Coach Amari's summer approach to Acclimating and Training

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Our research shows that it takes roughly 10-14days to acclimate to the blazing heat and humidity this time of year. Instead of simply throwing your body through the ringer, read up on Coach Amari's easy strategy to safely and effectively adjust as well as continue to nail those new limits, regardless of the temps!  

SHORT ON TIME: GO AHEAD AND JUMP DOWN TO THE ACCLIMATING STRATEGIES FOR THE NITTY-GRITTY IF YOU WISH.

The goal: slowly introduce your body to the added stress and fatigue of the increased temperatures and humidity. An outside factor to consider, how much recovery does your schedule allow?  Meaning if your lifestyle only allows a 5min cool down after each workout, you might consider the more conservative adaption route than the athlete who can include a solid 15-20min foam rolling/ stretching routine or compression boots/ massage throughout each week.  Again, the recovery tools simply help flush that excessive fatigue both mentally and physically- if we are not recovered between sessions, we risk injury due to the a. a rapid breakdown that the heat causes b.reduced mental and physical focus c. poor response, form, and mechanics.

So, let's get down to the meat of how to acclimate over the course of 4-6weeks.

1. Notice at most, we will only build to roughly 80% of your training time to be spent outside. Why? Have you ever heard the 'golden rule' of it is better to be 20% under-trained rather than 2% over-trained??? Let's keep this same philosophy with the environmental demands. (example: if you have 10hr of bike and running for the week, consider at most, at complete acclimation, doing ~8hr outside & 2hr inside).

2. In the beginning of this transition to outdoor training, keep the of your majority intensity sessions (Race Pace efforts or Harder/ Zone 4+) inside.

Rather, focus on your easier aerobic sessions (<Training Pace-Training Pace/ Zone 1-3) to build your 'base' during heat acclimation. 

3. You will also notice, you will never fully be completing your week's total training time (neither aerobically or anaerobically) outside. 

4Ideally you would have at least 24hrs between each outdoor workout.  NOTE- I said 'ideally'- this is not always doable,  but it is preferred.

5. Bonus ways to acclimate: do outdoor chores in the afternoon/evening, walk the dog... casually tackling life outside under low-moderate stress helps the body to quickly adapt to the conditions.

 


STRATEGY ONE

***FOR THE ATHLETE WHO: recovers rapidly b/w sessions, has good consistent sleep quality, focuses on available modes of recovery, regularly maintains a nutrient-dense diet and optimal hydration levels...

WEEK ONE

OUTSIDE- up to 30% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 70%

WEEK TWO

OUTSIDE- up to 50% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 50%

WEEK THREE

OUTSIDE- up to 65% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 35%

WEEK FOUR

OUTSIDE- up to 80% total time- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 20%

 


STRATEGY TWO

***FOR THE ATHLETE WHO: less time to recover b/w sessions, low sleep quality, cannot or will not get: massage/rolling/stretching, maintains less than optimal daily nutrition/hydration, also consider age here- I like athletes above the age of 50 to more conservative in this build up...

Also there is reduced total time outdoor to encourage less breakdown and increased recovery...

WEEK ONE

OUTSIDE- up to 20% total time,- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 80%

WEEK TWO

OUTSIDE- up to 30%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 70%

WEEK THREE

OUTSIDE- up to 40%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 60%

WEEK FOUR

OUTSIDE- up to 50%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 50%

WEEK FIVE

OUTSIDE- up to 60%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 40%

WEEK SIX

OUTSIDE- up to 70%- this includes both TP/zone 2-3 & RP/ zone 4+

INSIDE- remaining 30%


Happy Training!

~Coach Amari

See Coach Amari's profile

Tune Up Guide with SHIMANO

Chain Wear

 Your drivetrain is made up of your crankset, chainrings, derailleurs, pulley, wheels, cassette and a chain. All of these parts wear out as you ride, degrading the quality of your shifting.

A WORN-OUT CHAIN WILL BEGIN TO DETERIORATE ANY COMPONENT IT TOUCHES, LIKE THE CASSETTE COGS, DERAILLEUR PULLEY WHEELS, AND CHAINRINGS.

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The chain is the first component in the drivetrain to wear out. A chain will typically last around 1,000 miles of riding but the wear interval can change drastically based on many different factors like riding style, riding conditions, and even how the chain is lubricated. As you ride, metal from the chain's roller bushings wears away, creating a poor fit on any component with teeth on it.


You can check the condition of your chain with a special chain-checker tool or when taking your bike in for service at Playtri.

Worn Pulley Wheels

Your pulley wheels will wear as you ride, degrading the quality of your shifting.

Rear derailleur pulley wheels are usually made of a hardened plastic to keep your drivetrain feeling smooth and quiet under shifting. 

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Since plastic is softer than metal, pulley wheels will conform to a wearing chain. The wearing chain will grind material from the square edges of the pulley wheel teeth, turning them to sharp points.

Unworn rear derailleur pulley wheel.

Edges of the pulley wheel teeth have square edges, indicating good condition.

Worn rear derailleur pulley wheel.

Edges of the pulley wheel teeth turned to sharp points from chain wear. 

Worn Cassette & Chainrings

THE CHAIN WILL WEAR DEEPER GROOVES INTO THE COGS OF YOUR CASSETTE THROUGH PROLONGED USE, JUST AS IT DOES ON THE PULLEY WHEELS.

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While this is harder to spot visually, a telltale sign of a worn out cassette is poor shifting or skipping when you shift to or from the gears you use most often. Much like the cassette cogs, the chainrings wear at different rates depending on which ones you use most often. Much like the cassette cogs, the chainrings wear at different rates depending on which ones you use the most. Unlike the cassette, however, you can replace chainrings one at a time. A worn chainring may have very sharp teeth. Shifting to and from a worn chainring will not only be difficult, but may even result in a dropped chain.  

 

Show your bike some love. Have the bike techs at Playtri check your drivetrain for wear to make sure you are getting the most out of your ride!

Blog post curtesy of SHIMANO

It’s Summertime – Time for a Family Bike Ride!

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Debi Berg

Family bike rides can be so much FUN if planned correctly. They can provide a healthy way for the family to exercise together. 

Key tips for a safe and fun family bike ride

1.     Fun! Fun! Fun!

This is essential to making your family outing a successful one that the kids will want to do over and over again. Family bike rides should be a happy time for all. Learning better biking skills will come over time.

2.     Timing is Important

Make sure it’s a good time of the day for everyone to have fun.  Mornings work best for kids in general but choose a time when everyone is excited about going.

First rides are best if kept short and sweet making the outcome a positive one, you can increase the duration on the next ride!

3.     Check the weather forecast before you head out on your ride

·       Match clothing with the weather.

·       Include sunscreen and sun protective breathable clothing for summertime.

4.     Plan your route before riding

·       Find an easy terrain for the first ride that is a short, flat paved path or road. 

·       Makes sure the route is on a quiet road or cycle path this is safe and away from traffic.

·       As the family gets more familiar with riding together, you can then map out destinations like a park or the local ice cream shop to ride to.

·       Plan for bathroom stops as your rides gets longer.

5.     Breaks are essential

·       If the kids are seeming to lag behind, complaining or seem to be hot, it’s time for a break. 

·       Snack and hydration breaks are necessary and can be a part of the fun!

·       Carry a water bottle on all bikes and/or carry a backpack with extra water bottles and snacks.

6.     Making the ride FUN

·       Allow the slowest rider to set the pace for the ride.

·       With younger kiddos - along the route, think about riding from point to point.  Such as riding from a big tree to the next big tree. Breaking up the ride into segments makes it fun and gives a feeling of accomplishment. 

·       Look up destination points before your ride. 

  • “Let’s ride to see the ducks at the lake”

  • Ride to a playground or design a fun scavenger hunt within the ride.

·       Plan some brief off the bike activities to break up the time on the bike.

·       Involve the kids with the planning and let them take pictures of the family bike ride.  Make them feel like it is a team effort and that they have contributed.

7.     Positive reinforcement goes a long way

·       “You are doing great” or “I like the way you are riding so straight” 

·       A positive attitude will keep the kids feeling like they can complete the ride and encourages future rides.

Safety Guidelines for Cycling

1.     Bikes should be in good working order

·       Check brakes and tire pressure before leaving on your bike ride. 

2.     A properly fitting helmet is very important

·       Helmets should fit snug and cover the forehead, sitting about 1” above the eyebrows.

3.     Be visible

·       Wear brightly colored clothing.  Reflective tape on bike, clothing & helmets can help.

·       Make sure all bikes have both the front and rear reflectors. 

4.     Be Heard

·       Bike bells are not only fun, but they can be used to alert other bicycles and people that you will be coming up and passing them.

5.     Obey the same traffic laws as other moving vehicles 

·       Signs and signals that apply to cars, also apply to bicycles.

