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Every month our staff does lots of 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 members get a chance to win one of our editors’ picks.
This month, members can win a new pair of Shokz headphones. Enter by Feb. 15 and a winner will be picked at random. Check back next month for new picks.
QR Silicone Swim Caps
I am the Goldilocks of swim caps. They’re always too tight, too sticky, too slippery, too small to contain my thick hair. Swim caps are so basic, and yet it’s so hard to find the perfect one. My swim bag is a graveyard of sucky swim caps. But this one from Quintana Roo is just right. The silicone is nice and pliable to contain all my hair, but not so slippery that I have to make adjustments mid-swim. It doesn’t get gross when I forget to air it out between pool workouts. Most importantly, it doesn’t stick to my hair. I have not had a single strand torn from my scalp while donning this cap.
– Susan Lacke, digital editor
It’s been a very January January here in Boulder and, whenever possible, I’ve been trying to avoid running on the treadmill (too many miles spent running there last winter), so the YakTrax Pro have proven to be a great “get you out the door and keep you upright” device when there’s been plenty of snow and ice on the ground. I never (ever) thought I’d be one to say I’ve been enjoying running in frigid temps and several inches of snow, but, err…I actually have. The YakTrax are super easy to pull on over your run shoes and give you that extra bit of traction and stability you need when it’s slippery under foot.
– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor
Shokz OpenRun Pro
As someone who is a huge fan of the brand formerly known as Aftershokz—but also someone who was constantly apologizing for their headphones’ sound quality—I was super excited to try this upgraded version of their bone-conduction, open-ear headphones. If you’re unfamiliar, Shokz (once Aftershokz ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) makes headphones that don’t go in or on your ear, rather using bone-conduction tech to transmit the sound directly into your skull. It’s a weird thought, but it works pretty well, while still leaving your ears open for things you need to hear (like cars or animals or whatever). This is literally the only type of headphone I’d ever wear while running outside.
The latest version is lighter, sleeker, has substantially better bass response (though it’s still nothing near a good set of in-ear or over-ear headphones), and has a 10-hour battery life. Like many other Bluetooth headsets, it also takes calls with dual noise-canceling mics and you can control volume, track skip, power, and play/pause with easy-to-use buttons. It’s also super durable—good news for anyone who is rough with their gear and can’t be bothered with fancy cases. If you like listening to music but hate losing your situational awareness, this is finally a higher-quality option.
– Chris Foster, executive editor
MEMBERS: Don’t forget you can enter to win a pair of Shokz OpenRun Pro.
Tri Training Camp
OK, this isn’t a piece of gear so much as an experience, but it was my favorite thing in January. I used to go to spring training camps with my coach and teammates every year, but since COVID that hasn’t really been a thing. And then I sort of “quit” training in the middle of last year—as in, I didn’t do anything for a bit, and then I only rode my bike to stores for a bit, and then I sort of started to do activity again in the fall. Most people would think this is not a good recipe for training camp success. I was out of shape (all relative, of course). I have no triathlons on my schedule and no plans. And I had nowhere close to the volume necessary for the kind of intense schedule I knew was on the agenda. But I couldn’t get out of my head the idea of driving down to San Diego to ride bikes with friends. So I did.
I was 100% in over my head. I pulled all of the old survival tricks out of the book—eat early and often, don’t wait the full five seconds for push-offs in the pool, control the pace at the start of big bike rides, and if you’re really desperate be sure to ask the person pushing the effort a question that requires a long answer so they have to talk a bunch and slow down. I was exhausted and super strung out from life and work and not even close to as fast as I used to be. But it was so much damn fun. If you haven’t been to a training camp, there are countless professional ones put on by different coaches and triathlon groups. You can also get a whole bunch of friends together, rent a house somewhere warm, and build your own DIY long training weekend. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be fun.
– Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief