Triathlon Tuesday 8th Edition

 

Review your Season - Kevin over at TriSwimcoach provides a great structured outline for evaluating your season and planning for the next.  Although focused on swimming, this equally relevant for triathletes.

Quick Shoulder Exercise – The shoulders are typically neglected when it comes to strength training by triathletes.  This quick 1 minute video offers a great exercise.  There are many other one minute videos focused on training for triathletes.

Quick Set Friday: Pre-Race Tune-Up – Sara McLarety has a wonderful site with hundreds of triathlon workouts.  This one is a pre-race swim workout. 

Xlab Kompact Between the Arms "BTA" Hydration System – I switched over the weekend to this to BTA system.  This is a simple cage that firmly attaches to your aerobars and holds any water bottle.  Secure and much easier than the Speedfil I had with the straw.  I constantly found myself trying to find the straw with my mouth so this works much better.

 

 

Triathlon Tuesday 5th Edition

Here is this week’s edition.

5 Ways For Beginner Triathletes to Get Faster – From the Trainingpeaks.com blog.  As a beginning triathlete I found these practical tips useful.  I will be reviewing these tips as I go through my year in review and plan for next year.

Nautica Malibu Triathlon - All of my races have been in Ohio.  I decided to pick an A race that was completely different.  This will allow me to race with my older boys and completely get out of my comfort zone.  Open water ocean swim sure isn’t the state park!  Are you getting out of your comfort zone?

Kinetic Cyclone Trainer -  Here in the Midwest it is tough to ride outside year-round.  I rely on this wind resistance trainer for early morning and poor weather rides.  I can quickly put my bike on and off and is extremely stable. It does not have a power meter or electronic resistance adjustment.

 

 

Stages Power Meter – I just installed this power meter on my Cervelo and I’m enjoying the data.  I will have a detailed review later on this power meter but for less than $600 this single side meter is working for me.  The power and cadence data has been helpful for me as I train for my last race of 2016.

Triathlon Tuesday 4th Edition

This week’s installment is all wet.  This is the gear I use both in the pool and open water.

Blueseventy Men's Reaction Sleeveless Wetsuit – In the Midwest most races through June are wetsuit legal.  I picked up the wetsuit from our team’s sponsoring store Up and Running.  At tip – look for a local wetsuit day.  This is a great opportunity to try it in the water before you buy it.

TYR Special OPS 2.0 transition goggles - These goggles have polarized lenses that adjust to the sunlight.  They work equally well in the pool and open water.  I have settled on these to have one pair that I can dial in the fit.  I do carry two other pair just in case.

 TYR SPORT EBP Burner Fin – Fins are a critical tool for our swim workouts.  A must-have training tool.  This fin fits extremely well and is just the right length for my swim development.

TYR 2.0 Ultralite Snorkel – A quality swim snorkel that fits well around the head and is just all enough to function in the pool.  Another tool used weekly. Also comes with two air restrictors; although I rarely use them.

Speedo Team Pull Buoy – This tool allows you to focus on your stroke, and body tautness.  We use the swim buoy a lot during warmups.  Typically used with swim paddles.

TYR Catalyst Contour Training Paddles I use these along with the pull buoy to focus on stroke form while stabilizing my lower body and eliminating the kick.

Finis Kick Board – Any kickboard will work.  This is the one I chose.  Workhorse for working on your kick and elevating your heart rate during warm-ups.

Equinox Nylon Mesh Stuff Sack 23 x 36 – This bag is big enough to carry all my gear to the gym or lake.  The mesh is critical to allow my gear to air dry.  Tip – buy bigger than you think you need. 

Triathlon Tuesday 2nd Edition

Here are Four Triathlon books on my shelf that I find invaluable as I start out in my triathlon hobby:

1. The Well Built Triathlete by Matt Dixon

Matt’s book focusing on training.  He builds on his training philosophy of four equal pillars of Training, Recovery, Nutrition and Strength.  He has specific training plans and approaches for each pillar.