·       Know the rules of the road, some include: Riding to the right side of the road or path that you are on, and always pass on the left.

·       It is best to get off your bikes and walk through a crosswalk to make sure you are visible to any cars.

·       In time, teach your children the proper hand signals that notify other vehicles that you are turning or coming to a stop.  Making a game out of who does the most proper hand signals can be fun.

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6.     Always be observant while out riding

·       Teach children to always be looking up and forward.  Accidents happen when we are looking down or turning our heads to look at something.

·       Watch for parked cars that might be opening their car doors or backing out.

·       Be safe when crossing streets. Turn and look both ways to make sure there are no cars or other vehicles coming your way.  It can be difficult for vehicles to see bicyclists.  Making eye contact with the driver of a car is important to make sure they see you.

Enjoy and make exercise a family pursuit!


Did you know that Playtri offers a series of ‘Cycling Skills 101 Training Sessions’ for children? They will learn the important bike handling skills needed to be a better and safer bicyclist.

Please contact us for more information.   Coach Debi Berg, debi@playtri.com

RUNNING SHOES: HOW, WHAT, & WHEN ~ Guest Blog by Dr. Kimberly Davis

DR. KIMBERLY DAVIS from RUNLAB™ give us some insight into Running Shoes: How, What & When

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED NEW SHOES?

Probably more often than you think. We recently had a great guy come into the clinic with a hole in his shoe so big that his pinky toe was sticking out because…wait for it…the school pig had chewed on it a few weeks back. Yes, a few WEEKS back. Another lovely woman came in last week wearing Newtons with so little heel left on them that it was causing her to lean backward when she ran (in case the irony of this is lost on you, Newton’s big claim to fame is that they "teach" you to run on your mid/forefoot..a topic for another day). Even if you have managed to achieve sound biomechanics (rare), are extremely light weight (also rare), and a low mileage runner without a pet pig, it is still important to remember that your shoes have a shelf life. Those sweet (rad?) neon and splatterpaint Nike knock-offs you bought for 39.99 from TinyHandsTinyPrices.com may look really cool, but they probably aren’t doing you any favors from an injury prevention standpoint. Most people wait until they start to notice nagging pains before they think to replace their shoes, instead of doing it before the issues pop up. EVA foam hardens after 1-1.5 years, meaning that when you buy older model shoes on clearance or online it is possible for them to be “worn out” before you ever run in them. Most runners should replace their shoes every 300-500 miles depending on the weight of the runner and the efficiency of their mechanics. This means every 5-6 months for the average recreational or very lightweight runner, and every 2-3 for the higher mileage or heavier runner, and this assumes you ONLY RUN in your running shoes, not wear them to work or to the gym.

WHAT ABOUT ROTATING THROUGH SHOES?

I am a huge fan of this concept. Not only does it allow your shoes time between runs for the foam to “bounce back”, but different types of shoes give you different feedback from the ground, and in my opinion, this is always a good thing from a neuromuscular standpoint. Your body adapts very quickly to a learned stimulus. By giving it different signals you are forcing it to constantly respond to outside stimuli instead of just “going through the motions” with learned patterns. I personally rotate through several shoes depending on the type of run and how fatigued my body is, and I find it works very well for keeping my body engaged with what is going on between my foot and the ground. If you would like some guidance on this please feel free to call us or stop by and chat. Everyone that works at RunLab is a dedicated runner and we love talking shop!

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT SHOE(S)?

