashing—the Scott method is to train smarter, not harder, and there’s plenty of chill time built into the agenda. “My goal is to make you a better triathlete by teaching you intelligent and purposeful training methods, not by simply piling on more training hours,” says Scott, who personally calls each participant before camp to review background and goals. You’ll refuel with fresh, locally inspired gourmet fare (and learn a lot about athletic nutrition from Scott), and enjoy stunning room accommodations steps away from the sand. The Hualalai Spa is a sight to behold—nestled within lush tropical gardens, this 28,000-square-foot haven offers a variety of rejuvenating massage and body treatments, and you can also take advantage of the spa’s lap pool, whirlpools, sauna, steam rooms and cold plunges. The final camp of 2017 is Aug. 28–Sept. 1, and is open to everyone from beginners to veteran triathletes.

Insider tip: If your race plans include Kona, doing multiple rides through the iconic lava fields on the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway with Scott right there next to you is an invaluable and special experience. Few people know the nuances and challenges of the Hawaii Ironman course better than “The Man.”

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How I Fuel: As An Athena National Champion http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/nutrition/fuel-athena-national-champion_303725 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:10:47 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303725 Leslie Battle is changing perceptions of Athena athletes.

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Leslie Battle is changing perceptions of Athena athletes. 

Leslie A.E. Battle, 48

Location: Warwick, R.I.
Occupation: Corporate attorney

Standout results

Six-time USAT Athena National Champion: Olympic distance five times, sprint distance once. (USAT allows women weighing 165 pounds or more to race in the Athena division, while males weighing at least 220 can race as Clydesdales.) First female and first overall at 2012 Escape the Cape; Team USA in standard duathlon (2015) and aquathlon (2017)

Backstory

Leslie Battle jumped into triathlon after a friend raced Ironman 70.3 Providence. She raced her first local sprint tri in 2008 with several friends who were turning 40, but she was the only one of the group who “got the tri bug.” Now 310 multisport and road races and 5,299 miles (and counting) later—and more than 100 pounds lighter—she has six over-40 USAT Athena national champion titles in triathlon. And this year she’ll be representing the U.S. in aquathlon in Penticton, B.C., Canada, at the ITU Multisport World Championship Festival.

Looking back over her years of racing, one of the highlights was the 2012 Escape the Cape triathlon, in which she earned the first overall title. “This race plays over in my head, most especially how the race director questioned my results before awards because ‘Athena athletes don’t win the overall,’” she says. “Garmin said otherwise.”

In 2016, she completed her goal of encouraging other Athenas to have the courage and confidence to bid for Team USA in Penticton; there are at least nine Athena athletes competing in Penticton across the various multisport races. “I’m proud to have been able to make positive contributions to the perception of Athena triathletes on a national level,” she says, “not just as ‘completers’ but as serious competition.”

How She Fuels

Pre-race breakfast: I like Bob’s Red Mill whole rolled oats with cinnamon and a bit of Intek whey protein isolate. Or egg white and banana pancakes. … If it’s a longer race, I might add a sweet potato, which I like to top with low-fat yogurt ranch dressing, or, alternatively, a bowl of brown rice. Maybe a banana or unsweetened applesauce when setting up T1.

My general nutrition philosophy above all is to eat real food and keep it simple, predictable. Eat enough to fuel what you love to do, your training, your recovery.

My pre-race dinner is no different from any other day because when I’m training, I’m training to race. I might have some Intek whey protein (cookies and cream flavor), egg whites with fresh pico de gallo, Friendship low-fat cottage cheese on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin, maybe Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt, or a tofu- or soy-based dish, as well as a vegetable, like spinach or broccoli with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Add to that a small serving of rice, and I’m good to go.

I have been using Honey Stinger Gold* gels in races and just plain water, maybe with a bit of salt in the bottle, if it will be hot. I like Honey Stinger because they are mostly natural honey; I don’t use flavors or caffeine. I also use Hotshot for potential cramps.

Post-race I take a protein shake for recovery. I use Intek cookies and cream flavor. Or, I will have a Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr. One pointer: Pack in your own food for after the race. Most events have donated food that may not be the best choice for your needs, and it can be a long, hungry ride home.

*Battle is now part of Honey Stinger’s Hive elite ambassador program. 

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Tested: New Balance’s BOA-Equipped FuelCore Sonic http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/gear-tech/tested-new-balances-boa-equipped-fuelcore-sonic_303676 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:05:00 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303676 The super-quick, easily-adjustable tightening system has only had limited appearances on run footwear—until now.

