Master open water swim panic with these 10 strategies. Embrace the water, find rhythm, visualize success, train with others, and more. Dive in confidently for triathlon success!
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Elevate your triathlon training with brick workouts! Uncover the importance of combining disciplines, enhancing endurance, and building mental resilience. Explore dynamic workout ideas to conquer race-day challenges.
Beat the heat while prepping for Kerrville Tri! Dive into our blog for refreshing swim workouts with a kickboard, designed for triathletes. Boost technique, endurance, and performance in the water. Let’s make a splash!
Kerrville, Texas, boasts a delectable culinary landscape that caters to all tastes and cravings. Indulge in a cozy and charming meal at Bridget’s Basket or savor the fine dining experience at Pinnacle Grill. For a true taste of the region, Hill Country Cafe offers comfort food with a local twist.
This post was originally published on https://zone3.us/blogs/blog/what-to-eat-and-when-to-eat-during-a-triathlon
By Glen Gore, former pro triathlete and current coach.
If ever there was a hot topic of debate, it comes in the form of triathlon nutrition and more importantly, nutrition intake on race days.
What exactly do you need to eat and drink, and when?
To start this editorial piece, we need to agree that there is no magic formula that will work the same for everyone. Each of us differs in our body mechanics and the way we work with nutritional absorption that it’s almost impossible to pinpoint one clear plan that will work for everyone.
Having said that, you can still use sound advice and at least start on the right track. For us, nutrition is another important discipline in the sport of triathlon. The fastest and most finely tuned sports car in the world will go nowhere fast if there is no fuel in the tank. Similarly no matter how hard you have trained and prepared if you are going to race on zero nutrition, your body (engine) is going to slowly come to a complete stop and falter.
Rule no 1 – don’t neglect your nutritional intake on race days. It’s quite easy to “forget” to drink and eat when you are giving 100% during an all-out race effort. Just know that sooner or later, you will start to run out of energy stores and that is when racing becomes anything but fun.
Fuelling is different depending on the distance
A Sprint Distance triathlon race is completely different from an Olympic, Half, or full Ironman distance event. These distances require different amounts of training loads to be fully prepared to take on the challenge. The same rule applies to how you fuel the body during an event that takes less than 60 mins compared to an event that may take up to 17hrs.
A sprint race normally lasts anywhere between 52 minutes for the PRO’s up to say 1.5-2hrs for the backmarkers. Most of the time – depending on weather conditions, you can get away with next to nothing in the form of intake over the sprint distance. Some hydration via a small sports bottle and perhaps 1-2 gels for the bike and run should sufficiently see you through the event.
I have often found that my best results over the sprint distance come when I go in “light” – not much food in the tank – that empty feeling but with just enough energy stores from the previous night’s meal or early morning small breakfast to see me through the event.
Hydration is always important – you never want to start any event “thirsty” so make sure the fluid levels are topped up in the form of small sips. A huge intake of fluids just before the start is not a suggested best practice for an optimum result over short distances.
These should be taken as pure guidelines and not as hard-fast rules – these suggestions come from trial and error on the battlefield.
When you compete in an event that spans longer than 2hrs, then you need to start looking at a more efficient fueling system.
The Olympic distance event can take anywhere from 2hrs to 3hrs plus – eating and drinking now becomes more important. If you are not fuelling adequately over the 40km cycle, you will feel the burn when you enter the hunt on the 10km run.
Some athletes require less nutritional intake than others while others may require more fluid intake. The best place to learn what your body requires is by trial and error. The more you race over this distance, the more you will learn as to what you require and when.
When the event time spans over 4hrs in duration right up to 8h30, then you will need a tried and tested method, worked on in training, to see you adequately fuelled in a race that covers a whopping 113km.
The many trained brick sessions will give you a firm indication of what will work for you on race day and what will not. It does become quite expensive when your training sessions have to mimic race days but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. The more you practice eating and drinking over the longer distances in training, the easier the transition will be from training days to half-distance racing days.
Full IM Distance
So many athletes have “bonked” or “hit the wall” over the full IM distance simply because they ran out of fuel. The body was prepared, the mental side was in place but the “engine” for some reason was neglected.
Firstly consider that a normal day at work would require someone to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now add in 3.8km of swimming, 180km of biking, and a 42.2km marathon to top it all off, covered in a time that may span at least 17hrs. Now it becomes apparent just how much food and drink is required to keep you moving along at an optimum level.
Best Fuelling Tactics during Training
- Find a product that works and more importantly is cost-effective. Just because it’s expensive does not mean it’s better.
- Trial and Error – the brick session will help you develop a suitable war plan for race days. If it works in training, more than likely it will work during the race.
