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Triathlete’s Top 20 Articles of 2019

Each December, we look back on the stories that resonated most in the past 365 days.

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As we look back on the past year, one thing is for certain – 2019 was one hell of a year for triathlon. In only 365 days, we saw everything from jaw-dropping performances to insane new gear set to change the way we swim, bike, and run. 

Before we turn our attention to 2020 and all the big stories ahead (Olympics! Super League radness! New Ironman and 70.3 courses!), here’s a look back at our most popular stories of 2019.

#20: Ask Chris: What’s The Best Triathlon Watch?

In this breakdown by gear editor Chris Foster, we showcase some the best triathlon watches in a wide range of prices—whether you want ultra simple, like the Timex Ironman, or something that could potentially drive your Tesla remotely (with a future software update, of course).

#19: Want to Race the Fastest Ironman Courses? You’ll Have to Travel.

When it comes to long-course race planning, course selection is everything – which may explain why so many triathletes google “easy Ironman courses” or “fastest Ironman course.” We compiled the fastest (and slowest) average finishing times at Ironman and 70.3 races, and the top races were surprising to many readers. 

#18: Opinion: The Triathletes in the Tokyo Test Event Deserved to Get DQ’d

At the Tokyo test event for the 2020 Olympic Triathlon, Brits Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown dominated the women’s race and crossed the finish line together, holding hands. Though the gesture was lauded as a sign of sportsmanship, the ITU disqualified the athletes for violating a “contrived tie situation” rule. In this op-ed, columnist Kelly O’Mara explains why the ITU was right to enforce the rule.

#17: What Triathletes Need to Know About SIPE

Researchers have spent hundreds of hours trying to understand what is causing deaths in triathlon swims. Now, now beginning to better understand one possible reason why: SIPE, or Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema.

#16: Cervelo Unveils New P3x

In a move that surprised many, Cervelo unveiled not one, but two new bikes in 2019. The P5x and P3x were exciting developments for the ever-popular tri bike brand.

#15: This Endurance-Focused Strength Routine Takes Only 30 Minutes

There are only so many hours in the day, and honestly? We’d rather ride our bikes than hit the gym. Still, it’s no secret that strength work is critical for triathletes. That’s why it came as no surprise that this quick strength session was a hit with our readers – the shorter the workout, the quicker we can get back to swim-bike-run.

#14: Midsole Cleat Placement: Should All Triathletes Be Doing It?

In the same way that tri bikes are set up differently than cycling time-trial bikes, it might be time to rethink other aspects of the traditional cycling setup with an unconventional modification—mounting your cycling shoes’ cleats right in the middle of your feet (or as far back as you can), not under the ball of the foot.

#13: How I Used the Rower to Train for an Ultraman

In this article, Jack Nunn shared how and why he did 80 percent of his Ultraman training on a rowing machine. This got a lot of clicks and a lot of comments on social media, both from purists who were upset about circumventing traditional swim-bike-run plans and curious triathletes who wanted to know where they could buy a rower.

#12: These 4 Static Strength Exercises Will Make You a Better Athlete

There’s nothing easy about staying still – especially in these isometric strength positions. These static exercises target key muscles and prepare you safely for dynamic, explosive moves, and better running.

#11: The Ultimate Half Ironman Brick Workout

Both first-time and veterans at the half-Iron distance found this race-prep brick to be a great way to gauge fitness, build confidence, and do a test run of gear and nutrition.

#10: The Best Bikes for Beginner Triathletes

Any bike is better than no bike, so if you have an old eight-speed, or if a friend can loan a test ride, great! If you are in the market for a new bike, however, use these guidelines to find the right rig and avoid making a very expensive mistake.

#9: Why I Quit Masters Swimming

This essay by Marshall Ellis, in which he describes his Masters swim experience as “lost without a map in Dante’s circles of hell,” was both loved and loathed by readers, who fiercely debated the role of Masters swimming groups in the training plan of triathletes.

#8: Lucy Charles-Barclay is Rewriting the Rules of Ironman Racing

“Gone are the days when the swim was simply the prelude to a bike-run battle,” writes contributor Brad Culp, “now the race truly starts at the cannon, thanks to Lucy Charles-Barclay.”

#7: The Best Triathlon Gear of 2019

Our annual triathlete Buyer’s Guide featured 170 items, but only 21 earned the designation of “Best in Class.” It’s a distinction we don’t make randomly – to compile the Buyer’s Guide, editors and contributors undertake hours of swim-bike-run testing (it’s a tough job, but we’re happy to do it).

#6: 6 Things Triathlon Coaches Secretly Hate

Do you ever wonder if you’re pissing off your coach? These coaches say you probably are – and it’s likely because of one of these offenses. Perhaps this might inspire a new year’s resolution or two?

#5: 5 of the Best Iron-Distance Races for First-Timers

On average, 40 percent of the field at iron-distance race are first-time participants. This round-up listed the best U.S. races for an inaugural 140.6 experience – not only for the course profile, but the overall experience for athletes and spectators.

#4: The Kona DNF Files: 2019 Edition

Whether people read this article out of curiosity, concern, or schadenfreude, there’s no denying that people wanted to know just what happened to the pros who didn’t finish this year’s Ironman World Championship race.

#3: How to Watch Ironman Kona

It was the best year yet for those who wanted to watch the “Super Bowl of triathlon,” or the Ironman World Championship race in Kailua-Kona. Ironman expanded its live coverage even further, with livestreaming of the race in its entirety on Facebook as well as NBCSN. We’re excited to how they’ll up their coverage game in 2020.

#2: 2019 Kona Bike Count

Every year, more than 30 triathlon and bike industry representatives tally the makeup of all bikes to check in on the Kona Pier ahead of the Ironman World Championship. And every year, the published results are one of our most read and shared articles on Triathlete. (The tl;dr for 2019: Cervelo. Again.) 

#1: Ironman Alters World Championship Swim Start

For the first time in the history of the event, the Ironman World Championship changed the format of the swim start, moing from a mass start to a wave start that separated the field into 11 groups. The announcement – outlined in this article – was the most-read piece of 2019.

Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.