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While BOA lacing technology has been around on cycling shoes for a while, the super-quick, easily-adjustable tightening system has only had limited appearances on run footwear—until now.

We were excited by BOA’s announcement in June that they would be working with mainstream shoe brands like Asics and New Balance to put their technology on a wider variety of running shoes. Quick, consistent lacing is always awesome for triathletes. Now we get an early look at how the BOA system actually works on New Balance’s new FuelCore Sonic racing flat.

The Tech:

Rather than simply slapping an existing BOA dial, guide and filament onto a pair of popular running shoes, BOA made some (important) changes: Foregoing the guitar string-like filament that’s found on most of BOA’s cycling options, the new running shoe-version of has a fabric lace that allows for lighter weight and better durability, the retention system is also woven, and the new L6 dial is lower-profile. Pull the dial back, and the “lace” goes loose; push it in, and crank it down to tighten.

Keep It Simple, Stupid:

Upon unboxing, it’s obvious that the FuelCore Sonic is a very different-looking shoe. Without traditional laces—and the laces’ necessary accoutrements—the shoe resembles something a little more velcro-y than what we’re used to. The good news? With less “stuff”, there’s less opportunity for rubbing and chafing—super important for barefoot running and for keeping the shoe at a thrifty advertised 8.5oz weight with a small dial. The bad news? They’re not exactly fashion-forward, though to be honest, I actually did get a few compliments, so what do I know?

The Fit:

I can’t overstate this: The BOA system did a better job at uniformly tightening the upper than I’ve been able to do with 30+ years of practice. I went wild with the dial but found absolutely no tightness hotspots. Still to this day, when I tie my shoes, my regular laces get caught, or the top is way tighter than the bottom. Once again, the machine beats the human, and the BOA laces felt smooth, even and obviously quick. I loved being able to crank down the dial, but then easily, incrementally back off the dial pressure later in the run—a must for anyone who has experienced the over-tight excitement of T2 or the horror of swollen marathon-feet. Trying to untie and retie in the middle of a race is both horrifyingly frustrating and nearly impossible to do properly.

The fit was good, but not perfect. The way the FuelCore was set up didn’t extend the laces too far down the forefoot, so the toebox was given a pretty wide berth. It worked well for me—I have a pretty wide forefoot—but it could be an issue for those with very narrow feet. I also had some early issues with my arch/knee caving inward. Clearly this is a lightweight, low-support shoe, but I’ve raced with shoes that have had the support equivalent of a flip-flop, and I’ve never had the same issue. Fortunately, the inward movement seemed to go away after a few miles, so I’m not sure if it had to do with the lateral-side BOA mounting area loosening up or just the shoe’s foam. Either way, it was fine after a few runs and didn’t cause any actual pain.

The Verdict:

This is a great shoe, tailor-made for triathletes. Yes, Zoot has had a BOA-enabled option for a few years, but now that big shoe brands are on board, BOA has made some necessary upgrades to their system. I loved the low-profile dial with a rubberized coating for wet-triathlete T2 paws, and I loved the low-seam, highly breathable upper that the BOA system allowed for. It also goes without saying that the tightening system was great at getting the laces super tight, super loose (duathletes take note!) or anything in-between.

A few things that were slight misses: The lack of support was not unexpected, but I had hoped for a slightly supportive option coming from such a veteran brand with a tradition of stable shoes. Also, though the heel loop was a good thought for quick transitions, it wasn’t placed in the perfect spot, and the small, loop-less tongue was actually pretty tough to get on quickly at first. Just like anything, with a little practice I was a pro in no time, but with wet feet, slippery hands and adrenaline, I could see the struggle becoming a little more real on race day.

All in all, the New Balance FuelCore Sonic is a great shoe and the BOA system is a huge upgrade over traditional laces. While it’s not a perfect setup yet, I think most triathletes will find the FuelCore Sonic solves a lot of big problems and leaves only a few tiny ones to iron out in later iterations.

Newbalance.com; MSRP: $109.99

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Quick Set Friday: Tarzan Drill http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/quick-set-friday-tarzan-drill_88038 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 10:00:14 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=88038 Try this new swim 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.

