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SPECIAL BEGINNER’S ISSUE

FTRRAINEINEG

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PRO TIPS Seasoned triathletes reveal their most useful advice

G INSPIRED

A start-up guide to racing for charity TOM LOWE

2010’s breakthrough Ironman athlete

READY TO STEP UP TO IRONMAN? ADVICE FROM A TOP COACH PAGE 56

MAY 2011 TRIATHLETE.COM


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Contents MAY2011

features

101

Cause and Affect Inside the booming business of charity racing, and how it’s changing the sport—and the world—for the better. Plus: tips for joining in. By Sarah Wassner Flynn

110

Your First Sprint Triathlon Plan If you’ve been considering trying on the multisport lifestyle for size, there’s no better time than the present. This program will provide you with the tools to get you across the finish line of your first sprint triathlon. By Lance Watson

124

Beginner’s Luck Even today’s top pros had to start somewhere. Here they share some of their best advice to the benefit of newbies everywhere. Learn from their vast experience and knowledge to avoid novice goof-ups and hop on the fast track to triathlon success.

148

Sleep Well, Train Better

By Roy Stevenson

10

triathlete.com | May 2011

Tri Saved Me

Four triathletes battle chronic illness—and win. By Marcia Manna

damien noble andrews

Despite their extraordinary dedication, most triathletes grossly neglect an aspect of training and recovery that would seem to be common sense: sleep. Sleep speeds up recovery after workouts, reduces the risk of serious health issues and prevents a general impairment of our immune system. Are you getting enough?

p. 152


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Contents MAY2011

68

77 18 | From the Editor In the Beginning

22 | Letters Paying forward our Beginner’s Issue; caught on video; in defense of hardbodies.

29 | Checking In

12

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

67 | Swim Balanced breathing; pre-pool warmups; joining a Masters group; whether to swim medley strokes; and gear tips for beginners.

77 | Bike Tips for training indoors; preventing patella pain; how to fix a flat; get your bike in gear for the season; and beginner gear tips.

ON THE COVER Pro triathlete Tom Lowe. Photographed by Thomas Lovelock in Bristol, England

89 | Run Your favorite running-related flicks; orthotics; speedwork: not for everyone; hill repeats you’re not sick of; and more beginner gear tips.

165 | Fuel Omega-3 and other good fats; can fat loading improve performance?; the latest recovery fuel; and special-needs bag do’s and don’ts.

184 | Never a Bad Day Everyone in the pool

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ERIC WYNN, NILS NILSEN

Need to Know Are you a Type-A triathlete?; Club Hub; tri tattoos; the woman behind the running skirt; sciatic pain; and readersubmitted stories of their first triathlon. Time-crunched Triathlete Adding strength exercises to your routine Racing Weight The skinny on snacking Tour Guide Relax and recharge on Turtle Island, Fiji PROfile Tom Lowe Dear Coach Am I ready for an Ironman? Ask a Pro Overcoming negative thoughts during a long race I’m a Triathlete IBM Chief Scientist Jeff Jonas’ unique approach to life matches his approach to triathlon Confessions of an Age-grouper The extended tribe of athletic enthusiasts

90


asics.com

sound mind sound body

running releases more than just sweat


* More Advice for Beginners

My focus is to become the best allaround triathlete that I can—that would include the Olympics, 70.3 and probably Ironman too. I’m 29 so I have limited time to enjoy winning in this sport.” — Reigning Ironman 70.3 World Champion Jodie Swallow

* TriCenter

Triathlon News Exclusive Pro Interviews If you’re new to the sport and have questions regarding training, gear and nutrition, we’ve got you covered. Head to our forums where magazine staffers and fellow triathletes can give advice and get you the answers you need.

If your phone has a Web browser and a camera:

Get the free mobile app at

Twitter

• Download the free app at http://gettag.mobi using your phone browser. • Scan or photograph a barcode you see in this issue. • The video will load instantly. • No phone? Use the links provided next to the barcode to view our videos on a computer.

Follow Us!

How-to clips, photos and expanded content can be accessed when you see this barcode in a story.

Facebook

Watch Videos on Your Phone

Race Wrap-ups

ASK AARON Senior Tech Editor Aaron Hersh has worked with the top professionals in the sport, and now he’s putting his knowledge to work for you with his new, exclusive to Triathlete.com “Ask Aaron” column.

http:/ / gettag.mobi * Hot Links PHOTOS

14

NEWS

Several professionals are working hard to keep up on the new Kona Pro Ranking system. We’ll keep you up to date on the standings.

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

RACE COVERAGE

The weather is finally warming up, which means racing season is back! This month’s highlight is the 29th running of the Avia Wildflower Triathlon.

GEAR & TECH

Get up close and personal with the bikes of the top professionals with our “Pro Bike” series.

NUTRITION

Making the leap to a longer distance this season? Visit our nutrition section for guidance on dialing in a plan before your big race day.

XTERRA PHOTOS

The Triathlete team of photographers takes you inside the sport with race galleries and behind-the-scenes images.


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FIRST WAVE

16

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011


Desert Riding

By Aaron Hersh

Paul Matthews of Australia, a member of the Trek/K-Swiss Triathlon Team and winner of multiple Ironman 70.3 races, leads a pack of pro men during the 200K bike leg at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on March 12. Matthews eventually dropped out of the race, as did several pros favored to win, such as Ironman world champion Chris McCormack and last year’s Abu Dhabi winner Eneko Llanos. Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde and Great Britain’s Julie Dibens were able to battle through the United Arab Emirates’ desert heat and wind in the 3K swim, 200K bike and 20K run race to take the victories.

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

17


From the Editor

In the Beginning Triathlon can be intimidating. The gear, the learning curve of three separate disciplines, the requisite trial and error—all combined, it can present one daunting challenge. But then isn’t that what makes it so worthwhile? Even the top pros were newbies at one point, dipping their toes into the multisport waters and gleaning new knowl-

Triathlete Reader Freebie!

edge from every training session and race experience. One of my favorite “getting started” anecdotes comes courtesy of triple Ironman world champ Chrissie Wellington. Five years ago this May, Wellington had just returned to her native U.K. from Nepal, where she had been doing humanitarian work. She decided to enter a triathlon, the National Sprint Championships in Birmingham, and borrowed a wetsuit since she didn’t own one at the time. On race morning, as she dipped into the icy water for the swim start, her illfitting wetsuit began to take on water. “The gun went off,” recalls Wellington, “and my wetsuit flooded. I couldn’t get my arms out of the water, let alone swim, and had to be rescued by a kayaker!” Not the most auspicious start to an age-group— let alone decorated pro—triathlon career, but a good reminder that we all had to start somewhere. Early challenges can even present golden opportunities for growth as a triathlete, says Wellington. “Your supposed ‘bad races’ are the ones where you learn the most and are actually the best races for enabling an athlete to grow and develop. Like injuries, positive things can come out of misfortune. It just depends on your perspective.”

Wellington is among a chorus of pro voices that lend themselves to this issue for the benefit of us age-groupers. A collection of the most sage tri advice you’ll ever come across appears in “Beginner’s Luck” on page 124. It’s all part of our special Beginner’s Issue, which also delivers a sprint training plan from renowned coach Lance Watson, comprehensive gear advice, and a start-up guide to training and racing for charity. (If you thought racing a personal best was rewarding, tri-related philanthropy adds a whole new dimension to going the distance.) And speaking of Miss Wellington, we’re excited to feature her partner in tri and life, Tom Lowe, on this month’s cover. Talk about a triathlon power couple: In his first Ironman at last year’s IM Arizona, Lowe, also a U.K. native, took third in a highly competitive field and posted the fastest marathon split of the day. Which is not to say we all need to measure up to such lofty rookie debuts. Right, Chrissie? Enjoy the issue,

Julia Beeson Polloreno

Editor-in-Chief

“Getting Started” Training Download Valued at $29.95…yours for free!

Triathlete has partnered with multisport video pioneer Endurance Films to bring readers the first installment of the five-part USA Triathlon DVD series, “Getting Started,” featuring tips from legendary triathlete and coach Mark Allen. The “Getting Started” download, which normally retails for $29.95, kicks off the first-ever training series produced officially by USA Triathlon and Team USA. The series covers every facet of the sport and features some of the most renowned talent in the world. “Having just celebrated our 10-year anniversary, there couldn’t be a better way to thank the triathlon community than to give away this amazing video,” says Endurance Films owner Eric Feller. “Our library of training resources has grown right along with the sport itself and we will continue to make the highest level training tools accessible to multisport athletes everywhere.”

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TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

JUSTIN LEE

Go to Triathlete.com/freedownload and enter in the code “TRIMAG” to receive your free download today.


T: 2.22”

If removing body hair was a competition,

We asked Triathlete staffers…

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Julia Beeson Polloreno Managing Editor Adam Elder “Expect it to hurt—that’s Senior Tech Editor Aaron Hersh what makes it satisfying.” Senior Editor Jené Shaw Associate Editor Bethany Leach Mavis Contributing Editors Courtney Baird, Chris Carmichael, Jennifer Purdie, Pip Taylor Contributing Writers Bob Babbitt, Holly Bennett, Matt Dixon, Matt Fitzgerald, Sarah Wassner Flynn, Adam Kelinson, Samantha McGlone, Sara McLarty, Melanie McQuaid, Lance Watson Medical Advisory Board Jordan Metzl, MD, Jeff Sankoff, MD

What’s your best advice for a first-time triathlete?

“11-year-old girls can be fast. Don’t feel bad if one passes you.”

razors would finish 2nd .

art Art Director Lisa Williams Photo Editor Nils Nilsen Graphic Designer Oliver Baker Contributing Artists & Photographers Hunter King, Jon Davis, Paul Phillips, John Segesta, Eric Wynn CirCulation & ProduCtion Director, Audience Development John Francis Audience Development Manager Cassie Lee-Trettel Production Manager Meghan McElravy triathlEtE.Com Online Content Director Kurt Hoy Web Producer Liz Hichens Senior Video Producer Steve Godwin Video Producer Kevin LaClaire

*

T: 9.55”

digital mEdia Vice President, Digital Media Dan Vaughan Director, Digital Advertising Sales Jason Rossiter advErtising EVP, Media/Publishing Director Andrew R. Hersam Associate Publisher Lars Finanger Advertising Director, Triathlete.com David Walker Senior Vice President, Midwestern Region Sales Doug Kaplan Vice President, Western Region Sales David O’Connell Vice President, Eastern Region Sales Rebecca McKinnon Account Executives, Endemic Sales “Don’t stress over the Nathan Forbes, Mark Gouge, Justin Sands swim. The racing happens on the run.” Regional Event Sales Tom Borda, Katie Campbell, Chris Hohn, Chip McLaughlin, Ashley Powell, Dave Ragsdale, Matt Steinberg, Kelly Trimble, Chris Wheeler Account Executive, Marketplace Sales Alex Jarman triathlEtE EuroPE Publisher Jim Peskett jim.peskett@competitormedia.com Editor Ian Osborne ian.osborne@competitormedia.co.uk Digital Content Editor Paul Moore paul.moore@competitormedia.co.uk a PubliCation of

* NEW Nair® Shower Power® lasts days longer than shaving.

“Practice the bike-to-run transition at home at least one time before your first race.”

Chairman David Moross Chief Executive Officer Peter Englehart President & Chief Operating Officer Scott P. Dickey Executive Vice President, Media Andrew R. Hersam Senior Vice President, National Sales John Smith Chief Financial Officer Steve Gintowt Senior Vice President, Marketing Bouker Pool Vice President, Sales Development Sean Clottu triathlEtE magazinE offiCEs 9477 Waples Street, Suite 150, San Diego, CA 92121 Phone: 858-450-6510 Fax: 858-768-6806

Go to NairForMen.com for $3 off and enter The Nair Challenge. 20

triathlete.com | May 2011

Attention RetAileRs: To carry Triathlete in your store, call Retail Vision: 800-381-1288. sUBsCRiPtions: Your satisfaction is important to us. For questions regarding your subscription call 800-441-1666 or 760-291-1562. Or, write to: Triathlete, P.O. Box 469055, Escondido, CA 92046. Or, e-mail: triathlete@pcspublink.com. Back Issues available for $8 each. Send a check to Triathlete Magazine Back Issues, 9477 Waples Street, Suite 150, San Diego, CA 92121 and specify issues requested, or visit Triathlete.com. For a copy of Triathlete’s contributor guidelines, visit Triathlete.com. Triathlete cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material. Printed in the USA.


Letters

TRAINING BASICS FOR STAYING

Anti-Chafe Continuous Spray Skin Lubricant Now You’re Speaking My Language

swim bike run 3 Sports...1 Lube. www.trislide.com 22

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

SPECIAL ISSUE: TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER

I just wanted to let you know that I recently picked up the Feb. 2011 copy of your magazine and loved it! I used to subscribe a few years ago but found that the magazine just got too over the top. However, this issue I really enjoyed. I found every article interesting and very well-done. It feels like you have changed the tone of the magazine to be more inclusive of the age-grouper triathlete with a good balance of information for the higherend athlete and for the mid-packer. And let’s face it: We are the intended audience. Congratulations on a job well done! Karen Pride Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada

Pass It on After 10 years competing in triathlons, my favorite annual edition of Triathlete is not the “Hawaii Ironman Review” (with all due respect to Chris [McCormack] and Mirinda [Carfrae]). It’s the “Beginner’s Guide.” This year, I am hoping for at least two copies of this edition. Triathlon is a fantastic sport. There aren’t many sports in which you can compete on the same course as the pros. But that’s not what makes the sport so fantastic—it’s the athletes inspiring and encouraging each other. As a strong swimmer and an average biker, I spend the run watching others pass me. Needless to say, I hear a lot of encouragement from other competitors to keep the legs moving. It amazes me how many casual conversations reveal that someone is interested in triathlon. In keeping with the spirit of athletes inspiring and encouraging others, it is my goal to pass the “Beginner’s Guide” edition to someone considering triathlons and introduce him or her to this rewarding lifestyle. Pay it forward. Michael Irwin, Coral Springs, Fla.

HEALTHY AND GETTING FASTER (EVEN THROUGH FLU SEASON)

 THE BUSY ATHLETE’S GUIDE TO HALF-IRONMAN TRAINING page 94

ACHIEVE YOUR IDEAL RACING WEIGHT WITH THIS FORMULA page 36

20

QUESTIONS WITH 70.3 WORLD CHAMP MICHAEL RAELERT

CROSSFIT: A SHORTCUT TO YOUR NEXT PR?

A Simpler Solution I agree that videotaping your swim stroke is one of the most valuable coaching tools one can have to improve swim technique. Only until you see yourself will you realize that your stroke isn’t what you think it is. My only comment to support and make it even simpler is to have another swimmer record you and not mess with all the contraptions mentioned in your article. A waterproof point-and-shoot is well worth the investment of less than $200. Bill Hayek, Lancaster, Penn.

Heeded Fueling Advice I wanted to thank you for such a wellwritten article, “Fuel the Burn” (by Matt Dixon, March 2011). I was a personal trainer for 10 years (now a Realtor) and understand these concepts. My wife and I have three little kids ages 5, 3 and 1, and she has struggled with weight loss. She hardly eats anything after her workouts because she is afraid of eating too many calories. After reading your article she now understands that it’s not extra calories but needed critical calories in order to “fuel” her workouts, and help let the body let go of the fat she has stored. It’s always better received from somebody else. So, again thank you. Ross Kennedy, Sisters, Ore.

Word of Caution Before I became interested in endurance sports, I was a national-level competitive powerlifter. Given that history, I have to take issue with a statement made on page 28 of the March 2011


Letters edition of your magazine. On that page, Aaron Hersh reviews two shoe technologies designed to develop stabilizer muscles in and around the ankle. While I don’t question the merits of each of these technologies, I do question suggesting that the Skechers “instability shoes” be used while performing squats. Specifically, Hersh states that Bob Forster, physical therapist, “believes” using the instability shoe to perform squats will enhance functional strength, thereby aiding the triathlete to avoid injury. What’s not stated is that the execution of a safe squat is dependent on stable foot positioning. Without it, the center of gravity of the barbell can shift, rendering a higher load on the lower back of the triathlete—potentially causing injury. Furthermore, the shifting of the center of gravity can cause the triathlete to lose balance due to the shift in the load-bearing area of the foot (from the heel to the toes), which can cause catastrophic loss of control of the barbell. While I look forward each month to the valuable information contained in your publication and will continue to do so, I will challenge the conventional wisdom when appropriate—especially when the safety of the triathlete is concerned. Troy List, Yorkville, Ill.

Body of Evidence One of my favorite things about being able to read Triathlete magazine on my iPad is the ability to very quickly pull up older articles, training plans, etc. This feature came in particularly handy today when I read the bitter letter from Brenda Travis in Savannah, Ga. In her letter, Brenda attacks the women pictured in the February article on Crossfit Endurance as being “surgerized California Heidi Montags.”

Concerned that I might have missed something, a couple of taps and swipes had me back to the February edition and somewhat confused by what I saw. Not only are the women hardly indicative of a California stereotype, but they are actually all fairly normal looking, albeit extremely fit, women you would fully expect to see in a Crossfit gym just about anywhere in the country. Crossfit is not for the weak of heart (or mind). This is not for the standard “been going at the same pace for the past two years and can’t understand why the pounds aren’t coming off” crowd. This is serious stuff, and the men and women who commit themselves should expect to look every bit like the toned, ripped people in the article—providing the commitment also extends to nutrition and an overall lifestyle choice that maybe does not play as well in Savannah as it does in San Diego. P.S. I would like to advise Brenda to skip the swimsuit edition due out shortly. I’m not sure she can handle it. Clint Buytenhuys, Granite Bay, Calif.

Erratum: In the Triathlete 2011 Buyer’s Guide special issue, the descriptions for the Ryders Seeker sunglasses on page 138 and the Native Sprint sunglasses on page 140 were reversed.

We want to hear from you! Send your letters to TriLetters@competitorgroup.com. Please include your name and city. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. 24

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011


LanCe Watson

Contributors saLLy Berry Berry is a certified and registered sports dietitian and nutrition and wellness consultant to all levels of triathletes. She started her business, Bodyfuel Inc., as a way to focus on her passions: sports and wellness. Berry received her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology studies through the University of Kansas and is an adjunct nutrition professor at Johnson County Community College. She wrote this month’s “Eat Right” on page 174 about healthy fats.

thoMas LoveLoCk

26

MarCia Manna Manna is an awardwinning journalist who writes for a variety of regional and national publications, including USA Today, The San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine. Read her feature on how triathlon saved the lives of four age-groupers on page 152.

triathlete.com | May 2011

sCott FLiegeLMan As owner and head coach of FastForward Sports in Boulder, Colo., Fliegelman and his staff have helped thousands of runners and triathletes over the past 10 years. While his primary pursuit has been triathlon, with age-group victories across many distances, racing his road, mountain and cyclo-cross bikes has given him a unique perspective into the bike needs of triathletes. He’ll be sharing these insights with you each month in his new “Saddle Sage” column, on page 84 in this issue.

Fliegelman: rachel olsen photography

London-based photographer Lovelock photographed Tom Lowe for this month’s cover. In the 10 years since he graduated from Nottingham Trent University, Lovelock has assisted some of the top photographers across the world, shooting a diverse selection of events, sports and high-end fashion. Clients include Sports Illustrated, Red Bull, Nokia and The Championships at Wimbledon.

In 24 years, Watson has had the good fortune to coach many of the sport’s greatest Ironman champions, lead an Olympic team as head coach, and co-found Triathlon Canada’s National Training Centre. In 2004 he created LifeSport Coaching, through which he shares his extensive experience with athletes of all levels, from beginner to professional. Read his training plan on page 110 to get you to the starting line of your first sprint triathlon.


Photo: Eric Wynn

Chris McCormack rides the 808 Firecrest wheelset, Zipp Tangente Tubulars, and SRAM RED components

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING. We launched the new 808 Firecrest at Kona, and Chris McCormack took full advantage. Out on the Queen K, his 808s with Zipp Tangente tubulars were the fastest, most efficient, best handling wheels on the road. And in the marathon’s final mile, he had enough left in the tank to win one of the most dramatic duels in triathlon history. | Not only is Firecrest more aerodynamic than any other rim design, its distinctive wide profile also improves handling in crosswinds, wheel strength, and overall ride quality. It only took one shot for Macca to prove that it’s simply a better wheel in every way. | But that victory wasn’t the only one for Zipp this year. Mirinda Carfrae won on 650c ZEDTECH 4s and Karin Thuerig set a bike course record with a 303/1080 setup. Zipp once again dominated the Kona Bike Count with nearly 60% of all aero wheels. Clearly, superior technology makes a difference for every athlete.

Firecrest 808 available in Tubular, Carbon Clincher, ZEDTECH ®. Zipp Tangente Tires available in Tubular & Clincher 21mm & 23mm.

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TIME-CRUNCHED TRIATHLETE / RACING WEIGHT / DEAR COACH / ASK A PRO / I’M A TRIATHLETE

A HELPING HAND

Luxembourg's Dirk Bockel leans on race workers after crossing the finish line in third place at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on March 12. The brutal desert conditions led to several pros dropping out before the finish. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL PHILLIPS

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

29


CHECKING IN

NEED TO KNOW

St:

WHAT YOUR TRANSITION AREA SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE Pro triathlete Annie Warner snapped this photo at a race, offering this piece of advice to newbies: “At a race a couple of years ago, an age-group athlete's transition exploded last-minute into my area on the pro rack. I didn't even recognize my spot after the swim because it was so buried with his multiple outfits, shoes, gear, etc. The balloon kept wrapping around my head when I tried to get my bike in and out. The only thing in the picture that is mine is the bike. "So, my tip for beginners: Keep your transition simple. The fewer things you have in your area, the less time you will have to think about what you need to do when you get there. I keep a list of things that I need and set up when I get to transition before the race. That way I can run through it quickly and make sure I have everything. I set it up the same way each time so I know what to do when I get there.”

by the

NUMBERS

5

Percent of triathletes who say they can eat anything because they train for triathlons

38.4 average age of triathletes

the year of the world’s first triathlon

1974 30

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

TRI*SPEAK triathlon widow n. Popularized by a recent Wall Street Journal article, refers to the spouse of a dedicated multisport athlete who often finds him or herself neglected in favor of pre-dawn swims, trips to the gym and long weekend rides.

People jump into triathlon for the challenge, others for the competition and many for the healthy lifestyle, but we all come to the start line as unique individuals. We triathletes certainly can’t be reduced to a series of numbers, but these stats, courtesy of USA Triathlon, will give you an idea of the company you’re in the next time you toe the line.

39

THIRTY

PERCENT OF TRIATHLETES WHO ARE FEMALE

TWO

PERCENT OF TRIATHLETES WHO DO YOGA

percent of triathletes that have traveled more than 500 miles to race a triathlon

FORTY-SEVEN

95 percent of people who participate in tri for the personal challenge

Percent of total money dedicated to triathlon spent on race fees

17

PERCENT WHO TRAIN YEAR-ROUND

380

78 seventeen percent that have raced a sprint

78

NUMBER OF USATCERTIFIED TRIATHLONS IN THE U.S.

percent of triathletes who have raced an Ironman in the past year

15

number of racers in the first Ironman, held in 1978


TriaThlon ink

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Recently, we asked our Facebook fans to show us their triinspired tattoos. Your responses didn’t disappoint. triathletes’ ink often features inspiring slogans and personal designs, along with many creative variations on the iconic Ironman M-dot. Here are some of our favorites:

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Readers share their biggest firstrace faux pas and victories.

triathlete.com | May 2011

After it took me about 20 minutes to get into my wetsuit, a fellow Team Fight member tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but do you always wear your wetsuit backward?" I was wondering why it was so uncomfortable and practically choking me. Dawn Szarek, Baltimore


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Quiz:

Are you A type-A triAthlete? 1. How do you track your training progress? A) By how I’m feelin’ B) By hitting the “split” button on my watch or using sites such as Mapmytri.com C) Using my Garmin, Quark and Trainingpeaks.com 2. What’s slowtwitch? A) My default homepage B) The type of muscles I’m best at using C) That thing my eye does when I’m sleepy 3. “Before my next race, I will probably …” A) ask friends who have done the race for some tips. B) check race results from previous years to see where I would fall in my age group, then I’ll go to Athlinks. com to see how my closest competitors have done in other races and compare my own splits, then I’ll make sure I know the exact feet of elevation gain for the bike and run … C) scope out the post-race restaurant options in the area.

