Hoka One One Shoe Review

Travis Vance

I’ve tried a fair amount of running shoes in my day including Nike, Asics, Newton, and Hoka One One among others.  Since the day I put on my first pair of Hoka One One’s over four years ago I knew that I had found my go-to shoe for years to come.  Hoka offers a diverse range of shoes so no matter what your intended use is, whether its road running, trial running, or triathlon you are likely to find a pair that suits your needs.

Over the last four years I’ve tried out several models including multiple generations of the Clayton, Clifton, and Cavu.  The one consistency between them all is what Hoka One One is known for – a cushioned foam mid-sole that is up to the task of absorbing the day in and day out training that you put them through.  While there is a small adjustment period for some that have never worn a shoe like this, I found that within one run I had adjusted to the different feel of running in their shoes. 

The Clifton was the first pair that I had ran in.  For me, this is great all-around shoe but I typically find myself using it during my long run because I find it absorbs the pounding of the pavement slightly better than others due in part to its slightly thicker mid-sole.  So, after a long run your legs don’t exactly feel like they ran as far as they did, which is great not only for longevity but also recovery.  At the same time the Clifton is versatile enough to take to the track if you wanted to, but if you’re going to go that route there are other models I would recommend first.  

I tried out the Clayton after running on the Clifton’s for about a year.  I wanted to find something that was a little more suited towards speed work and didn’t weigh quite what the Clifton did.  I found exactly that in the Clayton.  Another great all-around shoe and one that I’ve used on long runs as well as track runs, this model takes the benefits you get with the Clifton’s but offers slightly more versatility.

My current race day choice is the Cavu due it’s lightweight and responsive feel.  This shoe is built to meet your needs whether you’re going out for a quick jog, hitting the track, or running a marathon.  The material is also one of my favorite things about the shoe, specifically it’s “breathability” which I find useful as a triathlete, especially on hot days when you are sweating a lot or on race days when you are pouring water on yourself throughout the run.  The last thing you want is for your shoes to become weighed down from getting soaked with sweat and water, and these do a good job of drying out so that you are left running with shoes that feel like cement blocks. 

Playtri carries a wide selection of Hoka One One shoes and can help you find the pair that is right for you.  Stop by your local store to try out a pair and then get out there and start running!

Shop HOKA ONE ONE at any of our Playtri store locations https://www.playtri.com/locations or online at https://www.playtri.com/onlinestore

Big Triathlon Coming Up? Make Sure You’re Race Ready!

Big Triathlon Coming Up? Make Sure You’re Race Ready!

By Coach Morgan Hoffman

Triathlon is as much about skill, logistics and problem-solving as it is about fitness. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see athletes with great fitness have their big race go south due to problems that could easily have been prevented with a little intentional preparation. Following are guidelines to ensure that you get to race to potential on your big day!

1.     First triathlon? Make sure to run through transition a few times prior to race day. How are you going to set up? What order will you grab things/put things on? Keep it as simple as possible – only the things you need to race should be in transition, and they should be laid out in an orderly fashion. The most important rule in transition is to keep a cool head and avoid rushing and getting flustered. On race day, after you set up transition, practice running to your spot from swim in and bike in to make sure you can find it quickly and easily during the race – look for landmarks nearby that you can find quickly upon entering transition.

2.     Know when and where packet pick up is, and make sure you have a photo ID and proof of current USA Triathlon membership (or one day pass purchase) on hand when you go to pick up. Do not send a friend to get your packet! USAT requires each athlete to pick up their own race packet, and to present a photo ID and proof of annual membership or one day pass purchase at the time of pick up. (The one exception to athletes picking up their own packets would be parents picking up for a minor child).

3.     Are you doing a long course (70.3 or 140.6) event? Make sure you start dialing in nutrition and hydration at least 2-3 months in advance. Every long session is an opportunity to test, assess and adjust, so be intentional with your planning and take advantage of those opportunities by noting what works and what doesn’t. Consider getting metabolic testing and sweat testing performed (www.playtri.com/testing) to better understand and meet your body’s needs on race day.

4.     Nothing new on race day! Make sure that anything you plan to use or do on race day is something that you have used or practiced prior in your training sessions.

5.     The solution to every problem is to slow down. This may sound silly – what, slow down? It’s a race!! – but remember that triathlon is an endurance event (even when it’s called a sprint) and sucking it up for one minute could actually be the decision that derails the rest of your race. Learn to listen to your body, and consider using metrics like heart rate and power to let you know when you need to rein in the effort and allow your body to stabilize before pushing ahead. We like the Garmin Forerunner and Vivo series products for athletes getting into heart rate training.

6.     Finally, get answers to the following questions about the course, and prepare accordingly with equipment, visualization and specific training before you leave for your race:

a.     Will you be able to do a swim warm up prior to race start? If not, make sure you get some swim bands and have a plan for a dryland swim warm up. (We like Halo swim bands)

b.     Is the race open water? Get at least 4-5 open water swims (with a group, if possible) prior to race day. Pool swimming is NOT the same as open water!

c.     Is the swim course known for cold temps? Purchase a wetsuit (we recommend going to your local shop and trying suits on prior to purchase as fits can vary widely by brand and model) and get at least 4-5 practice swims with the wetsuit, preferably in similar temperatures to make sure you identify any other pieces you may need (neoprene cap, ear plugs, etc.) prior to race weekend. (We love the Orca and Rocket Science wetsuits for great performance and prices)

d.     Does the swim course have you swimming into the sun? Get mirrored or polarized goggles to prevent vision impairment. (We recommend the HUUB Altair and BlueSeventy Element goggles)

e.     Is the swim course known for choppy conditions? Practice breathing to both sides so you can adjust the breath on race day based on the direction the water is coming from. Ask a friend to get in the pool with you and do our “annoying partner” drill – your friend swims next to you, constantly interrupting your stroke. Your job is to keep a cool head and practice maintaining form!

f.      Is T1 on an unpaved surface? Plan to have bike shoes clipped to the bike (or carry them out) to avoid mud or other debris getting lodged in your cleats prior to the mount line, and plan to carry your bike to bike out to avoid flats caused by debris.

g.     Does bike out tend to get crowded? Plan to stop and get on your bike (instead of performing a flying mount), and wait until you get out on the course to take nutrition/hydration, adjust your computer, get into your shoes (if you leave them clipped on the bike in T1), etc. Visualize yourself keeping your head up and holding the line until you’ve cleared the crowd – if possible, do some group rides with your race bike prior to race day.

h.     Is there immediate elevation out of T1? Plan to put bike shoes on in transition if possible, and avoid flying mounts. Make sure your bike is in a reasonably easy gear so you are ready to start spinning as soon as get past the mount line.

i.      What is the bike course terrain like? If it’s hilly, make sure you get plenty of hill workouts prior. If it has rough surfaces, make sure you practice riding on similar surfaces ahead of time. If the course is known for debris, consider putting a heartier tire on your wheels that will be less likely to flat (Continental Gatorskins are a popular choice).

j.      What are temperatures like on the bike? If it’s known for being a fairly chilly race, don’t be afraid to pack appropriate gear and put jacket, gloves, etc. on in T1, especially if it’s a longer event. Better to spend an extra minute in transition than be unable to perform the entire bike. If the course is known for being hot and sunny, make sure shoulders and back are either covered or have a solid coat of sunscreen (we love the Zealios sunscreen for its long-lasting effects).

