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Everything you ever wanted to know about triathlon in one article!
Believe it or not, after writing 30 “Triathlife” articles, sometimes I struggle to find something to write about. And when I’m stuck, I usually reach out to my dozens of readers on Twitter and Facebook for ideas. Sometimes, you guys give me pure gold—an idea or question that sparks a debate-provoking piece that lights the entire triathlon world on fire, like “how to take your best race photo.” But a lot of times, I get the same short-answer questions that even my tangential-wandering imagination and verbose writing style couldn’t stretch to an 1,100-word column. For example, “Do you lift weights?”
OK, yeah, I might be able to make that a full column, but you wouldn’t want to read it (soooo many cutoff T-shirt references). But it is an important question, and one that a lot of people ask me. So this month, I decided to appease my rabid, inquisitive readers by ditching the long-winded story and simply answering as many of your questions as quickly as possible. This month, quantity is king. So without wasting one more word on the intro, here is everything you ever wanted to know, in just one article!
“What do you eat on race day?” —@chanlea
Oatmeal and a Picky Bar (Smooth Caffeinator) before the race. I eat a Picky Bar (Need for Seed) and Clif Bloks on the bike, and Clif Bloks on the run. I drink Osmo on the bike and Red Bull and water on the run.
“What was the #1 thing that helped you transition from a ‘runner’ to a ‘triathlete’?” —Hezekiah Monmouth
Swimming with a swim team.
“How many hours a week do you train?” —Every person ever
12–30, but typically 15–20: 4–6 swims, 3–5 rides, 2–4 runs, two weight sessions. Most days are doubles, sometimes triples, sometimes quadruples. I never do quintuples—that’s just weird. I prefer a light spin or swim to a full day off. Check out my Strava page to see all of my training.
“How do you recover on the second half of the race if you blew your nutrition intake the first half?” —Casey-Hazel Borden
You don’t. Slow down and take in nutrition/hydration. Carry extra if you can’t rely on aid stations. I always ride with an extra bottle—way more important than extra weight.
“Do you even lift, bro?” —Tough guys
Yes. Two times a week for an hour, 8–10 reps per exercise, a mix of upper-body, lower-body and core exercises. I do it year-round and I always wear a cutoff T-shirt.
“How long before a race do you cut out the booze?” —@dmk1986
I don’t typically drink the week of a race, but in peak racing season, I don’t drink too much anyway. Just a beer or two or three if it’s really good.
“Why cover saddles with plastic at bike check-in? Aren’t they going to get wet anyway since the racer is coming from the swim?” —@bellis311
Yes. Always wondered this as well.
“Appropriate etiquette after you’ve (accidentally) kicked/punched your fellow triathlete during the swim?” —@atlrun
Keep swimming. Sucks, but it happens.
“How do you eat when on the road for a race?” —@m_reese
I eat at Chipotle a lot. Jordan Rapp has a magic card that gets him Chipotle for free, so I usually pick races he’s going to be at and wait in line until he shows up.
“Would you ever rock a sick mustache for a race?” —Corey A Johnson
“Is there a super secret trick/workout to make less clunky quads the first 10 minutes off the bike?” —Colleen Wedin
It’s important to do bricks (run immediately off the bike) 1–2 times a week if you can. Will always suck, but makes it a little better.
“How much do you weigh?” —Dudes on Strava
174–181 pounds. Depends on what I ate for dinner.
“Who is your daddy, and what does he do?” —Matthew Radniecki
Her name is Lauren Fleshman, she’s a professional distance runner, my wife and definitely the boss.
“Do you ever talk trash to people as you blow by them?” —Steve Schnell
No. I’ve heard that being nice to people lowers their testosterone levels, making them less likely to beat you. I also heard if you wear pink, it lowers their testosterone levels, but I haven’t tried that one yet.
“What is the magic pill to kill the pain in the legs?” —James Wilson
“How do you shave your legs? Oh how it burns!” —Jason Dyck
With a razor and shaving cream in the shower. Are you sure you aren’t trying to wax them?
“Your bike fitting and aerobars are unique. What’s your secret there?” —Paul Stahlke
When I got tested in the Specialized Win(d) Tunnel, my “praying mantis” position made me faster (5–8 watts). According to Mark Cote at Specialized, it works for some people and doesn’t work for others. To be honest, I’m not really sure why.
“How do you taper and eat the week before a race?” —Tim Heinzemann
I eat as “normally” as possible, stuff I’d regularly eat during any training week. If I race on Sunday, usually Monday is very easy, Tuesday and Wednesday have some intervals (still strong, but about half as many), Thursday and Friday are travel and/or shakeouts, Saturday is short but includes some building efforts to “turn the engine on.”
“How rough is the swim in the pro field? I’ve heard rumors that guys will throw punches or unzip wetsuits?” —Jason Dyck
“What kind of aviators do you wear when you race?” —Chris Reynolds
Mostly drugstore and gas station varieties. But sometimes they’re from the grocery store or airport. It depends on where I was when I needed a pair.
“Do you have any tips for drinking during the run and not wasting 9/10 of the cup covering me and my race kit?” —Tim Heinzemann
Yes. Slow down. I walk through aid stations if necessary. That 4–5 seconds you lose can save you minutes down the road.
“Pre-race/pre-morning training #2 strategies?” —Michael Wolber
Nervousness usually takes care of it for me. If not, just a touch of caffeine right when you wake up (see previous Smooth Caffeinator reference).
“How to beat you?” —Tom Monica
Not sure, maybe ask Sebastian Kienle, Craig Alexander or Andy Potts. They’re all on the list of guys I’ve raced and never beaten.
“Best way to warm up when you can’t get into the water race morning?” —Elizabeth Betsy Tesi
I always jog 10–20 minutes (depending on how hot it is), and do some strides before I put on my swim stuff. If I remember rubber cords, I do some arm exercises.
“What is the one thing that a triathlete should invest in to become better?” —Sabrina Bri Hamilton Adams
A good coach.
“Where do babies come from?” —Troy Seaborne