4. How many pieces of compression wear do you own? A) >3 B) 1–2 C) You mean those leg warmer things?

8. Your bike is red and black. Your race outfit is … A) red and black. Obviously. B) some gym shorts and a T-shirt. C) whatever’s comfortable and clean that morning.

5. Your last injury was … A) a blister from racing in shoes I bought the night before the race. B) ITBS, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis or a stress fracture. C) a pulled hamstring, dislocated joint or bruised metatarsal.

9. Your race nutrition plan is … A) calculated to the perfect gram. I have it written down—want me to show it to you? B) still in its trial-and-error phase. C) to check out the course buffet. Cookies!

6. On Saturday, you wake up … A) pretty early. B) 5:xx a.m. C) when I’ve fully recovered from Friday’s outings. 7. You missed a workout. What do you do? A) Workout next week instead B) Remind myself it’s OK to put friends first sometimes C) Recalculate how to go longer, harder or faster the next time

10. Your race PRs … A) will hopefully be broken this season! B) can all be found, with splits and age-group rankings, in the “PR.xls” document in the TRAINING DATA folder on my desktop. C) I think my first halfIronman was 6 something … no, it could’ve been 7 something … let me go ask my boyfriend/girlfriend.

Add up your totAl here: 1. A-3 B-2 C-1 2. A-1 B-2 C-3 3. A-2 B-1 C-3 4. A-1 B-2 C-3 5. A-3 B-1 C-2 6. A-2 B-1 C-3 7. A-3 B-2 C-1 8. A-1 B-3 C-2 9. A-1 B-2 C-3 10. A-2 B-1 C-3 If you scored … 10-16: Yes, you are definitely Type A. But that’s all right; you’re probably OK with that. 17-23: You are an easygoing Type B. You’re content not to be a perfectionist, but you still take the sport relatively seriously. Go get ’em, tiger. 24-30: If there were a Type C, you’d win that prize. You’re not in it to win it, but who cares? This triathlon thing is supposed to be fun.

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TriaThleTe.coM | May 2011

istockphoto.com/ bluestocking

My first triathlon took place in the rolling hills of Bloomington, Ind. I had purchased my road bike about three weeks prior to the race (clipless pedals and all). I had only ever ridden a mountain bike (which is much easier to shift than a road bike). Before the race I had only done training rides in the suburban neighborhoods in my town, where there was never any need to shift gears. Needless to say on race day I was clueless only knew how to gear up. My bike was in the highest gear and I realized I couldn't shift it anymore (because I didn't know how to My and shift down). I had to climb all the hills in high gear. I was certain my bike was broken and was livid that my brand-new Giant was a piece of junk. I went on and on to the other athletes about how my gears were "malfunctioning," but I finished the race. I immediately took it to the local Giant dealer the minute it opened on Monday morning. When I explained the problem to the owner, he grinned, snickered, Tri and invited me to the shop. He was very kind and showed me everything I needed to know about shifting gears on a road bike—and I got a lesson in tire changing as well. I've come a long way since then and have done five more races. This year I will be doing my first Olympic and half-iron at Rev3. I'm thinking about getting a tri bike. However, I won't be leaving the bike store without a proper lesson on basic tri bike handling skills. Audra "one gear" McNear, Columbus, Ind.


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[Medically Speaking]

Sciatic Pain: How to Identify and Treat It PeTer, a 40-year-old triathlete, hobbled

into the office last week. “Dr. Metzl,” he said, “this sciatic pain is driving me crazy! I can’t sleep, it hurts when I sit, I can’t move very well, and I can’t work out.” Sciatica, or sciatic pain, refers to an irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is large and ropelike and is made up of several nerve roots that exit from the lumbar segments of the spinal cord. Technically, the sciatic nerve, or sciatic pain, refers to an irritation of this nerve once the nerve roots have joined together. When a patient like Peter comes into the office, the first thing a doc will do is take a patient history. Patients will often describe a shooting pain down the back of the leg, which sometimes worsens with sitting, and sometimes worsens with bending forward. The description of the pain helps explain the nature of the sciatic pain. In general, sciatic pain comes from two locations: the spine (discogenic pain) or the hip (piriformis syndrome). With discogenic pain, the nerve roots—small branches of the spinal cord that exit at each level—are often pinched at a specific level in the spine by a bulging or herniating disc, a plate of cartilage that sits between the bones in the spine.

Clues to discogenic pain are if the pain radiates down into the toes, if the pain radiates down both legs (meaning the nerve is being compressed within the spinal canal, pushing on both nerve roots) and if the pain worsens when the patient bends forward. Discogenic sciatic pain is the more serious of the two types to treat, and often requires some combination of medication, physical therapy and sometimes an injection of cortisone. In severe cases, surgery can be required. Triathletes will often notice discogenic-type sciatic pain when getting into aero position on their bike; the bending forward of the spine often worsens the shooting pain symptoms. Hip-related sciatic pain can look similar but is quite different than discogenic pain. With the second type, sciatic pain comes from a tight piriformis muscle (one of the deep butt muscles) that pinches the nerve as it passes through the muscle. This is known as a compression of the sciatic nerve, or piriformis syndrome, and is different than spine-related sciatic pain. It causes pain when sitting on the affected side since the pressure of sitting irritates the already irritable nerve. Piriformis-type sciatic pain causes symptoms only on one side and rarely travels below the upper leg. It generally

does not travel into the toes, and often feels better when the piriformis muscle is stretched. Piriformis pain is usually much easier to treat than discogenic pain; it often resolves with medication and physical therapy that focuses on hip muscle stretching. Yoga is often helpful with piriformis syndrome, since many of the positions—particularly pigeon pose—help open the posterior hip muscles. The hip variety of sciatic pain is quite common in triathletes who don’t stretch their hip muscles enough, especially when logging many bike miles without adequate stretching. So let’s get back to Peter. His pain was a one-sided, shooting type of pain that didn’t hurt when he bent forward. When he was lying on his stomach, he cited an exact point of pain just in the middle of his butt, the exact location where the sciatic nerve courses through the piriformis muscle. Peter’s diagnosis was piriformis syndrome, sciatic pain emanating from compression of the sciatic nerve at the level of the piriformis muscle. With a week of anti-inflammatory medicine and some physical therapy to stretch the hip, he was as good as new in a few weeks. // Jordan d. MeTzl, Md

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TriaThleTe.coM | May 2011

istockphoto.com/ neoblues

My first triathlon was the Capitol View Triathlon in Madison, Wis., with about 800 participants. I signed up with my sister-in-law, an accomplished triathlete and duathlete. The race itself was great, except that I took Heed when I thought I was taking water [from the station], and had to puke on the run—but I kept going. As I crossed the finish line I heard the crowd go crazy and the announcer My aid get louder, saying “here comes our 131st finisher, Kara Thomas,” and since it was my first tri I just thought they were that excited for all finishers. However, as I make my way down the chute I see all these signs with “Congrats 131st finisher” all cheering for me and me. They put a sash over my shoulder and led me to a “throne” with little prizes and goodies. I was even interviewed like I was Tri onswarming TV. I was very confused and taken aback—but laughing the whole time. It turns out the sponsors of the event, Summit Credit Union, randomly chose to celebrate the 131st finisher. It made my first triathlon more fun than I ever thought possible! Except I think all those who saw me puking on the run were like, “How come the puker got a sash?” Kara Thomas, Mount Horeb, Wis.


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Making the Skirt Hardcore

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TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

//COURTNEY BAIRD

n s ABOUT NICOLE DEBOOM

She’s married to two-time Ironman world champ Tim DeBoom, who’s on the board of her company, Skirt Sports. “He’s got a lot of opinions on what looks good on me,” she says. She is the 2005 USAT long course national champion. “I won the race in a skirt, of course. It solidified the mentality that skirts aren’t frivolous. They can be hardcore.” She won prize money in every race she competed in. “Until the last one—that’s the day I hung it up.” She qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials in the 100-meter breaststroke, and went on to swim at Yale University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

JAMIE KRIPKE

Look at any apparel company’s current sportswear line and you’ll probably notice a running skirt in the mix. Along with the dress, it’s become one of the fastest-growing segments of the sportswear business. But did you know that the running skirt was invented by a former pro triathlete? Nicole DeBoom began toying with the idea of a running skirt in 2004, before she was set to race Ironman Wisconsin. By the time the event rolled around, she had a prototype ready for the bike-run transition. During the race, she swam in a wetsuit, pulled some bike shorts over her bathing suit for the bike, and then threw on the skirt when she started the run. “I didn’t want to wear bike shorts because they weren’t comfortable for running,” says DeBoom. “But I wanted to cover my butt on the run.” Coming off the bike, she was in third place and the run course consisted of two loops. As she ran, she could hear the crowd—a boisterous group in town for a football game—talking about her attire. “Is she wearing a skirt?” she could hear them ask. By lap two, she had moved into first. And she then be-

gan to hear the people cheer, “Go Skirt!” “It literally took one loop for people to start celebrating the skirt,” says DeBoom, who won the race. “I knew I was going to start my company. I had tested it in the ultimate test.” Her company, Skirt Sports, began to fill what she felt was a void in the sportswear market. “The only options before we started the company were running shorts or spandex,” she says. DeBoom felt that many women didn’t feel comfortable in either. Women show “everything” in spandex shorts, she says. And she felt women needed a specific body type to wear running shorts without having them ride up and feel uncomfortable. For her, the running skirt was the perfect solution. Starting the company wasn’t without its growing pains, though, as she had no experience in business or fashion. For example, when DeBoom launched the company in 2005, she quickly ran out of merchandise. She didn’t realize at the time that it would take months to reorder more. “At least twice along the way I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it,” she says. But DeBoom stayed committed to growing her company, and by 2009 Skirt Sports had launched its first full line, including winter clothing. By 2010, it had grown its revenue by 50 percent, year-over-year. And it was profitable for the first time ever. Today, Skirt Sports offers tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets, vests and accessories for sports such as triathlon, running, cycling, golf and tennis. The “RaceBelt skirt” is one Skirt Sports offering that’s specifically tailored to triathletes. You snap it into place like you would a race belt when you start the run, allowing you to wear your bathing suit for the swim and bike but cover up before you leave T2. It comes with a silicone waistband, helping to prevent the item from riding up. Skirt Sports isn’t all about clothing, though. DeBoom recently launched a charitable mentoring program she calls Kick It Forward. The program matches women with barriers to fitness—such as a recent illness, the loss of a loved one or excess weight—with a mentor who helps her train for and run a goal race. Skirt Sports provides training plans, goal tracking tools, online forums for support, discounted apparel and other forms of help. “My goal is to develop a national platform to help women help other women find power in running and fitness,” DeBoom says. If the success of Skirt Sports is any indication, she’s well on her way.


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TRIATHLETE SPOTLIGHT:

Jocelyn Wong Jocelyn Wong’s path to becoming a prosthetist-orthotist was going exactly as planned—until she got sidetracked by becoming a professional athlete with coach Brett Sutton’s Team TBB (TBB standing for The Bike Boutique). But it was triathlon that started her on the path to working with prosthetics in the first place. At a local sprint triathlon about 10 years ago in San Dimas, Calif., she first met Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who became the first double above-knee amputee to finish an Ironman in 2009. “I’d see the challenged athletes at triathlons, but I didn’t know much about prostheses or what goes into it,” she says. She graduated with her clinical master’s degree in 2006 from Georgia Institute of Technology and was about to start her second year of residency in prosthetics-orthotics when she saw on a Slowtwitch.com forum that Team TBB was recruiting Asian athletes and wanted to work with underprivileged amputees in Asia. That was in early 2007, “before Chrissie [Wellington] started winning everything.” (Wellington was on Team TBB and coached by Sutton through her first two Ironman World Championship victories.) Wong appreciated the emphasis the team placed on social work, reflected in its motto “Making lives better—two wheels at a time,” and sent an e-mail to see if she could join. “[Team TBB] decided to coach me online for a year while I finished,” Wong says. “I was officially a Certified ProsthetistOrthotist right about the same time I qualified for my USAT pro license in 2009.” Becoming a part of Singapore-based Team TBB perfectly combined Wong’s two passions—triathlon and prosthetics—because she was able to volunteer on some humanitarian missions in Thailand and the Philippines in between races. At one such

MY

mobile clinic with the Prostheses Foundation in Thailand last year, Wong took some time away from training camp to help, along with about 70 technicians, to measure, fabricate and fit prosthetics for approximately 200 patients in one week. She even brought her bike to Thailand to squeeze in workouts between the long days of seeing patients. The life of a pro triathlete wasn’t exactly what “The Wongstar” (as Sutton nicknamed her) had planned, though she’s definitely enjoying its perks. “I didn’t realize I was applying to become a pro triathlete [when I joined Team TBB],” she says. But with training camps in the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea and Switzerland, Team TBB requires a lot of international travel. “I was filling up my passport in my first year of traveling,” Wong says. And in true Sutton fashion, Wong completed eight Ironmans in her 2010 season. “My prosthetics career is temporarily on hold in the traditional sense, but I try to stay involved in the field by volunteering at disabled sports events and any missions that may be going on while I am overseas training and racing.” She’s currently stationed in Wilmington, Del., the location of the recently opened first Team TBB store in the U.S., and is helping with marketing the store in between training for seven or eight Ironmans in 2011. “I take for granted being able to walk on two legs,” she says. “It’s really rewarding to give patients back the ability to walk or run.” Find out more at Thewongstar.com. //BETHANY LEACH MAVIS

TRIATHLETE MAGAZINE ASKED RACERS AT THE REVOLUTION3 TRIATHLON IN COSTA RICA: What is your favorite pre-race ritual? “20 minutes of stretching” Gioconda Calvo, San Jose, Costa Rica “Listening to AC/ DC and doing some dynamic stretching” Darcy Eaton, San Diego “I get a triple smooch from my husband—three kisses right in a row.” Kate Bruck, Barnegat, N.J. “Wake up as late as possible and try to get there before the gun goes off” Ray Stainback, Carlsbad, Calif. “I make sure there is air in my tires” Philip Harrison, San Diego

My first triathlon was an Olympic-distance event in Hawaii about 13 years ago and I made one of the classic mistakes of triathlon newbies: I went out way too fast. I got about a third of the way down the swim course, looked up and found myself on the feet of people I had no business being on the feet of. Then I made the mistake worse—I tried to stay there. Eight-hundred meters later they hit the beach and sprinted up the sand toward T1. I came out right behind them, staggered across the sand and spent the next five minutes puking into a hedge. By the time I’d composed myself and made it to my bike, half the racers were already pulling their bikes off the racks. It took 20K on the bike before I started to feel normal again and I finished at the back of the pack. Lessons learned: The race isn’t won in the swim. Swim my race, not theirs. Ben M. Schorr, Flagstaff, Ariz.

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Wong assisting with a mobile prosthetics clinic in March 2010 in Thailand.

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011


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NO BOYS



As the trend in women’s triathlon participation continues to grow, we’ve seen a similar upward trend in women’s-only triathlon series. According to Awilda Harrington, USA Triathlon Women’s Committee chairwoman, female multisport athletes now make up 44 percent of all USA Triathlon annual members under the age of 30. “This trend is becoming increasingly evident at events," says Harrington. "Nearly every single race I am involved with has nearly as many women as men. This all bodes well for the future of women in the sport, as more female athletes are becoming involved at a younger age.” Here are the 2011 schedules of three of the major women’s-only triathlon series: the Trek Women Triathlon Series, the Danskin Series and the Iron Girl Series. Visit Trekwomenstriathlonseries.com, Irongirl.com or Danskintriathlon.net for more information. //BETHANY LEACH MAVIS

2011 TREK WOMEN TRIATHLON SERIES July 10 Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Aug. 7 Howell, Mich. Aug. 28 Columbus, Ohio Sept. 4 Orlando, Fla. Sept. 18 Seattle Oct. 2 Austin, Texas 2011 DANSKIN SERIES May 8 Orlando, Fla. June 5 Austin, Texas July 24 Webster, Mass. Aug. 14 Seattle Aug. 21 Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Sept. 11 Sandy Hook, N.J. Oct. 9 Palm Springs, Calif. 2011 IRON GIRL SERIES April 30 Lake Las Vegas, Nev. May 15 Atlanta May 22 New Orleans June 26 Portland, Ore. July 31 Racine, Wis. Aug. 7 Syracuse, N.Y. Aug. 21 Columbia, Md. Aug. 27 Boulder, Colo. Sept. 18 Lake Tahoe South Shore, Calif.

CLUB HUB

Club name: Tri-Fury Located: Merrimack Valley, Mass.

Founded: 2004 Members: 300+

Now that the unpredictable Northeast winter is over, the New Englandbased Tri-Fury triathlon club can finally resume training outside—good thing, since 23 of the club’s members are prepping for Ironman Arizona in November. But although so many members are going the full distance this year, the club’s goal is to be inclusive for even its most novice triathletes. “We have athletes who have never done a tri up to elite athletes,” says member Robin Cain. “No one delineates themselves. We’re all triathletes and we all support each other. We’re all in it together.” When the season’s in full swing, the club offers track workouts, bricks, swims, group rides and long runs in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire areas. Open-water swims take place in Stiles Pond, a pristine reservoir that’s about ¾-mile across and doesn’t allow motorboats. Group members alternate “hosting” long runs by opening their homes to members to gather before and after for drinks, a barbecue and time by the pool. When biking in the Merrimack Valley area, Tri-Fury members have a couple of terrain options from which to choose: They bike into the mountains—some do a popular “five passes” ride, covering mountain passes—or along the coast. The most-attended race of the year is the Ironman 70.3 Timberman in New Hampshire, a club staple, but other club events include races with titles you’d only find in the area: the Patriot Half, Lobsterman, Pumpkinman and the Cranberry TriFest. For big races, Tri-Fury members make team T-shirts with everyone’s name and bib numbers on the back for family members to wear. A couple of years ago, the club did a simulated half-iron race, designing a local course complete with chalk-line turnarounds and aid stations every 3 miles. Family members came out to volunteer for six hours or more. “Our families and significant others participate in some aspect of our racing and are incredibly supportive,” says member Tony Dirienzo. “We have the intensity that you bring to a race every day, but when it’s over and done with, it’s just camaraderie and passion for the sport.” //JENÉ SHAW

This is a story about my first Ironman triathlon. Throughout the training regimen I had read about how to fuel, hydrate, periodize my training, and treat the volunteers with respect and thanks. As my training sessions got longer and I was successful with hydrating I found the need to relieve myself. Fortunately there are trees aplenty where I live, but I figured that wouldn't work during the race, so I investigated what MY others do to minimize lost time. That's when I learned it was OK to go on the go. At the race I was through the swim and racing on my bike. There was a man in front of me standing while coasting downhill. I thought, that's goofy, he's losing free speed. So I moved into the passing lane and powered on only to feel a mist strike me in the face and arms. I veered left as he did and I found myself crossing the TRI center-line just as I went by him. Right after the pass I heard someone telling me that was grounds for D.Q. I explained what happened, and the judge laughed and told me to be careful. Lesson: If you learned to do it, so did everyone else. Michael Horntvedt, Bellevue, Wash.

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TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011


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TIMe-cRunched TRIaThLeTe

Bridging the Strength Gap time-crunched athletes are always engaged in a battle to balance their priorities. Between seasons or the build periods leading up to races, many athletes find time to devote their energy to strength training in one form or another. But when races are around the corner, you have a decision to make: Do you focus all your energy on sport-specific training—and drop strength training—or continue trying to shoehorn strength work into your busy schedule? For athletes whose biggest barrier is their lack of available training time, I recommend minimizing strength training during the build periods leading up to races. This has nothing to do with whether strength training does or doesn’t make you a faster endurance athlete; it’s about the best use of limited time. When time is the limiting factor, it’s best to focus your energy on the swim-bike-run components. So, if the build period before races isn’t the best time for a comprehensive strength program, are there any strength exercises that are beneficial during this time? Yes. The movements below will build and maintain the core strength necessary to maintain great technique during your swim, provide a stable platform for your legs to push against on the bike and resist form-sapping fatigue on the run. All you need for the following workout is a stability ball. Run through the exercises in the order they’re listed and repeat the set three times. If that’s more time than you have available, doing it once is better than not doing it at all.

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Start from a pushup position, with your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders and your shins on a stability ball. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Keeping your torso firm (don’t arch your back), lift your hips straight up toward the ceiling as you roll the stability ball closer to your chest. at the top of the movement your arms and back should form a nearly vertical line. In a controlled movement, lower your hips back down to the starting position.

scorpion 15 reps Benefits: This movement engages many of the same muscles activated while running. It engages the hip extensors and lower back, not only in the sagittal (front to back) plane, but also the transverse (rotational) plane. Lying face down with your arms straight out to your sides (you should look like a “T”), contract your glutes and lower back to lift your right foot up, then swing your right foot over to the left side of your body, bending your right knee and bringing your foot down until your right heel touches the floor. Try to extend as far as you can, without pain in your back, so your heel touches the ground as close to your left hand as possible. Rotate back to the starting position and repeat with your left foot (that’s one rep). Be careful not to perform this movement too fast; you’re not trying to use momentum to “throw” your foot toward your opposite hand.

nils nilsen; john segesta

by chris carmichael

pike-up 10-15 reps Benefits: Like many exercises this movement targets the rectus abdominis, but it also demands a lot of control. In the starting position you have to stabilize your body in a plank position, and as you proceed through the movement you have to prevent the ball from rolling sideways.


Work harder, easier. Dave Scott, six-time world champion and coach, knows that the better you feel, the better you race. The reason has to do with “perceived exertion”, or how hard it seems to run, bike or swim at the pace you want to go. According to Dave, “It’s no coincidence that perceived exertion is highest before you hit the wall, because high levels of perceived exertion actually produce fatigue. High levels of perceived exertion are caused by a drop in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that triggers the release of fatigue signals in the brain.” Previous studies1, 2 have shown Accelerade superior to other sports drinks in terms of endurance, hydration and reducing muscle damage. However, new studies3 from James Madison University explain why athletes drinking Accelerade feel better even though they are exercising harder. The scientists found: – Accelerade lowered levels of perceived exertion. – At the same level of exercise intensity, athletes consuming Accelerade did not experience as much strain. – Unlike other sports drinks, protein-powered Accelerade helps maintain BCAA levels.

"The bottom line..." says Dave,"Accelerade makes your hard work easier."

Sugar 50%  Calories 33%  Endurance 7% 

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© PacificHealth Laboratories 2011. All rights reserved. Accelerade® is a registered trademark of Motts, LLP. 1. Saunders, MJ, Kane, MD and Todd, MK. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 36:1233-1238, 2004. 2. Seifert, J., Harmon, J., and DeClercq, P. Protein added to a sports drink improves fluid retention. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16:421-429, 2006. 3. Saunders MJ, Todd MK, Valentine RJ, et al. Inter-study examination of physiological variables associated with improved endurance performance with carbohydrate/protein administration. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(5):S113-S114, 2006.