k.     Is the bike windy? If winds are a common theme on the bike course, leave that disc wheel at home! Sticking with shallower rim options, like the Zipp 302’s or Enve 3/4’s. If you’ve got a bigger budget, the Zipp 454’s are a great deeper rim option whose ridged profile helps deflect cross winds more effectively than other race wheels of the same depth. Regardless of which wheel you choose to run, make sure you have at least a couple of practice rides in similar conditions to ensure that you’ve got the ride tool for the job.

l.      Does the bike course get crowded? If so, make sure you get in some group rides on your race bike prior to race day. Review the drafting rules for the race you are in (note that Ironman and USA Triathlon have different guidelines), and remember that once you are overtaken on the bike, it is your job to create space behind the rider who has passed you. If you unintentionally end up in a pack, soft pedal and hold the line until the group passes. Are you the one doing the passing? Remember to announce your pass prior, and always pass on the left – be aware that all athletes may not be confident handlers, so give as much space as possible when passing, for your safety and theirs. Finally, on crowded courses, keep your temper on a leash and remember everyone paid to race. Be respectful of other riders.

m.   What is the run course terrain like? If it’s hilly, make sure you get plenty of hill workouts prior. If it has rough surfaces or unpaved, make sure you practice running on similar surfaces ahead of time, and ensure you have footwear that can manage the demands of the day.

n.     What are the temperatures on the run course? Cold run courses tend to be popular among athletes, and rarely require additional clothing (though a cheap pair of gloves that you can shove in your pocket halfway through may be a good investment for especially chilly events). However, hot and/or humid run courses, especially those lacking shade, require a bit more preparation. If your run course is known for bringing the heat, make sure you have a plan to cover back, shoulders, head and arms – this could be with apparel or sunscreen. We recommend wearing a technical hat (like our BOCO Playtri trucker) that you can fill with ice at aid stations to help keep cool. Plan to carry a sodium replacement capsule (like Precision Hydration SweatSalts or SaltStick capsules) to take periodically with water you pick up at aid stations, especially at long course events (for sprints and even Olympics you can likely stick with what they have at the aid stations).

o.     Did you pay to do this race? Remember to ENJOY IT. Triathlon should be fun. Do your preparation so that race day is a celebration, not a source of stress. It’s normal to have some nerves, but don’t forget to soak up all that awesome race day energy, tell a stranger “you can do it,” and smile when you cross the finish line.

Swim Drills You Should Start Doing Now

Swim drills! Who needs them? Have you ever finished a swim and thought, “How am I going to complete two more legs of this race? I’m exhausted!” Or perhaps you have said, “How did that person beat me out of the water? I am in WAY better shape than they are!” If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to consider adding swim drills to your swim routines as a way to conserve energy expenditure while increasing your speed.

Let’s address three common myths encountered during the triathlete training process.

Myth #1: “I don’t do drills because I want to go fast, and drills just slow me down.”

Okay, Speed Racer! I respect your goal of wanting to lower your swim time. However, I challenge you to answer a question. Do you want to feel fast or do you want to be fast? There is a huge difference between these two things. Unfortunately, moving your arms and legs faster doesn’t always equal faster swim times. More times than not, it just means trading a lot of energy for nothing of value.

Myth #2: “I don’t kick because I need my legs for the bike and run. Why would I practice swim drills involving so much kicking?”

This philosophy leads to what I fondly refer to as the sinking leg syndrome. Just as the name suggests, this is when you drag your legs through the water to conserve energy. If you’re thinking that those epic triathlete leg muscles will effortlessly glide behind as you avoid all physical exertion from the waist down, I’m sorry to say that your race plan may be a bit flawed. Here’s the fun fact! Muscle naturally sinks in the water and fat floats. What’s the bottom line? An efficient triathlon stroke requires the elimination of drag. If your legs are dragging through the water, the overall energy you’re expending is greater than if you learned how to counterbalance your body while adding a small, steady kick to keep your body on top of the water. You may be asking, “How do I learn to do that?” So glad you asked. My answer, “Drills, drills and more wonderful drills!” 😊

Myth #3: “I have to move my arms and legs fast to keep my body on top of the water.”

Many swimmers avoid drills like the plague because they currently have to move their arms and legs super fast just to stay on top of the water. The beautiful thing about intentionally slowing down your stroke is that this process reveals stroke weaknesses that need to be corrected. Just like babies must crawl before they walk, swimmers must lay a foundation for their stroke by going slowly before they can go fast. If the underlying issues with your stroke are not corrected, you will always exert more energy than needed and your speed will ultimately plateau.

Take time to review and implement the fundamental drills associated with this article. If you’re a DIY (Do It Yourself) triathlete, practice the drills to improve your stroke technique. However, if you want help diagnosing stroke challenges or would like to accelerate your progress, contact your local Playtri to schedule a session with a swim specialist. We are here to help you achieve your epic goals!

Watch Coach Beth’s Recommended Swim Drills here: Playtri TV

🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏼‍♂️ Just Keep Swimming! 🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏼‍♂️

~ Coach Beth Jones

Biking 101

Coach Beth

Biking 101

Are you new to cycling or seriously thinking about caving to the positive peer pressure of those crazy road warriors? If so, I encourage you to read the answers to the following commonly asked questions:

Question: I want to get in to biking but don’t want to spend a fortune. What gear is necessary for me to get started without breaking the bank?

Answer: Let’s be honest, there isn’t a shortage of bike gear on the market. Many of these products are wonderful but not exactly necessary for a beginner. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money but still want to be prepared, here are the necessities you’ll want to have before hitting the road:

1.)   Helmet – safety first

* This is the piece of equipment you don’t want to cheat on and hope that it never gets put to the test!

2.)   A bike that has been tuned up by a bike mechanic (it’s a good idea to get a tune up before the beginning of every season)

* Safety on the bike entails more than just looking both ways before crossing the road. Having a bike that has been properly tuned up is extremely important. Many people ask me if a tune up is necessary if their bike has been “resting” in the garage for a while. Think of what happens to us humans when we are sedentary for long periods of time. The same break down happens to bikes!

3.)   Water bottle and cage (or hydration system)

* The importance of proper hydration cannot be overstated. Please do yourself a favor and take water and electrolytes with you on the bike.

4.)   Headlight and tail light (just in case you ever get caught on the road at dusk or in the dark)

* I didn’t realize the importance of this until I got caught in the dark after a long ride took me longer than anticipated…not a safe situation!

5.) Bike tire flat kit

* Even if you don’t know how to change a tire, having the equipment on your bike will allow others pull over and help you. Attending a tire changing clinic in your area or watching a few YouTube videos will equip you to undertake this epic activity!

Question: When is it time for me to get pedals that allow me to clip in and out?

Answer: Clipping in and out is a huge area of concern for new cyclists. If you’re new to cycling, I recommend you start by riding on standard flat pedals. However, once you’re ready to increase your power, speed and overall awesomeness…it’s time for the wonderful world of clipless pedals! The easiest way to learn the appropriate technique for clipping in and out is by utilizing a stationary bike trainer. Being able to practice the motions without the demands of the outdoors will help create the muscle memory to make this a natural part of your cycling experience!

Playtri can help with any and most bike equipment. Find a store or shop online at Playtri.com/onlinestore !