If you answered: "Well obviously, I choose the shoes that will match my tutu for the Goofy Challenge", then you my friend could probably get a job in any number of running retail stores...but I digress. Choosing the right shoe is much more complicated than most people think IF you have suboptimal structure, range-of-motion, and/or biomechanics, which most non-elite runners (and even many elite runners) are challenged with. "How do I choose the right shoe" is the eternal question that every runner (and shoe company, and retail employee) wishes had an easy answer, but at the end of the day...it doesn't. At RunLab, we feel very strongly that it isn't so much about the shoe as it is about the foot that inhabits the shoe (and the knee and the hip and the body that live above the foot and for some reason get left out of most types of "gait analysis" done in shoe stores). Most elite runners with sound biomechanics can run in almost anything they want to run in within a certain range, typically avoiding extreme stability in most cases. They aren't great runners BECAUSE of the shoe, They are great runners because of the work they have put in on the strength side, and often because of the genetic gift they have been given on the structural side. Back to the question. First and foremost, if a shoe doesn't feel good in the store, it won't feel any better when you run. Second (maybe even first) stop choosing shoes based on color! Base your choice on what works with you structure, goals, foot shape, etc. If you fall outside the "norm" structurally, meaning you have bunions, very high or very flat arches, knock knees, are bowlegged, have retroverted or anteverted hips, super tight hamstrings or calves, etc, or if you have a history of injuries or trouble finding shoes that work for you, get a gait analysis. And I don't mean the kind where somebody watches you run for 10 seconds down the street, looks at your foot/ankle, and then starts talking about how much or little you pronate or supinate. That isn't a gait evaluation folks! A good gait evaluation should look at your entire body from multiple angles, ideally, both in shoes and barefoot, and should factor in what is happening with your unique structure, range-of-motion, goals, strengths, and limiters. This is not something most people have expertise in doing well. Think of it in bike-fit terms, you can get your saddle height adjusted, OR you can go through a lengthy process that looks at all the necessary angles and takes your individual needs, foot position, femur length, tibia length, reach, etc into account. Both of these things might be referred to as a "bike-fit" but one of them clearly takes your unique structural and functional makeup into account and requires expertise in biomechanics to really fit you properly. Gait evaluation is the same way. Remember: understanding what could go wrong down the road through thoroughly understanding your mechanics is a heck of a lot cheaper than the rehab to fix the issue when you break. Just sayin.... :)

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DR KIMBERLY DAVIS IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF RUNLAB™, A GAIT EVALUATION AND MOVEMENT ANALYSIS COMPANY HEADQUARTERED IN AUSTIN TEXAS THAT PROVIDES RUNNERS ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY ACCESS TO COMPREHENSIVE GAIT EVALUATION SERVICES THROUGH WWW.RUNLAB.US.

AN IRONMAN TRIATHLETE AND ULTRA-DISTANCE ADVENTURE RACER HERSELF FOR OVER 20 YEARS, DR DAVIS HAS DEDICATED HER CAREER TO THE STUDY OF CLINICAL BIOMECHANICS AND HELPING RUNNERS GET BACK ON THE TRAILS, IMPROVE THEIR PERFORMANCE AND ENJOY RUNNING AGAIN. WORKING AS PART OF SPORTS MEDICINE TEAMS FOR OVER A DECADE, SHE GREW TIRED OF HEARING HER PATIENTS SAY THEY HAD BEEN TOLD NOT TO RUN OR THAT “RUNNING IS BAD FOR YOUR KNEES” BY THEIR DOCTORS WITHOUT ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT BIOMECHANICS, SHE LAUNCHED RUNLAB AUSTIN IN 2014 AS A RUNNING-CENTRIC HEALTHCARE FACILITY BUILT ENTIRELY BY, AND FOR, RUNNERS. IT HAS SINCE GROWN TO BECOME ONE OF THE NATION'S PREEMINENT GAIT-EVALUATION AND TRAINING FACILITIES IN THE U.S., WORKING WITH EVERY AGE AND EXPERIENCE LEVEL RUNNER, FROM OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALISTS AND WORLD CHAMPIONS TO BRAND NEW RUNNERS, KIDS, AND RUNNERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS SUCH AS DOWN SYNDROME CEREBRAL PALSY, AND A WIDE VARIETY OF MOVEMENT DISORDERS. RECOGNIZING A LACK OF CONSISTENCY AND QUALITY IN GAIT ANALYSIS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, DR DAVIS LAUNCHED RUNLAB.US IN 2018 AS A MEANS FOR RUNNERS TO ACCESS HER INDUSTRY-LEADING GAIT TEAM FROM ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

Book an evaluation in the Dallas area at Playtri https://www.playtri.com/testing

For more information about the RunLab team, please visit WWW.RUNLABAUSTIN.COM For gait evaluation services outside the Austin area, please visit WWW.RUNLAB.US

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

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DRINK UP!!!

It’s here… the heat and humidity are here to play. 

Let’s take a look at some of the what, why, when, and how’s of optimal hydration.

(For the purpose of this article, please note, I am solely focusing on water consumption.  This does not include electrolyte or salt/sodium consumption.)

WHAT- Hydration

Drinking water sounds simple, right? Wrong- how many times do you get busy at work, around the house, doing errands and the logistics of your life and you look up and realize, “Crap, I haven’t had any water all day long!” Take that and double the distraction when we are out there training and racing.  We forget the necessity of drinking water.  Our bodies are made up of ~60% water.  From the moment we step out the door for a session or race, we begin losing water.  It is vital that you stay on top of your body and water needs.