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TiMe-cRuncHed TRiATHLeTe

THE

ENDURANCE AMINO ACID By Robert Portman, PhD

Of the 21 amino acids, leucine has a special place in endurance exercise. Although amino acids are the building blocks of protein, leucine, in its free state, has a major impact on endurance as well as muscle recovery. Leucine belongs to a class called branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which compose about one-third of muscle protein. At one time, researchers believed that carbohydrate and fat were the only sources of muscle energy. In the mid 80’s it was discovered that when exercise exceeds 40 minutes BCCAs become an important fuel source supplying up to 20% of muscle energy needs. Even among the three BCCAs, leucine has a special role in this regard being far more readily converted to energy than the other two. Awareness of the muscle cells’ use of BCAA ultimately led to research showing the benefits of adding BCAA-rich protein to a carbohydrate sports drink. Its contribution to extending endurance would alone make leucine the friend of endurance athletes. But new research has shown that leucine also has a special role in promoting muscle recovery. Leucine may be the most important activator of post-exercise protein synthesis, which is critical for repair and rebuilding of muscle protein. Protein synthesis is turned on via two different pathways, one controlled by leucine, the second by insulin. Leucine not only stimulates protein synthesis on its own, but also stimulates insulin release, thereby having a dual effect on the rebuilding of muscle protein. The bottom line–leucine should be an essential part of an endurance athlete’s diet. The best protein sources of leucine are whey and casein. The best food sources are soy beans, beef, nuts, fish and chicken.

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Sit on a stability ball and lean back as you walk your feet out away from the ball until your shoulders, neck and head are making firm contact with the ball. Your knees should be bent at nearly 90 degrees with your feet planted on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Raise your hips so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. extend your arms straight up above your chest, hands together. Rotate your torso to the right while keeping your body straight and nearly parallel to the ground. You will have to engage your glutes and push down with your leg to keep your hips from dropping, but focus the majority of the work of rotating on your abdominal muscles. Stop when your right arm is nearly parallel to the floor. Rotate back to center and repeat on left side.

Glute BridGe 10–15 reps Benefits: Like other plank-style exercises, this one works muscles throughout the torso; but because you start on your back, you’re targeting erector spinae muscles as well as activating your glutes. Single-leg versions of this movement are often used by physical therapists to improve glute muscle activation. Lie on your back with your ankles and heels atop a stability ball. You can place your arms out to the sides, or for a more significant balance challenge, fold them across your chest. Raise your hips straight up until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Hold this position for three seconds, then lower your hips to the floor while keeping your knees straight (hinge only at the waist, keeping your legs and torso firm). This can also be an effective isometric exercise: Move into the bridge position and hold for 30–60 seconds. An advanced variation would be to complete the movement with one leg raised over the ball.

Jim Rutberg co-wrote this article and is a Carmichael Training Systems pro coach and co-author of The TimeCrunched Triathlete. Chris Carmichael is the author of The Time-Crunched Triathlete and founder and CEO of CTS, the official coaching and camps partner of Ironman. For information on coaching options and official Ironman camps, visit Trainright.com. nils nilsen

Dr. Portman, a well-known sports science researcher, is co-author of Nutrient Timing and Hardwired for Fitness.

russian twist 10–15 reps each side Benefits: This exercise combines a stability exercise (maintaining a straight line from shoulders to knees) and a twist, and there’s even some glute activation—which is almost always a good thing.


What’s Leanda’s secret? 3 weeks, 3 podium finishes When Leanda Cave stepped onto the podium after Ironman Arizona it must have felt like déjà vu. She had already stood on two other race podiums in the previous three weeks– winning Ironman 70.3 Miami and taking second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Even more remarkable, Leanda completed the Ironman World Championships just one month prior to her three-week medal run. This was not only an amazing feat of talent–it was an amazing feat of recovery. Leanda’s recovery secret was Endurox R4. In a series of studies conducted at James Madison University†, researchers measured the impact of recovery beverages on muscle disruption and subsequent muscle performance and found that Endurox R4, compared to a carb-only drink : – Reduced short-term muscle fiber damage by 42% – Reduced longer-term muscle damage by 47% Not surprisingly, these reductions in muscle damage were shown to translate into : – 40% increase in endurance performance 16 hours later – 14% increase in muscle function 24 hours later

Leanda’s secret is out. Achieve your own feats of recovery with Endurox R4.

PacificHealth Laboratories pacifichealthlabs.com ©PacificHealth Laboratories 2011. All rights reserved. Endurox® R4® is a registered trademark of Motts, LLP. †Valentine RJ, Saunders MJ, Todd MK, et al. Influence of Carbohydrate-Protein Beverage on Cycling Endurance and Indices of Muscle Disruption. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 18: 363-378, 2008.

The uncompromising pursuit of science


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racing weight

The Art of Snacking

by matt fitzgerald 48

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5 Great SnackS for endurance athleteS

whole fruit: a healthy source of carbs

Vegetable sticks with low-fat dipping sauce: not getting enough veggies in meals? get more in snacks!

Low-fat fruit yogurt: a perfect balance of carbs, fat and protein

Beef or turkey or jerky: a lean protein source

nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.): a satisfying source for healthy fats and protein

istockphoto.com/ dcdr/ElEnathEwisE/rjzingEr/cathy_BritcliffE/BoBlin; nils nilsEn

If you’re like most people who pay attention to expert nutrition advice, you probably think that you should eat snacks. The concept of snacking has acquired healthful connotations lately. It is purported to raise the body’s metabolic rate, curb weight gain, maintain steady blood glucose levels, prevent midmorning and midafternoon energy crashes, and, in athletes, enhance workout performance. It may surprise you to learn that there is very little science to support these widely assumed benefits of snacking. Research suggests that snacking has no effect on metabolic rate and is as likely to promote weight gain as prevent it. And the importance of snacking in relation to maintaining steady blood-glucose levels and energy is much smaller than the importance of what you eat in meals and your exercise habits. In short, there is no evidence for the idea that everyone should eat snacks. The truth about snacking is that some people need daily snacks while others don’t, and that the quality of any snacks you do eat is more important than whether or not you actually snack. Many nutrition experts recommend a “grazing” approach to diet, in which one eats small meals and snacks frequently instead of large meals infrequently. This approach is believed to keep the body’s metabolism elevated, so that one burns more calories at rest throughout the day and is therefore less likely to gain weight. But a study at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse compared the habitual daily eating frequency and basal metabolic rates

of 22 women and found absolutely no connection between the two variables. In other words, your resting metabolic rate is likely to remain the same whether you eat twice a day or six times. Meanwhile, studies looking at the relationship between snacking habits and body weight have yielded surprisingly varied results. A 2005 study by Swedish researchers found that obese men and women snacked more regularly than a reference population. But a 2010 study of American adolescents found that the heavier snackers tended to be leaner than those who ate fewer snacks. Such contradictions disappear, however, when snacking on healthy foods (fruit, yogurt, etc.) is distinguished from snacking on unhealthy foods (snack chips, candy, etc.). Healthy snackers tend to be leaner than unhealthy snackers. But it’s not the snacking that matters—it’s the healthy food choices. People who eat healthy foods are leaner than average whether they snack or not. Finally, relying on snacking to maintain steady blood-glucose and energy levels is like relying on moonlight to see while driving at night: Sure, it helps a little, but it’s not the best tool for the job. Maintaining a regular exercise habit and eating healthy meals with a low glycemic index (i.e. not too many refined carbohydrates) have much more powerful effects on glucose and energy regulation than snacking. For example, a number of studies have shown that working out attenuates the blood glucose response to the next meal eaten after the workout. Put it this way: If you need snacks to avoid “crashing” in the middle of the morning and afternoon, there’s a good chance you’re either not exercising enough or you’re making poor food choices at mealtimes. Does this mean that nobody should snack? Not at all. Snacking may be necessary to meet your daily energy needs during periods of heavy training. The number of calories your body burns each day can increase dramatically between periods of lower-volume maintenance-level training and periods of peak training before races. As your training load grows, you can supplement some of the additional energy needs by increasing the size of your meals. But it may be impractical to meet all of your additional energy needs this way. If you are training smartly and eating healthy, balanced meals, yet you find yourself hungry and/or lethargic between meals, you probably need to snack. Your body is smart. Let it tell you what it needs!


"If you think the only difference between gels is taste... better think again." Pip Taylor, Professional Triathlete/Nutritionist

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In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research*, James Madison University researchers found that cyclists receiving Accel Gel had greater endurance during the workout and less muscle soreness after. Accel Gel is the only energy gel with the patented 4:1 ratio of carbs and protein. Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice taste to get improved performance. Accel Gel comes in six greattasting flavors: vanilla, chocolate w/caffeine, citrus orange, strawberry kiwi, raspberry cream w/caffeine and key lime.

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PacificHealth Laboratories The uncompromising pursuit of science

pacifichealthlabs.com ©PacificHealth Laboratories 2011. All rights reserved. Accel Gel® is a registered trademark of Motts, LLP. GU Energy Gel® is manufacutured by Gu Energy Labs, Berkeley, California. *Saunders, MJ, ND Luden, and JE Herrick. Consumption of an Oral Carbohydrate-Protein Gel Improves Cycling Endurance and Prevents Post-Exercise Muscle Damage. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(3):678–684, 2007.


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TOUR GUIDE

Turtle Island, Fiji

“FIFTY YEARS OLD?” I

Relax and recharge your training on an intimate island created especially for bliss. By Judy Tsuei

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shout over the boisterous engine from my spot in the Turtle Airways seaplane. My knees are propped close to my chest, and I adjust the abundantly scratched noise-canceling headphones in an attempt to hear the pilot’s response. Paul’s aviator shades lift a bit higher on the wrinkles of his sun-drenched Canadian cheeks as he smiles and declares, “Yep, this plane is over 50 years old!” With only two ways to arrive at the exclusive Turtle Island resort from Nadi International Airport—by seaplane or by boat—the exclusivity of this Fijian getaway is underscored, especially as we glide directly onto the water “Fantasy Island”-style. And, given that there’s a weight allowance for the seaplane (they ask you to step on a scale with your bags prior to boarding), packing light is a requirement. Fortunately, a bathing suit, running shoes and cycling shorts are all

you need for being active and doing absolutely nothing in paradise. Once known as the “Cannibal Isles,” the Republic of Fiji comprises 322 islands scattered in a horseshoe shape over 1,290,000 square kilometers of the South Pacific. If each isle in the archipelago were counted, they would number in the thousands, yet only a few hundred were deemed large enough for human habitation and only 106 are actually populated. But what may seem small in number is big in character. With a culture as richly exuberant as its diverse terrain, the vibrant mix of Fijians, East Indians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Chinese and Europeans share an outgoing attitude that playfully nudges you to enjoy good people, fresh food and phenomenal relaxation. “Bula bula!” the local Fijian staff sings as you are carried directly onto the sand and promptly greeted with a drink in hand. As part of the Yasawa Group of islands in the northwest, Turtle Island features a string of ancient volcanic lagoons, jagged outcroppings, lush landscapes and exquisite beaches, one of which is the Blue Lagoon, featured in the 1980 film of the same name. Renowned by Condé Nast Traveler as a “hyper-romantic” resort, Turtle Island offers only 14 bures to accommodate a maximum of 28 guests on the island at one time. These traditional, two-room thatched cottages are tucked into coconut palm groves with views of the ocean, and feature an indoor spa, couples shower, dining area and outdoor bed. A dedicated


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tour guide

TurTle Island To-dos If you want … SNORKELING It can be enjoyed almost anywhere on the island, from right off your doorstep to a multitude of reefs that encircle the island.

bure mama greets you upon arrival and cares for you throughout your visit, helping to plan activities (or inactivities), so your getaway can be exactly what you imagined your dream vacation to be. The island provides an assortment of playthings, from mountain bikes to kayaks to windsurfers, so that all you need is your own attire for anything you’d like to do. When it comes to training, the entire island spans 500 acres and provides an approximately 3-mile loop around hilly jungle trails. Because the climate tends to be a bit humid depending on when you arrive, it can make for fairly challenging off-road training both on foot and two wheels through grassy highlands and tropical forests. The seasonal climatic variations are not extreme—a hotter, more humid season from November to April and a cooler, drier time from May to October—but be warned that when the hurricanes come during the vaguely rainy season a few days a year, mosquitoes are out with a vengeance. What’s most enjoyable about training on the island is that it becomes a completely meditative experience, as a majority of the time you’re the only person 52

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anywhere on land or in the water. Every quarter-mile or less delivers inspiring views of turquoise waters and surrounding fringing reefs of living coral. Numerous trails lead to the island’s 14 private beaches, which the locals say is “one for each couple” and perfect for stretching or yoga. Because rugged volcanic cliffs break the path of smooth white sands, it’s not quite an option to run along the perimeter. Instead, dive right into the wide-open warm ocean waters and swim as far as your arms and legs will take you. An array of tropical fish and sea life will keep you company, and the dock captain, Atu, will break out his binoculars to be sure you’re all right. To get a bit of socialization in, meals are shared with fellow guests. Days begin with breakfast on the beach, where Atu informs you of any happenings to participate in (snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, picnics, windsurfing, boating around the island, to name a few) and reminds you of when jaw exercises (lunch and dinner) take place. Nights are spent feasting under the stars on the chef’s specials of Australian beef, freshly caught tuna, lobster and prawns, and sweet fresh veg-

SCUBA DIVING Fiji is renowned for some of the best scuba diving in the world. all-inclusive packages can be designed to include a dive by taking a boat to a nearby island. SPORT FISHING Take a deep sea fishing trip that also brings a few nearby islands into perspective. Just be aware that the ride can get bumpy—and queasy. SAILING From sunset cruises to sailing around the island, there’s no better way to see why producers chose Turtle Island as the filming location for “The Blue lagoon.” WINDSURFING Winds pick up on different sides of the island, so ask the dock captain when the best time to windsurf would be.

etables from the island’s organic garden, or engaging in traditional kava festivities filled with music and good cheer. A week later, the guttural sound of the seaplane propeller grows louder from a distance and harkens back to civilization. We adjust the fresh floral leis made by our bure mama. It’s tradition to toss the lei into the water upon takeoff and we do just that. We may have the same amount of luggage we came with, but suddenly, everything feels lighter.


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Profile

Tom Lowe

You recognize him because he’s Chrissie Wellington’s boyfriend. But you should get to know Brit Tom Lowe because he’s a second-year male pro with an already-impressive racing résumé thomas lovelock

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Army, I was required to take regular medical exams. One test involved a spirometer, an apparatus which measures the volume of air inhaled and exhaled while breathing. When I exhaled, the pen that records the data flew off the top of the graph paper. When I finished exhaling, the pen dropped down, caught the top of the paper and scrunched it up into a ball. Despite somewhat sloppy results, I obviously passed. The spirometer’s upper limit was nine liters. That’s when I earned my nickname “Lung.”

AN EX-MILITARY MAN, Lowe was a prom-

ising duathlete and runner until a knee injury benched his dreams. Years later and properly rehabbed, his athletic aspirations took a three-sport twist as Lowe turned his attention to triathlon. His entry into the sport was quickly rewarded with accolades normally reserved for more seasoned pros—2010 saw Lowe place second at Ironman 70.3 Branson, run to third at Ironman Arizona and secure the British Ironman record. Lowe also found love on the triathlon circuit, winning the heart of a certain Ms. Chrissie Wellington. In addition to racing against the top male professionals and chasing after the world’s fastest female, Lowe now punches the clock as Tyr’s European triathlon sales and promotions manager. A good egg: I wasn’t the most self-confident kid, so I never got into too much trouble growing up, as I was afraid of what might happen. Sport really helped my confidence as I progressed into my late teens. Though try as I might, I’ve never been bold enough to become a real troublemaker. Take a deep breath: In my job as a telecommunications specialist for the British

Never say never: A nagging knee injury— cartilage damage combined with patella tendonitis—sidelined my athletic career for almost three years. Coming through that to place third at Ironman Arizona in my rookie triathlon season, and not only to run the marathon but to run the fastest split of the day, was unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever been more contented in my life than at that finish line. To far surpass your expectations is one of the best feelings you can ever experience. To any athlete wishing to get started in triathlon: You never know until you give it a go—so go for it! There’s pain, and then there’s pain: I once had a rather painful meeting with my bike’s crossbar in a duathlon race. Just thinking about it makes my eyes water. Labels, schmabels: It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I’m regularly introduced as Chrissie Wellington’s boyfriend. I knew it was going to be that way. I’d laugh my socks off if someone approached Chrissie and asked, “Aren’t you Tom Lowe’s girlfriend?” Top chef: As a man I obviously consider myself a wizard with the barbecue. But Chrissie is a better cook than she lets on. I really enjoy the meals we cook at home together. Chrissie might do a little more cleaning than me, I have to say. Stuck on a sure thing: I always wear the same sunglasses when I race. They’re old and useless but I can’t bear to change them for a new pair. I’m afraid that doing so might add 30 minutes to my Ironman time. //HOLLY BENNETT

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

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dear coach

Iron Ready? Dear Coach, What fitness level should I reach before signing up for an Ironman?

The truth is that there will never be a simple and direct answer to when to attack an Ironman with the goal to excel, rather than simply finish. Experience is critical in Ironman racing, and most great first-time performances come without the burden of time or place goals. I will outline a few areas to consider in making your decision to go the full distance, and use the career path of James Cotter, one of my Purplepatch professional athletes, to provide some context.

Timeline of your career path Before you even consider fitness level, you should think about the progression of your triathlon career. I think most athletes should progress to the iron distance after defining their training methodology, gaining training and racing experience at the shorter distances, and becoming a more well-rounded and skilled athlete. I see far too many who jump to the iron distance without any real experience training, racing or even having proper riding skills or biomechanics. James Cotter is one of the pros I coach who will evolve to the Ironman distance. We began working together a few years ago and immediately set a multi-year plan. The first phase was to develop his riding to a similar level of his swimming and running. We then set about allowing him to gain valuable experience racing at shorter distances, developing speed and the ability to compete. He will be ready to step up to the Ironman distance this race season. Even for professional athletes, progression is key.

Endurance and “speed”

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Structural preparedness Ironman demands a greater volume of training than the shorter-distance events, and it is essential that you have developed the structural integrity to cope with the rigors of Ironman training. This comes about through two methods. The most important is a steady and smart progression of your training load over multiple seasons of training and racing. Accompanying this should be a complete and comprehensive functional strength program. James had a history of injury and setbacks when he arrived at Purplepatch. He was not progressing his training load in an incremental manner, or incorporating adequate recovery into the plan. He also ignored functional strength as part of his overall training. It has taken a couple of years to progress James’ capacity to be able to train at a higher load, with fewer injuries and setbacks. There are plenty of approaches to achieving a great Ironman performance, all of which have merit, but all have the same core principles: patience, progression and hard work. Matt Dixon is an exercise physiologist, former professional triathlete, elite coach and the owner of the San Francisco-based professional coaching company Purplepatch Fitness.

larry rosa

with matt dixon

Many athletes develop enough cardiovascular conditioning to complete an Ironman event by simply going out and training at low intensity for hours on end. Yet they have very limited ability to generate power or pace. They are consistently fit and slow. I fall into the school of thought that it is

relatively easy to step up in distance after multiple seasons of full-endurance work. James was a talented athlete with a relatively weak bike leg. The choice with James was whether to head to Ironman distance with a weaker bike leg, then try to improve endurance and fitness through the higher volume needed to compete in Ironman—or work on becoming a more powerful and accomplished rider at the shorter distance, then extend his training volume with a stronger bike. In other words, the goal is to become stronger and more powerful, then to extend the fitness to cope with the demands of Ironman.


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ask a pro

Break on Through Q:

During a long race, how do you overcome any negative thoughts or pains in the body and find motivation to push through to the finish?

The extended nature of endurance racing means that an athlete will experience a steady stream of thoughts and emotions, both positive and negative, while out on the course. An athlete’s head can act as his or her greatest strength and biggest weakness, and never is this more applicable than in Ironman racing. When things are going well, self-talk is usually positive, putting an athlete in an ideal state to perform at his or her best. But over a race of many hours fatigue inevitably accumulates and negativity can begin to creep into the inner monologue. We’ve all heard it, that little voice that says “This race is way too long, I can’t do this, I’m tired, I want to quit.” These are the dark zones—the bane of

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ter of riding it out until you start to feel better. Try to distract yourself from the fatigue and monotony by focusing on some form cues. This gives your brain something to do while increasing your efficiency, which will often lapse by the end of a long race. Many athletes use a mantra or repeat key words to themselves such as: light, fast, quick feet or turnover. I know many pros who count strides or sing songs in their heads to distract from the pain of racing for hours on end. A recent study in The New York Times determined that music can increase athletic performance because it provides a slight distraction for the brain. It stops the mind from overanalyzing every single movement so that the body can do what it has been trained for. Of course there’s no music allowed on course, but the principle is the same. Take your brain out of the equation and stop thinking about how bad you feel and simply let your body do the work. After a while you will start to come out of the dark place and realize that you don’t feel quite so bad anymore. Now is also a good time to remind yourself why you are racing. Whether it’s to achieve a personal best, raise money for charity or just prove to yourself you can do it, remembering why you decided to begin the race in the first place can refresh motivation. Also remind yourself of all those early morning swim practices and long weekends spent training and you might find yourself determined to prove that the months of sacrifice were not in vain. A little anger and stubbornness can go a long way toward renewing motivation to get to the finish line. Dark zones are funny things. When you’re in one you can’t imagine what it’s like to feel good, and when you are out of one you cannot imagine how you could have felt so miserable. It takes some careful management as well as a little blind faith that you will come out the other side, but you will. You always do, even if it isn’t until the finish line. The old saying may be cheesy but it still rings true: Pain is temporary, pride is forever.

Nils NilseN

with samantha mcglone

endurance athletes everywhere. They are the low points in a race where nothing is going right: Legs feel heavy, the headwind is relentless and motivation is running low. Usually toward the end of the race, the dark zones are part glycogen depletion, part mental fatigue and part intangible malaise. I was first warned about the Ironman dark zone by Peter Reid before I attempted Kona a few years ago. It was reassuring to know that even the greats experience feelings of self-doubt while racing; no athlete is immune to these thoughts. After several years I can say that the dark zones never get any easier, but they are manageable if you accept that they are part of racing and deal with them constructively. The first thing to remember about a bad patch is that it won’t last forever; often it is only 20 to 30 minutes long (although that can seem infinitely longer when you are in the midst of it). The first thing to do is to identify that all is not lost, the race is not over—it is simply a phase to be endured and managed. It’s very easy to get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity until it seems pointless to continue, so try to remove emotion from the situation and simply observe your physical state. By approaching the dark zone objectively and reminding yourself that you are simply experiencing an annoying but inevitable part of a long race, it can seem a lot less insurmountable. It helps to sit up on the bike or slow down on the run (walk if necessary) and bring the heart rate down for a few minutes. Try to assess if it is a calorie issue; low glycogen levels can wreak havoc on your brain function, but as few as 100 calories of glucose can boost your mental state. If you take caffeine, now is a good time for a dose. It’s a proven mental stimulant that can increase alertness and mood and facilitate fat oxidization, which should allow you to access more energy. Once the physical aspects of a dark zone have been dealt with, it’s just a mat-


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I’M A TRIATHLETE

JEFF JONAS BY LAUREN VENTURA

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ASIPHOTO.COM

Before Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, there was Jeff Jonas. Launching his own software company by 17, he was a top-notch data systems creator by his early 20s. Jonas’ trajectory into the inner sanctums of Las Vegas’ behind-the-scenes security systems, then gleaning the title of chief scientist at IBM, wasn’t the byproduct of an Ivy League education (in fact, Jonas is a high school dropout) or a vast network of industry connections. ››

Jonas’ unique path developed from his startling insight into the “way data flows” and connecting that to what people need. What some would call raw smarts—or genius. And sandwiched between colorful speaking engagements across the world for IBM, the NSA or the CIA, Jonas has created data systems that do everything from taking down the M.I.T. students who tried to beat Vegas (the story was turned into a book, then the 2008 movie “21”), to connecting loved ones post-Hurricane Katrina, to helping llama breeders make a love connection. Somehow, he also finds the time to be a triathlete. How does he do it? Using a technique he calls “The Tragedy Strategy.” “My main attribute is that I know how to suffer,” says Jonas, 46. “I basically only swim on race day. I’ll go nine months without any upper-body exercises—I won’t move my arms at all, except to type on the keyboard. I’ll walk into a race with my arms screaming at me, ‘What the hell?’” Jonas perhaps isn’t a typical Ironman triathlete. Beyond his distaste for Masters swim classes, he’s known to get a


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I’M a trIathlete

may 1, 2010: ironman Utah "Picked up a nasty bug in Cairo two weeks prior. Drove to the race start from Vegas but slept through registration. Did not start race, rather supported friends who did." July 4, 2010: ironman Germany "this was my girlfriend's favorite race—lots of beer tents on the run course for spectators.”