 

 

 

Benefits to Gait Analysis

Jesse Vondracek

Big training is the sexy side of triathlon. Having a full training log and big miles on strava is a confidence booster going into a race. You can brag about it on instagram and strava kudos are always thrown at the BIG workouts. When I go do 2k of drills in the pool, or a form run for 30 minutes no one seems to be impressed.

However, these skill sessions can reap more benefits in the long run that all the monster training in the world. It is always hard to convince athletes that going slow can in the end make them fast. Getting a professional to help look at your running gait and really break it down for you can help you stay injury free, improve your running economy, and learn a bit about what is going on in your stride. This is a great way to gain “free speed”. As in, at the same fitness level you will run faster. Sounds like a win, right? Convincing athletes of this is a tough one, but if you can it will be worth it! 

Using myself as an example - I would grind myself to bits every season, then get the same injury and have to take weeks off of running. I had a weak hip causing stride issues. Three years ago I took the time to get a gait analysis at Smith Performance Center. They evaluated my stride. It is extremely far from perfect. But, the only thing we looked at is what is the driver of my injury. They coupled the analysis with some muscular strength testing and formulated a plan. I worked on my hip strength and incorporated some running drills in order to encourage my left glute to fire. Since then I have been injury free on the run. I also have a better feel for my run. I can feel when muscles are doing their job, and when they are not. Developing this mind body connection is very important for staying healthy.

Take the time to run slowly and correctly and you will be faster in the future! The early season is the best time to get a gait analysis, but any time is the right time if you have never had one. See what you are doing right, and what you can improve upon. Remember to take the time to do the work in order to improve and enjoy Free Speed down the road!

Get your Gait Analysis at Playtri. Get all the details here: Playtri.com/testing

The 411 on Race Wheels ~ What You Need to Know

Ahmed Zaher

Need some cycling speed for your upcoming race?   Race Wheels provide a great opportunity to gain some speed fast.  Let us help you find the right wheels for your race.

How do you determine the right race wheel for you? In general, carbon race wheels provide more comfort as they absorb the vibration of the road so that you are able to hold your power longer and have a better run.  The deeper the rim of the wheel, the more aerodynamic you are.  With that said, you have to take into consideration windy conditions, especially cross winds, because the deeper the rim of the wheel, the more wind affects control of the bike.  Cross winds create instability for the bike so you have to engage your core to stabilize the bike and need better bike handling skills.  

Here are our top three recommended wheel combinations.  *Remember that these are general rules so if you fall under multiple wheel sets or aren't sure what is right for you, stop by a Playtri store near you, hit us up on social media or email us at info@playtri.com.  We can help you decide the right wheel set for you based on your cycling skills, your goals and your race course! 

Zipp 404 Front / Zipp 404 Rear

  • Average Speed 16 mph and under

  • Weighs under 140 pounds

  • Novice Bike Handling Skills

Zipp 404 Front / Zipp 808 Rear

  • Average Speed 16 - 20 mph

  • Weighs 140 - 180 pounds

  • Intermediate Bike Handling Skills

Zipp 808 Front / Zipp 808 Rear

  • Average Speed 20 mph and over

  • Weighs 180 pounds and over

  • Excellent Bike Handling Skills

Watch the video to learn more about Race Wheels on Playtri TV: The 4-1-1 on Race Wheels Video

Buy the Right Set of Race Wheels for you at Playtri today!

TOP TEN NUTRITION TIPS

TOP TEN NUTRITION TIPS by Angela Naeth  

When it comes to the best nutrition advice, there’s a ton of info out there — some that contradict each other. It can be hard to decipher what is actually good advice and what’s something to read and put aside. From fad diets to the new trend, misinformation can be found everywhere.

I always tell my athletes to be wary of “secrets to success” and new products being developed that guarantee to work better than their counterparts.

The key to all of the nonsense? Realize there is no magic potion or one set of rules that is one-size-fits-all.  Here’s a summary of the best advice I’ve been given over the years as a professional triathlete for training/racing and overall day-to-day nutrition.  These haven’t changed no matter what new hot product is on the market or what fad diet is trending.

  1. Keep it Simple. In all areas, keep what you eat as simple as possible. Stick to the same products for training as you would racing, snack on easy items like a healthy bar, apple with almonds. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you eat. Make a list of good snacks, meals to eat, and items for training and racing that you can use daily.  For meals, rotate them weekly, get a variety of in by augmenting with different lean meats and vegetables.  

  2. Keep a food log – occasionally.  Keeping track of your food intake (what you eat, how much and when) can help you see your food habits (good and bad). By looking back on these days you can see what needs to change to help you fuel and recover better. There’s no need to do this everyday – once every month or two is good plan. 

  3. Enjoy what you eat!  Yes, food is fuel but that doesn’t mean it has to be bland, be disgusting and/or boring. There are plenty of healthy snacks/bars out there for on-the-go snacks/meals that are not only highly nutritious but delicious. Don’t be afraid to add spices/herbs to your meals and opt for foods you like. If those foods are unhealthy, find alternatives that do the trick. For example. I love mac and cheese. Instead of this, I make a tasty fried cauliflower rice with a small amount of goat cheese, fresh herbs and spice. 

  4. Have a replenish meal every week.  This is where you can enjoy the sought-after meals you find alternatives for all week. Sushi is my top pick. We don’t concern ourselves with amount and just enjoy the meal and time together. It helps us focus on the week and also enjoy a good meal together. 

  5. Eat carbs.  There are many fad diets and advice recommending no carbohydrates for training. The body requires them and using your race nutrition during training is key to a successful race day outcome. Using carbohydrates during the right meal windows (before and after training; pre-day large meal for a race) will help you not only feel better, but race with the energy required to perform at your best.   

  6. Keep it real.  A good rule of thumb is four fruits and four veggies a day. This is easily incorporated into a daily diet. Make meals with a  good size of vegetables and snacks to a piece of fruit with nuts or a healthy snack bar made of similar ingredients. 

  7. Plan Ahead. How hard is it to pack an apple and a bag of almonds? It’s not. When you’re on-the-go, have back-to-back workouts, a heavy work schedule, pack a lunch and snacks the night before — this should be as much of a priority as your workout itself. Bring training nutrition, recovery fuel and everything you think you’d need in a day and then some. It’s easy to have extra nutritious items stored in your gym bag and/or car. 

  8. Eggs. One of the most versatile foods out there. You can eat them by themselves, with vegetables, bake with them, and mix them with just about anything. They are highly nutritious and a great source of protein and fat. 

  9. Train like you race. Use race nutrition while training. Don’t wait until race day! Be consistent and practice this to ensure your gut can absorb what’s required. Stick to the same fuels. Liquid fuels work the best for most people. 

  10. Eat enough Even when trying to lose weight, many individuals skip out on caloric intake when it’s needed the most (during training and recovery). Tracking calories can be helpful for learning what you eat for a few days. Seeing and talking with a sports dietician is also helpful for those trying to maximize their fitness and learn how much they should be eating for their weight loss goals and racing.

TRANSITION TIPS

TRANSITION TIPS!

 

"You need to 'WIN' the transitions this weekend!"

True story, pushing the 'free speed' in transitions can be the difference in landing your next PR or podium finish!

Why are transitions considered 'free speed'- maybe the correct term would be finding 'easier speed' than what is required in the swim, bike, or run legs of triathlon.