WHY-

Did you know a simple 2% drop in weight can result up to 20% performance potential of the day???

In other words, when we lose focus and neglect our hydration we stand in our own way, hindering our performance and recovery.

WHEN-

How often should I drink water OUTSIDE of training and racing???

I always recommend clients to NOT force water down their pipes.  But many times, as clients begin to take note and ‘read’ their bodies better, they find that drinking ~6-8oz every hour that they are awake is easy to do but more importantly it is what their bodies need for optimal health, daily concentration, satiety, and recovery.

How often should I drink water DURING training and racing???

This all depends on the individual’s needs.  But a simple rule of thumb is every 12-15 minutes on the bike and roughly every mile on the run.

HOW-

Carrying water can be tricky in training.  But thanks to the array of products out there, we have no excuses.

On the bike, I always recommend an aero bottle, regardless if you are doing a short or long course. Also consider adding 1-2 bottles extra on the frame but NOT behind the saddle. 

In a previous article I elaborated on this concept.  But consider doing a plank hold for only 2min.  Now sit up and reach behind you.  Are you a bit a tight right now? Now think about being in aero for how many minutes or hours, pumping those legs, maintaining focus on the road, and balancing the bike… do you really want to sit up, slow down, balance the bike, watch the road, and try to reach around to grab that bottle- is it really worth it?  To me, no, but again, it is always the athletes choice.

Back to the bottle placement that I recommend. The aero bottle literally stares back at you the entire ride- she cannot be ignored- resulting in reminding you kindly to drink and drink often.  During training, the bottles on the bike can be used to easily refill that aero bottle as it runs low.

 

On the run, consider doing your run on a multiple loop course, carrying a handheld water bottle, or utilizing a hydration belt.  This way you are able to drink consistently throughout the session. Both the handheld water bottles and hydration belts are now designed in many shapes and sizes that easily fit your body and needs.

 

Now in racing, however, we are many times ‘gifted’ with awesome race directors and volunteers to ensure we are well hydrated. 

On the bike, I always remind clients for every 16oz bottle of fluid you have on your bike, you are adding roughly another pound (might I remind you, many of you paid to have your bike as light as possible- don’t waste it!) 

In most long course (70.3 and 140.6’s) aid stations are set up on the bike every 10-15miles (always check the course maps for aid station details).  I always recommend a client simply fill their aero bottle on the bike and that’s it.  Now there are exceptions if you are anticipating on taking longer than 45min-1hr and/or the heat and humidity are soaring that day, then yes, be on the safe side, carry that extra bottle on your frame to ensure you are properly hydrated.

As for the run, again how much do we love those volunteers for getting their happy butts out of bed to ensure we are having a great race?!?  Aid stations are typically placed every mile to 1.5mile apart (again, check with the course maps or race director if you have questions about where and how many will be on the course.) Regardless, use them!!! Normally these cups have about 2-4oz in each.  If you need more or don’t want to hassle with the traffic of the station, carry your handheld bottle or put on that hydration belt and drink to your heart’s content (make sure you practice this in training as you want to ensure you are comfortable and accustomed to how it moves with you).

WHAT CAN I DO TO DIAL IN MY SPECIFIC HYDRATION NEEDS?

In Playtri our goal is to dial in a client’s hydration, sodium, and caloric needs in and out of training and racing.  We can do this a couple ways:

A.     Resting Metabolic Rate & Caloric Testing

For more detail about these services and testing specifics, please email info@playtri.com.

B.     Pre and Post Training / Racing Weight with detailed feedback of how often and how much was consumed on the bike and/ or run.

Here is an easy way for you to start taking a more detailed look at your hydration needs.

1-     Take your weight, preferably naked, prior to leaving the house for your ride or run.

2-     Make sure you pay attention to not just simply how much you are drinking during the workout, but also when you start and how often you are drinking.

Suggestion -  Start drinking from the very beginning of the workout and roughly every 12-15min.

3-     Upon returning, weigh again to determine a loss or gain.

4-     If you have lost more than 2%, most make the mistake of simply adding more salt or calories.  Rather determine if you kept to a regular schedule of drinking water and how much at each interval.  If you were able to maintain this rhythm and still lost more than 2%, consider adding 2-4oz more at each 12-15min marker the next time you train.  This is an easy 10-16oz more water.

5-     The next time you head out, do the exact same thing- get your starting weight, commit to a drinking schedule and amount per interval, and step on the scale upon returning.