- Make sure you re-fuel within 15-30 minutes after a strenuous workout. As athletes, we often neglect the post-training refueling strategy. Remember you are not only eating for today but you are eating for tomorrow’s training session as well.
Best Fuelling Tactics during Racing
- Eat small bits and drink small sips all the time – especially during the longer races – the reason being to keep the tank on full at all times and not deplete it before you think about replenishing.
- Cut up your energy bars into small bite-size pieces – this is much easier to eat and digest while on the move.
- Get in some solid food sources quickly once you are done with the swim. The longer the duration of the event, the more advisable to start the cycle with something a little more substantial than just a gel.
- Don’t overload your bike with too much nutrition and hydration. This makes that very expensive bike extremely heavy. The bigger races have more than an ample supply of nutrition along the way – make use of it even if you need to stop briefly and take some on-board.
- Don’t start the run in a hurry. T2 over long distances is a time where you need to relax a little and consume some solid nutrition before you head out onto the run. Whatever time you lose in transition you will more than makeup, especially when the run distance is over a full standard marathon.
Common Fuelling Mistakes
- Eating only when hungry – this means it’s already too late. It will take you a long time to get back those lost energy stores, time which you won’t have during the race days.
- Drinking only when thirsty. Once again, this is too late – if you are feeling thirsty you are already on the way to partial dehydration. Keep on sipping water and juice so you never get to feel that thirst.
- Trying new stuff on race day. Stick to what you know and what you have trained on.
- Don’t alter the nutritional plan. What you practiced in training, do the same on race day. Don’t change the formula, there is a good chance it won’t work.
- Drinking too much. This can be a problem worse than drinking too little so take the race weather conditions on the day into account and drink what is normal for you.
Nutrition is important, a successful race plan always has a well thought out nutritional plan that goes along with it, and remember, it takes trial and error to perfect – good luck!
If you bought a 50-year-old Porsche 911 everyone would say you bought a classic car, but when athletes turn 50 people tend to think they become junk heaps.
The athletes themselves know that training at 50+ can be just as rewarding and fun as racing when you are younger and stronger. It just takes a different focus, and your training needs to be modified, to fit your older and more worn body.
Specificity, strength, speed, and rest become the most important part of maintaining a racing lifestyle for an athlete over 50.
Specificity is training to fit your racing. It makes no sense to ride 100 miles if you are training for a 10-mile Sprint Tri, or swim 7 days a week when your swim is 500 yards. Your training needs to be focused to fit your goals and the races you choose. If your races are long, then long, slow miles are in order whereas shorter races will call for more intense workouts of shorter duration. Your body can usually handle intensity OR distance but not usually both at the same time.
Every triathlete should be doing 2-3 days of strength training a week. Triathlon has your body using muscles in a very limited range of motion for long periods of time. Strength training can keep your muscles balanced and help prevent injury. No need to focus on the physique of The Rock. Your strength training should be lower weight and higher reps. Leave the high weight and low reps to the muscle-bound mirror watchers at the gym.
Speed is often forgotten as athletes age. They tend to do lots of “Junk Miles” meaning they slog through a slow 20 mile ride or shuffle 10 miles on the run. Those can be helpful on easy days, but on the hard days, you need to bring intensity. Go to the track on your hard days and push your speed. Do some hard and fast 100’s in the pool, or try out fins. You only increase your speed by doing the activity at a higher pace. Keep in mind that your body cannot handle the same intensity as the younger athletes. Don’t try and keep up with the 30-year-olds at the track.
Rest is the most underrated training tool that triathletes have yet it holds so much power. Getting to a workout after a miserable night’s sleep and then pushing yourself is a recipe for injury and no fun. You should try to get 7-8 hours of good solid sleep every night. If you get up at 4:30, to meet your running group, you need to be in bed by 9:00 or even 8:30. You can train yourself to go to be early. Getting your body to adjust to an early bedtime is just like any other training you do.
Racing and training over 50 can be incredibly rewarding. When you pass another 50+ athlete you always get a “hey” or head nod. They know what you are doing to still be active, and fast, and they appreciate it. It’s like joining a Porsche Club for classic cars only you have joined the club of Athletes Over 50. These club benefits are the most rewarding you will find.
Persistence can be your secret weapon.
Author Bio: Steve Mallett has been racing triathlons since 1984 and has completed over 120 races. He has completed many 50 mile running races and in 2019 completed the Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon. He loves training with new and veteran athletes. Steve has the nickname Realtor Runner, is a former USA Triathlon coach, a Kerrville Triathlon Ambassador, and is a member of Team Zoot.
During training, you don’t have the luxury of aid stations like you do on race day. As if you needed another reason to love race day, hydration on course has always been a fan favorite. However, during training runs it is critical to stay properly hydrated. Make sure you carry hydration with you on your runs. If you’ve just started training make sure you follow these tips to keep your training running smoothly.