BUT GUESS WHAT- there are techniques that can improve your transition times. Here my top 3 ways to increase finding your next gear out of T1 and T2:

1- Keep your space TIDY!

You are not moving into nor taking a nap in transition (better yet, you shouldn't be if you are planning on nailing some new goals).

So, minimize the junk. You should have a small hand towel- at the front of the mat: bike shoes (if not starting with them on your bike), helmet on top of the shoes with sunglasses and gloves (if you are wearing them inside the upside down helmet. Right behind the bike gear, place your running shoes, rolled socks to the toe inside the shoes (if wearing them, all you have to do is put your toe in and roll those guys up quickly), then race belt and sunglasses on top of all that.  Notice everything is uniform and easy to grab and go- if you need to put nutrition in there- place them INSIDE the shoes so you do not forget to take with you.

2- Learn to start and/or get off with your toes on bike.

This is a trick- YOU MUST PRACTICE AND NOT SIMPLY 'YOUTUBE' THE HOW-TO ON THIS ONE!

1st master getting OFF your bike (headed into T2) with their shoes attached. 

This may look easy, but your legs are going to feel like Jell-O. You have to focus on controlling the bike and navigating the dismount line and other athletes.

Even slipping the shoes off before the dismount line and simply stepping off the bike in order to not wobble to your bike rack (due to the bike shoes being uneven and even slick)- you will automatically increase your speed. 

The 2nd aspect of this shoes on the bike concept that I emphasize is starting with your shoes on the bike, possibly using a rubber band to keep the shoes in place, and then stepping onto the shoes at the mount line  (step NOT jump yet) in order to work the feet in ONLY AFTER you have gotten up to speed and have the momentum to carry you through as you work the feet in.

The 3rd step I take with athletes is to practice incorporating the 'flying squirrel mount'/ flying mount and smooth, speedy, gliding dismounts.

Lastly, I worry about the speed in which the athlete runs with the bike.  This is last on my priority list because it won't matter how fast you run or come in off the bike- if you can't control the technique it is likely you will actually end up slowing yourself down, getting in the way of another athlete, or falling at the line. Speed will come- see #3 below, work the technique first of each detail.

 

3- PRACTICE sprinting / fast running a.) with your bike in and out of 'transitions' b.) as if you are leaving T2.

You should be moving fast- your heart rate is most likely going to feel like it is going to pump out of your chest. GOOD! You are doing it right.  But you need to get used to that feeling + you need to be able to focus and work transitions effectively.  You don't want your speed to get in the way of executing the details. Upon leaving T2, I  ask clients to push through to the line and then worry about settling into pace.  Why, otherwise I have some that get a little 'lazy' + this allows the athlete to get their run legs under them with the increased cadence and effort= then we worry about falling into the race strategy / pace of the run.

 

So here's to finding some 'easier speed' faster transition times = getting you to the finish line, PR, and podium FASTER!

See you at the races and Happy Training.

Absolute Best Swim Products

Hello Fellow Fish!

 

Triathlon is definitely a sport that doesn’t have a shortage of gear to choose from. However, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the options. Whether you’re a gear junky or a budget conscious triathlete, there are a few items you must have in your swim bag:

  

1.) Focus Swim Snorkel (just a heads up…you may need to pair this with a nose plug)

Working on swimming technique can often feel like you’re simultaneously patting your head and rubbing your belly. Using the snorkel allows you to eliminate one of the trickiest parts of the stroke which is breathing. You then have the ability to focus on correcting other areas of your stroke. The Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel is my personal favorite because it securely stays in place and the wider mouthpiece allows your mouth to comfortably relax while maintaining a secure seal to the water.

 

Pros:

snorkel.jpg

·       Beginners: enables you to master correct body positioning, kicking and arm strokes before adding the breathing

·       Advanced: builds your lung capacity and allows you to isolate components of your stroke without sacrificing form

 

Cons: Be prepared for the following to potentially occur…

·       Weird looks (don’t worry…they’re just jealous of how epic you look!)

·       You will sound like Darth Vader when you breathe (this may be exciting for some of you!)



 

2.) Finis Pulling Ankle Band

Most triathletes work against themselves by either not kicking or by using a kick that’s too big. Here’s the problem…a lack of kicking results in the sinking leg syndrome and a big kick creates drag making you less energy efficient. The goal is to have a compact kick that helps you maintain a level body position while contributing to your forward momentum.

 

Pros:

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 12.25.27 PM.png

·       Creates a compact kick that improves power and efficiency

·       Strengthens kicking muscles

 

Cons:

·       Can cause legs muscles to be sore if you aren’t used to kicking properly

·       Can sometimes cause you to kick with legs that are super straight and stiff (you want to maintain a relaxed leg and soft knee when kicking)

 

3.) Stroke Maker Hand Paddles

Efficiency and power are the name of the game in swimming. Many swimmers exert effort that does not translate to speed. Having an inefficient underwater pull is a large contributing factor to this loss of speed and energy. Paddles are a great way to improve power and efficiency in the water. However, it is very important for you to have proper stroke technique before adding paddles to your workouts. Adding paddles to improper form can lead to injury. The Stroke Maker Hand Paddles come in various sizes so you can select the best fit. They are also designed with several holes throughout the paddle to allow for an appropriate amount of resistance.

 

Pros:

·       Increases the power of your underwater pull

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 12.25.41 PM.png

·       Helps you feel when you’re “slipping” water which improves efficiency

 

Cons:

·       Can lead to injury if any of the following happen:

o   Your stroke technique is not correct

o   You’re swimming with paddles that are too large for your hands (make sure the paddles are not much bigger than your hand)

o   You’re swimming with paddles that do not have enough holes to reduce the water resistance

 

Just Keep Swimming! 😊

Find these recommended products in store or online at Playtri.com!

Coach Beth

Why Teams Matter

Thinking of entering your first triathlon or joining a team? Here are some thoughts to consider. 

Triathlon may not be a true 'team sport', but it is a community sport. We might be out racing individual, but the struggle and fight we all experience throughout the race, and oftentimes in training, is shared. If you've participated in or even viewed any race, it's easy to see the camaraderie among the competitors and spectators alike. The energy is addicting! 

When you combine all of that with the power of a team, that energy becomes electric. The camaraderie helps get to to the workout and often gives a newbie the confidence that they can and should keep proceeding to that finish line. There is nothing like recognizing your teammates in the wee hours setting up in transition or out on the course giving or receiving a cheer “Go Team” when you (or others) need it most. And of course, having teammates at the finish line is an extraordinary experience. It’s great to celebrate or commiserate the trials of your triathlon journey with someone that experienced the course firsthand.

So find a team!

There are many teams to join. Here are two great options that I personally work with:

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iracelikeagirl  

  •   All women welcome

  •     All teams welcome (already part of team, we welcome and support everyone - no requirements/conflicts) 

  •     No qualifying times to join and no mandatory anything! Just a positive attitude and willingness to empower other women. 

  •     Opportunity for race homestays. Group that allows geographically dispersed women to meet and bond about their passion.

  •     Forum to discuss or ask questions about anything related to endurance sports

  •     Member organized training and social meet-ups

  •     Monthly challenges and tons of product/giveaways - $35K in gear! 

