Maximiliano gives some insight into training for his first half distance triathlon
Everyone’s triathlon journey is different. Some want a new challenge. Others like the steadiness of training and the thrill of competition. There are triathletes who want to create a healthier lifestyle for themselves. Sometimes people are overwhelmed and never start. Maximiliano is a Kerrville Tri Ambassador sharing his triathlon journey about what led him to register and train for his first half distance triathlon. It hasn’t been a smooth road for the new father, but he has the support of his family and the triathlon community. His journey is unique, but similar to many other triathletes. Learn about his start, the ups and downs, and what he’s learned along the way. It will all culminate in his first half distance triathlon at Kerrville Tri’s 10th anniversary! Whether it’s your first Rookie Sprint Tri or your 10th half distance, join Maximiliano at The Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas.
A crazy idea
My name is Maximiliano Ramirez and my first son was born in February 2019. At that time I was in the worst physical shape of my life. I weighed 255 pounds and could not run more than two miles without getting exhausted. Seeing my son for the first time made me realize I had to make some changes to my life. That is when I got the crazy idea of participating in triathlons. With zero experience I bought my first used road bike online and registered for my first triathlon, Rookie Tri.
As you can imagine, I didn’t have much time to train (less than three months!). I was getting used to life as a father, but still managed to finish the race. But all I needed was that race to get hooked on triathlon. You can say I got the bug! I signed up for two more races that year, Lake Pflugerville Tri (Olympic distance) and Jack’s Genetic Tri. I was really pumped for the 2020 season, but as we all know Covid derailed events and training plans alike. During that time I was happy that I got an extra year to do more research. I learned more about training plans, different equipment, and how to take better care of myself. That gave me the courage to sign up for my first half distance triathlon at the 10th annual Kerrville Tri.
When I made the decision to register for my first half distance triathlon, my wife, without hesitation, gave me her full support. Having her by my side throughout the training process has been incredible. I have researched many training plans and asked many of my friends for tips. I think asking for help is important to do. You never know what you’ll learn! Also, don’t be embarrassed to go out there and try something new, whether it’s new swim equipment or your longest bike ride.
My current training plan consists of two swimming days (Monday and Friday). That gives my legs time to recover before and after long weekend rides/runs. During the week I alternate between short runs and rides during my lunch break. Depending on how hectic my days are, there might be a day or two where I work out at night.
Tips to make training work
Like many other triathletes with families, work, and a busy life, finding time to train can be difficult. But really all you have to do is adjust your routine and schedule. For example, on my long rides, I typically go to sleep early so I can wake up around 4:00 a.m. This allows me to be out the door no later than 5:00 a.m. Making minor adjustments helps me balance training for my first half distance triathlon and everything else in my life.
In addition to the actual training plan, nutrition and hydration are just as important. Make sure to hydrate, especially with electrolytes, when training is demanding. I still consider myself a new triathlete and I’ve tried many products. Nothing has worked like I want just yet and I’ll continue to research and experiment until I find what works best for me. But just like training and certain workouts, you have to experiment with nutrition and hydration to discover what’s best for you.
I hope my experiences help others who want to register for a triathlon, but are nervous about jumping into something new. Just remember that anything is possible. You have to put in the work, but you should also be confident that you can achieve it. It will take time to get in a rhythm, but once you do it becomes second nature. Then you’ll graduate from sprint triathlons to your first half distance triathlon! I encourage everyone to join me at the 10th annual Kerrville Triathlon Festival. They have distances for triathletes of all abilities.
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
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
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
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.
Sighting Tips for Open Water Swimming
Swimming in the correct direction during open water can be a challenge for most athletes. This is why learning the proper technique for sighting in open water is crucial during training. Here are a few tips for sighting that can help when you line up for your next event.
Print out the swim course map and go to the swim start to look for landmarks to use while sighting. Ideally, you want to survey the area at the same time when the swim will occur. This will give you an idea of where the sun is hitting the swim course and if the glare will be an issue.