RELATED – Quick Set Friday: Tarzan Drills And No Walls

A:

500 warm-up (no walls)
8×75 at 1:10 (25 Tarzan Drill/25 easy/25 FAST!)
3×900 with 60 sec rest (200 FAST!/700 Olympic or 70.3 mid-race pace)
300 cool-down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)
*4,100*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Drills To Help With Open-Water Swimming

B:
400 warm-up (no walls)
4×75 at 1:30 (25 Tarzan Drill/25 easy/25 FAST!)
3×800 with 2 min rest (150 FAST!/650 Olympic or 70.3 mid-race pace)
300 cool-down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)
*3,400*

RELATED: In Defense Of Swim Drills

C:
400 warm-up (no walls)
4×75 with 20 sec rest (25 Tarzan Drill/25 easy/25 FAST!)
3×500 with 2 min rest (100 FAST!/400 Olympic or 70.3 mid-race pace)
300 cool-down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)
*2,500*

Tarzan Drill: Swim with your head out of the water. Look forward as if you were sighting a buoy or landmark in open water.

More swim workouts from Sara McLarty

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America Ferrera: From Grind to Glam http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/lifestyle/america-ferrera-grind-glam_303673 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:10:19 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303673 America Ferrera accessorized a pre-Emmy’s party dress with the number from her first-ever triathlon last fall.

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Must-Do Workouts to Get Ready for Race Day http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/must-workouts-get-ready-race-day_303682 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:05:11 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303682 These key sessions will give you the confidence to let it rip at your next sprint or Olympic tri.

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How do you know your brain and body are ready to race? These key sessions will give you the confidence to let it rip at your next sprint or Olympic tri, knowing that all of the hay is in the barn. Do them no more than two weeks out from your goal race, and no less than five days before the event. Important: Since you’ll be approaching peak fitness and nearing your taper, resist the urge to push up against your limit—save the best for race day.

Real-life Pace Changer Swim Set

Why? This test set simulates much of what your body goes through during the swim leg of an actual race. After hitting this workout, you should have the confidence to be aggressive during the start and know what to expect in terms of fatigue.

What? Do a short warm-up that closely mimics your race-day routine. Try to visualize a crowded start and the adrenaline surrounding the first 200. The fast sections of this workout will give you an idea of what it feels like to round a buoy or pass a slow group mid-race and finish strong out of the water. Focus on quickly settling back into a rhythm during the pace sections.

500 warm-up easy
6×50 drill 25/swim 25
4×50 build 1–4
200 at 8/10 (roughly 5–10 sec faster per 100 than race pace); 15 sec rest
4×100 at goal race pace; 10 sec rest
2×50 at 8/10 (roughly 2–5 sec faster per 100 than race pace); 15 sec rest
4×100 at goal race pace; 10 sec rest
4×25 at 9/10 (hard effort, extra kick); 15 sec rest
300 cool-down easy
 2,500 yards total 

Bike/Run Race Simulation Attacks

Why? This brick workout not only forces you to perform transitions under stress, but it also familiarizes your body with the bike-to-run feeling. Though this shouldn’t be your first or only brick workout, the intensity of this session will give you a feel for race-day transitions.

What? Find an open, safe spot where you can lock up your bike or put it in your car after quickly donning your run gear. (Or grab a buddy to stand guard.) On the run portion of the brick, you’ll put on everything you’ll wear/use on race day for the most realistic simulation; the faster you can transition from bike to run, the more effective this workout will be.

Five times through:
Bike 5 min at race pace or 7/10
Fast transition!
Run 2 min at effort faster than race pace or 8/10
Run 1 min very easy, reset transition
No more than 3 min total rest between sets, including time resetting transition and the 1 min easy jog (so hurry!)

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How to Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/break-bad-habits-form-good-ones_303718 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:55:36 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303718 For the routine to become automatic, we need to design it with such conscious and deliberate precision that it’s ready-made to run on autopilot.

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To master the art of doing, you need to create habits and routines in the brain that are relatively resistant to a whining Chimp and the paralysis-by-analysis ruminations of your Professor brain. For the routine to become automatic, we need to design it with such conscious and deliberate precision that it’s ready-made to run on autopilot.

Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Learn the pattern, and crack the code

All habits follow very predictable and logical patterns. They are composed of a “neurological loop,” which is science-speak for a predictable pattern of events in the brain and body that runs on autopilot. The loop consists of three important elements: a trigger, a ritual, and a reward. If you want to break, modify, or build habits, you must first figure out which element is causing the most problem (it might be all three!).

Trigger. The event that cues the brain to start the habit, like your alarm clock going off if you need to get out of bed early. It’s the habit’s starting pistol. If you want to start a new behavior, you often have to choose the trigger for that behavior.

