Ensure your new running shoes are broken in and race-day-ready

You have an upcoming triathlon and all your running shoes need to be retired or are on the verge. So of course you’re ready for a new pair. Or two! There’s plenty of advice that can help you find what’s right for you if you don’t know exactly what you want. They’ll take care of you. Don’t start running in them right away. You’ll need to break in your new running shoes, even if they’re the same version as your old pair. This is a vital step that can make your future runs more comfortable and reduce the chance of injury. Utilize the 3 tips below to properly break in your new running shoes. They’ll get you race-day-ready and you’ll be more comfortable on the run.

#1 – Take the walk, then run approach

Give yourself plenty of time to break in your new shoes.

Don’t rush the breaking-in process. Your feet need time to adjust to your new running shoes and vice versa, your shoes have to adjust to your feet. Lace your shoes how you want them. Walk or lightly jog in them for a few days. If you’ve switched brands or tried a different style, add another day or two to ensure they’re the right fit. This gives your new running shoes and feet a chance to adjust to each other. During this time period, feel free to increase the amount of time spent walking or lightly jogging. If everything checks out then you’re good to increase your mileage! Ideally, you’ll break in your new running shoes within 4-7 days. 

#2 – Wear running socks

Wear running socks during the break-in process so you get a precise idea of how everything feels. When walking or lightly jogging, make sure everything fits and nothing on the shoe rubs uncomfortably. Nobody wants to get blisters or have a part of the shoe rub your skin raw during a run. If your old shoes are wearing out, chances are some of your socks are too. Look for signs like the material getting thinner or holes in the toes. 

#3 – Keep your old pair

Increase your mileage once your shoes are broken in.

You know it’s time for new running shoes when you reach a certain mileage, experience lower-body pain, or the shoe doesn’t respond like it once did. But don’t get rid of your older shoes just yet, they might have some mileage left on them. Keep running in your current pair while you break in your new kicks. Once the new pair is ready to go, alternate what you wear during your runs if your older pair isn’t quite ready for retirement. If they have some more life they can extend the life of your new pair. Once the older shoes have hit their mileage give them a new life as yard work shoes and what you wear when walking your dog.

Once you get used to your new running shoes you’ll notice the difference! Your run will feel more comfortable, the shoe’s responsiveness will be evident, and the new cushioning will reduce the impact on your joints, muscles, and bones. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to break in your new running shoes before race day. After all, you bought them for the event and you’ll want to show them off!

Follow the 5 Fs of relay and start building your triathlon relay team

Triathlon is often a sport people become involved in as part of a life milestone or a personal goal. The discipline, training, and gear can be intimidating and overwhelming. But, there’s a less daunting entry point to triathlon for rookies. Build a triathlon relay team! The same applies to veterans who want to try longer distances or participate with friends and family. Building a triathlon relay team offers all of the race-day benefits with less training. Lindsey, CapTex Tri Ambassador, shared the following advice and explains why relay is the way to go. So read about the 5 Fs, share with your friends and family, and start building your triathlon relay team today. 

The 5 Fs of creating a triathlon relay team

  • Fun

Create a relay team and you’ll have more time to cheer for everyone else.

Triathlon is one of the most grueling, yet most fulfilling athletic accomplishments. Sometimes the “fun” is in the “done.” However, having raced the full distance and 6 relays as the bike leg, I love to relay. Race day feels more relaxed to me and I really love participating with friends or family. I have the ability to compete without having to hold back and extra time to cheer for everyone else! 

  • (F)Physical

The training required for three disciplines can be difficult and time-consuming. There might be bumps in the road due to physical limitations and/or injuries like these common foot problems triathletes experience. Perhaps you’re only comfortable with one or two disciplines due to your current skill level. Building a triathlon relay team is a great way to still race if instances like these occur. 

  • Family/friends

Make new triathlon memories with your relay team.

I’ve raced with both of my kids since they were 8 and 10 years old. A triathlon relay team is a great way to be directly involved in sports with them. Over the years, the experiences and friendships I’ve had in the triathlon community are unique to being a part of relay teams. It’s even better when you sign up to relay with friends at the last minute or introduce a family member to triathlon by having them complete the leg their most comfortable with. Pro tip: if you’re the swim leg, learn how to find swim goggles that are right for you.

  • Fitness

Those new to triathlon often go for long-distance races as their goal. Relay provides a low-risk opportunity to find out what distance is the best fit for you. When your first race is a long-distance tri, a bad day or a DNF (did not finish) can leave you with a bad experience after investing so much. Fitting in the time to properly train can be challenging, but specializing in one leg is less time-consuming. 

  • Finance

Save some cash when your team splits the event costs.

Triathlon is an investment of your time and finances. Joining a triathlon relay team is a great way to spend less time training and fewer dollars on gear, equipment, and coaching. Registration and travel can cost less when everything is split between the team. Gear costs could be cheaper when focusing on one discipline since you’re not purchasing items for swimming, cycling, and running. Additionally, joining a relay team can help first-timers learn about their new gear and become more comfortable with their discipline. Pro tip: if you’re the bike leg of your relay team, check out these bike buying dos and don’ts before you shop!

Triathlon has been a fun part of my life for eight years. Being on many triathlon relay teams has contributed to many of my great memories. I’ve seen it be a great opportunity for beginners to learn the sport or for veterans to introduce themselves to a new distance. As more people start swimming, cycling, and running to improve their health, creating a relay team is the best introduction to triathlon. 

Grow as a swimmer when you transition from the pool to open water

The thought of swimming in open water can cause anxiety and feel overwhelming if you’re used to the clear waters of a pool. But don’t worry! It’s not as daunting as it seems. Transitioning from the pool to open water can be done easily by following some helpful tips. For example, if you want to become comfortable or more comfortable with open-water swimming, then you should swim in open water more often. Good news, all of our tips but one can be done in the pool! Start today and before you know it you’ll become more comfortable with taking your swim from the pool to open water. Pro tip: build your endurance in the open water with this Zone3 swim gear.

6 ways to become more comfortable

1) Keep your eyes closed

Close your eyes for a few strokes so you don’t focus on the line.

While swimming in the pool, keep your eyes closed for several strokes while your head faces down in the water. Increase the number of strokes as you become more comfortable. This will help you get a feel for swimming straight without needing to use the black line at the bottom of the pool as a reference.

2) Challenge yourself

This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but there are a couple of different ways you can challenge yourself in the pool. First, try swimming in a pool that’s longer in length than what you currently train in. This will help build your stamina and get you used to swimming longer distances without stopping.

If you can’t access a longer pool, try moving your workout to earlier in the morning before the sunrises. This is beneficial if the pool isn’t lit and is similar to swimming with your eyes closed. Swimming when it’s darker outside can make it tougher to see. This provides an environment similar to what you’ll experience in open water.

3) Practice sighting

Get comfortable with sighting when you practice in the pool.

Sighting means you focus on something far away while swimming in open water. Focusing on that helps keep you from veering off course and swimming more than you have to. To practice sighting, you need to synchronize looking ahead with your stroke and breathing. Look at a target at the end of the lane, swim for two strokes, look at your target, repeat. This will help you become more comfortable with sighting in open water and keep you on course. Don’t swim extra if you don’t have to!

4) Learn to be efficient

In order to be an efficient swimmer, you need to reduce your stroke count for each lap. Sighting will help you become more efficient too. It takes fewer strokes and less energy if you swim in a straight line versus zig-zagging in the water. Taking in the right amount of oxygen when you breathe can help you become more efficient too. Keep your form the same as often as you can so you don’t over-extend yourself and feel like you have to play catch up.

5) Wear your wetsuit

Focus on your form and breathing in the pool to become more efficient.

If you plan to wear a wetsuit during your event, you need to become familiar with it before race day. If you do this in the pool, know that chlorine can be harmful to your wetsuit. Wearing it before your race allows you to gauge the buoyancy of the wetsuit and its impact on your form and stroke. Learn about the pros and cons of wearing a wetsuit before you purchase one.

6) Swim in open water

This would be a great time to get familiar with your wetsuit! Find a lake or other body of water to practice swimming in open water. Doing this before race day will help you prepare for what you’ll experience. This is where all the work you’ve done in the pool gets used. You won’t have a black line to guide you, so sighting will be imperative so you can swim efficiently. 

This advice will be beneficial in helping you transition from the pool to open water. As you practice in the pool, find what works for you and stick with it. Repetition in the pool is what will help you when you transition from the pool to open water. Ask other triathletes for their tips and advice, like advice on the best multisport watches. Who knows, the insight they provide might be useful for you.

Weather affects run performance, especially if you’re not prepared

Triathletes deal with different weather year-round while running. Mother Nature can be a force if you’re caught off guard. Weather affects run performance, especially in extreme conditions. Make sure you know about the ways in which weather affects run performance so you can adjust accordingly. Understanding these circumstances is helpful during training, especially as you begin to increase your mileage. The information below will help prepare you for whatever Mother Nature has in store during your run. 

Heat

Running in hot weather slows you down considerably. You have to exert more effort and the heat raises your heart rate. Dehydration can be an issue because your body will sweat more in an effort to keep you cool. High humidity can add to the thickness of the air, making it seem like it’s harder to breathe. You can still run during the warmer months as it could benefit you during the cooler months. Make sure you increase your hydration, replenish the electrolytes you lose, and dial back your pace. Here are some different ways to can carry hydration on your run. If your schedule allows, run in the morning or the evening when it’s cooler.

High winds

Everyone has been on a run where the wind goes against you no matter what direction you run. High winds can negatively affect your run performance and can act as a type of resistance training. They’ll slow you down, but just think that you’re getting stronger as a runner. High winds could also stir up dust and debris which could get in your eyes or impact your breathing, especially if you suffer from allergies. Check the air quality before you run and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you run.

Rain

For starters, your running pace suffers while running in rainy weather because you tend to run more cautiously. You may be apprehensive about slipping. Rain can soak your clothes, making them heavier. Soaked socks and shoes could lead to blisters. They’re a painful experience that nobody enjoys. If there’s lightning or a storm approaching with lightning do not start your run. If this happens mid-run, seek shelter immediately. If there’s a thunderstorm approaching, flip your run with a rest day and take advantage of the benefits.

Cold

Layer your clothes during a cold run so you can remove them and put them back on as needed.

As is the case with any kind of weather that affects run performance, it’s not just the outside temperature that matters. It’s more about how your body reacts to the weather that affects how you run. Your body generates heat when you run, so you shouldn’t feel too bad while running in the cold. The key is to properly layer so you can add and remove layers when necessary. You’ll more than likely encounter this weather because the training cycle is longer if you’re preparing for your first 70.3 distance. In colder temperatures, your body has to use more energy to keep vital organs warm. Blood vessels may constrict in the cold, reducing blood flow and the amount of fresh oxygen to your leg muscles.

Foggy/cloudy

Running in fog or when it’s cloudy can be risky. Visibility may be compromised in dense fog making it harder for you to see others or for others to see you. Run against traffic and wear reflective clothing. Don’t think you’ve got it made if it’s cloudy, the sun’s rays are still shining through. Apply sunscreen before a run and hydrate as you normally would. A false sense of security could lead to a nasty sunburn or thinking you don’t have to hydrate as much. 

Build your endurance and become a better runner when you increase your run mileage

It’s been said that running is addictive. It’s also the final leg of triathlon, when you’re most exhausted. We want to go fast, push the boundaries, and better our overall time. Running longer distances is one way to learn about mental fortitude and finish your next triathlon strong. With swimming and cycling, your goal to increase your run mileage can be overwhelming when you look at the goal by itself. But we’re here to help every step of the way! Follow our guidelines and the tips below for the best way to increase your run mileage. It’s the best way to grow as a runner, reduce the chance of injury, and work towards your big goal! Pro tip: build this into your overall training plan for optimum results. Pro tip: get a new pair of shoes before you increase your run mileage if your current pair has too many miles.

Do the work – (EVERY DAY)

This is self-explanatory! Whether it’s a rest day or your longest run ever, you have to do the work. You don’t need to set records or PR every time, but you do need to be consistent. That’s how you’ll build your running stamina and teach your body to run further and further. If there’s a day where you just can’t squeeze in a run or workout (because life happens), don’t stress. Don’t try to make it up the next day. Squeeze in a foam roll or stretch session if you can and keep moving forward with your plan! Pro tip: check out these 6 motivational tips if you need a boost.

REST – (1-2 times per week)

If your training plan calls for a rest day, TAKE THE REST DAY. This allows your body the chance to recover from the previous swim, bike, or run. If you get the itch to do something, make it active recovery. Foam roll throughout the day. Set aside time for deep stretching. Take an online yoga class. Those three options will speed up the recovery process and get you ready for the next day.

Build your running stamina – (2-3 times per week)

As you increase your run mileage, you learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Every new long run represents a new PR for your longest run. As you hit new distances, it’s important to remain focused on form and technique. Don’t get sloppy! Remain as efficient as possible at the end of your run. Focusing on your form will allow you to generate power efficiently. This will also help with your body’s ability to consume oxygen. Brick workouts are another great way to build your stamina. Running after cycling or swimming will introduce your body to running when you’re tired. Brick workouts will prepare you for race day.

Increase body strength – (2-3 times per week)

You’ll need to prepare your body for running longer and longer distances. Break up running workouts with weight workouts. You don’t need heavy weights. Focus on lighter weights with higher repetitions. You want to push the body, burn fat, and build lean muscle. Working muscles differently than when you’re running is critical. It helps prevent the overuse of the same muscles. No weights? No problem. Focus on body resistance exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges.

Set smaller goals – (1 time a week)

On a weekend morning, when it’s coolest, push yourself to run further than you did last weekend. Do this alone if needed, but running with a friend has tremendous benefits. When preparing to increase your mileage, setting that small goal of going longer than before teaches your mind and body it’s capable of completing longer distances.  You’ll eventually see that last week’s distance that was difficult is now easier. Over time, what was once thought impossible will become your warm-up. Slowly but surely increasing your mileage will put you in a prime position to run further and further. Pro tip: one speed workout a week will help you on your long runs.

There are many other factors that can impact how you increase your run mileage: diet, hydration, nutrition, cross-training, injuries, etc. Those items can be built-in and managed as you progress. Just remember, you don’t just wake up and run longer distances. Persistence and consistency are needed. Do you listen to music when you run? Add these 5 songs to your next playlist!

Keep logging those miles with these motivational running tips

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer you will face a time when you’re feeling too “blah” to run. Perhaps you’re too busy, too tired, or maybe feeling under the weather. You’re not alone! This is something that all triathletes experience. Breakthrough the excuse barrier with these 6 motivational running tips. It’ll keep your offseason training on track and you’ll be ready for the upcoming season.

Pro tip: always take time off from running to recover if you’re injured or sick. Most importantly, you should always listen to your body! Here are more helpful tips if you’ve started training for a triathlon.

  1. Call Your Running Partner

Having a running partner gives you the accountability factor. Running with another person is always fun because you can challenge each other. On days when you need a nudge, they can “talk” you into at least putting your running gear on and joining them for a few easy miles.

  1. Set a Shorter Running Goal

If you run 5K every day, reduce it to 2K on days where you’re not feeling it. You will trick your mind into believing that the run will be over soon. Chances are though, once you’re out there running, you’ll likely hit the 5K mark.

  1. Update Your Tunes

If you like to run while listening to music, maybe changing up the tunes will help. Sometimes we get bored listening to the same tunes, which can affect your passion for running. Choose “feel good” songs that inspire you, especially on gloomy days.

  1. Slow Down

Walking is an excellent alternative for getting fit. It’s okay if you’re not in the mood to run. Go for a brisk walk. This will get your heart pumping. It’s possible you might start jogging once you’re there!

  1. Revisit Your Goals

This is another form of self-accountability. If you are truly feeling a lack of inspiration towards running, take some time out and examine your fitness goals. What is it you want to achieve? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness? Remind yourself about these goals and how meeting them will benefit you. Pro tip: these 10 mood-boosting quotes can help too!

  1. Change Your Route

Do you run the same route every day? Perhaps changing the course will stimulate your curiosity and inspire you to run. You’ll learn new routes, work muscles differently, and explore new sections of your city or neighborhood.

Keep in mind, it’s perfectly normal to not feel like running on a daily basis. Proper rest and recovery is just as important for your body as a short run. Give one of these 6 motivational running tips a try the next time you don’t feel like running. You’ll be glad you got out there when you finish!

Follow our advice to get better at hydrating while cycling

If you’re new to cycling, one of the challenges to get accustomed to is knowing how to drink water while peddling. Just as there is skill needed to balance, ride curves, and pump uphills, technique is needed to hydrate without losing your balance and falling off your bike. Here are some tips for hydrating while cycling.

Use a squirt-top bottle instead of a cap bottle

A water bottle with a cap requires you to twist it open, which is cumbersome to do with one hand on a bike. When it comes to squirt-top bottles, you can simply use your teeth to open the valve and start drinking with one hand as you control your bike with the other. The convenience a squirt-top bottle offers during cycling allows you to focus on the course more and avoid any accident.

Make use of the bottle cage on your bike

To carry water on the road, you can use a bottle cage on your bike. The bottle cage can be installed between the bars, on the frame, or near the saddle to help you reach your drink with zero fuss. Here are the pros and cons of each bottle cage.

Aero Bottle Cage

This type of cage is designed so that it can be attached to multiple parts of the bike frame. Most other cages can only be mounted to the frame.

Pros
– easiest to access
– option to install it either vertical or horizontal
– using horizontal bottles at the front can decrease aerodynamic drag

Cons
– poor aerodynamics compared to other cages
– using vertical bottles can cause even higher aerodynamic drag.

Bike Frame Cage

These are very common bottle holders that can be placed on the frame, seat post, or handlebars.

Pros
– slim aero bottles on the down tube are less affected by drag and side wind.

Cons
– intermediate aerodynamic drag
– large frame-mounted bottles are expensive and difficult to clean.

Rear Hydration System

This is an aerodynamic bottle that is mounted behind the seat post. These are more so used by competitive triathletes partaking in very long distances.

Pros
– best choice in terms of aerodynamics
– least affected by side wind

Cons
– requires a cage with a strong grip to prevent bottle-launching
– must be made of a favorable material to oppose side sway

Take advantage of the straight-aways

Think about when the ideal time to take a sip is and be ready to do so. Trying to pull the water bottle out on curves is much more challenging, so wait until the trail is flat and straight to get your drink.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Ride up and down your street over and over and practice. Pull your water bottle out of the cage, take a sip, then put it back while moving forward. Start off slow and pick up speed as you get more comfortable.

Pro Tip: Avoid quenching your thirst in one go

Kerrville TriathlonExerting your body through exercise causes dehydration which makes you thirsty. Despite your desire to rapidly quench your thirst it’s important to not drink too much. It can be counterproductive and negatively affect your performance. It is best to avoid drinking mouthfuls and only take a few sips occasionally. You can hydrate yourself effectively without running the risk of drinking too much.

To make sure you do not run yourself dry, you should consume around 600-900 ml of water, per hour, during a triathlon, in addition to other nutritional needs. Although triathlons will have water available in transition and on the run course, not all triathlons provide an aid station on the bike course. Make sure the water bottle(s) on your bike are full so you don’t run out of water.

Hydrating while cycling can be tricky if you’re not used to it. With a secure bottle cage and lots of practice, you’ll be able to master this skill in no time.

Wetsuits Care Instructions

Wetsuits are as big of an investment as they are helpful in the water. That is why proper care is important. Click To Tweet

By following these simple wetsuit care steps you will extend the life of your investment.

  1. Wetsuits can be used in all open water conditions. You should not use your wetsuit in a chlorinated swimming pool. Over time the chlorine will damage the seams and degrade the fabric of the suit. No matter the water, you should always rinse your suit in clean cool water after each use.
  2. To preserve the life of the wetsuit always store your wetsuit lying flat or hanging in a dry place on a thick plastic hanger. Wetsuits can be heavy so make sure the hanger is sturdy, you don’t want to find your wetsuit crumpled up at the bottom of a closet.
  3. Make sure your wetsuit is completely dry before you put it away or it will mildew and STINK! You can turn your wetsuit inside out to help it dry faster. Never leave your wetsuit out in the sun to dry.
  4. Periodically wash your wetsuit with wetsuit shampoo. This will keep the integrity of the fabric as well as keep it from becoming mildewy and stinky.
  5. Only use approved lubricates when putting on your wetsuit. Like chlorine, unapproved lubricants can degrade the fabric and will have your wetsuit falling apart at the seams. Petroleum jelly (Vasaline) or any other petroleum-based product will literally eat holes in your suit lining.
  6. If you have to travel with your wetsuit, fold as stated below. Having fold seams and a crumpled suit will lead to more likely tearing when you are putting the suit on. :Fold up legs half way up.
    1. Fold arms over in an X
    2. Fold the remaining legs over the arms and torso.
    3. Unfold when you get where you are traveling.