Gear

What We’re Loving This Week: Sport Smoothies, Balance Boards, Bubble Bath, and Garmin Watches

Our favorite triathlon-related things—old, new, and random—right now.

Triathlete is part of Pocket Outdoor Media, which also publishes VeloNews, Women’s Running, and Podium Runner. And so you can imagine our office—when we’re in the office and not all working remotely—is full of gear and people who know a thing or two about running, biking, and swimming (and who spend a lot of time doing all three).

This week we asked one of regular freelance writers and our friends over at PodiumRunner to also share what they’re using in their regular lives right now. Here’s what our staff is loving this week.

Sport Smoothies

I have always loved this recipe book, and I’m super grateful to have it in my kitchen right now. The 65 smoothie recipes provide an easy way to make sure I’m getting in some quality nutrients during what is a crazy time. I’ve always loved smoothies, but I used to take more of a “throw some random stuff in a blender” approach. Sometimes the result was delicious, and sometimes it was hard to choke down. Following a guided plan has resulted in smoothies I actually like every time. Every ingredient in every recipe is pictured (check an example out here—the photos are beautiful). I usually just go with what sounds good, but if you’re paying attention to nutrient timing the book is broken down by pre-workout, muscle-building, post-workout & recovery, and carb-loading options.

– Liz Hichens, senior digital editor

Dr. Teal’s Bubble Bath

I totally took for granted how much swimming loosened up my muscles and calmed my joints. Now that I’m primarily biking, running, and lifting, my body is craving some kind of low-impact way to relax. I have a small tub and it’s not glamorous, but taking a hot bath 1-2x/week with some Dr. Teal’s epsom salt bubble bath is heavenly. The warm water makes me relaxed and sleepy, the lavender epsom salt smells divine and soothes my skin, muscles, and joints, and bubbles are fun whether you’re an adult or kiddo. I suppose on some tri-related level, you can also count taking a bath as a good way to retain “water feel” for when we get back to swimming, although I would guess swim cords are more effective in that department.

– Kristin Goett, freelance writer

Garmin Fenix 5s

A few years ago, I decided to spend big on a watch in the hopes that wrist-based heart rate technology had improved enough to be worthwhile. While it’s 100% not perfect (and I’ve argued about this with everyone from my coach to my husband), the heart rate data is good enough to be worth something. What I’ve found useful, though I have a mixed relationship with it, is the day-over-day big picture trends you can see, especially if you actually track your training in their app, which has also improved over the years and now does all kinds of stuff, like training stress, predictive VO2 max, HRV, sleep (for whatever that’s worth, which is not a ton). My only issue is I tend to be up and down—sometimes leaving it on a dresser for weeks, because I don’t want to be all triathlete about wearing my Garmin everywhere, and sometimes wearing it constantly day and night, because I am a triathlete.

Lately, what’s made me feel better in the middle of this crisis is the confidence my watch has in me. It’s an ongoing joke with my training partners that my watch believes in me more than I do. Its race predictor thinks I can run fast—and sometimes, when I believe enough too, it’s been right. Since we can’t race right now, the optimism with which it predicted I could just drop a six-minute half-marathon PR last week made me feel like maybe I could some day. And it’s silly, but it was something to feel good about in the midst of everything.

– Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief

Mobo Balance Board

I tend to use minimal equipment for my strength routines, preferring simple body-weight exercises that I can do anywhere, anytime. But with self-quarantining keeping me away from technical trails this month, I’ve been doing a lot of my daily strength, mobility, and stability work on the Moboboard. Designed by physical therapist and biomechanical analyst Jay Dicharry, one of the smartest people I know, it builds stability in the pronation/supination axis that my foot and ankle naturally move in, plus has a strategic hole that isolates my big toe, forcing it to create foot stability through activating the arch.

I first used the Moboboard last fall to come back from breaking my fifth metatarsal on a trail stumble. I was impressed by how—just standing and rocking on it for a few minutes each day—it quickly restored the strength and stability in my ankle after weeks in a boot. These days, I’m starting with foot rocks then proceeding to single-leg deadlifts with “tippy bird” hip twists (watch here) and adding a few single-leg squats. Every day I’m amazed at how it activates and strengthens stability and balance muscles from my feet to my hips. I’m finding myself surprised at the spring in my step and my smooth, athletic balance—after the exercises, later on the run, and even walking up stairs at night. I’m also noting a reduction in the joint pain that I had started getting after increased volume and intensity of sanity-maintaining miles on the flats last month—and have to credit the Moboboard for helping keep my stride light and efficient.

– Jonathan Beverly, editor-in-chief PodiumRunner