Ritual. The actual behavior that you want to start, which includes the timing and the step-by-step instructions for how it occurs. For example, if the desired behavior is to do more stretching and rolling, the ritual might start with being in the right clothes, having any equipment you need on hand, having enough space and time, and knowing what exercises to do.

Reward. The feeling you get once you’ve done or are doing the behavior. For new behaviors that aren’t intrinsically pleasurable, you might need to pair a separate reward (something that does provide a dopamine squirt) with the new behavior so you still feel good after completion. For bad habits, the reward is what stops the craving. It might be the intense pleasure you get from eating chocolate, or temporarily forgetting that you’re lonely when you hit the booze.

A former research collaborator of mine at Stanford University, tiny habit guru Dr. B. J. Fogg, trained himself to do 10 push-ups every time he flushed the lavatory. He developed great upper body strength using this simple trick. That’s a genius use of triggers. When you think of the behaviors you want to change, try to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of just saying, “Do more training,” you might say, “Get up at 5 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to run for 45 minutes before work.” Buy your copy of The Brave Athlete and build some good habits using Exercise 1 from Chapter 4: Setting Goals Is Not Your Problem.

Step 2: Make a watertight ritual

The ritual is the sequence of behavioral steps you need in order to actually cre­ate a habit. You need to know exactly how it unfolds for you, and this takes some self-experimentation. If you’re trying to start a new habit, you should design the ritual so it has a good chance of becoming automatic. If it’s overly complicated or requires a lot of thought, it doesn’t stand much of a chance. For example, if you want to go out for a run three mornings a week before work, you might plan the routine as follows:

  1. Lay out run clothes the night before.
  2. Change into run clothes immediately after getting out of bed.
  3. Pee or poop.
  4. Drink single espresso and eat half banana.
  5. Lace up shoes while mentally visualizing run route.
  6. Leave the house at exactly 6:15 a.m.!

If you have to dig through laundry for clean shorts, or try to answer e-mails beforehand, it doesn’t lend itself to becoming automatic. Lock that ritual in! If you’re trying to break a bad habit, you need to deconstruct the pattern of actions that lead you there. For example, your evening snack binge ritual might involve getting off the couch, walking over to the pantry and opening it, foraging for something, and then slouching back on the couch with your treats. You may want to ask your partner or spouse to help you uncover your ritual. After all, many routines are subconscious, and you may not even be aware you’re doing them. Remember, you’re trying to make the ritual conscious (Exercise 2, which you can find in Chapter 4 of The Brave Athlete).

Step 3: Know the rewards that do and don’t work for you

For some people, the reward is the driving force behind the habit. We’ve already established that powerful neurotransmitters cause a chemical reaction to reward the ritual and increase pleasure (dopamine) and/or feelings of happiness and positive mood (serotonin). However, other neurotransmitters may also be involved, like endorphins (which reduce stress and alleviate pain) or oxytocin (which increases a sense of trust and intimacy). If the action you’re trying to just do isn’t that pleasurable or enjoyable, we need to find a way to make it so.

Here’s an example from Lesley, the world’s biggest moaner about how cold the swimming pool is.

Lesley: But babe, you don’t understand! The pool is so f*cking cold! I’m literally shivering in the water. I just don’t want to get up for that. Have you any idea what it’s like trying to psych yourself up for a hard session in a cold pool when it’s still f*cking dark out? It’s miserable!!

Simon: [Resisting the urge to say: Just suck it up or fatten up a bit.] That sounds horrible, darling. Why don’t you do two sessions a week in your wetsuit? It’s warm, it’s fast, and you won’t dread it so much.

Lesley: Hmm.

Sometimes, there’s really no way to make the activity itself more enjoyable. An athlete we coach through Braveheart Coaching, Nadja Mueller, has an on-again-off-again relationship with a masters swim group. She devised a strategy to help her look forward to swimming—after each session she goes out for breakfast with some of her friends, many of whom need a similar reward.

Here are some other occasions when you might need to pair something that is pleasurable or enjoyable with the suck.

  • Long, boring training sessions. Listen to audio books, a recording of a comedy show, or a new album. Train with other people, or have someone join you for the last hour.
  • Stretching and rolling. Only do it while binge-watching your favorite show. Treat yourself to a stretch-and-roll session from a personal trainer.
  • Meal planning/batch cooking. Include a foil-wrapped treat in each snack pack. Offer to swap one week of pre-prepared lunches with a fellow athlete. Treat yourself to a meal-delivery service once a month or sign up for their free trial period.
  • Uploading data. Buy a sports watch that does it automatically. Duh.

The bottom line is that you need to create a meaningful reward for your new routine—something that gives you pleasure or happiness. It doesn’t even have to happen at the same time. Stop for a cappuccino on your way to work or play your favorite cell phone game for 10 minutes before you start your day. Set aside $1 for every mile you run to a fund that you can give to charity or use to buy a new outfit or gadget at the end of the month. Avoid rewards that sabotage your new habit—like ordering a 1,000-calorie drink after burning 250 calories during your run. Good habits need good rewards.

* If it’s a bad habit you’re trying to change. The goal is to uncover what need or craving the reward was satisfying. Does it change a feeling, like boredom, anx­iety, or loneliness? Does it change an internal physical state, like hunger or pain? If you’re still not sure what reward is lurking behind a bad habit, try this experi­ment: Switch out the reward for a “fake” reward while keeping the exact same ritual. See what happens to the feeling or internal state. For example, you might go to the food cupboard at the same time you always do, but instead of taking the chocolate, you drink a bottle of fizzy water instead. If after 10–15 times of drinking the fizzy water the cravings have subsided or gone, you know it wasn’t hunger. If you’re still not sure what it is, try writing down the exact feelings you’re experiencing 10–15 minutes after having the reward and then try other fake rewards (like chewing gum, drinking hot tea, or going on Facebook, etc.) and repeat the experiment.

Step 4: Know thy trigger

Once you’ve figured out the ritual and reward, the next step is to create a trigger for it. Remember, a trigger is the habit’s starting pistol. It’s the cue that triggers the routine. Triggers can be physical objects (your cell phone), circumstances (a time of day), or feelings (boredom, anxiety, hunger, etc.). Triggers are important because they remind you of what and when you need to act. All behaviors that you want to just do must have good triggers that get the ball rolling. For example, the act of brushing your teeth at night is usually triggered by feeling sleepy and deciding it’s time for bed.

* If you’re trying to start a new habit. You need to design your new triggers carefully. Some people lay out their run kit the night before as a visual reminder as soon as they get out of bed. For people who are just starting a new exercise habit, it can even help to sleep (!!) in your running clothes the night before to make it harder to bail. However, it might just take a Post-it on the refrigerator or a ready-packed gym bag next to the door. Others might need the help of others.

For example, a friend who texts you at 7 a.m.: “Track session@6.30 p.m. tonight. Don’t U dare bail! U betta B there!” is providing a great trigger for you to quickly throw your run kit in the car before you leave for work.

A well-designed trigger needs to be specific and actionable at that exact time. You also need to have the skills or ability to act on it. If it’s vague or you can’t act on it immediately, or you simply don’t have the skill, fitness, or knowledge to do what you actually need to do, the trigger (and possibly the ritual) needs redesigning or replacing. One strategy that helps is what behavioral scientists call habit stacking.9 Habit stacking is simply the process of adding a new habit on top of an existing one. Always flossing after you’ve cleaned your teeth is a habit stack. The existing habit (brushing teeth) becomes the trigger for a second habit (flossing). Habit stacks are great because you are leveraging triggers that are already cemented into your ritual.

Here are some examples of a few novel athletic habit stacks:

  • Doing 20 push-ups before you shower.
  • Doing 2 minutes of core strength exercises while you wait for the coffee to brew.
  • Uploading your training data only when you’re on the toilet taking a dump.
  • Stretching for 2 minutes during the TV commercial break.
  • Doing a 1-minute body relaxation exercise after parking your car but before you open the door.

* If you’re trying to undo or replace a bad habit. You need to become aware of the triggers for your existing habits. They can be very subtle and often appear amid a gazillion other cues that bubble up into your consciousness. For example, what triggered you to bail on your ride this morning? Was it the thought of the effort? The cold weather? How much work you have to do? Something else? If you’re trying to change an existing habit, you need to eliminate or sidestep the triggering circumstances, and to do that you need to have a forensic understand­ing of what, how, and when those triggers occur. The good news is that psy­chologists have determined that you can deconstruct your trigger problems by completing Exercise 3 in Chapter 4, available in The Brave Athlete.

Step 5: Develop your plan

Once you’ve uncovered your ritual, experimented with rewards, and isolated your trigger, you need to put the pieces together and write out the new habit “loop” on paper, as in Exercise 4 (please complete it in your copy of The Brave Athlete). Think of this like a diagram describing each element and how you intend to create it (start a new habit) or disrupt it (break a bad habit). Then you can start with some self-experimenting to fine-tune it and practice it!