Look for landmarks in the distance that are distinctive and easy to spot. Things like buildings, peaks of trees, or dips in the tree lines are great for spotting. Buoys can be hard to spot during the swim, and especially if you are slightly turned in the wrong direction, the significant landmarks provide an excellent alternative for sighting.
Come Up With a Game Plan
If the swim course runs parallel to the shores, use the shores to gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. Look back towards the shore when you are taking a breath on your side while you are swimming. Also, use other swimmers to help you gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. If you were swimming with a pack and suddenly found yourself swimming alone, popup and sight for landmarks or buoys to check if you are swimming in the right direction.
Prep Your Gear
Keep your goggles clean and apply your favorite anti-fog spray inside the goggles before the event. A good, clean pair of tri goggles will allow you to see better and further down the swim course to spot the swim buoys and landmarks.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Here are some tips from seasoned triathlete and High Five Events‘ Operations Manager, John Chung. “Practice swimming with your head up in the pool. Use the cool down set for practice, and establish a rhythm for when to take a stroke for sighting. I like to swim two normal stokes and a sight stroke, pull, pull, sight. To get your head elevated slightly above water, push down instead of pulling through during the catch.
On your next open water swim practice, figure out which way you naturally curve to when you swim. For example, I tend to swim to my right, so if the buoys are on my left on a counter-clockwise swim course, I tend to swim away from the course. So for me, I need to look for buoys to my left when I sight during the swim. Sight 2 to 3 times to correct the direction in which you are swimming. First, locate the buoy or landmark you’ll use. Second, adjust your swimming direction to get back on course. Third, continue to sight as often as needed to make sure you are swimming towards the buoy or landmark.”
Make it a point to practice sighting during the cool-down portion of your swim sessions to have this skill mastered for your next event! Happy swimming!
Everything you need to know to find the best swim goggles for triathlon
A good pair of goggles is a tri-gear essential that can make or break your swim during your big race. That’s why it’s critical to find a pair that meet your standards and needs. Durability, strength, comfortability, and adjustability are qualities you should look for before purchasing a new pair of tri goggles. Different kinds of goggles provide better protection, benefits, and effectiveness, depending on the type of swimming you’re doing. Get ready to race you best at your upcoming tri with our recommendations of the best triathlon swim goggles.
Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind before buying your pair:
The most notable difference between pool goggles and tri or open water goggles is tri goggles are bigger for a broader range of vision. This feature is critical to maximize your field of vision to properly sight while swimming for other athletes, buoys, and the almighty swim finish line. Tri goggles often come in various sizes, so make sure you get the pair that best fits your face without compromising your sight.
Pay Attention to Tint
Style may be important, but you don’t want to compromise style for function and vice versa. Tinted goggles may appeal to you more, but if you’re doing an open water race with muggy water, heavily tinted goggles would not be in your best interest. Plus, if you’re new to open water swimming, limiting your already hindered vision may be intimidating for most swimmers.
Train in the Goggles You Will Race In
This is the best way to avoid any race-morning mishaps from keeping you from performing your best on race day. Adjust your goggles to the exact tightness you’re comfortable with to prevent your goggles from filling up with water or even falling off mid-race. Pro Tip: Always have a second pair of goggles once you find a pair you like. It is always good to have on race morning in case something happens to your googles on site.
You protect your eyes during every other portion of the tri, and the swim is no exception. Most goggles typically have this feature, but double-check and make sure you get a pair with UV protection. The sun’s rays reflect off the water and make it hard to see, that’s why goggles with UV protection will shield your eyes from any damage and keep your vision manageable on sunny training or race days.
