When Race Day Gets Tough

I always enjoy US pro triathlete Eric Lagerstrom's video commentary of his races, but the video from his Sarasota race this past weekend is probably my favorite yet!

His comments and insight on handling the race day where something major goes wrong are spot on - every young athletes should watch this video, and see how he handles a pretty rough start to the bike.

Click here to view the video

Happy Hump Day!

Coach Morgan

Train Fast. Train Often. Be Safe. No Complaining.

I first started coaching youth triathlon back in 2009. At the time, all I knew was that we needed the kids to swim, bike and run fast and often, do it safely, and have a good attitude. Fast forward to 2016, working at Playtri. I know a lot more now. I have a lot more credentials. I've written articles, done podcasts, coached athletes to compete nationally and internationally, directed junior elite camps, and been a part of the development of what is now probably one of the largest youth programs in the country.

But I'm here to tell you - with all the knowledge I've gained, those things I believed 7 years ago are still what I believe. Swim, bike, run - at speed, and often (be specific and consistent). Do it in a way that is safe (age-appropriate, skills-first, listening to your body, have an intentional and multilateral strength foundation). Have a good attitude (simple rule at Playtri - no complaining, which by the way is NOT the same as giving constructive feedback). We can make this sport complicated, but the truth is, no coach has a special secret method to making faster athletes. We're all more or less trying to get our athletes to do what I was trying to get our youth team to do back in 2009.

Train fast. Train often. Be safe. No complaining.

As our youth elites head into Nationals this weekend, this is ultimately the foundation that we've worked to build for them, and that they have worked to build for themselves and each other. It is a team effort, and I am proud of the team these athletes have helped to build. We're not perfect, but we've overcome a lot individually and as a group, and that is what creates a team culture that can sustain. So we'll continue to focus on the basics.

Train fast. Train often. Be safe. No complaining.

We'll see you at Nationals. ROAR LIONS!

Race Day Nutrition

Race season is here, and it's time to think about your athlete's race day nutrition plan. Following are my general recommendations for different ages and distances - please keep in mind, this is general, meaning it might not be perfect for your athlete. It's a good starting place to build on.

Race ages 6-10 (100y swim/3 mile bike/0.5 mile run):

  • Night before: Light dinner, low on grease/unhealthy fats, low fiber, something you know will digest well for your athlete. Make sure they are well hydrated throughout the day before!
  • Race day breakfast: 1.5-2 hours before race start, 200-400 calories - primarily carbohydrates, low fiber, with 8-16 ounces of water.
  • Pre-race: Hydrate (put a Nuun or similar in their water if it is a hot day), and have a last 50-100 calorie simple carbohydrate snack IF they are hungry leading up to the race.
  • During the race: No calories, can have a water bottle in transition and/or take water from aid stations on the run.
  • Post-race: Eat 200-300 calories (primarily carbohydrate - healthy ones!) and drink 8-16 ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing.

Race ages 11-15 (200y swim/6 mile bike/1 mile run):

  • Night before: Light dinner, low on grease/unhealthy fats, low fiber, something you know will digest well for your athlete. Make sure they are well hydrated throughout the day before!
  • Race day breakfast: 1.5-2 hours before race start, 300-500 calories - primarily carbohydrates, low fiber, with 8-16 ounces of water.
  • Pre-race: Hydrate (put a Nuun or similar in their water if it is a hot day), and have a last 50-100 calorie simple carbohydrate snack IF they are hungry leading up to the race.
  • During the race: No calories, can have a water bottle in transition and/or take water from aid stations on the run.
  • Post-race: Eat 200-400 calories (primarily carbohydrate - healthy ones!) and drink 8-16 ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing.

Race ages 12-16 (375m swim/6 mile bike/1.5 mile run):

  • Night before: Light dinner, low on grease/unhealthy fats, low fiber, something you know will digest well for your athlete. Make sure they are well hydrated throughout the day before!
  • Race day breakfast: 1.5-2 hours before race start, 300-500 calories - primarily carbohydrates, low fiber, with 8-16 ounces of water.
  • Pre-race: Hydrate (put a Nuun or similar in their water if it is a hot day), and have a last 50-100 calorie simple carbohydrate snack IF they are hungry leading up to the race.
  • During the race: No calories, can have a water bottle on the bike (likely does not need to be full) with Nuun or similar (if the day is hot), and/or take water from aid stations on the run.
  • Post-race: Eat 200-500 calories (primarily carbohydrate - healthy ones!) and drink 8-16 ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing.

Race ages 16-19 (750m swim/12 mile bike/5K run):

  • Night before: Light dinner, low on grease/unhealthy fats, low fiber, something you know will digest well for your athlete. Make sure they are well hydrated throughout the day before!
  • Race day breakfast: 1.5-2 hours before race start, 300-500 calories - primarily carbohydrates, low fiber, with 8-16 ounces of water.
  • Pre-race: Hydrate (put a Nuun or similar in their water if it is a hot day), and have a last 100 calorie simple carbohydrate snack (gel or similar) with water 15 minutes before race start.
  • During the race: Training races should always have a gel or similar (basically 100 calories of simple carbs) towards the end of the bike. A races usually should have no calories during the race, though the athlete should take water on the bike (with Nuun or similar if it's a warm day)
  • Post-race: Eat 200-500 calories (primarily carbohydrate - healthy ones!) and drink 8-16 ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing.

Please let your head coach know if you have any questions!

Happy Tuesday,

Coach Morgan

Does My Bicycle Helmet Fit?

Parents, we spend a lot of time emphasizing the importance of proper bike helmet fit for our athletes - here is a great resource from Bicycling to give you the basics of how to make sure your athlete's helmet fits properly:

Wear Your Helmet Right

I will also add that you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the athlete's chin and the strap - essentially meaning that it isn't so tight that it is pressing on their throat, but not much looser than that.

Happy Wednesday!

Coach Morgan