  •     Learn more:  www.iracelikeagirl.com 

  

Playtri Teams

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  •     There is a team for any and every athlete from Youth to New-to-Sport to Expert

  •     Weekly coached workouts at your Playtri Store location (all programs include weekly coached Bike, Run and Strength Training workouts, and triathlon-specific programs will include a coached Swim workout as well)

  •     At-home training schedule to supplement your coached workouts

  •     Access to all Club workouts, including open water swims

  •     Playtri Swag including tech shirt, bike jersey or tri top depending on program

  •     Savings off all full-price retail in Playtri Stores during your program or membership term

  •     Learn more at: Playtri.com/group and Playtri.com/teamapp

 Whether you choose to join a team or go it alone, we’ll see you out there! You got this!!

Happy Training,

Angela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

🚲Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Bike 🚲

 When looking for a good triathlon bike, make sure to consider the following:

  • Comfort

  • Brand and budget

  • Components

  • Support from the shop

COMFORT

Comfort trumps.  You’ll want to be sure you’re getting a bike you feel comfortable riding in both a technical standpoint, and riding.  Comfort comes from a good bike fit and size of bike, and a good shop will recommend bikes suited to your frame and interests. Consulting with knowledgeable, trusted bike fitters helps to ensure best results with bike fit.  A discussion of the style of riding and where the rider wants to improve– whether speed, handling, turning, etc. – is key. Being able to communicate with the bike fitter in person or virtually allows for the best outcome to learn about the rider and what they are trying to achieve. And always test-ride before you buy!

 

BRAND AND BUDGET

There are many brands to consider for a triathlon bike and a big part of this decision is budget, so take a look at starting price points for bikes is a good way to determine what to expect you’re your budget. Aluminum bike frames are less expensive than carbon frames, which is a major consideration for pricing. You can expect to spend $1500+ on a triathlon bike, or $500+ on an aluminum road bike. Different brands will provide a different fit and feel, so make sure you give yourself plenty of options when looking for that perfect bike! When I looked at bikes, I made sure to consult with my trusted fitter to ensure the Quintana Roo PRSix would fit me and help me achieve my goals. Playtri recommends testing several brands based on the fit assessment if shopping in store, or narrowing down choices with a bike specialist if shopping remotely. Larger shops and brands should provide a satisfaction guarantee program allowing exchanges if the athlete is not completely satisfied.

 

COMPONENTS 

Personally, I have been a Shimano athlete for a decade, so Shimano is #1 in book for cycling components – I particularly like that they have electronic components at fair prices that make my bike ride smooth and fast! However, there are plenty of high quality bike components and brands to choose from. If you don’t know the difference in components, your local shop can help you understand differences in pricing and performance.  I always recommend athletes start by looking at a brand’s “middle-of-the-road” component set. I myself use Di2 Ultegra electronic shifting, which has helped me become a stronger and more efficient cyclist. Electronic shifting has become more affordable, and is very versatile. You will want to look at your gearing as well.  For most riders, I recommend an 11-28 rear cassette and 53/39 for the front cassette, which usually allows enough variety in gearing for almost any type of riding.  However, a good bike fitter and shop will make sure you figure out the right components and gearing for your skill set and cycling goals.

 

SUPPORT FROM THE SHOP

When you walk into the bike shop, you want to feel comfortable right away. If you don’t, you have gone to the wrong shop!   You should be able to get measured, talk to them about the type of riding you plan to do, and get answers to your questions.  A good shop will recommend bikes suited to your frame and interests, and give you the opportunity to test-ride those bikes (highly recommended). You should be able to reach out to them, and get answers back within 24 hours whether you call, email or message the store. And, most importantly, you should feel like they want to help you find the right bike for you.

 

At Playtri, they will work with all athletes to achieve each athlete’s goals.

Need help or have inquiries about how you can be more comfortable or ride faster?

Playtri has been outfitting triathletes and specifically women in triathlon for over 18 years with exceptional service, expansive selection and critical knowledge enable athletes from all backgrounds to invest in their health and well-being.

Start here by finding a Playtri store near you: Playtri.com/locations or emailing info@playtri.com so their bike specialists can work on finding the perfect bike for you and your goals!

Happy Training!

Angela


How to Get Faster on the Swim

I love it when I hear triathletes say: “I don’t want to work on technique, I want to work on speed”. Here’s the issue…if you focus on speed without establishing proper technique, you will inevitably plateau or worse, get injured. There are a lot of things you could focus on to improve your swim. The internet is filled with tips and tricks. However, most triathletes have two questions

            1.) How do I get faster?

            2.) What’s the fastest way to get there?

This article will focus on one of the most common issues preventing triathletes from reaching their potential in the swim.

The goal of the swim portion of a triathlon is to be as efficient as possible to conserve energy for the Bike and Run without sacrificing speed. After years of coaching swimmers, I’ve identified a common issue I refer to as the “Sinking Leg Syndrome”. This happens when a swimmer is dragging their legs through the water instead of balancing on top. This is a big problem with triathletes due to the epic leg muscles that are developed through bike and run training. Here are the cold hard facts…fat floats and muscle sinks. This means that learning to effectively counterbalance your body in the water is essential to having an energy efficient, fast swim.

When learning to counterbalance your body, I encourage you to think back to your playground days and focus on the mechanics of how the see saw worked. If one side was up, the other side was down. It’s a very similar concept in the water. If your legs are sinking, you have to counter that by keeping your eyes looking down, head in a neutral position and upper body pressing slightly forward. The best way to practice proper body position is by using a snorkel. In my opinion, the Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel is the most comfortable and effective snorkel on the market. Some of you may be thinking, “I’ll just dig out my old scuba snorkel”. As someone who really wants you to have a positive experience training with a snorkel, I strongly encourage you to invest in a swim snorkel that is specifically designed to stay in place during your swim training. The only other thing you may need is a nose plug. Some swimmers are able to use a snorkel without experiencing a wonderful sinus cleanse (aka-snorting water up your nose) but most newbies to the snorkel world will need to start with a nose plug until they’re comfortable.

Once you have all your gear, head to the pool! Here’s my favorite drill for correcting the “Sinking Leg Syndrome”:

Superman Kick on Belly with Snorkel

The purpose of this drill is to teach you how to counterbalance your body so you can create a small, splashy kick. The splash created by your kick is a great way to determine whether your body position is accurate. You should be able to create a splash with just a tiny kick. Here are some things to focus on when practicing the drill:

* Kick on your belly with arms extended and shoulder width apart (arms should be relaxed)

* Look at the bottom of the pool (keep the back of your neck relaxed)

* Kick with straight legs but maintain a soft knee so you don’t have any unnecessary tension in your legs

 * Keep your kicks small and make sure you can feel a splash

** Please Note: If you feel your legs sinking and are unable to create a splash, press your chest slightly forward toward the other end of the pool (you’re applying pressure with your chest to elevate your legs…you’re officially a human see saw!)

 

Stay tuned for more recommendations for becoming a faster, more efficient swimmer. And remember…Just Keep Swimming! 😊

Coach Beth

Get Faster This Spring!

Get Fast Check List:

  1. Find someone to help you. Get a coach, join a triathlon group, find a training buddy. 

  2. Focus on the fundamentals.  

    1. 3 swims, 3 bikes, 3 runs a week - one being a brick.

  3. Strength train: not just in the gym but in the three disciples.  Use tools like an elastic tubing on your ankles while you swim with paddles, low gear work on the bike and running uphill.  