Check Out Our Top 5 Triathlon Goggles
- Long-lasting silicone straps
- Great anti-fog and
- Adjustable & comfortable
- Wide-angle optical lens
- Maximum comfort with leak-resistant seal
- Low price, customizable and precise vision
- leak-resistant seal
- Curved lens technology for 180 Vision
- Smoke lens
- Soft seals for extra comfort
- 100% UV Protection
- No-slip double strap
- Great for indoor and outdoor swimming
You’re All Set!
Now you have all the tools you need to find the perfect pair of goggles to take you to the finish line at your upcoming tri! Didn’t see your fave goggles on this list? Want us to give them a try and add them to this list? Reach out on Facebook or Twitter and let us hear your thoughts!
Let your troubles drift away with these quotes about life that are bound to boost your mood
As much as we may hate to admit it, we’ve all been in a funk where it’s difficult to feel inspired to keep going. With many daily obstacles to face, from stress at work to family, love, and overall success, it can be hard to find a balance. There comes a time when we all need a little extra boost of positivity to get back in the right mindset. That’s exactly what you’re gonna find with these mood-boosting quotes about life.
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Jot down a few of your favorite uplifting quotes or sayings for the next time you’re feeling down and need a quick pick-me-up! It’ll give you the perfect boost to get you back on track to achieving your goals. Pro Tip: These are also great quotes if you’ve hit a lull in your tri journey and need some motivation to get ready for some Kerrville Tri training.
Try these dryland swim training exercises to help build strength and improve your performance in the water
Training for the swim portion of your upcoming tri is always important. Although this workout won’t be identical to the benefits you get while actually in the water, such as perfecting your form and practicing your breathing; focusing on these muscles is valuable to enhancing your performance during your tri. Think of these exercises as a way of targeting the same muscle groups you would activate while swimming to keep making forward progress when you’re unable to hit the pool. These dryland swim exercises focus on working your core muscles, quads, glutes, chest, arms, back, and shoulders much like you would in the water.
A burpee essentially works all the muscles you would activate during a pool session, but is especially beneficial to help build your stamina. Full body and functional exercise that works on your muscle endurance as well as aerobic capacity.
- Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower yourself into a squatting position and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Jump your feet back, putting yourself into a pushup position.
- Do a pushup.
- Jump your feet back into their original position.
- Stand yourself upright, jump into the air, and clap your hands over your head.
Repeat this exercise in 3 sets of 15.
For this upper body exercise, you need some weight. However, stay light and stretch your shoulders well to reduce the risk of injury.
To do this type of Lat pulldown:
- Sit down at a pulldown machine and place your hands wide apart on the bar, palms facing forward.
- Bring the bar down straight down to your clavicle.
- Keep your torso still as you pull your arms down.
- Draw your shoulders back, pulling the bar down as you exhale.
- When the bar touches your clavicle and your shoulder blades are completely contracted, count to 2.
- Slowly bring your arms back up to starting position, as you inhale.
Control is key during this exercise. Trying to go fast will not work your muscles efficiently and can injure you. If you keep the weight low, you can do 3 sets of 25 for this exercise. don’t rush the exercise don’t go too fast or too slow
If you do not have access to a pull-down machine, pull-ups will also work your back, muscle, and arms, providing great swimming dryland workout. You can even use the monkey bars at a local playground for this one.
How to do a proper pull-up:
- Move your arms shoulder-width apart and grasp an overhead bar with a firm, overhand grip.
- Hang so your arms and legs are straight.
- Steady your core.
- Keep your back straight and do not swing yourself.
- Pull yourself up, so that your head is over the bar, leaving the bar at your chest.
- Slowly lower your body back to hanging position.
You should also do this same exercise with your hands gripped close together at different distances, to work different muscles. Shoot for about 5 sets of as many proper pull-ups as your strength will allow during each set.
This exercise works your quads and glutes. It will help you with changing direction and help you prevent injuries.
To do a reaching lunge:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step far forward with your right leg and shift your weight so that your heel hits the floor.
- Descend until your right shin is vertical and your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Lightly tap your left knee to the floor.