Try one of the options below to carry hydration on your next run. There are links below where you can order these items or you can visit our friends at Fleet Feet Austin!
Using a handheld bottle on the run is an easy start to carrying hydration with you on your run. There are options to have a hard bottle or soft flask handheld. The harder bottle retains its shape and usually has more insulation. The soft flask is lighter and has the option to fit in a pocket when empty. The main con to a handheld is that one of your hands will be occupied by physically holding onto the bottle as you run.
Pro tip: It is a good idea to switch up which hand is holding the bottle during your run.
Water Vest or Backpack
Needing to carry more water than what can fit in a handheld, or would like your hands to be free? A water vest or backpack is a great option. The weight of the water vest/ pack is distributed more evenly through the torso, which allows for a more symmetrical weight distribution while running. These options also have extra storage to include nutrition or your phone during your run.
When deciding between a vest or a backpack think of how you want it to fit and where you want your water storage at.
- A hugging fit. It keeps things close to your body for a tighter fit that reduces bounce.
- Bottles in the front pockets and option for hydration bladder in the back.
- Fit is more relaxed.
- Bigger hydration bladder capacity. Some have options for a bottle in the front
Pro tip: Always be conscious of how a vest/pack rubs on the inside of your arms and neck/shoulder areas. Any bit of uncomfortable chafing will be multiplied by sweat and miles, so choose wisely. Try Body Glide anti-chafing cream!
Water Bottle Waist Belt
If you want your hands free and don’t like the idea of carrying more weight through your torso a waist belt is worth a try. We like SPIbelt’s Distance Pro because the two, 8-ounce bottles can be placed anywhere on the elastic, allowing runners to maximize comfort. This running belt is built for durability and can keep up with your longest runs.
The belt pocket expands to hold larger smartphones, including the iPhone12 Pro Max, and Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as keys, ID, and more. The elastic on this belt is 1.5″ wide, 50% broader than the Original SPIbelt.
Everyone’s preference is personal to what feels best for them to carry hydration. Test out what works best for you.
Biggest pro tip of all: Stay hydrated and have some fun!
Adjusting your bike to the perfect saddle height is crucial in order to maximize comfort and payoff during your training rides for Kerrville Tri. Incorrect height leads to pain and discomfort during and after your ride. It can also prevent you from improving your performance on the bike. Learn the importance of correct saddle height, and how to adjust your bike to the perfect fit with these easy steps.
What is Saddle Height?
Saddle height is measured by the distance between the center of the pedal axle and the top of the saddle, or your bike seat. This is set by adjusting the seat post to your ideal height to balance your comfort and power on the bike. This height is arguably the single most important adjustment on your bicycle. Incorrect height can contribute to discomfort in the saddle, anterior and posterior knee pains, and ultimately limit how much power you produce.
How To Adjust Your Saddle Height
There are many ways you can approach finding your perfect saddle height. One of the best approaches is to establish it based on the rider’s individual ride characteristics and flexibility. You can follow the “heel to pedal method” before your next ride. This will get you in the ballpark.
- Stand next to your bike and raise the saddle to your hip to get an idea of where to start.
- Get on your bike, and place your heel on the pedal to determine if you will raise or lower your saddle.
- If you are having trouble making contact with your heel to your pedal – the seat is too high.
- If your knee is bent – it is too low.
- Put your bike on the trainer and adjust accordingly.
- Get back on your bike with your heel on the pedal and pedal backward to reach the six o’clock position.
- Your leg should be completely straight, without being overextended to achieve the correct saddle height.
Pro tip: Make very small adjustments during this process, then repeat until you have found the perfect height.
Ready to Ride
Once you find the proper height, use a piece of electrical tape around at the base of the post where it meets the seat clamp as a marker. Take a tape measure and record the measurements, in case you need to make very slight adjustments in the future.
Have a professional look at your bike every few years to achieve maximum comfort. After adjusting your bike to the perfect saddle height, make the first few rides short. Give it time! Your body may need a few sessions to adapt to your new height before you feel yourself improving on your cycling journey. How often do you check your saddle height? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn the benefits and safety tips of swimming in cold water
Swimming in cold water is an exhilarating experience. It’s a fantastic way to get fit, unwind, and strengthen both your mind and body. Swimming laps in chilly water can wake you up and make you feel alive in a way that no warm swimming pool can. For triathletes, cold, open water swimming is a vital part of training. It can provide you with more space and fewer swimmers since everyone won’t flock to the cold swimming areas. Learn why taking an icy dip can be good for you and how to accomplish it safely.
Benefits of Swimming in Cold Water
Increased stress tolerance
Swimming in cold water is scientifically documented to improve psychological markers of stress tolerance. The shock and adaptation you experience make your body thrive under stress in the long run, not just tolerate it. Swimming in cold water increases the adaption even more. Just like any other physical activity, it’s an excellent method to relieve stress.
