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Have fun

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Apr 28, 2009


Hey Tri Team ~



As you are making your way along the course, be sure to take a few moments (more than one if possible) to just look around and realize what a cool experience it is that you're doing right then. Notice sights, smells, sounds, other people (encourage them) and most of all, celebrate your incredible fitness. Wildflower is such a treat, enjoy it.



Your training has you fit, so just go do the event and have some fun - you know - that silly kind of fun that athletes have, that "normal", non-athletes can't understand.



Cheers ~



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Mike's blog talked about the challenges of fueling and hydration for training and racing. On my main page of Active Trainer lives several reference documents. If you haven't read them lately (or at all), take a look here about 3/4 down the page.



Since the team is getting into some longer workouts, be sure to take a look at the Exercise Fueling document. 



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The tri-team has been rockin! Great job everyone.



Steve, you asked about swim tips. Looks like I need to do a video on swim drills for Active. (Jesse, put these on your list.) Until that happens, here is a good resource 



I suggest doing 1-2 of the drills per swim session and once you master the ones you're doing, move to more difficult ones. Here is the progression I suggest based on the videos on the site above: 1) Fingertip drag, 2) Catch-up, 3) Fists, 4) 10 and 10, 5) One arm drill (Begin with the non-working arm extended in front of you, after you master that, try putting that non-working arm along your body.)



For squat technique, go low enough so that your quads/thigh bones/femurs are parallel to the ground. No need to go lower.



Way to go eating healthier and craving healthy foods, it's a synergistic approach to improving. All the seemingly small things add up to big success.



Mike and Kirsten, great job on the tips.



Javier - where are ya? MIA? Workouts going okay? 



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USAT Triathlon Rules

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 22, 2009

Steve ~


The way I read it, swim cut-off is 1:20 after the last individual wave. I suspect you'll be starting your swim shortly after 9:00 am and before 9:30.


You brought up a great point, that everyone needs to know the rules. Below is a list of commonly broken rules from the USAT site, along with a link to the full set of rules:


1. Helmets:

No modifications may be made to the helmet. Helmets must be worn as they were purchased. If the helmet came with a cloth cover, the cover must be on the helmet when competing. Helmets must be worn at all times while on your bike. This means before, during, and after the event.


Penalty: Disqualification


2. Chin Straps:

Chin straps must be buckled at all times when on a bicycle. DO NOT unbuckle your chin strap unless you are off your bicycle.


Penalty: Disqualification on the course; Variable time penalty in transition area only.


3. Outside Assistance:

No assistance other than that offered by race and medical officials may be used. Triathlons and duathlons are individual tests of fitness.


Penalty: Variable time penalty


4. Transition Area:

All equipment must be placed in the properly designated and individually assigned bike corral. The wheel of the bicycle must be down on the side of the assigned space. All participants must return their bicycles to an upright position in their designated bicycle corral. No person shall interfere with another participant's equipment or impede the progress of another participant. All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area.


Penalty: Variable time penalty


5. Drafting:


Drafting--keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds.


Position--keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing.



Blocking--riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass.



Overtaken--once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear, before attempting to pass again.


Penalty: Variable time penalty


6. Course:

All competitors are required to follow the prescribed course and to stay within all coned lanes. Cutting the course is an obvious violation and going outside the course is a safety issue. Cyclists shall not cross a solid yellow center line for ANY reason. Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times.



Penalty: Referee's discretion


7. Unsportsmanlike-Like Conduct:


Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, USA Triathlon officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden.


Penalty: Disqualification


8. Headphones:

Headphones, headsets, walkmans, ipods, mp3 players, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race.


Penalty: Variable time penalty


9. Race numbers:

All athletes are required to wear race numbers at all times during the run. Numbers must face the front and be clearly visible at all times. Numbers may not be cut or folded or altered in any way. DO NOT transfer your number to any other athlete or take a number from an athlete that is not competing.

Penalty: Variable time penalty for missing or altered number, Disqualification and one year suspension from membership in USAT for transferring a number without race director permission.


10. Wetsuits:

Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion, provided, however that participants who wears a wetsuit within such temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Above 84 degrees, wetsuits are prohibited.


11. Abandonment:

All personal equipment and belongings taken out onto the course must stay on the athlete the entire time. No garbage, clothing, etc. shall be thrown on the course.



Penalty: Variable time penalty



Distance Category

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Short or Sprint

2:00 minute

4:00 minutes



2:00 minutes

4:00 minutes



4:00 minutes

8:00 minutes



6:00 minutes

12:00 minutes

















In additon, below are a couple of the swimming rules that help make people feel more at ease. The short of it is you can rest by standing on the bottom or holding on to a boat. You can actually walk making forward progress. You can't make forward progress using a boat or other object:



4.1 Permissible Strokes. Swimmers may use any stroke to propel themselves through the water and may tread water or float.



4.2 Bottom Contact and Resting. A participant may stand on the bottom or rest by holding an inanimate object such as a buoy, boat, rope or floating object. Excluding the bottom, a participant shall not use any inanimate object to gain forward progress. A violation of this section shall result in a variable time penalty, unless the Head Referee in his/her sole discretion determines that the violation was substantial and resulted in an unfair time advantage, or (ii) the violation constituted endangerment under Section 3.4(1).






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Tri Team ~



Can you each post three things that went well for your training last week? New milestones achieved? New adventures tried (yikes! ice bath!)?



Any three things about your tri training that were great...



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It stinks to get sick when you feel you are on track training for your upcoming events. As much as we all try to stay healthy, it happens.



It may start with a scratchy throat or just feeling tired. Those of you that are "A-Type" personalities definitely don't need the toughen up cupcake blog. Instead you need to take a break.