Jeff Jonas’ race notes from 2009-2010 aug. 28, 2010: ironman louisville "heard some complaints about swimming in the river. But as it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised the river water tasted better than the city's tap water." april 5, 2009: ironman australia “When you are near the back of the swim you will find some people swimming the breast stroke. remember to avoid these folks. their frog-style kick can deliver exceptional beatings to your head. I was reminded about this two to three times in the first 20 minutes of this race.” may 23, 2009: ironman lanzarote "Nothing funny about this race. Not well-suited for hackers—this one nearly cured me. But it has the most beautiful race course for sure."

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little anxious pre-race day, forgetting to adhere to any semblance of a race diet. “I really hack these things because I always get nervous the night before a race. Sometimes I drink too much,” he says, launching into a tale about the night before 2008’s Ironman U.K. “I had seven glasses of wine and champagne! I was in this French restaurant and I had a sundae and a cheese plate: no real carbs to speak of. That was pretty much a bonk,” he says. “Plus, it was supposed to rain that day, so I made the mistake of putting on a plastic overcoat and all it did was trap the moisture in, so I never dried out. I froze. That was suffering.” A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie since he was a young boy growing up in Healdsburg, Calif., Jonas could be seen jumping off bridges into the Russian River as a teen. His risk-seeking behavior has landed him in some truly scary situations. In 1988, a BMW he was test-driving with a professional driver careered off the road. He broke his neck. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move ... I was just watching myself die,” he says. “I was so lucky to have even survived, and even luckier that I wasn’t paralyzed permanently.” But despite the setbacks, Jonas’ vim for life remains unscathed. A quick perusing of his blog (Jeffjonas.typepad. com) reveals a litany of hilarious triathlon-related snafus that depict a man who may not be the most regimented, but is clearly dedicated to the sport. One particularly harrowing talefrom-triathlon-hell that Jonas didn’t have a chance to convey via his blog occurred in 2009 at Ironman Cozumel. It’s a situation many can relate to—when you have one of those race days when everything that can go wrong does. "If you get bib number 666, be afraid,” he says. “I had a flat-out 20 feet out of T1 only to discover I had already lost my tool kit. After a tire change, I pedaled one hour—of what felt like up a steep hill—

at the slowest speed ever before I finally realized my brake was rubbing.” With the hot sun and biting wind whipping his face, Jonas reached for his sunglasses only to realize he’d forgotten them. Takeaway lesson: “Racing for the Dark Lord without a deal in place is punishing." His mother, Gail, who introduced him to his first love—computers—as a boy, instigated his haphazard entry into the endurance world. She asked him to compete in a marathon with her when he was 32 years old. The experience, although painful due to his resistance to structured training (he’d only trained for five weeks, on a treadmill), flicked a switch inside him. From that point on, Jonas was hooked. Soon after, he was entering his first triathlon, biting off a bit more than he could chew—in pure Jonas fashion. “The first one I ever did was Scott Tinley’s High Altitude Triathlon in Brian Head, Utah. I realized it was Tinley’s race but I had no idea he was this famous triathlete. So I get there and look across at this huge lake and I said, ‘You mean, we have to swim across the lake?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ I thought it said a 100-meter swim.” For 2011, Jonas is showing no sign of letting up. He’s slated for five Ironmans: Utah, Texas, Austria, Lake Placid and Regensburg, Germany. His goal: to complete every sanctioned Ironman race; he only has 10 left. His ideal: to do better than the “average Ironman,” or at least beat the bell curve. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen either, but it’s a goal,” he says. “But now and then, sometimes I finish the race in the back 15 percent and, well, I don’t feel like I am finishing with svelte athletes. But sometimes when I finish, I look around at the people with me and say, “Wow, these people look like athletes!”’ What happens when he finishes all the races? “Maybe do them all twice?” he says, laughing. “If you can’t be fast, you can have my goal of finishing them all.”


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checking in

confessions of an age-grouper

We Are Family by holly bennett I travel frequently, and I’m addicted to people-watching while on the road. The Denver International Airport hosts my favorite consortium of strangers, perhaps because of the intrinsic closeness I feel toward so many of them. Colorado is a hub of outdoor activity, thus the fit folk passing through DIA far outnumber the non-athletes, filling me with a strong sense of familiarity—even if I’m not on a firstname basis with a single traveler aboard the inter-terminal train. Often I find myself smiling with abnormal intimacy at a strange man in the security line. It’s not that I’m flirting; it’s just that I feel a curious pull toward him. It’s as though we might be second cousins (though it’s most certainly a different sort of pull than if we hailed from the backwoods of West Virginia!). It’s a familial feel, a deep bond of commonality and recognition. He and I are members of the same tribe. You know his type—heck, he might even be staring back when you look in the mirror. The closely shaved head, topped with a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses. The slightly hollowed cheeks and eternally flushed skin. Maybe he’s clad in an Ironman finisher’s shirt, or a less obvious but equally legit Endurance Conspiracy tee or Art of Tri hoodie. I know without looking that when he pulls off

his K-Swiss shoes for the security scan he’ll expose a tight pair of 2XU compression socks. And his quart-size Ziploc bag holds at least one packet of Gu. This is Triathlete Guy, and while we don’t actually know one another, we’re family all the same. Of course, as in any family, we tribe members have our differences. While to the untrained eye all fitness aficionados might meld together in a blur of muscle tone, slight distinctions exist. Roadie Guy is perhaps the most akin to Triathlete Guy, though a wee bit leaner and with his nose buried deep in the latest issue of VeloNews. Look closely and you’ll spot the telltale bike grease residue under his fingernails. You could safely wager your life savings that he’s sporting a Road ID and shouldering a Timbuk2 messenger bag. Outdoor Guy sets himself further apart with his North Face jacket, Vasque hiking boots and Kelty backpack. Guar-

anteed he works at one of Boulder’s many outdoor-industry companies, follows a gluten-free diet, is a card-carrying member of REI and frequents the climbing gym. And then there’s Runner Guy, the single-sport purist and a triathlete’s version of the red-headed stepchild. His waif-thin frame, slightly baggy ’70s-era clothing and shaggy, unkempt ‘do practically scream out for someone to take him home and feed him a real meal, topped with a thick slab of butter. But despite our subtle differences, these guys and I are indeed a closeknit—if unacquainted—clan of athletic individuals. If ever we do meet, it’s a foregone conclusion we’ll have more in common than our average airplane neighbor in seat 15B. So next time you see me at the airport, come on over and give your cousin a warm hello. I’ll be the one in the pink Newtons scaling the stairs instead of riding the escalator, with a Triathlete magazine tucked in my carry-on and an oddly familiar smile on my face.

hunter king

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“With Zeros, I own my connection.”

“When you’re doing volume and miles like I do, little things can become big problems. That’s why I train and race on Speedplay Zeros. With Zeros, I own the connection to my bike. They’re the only pedals that let me choose a custom-length spindle and fine-tune the float. My Zeros fit me like a custom-tailored suit.”

Speedplay.com

Chris “Macca” McCormack 2-Time Ironman World Champion


MELTING POT

The opening event of the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series, also a sprint-distance ITU Pan American Cup, in Clermont, Fla., featured an international field with Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins and Greg Rouault of France placing first overall in the women’s and men’s races. Sarah Haskins and Jarrod Shoemaker claimed the first-ever USAT Elite Sprint National Championship titles as the top American finishers. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL PHILLIPS

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

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training tips

3 Perfect Pre-pool Warm-ups Before you dive in for your next swim session, spend a few minutes on these dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness and get the blood pumping.

2

Towel lunge: Hold your towel with both hands, shoulderwidth apart. Step forward with your left leg into a lunge position and reach overhead. Then rotate your torso and reach to the left. Switch legs and repeat at least two times.

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3

Edge lift: After swimming easy for five minutes, place your hands on the edge of the pool, shoulder-width apart. Use your upper body to press out of the water. “Pop up” until your arms are fully extended and supporting your body weight, then gently fall back into the water. Repeat five times. // Sara mclarty

Nils NilseN

Chair squat: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat into an invisible chair, keep your back straight, and reach your arms upward in a streamline position. Stand up and lower your elbows to your sides, creating a “W” with your arms. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your chest out. Repeat five times.


The Ultimate Triathlon Weapon The GC Aero is the ultimate triathlon weapon in your battle to win. It’s a machine with true triathlon geometry that effortlessly slices through the wind, yet is extremely stable under power. We spent countless hours getting the fit right on the new GC Aero, consulting the best fit experts, retailers and journalists in the sport. It has been tirelessly tested in the wind tunnel and road-proven to excel in the world’s most demanding events—from the lava fields of Kona to the grueling Race Across America to the TT stages of the Tour de France. Let there be no doubt the BH GC Aero is a fast, race proven, wind cutting tri machine with the fit and performance designed for winning.

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TRAINING TIPS

The Debate: Should Triathletes Swim Medley Strokes? It seems there are two categories of swimmers in triathlon: those who swam as kids and those who got a late start. For the latter, learning proper freestyle technique takes time to master, and throwing in individual medley strokes—butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke—may be the last thing they want to do. But should they? We put our resident swim expert, Sara McLarty, up against Dave Pruetz, a full-time USAT coach who runs a Masters swim program in Draper, Utah.

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body workout. During freestyle, the forearm is a crucial part of the stroke. Breaststroke is a great forearm workout, and can personally wear out my forearms long before any freestyle set. So, I know I’m building specific strength for freestyle—by not doing freestyle! Backstroke can help swimmers strengthen their back and shoulder muscles to prevent bad posture, and swimming butterfly creates a tougher athlete who can withstand the lactic acid build-up at the beginning of a race but still settle into their steady pace after the first 100 meters. Dave: I completely agree that the 400 IM is a tough workout—it hurts for me to even think about it. But compare it to running. I have my athletes do track work, but do I want them to run hurdles or long jump? I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt, but track intervals and speed work is their primary focus. Sara: Although I would not have my athletes jumping hurdles and doing long jumps (we don’t need more injuries), I do have them train like a hurdler and long jumper by learning correct running form to maintain a high-knee/good posture/ arm position throughout the run. Final Triathlete thoughts: Knowing all four strokes can help you become a well-rounded, strong swimmer, but freestyle should always come first! // COMPILED BY JENÉ SHAW

Full-sleeve or sleeveless wetsuit? Your biggest decision when shopping for your first triathlon wetsuit is whether you want a full-sleeve or sleeveless suit. Several things differentiate the two styles, but the fundamental trade-off is between speed and freedom of movement. Full-sleeve suits are faster, plain and simple. They create less surface friction with the water and are more buoyant than sleeveless suits, which improves your body position by keeping your hips high in the water. But these benefits aren’t without cost. The arms of a full-sleeve suit create resistance that you feel in your triceps and shoulders. Swimming in a sleeveless suit feels unrestricted but isn’t quite as fast.

JOHN SEGESTA

Dave: About 95 percent of my program focuses on freestyle. Most of my swimmers are triathletes, and the majority got into the sport in their 30s and 40s with no previous swimming experience. To teach them all four strokes would be beyond challenging, especially when the only stroke they will ever do in a tri is freestyle. Sara: I also have a large percentage of “lateblooming” triathletes. We train 80 minutes, but our percentage of non-freestyle is probably 15 percent of total yardage. One of the greatest benefits my athletes see from swimming the other strokes is a greater comfort in the water. Swimming backstroke can take novices out of their comfort zone and gives them an opportunity to learn how to relax in the water. Dave: Sure it’s great for comfort reasons, but you can’t swim straight doing the backstroke in open water. My class is only 60 minutes, so by the time we’re done warming up, complete the drills and so on, it might only leave 30 minutes. For my athletes it comes down to time management. When they are trying to fit in nine workouts a week (swim/bike/run), plus yoga, P90X, strength training, etc., they tend to get the biggest bang for their buck focusing on freestyle. Sara: A common agreement among elite swimmers is that the 400 IM is the toughest event because the four strokes provide a complete

Swim Gear 101


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TRAINING TIPS

Balanced Breathing

Swim Gear 101 How is a wetsuit supposed to fit? Tight. When you try on a properly fitting suit, it should wrap snuggly around every part of your body without creating any pockets for water to sneak into. If the suit constricts your ribs as you breathe or pinches your neck, it’s too small.

What does an expensive wetsuit provide that cheaper suits do not?

// SARA MCLARTY

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Drill of the Month:

3/6/3 Breathing

Start by taking three freestyle strokes. Pause with your right arm extended overhead and continue to kick. Rotate your head and breathe one or two times to the left side. Take three more strokes and repeat on the other side. Use fins to make this drill easier.

NILS NILSEN

Swimmers who only breathe to one side can suffer from musculature imbalances, shoulder pain and injuries and have a tendency to drift off course toward their dominant side. Practice breathing to both sides during training to become comfortable and balanced in the water. Start with the breathing pattern of 3/3 (three strokes, right breath; three strokes, left breath). If a single breath every third stroke is not enough, modify the breathing pattern to your personal preference. For example, breathe to the same side for a few breaths, then switch, and breathe a few times to the other side. Some athletes alternate sides every pool length. A bilateral-breathing athlete is better prepared for many open-water situations. Wind, waves, chop and spray usually come from one direction during a race, and it’s sometimes easier to breathe to the other side. The same applies to a bright morning sun or a splashing competitor nearby.

Improved arm flexibility is the biggest advantage of high-end wetsuits. They use thinner, more flexible panels of neoprene in the shoulders, back and underarms to minimize arm resistance. Many expensive suits have other upgrades, such as increased lower-body buoyancy and design features to improve the swimmer’s stroke, but flexibility is the key attribute.


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“What’s in your swim bag?”

Aqua Sphere Isis Maternity Suit, $84.95 Aquasphereswim.com: “Lets me keep up my swim training through pregnancy in comfort.” Matrix Biolage Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner, $47 Target.com: “Dechlorinates and detangles my cap- and chemicalstressed hair.” Sporti Floating Swim Fins, $16.95 Swimoutlet.com: “How else would I keep up with those intervals when swimming for two?” —Julia Beeson Polloreno

The Triathlete editors couldn’t live without their favorite swim essentials.

Tyr Pull Float, $11.50 Tyr.com: “Swimming with a pull buoy helps me slow down and focus on my stroke.” Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggle, $24.95 Aquasphereswim.com: “They make a great seal with my face.” Sporti Sports Towel, $5.95 Swimoutlet.com: “Small shammy-style towel fits easily in my gym bag for post-work swims.” —Aaron Hersh

Speedo Contoured Swim Paddles, $14.99 Speedousa.com: “They help me get a better feel for the water so I can concentrate on technique.” Ugg Boots, $120+ Uggaustrailia.com: “As someone who hates the cold, Ugg boots help make my earlymorning walks on the pool deck a little more pleasant.” Towel: “This item sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget. I’m always the girl who’s drying off with a shirt.” —Courtney Baird

Swim Gear 101

Summer Solutions Swimmer’s Own Gel, $5.95 Swimoutlet.com: “I hate when you swim in the morning, shower, and then smell chlorine during your run that night. Swimmer’s Own prevents that.” J. Crew Flip Flops, $12-$25, Jcrew.com: “They’re so comfortable and last forever. I’m not a barefoot-inthe-locker room kinda girl.” Tyr Wrinkle-Free Silicone Swim Cap, $10 Tyr.com: “It’s worth a couple extra bucks to not have my hair ripped out every time I swim.” —Jené Shaw

“Am I ready for Masters?”

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Wide peripheral vision, comfy gaskets and mirrored lenses are nice, but, most importantly, a goggle has to seal well. Don’t get hung up on open water vs. pool goggles—find a pair that fits your face well and stick with it.

fit. Most groups cater to multiple levels of ability, but it’s important that you can swim at least one length of the pool without stopping. Ask about the cost, the practice schedule and the possibility of a trial session before joining. Understanding swimmer’s lingo, learning pool etiquette and acquiring all the fun training equipment is part of the journey. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the other members. They were once in your shoes (or fins) as a Masters swimming novice. // Sara mclarty

Nils NilseN

Joining a Masters group can provide a friendly and competitive environment to improve your swimming technique, speed and endurance. The participants of Masters programs cover a wide range of ages, speeds and ability levels. Speak with the coach before trying your first practice. Honestly describe your swimming ability and state your athletic goals. The coach will let you know if his or her Masters program is a good

What do I look for in choosing goggles?


REV’D UP

Pro Jacqui Gordon of Team Trakkers finished seventh at the inaugural Rev3 Costa Rica Olympic-distance race on Feb. 19. Kelly Williamson was the top female finisher, while Costa Rica’s Leo Chacon captured the men’s title. PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC WYNN

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TRAINING TIPS

Ride Inside

An increasing number of triathletes are choosing to do most of their bike training indoors year-round. Leading the trend are pros such as 2007 Ironman 70.3 world champion Andy Potts, who does two-thirds of his riding indoors, and Meredith Kessler, who won Ironman Canada in 2010 following a training regimen that included outside rides just once every two weeks. The benefits of riding indoors include time efficiency, better control over the format and intensity of workouts, and greater safety. Athletes note that indoor cycling lends itself especially well to highintensity work and technique drills. The coach who arguably started the indoor bike training trend is Troy Jacobson, whose popular “Spinervals” DVD series (Spinervals.com) dates back 15 years. Here are three technique drills from Jacobson’s videos that you can incorporate into your indoor bike training.

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If you’re looking for variety or a more interactive training option, try CadenceTV workouts from Philadelphia-based Cadence Cycling and Multisport. You can stream live workouts from the store twice a day or get “on demand” training videos via their website for around $100 a year. If you use a power meter or have performed some physiological testing, you can plug in your numbers to get specific ranges to hit throughout the workout. Cadencecycling.com

Triathlon Position Drill Purpose: Improves your ability to change positions quickly and efficiently when riding hard. How to do it: Choose a moderate gearing that allows for a steady race effort at 80–90 rpm. Ride 3x5 minutes at race effort with one minute of easy spinning between intervals. Start each rep seated and in the aerobars. At the end of each minute, change your hand position (move to the drops or hoods) or stand up for 10 seconds, then immediately return to the aerobars smoothly and quickly with minimal change in output (power, cadence).

One-Leg Drill Purpose: Improves fluidity and power transfer through the full range of your pedal stroke. How to do it: Clip your right foot into the pedal and place your left foot on a chair next to your trainer. Put your bike in a middle gear or resistance setting. Pedal for 30 seconds, focusing on pedaling evenly, quickly and smoothly, and minimizing the “dead spots” at the top and bottom of the stroke. Switch legs and repeat the drill. Complete five to 10 segments per leg. // MATT FITZGERALD

NICK SALAZAR

Jingle Drill Purpose: Allows you to practice highcadence spinning with a still upper body, improving efficiency and leg speed. How to do it: Place a set of keys in your jersey pocket. Perform a set of 10x30-second intervals at a high cadence in a very low gear. Start each rep at a comfortably high cadence. Gradually increase your pedaling rate until you hear the keys jingle, then reduce your cadence just enough to make them fall silent and maintain this cadence through the end of the interval. Rest 30 seconds after each rep.

Cycling Workouts—Live!


TRAINING TIPS

INJURY QUICK TIP:

Banish pain around your kneecap

Bike Gear 101

Road vs. tri bike, What’s the difference?

//NATHAN KOCH, PT, ATC

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How to combat patellar pain: •

Foam-roll your ITB.

Strengthen gluteals with lateral and rotational movements.

Avoid knee-extension machines, deep squats and stairs.

Try patellar taping techniques (kinesiology or McConnell taping).

Bike-specific tips: •

Raise the saddle slightly—if you start rocking, it’s too high.

Check cleat position and pedal float.

Focus on higher cadence and avoid strenuous climbing in the saddle.

Get a bike fit from an experienced professional.

Aerobars and airfoilshaped tubes are the most eye-catching differences, but the geometry is the most important difference. Road bikes put the rider in a more upright position, which improves comfort and handling. Triathlon bikes put the rider in a lower position to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve straight-line speed. Before choosing your bike, decide what you value more: ride quality or speed on race day.

NILS NILSEN

Pain around the patella (kneecap) is typically the result of excessive force through the patellofemoral joint when it’s not aligned properly as the knee flexes and extends. Unlike a “deep joint” like the hip, the patellofemoral joint has a lot of movement. As the knee bends there is greater pressure between the patella and the femur. Like a train on tracks, if the train (patella) slides off the track, excessive friction occurs. Likewise, if the track (femur) moves excessively, friction will also occur. When it hurts: Patellofemoral pain is typically most poignant during exercise, although it can occur with prolonged sitting, squatting or walking up and down stairs. Pain on the bike is usually the worst during the power portion of the pedal stroke. Why it hurts: Abnormal tracking of the joint can be the result of quadriceps muscle imbalance, gluteal weakness, ITB/hip tightness, leg length discrepancy and/or poor foot or ankle mechanics. It might also be caused by issues related to training (climbing in too big of a gear) or bike position (saddle height and fore/aft position, cleat position or saddle and frame geometry).


TECH SUPPORT

Fix That Flat Whether you’ve changed tons of flats or zero, these simple tips can help you make your next flat fix go much smoother.

Prepare Replace tires when you start to see signs of wear, like patches of very thin rubber. Carry these on every ride: spare tube, CO2 canister(s) and dispenser, pump (optional if you have CO2), patch kit, two tire levers. Whenever riding, scan the road far ahead for debris and glass.

1

Remove the Wheel

The front wheel is easy; here’s the best way to take off the rear wheel: Put the chain in the smallest ring in the front and the smallest cog in the back. Open the quick-release and widen the brake pads if needed. Pro Tip: Avoid greasy hands: Stand on the non-drive side facing the back, hold the saddle with your left hand, lift the rear of the bike off the ground and give a firm rap with your right hand on the top of the rear tire. The wheel will fall free from the frame’s (appropriately named) dropouts.

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Remove the Tube

3

Install New Tube

Open valve and let out remaining air. Remove tire bead from the rim (one side only). If one tire lever won’t do the trick, place your second lever in about 4 inches away, then keep playing “leap frog” until the tube is exposed. Remove wounded tube. Inspect the tire for the flatcausing culprit; remove if possible.

Pro Tip: Before attempting to place the tube inside the tire, add a little air with your mouth, CO2 or pump to give the tube a bit of shape. Place the wheel vertically on the ground, resting against your knees, with the side of the wheel with the tire unhooked facing away. Lay the partially shaped tube into the tire opening. Lift the wheel up to rest against your waist horizontally with the open part facing the sky and the valve at 12 o’clock. Starting near

3

4

Bike Gear 101

Reinstall the Wheel

Place the wheel back into the open space between the chain segments and rest the top portion of the chain onto the smallest cog in back. Lift the wheel back up into the frame, aligning the quick-release axle with the opening in the dropouts. Tighten up the quick release and the brakes, checking to see that the wheel is in straight and not rubbing the brake pads. Pro Tip: Practice removing and installing the rear wheel at home before you flat. //SCOTT FLIEGELMAN

4

Clincher or tubular tires? Tech-loving tri geeks have been debating this topic for years, and there still isn’t a consensus as to which style of tire is speedier. In reality, neither will give you a big performance advantage over the other. Clinchers are more affordable. Tubulars are lighter and more fun to ride. Changing a flat for either style requires a specific technique that takes a few tries to master but is relatively simple once you have it down.