Go on, just do it.

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Huzzah! This Airline Just Announced Bikes Fly for $25 http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/lifestyle/travel/huzzah-airline-just-announced-bikes-fly-25_303831 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 04:21:16 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303831 Hint: It starts with A and ends with laska

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Hint: It starts with A and ends with laska

In the era of ever-shrinking legroom and fighting for bin space to avoid insane baggage fees, Alaska Airlines just made an announcement that warms our triathlete hearts: starting today, July 19, most sporting equipment that may exceed Alaska’s normal checked baggage weight and dimensions flies for only $25.

That includes bikes! And if you’re a fancy card-carrying member of the airline, your bike will count toward your free checked bag allowance.

Previously, Alaska charged $75 each way.

“The new lower fee also applies to Horizon Air and SkyWest-operated flights and will be added to Virgin America at a later date,” Alaska wrote on its blog.

Wondering if you can score this sweet deal on your next flight? Check out Alaska’s route map here.

Alaska went all in to become the most bike—and athlete—friendly airline. Bike fees typically range from about $75 (depending on your bike bag dimensions) on airlines including Delta and Southwest to as much as $150 each way on American.

Which airline will join the fitness revolution next?

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The 4 Tastiest Stroopwafels Money Can Buy http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/nutrition/4-tastiest-stroopwafels-money-can-buy_303607 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:20:02 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303607 We sampled a dozen flavors of stroopwafels to find the yummiest, most-likely-to-wind-up-in-a-jersey-pocket confections.

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We sampled a dozen flavors of stroopwafels to find the yummiest, most-likely-to-wind-up-in-a-jersey-pocket confections. (We know, we have it rough.)

Stroopwafels, or “syrup waffles” in Dutch, have a long history in European bike racing. They’ve been around since the beginning of the 19th century, reportedly originating in the Dutch town of Gouda (yes, like the cheese). The traditional recipe calls for two cookie halves made from leftover dough and crumbs with a layer of syrup in between. The best way to enjoy them, any refined cyclist will tell you, is to let them sit on top of a steaming cup of coffee while the middle gets a little gooey. But they’re also fab for on-the-go fuel.

“As racers, it was a treat to skip the traditional energy bar and reach for a stroopwafel because it has so much of what your body needs to fuel a hard ride,” says former professional cyclist Ted King, whose sports fuel company UnTapped makes maple syrup-filled stroopwafels. “Plus there’s some intangible, motivational boost by eating something delicious.”

UnTapped is one of half a dozen companies now selling stroopwafels in the U.S. Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based Honey Stinger started making the sweets in 2010 at the urging of company co-owner Lance Armstrong, substituting organic honey for syrup and individually wrapping them so they slide easily into a jersey pocket. And Rip Pruisken, who grew up in Amsterdam, started making them in his dorm room at Brown University in 2009 before founding San Francisco-based Rip Van Wafels and debuting his creations in Starbucks around the U.S. last year.

Endurance athletes are now obsessing over the neat treats. King thinks it has something to do with our growing awareness and appreciation for recognizable ingredients and real foods as fuel. Made with whole foods such as wheat flour, maple syrup and cane sugar, stroopwafels bridge “that gap between real foods and sports nutrition.”

Wafel Winners

Taste test notes from our four favorite flavors

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PROfile: Jodie Cunnama (née Swallow) http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/lifestyle/profile-jodie-cunnama-nee-swallow_303614 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303614 Jodie took time to reflect on her relationship with her body throughout her stellar career.

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Ironman 70.3 world champ Jodie Cunnama (née Swallow) may originally hail from the U.K., but the 17-year pro is now best known as the most dominant triathlete in Africa after winning her seventh (yes, seventh) consecutive Ironman 70.3 South Africa in January. She married long-time boyfriend and fellow pro James Cunnama after they both competed in last year’s Ironman World Championship, and the couple recently found out they’ll be welcoming their first child later this year. Jodie took time to reflect on her relationship with her body throughout her stellar career—and what it’s like to call Stellenbosch, South Africa, home.

My motivations have definitely shifted through the different phases of my career. I’ve had all kinds of crap thrown at me—from injury to [Olympic] team selections, and also crap that I’ve thrown at myself, like eating disorders. Through everything that’s happened in my life, triathlon has helped me cope and given me a place to direct my anger or passion or whatever I’m feeling.

