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Every month our staff tries out lots triathlon and triathlon-adjacent things. Yes, we test new gear, but we also have old favorites and secret tricks and things we’re loving right now. That’s why each month we share our favorite tri-related things and our members get a chance to win one of our editors’ picks.
This month, members can win a collection of TriHard swim products. Enter by May 15 and a winner will be picked at random. Check back next month for new picks.
Track Club T-Shirt
Though some pro athletes are raking in the cash, the reality is that most endurance athletes at the pro level—whether triathlon, running, or cycling—are barely scraping by. Sponsors are hard to get, even for established athletes, and a lot of sponsorship deals are for gear only, which doesn’t exactly pay the rent. (“Here, landlord! Take these five pairs of gently-worn supershoes!”) So when unsponsored middle-distance track star Nikki Hiltz announced they were taking matters into their own hands by selling “Track Club” t-shirts, I bought one. In addition to being a high-quality comfy t-shirt, it’s been a great conversation starter at the gym and at race expos.
– Susan Lacke, digital editor
TriHard Swim Products
I’ve smelled of chlorine most of my life. After 30+ years of swim training, I’m fairly sure this not-so-pleasant odor is now deeply embedded in my skin. As a kid, I’d go to swim practice before school and then later in the day in PE when I started sweating, my classmates would all say, “Ewwww, someone smells like a swimming pool.” Yup, that was me. I give you this preamble purely so you can understand that trying to rid chlorine from my skin has been a lifelong pursuit. TriHard body wash and pre- and post-swim body lotion are the very closest things I’ve found to doing that. It contains two minerals (magnesium chloride and Maris Sal—or Dead Sea salt) that help to reduce the absorption of chlorine by the skin and hair, and it has a gentle scent that helps to eliminate that nasty residual chlorine scent and relieve any skin itchiness or dryness. Both the body wash and lotion have become regular features in my swim kit bag this past month—and likely will be there for good.
– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor
Under Armour Hovr Machina 3
I don’t know what it is about this shoe. I loved the first version, the second version, and now I love the third one even more. Under Armour makes decent shoes for sure, but there’s something about this model’s combination of propulsion plate, foam, and (super unusual) nearly mid-top ankle cushion/support that works incredibly well for my foot and gait. I use these shoes for long runs, tempo runs, on road and off, and I’ve yet to find a condition where they don’t excel. I’m anxiously awaiting the newest model of the offroad version—a shoe I previously wore until they literally fell apart—but until then, I’m really really loving these ones.
– Chris Foster, executive editor
Strokemakers Swim Paddles
Even when I wasn’t really training much over the last year, one of the things I found myself enjoying was my twice-weekly Masters swims. (Shoutout to North Bay Aquatics!) At first, I was going just so I could go to the bakery after. Then I started to get faster, and then it was fun to go. And now that I’m mostly-for-real training again, the hard swim sessions have been key to getting back to it. And my favorite paddles have been a fundamental part of this. I know, I know, swim tools can become a crutch. But there’s a value in using paddles to get a feel for the water, build pull strength, practice what it’s like to go really fast, and, sometimes, it’s just fun to put them on and crank out a set with the fast-for-you Masters lane that you can’t always keep up with. It makes you realize maybe you can keep up.
I love these paddles because you can go slightly bigger and use them also as a strength swim—useful when it comes to open water; and the many holes mean you can change up the strap pattern you use. I go size 1.0 (trust me, if you’re not a regular swimmer, you do NOT want to go bigger to start, or you’ll risk shoulder injury). And I only use one strap around the index finger—never a wrist strap. The extra benefit of swimming with only a band/strap around one or two middle fingers is: If your hand isn’t in the right position in the water, you’ll know really quickly when the paddle comes off!
– Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief