3 Points to Keep Top of Mind for a Top Triathlon Experience

If you’re still early in your triathlon experience (and even if you’re not), there are three key points to always keep top of mind in trying to create a positive race day experience: 1. Open Water Swimming is Different than Pool Swimming Understandably, many new triathletes find open water swimming to be intimidating. When you go from a defined lap area with clear water and a solid black line for guidance to murky waters with hundreds of others around you, it’s bound to rattle nerves in even experienced triathletes.  One of my biggest pieces of advice to new triathletes: Practice open water swimming. It sounds so simple, but it’s amazing how many athletes begin an open-water swim triathlon without ever…

Three Key Points to Consider on Triathlon Race Day

There may be no worse feeling than the morning of a race. Nerves, fear, and an indescribable queasiness paint the picture for most of us on our way to T1 for final pre-race preparations. How do we combat the deep anxieties and use our accelerated rush of adrenaline as an advantage?  You’ll want to consider three key points on triathlon race day: have a solid race morning nutrition and gear check plan, warm-up effectively, and train your mind to be mentally sound and strong. 1. Race Morning Nutrition & Plan Execution When it comes to triathlon, a plan is always a good thing. This extends to your gear set-up and nutrition the morning of the race. Always have your race…

Mental Training for Triathletes

When preparing for a triathlon event, you wouldn’t wait until race day to prepare your legs, lungs, heart, or even your gear. So why ignore and neglect your mind?  In fact, some athletes might argue that preparing your mind is more important than your physical preparation, especially when it comes to long course triathlons, such as IRONMAN. The truth is, the most physically fit athlete can easily be derailed on race day if mentally unprepared. Many athletes think of mental training as pushing their physical limits by mentally blocking out pain or ignoring the desire to ease up or stop. This is, of course, a part of mental preparedness; however, mental training goes far beyond this concept. Techniques and practices…

You Can Fuel Your Triathlon Better with UCAN - Part 2

You may have heard Gastrointestinal (GI) distress can plague athletes. Perhaps you’ve even fallen victim to it yourself. Maybe intense heartburn ruined your training run. Or maybe worse, indigestion was the detrimental factor on race day. GI distress is commonplace for many athletes—particularly endurance athletes that are fueling during exercise or racing. Marathon legend, Bill Rodgers, said, “More marathons are won or lost in the portable toilets than at the dinner table.” This illustrates the prevalence and severity of the issue for many long-course racers.  In fact, a 2009 study conducted for the Opinions in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care found that roughly 50% of runners experience GI problems. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn,…

How a Medical Breakthrough Led to a Triathlete Nutrition Breakthrough - Part 1

A young Connecticut family faced overwhelming emotion when doctors diagnosed their son, Jonah, with a metabolic disorder.  This rare condition prevented Jonah’s body from converting stored carbohydrates (glycogen) into energy (glucose). To maintain adequate blood-sugar levels, Jonah needed to be fed with a feeding tube every two hours.  These feedings included the nighttime hours, preventing Jonah (and his parents) from ever getting a full night’s sleep. Determined to improve Jonah’s quality of life, his parents led research that resulted in the scientific breakthrough of SuperStarch, a complex carbohydrate that steadily releases glucose.  This slow release enables a body to maintain steady blood-sugar levels for hours.  While this scientific discovery had, most importantly, a positive life-changing impact for Jonah, the family…

The Triathlon Swim: 3 Key Insights Part 1 - Start Position

“In triathlon, you can’t win in the swim by itself … but you can certainly lose in it.” Its been said before and whoever coined the phrase was on point. The triathlon swim may be proportionally the shortest leg of the race (especially in long course triathlon), but that in no way discounts its importance. Your open water start to the challenge ahead can either be a catalyst to a fantastic day, or a saboteur robbing you of everything you’ve worked for before it hardly even begins. For this reason, no triathlete should take the swim lightly. Swim training is important and so are the undeniable factors present in open water triathlon swims. Today we begin a series dedicated to…

Mastering the Triathlon T1: Part 3 – Ride On

You’ve gone from water to land quickly and effortlessly, stripped off your wetsuit and located your bike. If all has gone as planned, you’re reoriented and gaining physical and mental momentum. It’s time for a smooth mount and start for the longest leg of your triathlon. There are three key points to consider in this execution: 1. Get an Efficient Mount Once you’ve donned your helmet and glasses, you can’t mount your bike immediately. Unless being penalized serves as motivation. Instead, you’ll need to move from the transition to the mounting area pushing your bike in a methodical, but brisk, pace. Your best position likely depends on whether you’re right- or left-handed. But positioning one hand on the bike seat…

Mastering the Triathlon T1: Part 2 - Transition Area

When you’re out of the water and surrounded by hundreds of slippery, slightly disoriented, emotionally-heightened athletes in various stages of control and orientation, your “go to” stabilizer will be your T1 plan. Your plan should quickly, efficiently and smoothly transition you through T1, converting confusion and chaos to transition efficiency and shaved seconds off your race time - while also providing a mental edge. Preparation The best way to accomplish a successful T1 on race day is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Having already packed your racing bag with gear and nutrition a few days before, it’s equally important to methodically place everything you need precisely where you want it in the transition area. Well before the race starts. Most importantly,…

How to Legally Draft on the Bike in a Triathlon

To those most intimate with the sport, drafting on the bike in triathlon is language to be feared. Draft-legal races – meaning the ability to draft behind others on the bike leg without penalty – are few and far between in the triathlon world, especially in the United States. However, the non-draft triathlon is a bit of a misnomer. Drafting on the bike is still legally available to all, albeit to a much lesser degree. This is due to the nature of USAT and WTC non-drafting rules for age group athletes. The USAT rulebook upholds that “no participant shall permit his drafting zone to intersect with or remain intersected with the drafting zone of a leading cyclist or that of…

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