NILS NILSEN

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2

2

the valve, use your thumbs to begin to close the tire bead back onto the rim, working down to 9 and 3 o’clock. Rotate the whole wheel 180 degrees so that the unfinished segment is now up at 12 o’clock, and work inward to fully enclose the tube. (You should be able to finish with just your thumbs, but keep a tire lever handy to help close up the final few inches if needed. Make sure you do not pinch the tube against the inside of the rim with the lever.) Ensure that all of the tube is inside and not pinched between the tire and rim. Inflate tube.


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SPEEDLACES.COM info & retailers May 2011 | triathlete.com

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Saddle Sage

Bike Fit: Still the best bang for the buck when it comes to going faster. The goal is to help you achieve a comfortable aerodynamic position that still allows you to apply power to the pedals and get off and run well. Expect to pay $150–$350 based on the level of equipment used and the fitter’s experience. Most shops will work with you to apply some of the expense toward a new bike purchase. Note: Plan to leave it at the shop for a few days to have them complete a thorough pre-season tune-up and inspection. Gearing: As a coach, racer and a frequent triathlon spectator, I’ve found gearing to be a huge potential area for improvement in bike setup, and a relatively inexpensive upgrade. I advise my athletes to train and race at the appropriate intensity level while spinning between 85 and 95 rpm whenever possible. Unless you are climbing a really steep hill, proper gearing will usually let you ride in that range. Count the number of teeth on the biggest cog in your cassette. If you often ride up steep hills, or are focusing on a hilly race, you will likely want 27 or 28 teeth. If you ride mostly flat terrain, then 23–25 teeth may suit you just fine. You can replace the entire cassette for less than $100 and still have an 11-tooth cog for going fast! This is likely a better option these days than switching to a compact or triple-ring crankset; however, you might want to consider those options as well when researching your next bike.

Get Your Bike in Gear

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//Scott Fliegelman

Nils NilseN

Spring is here, the temps and daylight hours are on the rise, so it’s time to get out and ride! But first, turn a critical eye to your bike and cycling gear to make sure they are both in sync with your goals this season. Ask yourself a few key questions beforehand: At your primary goal race(s) this season, are there any big climbs on the bike course? What areas of weakness might have set you back from reaching your cycling goals recently? Do you have a budget for any bike-related upgrades? With answers to these questions in mind, here are a few simple things to consider before putting in too many miles. I find it best to address these areas early in the season to allow ample time before race season to get acclimated to any position changes, new componentry or tech gadgets.

Tech Tools: There are three key devices I recommend for enhancing the quality and enjoyment of your training and racing this season. Power meters ($1,000–$3,000) and heart rate monitors ($100–$300) can provide invaluable feedback, especially when used in conjunction with proper field testing and post-ride analysis. A basic bike computer (less than $100) can also be quite useful, but be sure to use one that measures your pedaling cadence. For extra help with getting your bike (and your butt) in gear this season, visit your local tri or bike shop.


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TRAINING TIPS

Stretching With Your Bike As triathletes, we are always trying to optimize our time and multitask as much as possible. Take a lesson from seasoned cyclists and do a bit of stretching on the bike to help alleviate soreness without adding more training time. Unlike swimming and running, cycling puts the spine into an

unnatural position. It places the spine in extreme flexion (forward) through the lower and middle back, and extension (backward) through the neck. Sustaining these postures can result in muscle and joint soreness, stiffness, cramping and pain. The legs may also experience issues because they are the prime movers in cycling.

Hold these stretches for 10 to 15 seconds. Holding stretches for 30 or more seconds can inhibit muscle function, so keep the stretches short while riding.

Quad stretch (easy)

Calf stretch

Piriformis stretch

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at the local coffee shop or at a stoplight. If comfort problems persist, make sure you get a bike fit, as there might be a need to change it to optimize comfort. For more bike stretching examples, visit Endurancerehab.com. // WOLFGANG OSWALD, PT, OCS AND NATHAN KOCH, PT, ATC

Retrofit a road bike for triathlon Aerobars seem like the obvious add-on to optimize a road bike for triathlon, but if you slap a pair of aerobars on your road bike without changing anything else, you will quickly find yourself unable to pedal as hard as you usually do. To regain comfort, position the aerobars as high as possible, and pull them back toward you. They should be shorter in length than aerobars on a tri bike. Next and most importantly, move your saddle forward on the rails. If you are willing to compromise your road position, switch your seat post for one that pushes you toward your aerobars, such as the Profile Design Fast Forward. We recommend taking your bike to your local shop for retrofitting. NILS NILSEN

Stretching while on the trainer is safe for most riders. Experienced and confident cyclists can perform some of these stretches while riding on the road. The moving stretches can also be performed during races without much loss of time, since they can be done without stopping. The bike can also be used for static stretches while waiting for friends

Quad stretch (hard)

Bike Gear 101


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Join one of our triathlon teams in San Diego, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area. Get started today by calling 866-931-2611 or visiting www.ccteamchallenge.org!


BACK AT IT

In a follow-up effort to her Ironman World Championship win last October, Aussie Mirinda Carfrae took second to Samantha Warriner at Ironman New Zealand on a day that saw miserably wet race conditions. Carfrae ran a 3:01 marathon en route to her 9:31:34 finish. On the men’s side, Cameron Brown beat out fellow Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone to win his 10th Ironman New Zealand title. PHOTOGRAPH BY DELLY CARR

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

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TRAINING TIPS

Speedwork Optional

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Coaches are always cajoling runners and triathletes to add speedwork to their training. And with good reason. Research has repeatedly shown that athletes run faster in races when they include short, fast intervals in their training. But is it always necessary? Not according to Lance Watson, head of Vancouver-based LifeSport Coaching. “When you’re considering whether to in-

clude running workouts above threshold intensity in your training, you need to weigh the benefits against the costs,” Watson says. “There are always benefits to this type of training, but sometimes the costs are greater.” The key benefit of speedwork is that it increases your maximum aerobic capacity. As a result, running at any given pace becomes physiologically easier. This, in turn,

allows you to run faster at your highest sustainable intensity for any race distance. However, speedwork is stressful. “If you do a hard set of intervals on the track, you might be on the shelf for the next three days,” Watson says, “unable to do any more quality running in that time.” Thus, there’s an opportunity cost that comes with speedwork. The more fast running you do, the less total running you can do. And Watson believes that it’s lack of endurance, not lack of speed, that limits the running performance of most triathletes in races. Watson therefore emphasizes frequent running (at least four runs per week), long runs (up to four hours of mixed jogging and walking for Ironman athletes), plenty of running off the bike (at least one “transition run” per week), and lots of running at realistic race paces (which is pretty slow for most athletes training for longer events) to boost running endurance in his athletes. Of course, athletes who race shorter distances, who typically finish in the top 25 percent or who easily absorb the training listed above, can and should use speedwork as part of their training. For others, “it’s the cherry on top,” Watson says. But cherries aren’t for everyone. // MATT FITZGERALD

30-Second Warm-up:

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Start in pushup position. Drive right knee up to right shoulder, placing foot outside of right hand. Hold position (with left leg slightly bent) for a moment, then move forward back into pushup position. Repeat on left side. Crawl continuously for 30 seconds before your next run.

3

SPEEDWORK: NILS NILSEN; WARMUP ILLUSTRATION: SEUNG LEE

Spider-Man Stretch

Good for: Hip flexors, glutes


Check out Craig and Team Road ID www.RoadID.com/Team


training tips

Run Gear 101 How are tri running shoes different than regular running shoes?

Do Orthotics Help?

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tool to prevent and overcome overuse injuries? According to Dr. Stephen Pribut, a Washington, D.C.-based podiatrist and sports medicine specialist, orthotics can still be a worthwhile treatment for injured runners despite their limitations and mysteriousness. He suggests following these guidelines. Know what orthotics are good for. “Orthotics have a pretty good track record with certain injuries, but don’t seem to help much with others,” Pribut says. If you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, stress fractures in the foot or lower legs, or shin splints, they may be worth a try. But

Choose your provider carefully. “Some practitioners try to sell orthotics to everyone who walks in the door,” Pribut says. He advises that injured athletes seek out doctors who take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating injuries, in which orthotics are just one potential tool among many. Don’t expect a magic bullet. “Even when orthotics are effective, they’re usually not a complete solution,” Pribut cautions. When you’re injured, you need to consider (with the help of your doctor) every possible cause, from overtraining to muscle weakness, and every factor that could possibly help, from gait changes to physical therapy. // matt Fitzgerald

Nils NilseN

On Jan. 17 The New York Times published the article “Close Look at Orthotics Raises a Welter of Doubts,” written by the paper’s inveterate debunker of fitness myths, Gina Kolata. With a mixture of quotes from orthotics experts, real-world anecdotes and references to scientific research, the article revealed that while orthotic shoe inserts do sometimes prevent running injuries, just as often they don’t. What’s more, their success is highly unpredictable, and nobody knows exactly how they work when they do. If all of this is true, then where does it leave the athlete who has always considered prescription orthotics as a viable

if your injury is at the knee or above, orthotics are less likely to help.

The two most important differences are a quick-closing lacing system and a smooth inner liner to save your feet from blisters if you race without socks. These features are useful but are less important than the way the shoes feel when you are actually running in them. Find a pair that matches your stride and allows you to stay injury-free, and worry about tri-specific features only if the shoes meet those needs. Plus, you can retrofit any running shoe with elastic laces.


training tips

Facebook readers weighed in: What’s the best running movie of all time? outside of the usual suspects— “chariots of Fire,” the two hollywood pre movies, etc.—our readers loved these inspirational flicks:

ApocAlypto is an amazing (and at times very graphic) film about the Mayan civilization. The best chase scene ever— cars, bikes, planes, running—beats them all. —Eric Scott Anderson, Brooklyn, Conn.

Growing up, I was always small for my age and picked last in P.E., bullied a bit, etc. meAtbAlls made me feel OK about being the odd man out. In high school, something compelled me to sign up for cross-country. I was the worst person on the team my freshman year, but I found true friends and a lifelong love of endurance sports. —Philip J Snyder, Denver

hood to coAst is freaking awesome. The opening 30 seconds tells all you need to know about running a relay race at night. —Joe Tegeder, Seattle

I first saw spiRit oF the mARAthon with a sold-out audience of fellow runners, all laughing at the same inside jokes. It gives a clear view into what training for a marathon can be like while also being motivating and inspiring. It reminds me time and again exactly why I do this. —Brenda E. Kelly, Chicago

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sAint RAlph has a great message about believing in yourself while doing something for others. Ralph believes he can save his mother who is dying from cancer by winning the Boston Marathon. Love it! —Andrew Hoffer, Virginia Beach, Va.

What else? FoRRest Gump. Run Forrest, Run! –Ian Inquimboy, Pinehurst, N.C.

What is “natural running”? It is the philosophy that a runner’s gait and footwear should complement and optimize his or her natural biomechanics. For decades, shoes were designed to cushion a violent heel strike in order to minimize the consequences of bad running form. The natural running philosophy states that a runner should alter his or her stride and footwear to land mid-foot, taking advantage of the innate shock-absorbing capabilities of the arch, and minimizing the braking effect of collision with the ground.

Istockphoto.com: nIco_blue, ljupco smokovskI

My high school crosscountry team used to watch cool RunninGs before the state meet. It’s all about underdogs, and we were a very small team. I watched it before my first marathon and plan on watching it again before my first Ironman this summer! —Carolyn Sykes, Portland, Ore.

FiRe on the tRAck: the steve pReFontAine stoRy is a documentary that I watched literally every day when I got home from school after crosscountry/track practice. It fueled the fire in me to get up early the next day and get in that morning run. —James Adams, Temecula, Calif.

Run Gear 101


TRAINING TIPS

Hill Repeats You’re Not Sick of

Run Gear 101

Hill workouts are the most sport-specific strength training you can do for running. But not all repeats need to be “Run up this hill. Jog down.” Here are a few new ideas from USAT-certified coaches to mix up your next set of repeats.

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Tired-Legs Repeats Benefits: By replacing traditional recovery with strength movements, these repeats teach your body how to run on “tired legs.” If you are familiar and comfortable with performing squat cleans, coach Leo Jenkins recommends a weight range of onethird to half of your body weight. If you don’t typically do squat cleans, opt for air squats, broad jumps or burpees and double the strength repetitions. • Do two squat cleans (or four squats)/run a 200m sprint • 4 SC/200m S • 6 SC/200m S • 8 SC/200m S • 10 SC/200m S • 8 SC/200m S • 6 SC/200m S • 4 SC/200m S • 2 SC/200m S Total distance: a little more than a mile –Leo Jenkins of TriYogaEndurance in Golden, Colo.

Mile and More Repeats Benefits: Teaches your body to recover quickly from hard efforts and go right back into easy-paced running. Find a hill or set of stairs about a quarter-mile long with a half-mile of flat road leading up to it. • Start at the base of a hill and run easy out and back on flat road for a total of one mile, then run fast up the hill/stairs and back down to the start. • Rest two minutes. • Start the next interval going uphill first, then run the mile out and back at easy pace. • Rest two minutes. • Repeat the whole sequence for a total of four repeats. Total distance: about 6 miles –Jessica Herschberg of FTP Coaching in Nashville, Tenn.

Socks or barefoot? This is another tradeoff between comfort and speed. Putting on socks costs seconds, but can save you from irritation, chafing and blisters. If you are going to run without socks, make sure you try it before race day to see how your feet react and to toughen your skin. Be ready for blisters if you decide to run without socks.

//JENÉ SHAW

NILS NILSEN

Iron-Distance Power Repeats Benefits: Builds run-specific strength for longer events. • Warm up for 2 miles on flat roads or in the grass. Do a few strides and dynamic stretches. • Find a steep hill that’s about a half-mile long. Run up hard four times and recover with a walk or jog down. Don’t rest at the bottom; just blast right back to the top. • Rest three to five minutes. • Run 2 miles on a flat road with the same power output as you did on the hill. • Rest three to five minutes. • Cool down with an easy 10-minute jog. Total distance: about 9 miles, depending on pace Do this workout once a week, every other week and try to do 6x hill repeats the following session. –Bob Mitera of Kokua Multisports, LLC in Barrington, Ill.


training tips

How Often Should You Run After Riding?

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a short run after a full bike ride. Whereas bricks prepare the athlete more comprehensively for the race experience, transition runs are more narrowly focused on preparing the athlete for the transition from riding to running. Because they are more stressful and time-consuming, bricks cannot be done as often as transition runs. According to coach Cliff English, whether you do occasional bricks or more frequent transition runs should depend on the distance of your

// matt Fitzgerald

Bike-run workouts

Transition Run

Brick

• short 10–20 minute run after full bike

• Full bike workout + full run workout

• prepare athletes for ride to run transition

• prepare athletes for race experience

• Most important for beginners and short-

• Most important for long-course athletes

course athletes

Nils NilseN

In triathlon, there’s no choice: You have to run (or at least walk) after riding your bike to reach the finish line. No run, no finisher’s medal. In training, you have a choice. Everyone agrees that triathletes need to run after some bike rides by way of preparing to do the same in races, but there’s also a consensus that it’s not necessary to run after every ride. So what’s the sweet spot? How regularly should you follow a ride with an immediate run? According to the top coaches, it depends. Among the factors to consider in planning this aspect of your training are your experience level, your schedule, your susceptibility to injury and how your body responds to this type of training. There are two basic types of bike-run workouts you can do. A “brick” consists of a full bike workout followed immediately by a full run workout. A transition run is

races. “The long-course athletes I coach usually do one brick per week,” he says. “Short-course athletes do multiple short transition runs.” A second factor to consider is your level of experience in the sport. “The newer the athlete is to triathlon, the more valuable transition runs can be to get them used to running off the bike,” says Tim Crowley, a coach whose athletes include Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker. As a beginner you will probably notice that transition runs yield big improvements in your ability to run off the bike. As you gain experience, you might find that you become less dependent on transition runs to maintain the ability to run well after pedaling, and as that happens you can reduce the frequency. Some triathletes perform frequent transition runs—as often as after every bike ride—not because they need to, but simply to save time. “Training in three sports and getting reasonable frequency is a challenge, so this is a time-efficient way to maintain run frequency,” says coach Lance Watson. Another potential benefit of frequent transition runs is injury prevention. According to coach Matt Dixon, “Adding short runs off the bike is a great way to increase frequency without overloading the athlete from a musculoskeletal standpoint.” While frequent transition runs may help you fit it all in and avoid injury, coaches caution against depending on them. “It’s important to run on fresh legs sometimes,” says Crowley. While there’s no magic number for frequency of post-ride runs, a few basic considerations will help you settle on a number that works best for you.


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TriBike Transport remains committed to providing hassle-free bike transport for our customers. In addition to offering the premier bike transport services in the industry, TriBike Transport is proud to bring additional value to its customers through partnerships with Saucony and sailfish. Visit our website for more details and how to start taking advantage of discounts on sailfish as well as on travel with United, Hertz and Choice Hotels.

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CauseAffect Inside the booming business of charity racing, and how it’s changing the sport— and the world—for the better. Plus: tips for joining in the fundraising.

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In the summer of 2008, a dozen or so women in Howard County, Md., got together to train for an Iron Girl sprint triathlon while raising money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a nonprofit based just outside of Baltimore. Brian Satola, who had just been hired as the organization’s assistant director, saw potential in this modest group—and in the rapidly growing triathlon community. He and his colleagues began recruiting other members in earnest with the hopes of establishing a solid charity program to raise funds for programs supporting the 70,000 young adults diagnosed with cancer each year.

The plan worked. Today, the organization’s Team Fight has blossomed into a 300-strong triathlon training program. Last year, the Ulman Fund even produced its own event, The Half Full Triathlon, a 70-mile event with 100 percent of the proceeds going back into the organization. In its first year, the race closed out with 1,000 participants, raising an additional $200,000 for the cause. Team Fight is just one of many charities to link up with triathlon as a way to bolster funds—and to spread its message. Within the past five years, even in the face of the economic downturn, triathletes have poured in millions of dollars for a variety of causes through charities. The Leukemia and Lymphoma

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Society’s Team in Training, for example, saw fundraising top $18 million in 2010 among its triathlon-specific programs. And with hundreds of new charities cropping up each year, racing for a cause is hands-down one of the hottest trends in the sport. “Charity racing is a huge impetus to our expansion as a sport,” says Tim Yount, the chief operating officer of USA Triathlon. “We’ve had unprecedented growth over the past decade, and I believe that the focus on charity has been leading that charge.”

Reasons to Give What’s the reason behind this increase in altruism? For some, the decision to race for charity is often based on getting into a desired event. With top-notch races harder to enter due to limited space and more demand, triathletes are turning to charities for a coveted slot. The Nautica New York City Triathlon, for example, sets aside 1,100 of its 5,600 total spots for participants in any of the organiza-


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tions linked to the race as “charity partners.” Those locked out of regular registration can opt to race for a participating charity—with the requirement of raising thousands of dollars before toeing the line. This method has long been practiced by those seeking entry into major running events, such as the ING New York City Marathon, and lately, more and more charities are seeing potential in triathlons, too.

There are vast differences among all charities: Some may include everything from coaching to group practices to travel expenses to an event, while others simply offer e-mail updates or access to a Facebook group. “The charity running programs have been around, but now we are really starting to see a lot of movement in the triathlon space,” says Michele Crepeau, who plans fundraising campaigns with hundreds of charity endurance programs as

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an industry manager for ActiveGiving. “There’s been a shift since some of these triathlons started to sell out so quickly. As a result, some key races, like the Nautica New York City Triathlon and Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon, have developed amazing charity programs.” John Korff, director of the Nautica New York City Triathlon, says he’s seen a significant spike in interest from charities wanting to partner with his race, especially in the past year. “We could have sold out the [race] twice with requests from charities,” says Korff. “We had 40-plus charities wanting to buy slots. Of those we selected, they wanted twice the number of slots we could allocate.” It’s no surprise why charities are keen to partner with major races. Satola says that before establishing Team Fight three years ago, the Ulman Fund suffered from a “major awareness problem.” “For us, it was never about the money, but more so our desire to create awareness through sport,” he says. “Having a bunch of athletes out there training and racing in the same uniform—that really does give us more visibility.”


Funding Your Efforts From hosting happy hours to firing off tweets, here are some tips for collecting money for your cause. PICK YOUR PASSION. Choose a cause you’re extremely passionate about. People will pick up on your enthusiasm and may be more apt to donate. HIT UP YOUR BOSS. It’s worth a shot. Generous employers have been known to match the amount you raise—or at least make a significant donation. EAT, DRINK AND DONATE. Partner with a local bar or restaurant. Arrange a happy hour with a portion of the evening’s proceeds going to the cause. BEFRIEND FACEBOOK. With a simple status update, you can inform all of your contacts about how they can get involved—and direct them to your fundraising website. Tweeting links and reminders is just as effective.

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The hearT of The MaTTer That’s not to say this boost in charity racing is completely grounded in marketing and access to exclusive events. At the heart of this movement is the personal connection most charity athletes have to their cause. And even if someone does not have a close tie to the particular organization, the simple act of racing for something much more meaningful than a medal is enough motivation to keep them going all the way to the finish line. “Triathlon tends to be a narcissistic activity,” says Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and author of The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training. “It’s timeconsuming, and people get so into themselves. But when you’re racing for charity, it’s not about you. You’re helping people who really need your help.” Gwyn Reece, of Elkridge, Md., initially joined Team Fight as a way to get into the sold-out Iron Girl sprint triathlon. But she soon realized the significance of racing on a charity team and has raised more than $4,000 for the Ulman Fund. “When I found out that they were a grass-roots organization helping people in my area, I was instantly more interested,” says Reece. “My decision to join Team Fight came from my interest in doing a triathlon for something bigger than myself.” Taylor, who has completed two Ironman triathlons and regularly speaks to Team in Training groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, says the social element of charity programs is also a huge draw for new triathletes. “There’s a reason it’s called ‘Team in Dating,’” he says, referring to the number of couples that hatch out of the more social training programs. “You make lifelong friends, while having

the structure needed to finish the race healthy. It’s great exposure for a wonderful lifestyle.”

ChariTy MaTChing Where do you start when seeking out a charity? For newbie triathletes, Crepeau recommends finding a program that matches your needs as a triathlete, rather than the race you want to get in to. “I wouldn’t pick a charity just because it’s affiliated with a specific race,” says Crepeau. “Instead, you should have a very good understanding of what the program is offering.” There are vast differences among all charities: Some may include everything from coaching to group practices to travel expenses to an event, while others simply offer e-mail updates or access to a Facebook group. “What you need from your charity team really depends on your experience,” says Crepeau. “First-timers generally need the expertise of a coach and team component that established charity programs often provide. This is why Team in Training is leading the pack.” While she notes that other charities are following suit and incorporating more cohesive training plans, “Not every organization can afford that kind of program. Plus, if you’re an experienced triathlete, you don’t need all of that.”

raising The Bar Another big consideration when choosing a charity: the amount of money you have to raise. While it may be tempting to join a team with little or no fundraising limits, there is often added value in those programs that require higher minimums. “Don’t be turned off by higher fundraising limits,


S C

Feeling generous? Consider racing for these causes.