Coldwater imposes vasoconstriction on your blood vessels, followed by a period of compensatory vasodilation. This forces your body to warm your core when you enter the cold water. It then creates a dilation when blood rushes to your extremities to warm them up again. This process of alternation between constriction and dilation dramatically improves overall circulation.
Superior calorie burn
Swimming against cold waters forces your body to thermoregulate more than usual while you focus your mind and body on the difficult task of swimming. It also improves fat metabolization which makes you leaner and healthier in the long run. Swimming is considered a complete workout because you’re using every part of your body.
Follow These Safety Tips
Gradually immerse yourself in the chilly waters to begin. You can practice at home by slowly increasing the amount of cold water in your shower. It will be difficult to control your breathing initially, but continued training can reduce the amount of time you need to adjust to the cold. When building workouts, begin with shorter distances. This allows your body to acclimate to the temperature and adjust your breathing technique. Lastly, explore these helpful tips for taking your swim from the pool to the open water.
Don’t swim alone
Find your local swimming groups and participate in group swims. Swim partners can provide valuable feedback on your swim style, your kick, and your breathing that can lead to improvements. Partner swimming also provides an extra pair of eyes in case something goes wrong. And, don’t forget about the accountability factor. Knowing your friend or group is meeting you for a workout increases the likelihood that you show up too.
Wear a wetsuit
A wetsuit retains body heat and allows you to focus on the mechanical aspects of swimming first. It also helps to minimize the impact of cold water. You can then focus on your form, sighting, kicking, and breathing in the water. You could eventually graduate to wearing wetsuit shorts.
What You Need to Get Started
- gym bag to carry all your gear
- swim goggles
- extra clothes for after your swim
Swimming in cold water is possibly one of the most challenging feats a triathlete can face. It can be intimidating and difficult, but engaging in a gradually increasing training regimen with small increments can work wonders. Stay safe with our advice and practice often. Eventually swimming in cold water won’t even bother you.
“Comfort zones: If you live in one too long, that becomes your norm. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” — David Goggins
If you’ve ever completed a triathlon, you already know what it means to break through your comfort zone. Not everyone can, or will accomplish that in their lifetimes. But when it comes to the off-season, it’s easy to fall into your couch and let the weeks fly by. This article will show you how making new goals during winter training can actually transform you.
Where Are You Headed?
So you’ve done a triathlon or more. You’re no stranger to discipline. You know what it means to endure long hours of training just to arrive at that final cathartic moment when you blaze past the finish line.
And now it’s off-season. Winter’s here. You can feel it in your bones. Your calendar’s filled with parties and other fun activities instead of training.
This is when the days grow shorter, and the ground becomes colder. None of these are ideal circumstances for training outdoors. So why not relax and let loose?
Here’s the thing.
You don’t suddenly transform into who you’re supposed to be on race day. You get there — slowly — by sculpting your body day-after-day, inch-by-inch.
Everything you do before race day is what makes you who you are. In this sense, it’s arguably more important that you participate in winter training than at any other time.
All else remaining equal, the athlete who doesn’t let themselves go during the off-season has a competitive edge over everyone else who does.
And just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t train. While it’s not the most ideal time for breaking your past records, it is the best time to focus on maintenance, covering up weaknesses, and becoming injury-proof.
Enter The Half Marathon
Whatever goals you might have for the future, it’s a good idea to do half the distance of next season’s race in preparation. You don’t need to exceed a half-marathon.
Stay active, but reduce the length of all your training sessions. This is because you want to focus on recovery, overcoming injuries, and keeping your mind sharp.
As long as you stick with a consistent regimen, you can always add or subtract volume later. But if you completely ignore winter training then it’ll take a long time for your body to return to its peak condition. You need to keep the engine running so you can jump into action whenever you need to.
Even if you can’t go outside, you can swim, bike, and run on a treadmill indoors. You can fix up imbalances, weaknesses, or take up yoga and strength training to explore new ground.
One of the best ways to experience a half-marathon is through the 3M Half marathon that’s held in Austin, Texas on January 23, 2022. This event features a course that’s 13.1 miles (21.08 km) long. It ends with a post-race party that’s filled with plenty of food trucks serving some of the best tacos and BBQ you’ll ever have. Make sure to sign up before race day to remain eligible.
Or, if you wait a little longer, you can enter the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on February 20th. This course passes through some of the most iconic landmarks in Austin, and is close to some amazing hotels, restaurants, and shops that you can enjoy with your whole family.
Don’t think. Sign up now. Imagine crossing the finish line to a roaring crowd all over again. You’ll only ever regret the things you don’t do and never the things you’ve done.