If your symptoms are above the neck (sinus drainage, watery eyes, scratchy throat) you can go ahead and exercise...but...only if you really feel like it and if you keep it completely aerobic. If you are "on the edge" of an illness, typically an anaerobic workout will push you over the edge into a real illness.



If your symptoms are below the neck (coughing, body aches) or involve a bacterial infection (sinus, bronchitis, walking pneumonia) then it is best to take a few days off and just rest. Generally, if you take a break and rest you'll get over the entire illness faster than if you try to suffer though it. Additionally, I personally know people that have pushed themselves when they've been sick with a cold or flu and end up with further complications. (Viral Myocarditis and Guillan-Barre Syndrome to name a couple).



I'm not trying to scare you, but I do want you to have respect for your body when it is trying to wage war against illness. I do want you to think twice about exercising when you are sick.



So, you've decided it's best to take a few days off and rest. What to do about that training plan?



If you miss between one and three days of a training plan, just forget about the days you missed and pick up on the next workout, with these modifications:


  • Keep any intensity above Zone 2 out of all your workouts for around a week.

  • You may need to cut down the time of your workouts by 20- to 50-percent. Do enough so that you feel good and leave the workout wanting more.

  • If you start a workout and feel worse as you get going, just stop the workout and try another day.


If you miss three to seven days of a training plan due to illness, forget about the days you missed and pick up on the next workout with these modifications:


  • Keep any intensity above Zone 2 out of all your workouts for one to two weeks, maybe more. Keep any intensity above Zone 3 out of your workouts for an additional two weeks.

  • Definitely cut down the time of your workouts by 20- to 50-percent. Do enough so that you feel good and leave the workout wanting more.

  • If you start a workout and feel worse as you get going, just stop the workout and try another day.


If you miss more than two weeks of a training plan due to illness, you'll need to go back and rebuild lost fitness. If you are in the preparation or base phase, there are some options:


  • Go back and repeat the three or four weeks prior to the onset of the illness. This may mean you eliminate some intensity workouts later in the plan or closer to the race. This is a better choice than trying to skip foundation workouts and go right to intensity.

  • Continue with the training plan; but, keep any intensity above Zone 2 out of all your workouts for at least two weeks, maybe more. Keep any intensity above Zone 3 out of your workouts for two more weeks. (A minimum of four weeks total here.)

  • Definitely cut down the time of your workouts by 20- to 50-percent. Do enough so that you feel good and leave the workout wanting more.

  • If you start a workout and feel worse as you get going, just stop the workout and try another day.

  • When you do begin to do faster workouts, you may need to reduce the volume (accumulated time) of the intensity scheduled by 20- to 50-percent.


Most of the time, it's okay to do some strength training if you feel like doing something but you don't want to risk an aerobic workout. Don't get carried away and make yourself exhausted, just go push around some iron and get the blood moving. If you are sneezing, coughing and carrying on with your illness, most people (including you, if the roles were reversed) would prefer you stay home until you're healthy.



As always, health first, performance second.



Get well soon ~



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As a comment to Javier's introduction post, Steve wondered about wearing those tight cycling clothes. (See his comment on the post here.)



Readers - do you have some suggestions for race day wear for Steve?



Any of you have any race day wardrobe malfunctions that you want to share?



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Clipless pedals

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Jan 9, 2009


Kristen ~


Your hubby is the best!


Manti gives good advice about clipping in and out on a trainer, so it becomes automatic for you. A few more quick tips about clipless pedals:


  • You can set the tension on most clipless pedals to make it easier or harder to unclip. In general, riders new to clipless should set the tension on the easiest setting.

  • Be sure to check the cleat on the bottom of your shoe from time to time. The screws on the cleat can get lose and make it tough to get in and out of the pedals.

  • Most pedals have a way to lubricate the system to keep it working correctly, check with your bike shop about how to take care of your pedals.

  • Unclip your foot and rest it on the pedal as you coast/brake approaching a stop sign. Some riders prefer one foot over the other, but it is good to practice with both feet so you are comfortable setting either foot down at an intersection. (You may have unclipped your "non-preferred" foot in your blog and when you went to stop and put down that preferred foot, oooops it was still clipped in. We've all done it at one time or another. In fact, that would be a great community discussion, "Most embarassing tip over at a stop sign, stop light, intersection, stopping situation...")


Have fun weekend ~

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Glad to see several of you posting about your experiences getting rolling on the training program. It's great that we have a group training for tri with diverse backgrounds. There are other people out there just like you. They will get inspiration from reading your blogs.


Mike - You are right-on about the structure of the training plan. The plan is indeed structured so you can be rested for key workouts. You are also discovering a cool thing about the human body and that is it adapts to stress with rest. You're recovering faster and in just a few weeks you'll easily be doing things that today you'd deem "hard". Nice!


Steve and Javier - The buddy-approach to training is a huge advantage for you. Not only do you have the support of the Active team, you have someone right there.


Thanks, Steve, for reminding people it is more comfortable to swim with goggles. You're right, it will be much more comfortable with the goggles. Keep us posted on fit and comfort of the ones you selected. The nerf war looks like it was really fun...



For swimming technique and breathing timing, it might be most expedient for you to ask the local pool if any of their instructors provide private swim lessons. Just one or two private lessons can help you minimize the energy you expend swimming. If both of you go together for a private lesson, you can remind each other of the tips the instructor gives.



Javier, clothing selection is entirely personal. We can talk about that more as the program gets rolling, but there is a wide variety of style from flashy to very modest. In the end, it's about comfort wearing the gear that makes you feel confident.



Maybe Giselle and Kirsten will give us an update soon.



Here is a thought for the day from the courage section:



Progress involves risks. You can't steal second and keep your foot on first. - Frederick Wilcox.






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