After speaking with a few friends who are racing in a sprint triathlon this weekend, I felt compelled to write about the commonality I observed among this group of beginner triathletes. Each made the mistake of focusing solely on training for the three main events: swimming,cycling, and running, and overlooked the significance of the transitions.
Strategically executed transitions will make the difference between a racer's overall position and wasted time and energy that is nearly impossible to recover in a sprint race. For a beginning triathlete to become more competitive, he or she must approach triathlon as a five-stage race: the swim, swim-to-bike transition (T1), the bike, the bike-to-run transition (T2) and the run.
The most practical way to gain experience would be to compete in more races, but beginners who lack real-time experience can practice T1 and T2 to master these skills. Our very own Active Expert, Gale Bernhardt has compiled a list of techniques to help you perform screaming fast transitions.
I recognized that I hit the first plateau in my 18-week training program when my training and nutrition regimen were dialed-in but my leg strength seemed to be deteriorating instead of building. In need of either cross-training or performance-enhancingexercises to counter this common stage, I came across the following article which helped me get my training back on track.
This featured article is for the runner,triathlete or adventure racer looking to develop the strength of their stride without logging additional miles or hitting the gym. These simple exercises will benefit both sprinters and ultra-distance runners alike, and can be performed in the comfort of the home. Read the following story to learn four exercises to increase your running speed.
Spring is here and athletes are emerging from confines of the gym much like spring flowers from the darkness of winter. Soon, scores of brightly colored spandex outfits will sprout along the streets as the sun washes away pale memories of treadmill and bike-trainer workouts. As exciting as it is to trade the smell of chlorine for the freshness of open-water swims, this transition is known for leaving overly eager athletes high and dry. It is important that we respect the vulnerability of our bodies during this adjustment period. Conduct your own Preseason Check-up and be sure to keep yourself on track toward your fitness goals.
A group of British soldiers serving in Bosnia, called the "Iron Guardsmen" have returned from their tour of duty in a newsworthy fashion. This group of 10 soldiers from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards cycled, kayaked and ran the entire 1,300 miles back to the Wellington Barracks in London!
This triathlon of epic proportions began on March 1st in Bosnia as the team cycled through the Alps as they made their way across Europe, kayaked across the English Channel and ran three consecutive marathons from Dover to the capital city. The tour designed to honor of the 25th anniversary of Britain's Falklands conflict also raised funds for The South Atlantic Medal Association 82, the Army Benevolent Fund, and the male cancer charity; Everyman.
Team spokesman, Capt. James Westropp, described the final leg of the journey to be the most challenging. "It was wet, cold and miserable,and, for all concerned, a bit of a low point," he told reporters. "The Iron Guardsmen really dug in and I was proud to be part of such a resilient team. The human body is not designed to take this sort of pressure, but there was no complaining. Just a few silent tears. "Despite suffering delays due to broken equipment and injuries, the "Iron Guardsmen" managed to persevere and complete their highly anticipated return on Saturday.
Let’s first begin with this quick reference to get you up-to-date with the different race distances:
Sprint distance triathlon is a 0.45 mile swim (0.75-kilometer), a 13.2 miles bike ride (22K), and a 3.1 mile (5K run).
Olympic triathlon is the distance used at the Olympic Games: a 0.9 miles swim (1.5K), a 24 mile bike ride (40K), and a 6.2 miles run (10K).
Half-Ironman event is a 1.2-mile swim (about 1.9K), a 56-mile bike ride (89.6K) and a 13.1-mile run (21K).
Ironman event is a 2.4-mile swim (about 3.8K), a 112-mile bike ride (179.2K) and a 26.2-mile run (42K or a marathon).
The sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman are the most traditional and mainstream triathlon events. The Ultraman World Championships is an event of epic proportions and is described as “an athletic odyssey of personal rediscovery; as such, they are the next step in the endurance challenge of being human.” The Ultraman World Championships event is a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K) cross-country bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84K) ultra-marathon run. This event takes place over two days where the 6.2 mile swim and 90 miles of the cycling leg are completed. The second day consists of the remaining 171.4 miles of cycling. The third and final day is devoted to the 52.4 (double marathon) run.
These endurance athletes are amazing! Through find raising and accomplishing such super-hero-like feats, most of the participants are racing to benefit a cause or some else. This altruistic approach is often the modus operandi that enables these athletes to endure such a high level if sustain activity.
All of this time, I thought a marathon was tough - I’m heading back to the drawing boards to re assess my priorities!
1. Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the 6 “W” questions – Who, what, where, when, why. The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.
2. Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set, you will find increases in motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate a quantitative time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.
3. Attainable: Once goals are identified and the incremental goals begin to be accomplished, the larger goals that used to seem far away, begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to the achievement of your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial strategies develop to help you to reach them.
4. Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your goal will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal as to represent ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove to be easier to reach than lower goals because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.
5. Timely: Goals should be set within a time frame with a starting point, ending point, and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a sense of urgency to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.
So good luck to all you weekend warriors who are on your way to S.M.A.R.T goals!
+(Photo provided by Gettyimages / Photographer Gary S Chapman) +
Proper nutrition and diet are crucial components in the pursuit of one’s fitness goals. Even more important, is the last meal you eat before your big race. To maximize your potential, the type of food, quantity, and timing of this pre race meal must be considered.
Below is a general list of guidelines:
1. Timing: Most races take place in the early morning. If proper food intake has been consistent leading up to the race, then muscle stored glycogen will have sufficient levels to perform, despite a feeling of hunger. Since hunger will not hinder performance and it takes roughly 4 hours to properly ingest and digest a meal, it makes more sense to sleep during this time and wait until the race begins to start consuming energy fuels.
2. Size: If you do decide to wake up 4 hours before your race to eat, your pre-race meal should be composed of easily digested high complex carbohydrates between 200 - 400 calories. Stay clear of high fiber, simple sugar, and fat content. Stick with high starch foods like pasta, rice, plane bagels, oatmeal, banana and yogurt.
3. Hydration: After breakfast, an athlete should drink roughly 10-12 ounces of fluid per hour leading up to 30 minutes before the race. A sport drink containing both carbohydrates and protein is arguably the best mixture to use. A small amount of your supplemental fuel roughly five to ten minutes before your race is also recommended to boost blood glycogen stores to their optimal level.
4. Experiment: Incorporate these nutrition methods into your regular training schedule. By keeping a training journal and logging your intake which will allow you to try new combinations of foods and fuels in hopes of finding your perfect pre race meal.