  4. STOP fearing your finish time. 

  5. Treadmill running - to build a faster cadence. 

  6. Run on tired legs - the brick. 3 times runs a day instead of a long run…

  7. Get a good bike fit - Optimizing your bike fit not only improves your performance, but also increases comfort while decreasing your odds of injury.

  8. Find a good wetsuit - try a few one, 

  9. The right run shoes - shoes, as soon as you put them on should be comfortable.  You shouldn’t have to break in a shoe.  Nor should you feel anything that causes you even the slightest discomfort.  

  10. Experiment with your rhythm and cadence - in all disciplines.

  11. Find your mantra

  12. Track your performance. 

  13. Jump in a local 5K or swim/bike time trial

The Beauty of Being an Age Grouper

In triathlon, we have the opportunity to race along with the best in the world. There is no other sport out there that gives the ‘average Joe’ a chance to push limits and sweat along the side of the Elite. Many age groupers mentally/ physical mimic a pro’s approach to the swim, bike, run... recording/splashing social media by sharing their training, nutrition, recovery tips, etc.

That said, without sacrificing our type A personality that many times accompanies personal ambitious standards, goals, and commitment, I want to remind you of the simplicity and privilege it is in being an age grouper.

1- No Expiration Date

Technically, you are not limited by the number of years that you can race in this sport. The oldest Ironman World Championship athlete has been well into their 80’s. Age group athletes don’t have to face the idea of ‘retirement’ and public announcement of leaving the sport. We have the chance of competing and staying relevant within our respected age groups/amateur rankings for really as long as we wish.

2- Life Long Heath & Mental Well-being

This sport is no joke. Whether you are racing within yourself or striving for that podium, the sport “will beat you down”. Forget the physical strain but consider the emotional truth in that statement. Many pro athletes have come forward with an honest reality of loneliness and having a true struggle with self-worth, outside the sport. You have the chance, as an age grouper, to stay committed to a bigger picture and more fulfilling lifestyle outside the sport. Not to mention, you have the opportunity to ‘listen’ to your bodies signals. You do not have to ignore the significance of a bigger picture both mentally and physically.

3- Affords Balance

Your choice, “approach your training as a part-time pro (1K-2K hrs/year): while juggling a full-time job & part time friend/ family member OR spread out that 1K-2K hours over the course of 2-3 years while building and maintaining excellence in your professional and personal life)... your choice!

Again, without dismissing our allegiance to our performance aspirations, we have the opportunity to better balance our lifestyle. Age groupers do not have to isolate their lives into the sport while ignoring personally, relational, profession, etc goals. It has been said over and over, “A HAPPY athlete, will be a FAST athlete”.

One of the happiest, smartest, and most talented athletes explained how he organized a 3yr cycle of training & racing. His order of importance-

1st yr: family, professional, training/racing primarily locally

2nd yr: professional, family, training/racing primarily locally with 1-2 high profile races (goal to qualify for Boston or IM Worlds)

3rd yr: family, racing at the highest level for an age grouper, professional

Mind you, he owns his business, has a family of 3, and has maintained this rotation since the early ’90s!

Aside from feeding the age groupers ego, you do not face the need for instantaneous success. So maintaining a balanced approach will more likely give you a happy, healthy, fulfilling, and steady growth in many aspects of your life.

My hope is that you may find your formula.

Have faith, your day in/day out focus and consistency will lead to new limits.

Happy training!

Redefine Date Night with NEW Workout Date Ideas

Who doesn't love a fun date with your main squeeze???  

Time might be limited but don't ignore the many benefits of pumping some blood for both you and your relationship.

Here are just a few DATE ideas to get you sweating together ~

1- Hit the Weights.

No, you don't have to 'lift the same weight'- but you can choose to do a circuit of 2-3 exercises to tackle together. 

Alternate who gets to pick the exercises in each circuit- you definitely will be challenged with someone else's favorites... only then to look like a champ when you throw it back on the next round.

2- Clock some sprints at the pool.

Grab your goggles and plunge into some chlorine together.  Warm up easy and then hit some quick intervals (consider 25's) with just enough rest to look over and wink at one another and take off again.  If you are like me, you will harness your inner Nemo just to get that quick flirt in again! 

3- Spin out sharp intervals

Jump on the trainer and knock out a quick 30 minute to 1 hour workout.  Pack a punch with some 30 second efforts followed by 30 second easy spinning.  There is nothing fancy here, but it is pretty 'hot' to watch your date go for it and no doubt it will be fun for the both of you.

When the weather cooperates, hit the road together.  I have heard couples say, 'they are faster than me' - guess what, the best riders in the world can ride with anyone, at any speed... so can you.  Relax and enjoy the ride, silently work some higher cadences and/or low cadence, never overtaking your 'partner in crime' but rather just enjoying the scenery together.

4- Head out for a trail run

Trail runs are a great way to get outside together and enjoy the elements. The terrain many times demands that you take your time, don't rush and/or worry about pace.  There's no hard rule to trail running- in fact, shame on you if you two don't take some time to 'hike' together and relish in natures beauty.  Get outside when you can, take off the watches, and enjoy the cooler temps and something different than the pavement.

Ok, so you want to get your speed work in together- keep your intervals contained (aka: a track or neighborhood block) where you can encourage, high five, or 'good game' your mate as they pass on by.  No pressure who is faster, simply lapping one another will give you the umph you need to conquer your goals.

Try out one of these workouts and redefine date night... just make sure your 'other' picks up dinner on the way home :)

Happy Training!

Coach Amari

IS THERE REALLY A "RIGHT" WAY TO RUN?

DR. KIMBERLY DAVIS RUNLAB™

THE MYTH: There is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to run.

THE REALITY: There are a LOT of right and wrong ways to run, it depends on your structure, range-of-motion, strengths, limiters, injury history, and goals. Seem like a lot to consider?!? It is! Read on....

There are more runners hitting the trails than ever and that, unfortunately, means more injuries. Some studies estimate that upwards of 90% of runners will end up injured in any given year. Given the fact that millions upon millions of dollars have been spent on shoe design over the last 50 years, why are injury rates still the same, or even higher, than they ever were?

The answer? It's not about the shoe. Consider the following recent case study from our clinic: A new mom, we'll call her Kristie, takes up running as a way to add exercise into her life. She is excited about running because it's convenient, she can run with her baby in a jogger, and it'll help her lose that added baby weight.

She even thinks she might like to train for a 1/2 marathon or a triathlon at some point so she joins a social run group geared toward moms. She goes to her local running store, gets fit for shoes, is told she's a "pronator" and is put in shoes meant to control that extra movement in the foot. She starts running 3xs per week on a run/walk program and reaches 15 miles/week before she begins to have pain in her knees. She doesn't think she is "injured" per se, but figures she should get it checked out anyway and makes a visit to her general practitioner. Her doctor recommends she take a break from running until the pain is gone.

She is frustrated but takes two weeks off anyway. She begins running again and within two weeks has that same pain start up. She revisits her local store, where they recommend inserts and perhaps a different shoe. She tries the inserts first and sees very little change so she returns to the shoe wall two weeks later. They help her pick something a bit more neutral, with the advice that she also use the inserts due to that pesky overpronation problem. She is excited to get back on track and starts running again with her social group, but the following week, guess what? Same knee issues. One of her running friends tells her that she read people need to run with a 180 cadence and that she should be landing on her midfoot. Kristie has no idea what that means so she does some research and starts trying to run this way. She feels like she is running in a fairly unnatural way and also quite out of breath, but the knee feels a little better! Progress?!