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Team Challenge Triathletes in San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco can join up with this team to raise funds for the Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis programs—and train for September’s TriRock Triathlon. Not in California? Participate via virtual coaching. Ccteamchallenge.org

Athletes for a Cure Help in the search for a cure for prostate cancer. Team benefits include entry into exclusive races (including Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Canada), incentive prizes and travel vouchers. The more you raise, the more you get. Athletesforacure.org

MMRF Endurance Program Support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation while gaining access to top-tier triathlons—and top-notch coaching. Don’t see a race that suits your schedule? Align your fundraising efforts with any event and gain access to training plans, daily e-mail updates, nutrition advice and more. Themmrf.org/events

Jenny’s Light Founded by professional triathlete Becky Lavelle, Jenny’s Light raises awareness—and money—for women suffering from postpartum depression. It was formed in honor of Becky’s late twin sister, Jenny, who suffered from the disorder. While there’s no team component offered, individual fundraising is welcome. Jennyslight.org

TRIATHLETE.COM | May 2011

as this generally equals a better training program,� says Crepeau. “There will be more in it for you.� She says it’s not unusual to see minimums of $2,500 or more these days. Granted, in a rebuilding economy, potential donors are still holding tight to their purse strings. And the commitment to raise thousands of dollars in a matter of months is a daunting—and for some, incredibly difficult—task. When Meghan Aftosmis of New York City couldn’t raise her $3,500 minimum for a Team in Training event two years ago, she wound up paying around $1,000 out of pocket in order to participate in the race for which she’d spent months training. While many charity programs have systems in place to avoid such circumstances (Team in Training, for example, allows athletes to back out of the commitment up to 10 weeks before the event; funds raised up to that point will go toward the LLS mission.), Aftosmis’ situation underlines one of the caveats of racing for charity. Yet despite the hit to her bank account, Aftosmis says she’d still do it all over again. “To me, it was worth it,� she says. “I was meeting new people, training on a regular basis and felt really good raising money for the cause. If I didn’t have that kind of support system and motivation, I wouldn’t have completed the race.� Many athletes share Aftosmis’ enthusiasm and continue to stay affiliated with the charity teams long after their initial event. And with so many triathletes becoming hooked on racing for a cause, this lasting and lucrative trend will continue to accelerate and develop rapidly as the sport grows. “Triathletes are typically movers and shakers,� says USAT’s Yount. “They are able to sell the concept, they know how to deliver. Our sport is going to do amazing things in the name of charity.�


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Sprint t r i at h l o n plan

By Lance Watson

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C

Ryan Bethke

ontrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be in superhuman shape to finish your first triathlon. The sport embraces all ages, body types and experience levels. If you’ve been considering trying on the multisport lifestyle for size, there’s no better time than the present. This program will provide you with the tools to get you across the finish line of your first sprint triathlon. A sprint-distance triathlon typically consists of a 500- to 800-yard swim, a 10- to 12-mile bike and a 3-mile run. The term “sprint” can be a bit misleading, as this event will take many beginners anywhere from 75 minutes to two hours to complete. While completing a sprint triathlon does require that you have a basic level of fitness endurance, you will also need to spend some time working on fundamental skills, particularly in the swim discipline. This 12-week training program consists of three four-week blocks. Each block has a different focus, with the overall goal of getting you to the start line prepared to race at your best. Each block also has a recovery week, which allows your body to regenerate and adapt to the training.


a swim workout in the schedule with a lesson, which is highly encouraged, don’t feel the need to make up the missed swim workout. If running is your challenge, you can substitute a run/walk plan: Run for three to five minutes and walk for one to two minutes, bringing your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) back down. Many experienced runners do this for the Ironman marathon, so don’t feel like you’re less of a runner if you use this method.

The schedule: The plan consists of two to three workouts per week in each sport. In the final few weeks a fourth short run off of the bike (a “brick”) is added. The maximum training volume is six to seven hours per week, and starts at much less. There is a complete day off each Monday to recover from the weekend’s training, and two days off on your recovery weeks. The initial training intensity is set quite low to ensure that you can complete each workout.

Rate of perceived exertion (RPe) training This plan uses RPE zones for intensityspecific training. See the table (below) for details on the RPE zones.

new triathlete profile: You have a busy life and are juggling a demanding career, home, social life and possibly children. You are currently exercising two to four times a week, perhaps at the gym, where you spend time on the treadmill and stationary cycle. You are willing to get in the water and get wet! To start, you should be able to swim at least 50 yards straight (any stroke, preferably freestyle). You should be able to bike at least 20 minutes and run at least 10 minutes. (It’s OK if you have to use the run/walk method.)

The best way to fast-track success and personalize a program is to get a quali112

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Zone

Breathing and Perception

1

Gentle, rhythmic breathing. Pace is easy and relaxed. The intensity is a jog or very easy run or very easy bike spin.

2

Breathing rate and pace increase slightly. Many notice a change with slightly deeper breathing. Running and cycling pace remains comfortable and conversation is possible.

3

Breathing a little harder, pace is moderate. A stronger cycling or running rhythm, this is “feel good” fast. It is slightly more difficult to hold a conversation.

4

Starting to breathe hard, pace is fast and beginning to get uncomfortable, approaching all-out 30-minute bike or run pace. This pace should be challenging to maintain.

5

Breathing deep and forceful. Pace is all-out and sustainable for one to five minutes. Mental focus required; moderately uncomfortable and conversation undesirable.

Paul PhilliPs

Personalizing this program:

fied coach. If you’re doing it on your own, consider whether you are stronger at one of the disciplines than the other two. If you have a swimming background and are efficient in the water, you can add distance or repetitions to the workouts. If you have a cycling or running background and feel the need to add volume to the program, you are welcome to do that as well. Alternately, if you feel as though you need extra work in one area, you may want to drop a workout you’re strong in, and add an extra one where you need improvement. If swimming is your biggest hurdle, try to get a few swim lessons from a local swim coach or from an experienced athlete or mentor. There are many instructional videos on the Internet as well. If you replace


Workouts: Swim: The program gradually builds your

swim endurance to make sure you can comfortably finish the distance. Take time to do drills as well. Swim drills (i.e. single-arm, kick-on-side and catch-up) are designed to allow you to focus and improve on a particular part of your swim stroke. A local swim coach, swim clinic or Masters workout will help you determine which drills you should emphasize in your training. Bike: The longest ride in this program is 90

minutes in weeks nine and 10. Base workouts are done at a relatively low intensity (zones 1 and 2) and are designed to build endurance. As the plan progresses, there is a little more work in zones 3 and 4 to increase your speed and threshold. Run: As with the bike workouts, the major-

The Equipment Basics As with almost every new sport, completing your first triathlon will require some equipment. You don’t need to rush out and buy these things—in fact, I recommend waiting until you have done one or two events to make gear purchases. There are countless goodies and gadgets that will assist you in both training and completing triathlons as quickly and comfortably as possible, but for now, the very basics you will need are:

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Wetsuit (at least for race day) Race apparel (a simple competition bathing suit with shorts thrown on for the bike and run will get the job done, or you can invest in a triathlon-specific race kit)

Enjoy your first triathlon adventure!

Ryan Bethke

Running shoes Bike (road bike preferably, or mountain bike) Bike helmet (Safety-approved) Bike shoes Swimsuit Goggles

ity of your running will be in zones 1 and 2. If you need, you can walk to stay in that training zone. As you get fitter, you’ll find it easier to stay in the zone while running. The exceptions to staying in zones 1 and 2 are the fartlek workouts, during which you can play with the pace of your runs. Traditionally, this is done according to the terrain you are running on, so if there is a hill, you can run hard up it, and if there’s a long straight you can run easily or at a steady and strong pace. Allow yourself to experiment with pace and intensity. An example fartlek run would be: Warm up for five minutes, then run a few faster efforts for two to three minutes followed by a two-minute jog for recovery. The run is completed with a cool-down jog. The fartlek pick-ups can move into zones 3 and 4, while recovery stays in zones 1 and 2.


Swim sets for weeks 1-3 S1 swim 6 x 50yd/m taking a 45-second rest between each 50. 4 x 50yd of drills S2 swim 8 x 50yd/m taking a 30-second rest between each 50. 4 x 50yd of drills S3 swim 10 x 50yd/m taking a 20-second rest between each 50. 4 x 50yd of drills All times are in minutes. So 20’ = 20 minutes. Run/Walk: Alternate 2–5 minutes running with 1–2 minutes walking for the time shown Week 1

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S1

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

15’ Run/Walk; zn 1

Monday

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S2

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

20’; zn 1-2

Monday

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S3

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

Week 2

Week 3

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Wednesday

Thursday

20’; zn 1 20’ Run/Walk; zn 1

Wednesday

Thursday

Sunday

30’; zn 1 25’ Run/Walk; zn 1

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

S2 25’; zn 1-2

25’; zn 1-2 20’ Run/Walk; zn 1

Wednesday

Thursday

35’; zn 1-2 20’; zn 1-2

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

S3 35’; zn 1-2

triathlete.com | May 2011

Saturday S1

20’; zn 1

25’; zn 1-2

Friday

40’; zn 1-2 20’; zn 1-2

45’; zn 1-2 25’; zn 1-2

Ryan Bethke

Monday


Swim sets for weeks 4-6 S4 swim 8 x 75yd/m taking a 30-second rest between each 75. 6 x 50yd of drills S5 swim 10 x 75yd/m taking a 20-second rest between each 75. 6 x 50yd of drills S6 swim 10 x 75yd/m taking a 15-second rest between each 75. 6 x 50yd of drills All times are in minutes. So 20’ = 20 minutes. Run/Walk: Alternate 2–5 minutes running with 1–2 minutes walking for the time shown RecoveRy Week Week 4

Monday

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S4

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

20’; zn 1-2

Week 5

Monday

Tuesday

Day off

S5

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

20’; zn 1-2

Monday

Tuesday

Day off

S6

SWiM

Run

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Day off

S4

20’; zn 1-2

Day off

Thursday

Friday

Sunday

40’; zn 1-2

Saturday

Sunday

S5 40’; zn 1-2 Fartlek 25’; zn 1-4 Wednesday

Thursday

60’; zn 1-2 40’; zn 1-2

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

S6 40’ as 30’ zn 1-2; 10’ zn 3

25’; zn 1-2

Saturday

Day off

45’; zn 1-2

Day off Day off

Wednesday

Friday

45’; zn 1-2 Fartlek 25’; zn 1-4

75’; zn 1-2 40’; zn 1-2

10’ zn 1-2 brick run off the bike

Ryan Bethke

Bike

Thursday

20’; zn 1-2

SWiM

Week 6

Wednesday


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Swim sets for weeks 7-9 S7 swim 8 x 100yd/m taking a 20-second rest between each 100. 6 x 50yd of drills S8 swim 8 x 100yd/m taking a 10-second rest between each 100. 6 x 50yd of drills S9 swim 500yd/m nonstop, 1 minute rest; 8 x 50yd/m taking a 20-second rest between each 50. 4 x 50yd of drills All times are in minutes. So 20’ = 20 minutes. Run/Walk: Alternate 2–5 minutes running with 1–2 minutes walking for the time shown Week 7 SWiM Bike Run

Monday

Tuesday

Day off

S7

Day off Day off

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

S7 40’ as 30’ zn 1-2; 10’ zn 3

25’; zn 1-2

45’; zn 1-2 Fartlek 25’; zn 1-4

75’; zn 1-2 40’; zn 1-2

10’; zn 1-2 brick run off the bike

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Day off

S8

RecoveRy Week Week 8

Monday

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S8

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

25’; zn 1-2

Monday

Tuesday

Day off

S9

Week 9 SWiM

Run

120

30’; zn 1-2

Day off Day off

Thursday

Wednesday

Day off 25’; zn 1-2

Day off

Thursday

Friday

triathlete.com | May 2011

Saturday

Sunday

S9 45’ as 30’ zn 1-2; 15’ zn 3

25’; zn 1-2

60’; zn 1-2

15’; zn 1-2 brick run off the bike

50’; zn 1-2 Fartlek 35’; zn 1-4

90’; zn 1-2 45’; zn 1-2

Ryan Bethke

Bike

Wednesday


Swim sets for weeks 10-12 S10 swim 5 x 200yd/m taking 45-second rest between each, 4 x 50yd of drills S11 swim 500yd/m nonstop, swimming alternating 25yd slightly faster, 25yd slightly easier. 8 x 50yd/m taking a 20-second rest between each 50. 4 x 50yd of drills. Repeat this on the Saturday or swim 20-30 min open water to practice for race day. S12 swim 600yd/m nonstop, first 100 very easy. 4 x 50yd of drills All times are in minutes. So 20’ = 20 minutes. Run/Walk: Alternate 2–5 minutes running with 1–2 minutes walking for the time shown Week 10 SWiM Bike Run Week 11 SWiM Bike Run

Monday

Tuesday

Day off

S10

Day off

Wednesday

Thursday

50’; zn 1-2

Day off

25’; zn 1-2

15’; zn 1-2 brick run off the bike

Fartlek 35’; zn 1-4

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Day off

S11

Day off

Sunday

90’; zn 1-2 45’; zn 1-2

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

S11 45’ as 30’ zn 1-2; 10’ zn 3; 5’ zn 4

25’; zn 1-2

Saturday S10

45’ as 30’ zn 1-2; 10’ zn 3; 5’ zn 4

Day off

Friday

15’ zn 1-2 brick run off the bike

30’; zn 1-2 Fartlek 25’; zn 1-4

60’; zn 1-2 25’; zn 1-2

Race Week Week 12

Monday

Tuesday

SWiM

Day off

S12

Bike

Day off

Run

Day off

Wednesday

30’; zn 1-2 20’; zn 1-2

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Friday

Day off

Day off

Saturday

Sunday

Day off

Day off

20’; zn 1-2

RACE

Day off

Day off

10’; zn 1-2

RACE

RACE

LifeSport head coach Lance Watson has coached a number of Ironman, Olympic and age-group champions. He enjoys coaching athletes of all abilities. Visit Lifesportcoaching.com or e-mail Coach@lifeSportcoaching.com for coaching inquiries.

Paul PhilliPs

*

Thursday


BEGINNER’S

LUCK Even the top pros were beginners at one time. Here they share some of their most sage advice to the benefit of newbies everywhere. Learn from their collectively vast experience and knowledge to sidestep some of their early goof-ups and hop on the fast track to triathlon success.

NILS NILSEN

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Torbjørn Sindballe I would encourage beginners to see their entry into triathlon as the beginning of a great long journey–one they can cherish for their entire life. Don’t try to rush things by targeting an Ironman or rapid progress too soon, but rather take it step by step, watch, observe and learn as you go. Enjoy how your body responds to the training, how your body becomes balanced and how your energy goes up from meeting so many great, passionate people along the way. Share it! Kelly WilliamSon In 2003, I did the NYC triathlon and had a backpack and an extra bag of bike and running shoes. I hopped out of the car and my homestay drove off, along with my shoe bag. All I had to race with were the trail shoes on my feet! My coach found a men’s size 11 bike shoes to throw on my pedals, and I ran in my trail shoes. Lesson learned: Pack everything in one bag!

jordan rapp You don’t need to lock your bike in T2. I learned, a bit awkwardly, that transition areas are quite safe. I found this out at my first race as I was preparing to lock my bike to the transition rack. I thought, “You must be crazy if you think I’m gonna leave my bike with brand-new race wheels here while I go swimming.” But apparently that’s totally normal.

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PhiliPPe Kozub Join a group for at least some of your workouts, especially when higher intensity or distance is the objective. Having just one solid training partner can propel your success.

brian Fleischmann Make sure to put your left cycling shoe on the left pedal and the right cycling shoe on the right pedal. Upon learning this lesson the hard way, I always do a walk-through prior to heading to swim start.

Joe umPhenour Put baby powder in your bike and running shoes to prevent blisters and keep your feet smelling nice.

billy edwards Every triathlete has a race that just did not go to plan. I could not get my wetsuit off and struggled for several minutes after an already slow swim. Then on the bike, I hit a bump and the front brake started to rub the front wheel (actually I did not know the brake-rubbing detail) and I slowed dramatically. I was so slow on my brandnew tri bike that an older woman on a mountain bike passed me and said “You can do it!” It’s about overcoming those obstacles on race day.

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miKe Kloser If you don’t have a swimming background, get in the water now! barry wicKs Practice getting on and off the bike in T1 and T2. A lot of time can saved if this is done smoothly. Just being familiar with getting on and off the bike will allow for quicker transitions. eric limKemann Get a coach, follow a plan, seek advice! I’ve had personal experience dealing with overtraining syndrome as well as the problems that come with juggling racing, a career and a family. The best thing I ever did was bite the bullet and hire a coach!


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Terenzo Bozzone It takes years to get to an elite level; do not try or expect to accomplish it all instantly. Triathlon is a great sport; never forget to enjoy your training and racing. Race as much as you can to gain experience and learn about triathlon and your body. Achieving goals in a race is what it’s all about, so get out there and race, experience the high of achievement as you cross the finish. Build your training slowly to be a healthier, stronger athlete. Doing too much too soon leads to injury. Many beginners try to train at a level that is beyond them. Understand what you can handle, and enjoy the sport. Always look after your body, and understand when it needs some recovery.

Kalen Darling If you want to try something in a race, it should be rehearsed for weeks prior. Take transitions: If you try to keep your cycling shoes clipped onto your bike for T1, you will be a lot safer if you practiced that prior to the race. I did that once when I was beginning in the sport and it turned into a nightmare really fast.

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Karl BorDine Smile. You are not doing this because you boss told you to. You put those hours into training, purchased the equipment and paid to enter the race. I have no doubt you are going to push yourself past what you thought you could push and that is awesome, but you have to remember to have fun.

John Flanagan Add swim paddles into your training. Triathletes spend less time in the pool than the average competitive swimmer. Adding paddles to your workout (about 25–35 percent of total distance) a few times a week will help gain strength in the water and is an efficient way to improve swimming speed.

nils nilsen

DaviD Thompson Volunteer or show up and watch a triathlon before you do one. Everything will become more clear.

Kelly Dunleavy Make sure your bike is securely fastened onto your car rack. Running after it on the highway is not a great way to start race day. Learn how to drink from a water bottle while riding your bike; otherwise it could be a really long day. Don’t worry too much: Whatever mistakes you make, you’ll fix them next race.


Taylor Cooke Become comfortable swimming in open water with other people. Also, don’t try to put socks on for the bike when your feet are still wet, which I tried during my beginning years. It makes for an uncomfortable bike and run.

Brian SmiTh Never underestimate the importance of a good swim warm-up, especially if you are not a strong swimmer. My first triathlon in Ken’s Lake for the Moab Xterra was by far my most brutal experience ever. The suit was too small, the water was cold and I didn’t swim for more than a few minutes before the race. I thought I was going to be pulled from the swim and I didn’t have the energy to get out of the wetsuit. Volunteers pulled my suit off as I lay on the exit mat in embarrassment.

andreW STarykoWiCz Everybody is suffering as much as you are out there. If you get caught, keep hammering—they may break.

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kelSey WiThroW Know the race course before you race on it, i.e. climbs, any tricky descents and turns. If you can, drive it the night before.

xterra photos; paul phillips

liSa riBeS Find a good group to train with; they will help you get through those long days of training! Also, be easy on yourself and realize that you’ll learn a lot about what works best for you as you get more into the sport.

BriCe Winkler Regarding the swim portion: Always have in the back of your mind the possibility that things will not go according to plan. Goggles can be knocked off, you will always swallow more water than you thought humanly possible, and people will be crawling over you. Stay loose, relaxed and focused, and remember not to panic.


Courtesy of Blue Creek Photography

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Matthew Russell If you start the race wearing makeup like you’re going clubbing on a Saturday night, you are going to finish the race looking like a hurricane. Leave your makeup at home! Obviously I haven’t done this but I have seen some hurricanes after a race.

Ryan DeCook Many people get caught up in trying to get the best gear and forget the spirit of the sport. Just dust off the Schwinn or mountain bike and do a few races before dropping the money on that new ride. Chances are you’ll be able to make better decisions about what to get when you decide this is a lifestyle you want to pursue. staCey RiChaRDson New triathletes tend to go overboard by joining in on group workouts. It’s an easy trap to fall into because it is tough training for three sports. Once you make a plan, stick to it and use group workouts only occasionally for fun and social time.

Start with a small race. Your first race is gonna be wild—you’ll make tons of mistakes and learn from it. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get it all right the first time. 132

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BRanDon MaRsh Try to fit triathlon in around your life, and not necessarily the other way around. And lube up with some Body Glide before your races!

xterra photos; brightroom.com

ChRis BouDReaux

aDaM wiRth I can remember arriving at the swim start for the Xterra Mountain Championships and not having my wetsuit. I was lucky to borrow a cell phone and have my wife bring it to transition just before the start. Take time in the two days prior to the event to mentally go through your gear/nutrition checklist. This will give you time to run to the store if you are missing something or make any necessary gear adjustments.


John Dahlz Don’t go in with the mentality that you have to defend your ego at every workout. It’s easy to get carried away in group training. It’s taken me a while to know my limits and not “race” a quality workout. You only have so much money in the bank. Every time you do a quality workout, you withdraw some money. If you do too many quality workouts without adequate rest, you’ll show up on race day broke!

BranDyn roark Gray Before you start swim/ bike/run, get strong, balanced, flexible and stable: This limits injury and starts you out in the right direction. Understand that “more” is not necessarily “more.” Quality over quantity.

shonny VanlanDinGham Even if you struggle in the swim portion, don’t give up! I have been last out of the water and have still won the race. That’s what I love about triathlon: Everyone has strengths they bring and weaknesses they continue to work to improve.

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raymonD Botelho I can remember my first sprint triathlon like it was yesterday. I was totally clueless to the whole “brick” sensation of going from bike to run. It felt like a brick was taped to each of my quads. Start with a 10-minute brick run your first go, building up to as much as 90 minutes for a 70.3 or Ironman.

xterra photos

Jasmine oeinck Always put on your wetsuit when you’re dry. Use some Body Glide on the back of your neck to avoid the painful “wetsuit hickey.”

BranDon Del campo The biggest mistake I made when I first started out was doing too much too soon! This can be very detrimental to the beginner triathlete by causing injuries that can linger over time. Take it slow and let your body adapt.


2188-8a_swim.indd 1

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Dan McIntosh Ignore the advice about always “having fun.” Training and racing are not always fun, but that’s OK because the joy that comes from putting in hard work and completing a task has always brought greater rewards.

natasha Van Der Merwe Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing as far as quantity and quality of training, nutrition, etc. Find a mentor (experienced triathlete) or a coach that you trust and listen only to them and commit to following that advice or plan. It takes the stress out of figuring it all out for yourself.

Guy PetruzzellI Start packing your race bag on the Monday before the race. It’s the best way to avoid showing up without something important. I ended up at one of my first races without race shoes. There’s nothing pretty about running around transition 45 minutes before the gun goes off trying to find someone who has the same shoe size and a spare pair of shoes. I ended up running in some dude’s high tops for a 10K. So there I was, Speedo, tri singlet and high tops. Talk about getting some looks.

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eMIly cocks In my first half-Ironman I was extremely concerned about getting enough to eat and drink. My husband convinced me to just stick with two water bottles and I could grab more at the aid stations. However, grabbing water bottles at the aid stations proved to be challenging, so practice beforehand and slow down!

sean Jefferson Learn the rules. In my second sprint triathlon I crossed the line second overall but wound up finishing fourth because I got a blocking penalty. I knew you weren’t allowed to draft, but I had no idea that you had to ride as close to the right when not passing. After that race I read the entire rules book and have never been penalized since.

zach ruble Have fun and learn from the more experienced athletes around you (not just triathletes, but swimmers, cyclists and runners too). In the end, though, you’re doing this because you enjoy it, so don’t feel like you have to do everything the way everyone else does it.

treVor GlaVIn Make your easy days easy and your hard days hard. So many athletes train in the “gray” zone, never giving their bodies time to recover and are, therefore, unable to push hard enough during the hard sessions to derive the greatest benefit.

chrIs Ganter The biggest mistake I made starting out was swim training in my home pool. I’d do laps across my 15-foot, in-ground pool for up to 20 minutes at a time, getting dizzy from all the turning. In my race, a sprint triathlon, I was completely exhausted within 100 yards of a 400yard race! A Masters swim program worked wonders for my ability to comfortably finish a triathlon swim. Joe Maloy Don’t get bogged down in the details. If you enjoy the way swimming, running and biking makes you feel, you should enter a triathlon! Enjoy the company of everyone you meet along the way. It’s that simple.