Again, this is just one quick and easy way to dial in your hydration needs.  If you need further direction or detail, please contact one of our Playtri coaches at info@playtri.com to help determine your training and racing needs.

Here’s to staying hydrated and enjoying a great summer of training and racing!

Coach Amari, see her coaching profile here.

 

 

Summer Nutrition

So... it’s hot... it’s really freaking hot!

Athletes come to me everyday in need of *at times totally bitching:) about the temps and then the real problem- they can’t seem to stomach much because it’s 100+ outside and nothing sits well. Here are a couple, no it is not the complete guide, but very easy items to grab at your local grocery. 

HYDRATION/ LIQUIDS-
 These simple guidelines will help your entire system absorb and utilize fuel more efficiently.
 1. Water- increase to 6-8oz every hour, outside of the workouts

2. NUUN or another form of calorie-free electrolyte drink/drops- 1x in the AM & 1x at PM

3. Incorporate Tart Cherry Juice - suggest 6-8oz daily, personally enjoy ‘cutting the acidity’ by adding at least 8oz of water = roughly 16oz fluid total

4. Bone Broth- 8oz daily

5. Turmeric, Ginger, Honey, Lemon Tea to reduce inflammation- 1tbsp each: turmeric, ginger, honey, & 1/4lemon in 3cups of boiling water, let it steep for 15’, strain and knock it back

FOOD/FUEL-
Selecting foods that are naturally rich in vitamins/ minerals are essential in feeling your best.

1. Include as many foods with high water content: watermelon, cucumber, tomato, celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli

2. Decrease processed foods to less than 400cal/day: breads, pastas, tortillas, sweets, and yes even your protein powders- we want our ‘machines’ running on pure and natural foods. “The closer to the ground, the better.”

3. Select foods that are naturally rich in vitamins/ minerals are essential in feeling your best:
   A. Potassium- Sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, avocado, bananas, kiwis, oranges, cantaloupe
   B. Magnesium- Spinach, seeds (squash/pumpkin), brown rice, almonds, dark chocolate, avocado, bananas
   C. Calcium- Collard greens, broccoli, kale, edamame, figs, oranges, salmon, sardines, white beans, okra, almonds

4. Lastly, grab some lean protein sources, such as- grass-fed beef, freshwater fish high in Omegas (salmon, tuna, sardines), free range chicken just to name a few.

Here’s to ‘stuffing’ our faces this summer!

When is the Right Time to Upgrade?!

Erin Storie

Loving my TRI BIKE. Right time to UPGRADE!

I’ve been a professional triathlete for 7 years. My dad got me my first ‘competition’ bike when I was 18 years old. It was an aluminum frame Trek 1000 with rat trap pedals and I grinded on that bike. She was heavy, and she was my first bike love. After that bike, USA Triathlon gave me my first carbon fiber LITESPEED. I was so grateful for the upgrade. It was such a difference. It was lighter, faster, shifted better and could carve around corners like butter.

After that bike, in 2016 I got a new QUINTANA ROO, Red White and Blue bike. Training for the Olympics, I loved this bike. I was part of Team USA and I loved representing our nation.

After two years of riding hard and traveling around the world with her to over 20 countries, it was time for an UPGRADE!

Why now?
Sport is constantly changing. Technology is upgrading, products are becoming faster and more efficient. In a sport like triathlon, it is important to have the best gear to compete with the best women. Cycling is different than swimming or running where your products are limited. The bike can make all the difference. Not just physically, but mentally. I felt like after two years on this bike, I have really worn her out. There is new technology on bikes, better shifting, better brakes, better power that I need in order to compete at the top.

What do I look for in an upgrade?

 1) A brand that I want to represent.

o   I wouldn’t want to ride a brand that has negative energy. Argon18 is loyal to their customers.

2) A bike that fits my frame size.

o   I’m small, I need a small bike.

3) A bike with new technology.

o   Better shifting. Better brakes. Better power.

4) Components

o   The frame is one part of the bike, but the components make it work. You have to have the best component to make her run smooth. I use Shimano Ultegra, because they are dependable. I ride Garmin pedals and power because it gives me the most accurate data anywhere in the world.

*      BONUS

A good set of race wheels. You want to look like you are flying out there. ZIPP have been my favorite since the first time I rode them.

Make friends with your local bike shop or an online store you trust. I get everything from PlayTri because I know I can count on them for the best quality products and the most welcoming support when I need it.

Happy training & racing!

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