It’s really hard to overcome an eating disorder. It’s something that’s carved in my personality now. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a normal relationship with my body image, even if I have a normal relationship with food. I’ve looked back lots on why it started. I was a real high-achieving athlete as a child and felt lots of pressure from a very young age. It just came on when I was dealing with puberty and changes with my body image. It certainly wasn’t triathlon that brought it on—I was dealing with it well before triathlon.

If I have any advice for a girl dealing with body image issues, it’s that you have to be honest with people. From someone who has been through it and performed successfully with and without an eating disorder, I’d say it’s not worth it and you have to do something about it as soon as you can.

I definitely feel a bit of pressure racing in South Africa. It’s a small world here. South Africans see [Ironman South Africa and 70.3 South Africa] as the big races of the year because most of them don’t get a chance to race Hawaii or other big races around the world.

I’d consider myself about 2 percent South African now. I’m a total British snob and I still have my British etiquette. (“I’d consider her at least 80 percent South African—she’s losing her Britishness everyday,” James chimes in.)

Stellenbosch is the most beautiful but harsh environment I’ve ever trained in. It’s difficult to put in a nutshell. It definitely has character.

James and I swim together, and that’s about it. I definitely push him in the pool. We do some easy rides together, but we’ll argue if we do too much more training together than that.

Jodie’s Faves

Food she can only get in South Africa
Steri Stumpie. It’s flavored milk. You can get chocolate, strawberry—they even have bubblegum.

Thing she misses about the U.K.
My family. And just British people as a whole.

Place to train other than Stellenbosch
Leysin, Switzerland. It’s the right altitude and weather for me. It’s brilliant.

Thing to do as a couple that doesn’t involve triathlon
Going on safari. [James] turns into Ranger James.

Movie she’s seen this year
“Town of Runners.” It’s about this little town in Ethiopia where they develop these great long-distance runners.

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Tested: Osprey Duro 15 Hydration Pack http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/gear-tech/tested-osprey-duro-15-hydration-pack_303695 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:57:25 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=303695 Despite my best efforts to destroy it over two months of use, I was unsuccessful.

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Triathlete magazine’s August 2017 issue is all about taking your triathlons off-road with all the advice and gear you’ll need to get you there. Find our hydration pack options for the bike or run in the issue, on newsstands now, and read a complete review of the Osprey Duro 15 below.

Despite my best efforts to destroy it over two months of use, I was unsuccessful—the Duro 15 held up beautifully. This bag had exponentially more features than the other hydration packs I tested, but each was very well thought out. I loved the modular dual-sternum straps—the ability to quickly take them on and off with one hand was unique to Osprey’s design.

The biggest surprise over my miles with the Duro 15 wasn’t so much that it kept gear in place when it was full (I did a couple of 10-mile runs with a Chromebook laptop and a hardcover book…don’t ask), but I was shocked at how stable it felt when it wasn’t filled to the brim. Simply put, Osprey went nuts with suspension straps, allowing stowed stuff to be secured from every conceivable angle. With so much adjustment, it’s likely that Osprey added some extra weight, but I’d take stability and load comfort over a few ounces any day.

Not only did the Duro 15 perform well while running, I used it for more than a few hikes. Despite lacking the support that an actual daypack would provide, it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. While I probably wouldn’t recommend doing any serious hiking with a heavy load in the Duro 15, ir certainly does double duty in a pinch.

While initially a concern, the thinner fabric, mesh and zippers—more lightweight than what’s found on most of their bags—remained whole, and I wasn’t able to find any weakness despite the thrashing I gave the bag. And though I struggled to find a use for the insane amount of pockets on the Duro 15, that’s hardly a major complaint.

This is a very big bag with a very wide range of uses, built by a brand with more experience making packs than anything else we tested. I threw everything I had at this bag, but still never found any real faults. As a bonus, it comes with Osprey’s unmatched “All Might Guarantee” that says it will repair or replace any damage or defect for life—definitely worth the price.

Verdict: Good for life.

$140, Ospreypacks.com (770g for M/L, 2.5L hydration, 15L pack space)

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3 Mental Tips For Getting Better At Dealing with Pain http://www.triathlete.com/2017/07/training/3-mental-training-tips-for-getting-better-at-dealing-with-pain_130897 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:55:26 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=130897 As an endurance athlete, you’re going to encounter pain. You’re also expected to be able to tolerate and manage that pain.

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Pain. Suffering. Misery.