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May 2011 | triathlete.com

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matt chraBot Uli Bromme Ease into the run and push it once your legs come around a few minutes in. Do not go all out right off the bike, only to have to walk a mile later. I try to remember this even now when I get off the bike and start the run and have the typical “brick legs” that feel like they are going nowhere. After a few minutes I usually find my groove and am able to pick up the pace and run hard. JUlie ertel Don’t underestimate the importance of quality fuel during a race. When I began in the sport, I didn’t enjoy the taste of the sugary sports drinks nor did I want the extra calories. I came to learn that the electrolytes and simple sugars in those drinks really helped my performance, and fueling immediately after was crucial to my recovery.

I was 21 when I competed in my first triathlon. I wanted to be competitive and do my best to win. My dad raced his first a couple of years ago. Afterward he called me to tell me how much fun he had. Racing at the highest level against the world’s best, I sometimes forget how important it is to just go out and have a good time. As my dad always tells me before every race, “Do your best and have fun.”

Zach Britton Find people in your area who have been doing triathlons for a couple of years. They can help you find the best bike shop or swim group. When I first started, I would try to do group rides with a backpack on until someone told me that I should probably leave it at home.

lewis elliot Focus on adding healthy foods rather than removing unhealthy foods. This seems to work better for people, and allows you to still satisfy your cravings with your favorite treats while improving your diet in other areas.

Don’t try anything new on race day! Once I used my new clipless pedals for the first time in a tri (this was before we were not allowed to ride in the transition area). I was looking down at my pedals trying to get clipped in and ran smack into a fence bordering the transition area. And it was all caught on home video! Editor’s note: At least this was before YouTube!

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Jared woodford If you’re not feeling up to a scheduled workout, try to do the warm-up portion before you make the decision to bag it. Most of the time you will come around during warm-up and be ready to complete the workout.

Janos schmidt/triathlon.org; rocky arroyo-xterra photos

Brad Zoller

marisa asplUnd Do what I call “driveway transition practice.” Set up your driveway as a mock transition zone, have all your stuff there—bike, helmet, shoes, run stuff, etc. Put your wetsuit on then practice the following: Run to your zone as you peel your wetsuit off, put on your helmet, glasses, grab the bike and ride around the block—fast. Then come back as if you are in T2 and do the same thing with the run stuff.


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coDy Waite Wake up early enough to allow the bowels to move. I like to get up about 3.5 hours before a race and enjoy a coffee and some relaxing time to allow me to get my business done. A big scoop of psyllium husk powder the nights leading up to race day helps improve the results!

Jocelyn Wong Learn how to change a flat tire yourself. This isn’t just limited to women who can’t change a regular flat tire; I know plenty of guys who freak out about changing tubular tires on their race wheels. If you plan to race on different wheels than you train on, you should know how to fix those too. Don’t let a mechanical problem stop you from finishing.

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amy maRsh Find a basic schedule that you can fit in week after week. And make sure you bring socks to longer races—I literally took the socks off of [my husband] Brandon’s feet before a race that I was racing and he was spectating.

Dan hugo For the first few adventures, be sure to sip and savor the fine details along the way. It’s perhaps easy to get distracted by the challenge of swim/bike/ run as a newbie, but the nervous energy before a race can all be embraced as memorable experiences if you have the right perspective from the get-go.

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Rebeccah WassneR Hook up with a charity training group, like Team Fight. It’s a good way to meet other beginners and learn from more seasoned triathletes. Joining a group can help with the many triathlon unknowns—like what to wear in a race and what kind of bike to ride.

bethany hanDley A big tip that saves my feet and actually feels much better than wearing socks is applying New Skin liquid bandage to all the places that my feet rub. I always apply it the morning of my race, but never inside my hotel room. I only once made that mistake—the smell is very strong, so either do it outside or in the hall. Buy a new pair of goggles every couple of (or few) races. Seeing the buoys clearly can save you emotional energy. If your race starts out in the dark, wear clear goggles, and if the sun is up already, wear dark. If it rises mid-swim, orange is a good in-between color.


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Ian MIkelson Keep it simple! In my first Ironman (Coeur d’Alene 2009), I packed so much stuff into my specialneeds bike bag that I had a literal picnic on the side of the road and lost several minutes sitting there eating a sandwich and sorting through all my stuff. My special-needs bag now consists of two items: Red Bull and a PowerBar.

Ryan GIulIano Early in my career I had no idea about correct nutrition. I would show up to longdistance events with just a bottle of water and thought that it was too much and that I’d never need any of it. After learning I would need more calories, I started to fill my water bottles with Hawaiian Punch, as I loved the taste and it had a lot of sugar in it! To my surprise, I had big results from it mainly because I was taking in more calories to allow my body to go harder and further. I wanted to try and get them to sponsor me! I’ve learned that a 2:1 glucose to fructose ratio has been proven to work best for me, so make sure you are getting the right products and nutrients in your body!

kate PallaRdy Keep everything simple. Do not worry too much about structure or proper helmets or matching shorts to shirts (matching is overrated). Everyone makes mistakes in the beginning. I lost a bike shoe at the bike mount and pedaled a quarter-mile before people had to gently remind me that I had only one shoe. (Lesson learned: Practice makes perfect.)

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kevIn collInGton No race ever goes exactly to plan, so be ready to adapt! I like to make nutritional plans for pre-/during/post-race. This will optimize your race and your recovery.

JacquI GoRdon Check your running shoes before you put them in transition. I raced an Olympic race with a gel stuffed in the toe. It happened to be a really cold day and my feet were frozen. So I did not notice until mile 2 when my toes started to thaw out. Becky kelleR Don’t get intimidated with the people who have all the newest and flashy stuff. “It’s not about the bike,” it’s the motor that counts. Don’t get discouraged by people passing you. Sometimes those who pass you early blow up and you catch them later.

kerry yndestad

Helen PHIPPs Check your brakes. Practice your transitions. Race with the stuff you trained with and know the course!

saRa MclaRty Take the extra time to get fitted into a good pair of running shoes. I suffered from lots of foot pain during the first three years of my career. I finally went to the local running store and found out I was buying the wrong type of shoe for my feet. I walked out with new shoes and I’ve been pain-free ever since!


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Andy Potts Build into each leg of the race. Take the first three to five minutes of the swim and build your tempo, pace and effort. Then hold onto that effort until you get into T1. Use that same mentality on the bike and run but extend the building phase out to the first 10–15 minutes. It’s better to finish with a smile on your face and a little extra energy than it is to fade to the finish line.

nicholAs thomPson Don’t worry about being last. Someone has to finish last, but the odds are very good that you won’t be it. I also remind people that the last finisher at many Ironman races (including Hawaii) receives louder cheers from more spectators than the winners do.

emmA gArrArd

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Paul PhilliPs; xterra Photos

Remember what your bike looks like and where it is in transition. This may seem obvious, but there’s a lot of the same bikes out there. At one of my first triathlons I accidentally took someone else’s bike and didn’t notice until a few miles in and had to turn around and head back to transition in the wrong direction, which confused the volunteers greatly.

nicholAs sterghos Swimming: Always focus on form and technique when training and racing. It’s the easiest way to gain free speed. Biking: Find group rides in your area. They allow you to gain essential skills by watching more experienced riders, give you a social atmosphere to engage with other athletes, and offer the benefit from pushing each other when the tempo picks up. Running: Focus on form. Although there are many styles of running, all of them make sure all your motion is in the forward direction.


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raSmuS henninG Start out by joining a club or a training group where you can take advice, get support and find training partners and peers with goals similar to your own. This will make you commit more to your project and help you become more consistent in your training. I started out by joining a club when I first started doing triathlon back in 1998—without high ambitions—but the support and encouragement from coaches and athletes alike made me realize that I should pursue a professional career.

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Jeff Paul Many new triathletes avoid triathlon due to fear of open water. I used to fear that I would be bitten by fish in the lake while I was swimming. To overcome this fear, I had to think what would happen when I was younger and tried to catch fish with my hands from my brother’s fish tank: The fish would avoid me at all costs! This put me at peace knowing that as all the triathletes were churning up water the fish would probably be on the other side of the lake.

Sarah Groff My best piece of advice is to not worry about looking silly or making mistakes. If you focus on yourself and how you personally can improve, rather than how you look or stack up against your competitors, you’ll go further in the sport. I remember being incredibly intimidated my first few triathlons by all of the really fit, serious people with fancy gear. I was a bit chubby, with an ill-fitting hand-me-down bike and felt really out of place. Before too long, I learned that triathlon

wasn’t about the gear or having a six-pack, but rather about the personal challenge and the potential to grow as an athlete and even as a person. Embrace that challenge, make mistakes (but learn from them) and have fun!

nils nilsen

TimoThy o’Donnell Get to know your equipment. I’ve had a lot of races where my lack of knowledge with my equipment ruined my race. In one race I neglected to grease my pedals, and one of them locked out so when I pedaled I was actually unscrewing it. It popped right off the crank. Luckily I didn’t crash but it definitely hurt my race. Get to know tire pressure; when the roads are wet, deflate them a bit. In a World Cup race in Canada at the beginning of my career I forgot to deflate my tires on a rainy race day— you bet I slid out on a corner! Make a checklist for race day and bring it with you when you travel. You will save time and be less stressed when getting ready the night before the race. Finally, have fun! The more you enjoy your racing the better you’ll perform!


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SLEEP WELL, TRAIN BETTER This often-neglected aspect of triathlon training could be the missing ingredient to racing your best. Are you getting enough?

BY ROY STEVENSON PHOTOGRAPH BY NILS NILSEN

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Dedicated triathletes

leave no stone unturned in their eternal quest for improvement. They slog long miles on sore legs in nasty weather, cycle long stretches on roads, and grind out interval workouts at the pool. Despite this extraordinary dedication, most triathletes grossly neglect an aspect of training and recovery that would seem to be common sense: sleep. Sleep is not just something that athletes should “make an effort” to do—it speeds up recovery after workouts. And research shows that getting adequate sleep reduces the risk of serious health issues such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes, and prevents a general impairment of our immune system. Does endurance training improve sleep quality? We sleep in four stages, alternating between non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement. Each sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes and has a different function. Anabolism (the repair of damaged muscle tissues) takes place mainly in stages 3 and 4, when we are in deep sleep and growth hormone activity is high, and physical processes such as heartbeat and breathing are slowed down. People who exercise claim they fall asleep faster, have deeper sleep, wake up less often and feel less tired during the day. Scientists have shown that people who exercise regularly and intensely spend more time in stage 3 and 4 slow-wave sleep, a window of prime physical recuperation. A study published in Psychophysiology found that fit runners who average 45 miles per week spend 18 percent longer in stage 4 sleep than deconditioned people. One study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity concluded that physically active older men and women slept longer and took less time to fall asleep. Several other studies show that when individuals first take up endurance training such as swimming, cycling or running, their sleep quality is improved, and that exercising longer than one hour further improves sleep quality. When is the best time of day to train to ensure good sleep? There is much debate over this question. Running intensely for 20 to 30 minutes raises your body temperature at least 2 degrees. Doing this immediately before sleep will delay your transition to deeper sleep because it takes four to five hours to cool back down. For this reason, it’s recommended that you exercise at least three or four hours before bedtime, and some coaches even say six hours before. Exercise scientists also think that running too close to bedtime leaves the sympathetic nervous system overstimulated for several hours, making sleep more difficult. But like most things in triathlon, trial and error will likely be the best way to find out what works for you as an athlete. Does sleep loss impair triathlon performance? Sleep loss has been shown to cause a cascade of undesirable effects ranging from impaired endocrine and immune system

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Sleep-deprived endurance athletes often complain that their races feel much harder than usual—so don’t expect to feel good during or after the race.

function to reductions in memory and concentration. Despite this—good news for triathletes—continuous sleep loss ranging from four to 60 hours does not impair performance in short-term, low-coordination endurance activities such as running and swimming. The adrenaline rush of competition—aka “arousal”—overrides any negative physical consequences of sleep deprivation. Additionally, sleep-deprived endurance athletes often complain that subjectively, their races feel much harder than usual—so don’t expect to feel good during or after the race. Another disadvantage of sleep deprivation for endurance athletes is that it takes longer to recover from races due to elevated stress hormone levels: Several studies show that catecholamine and cortisol are increased with the combination of sleep deprivation and exercise. How much sleep do we need? Adults need between 7.5 and eight hours of sleep per night. Most Americans average only seven hours of sleep, with one-third averaging six hours or fewer per night. Bedtime tips—how to sleep well • Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule, including on weekends. • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading in bed, relaxing in a hot bath one to two hours before bedtime, meditation or breathing exercises. • Skip watching the news before bedtime if you find that it causes you to feel stressed. Likewise avoid activities such as eating, planning or problem solving while in bed. People tend to fall asleep if their bodies are relaxed and their minds are not focused on anything stimulating. • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime— some say avoid them anytime after noon. This includes coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. • Exercise regularly, but avoid exercising heavily within three hours of bedtime. Perhaps it’s time you evaluated your sleep habits to see whether you are allowing yourself enough sleep for maximum triathlon performance. Remember that the constant cycle of overload, followed by adaptation and recovery is what improves your training, week by week and month by month. It’s critical that you give yourself enough sleep to recover from your training and racing. Roy Stevenson has written more than 200 articles on running, triathlon training and sports and fitness published in more than 50 magazines in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

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saved me


Four triathletes take on the challenge of chronic illness—and win. By Marcia Manna

Will Rutledge, BoBscottnyc.com, diane stRedicke, damien noBle andReWs

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hospital when they made me eat something. I would say, ‘I’m fat, my stomach is bulging—let me go for a walk.’” When Degazon was just 25, her heart nearly gave out and she was admitted to the hospital. Doctors ordered total bed rest and 24-hour nurse supervision. She was allowed a television and watched, enthralled, as marathon runners raced across the screen. “I said, ‘I want to do that.’ The nurse laughed and said, ‘You couldn’t run to the toilet.’” That’s when Degazon resolved to be the last one laughing. She pushed herself to eat enough to weigh 80 pounds, a requirement for getting released from the hospital. Degazon had saved enough money to travel and in 1993, she journeyed to Puerto Rico. She built up her strength to complete a 10K, then borrowed a bike one week later and raced the Vega Baja Triathlon. The following year, Degazon competed in her first Ironman, Vineman in Santa Rosa, Calif. “I finished so near last that Nancy Vallance set a new course record in the half that day, went home, changed, and Suzy Degazon came back out to run with me!” Degazon Lives in: California says. “I had never run more than 14 miles Age: 47 in my life before—but I finished!” Diagnosed with: anorexia nervosa Today, Degazon is married and lives in California working as a professional scuba diving n 1989, one week before her 30th birthday, Suzy Degazon entered her first I was put in instructor. She has comtriathlon in Puerto Rico and had what she describes as “the last laugh.” these places peted in hundreds of triDiagnosed with anorexia nervosa, a potentially deadly eating disorder, that were like athlons and helps to raise Degazon had spent a third of her life in England’s psychiatric institutions. ‘One Flew Over funds for the Avon Breast She was addicted to laxatives, weighed less than 60 pounds and was often the Cuckoo’s Cancer Crusade. force-fed with a tube through her nose. Nest.’ I would “I fell in love with the “I was put in these places that were like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s get out for a few sport,” she says. “It has Nest,’” says Degazon with a soft British lilt. “I would get out for a few months, lose taken me all over the globe. months, lose the weight and go back in. I wasn’t allowed to brush my hair the weight and I have competed in 13 Ulor to use the toilet or shower. I had to use a bedpan until I gained weight. go back in. traman Hawaii CompetiThen, I could use the commode.” tions; I was the Puerto Rican The irony is that Degazon was a promising pastry chef with an internnational champion in 1999 ship at the Savoy Hotel in London. But her love/hate relationship with food and International Athlete nearly killed her. of the Year for Hawaiian Tropic in 2006. I Degazon’s grandfather would visit her during her many hospital stays and one day appreciate my life and I am grateful to be he soberly asked, “Do you really want to die in one of these places?” able to help other people learn and love the “A lot of people cared about me, but with anorexia, it’s not just about the eating,” sport. There is so much more to life than says Degazon. “It’s an escape; it’s about control. Someone would buy me a cake; I would living in an institution, waiting for the pill eat half of it and throw it in the trash can. Then later at night, when no one was looking, trolley to pass.” I would dig it out of the trash. You do crazy things like that. I would cry for hours in a

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So with all the buzz about EnduraFuel that was suddenly showing up in magazines, and online blogs, I decided to be my own guinea pig. Could this all-inone energy drink live up to its hype? I decided to test it out on a long run. I usually hit the wall around mile 18 and was curious what EnduraFuel would do. I fueled up and took off for my 20-mile premarathon run. I missed the usual 18-mile drop-off and I actually went 23 miles without realizing it. My recovery time was cut in half. A fluke, I thought, the placebo effect. But it happened again on race day; I didn’t hit the wall at all. I was mentally focused and energy-boosted all the way. This is how I figure EnduraFuel’s ingredients can help you. BCAA’s will help your performance and maintain your muscle strength. (No more sore “rubberband” legs.) L-Glutamine and L-Arginine amino acids will aid your endurance and speed your recovery. (No more two days off to recover.) Dextrose and maltodextrin will give you a continuous energy boost without the stomach upset you might experience with other carbs like fructose. The five powerful electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and chloride) will maintain the right balance in your cells. (Better than 4 bananas.) And the strong dose of Citrulline Malate and vitamins C and E will fight off your fatigue. L-theanine and caffeine will help you focus. No more “mind vs. body” battle to quit. EnduraFuel’s formula is scientifically tested with superior ingredients in clinically relevant amounts that improve training and race performance. A generous 90-day risk-free trial is offered by BRL- no questions asked. Pricing seems pretty competitive when you add up all the different supplements you no longer need to use, and the 90-day no-hassle return is an attractive offer. The question is- are you entrenched in your routine or is it time to make the switch to newcomer EnduraFuel? Improved athletic endurance and performance gives you the advantage on race day. When’s your next event? You have time to try it out and see for yourself if the positive buzz about EnduraFuel works for you. EnduraFuel can be ordered at www. EnduraFuel.com or by calling 800-7804331. If you order EnduraFuel this month, you’ll be eligible for free enrollment into the company’s Ultimate Athlete Club and save 15% off your purchase.


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hen Andy Holder was a boy, he dreamed of a life filled with “grand things and extraordinary accomplishments.” But he never imagined that diabetes would be the catalyst. By age 36, Holder was a happily married husband and father, making a good living working as an investment adviser, a job he liked but didn’t love. His doctor diagnosed him with diabetes during a routine health exam.

People get caught up in wast“ ing their time and energy worrying about things they can’t control. The only thing you can control every day is your attitude.

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Andy Holder Lives in: Pennsylvania Age: 43 Diagnosed with: Type 1 diabetes

and not knowing how to swim, that’s something that would inspire others,” he says. “I wanted to use my story to raise awareness of diabetes.” In 2006, Holder finished his first Ironman at Lake Placid. To date, he has completed seven Ironman races and he’s known as “Iron Andy.” During the cycling leg of a triathlon, Holder juggles a lancing device, a vial of test strips and a blood-sugar meter on his handlebars. He must test his blood-sugar levels 30 to 70 times during a race. When the “Why me?” thoughts enter his mind, Holder pushes them aside. “People get caught up in wasting their time and energy worrying about things they can’t control,” he says. “The only thing you can control every day is your attitude. I know that doesn’t make pain go away and it doesn’t change a lot of things, but that’s how I’m trying to live my life.” Now in his fifth year as the national spokesman for Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Holder leads a campaign to educate people about the importance of a pharmacist for people with a chronic disease. And in 2009, Holder launched the Iron Andy Foundation (Ironandyfoundation.org), a nonprofit that assists families coping with diabetes. “I’m changing lives,” he says.

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“I was waiting for something and I realized this was it,” Holder says. “Somehow I was going to use this disease to change my life and fulfill those aspirations.” Holder has Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, though one doesn’t have to be a child to get it. The immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to control blood-sugar levels, which, if too high or too low, can be life-threatening. “I wear an insulin pump with a catheter that’s inserted into my abdomen and I have to change out the cartridge and reinsert a new catheter every three days,” Holder explains. “Another device pricks blood from my fingertips to check blood-sugar levels. I’m counting every carbohydrate I consume and trying to balance that with activity and daily life. It’s a never-ending, oftentimes mind-numbing assault.” Holder decided he would fight back. One way to do that would be to reach his goal of finishing an Ironman. The first step would be to learn how to swim at the local YMCA. It was harder than he expected. Holder swallowed a lot of water initially and would then hyperventilate. It was a struggle just to swim 25 yards. Over time, though, triathlon training helped him manage his blood sugar and nutrition. “I thought, if I can pull off an Ironman race with diabetes and juggling a family


John smith Lives in: Texas Age: 52 Diagnosed with: bipolar II disorder (manic-depressive)

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*John Smith’s name has been changed for this story.

Will Rutledge

few years ago, John Smith decided to build a The doctors know 15-foot-wide bookshelf. He was elated by the that I’ll do anything idea and purchased equipment that added up to about to get better and $2,000, including a table saw and a sander. Smith had they are impressed no experience with that sort of construction project. that, with the help of He soon noticed that the spaces between the cabinet many dedicated rundoors were off, the spaces between the shelves were ners and triathletes, off—everything was off. He disassembled the project I have the ability and sold all of the equipment on eBay, stating in the to compete in triad: “My wife told me I’m not allowed to build anything athlons. For me, it’s anymore.” proven to be the best “The ad worked,” Smith says, sheepishly. “I sold all the medicine of all. tools. The wood became new flooring in our attic.” Smith recounts the story to explain the extreme emotional highs, lows and distorted reality that plagues those with bipolar disorder. Diagnosed in 2006, Smith can laugh at some of his past grandiose plans. Other memories are not so funny. He would start to invest in businesses or engage

in shopping sprees, thinking, “I’m going to do something important,” or “I need that,” then remember his “control mechanisms” and back out. He has endured electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment) and attended weekly therapy sessions for years. He and his doctors have experimented with dozens of medications and supplements. “In the low times, I’ve had feelings of just wanting to disappear,” Smith says. “I have two beautiful daughters, a great wife and so many things to live for. But there are times when bad thoughts take you down these foxholes. It’s as if the logic goes out of your mind and you feel like a total burden to people around you.” One way that Smith stays grounded is through triathlons. Running, biking and swimming, he says, silences the negative self-talk that pushes him to the point of despair. And the camaraderie he has with other athletes empowers him. “I started with duathlons,” Smith says. “My brother rides, and I would do that with him. I always wanted to try a triathlon, but I didn’t swim.” In 2008, Smith signed up for a duathlon that was later cancelled, allowing him an opportunity to pick from a series of races. “I saw a sprint triathlon and thought, ‘I know I can learn to swim 300 meters.’ So that’s what I did.” Smith took swimming lessons and completed the sprint. The following year he traveled to New Orleans and raced his first half-Ironman. Smith figures that he has raced in a dozen triathlons, an accomplishment that gives him hope. Smith’s doctor and therapist frequently discuss the positive impact endurance training has had on his illness. “A lot of people who suffer from bipolar disorder or depression have a hard time just getting out of bed,” Smith says. “The doctors know that I’ll do anything to get better and they are impressed that, with the help of many dedicated runners and triathletes, I have the ability to compete in triathlons. For me, it’s proven to be the best medicine of all.”