But...wait for it, the knee pain returns two weeks in and NOW she also has calf pain. She returns to her running store, gets put in another pair of shoes and decides in frustration to just run through it if the pain returns, which it does immediately. She keeps running until things hurt enough that she decides that maybe running isn't for her. She is now hundreds of dollars and several months into running and is worse off than when she started.

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She does a bunch more research online and finds RunLab™. In a last ditch effort to see if we can help, she calls us. She lives in Dallas so we send her over to one of our Gait Imaging Centers™ inside of Playtri. She sets up her account online, pays, fills out her forms so our team understands her history and goals, and then sets up a time to get filmed at the Gait Imaging Center™. The Playtri staff takes care of her entire filming process and guides her through from start to finish.

The patent-pending process includes both running and full-body movement pattern analysis through advanced video-capture technology, along with a full body structural, range-of-motion, and strength assessment.

Once all of Kristie's videos have been uploaded and reviewed by our team, we go through her findings and send her a full-color 14 page report which breaks down everything she needs to know about the way she moves, where her strengths and limiters are, and a Footwear Prescription™.

What does she learn about her running and her knee pain? She learns that onset of her pain stemmed from a structural finding (slight knock knees) combined with extreme hip weakness due to recently giving birth. She was highly unstable during the loading phase of gait and it was putting undue stress on her knees. The onset of her pain was based in didn't have anything to do with the shoe she was in. In fact, the shoes meant to control motion were actually making the issue worse because they were not allowing her foot to move through the normal pronation cycle, which moved stress up into her knees. The second and third pair of shoes were not increasing load, but they also weren't solving the underlying issue.

With some gait retraining exercises and strength work specific to her structural and functional limiters, Kristie got back on track, has been running consistently for a full year and just completed her first 1/2 marathon with her daughter in a baby jogger. The take-home message? The right shoes will aid your body's ability to move naturally and as efficiently as it can in its current state, but no amount of shoe technology can solve for a weakness in the body.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about running form. People are constantly coming into RunLab™ to tell us about their struggles to "fix" their heel strike, to run with higher cadence, to get their "glutes to fire", to "stop overpronating", etc, etc. But the problem lies in the fact that these runners have very little understanding of how THEIR body is built. There are thousands of variables that go into a person's ideal movement pattern.

Changing the way you move isn't necessarily taking away the load, it just means you are moving it around to another area which can be more, or sometimes less, equipped to handle that load. This is where a movement analysis comes into play. It is important not only to understand the way you are built, your current range-of-motion, strengths and limiters, but also the way your body has adapted to move through them.

Our brains are amazing at creating workarounds for even the slightest weakness, and when we layer compensation pattern over compensation pattern (even as non-runners) for years, there is a lot that goes into unraveling the ball of biomechanical yarn strand by strand.

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Creating increased range-of-motion in one area, for instance, can create stability problems, causing another area to develop compensatory hypertonicity. So what is the take-home message? If you don't understand your unique structure, range-of-motion, strengths and limiters, it is very easy to get pulled down the rabbit hole by the mountain of information from articles, under-qualified coaches, wearable technology, and your running friends who "read somewhere that you should run with your feet facing forward". Understanding your body should be the springboard to any good training plan.

And remember, shoes matter, but there isn't a shoe in the world that can replace working on your biomechanics.

Learn more about Dr. Davis at: https://runlabaustin.com/team/

For gait evaluation services and to schedule at a DFW area Playtri, please visit WWW.RUNLAB.US





Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport Watch

Product: Garmin Forerunner 935 Multisport Watch

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Basic specs:

· Watch-style multisport computer

· Weight: 49 grams

· GPS: Yes

· Connectivity: Bluetooth & Ant+ enabled

· Display size: 1.2" circumference

· Water rating: 5 ATM (waterproof)

· Batter life: 24 hours in GPS mode (2 weeks in watch mode)

· Stock color: Black

The Garmin Forerunner 935 has been my go-to, all-in-one device for my triathletes since mid-2017 when it was initially released. Having tested other brands (and other Garmin models), while many perform similar tasks, they don't seem to do it with the all-encompassing, intuitive ease of the 935.

What I love about the 935

· Lightweight - I'm not a big athlete, so bulkier devices are also a bit of a distraction for me. The 935 is so light I forget I'm wearing it sometimes, and I'll often wear it as a regular watch outside of training.

· Subtle design - again, I like to wear this watch outside of training (especially if I'm keeping an eye on HR throughout the day), so I appreciate the all black, watch-like design as it can be worn with most casual or even business casual outfits.

· User-friendly set up and functions - I love useful data, but technology has never been my strongest point, so user-friendly software is always a huge selling point for me. If you've used Garmins before, it will take you less than 5 minutes to figure this one out. If not, give yourself 15-20 minutes with your 935 and smart phone (you will need to download the free Garmin Connect app) prior to the first workout to set up.

· Data screen set up - One thing Garmin has always done well is provide athletes with simple solutions for seeing the data they want to see when they want to see it, and the 935 is no exception. You can easily update available data screens for individual workout types to show the metrics you need to see in workout (the device will record all relevant metrics for a given workout type regardless of whether or not they are represented on your screen during the workout) - My go-to combo on the bike is a four screen setup showing heart rate, workout time, cadence and 3 second power.

· Auto-sync with Garmin Connect (and therefore TrainingPeaks) - Myself and my athletes track all of our training and files in TrainingPeaks, and one of the key selling points for me with any Garmin is the ability to save my workout and forget about it, knowing it will load to TrainingPeaks without any additional work on my part.

· Variety of functions - I coach triathletes at all levels, distances and formats, so if I can get all the metrics I need to coach from this device, you too should be covered! Heart rate, cadence, speed, power, foot turnover, stroke count and much, much more are all available in this tiny powerhouse.

· Navigation - I love the nav feature so much it gets its own mention separate from the other functions. I'll sometimes lead rides with Playtri, so having back up nav is essential if we're on a new course or need to make a detour. It's also invaluable for trail running, and gravel riding if you don't already have a good bike computer. The nav works concurrently with the workout function, and is surprisingly easy to follow despite being somewhat simplistic visually (the primary difference between the nav on the 935 and the Fenix 5). The only catch with nav is that you have to load the desired route on your laptop or home computer via Garmin Connect and load it to the device prior to using it the first time.

· Open water GPS - I love knowing how far my athletes (or I) ACTUALLY swam during our open water sessions and race legs! This gives me more accurate swim pace, and helps me know how much work the athlete actually did during an OWS.

· Battery life - I can't explain how wonderful it is not to have to charge my training device after every workout. We've come a long way in the last 10 years!

Features I'm not as wild about (and how I got around them)

Hey - nobody's perfect! I love the 935, but there are a few things about it straight out of the box that I had to find fixes for before I was 100% satisfied with my training and racing experience.