2. The Triathlete’s Training Bible 3rd Edition Joe Friel

This book is the bible of triathlon and should be on everyone’s bookshelf.  Joe’s book is a comprehensive reference guide on everything you need to know about triathlon including, gear, training approaches, execution form for the swim bike and run, and nutrition.  If you were going to only buy one book I would recommend this one.  Joe is also the founder of trainingpeaks.com

3. Triathlon Training Fundamentals: A Beginner's Guide To Essential Gear, Nutrition, And Training Schedules by Will Peveler, PhD

This book is for the true beginner.  It starts with all the basic information you need to get started successfully. Will breaks down the swim, run and bike along with all the gear and training philosophies.  

4. Triathlon 2.0 Data-Driven Performance Training by Jim Vance

Jim worked closely with Joe Friel during his competitive triathlon career and is now a coach.  Joe’s book focuses on gathering and interpreting all the data we capture during our training.  He distills all this data down to actionable information that allows you to personalize your training.T

Training Article  Strength Training Article The One Hour Workout for Speed and Power - I find that dedicated, focused time for strength training is hard when you are spending so much time training the run, cycle and swim.  Dedicated strength training is critical and here is a one-hour session I found that really pushes me.

The Garmin 920XT is the training watch I use.  This watch handles anything a triathlete can throw at it both in and out of the water.  Here is a post on some unique features of the 920XT you may not be aware of. The accessories I have:

  1. Heart Rate Monitor (included)
  2. Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor – gathers heart rate in the water and then transfers when out of the water.  It does not provide real time heart rate monitoring. 
  3. Quarter Turn Bike Mount Used to mount the computer without the strap onto a bike mount.  I sue this on top of my between the arms water bottle mount.  You don't need this for the bicycle mount kit below. 
  4. Quick Release Mounting Kit
  5. Bike Speed Sensor and Cadence Sensor  - This is needed if you want to use your bike on a trainer and want to track speed, distance and cadence.
  6. Garmin Forerunner Bicycle Mount Kit  Allows you to mount your watch, with strap, to your bike. 

Foam Roller Recovery Tools – I use two different foam rollers for recovery.  One is the smooth 36-inch roller and the other is the intense 12 inch rumble roller that really gives a deep message.  Foam rolling really help loosen my legs and back.  I foam roll regularly.  Here is a post I wrote on foam rolling.

What I Learned Leading Up to My First Triathlon

I just finished my first sprint triathlon and here is what I learned and did leading up to the starting gun.

 
 

Pre-race

Checklists

Eliminate the stress of forgetting something for your race by using checklists.  I have two main checklists:

  1. Packing List - everything I needed for the race day including pre-race fuel and clothes to wear home from the race.  I included 5 categories - General, Swim, Bike, Run and Recovery.  
  2. Race Focus List - key items I want to remember and focus on for the race.  These included the length of my warm-up, that I wanted to go hard on the bike right before the run.  This list will change race to race.  I also jotted a couple of notes right after the race for things to remember for my next race. 

Gear Bag

You need a gear bag.  It doesn’t have to be a new, Ironman branded bag, anything that you can comfortably fit your gear into and preferably with various pockets.  I like everything in its place.  I used an old cycling bag I have had for 20 years.  It worked great and was able to handle by helmet; two sets of shoes and everything except my wetsuit. 

I literally had my checklist and gear bag together and checked off each item as I packed it in the bag.  When the checklist was completed I knew the bag was complete and it went right into the car. 

I packed my bag race day minus 2 (day-2).  That way I had time to pick up any missing items.  I recommend that you don’t wait until the day before.  In most cases that is too late.

Day-1

With my bag packed and wetsuit in the car (assuming the race is wetsuit eligible) I am off to the race.  

I headed to the race venue and picked up my packet as early as possible.  Going the day before was key for me.  You won’t be time crunched to have to get through getting your packet, getting marked, setting up your transition area and allowing enough time for a good through warm-up.

Pre-Race Briefing

Getting there Day-1 allowed me to attend the pre-race briefing; which was extremely valuable for this being my first race.  The host shared a couple of tips that I used.  I highlight those below.

Drive the bike and run courses

I was able to drive the bike and run courses.  I noted the hills during the ride and identified areas where there was gravel around turns and other potholes to avoid.  Really gave me confidence I knew what was coming on the run and bike.

I studied the transition area and knew exactly how the flow for each transition worked.  Once again this eliminated more uncertainty. 