As an endurance athlete, you’re going to encounter pain. You’re also expected to be able to tolerate and manage that pain. Even love it. The experience of pain is a complex combination of physiological and psychological factors. It is both a sensory and an emotional experience and some of us deal with it better than others.

If you haven’t put in the hours (not trained) and you don’t feel prepared for your race (not confident), you are going to suffer. It is going to hurt no matter how mentally tough you are. That being said, your ability to tolerate the pain of exertion is as much mental as it is physical.

If you find yourself dreading the pain of race day or find that at the end of a race you had more to give, it’s time to dive into the psychology of suffering. Here are three of the most important things you can do to go deeper into the pain cave.

1. Trust it Will Pass

There was a fantastic research study done with 10 former Olympic cyclists that explored the cognitive strategies they used in order to deal with the pain of exertion during training and competition1. One of the strategies used to manage the pain was to establish an end to the pain; the point at which the pain they were experiencing would stop.

Oftentimes, it’s the emotional experience of the pain that convinces you to give up. As humans, we have an innate desire to always try to gain some ground beneath us and feel like we are in control. Trying to gain control is your way of managing your feelings of discomfort, fear, and anxiety. On race day, the quickest way to eliminate those uncomfortable emotions and gain control is to stop moving.

In your mind, you need to establish an end that lets you know that you are still in control and this pain won’t last forever. Come up with a mantra that gets you through that moment of suffering and reminds you that the suffering is finite.

Related from Trainingpeaks.com: The Psychology of Suffering

2. Talk to Yourself

Speaking of mantras, your thoughts direct your focus. When you focus on the pain you’re in, it makes you want to stop. When you are at the peak of suffering and it’s taking everything you have to keep moving, sometimes the most effective strategy is to engage in rhythmic cognitive behavior. This pain coping strategy has you repeating something over and over. Doing this occupies your mind constantly with information other than focusing on the pain you are feeling in your body.

An example of this coping strategy is to choose a cue word that you repeat to yourself as a mantra. It’s should be a word that you can repeat consistently with each stride, stroke, or step. Try out different ones and see which works best for you. Repeating words like, “smooth”, “calm”, or “power” can help get you through those moments when your body wants to stop.

Another rhythmic cognitive strategy is to count with your strokes/strides up to a certain number and then start again (i.e. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , 8” and repeat). By doing this, you are giving your brain something else to do. Your brain must process information instead of tuning into and processing the feeling of pain.

3. Accept What the Day Brings

Your expectations about your racewhat the day will look like, how hard you think it will be,  play a part in your lived experience on that day. When you expect to be able to handle the pain that will come on race day, your experience of the pain and your perceived effort will be different than if you don’t expect to be able to handle the pain(2).

Your brain is like a magnet for your expectations. It will pick up on things in your environment that fit the storyline you have already created. It will also cling to and fixate on anything that doesn’t fit into the storyline as well. An example would be thinking, “It wasn’t supposed to be this hot/windy/hard/hilly, etc.” These expectations will influence your perception of pain.

The most important thing you can do is be open for whatever race day brings, know that you can handle it, and don’t fight against what is happening. The sooner you accept that the clouds have already rained, i.e. this is happening no matter how badly you want it not to be, the sooner you will recover and make the best of it.

If you can hold on and get through that moment in time when you are really feeling it, oftentimes you find that the moment passes. You settle back in. You breathe. You talk to yourself. You fuel or hydrate, something shifts and you aren’t in the same intensity of pain anymore.

The pain of race day is part of the reward. The effort it takes to get through your race is part of the victory. If it were always easy, the effort wouldn’t be worth it and you probably would even bother to race. Overcoming the challenge is part of the draw and part of the challenge is dealing with pain.

This article originally appeared at Trainingpeaks.com.

References
1. Handley, I. M, Fowler, S.L., Rasinski, H.M., Helfer, S. G., & Geers, A.L., (2013). Beliefs About Expectations Moderate the Influence of Expectations on Pain Perception. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 52-58.
2. Kress, J.L, & Statler, T. (2007). A naturalistic investigation of former Olympic cyclists’ cognitive strategies for coping with exertion pain during performance. Journal of Sport Behavior, 30(4), 428-452.

Carrie Cheadle is the author of the book On Top of Your Game: Mental Skills to Maximize Your Athletic Performance. She is an expert in Mental Skills Training and a Certified Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and has been interviewed as an expert resource for articles that have appeared in VeloNews, Runner’s World, Outside Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, Shape Magazine, Men’s Fitness, and Women’s Health. Learn more at Carricheadle.com.

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