- Put your weight back onto your right heel to bring yourself back upright.
- Repeat with your left leg.
When doing these exercises, keep yourself balanced and make sure your knee is bent at a 90º angle does not stick out further than your toe. On each side, also do 3 sets of 15 for this exercise.
T Rotational Pushups
This spin on the traditional pushup offers you a more intense workout. It provides a better core workout, while still hitting the upper body and hip extensors.
To do a T rotational pushup:
- Begin with a rigid torso, in a standing pushup position with your arms and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Descend, bringing yourself chest to the floor.
- Start ascending until your arms are straight.
- Shift over into a side plank position keeping your arms straight.
- Rotate back to push up positions.
- Repeat on the other side
Do 10 reps total, alternating each side, for 3 sets.
Incorporate these dryland swim workouts into your Kerrville Tri training plan so you can be a stronger, more confident swimmer when you hit the water at your next tri.
Don’t let your tri training mess up your do! Here are some quick tips to protect and prevent damage to your hair during your swim training
Chlorine is very damaging to your hair because it strips your hair of its natural oils, making it easier for your hair to become dry and break off or split at the ends. Keep your hairdo looking brand new for as long as possible when you use these tips to prevent damage to your hair during your training for Kerrville Tri!
1. Wet Your Hair
Wetting your hair before you get in the pool will minimize the amount of chlorine and other chemicals your hair will absorb.
2. Protect Your Hair
Take it a step further by putting a protectant in your hair before you hop in the pool! Putting a protectant, such as coconut oil, on before prevents your hair from soaking up the chemicals in the water, while also moisturizing your hair.
3. Wear a Swim Cap
Wearing a swim cap during your swim training is the best way to prevent chlorine from soaking into your hair. This method to prevent hair damage is very effective and it’s reusable and inexpensive.
4. Style Your Hair
If a swim cap isn’t for you, find a quick and easy way to style your hair before your workouts, such as a braid or bun, to keep your hair from getting tangled in the pool.
Your hair is bound to get some exposure to the chlorine. Follow these steps to prevent further damage to your hair after your pool session.
1. Rinse Immediately
After getting out of the pool, you’ll want to rinse your hair right away. You don’t have to give your hair a full wash, but it’s crucial to rinse the pool water from your hair to stop any future damage from happening.
2. Comb Gently
Your hair will most likely be tangly from your swim. Be sure to brush your hair gently to prevent the ends from breaking off! Use a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray if you need to.
3. Deep Condition
You will want to put a clarifying, deep conditioner in your hair once a week, or every 4 to 5 workouts, depending on how often you hit the pool. This will get rid of any hidden chlorine deposits throughout the hair to keep your hair looking healthy for as long as possible.
We often forget or don’t think about how damaging chlorine really is during all the pool training that leads up to your tri. Protect your hair and save yourself some money when you use these tips to protect your hair during your swim training while preparing for your upcoming tri!
Think you can skip training for the swim for your next tri? Not so fast!
You’re an ok swimmer so you don’t feel like you should allot a bunch of time training for the swim. Fast forward to the morning of your tri, add in race day elements – open water, other athletes, and no lanes to keep you in check – it’s no wonder why even seasoned triathletes may face panic during the swim. Know the importance of swim training with 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore swim training for your upcoming triathlon.
1. Helps Prevent Injury
Getting your body accustomed to handle the first leg of the tri is crucial. Swimming is a low-intensity, low-impact workout that will improve your overall flexibility, heart and lung capacity. Developing this during your training will prevent any unexpected incidents on race day. Train for the distance you are going to swim in your upcoming tri. Start slow and work your way up to this distance during your workouts. You can always slow down and take it easy on the bike and run legs, but during the intensity and commotion of the swim, your options are limited. For safety reasons, you cannot complete the race if you are unable to complete the swim portion. Therefore, you should practice floating on your back and practice a safety stroke as a backup plan if you start to feel tired or get frantic during the swim.