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t was a steamy June day in New York and the last mile of Ari Meisel’s first triathlon, the 2010 Mighty Montauk. He had swum in cold salt water and cycled trails with a view of the Montauk Lighthouse. But running was Meisel’s least-favorite discipline, and he was starting to struggle. It was just too hot. Then, Meisel heard a voice behind him. It was his friend Jonathan Kleisner, a seasoned triathlete who encouraged him to sign up for the race. “He said, ‘Push the button, baby,’” Meisel recalls. “We took off together stride-forstride and finished together. It was the greatest experience ever. It changed my life in every way.” I was fighting Meisel is what some might call an overachiever. He started with my own three companies while still in high school and finished college body. It was a year early. When a friend took him to visit vacant cigar facmy own body tories in upstate New York, Meisel bought the properties and attacking me. spent three years turning them into luxury lofts. He worked There was a lot 20 hours a day, learning all aspects of the construction trade. of anger. Meisel had suffered from stomach pain as a teenager, and when his symptoms returned, he figured that stress was making things worse. “I was working my ass off, smoking a

ArI MeIsel Lives in: New York Age: 28 Diagnosed with: Crohn’s disease

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pack of cigarettes a day, drinking every night with my crew and eating a Sausage McMuffin every morning for breakfast,” Meisel says. “I was 30 pounds overweight. In 2006, I was certain I had appendicitis and went to the emergency room. They did a CAT scan and sent me to a gastroenterologist. I had severe Crohn’s disease.” Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes ulcerations of the small and large intestines. Meisel was prescribed 16 medications including steroids, which made him irritable, and mercaptopurine, a chemotherapy drug that affects the immune system. “I was throwing up most mornings and losing my hair,” he says. “It was really awful. There was a lot of testing, and a colonoscopy is not the most fun experience. I had to have those done a lot.” In July of 2008, Meisel spent another night in the hospital thinking he was going to die. “It was an awakening in some ways,” he says. “I thought, I have to do something to control this. I was fighting with my own body. It was my own body attacking me. There was a lot of anger.” Meisel started going to the gym and lifting weights. He completed a cardio program and lost 25 pounds; he started running and ate a healthier diet. Meisel’s wife, Anna, a yoga instructor, helped him incorporate yoga into his training. Meisel wanted to help others and went back to school to earn emergency medical technician (EMT) accreditation. That’s where he met Kleisner, also an EMT student, who encouraged Meisel to take on the Mighty Montauk Triathlon. As Meisel’s health began to improve, he cut back on his prescriptions. He no longer takes medication for his illness. “My doctor was skeptical and took blood tests,” Meisel says. “Then he sent me a letter that said, ‘At this time we can find no signs of active inflammatory disease in your body.’ Crohn’s is an incurable disease and it’s amazing to have accomplished that.” Meisel is still feeling at the top of his game and training with his coach, Cami Stock, for Ironman France on June 26.


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Former Ironman world champion Normann Stadler tears into his bike specialneeds bag. Find out more about what you should put into your bag and get recommendations from the pros in Nutrition Q&A on page 166. PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN SEGESTA

May 2011 | TRIATHLETE.COM

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fuel

nutrition Q&A

In the Bag Q:

I’m preparing for my first 140.6 race, where I’ll need to put together a specialneeds bag for the bike and run. What are the nutritional do’s and don’ts? Special-needs bags are not just for those with food intolerances or special nutritional requirements—they offer an opportunity to restock; a back-up plan “just in case”; and/or they allow you to race lean and mean without the weight of extra bottles and food. Once you have your race nutrition calculated, lay out each item in front of you as a visual. For an Ironman race there will be quite a number of bottles, gels, bars, salts and more. Ask yourself if you could (or want to) carry all of that. Also think about any extras that you might want to have as a “just in case”: a special candy treat? Your favorite salty chips? A PB&J? An iron-distance race is a long day, and flavor fatigue can be a very real issue. Craving something solid or “real” to chew can be a very welcome respite, and sometimes just knowing that this bag is out there can act

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Run bag: Four caffeinated PowerGels and five salt tabs Offering a different take is David Thompson, a new iron-distance athlete who debuted with a third-place finish at the 2010 Rev3 Full at Cedar Point. “I would try to limit what you carry with you and plan on picking up your special-needs bag if you can’t get what you need at the aid stations. At well-supported races I wouldn’t carry more than two bottles on my bike. Liquid is heavy—a 24-ounce bottle is 1.5 pounds. Bike bag: One high-calorie blueberry muffin; one Snickers (King size) Run bag: One McDouble (frozen overnight) cut in half; one high-calorie blueberry muffin; two gels with extra sodium and caffeine “I didn’t end up using my bike specialneeds bag but I did use my run specialneeds bag. I ate the blueberry muffin. It basically melted in my mouth. Hardly any chewing was necessary.”

Nils NilseN

by pip taylor

as a reassuring safety net. Pack more than you think is necessary, along with some options. But also make sure that if you do miss the pick-up, you’re not compromised and are able to make use of your on-board nutrition and fluid as well as the aid stations. I asked two irondistance athletes for their recommendations when it comes to packing The Bags. Belinda Granger has perhaps the most experience when it comes to special-needs bags, as winner of 14 iron-distance events: “For most races I do not rely on my specialneeds bag on the bike—even in Kona if I do happen to miss it or drop it, I know I have enough calories on me to get through. However, my special-needs bag on the run is a necessity. The good thing is that it would be extremely unlikely for me to miss my special needs on the run as it is easy to slow down and get it.” Bike bag: Bottle of Carbo-Pro and two PowerGels 


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a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio to speed muscle recovery. ReGen draws on research that has shown that cocoa contains flavanol antioxidants and provides cardiovascular benefits. The very chocolaty beverage also contains 20 percent of your daily allowance of fiber, and it does not require refrigeration—though it tastes great chilled. Regen2recover.com

Gatorade Recover 03 $1.89-$2.89 for 16.9 ounces Gatorade’s Recover 03 beverage, part of Gatorade’s G Series, has the consistency of a “thirst quencher,” yet it contains protein and carbohydrates for recovery. The 16.9-ounce bottle contains 16 grams of protein,

14 grams of carbs and 130 calories. It also packs sodium and potassium to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. Recover is sweet but delicious, and it comes in flavors such as strawberrykiwi and mixed berry. Gatorade.com

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One scoop, which contains 16.8 grams of whey protein, can be mixed with water, milk or a smoothie. Strongerfasterhealthier.com

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Peak recovery time is 30–60 minutes after completing a workout—making post-workout nutrition key. You need more than water or a sports drink; you need protein, an ingredient important to muscle recovery. Try some of these protein-packed drinks, powders and bites to optimize your post-workout recovery.


FUEL

TriathlEats

Iceland native and chef Thorir Erlingsson has found his niche in South Carolina and triathlon BY BETHANY LEACH MAVIS

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written for people who want to become a chef,” he says. “And I said to my mother, ‘I’m going to be a chef.’ That was the first time she heard it, and four years later I graduated from the Hotel and Catering School of Iceland.” When describing his culinary style, Erlingsson wouldn’t say he has a favorite style so much as a favorite ingredient: fish. “Of course, I come from Iceland, where we have so much great, fresh fish, so I love to cook fish—that’s what I’ve been focusing on for years,” he says. “It’s a lean meat, and it also works well when you go into triathlon training.” Erlingsson has only been racing triathlon

BRETT FLASHNICK

Chef Thorir Erlingsson came to the U.S. three years ago from Iceland to get his master’s degree in international hospitality and tourism management at the University of South Carolina. He now works as the interim director of the Culinary and Wine Institute at the same university in Columbia, S.C. He discovered triathlon along the way—weighing 290 pounds just three years ago. Erlingsson has known since age 17 that he wanted to be a chef. He grew up in a town that had a plant for exporting fish, which he thinks subconsciously inspired him. “One day, I was reading the newspaper and saw an advertisement that was


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[SOUTH CAROLINA SPOTLIGHT]

Erlingsson’s favorite… Swim training spot: Jeep Rogers Family YMCA at Lake Carolina Bike training spot: “I live in northeast Columbia, so we go all the way up to Lake Wateree. It’s about 65 miles wide, and hilly—one of my favorite rides.” Run training spot: Harbison State Forest. “Trails both for running and biking.” Local race: Tri the Midlands in Lake Carolina Bike shop: Summit Cycles. “They have amazing service.”

Cod Loin Baked with Avocado Skyr, served with Israeli Couscous “This dish is a light, summer meal that’s full of protein and almost no fat,” Erlingsson says. It gives you a great dose of energy, but it’s also light enough for a pre-workout meal. When preparing this dish, he typically uses frozen cod loin, which is the thickest part of a cod fillet, but he says that fillets can be used as well.

Ingredients:

Directions:

4 cod loins 1 can Siggi’s Skyr plain (Icelandic-style yogurt)* 1 avocado Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup Israeli couscous 3-4 mushrooms (Erlingsson prefers portabello) ½ bell pepper (any color) 2 green onions Arugula salad

Prepare the avocado Skyr: Peel the avocado and mash it with a fork. Mix together the Skyr and the avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Siggi’s Skyr (Skyr.com) is an Icelandic-style yogurt available nationwide. Greek yogurt can be substituted.

Prepare the cod: Lay the cod on a baking dish and cover with the avocado Skyr. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. Prepare the couscous: Cook the couscous, using the instructions from the box. Chop the mushrooms, green pepper and onions. Heat up sauté pan, add some butter and the vegetables, and stir for a few minutes before adding the couscous. Serve with arugula salad. Serves four.

BRETT FLASHNICK

since early 2010. It started with him being overweight—a little too much sampling of his own food while running a restaurant, he suspects—and then discovering a yeast allergy, which had caused him pain in his legs since childhood. After cutting yeast from his diet, he picked up running to lose weight. He then got into road biking, and triathlon naturally followed. “In the beginning of last year, I signed up for a triathlon—that was a blast, so there was no way to go back from that,” he says. “I competed three times last year, and I got up on the podium one time.” In the last year of racing and training, the 6-foot-4 Erlingsson has dropped to 225 pounds and has already experienced the camaraderie and community spirit of triathlon. “What I have learned is that triathlon is for everybody. Triathlon is not only for the professional guys,” he says. “These pro guys come up to you and tell you, ‘Hey if you change this you will do better.’ I have not seen that in any other sport.” For 2011, Erlingsson has signed up for two sprints, one Olympic, one half-iron (in Iceland) and one full iron-distance race, the Cologne 226 in Germany, which he’ll race with a triathlon group from Iceland. He’ll be fitting all of his workouts into his work schedule with early-morning swims, lunch-break runs and gym sessions and riding to work on his bike. His commute is 16 miles each way, and he swims with a Masters swim group at the local YMCA at 5:30 a.m. twice a week. Some days, he fits in a gym session or run after work as well. “It’s easy for me to find time for training,” he says. “It would be more difficult if I were working in a normal restaurant.” Erlingsson feels confident in his leap to the iron distance in only his second year of racing. “Last year I realized I will be 40 in October 2013, and my birthday party is going to be in Kona, Hawaii,” he says. “That’s going to be my birthday gift to myself—to race in Kona in 2013 … I’m a big believer in goal-setting. If you set your goal and you work hard at it, almost every time you’ll finish your goal, usually sooner than you expected.”


fuel

EAT rIGHT

Why consume omega-3 fats? • Enhanced skeletal and heart muscle function during exercise • Potential prevention of cartilage breakdown associated with chronic inflammatory joint disease • Pulmonary function, including reduction of exercise-induced airway narrowing and a decreased need for bronchodialator use in elite athletes • Improved mood state and mental reactivity time in athletes • A modest positive effect on weight loss and body composition

Where to get your omega-3s:

The Skinny on Good Fats By Sally Berry

174 triathlete.com |

May 2011

The 411 on omega-3: • Look for a pharmaceutical-grade product with EPA and DHA adding up to 1000 mg. This may require reading the fine print and back labels. • Look for environmentally safe and sustainable practices. Algae-sourced DHA supplements are a good alternative to fish oils. • Krill supplements have been a popular option. However, the concentration of these fatty acids in krill oil products is usually less than in fish oil products. • Some fish oil preparations, such as cod liver oil, contain large amounts of vitamins A and D. If used long-term or in large doses, there is a risk of vitamin A and D toxicity. • Fish oil is generally tolerated at doses of 3–4 grams per day or less. • Good omega-3 fish oil should not have a strong “fishy” aftertaste. • Avoid mixed omega-3, 6 and 9 supplements. Go for the DHA plus EPA omega-3 supplements

Istockphoto.com/JoeBIafore

Fat is an essential part of any healthy diet—but there are good fats and then there are not-so good fats. Omega-3 fats play an important role in maintaining good health, but they can also play a role in improving athletic performance. Most of the daily average 82–110 grams of fat we eat is saturated, monounsaturated or omega-6 fat. Omega-6 are the pro-inflammatory fatty acids found in refined oils commonly used in cooking, baking and processed, packaged foods. Only 0.5 percent of the North American diet appears to contain omega-3, the anti-inflammatory fatty acids. To put it simply, our consumption of good fat is off-balance and needs to be increased. But, what’s the best form of omega-3 and why should we eat it? Omega-3 has three main types: ALA (alpha linoleic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ALA is an essential fatty acid found naturally in plant sources and makes up 90 percent of our omega-3 food intake. DHA and EPA come from fish sources. Although ALA is converted in the body to EPA and DHA, the process is inefficient, so many vegetarians and other non-fish-eaters do not reach recommended levels. Although ALA is essential for health, it’s the DHA and EPA that can prevent chronic diseases and can significantly benefit athletes. Omega-3 DHA and EPA play a role in decreasing sudden heart attack and cardiovascular disease by lowering triglycerides, strengthening elasticity of blood vessels and playing a vital role in metabolism. Inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease have also been positively associated with intakes of fatty acids. For the athlete, inflammation and oxidative stress is part of a day’s training—a diet high in inflammatory omega-6 fats worsens this condition, but some of this damage can be counteracted by dietary DHA and EPA.

• ALA, the plant sources of omega-3, can be found in flaxseed, canola oil, soy, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, kale, Brussels spouts and omegafortified foods (such as soy and eggs). • Plant foods will not provide athletes with adequate DHA/EPA fatty acids— which are found almost exclusively in fatty fish, but also in algae sources. • The newly released 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend about 8 ounces of seafood per week to get the 250 mg per day of DHA/EPA. But other sources recommend 1–2 grams per day, and up to 4 grams during intense training or racing. • Seafood sources higher in DHA and EPA and lower in mercury include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (but not king mackerel, which is high in mercury) and tuna in limited amounts.


fuel

healthful hints

Fat Loading: Can it improve endurance performance? By GreGory Cox

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’90s showed that athletes who consumed such a diet for two to four weeks were able to undertake moderate-intensity exercise with increased rates of fat oxidation and a subsequent decrease in their reliance on muscle glycogen. The question is whether this metabolic advantage translates into a performance advantage, and this is where things get complicated. It appears that fat loading alone does not enhance exercise capacity or performance. In fact, athletes report extreme difficulty training on such a diet. The lack of carbohydrates generally results in increased fatigue, irritability and possible gastrointestinal distress, an increased perceived exertion and a reduced ability to handle training loads—and if athletes are unable to train with the required intensity and frequency, then no matter what they are eating their performance will suffer. Furthermore, although it sounds easy, it’s extremely difficult to prepare a diet so high in fat. It’s not as simple as ditch-

Istockphoto.com/2ndpIc

Triathlon has evolved alongside advancements in sports science and as a result, many in the sport try new dietary interventions to enhance their training and competition performance. One such dietary strategy is fat adaptation, the process of eating a very high-fat diet to improve the body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel. Successful fat adaptation would be the “holy grail” for endurance athletes because if you are able to spare glycogen, you can also delay the fatigue that comes as these reserves are burned up. Compared with the limited amount of stored carbohydrate, body fat stores represent a virtually limitless fuel source during exercise. Endurance training itself enhances an athlete’s capacity to burn fat as a fuel during moderate-intensity exercise, but this capacity can be further enhanced by the intake of a low-carbohydrate (less than 20 percent of daily calories), high-fat (about 65–70 percent of daily calories) diet. Several studies during the ’80s and

ing your favorite Napolitano pasta sauce for a carbonara. The high-fat diets (or extremely low-carbohydrate diets) used in these studies require expert nutritional advice to develop and prepare. As an alternative to chronic fat adaptation, several studies have had endurance athletes adapt their muscles to a high-fat diet over five to six days (with full training), then switch to a high-carbohydrate diet (10–12 grams per day) and rest for 24 hours to restore muscle glycogen content. This model is designed to cause an acute increase in fat adaptation, while loading the muscle with carbohydrate immediately before a simulated competition trial. Researchers have shown that this approach dramatically retools the muscle to enhance the capacity for fat oxidation and “spare” muscle glycogen. However, these studies have failed to show any benefit to endurance performance as a result of these favored metabolic adaptations. The most likely explanation for this lack of improvement is because while this shortterm approach increases fat oxidation, it appears to simultaneously downshift the ability to use carbohydrate, which is an important fuel for the muscle. In a recent study, researchers found that when cyclists were fat-adapted and then carbohydrate reloaded, they suffered an impairment of their ability to perform 1K sprint efforts during a 100K simulated race. Although endurance events involve sustained continuous effort, in which fat is a significant contributor to energy needs, there are several times throughout the course of the event during which you call upon your muscles to burn carbohydrate as a fuel. The activities that occur in triathlons—the sprint off the beach, the breakaway or surge during the bike, or the sprint to the finish line—all rely on your ability to work at high intensities that are carbohydrate-dependent. It appears that fat-adaptation strategies significantly impair these higher-intensity efforts. The bottom line: Fat loading is probably not a good option for triathletes aiming for a performance boost—it is a difficult strategy to implement and has failed to show clear performance improvements.


fuel

My Day on a Plate

Pip’s comments:

Each month, nutritionist and pro triathlete Pip Taylor digs into a reader’s food diary and offers advice for eating, performing and feeling your best.

“I sometimes (probably more than most) bonk on weekend long group rides even though I bring lots of gels, bananas and sports drinks to try to keep my energy up. I usually feel like I could eat a horse by mile 50 and more at 65. I’m 5-foot-11 and have gone from 163 to 148 pounds since I started doing triathlon.”

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jon davis

Name: David LeClair Age: 43 Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla. Swim club: Gold Coast Masters Cycling club: P&E Racing Running club: Boca Raton Road Runners Years in triathlon: 2.5 Best tri accomplishment: Third place at The Intimidator Florida Challenge Triathlon, plus completing my first half-Ironman last year at Ironman 70.3 Miami Tri Goals: Qualify for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Las Vegas

My Day: 5 a.m. Masters swim (3500–4000 yards).  After swimming I eat a gel and then go on a 5-mile easy run. 8 a.m. About 1.5 cups of low-fat Greek yogurt, a handful of raw sliced almonds and some honey. 9 a.m. Two cups of coffee. 11 a.m. An apple and a banana. Often I also have some sweets from the office: chocolates, candies and peanut butter cups. 1 p.m. Two sandwiches from home: PB&J and deli meat with cheese and mayonnaise on wheat bread. 4 p.m. Packet of instant plain oatmeal with a handful of raisins (sometimes I eat more of the office sweets instead). Cup of green tea. 7 p.m. Chicken with veggies.   8 p.m. A little fat-free frozen yogurt for a late-night snack. A couple of glasses of white wine are also an occasional treat with dinner. 9:30 p.m. Off to bed—I have a 35- to 40-mile group ride at 5:30 a.m.

Your nutrition should better reflect your activity. You need to match your caloric intake to when your activity is highest. Workouts kick off the day, but there is very little fuel in the morning. You are then playing catch-up throughout the day with your calories; little wonder those office candies become so tempting! It’s fine to swim with an empty stomach, although if you know you have a key swim workout then have something beforehand, even a gel, sports drink or banana. To ensure your run is effective, take in some more calories either after the swim or even during, if possible (a sports drink would be great for that). Yogurt, nuts and honey make a great snack but it’s not substantial enough after two morning workouts—add some raw oats and banana or some whole grain toast with a poached egg or avocado. Instead of relying on coffee and candies mid-morning, consider crackers and cheese or vegetables and hummus. This would also help to boost your vegetable intake, which appears to be limited to dinner. Or make your sandwich fillings more nutritious: Skip the deli meats and instead think about either canned tuna, roasted turkey breast or ricotta cheese and then fill generously with greens. Your frequent bonking on bike rides is also due to inadequate fueling—in particular, a lack of carbohydrates. Try eating some oatmeal or cereal with yogurt and fruit before your ride, then continue to take in calories during. Once you get comfortable with the distance and become more efficient, you can begin to set out on an empty stomach and eat after an hour or so. Until then, you’re not maximizing your training. You have lost considerable weight in the past two years—remember that you still need strength for triathlon. Another suggestion: Instead of fat-free frozen yogurt, treat yourself to full-fat, all-natural ice cream and forgo the candies during the day! It will be better for you than all those sugar-laden treats (and the fat-free yogurt).


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never

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EvEryonE in thE Pool By Bob Babbitt

I

’ve been a huge proponent of the reverse triathlon—3.1-mile run, 10-mile bike and 150-yard swim in a pool—for at least 15 years. Why? Simple. The barrier to trying a tri, the greatest sport on the planet in my opinion, is the swim. If you get tired while running or cycling you can sit down, catch your breath, walk a bit and relax. If you get tired during a swim? People panic and wonder how the heck they are going to get back to shore. Plus, from a newbie’s perspective, an open-water swim is a virtual minefield. It’s usually barely light at the start, the water is dark and probably cold, the current might drag you to Guatemala, you could get swatted in the head by some guy who cracks walnuts with his forearms just for fun and yeah, I did see “Jaws” and big gray things with large teeth really scare the living hell out of me. But in a reverse triathlon, the 5K warms you up, and most anyone can run or walk that far. The bike ride is usually two mellow 5-mile loops, and anyone can do that—even on a 61-pound Sears

cruiser with a bell and tassels. After dismounting the bike, you’ll grab your goggles, jog to the 80-degree, crystalclear pool, serpentine your way across using the crawl, sidestroke, backstroke, breast stroke or even the dog paddle. There are lifeguards, walls to hang on to, no fish, no seaweed and, like with the run and the bike, anyone can do it. I believe that if the 150-yard swim were removed from the event, the numbers would drop from the 1,200 who were at the last Tinsel Tri in December to half that. Why? Because triathlon is sexy and everyone wants to do one so they can join the hippest club around. How do I know? Flash back three years ago. We had just finished the Tinsel Tri in Hemet, Calif. The guy next to me at the awards was in board shorts and no shirt, and he had a bike with high bars and a belly no doubt envied by sumo wrestlers. The announcer declared that the Ironman would be airing that afternoon and that we should tune in. Sumo guy’s wife was standing right

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hunter king

Bob Babbitt is the co-founder of Competitor magazine, the co-founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the host of Competitor Radio and the 10th inductee into the Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame. To hear his interviews with more than 500 endurance legends, visit Competitorradio.com.

next to him and looked perplexed. “Honey,” she asked, “what’s the Ironman?” “Same thing I just did,” insisted Mr. 3-mile run, 10-mile bike and 150-yard swim in a pool. “Just a little longer.” If Ironman world champion Chris McCormack had been strolling by at that exact moment, the guy who just did an event totaling 13 miles would have felt right at home, considering himself a kindred spirit to a guy who just raced 140.6 miles in the heat and wind of the Kona coast. But you know what? Sumo guy was spot on. At the end of the day, the order and distance don’t really matter. If it takes less than an hour or more than 16, if you swim, bike and run and finish what you start, you’re a triathlete. What could be better than that?


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2011-05 Triathlete