Walk down and view the swim course 

Understand what buoys are to your right, left where you turn etcetera. Easier to get that down on land rather than in the middle of race.  Walk the transition from the swim up to the transition area.  Any uneven ground, things to avoid?  You have a change to see that. 

After your Day-1 course review you have reduced some of the uncertainty and stress of the unknown.  Now you are ready for Race Morning.

Race Morning

First thing I did was to get marked and get your timing chip.  For this HFP race they don’t pass out the timing chips until race morning, along with body marking. Remember to place the chip on your LEFT Ankle, as this will ensure it doesn’t get tangled with your bike sprocket. 

For my first race the transition area was first come first serve.  I selected a spot that was right by a large flag.  This was key for me being able to see when your transition area is.  Remember it is easy to spot your bike coming off the swim, but when you are coming back for T2 after your bike you won’t have your bike as an indicator.  Find a large easily viewable landmark to place your transition area. 

Here are a couple of items I used during my first race

Garbage bag – it rained right up until 15 before the race started so I was able to get my gear set up for the transition and have it laid out inside the large garbage bag.  My stuff was organized and dry.  When nit stopped raining I was able to quickly get it out the bag and kept it dry. 

Chalk – If you can’t get next to a landmark for your transition bring some sidewalk chalk or duct tape to put a big mark on the ground signifying your transition area.   Your transition area is set, now its time to get the wetsuit on and head to the swim.  You can also use duct tape.

Warm Up

Key - Warm up more than you think

I didn’t warm up enough and suffered a little on the swim.  I learned that I needed to swim enough to feel tired which was the adrenaline burning off.  You this by getting fully submerged and do 30 seconds of slow swimming with 15 second bursts.  Getting your heart rate up is key and gives you a great warm-up.  The colder the water the longer the warm-up.  Cold water on your body and face during a race is a recipe for disaster and open water panic.  

You are ready, oh one more thing - 

Remember to Have Fun!

When to Modify Your Goals Rather Than Take a Knee

Modifying Your Goals


As many of you know I have been training for the Raleigh 70.3 Ironman Triathlon.  This was a stretch goal but something I was focused on.  

During my training I experienced a knee injury and an achilles tendon injury.  Along with many missed days of training due to sickness.  Now as I write this I am fifteen weeks away from the race and it is time to reconsider.

I am reassessing my goal and objectively comparing my current fitness state, with the necessary fitness level I need for success, and the time available.  Fifteen weeks is not enough time.  

My "all in" approach is great for achievement and focus but is a detriment to my health.  I know if I continue to push towards Raleigh I will go too fast too soon and there is a high risk of injury which would probably be more severe. So do I just take a knee and give up?  Nope.

When you are faced with goals that are unachievable given the current circumstances you don't need to quit.  Here is what I did:

What was your underlying reason?

 
My reason for doing the triathlon was to get in great shape.  Training for the Raleigh race is not the only way to do that.  I also wanted to do something completely different has I hadn't completed any triathlon.

Can you modify your measure of success?


Last time I checked the Raleigh race was not the only triathlon out there.  What if I picked another race?  I know I have sunk money into the entrance fee but that was not all lost.  The money was an investment in, and drove my fitness level to this point so definitely worth it.   

What are the facts?


I was unhappy, depressed and unmotivated after my latest injury and it was hard to set that aside and look at the facts.  Talking with my doctors, and my coach I was able to conclude that I shouldn't just quit.  I focused on the facts and not the emotional state I was in. 

Should you quit?


I did review my current state and seriously evaluate quitting.  I was depressed and unmotivated and considered taking a knee or quitting.   I also focused on what I consider goal success which is have I improved my trajectory.  Based on my true underlying reason for the goal was I really moving forward.  My goal wasn't to be world champion but rather to get in great shape and achieve something totally different.  I could still do it.

Re-adjust your goal?


What did I do?  I got back up of the ground and registered for another race.  This race is right after the Raleigh race in Mid-June and is a shorter race.  I signed up for the Maumee Bay SprintTriathlon  http://www.hfpracing.com/events/fit/maumeebay/eventinfo.htm  .  

When faced with the decision to quit or give up on a goal, take are hard look at your true reasons, gather the facts and see what your real alternatives are before you just quit.