2. Avoid Swimming Further Than You Have To
For those who have done most of your training in a pool, you are used to having a guide to keep you swimming in a straight line. If you don’t practice sighting during your training, you’ll most likely end up zig-zagging between the buoys, thus adding to the distance you have to swim on race morning. Don’t count on following the person in front of you. Sight regularly throughout the swim course to make sure you stay on the correct side of the buoys. Practicing sighting is key to avoid swimming off course during your tri.
3. Good Cardiovascular Activity
Swimming is a great aerobic exercise that will improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall health. It’s easy on your joints and is a perfect low-impact cardio exercise that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Choose a training plan that focuses on improving your swim technique to reserve your energy for the remaining legs of the race. Also, establishing a good technique before the race will make you more efficient in the water on race day.
4. Strengthen Your Legs
Leg strength can make or break a race, so don’t make the mistake of neglecting leg work in the pool. If you haven’t spent much time in the water during your training, your legs may feel weak after completing the swim portion. To avoid feeling weak throughout the bike and run portion, use various swimming workouts to strengthen your legs during your training. The resistance from the water will strengthen your legs more than running or cycling alone. Incorporate kick sets into your swim training plan to ensure you have trained for your distance properly. Pro tip: As you near the exit swim, start kicking your legs a little stronger to get the blood circulating into your legs again to prepare for the run into transition.
5. Calm Pre-Race Nerves
Despite all your training, things can go awry when you factor in hundreds of other athletes into the mix. Nerves on race morning can get pretty overwhelming. Especially if this is your first triathlon. Even with a time trial start, swimming with so many people of all different skill levels can unnerve a highly skilled swimmer. You need to build your confidence in the water before the race. Most training takes place in a pool, but try joining a local tri club or a Masters Swimming Program to get the experience of swimming in open water with other athletes. Pro tip: Get out and do a mock swim so there are no surprises for your open-water swim.
It is common for athletes to dread the first discipline of a tri. Preparing for this during your training will eliminate any uncertainties you have before you dive into the swim start. Whether you’re a novice swimmer or trying to go from a good swimmer to a great swimmer, training is key to a good performance on race day. So don’t hurt yourself by ignoring swim training for your upcoming tri! Grab your gear and head to the water.
Use this guide when preparing your gear bags for Kerrville Tri to make transitions a breeze on race day!
The layout of Kerrville Tri is different from other tri’s due to the two separate transition areas, located two miles apart. It’s important to come prepared with all your gear in the correct place to make your experience easy, and most importantly, fun! Upon receiving your packet, you will be given 3 bags designated for transition on race day, along with your race number stickers and stickers for your gear bags. It’s crucial that you place the designated sticker with your race number on the proper gear bag to make keeping track of your stuff easier. Be ready once you arrive at the race site, and use this step-by-step guide to handle Kerrville Tri transitions with ease.
When you’re done checking-in and getting body-marked, place any clothes that you wore to the race site that you do not plan on wearing during the tri in your Green – “Morning Clothes Bag.” Then take your bag to drop it off at the assigned box truck located at T1.
After you dominate the swim course, you’ll head into T1 to gear up for the bike portion. Once you change into your bike gear, put your swim gear (ex. goggles, swim cap, towel) in the Red – “Bike Gear Bag” and leave it on the rack where your bike was. We transport all gear from T1 to T2 during the race, so it will be waiting for you in T2 after the race.
Prepare your Blue – “Run Gear Bag” with what you plan to wear during the run. This bag should hold all the items you need to transition from the bike to the run portion. Plan ahead because this gear bag needs to be checked into T2 on the day prior to the event! Once you change into your running gear, tie the bag to the rack and head for the run course!
Follow these tips and have your gear bags ready to ensure you have a smooth transition on race day for Kerrville Tri! We’ll see you at the finish line!