· Training status/performance updates - every so often a screen will pop up in workout telling you how the 935 thinks you're doing in relation to the baseline it has calculated for you. I don't know about you, but on a mentally tough day, I definitely don't need my watch telling me my performance is at -2 of baseline, while at the same time hiding the data screens I actually want to see. It's an easy fix, though - just go to the Settings page, then select Physiological Metrics > Performance Notifications and turn that one OFF. (Or leave it on if having your watch criticize you sounds motivating).

· Text/call notifications - another feature that primarily irritated me because it would hide my selected data screens during workouts. This one is also easy to turn off via the Settings menu.

· "Move" feature - this is a feature that functions outside of workout mode, and is designed with individuals more focused on general fitness in mind. Essentially, if the watch feels you haven't had enough activity that day, it will give you a little buzz and a reminder to "Move!" - however, I've had it give me this reminder 20 minutes after a 90 minute run, so you can probably guess that this was another feature I ended up turning off.

Other than the above - there is very little I don't love about the 935. It's got triathletes of all levels covered, and it's the first thing I recommend to my new athletes.

Morgan Johnson Hoffman

Staying Committed ~ It's a Mind Set!

It’s early in the new year and we know that staying committed to new routines and resolutions can be challenging…especially with so many commitments to work, family, friends, etc.

Coach Amari recommends having a Mind Set to keep you engaged and committed to your workouts and ultimately, your health. Her words of wisdom that she shares with her busiest of clients…

IT'S A MIND SET.... this is not a 'rah-rah' session, rather a reality (but I do have pom-poms & could pull them out if you really need them- joking!)

Day One: "My 15 minutes of the workout is better than the missed 3 miles!!!" At least I got 15 minutes in.

Day Two: "I missed my run yesterday, hubs and I want to get a workout in together quickly this am, weights would feel great, what do you think and want me to do?"

Day Three: "Won't get home from the office till ~2am, what can we do to make the most of my 1 hour tomorrow before I have to get back up here?"

THIS IS THE MINDSET THAT WE ALL SHOULD CRAVE AND EMMULATE... 

Here is an athlete with an incredible family commitment, professional career (24 hr work shifts happen weekly), and has extremely limited time.

I honestly am not even talking about the details of each workout, rather the mindset that life just doesn't just stop when they are 'training for an event'. 

In fact, this individual signs up for IM 70.3 and IM events to compliment the crazy. What is so fun about working with this person is that they truly do realize life is all about managing the moving pieces and they actually enjoy the process - they don't try to manipulate or 'get out of the challenge' rather they go with it and MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT!

So I encourage you- 

1- Working Out & Training are NOT about perfection- guess what, just like life, we feel a sense of self-pride and accomplishment when we are committed to doing the very best we can, with whatever the day brings us- everyday.

2- It is a blast and a PRIVILEGE to have so many moving pieces to your personal puzzle- don't forget that both the process and challenges are fun.

3- You will ALWAYS be busy, better yet, you hope you are always busy- you have heard it over and over- you must take care of yourself before you can take care of another + practice what you preach, actions are more convincing than your words... 

They say '80% of life is about the mind-set'... your mind set and approach are your choices: limit yourself or thrive, every single day. 

Make no excuses, find a way to do something, especially when it is not perfect, and have fun sticking to it.

Go Get 'Em!

Coach Amari

That CHILL in the air shouldn't stop you from training...

BBBBBRRRRRRR!

 That CHILL in the air should not stop you from getting outside, and following these couple Winter Gear Tips will keep you comfortable and let enjoy some of those winter miles.

THE BIKE

 Temperature, cycling speed windchill and layering. Take these three things into account when gearing up for winter riding. Just because the sun is out and it feels warm on your front porch, doesn’t mean it will be warm when riding at 18 mph into a north wind!

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THE RUN

 

Workload, hands and head. Little easier because you don’t have wind chill, but harder because you can easily overdress because your body will warm up quickly running.

 

If you keep your head and hands covered, you can run, especially race, in any temperature. Majority of your heat is lost through your head, and your hands have the smallest amount of circulation, keeps those covered, and you are good!

We suggest:

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Running gloves ($28) winter running hats ($19) and a wind jacket ($90) will have you logging miles, even in the chilliest temps.

Hope this helps you get geared up for the winter, and if it still too cold, you can always visit Playtri.com and get the ultimate indoor trainer! Shop trainers here or at your nearest Playtri Store.

Tips for Triathlon New-Comers

Raina Luse

One of the beauties of my role with Playtri is that I get to see so many people transitioning into the sport of triathlon. Whether former athletes looking for a new challenge, people that have never taken on a physical fitness venture ever, or people somewhere in between just looking to get healthy in an entertaining and safe way, triathlon brings all  walks of life together. I've always said, it's the most individualized sport with the best, all-encompassing community you'll ever find.

As someone that guides people into the sport, I often get asked the most questions that ultimately pertain to how to get started - the who, what, when, where, and often why of doing triathlon. So if you're looking to get into this amazing sport, or you've already decided to jump in feet first and just need to know where to jump, here are a few key items that will help make your transition into this sport smoother and more fun!

1) Learn about the unlimited potential you have in this sport!

When I first got started in the sport, I only knew about IRONMAN races. It wasn't until many months into it that I ever found out about the shorter (and more reasonable) distances that triathlon offered. Triathlon has varying distance races equating to most commonly (in distance order) the following: Super-Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, Half-Distance, and Full-Distance races. There's a race length for any and every one, and it allows you to find the challenge you want.

2) Find a race that works with your schedule and goals

With the sport of Triathlon continuing to grow, there's always a race happening somewhere. Find a local race. Playtri puts on a race every 4-5 weeks from March-September (once in shape, it's easier to maintain!!) See Playtri Race Schedule here: Playtri.com/race-calendar/

By putting a race on the calendar, it gives you something to look forward to and stay on track in your training. The length of the triathlon season also allows for you to start advance your race lengths should you want to over the course of many months. You can safely build fitness to be properly prepared for the longer length races as your training grows through the season.


3) Get into a proper triathlon training program

If you wanted to learn to play the piano, but you'd never touched the keys before, chances are you'd hire a teacher, right? There's nothing like watching an athlete "go it alone" their first few seasons, only to drop out of the sport from nothing more than lack of knowledge. Though swimming, biking, and running are simple in theory, when you bring them all together, the combination begins to get challenging. Often we're asked "How much should I train?", "Is XYZ enough for ABC?", "What should my nutrition plan look like?" and so on. Every athlete is different, from physically to the amount of time they can invest weekly, so having someone help create a program that makes more sense to your needs is paramount. Whether individually, or in a group setting for the added community building of like-minded people, getting the proper direction and instruction for your triathlon training and racing will make the experience that much better for you.


4) Know the basics of triathlon gear, (and how to use it)!

Learning about what equipment you need for your specific goals is key. Not all triathlon lengths are created equal! Outside of swim goggles, a bike, and running shoes, there are many items that make your triathlon experience much more enjoyable. Getting educated on the different items, as well as the usage and importance of each, will allow you to have a full arsenal of tools for your training and race day. Check out our race day gear checklist to get an idea of items you'll need here: https://www.playtri.com/raceday/

And finally...

5) HAVE FUN!!
Triathlon is an incredible way to get fit, meet people, and create a healthier lifestyle in a fun environment. Whether a weekend warrior, or a chronic Ironman, triathlon embraces all people as athletes. Grab a family member or friend, sign up for a race, and we'll see you at the finish line!!

Happy Training!

Coach Raina, see bio here