Mark on Mondays: TIME TO TRANSITION

By Mark Cathcart

In last month’s column, “Triathlon on a budget” I included a picture of myself at my first triathlon, waiting for the all clear to go out on the bike. I was wearing a tennis shirt, run shorts, and gloves, all very non-PC.

I remember my 3rd triathlon in the fall of 1999 more. It was a pool based race, with age group wave starts. That meant everyone in the age group started within a couple of minutes of each other, 8-lanes, 6-people per lane, 400m swim. I’d worked really hard in training since my first race, learned not to change clothes in T1, and there I was sitting in T2 putting on socks for the 5k run, I was in 3rd place.

Then it happened. A guy in my age group came into T2, racked his bike, removed his helmet, jammed his feet in his shoes and was off. A few seconds later I got up and started running. No matter how fast I tried to run, I couldn’t catch him. There went my first podium, I can’t remember if I finished 4th or 6th, I can remember I didn’t finish 3rd because I was putting socks on.

By the summer of 2001, at the ITU Age Group World Championships, I’d honed my transition skills to the point where I had a top-10 T1 time. To this day, while I rarely win my age group, I always strive to be the fastest in T1 and T2. At last year’s Boulder Sunrise race, I was over a minute faster in T1 and T2 than anyone in my age group, and just a few seconds off the overall winner.

How to do transitions somehow is one of the most controversial subjects in triathlon, usually because no one actually teaches transitions, people just develop their own ad-hoc, sometimes shambolic, other times dangerous, ways of doing it.

WHY BE FAST IN TRANSITION?

 If I told you that you could save 90-seconds in your swim for an hour practice you’d be out doing it this afternoon. You just need to apply the same to transition practice. You can save anything from 30-seconds to 2-minutes by having an organized, practiced transition.

WHERE TO START

I’ve always avoided giving coaching advice, mainly because I’m not a coach. My series here is based on pragmatic, practical advice. I’ve demonstrated transition techniques going as far back as 2004 and the two key things I tell people about fast transitions are 1. Always be in control, and, 2. Always be looking up.

No matter how good you get, there will always be other triathletes who make mistakes, didn’t prep their equipment etc. You can find plenty of videos on YouTube with people making fun of bad transitions and transition mistakes, that’s not the point here, it is to give advice and demonstrate some good ways to achieve fast transitions.

Watch this video for how things can go wrong, and this one for just how insanely busy it can be coming out of T1.

Even the best Triathletes could do things better. See “flying leap” to the left in this picture the guy has almost everything right until he leaves the ground with both feet, this is either going to work well, or take the wind out of him, or worse still, he’ll wobble and a potential crash.

In “over stretched” to the right, he has it almost right, except again, there is that momentary loss of control as both feet are off the ground. In both these examples it was no problem since they were the first out of transition, but it could have been.

 

RUN WITH THE BIKE

First, learn to run with the bike by holding the saddle. This takes practice. The secret is to find a field or Astroturf area where you can practice. If you are lucky enough to have access to a Football field marked out with 10-yard lines, each 10-yard line to have to change sides, this will teach you how to steer your bike.

Running with the saddle put’s you behind the front wheel and the pedals. You have control of two thirds of the bike, and generally the front will follow the direction and lean of the bike. Compared to running by holding the handlebars, where you only have control of the front wheel. Holding the saddle allows you to stand up straight, aids breathing, and most importantly allows you to see ahead. Running using the handlebars almost always requires being hunched over, and if the bike or back wheel hit something, you have every chance of the pedal hitting the back of your leg.

MOUNT TIME

I absolutely prefer pre-mounting shoes on pedals. This picture to the right is me back in 2004 at a sprint race, perfectly executing the running mount. I like to pre-mount because:

  1. I use Look cleats.
  2. I use a 2-inch block on the bottom of my right shoe to even up my legs.
  3. If you pre-mount, and your transition run includes muddy run, you won’t get your cleats clogged up and not be able to clip-in.

The downside is you can pick up dirt and gravel, but this will mostly come off before you put feet in shoes.

When you run out of transition, cross the mount line and run 10-20ft beyond it, especially in an Ironman, where at least here in the USA pre-mounted shoes are not allowed. Carry your shoes in one hand, run out holding the bike by the saddle in the other; away from the carnage that can be the actual mount line, stop on one side and take time to put your shoes on and then mount.

For a fully-fledged running mount with pre-mounted shoes, follow these steps, and practice them. Picture Mount 2 and Mount 3

    1. In transition, Put bike in easy gear
    2. Mount the shoes in the pedals
    3. Make sure the pedals/shoes are parallel to the ground, left food forward
    4. Loop a small elastic band through the rear heel tab on your shoes. If you don’t have a rear heel tab you can either buy longer bands and hook them under Look cleats or find some other place to connect the band to the shoe
    5. Fasten the other end of the band for the left shoe around the downtube, probably on the front gear mech.
    6. Fasten the right shoe to the rear gear mech. (or around the lug on the rear stays etc.)
    7. When you race into T1, helmet on, number belt on, grab the bike and run on the left side of the bike holding the saddle with your right hand – to make this easier I always rack my bike by the bars and NOT the saddle when I can

When you are past the mount line get your stride ready and in one swift move place your left hand on the bars and your left foot on the front pedal

  1. A fraction of a second later swing your right leg around the back wheel and saddle and onto the right pedal, releasing your right hand from the saddle and grasp the bars (see the pictures, my right hand is still on the saddle for control when the right leg is already on its way around to the pedal)
  2. Once your foot is on the right pedal start pedaling…. the bands will snap – you need to do this fast enough so you don’t wobble and fall off!
  3. Pedal down the road until you get to at least 16MPH, at a safe point reach down put your left foot in the shoe
  4. Pedal again to regain momentum
  5. When safe reach down and put your right foot in and you are done.

If you are racing out to Boulder Reservoir, you don’t have to complete this until you are past the gate and before the hill. Don’t try to get your feet in the shoes before the first turn after transition.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

It really does. Don’t think you are going to show up on race day and do a running mount without practicing it a dozen or so times.

For the practice, you just need your bike, helmet, shoes and 20-24 1-inch elastic bands and a bucket. The bucket is needed as a transition stand; a chair could also be used. You attach the bands to the shoes either by the small heal loop, or if your shoes don’t have one, the small heel raise on most shoes. Then attach the band to somewhere that will hold the shoes parallel while you run with the bike.

You then rest the bike against the bucket, walk back 50yds, sprint to the bike, helmet on, grab the bike run forward at least 50yds and then step on in a controlled fashion, don’t leap. Cycle for a short distance; get off; walk back; reset your equipment; go back and do it again and again and again until you can make a faultless smooth transition from running to cycling, not stops. It’s important to have a decent run either side of the bike to simulate race conditions.

In this picture you can see USAT Para triathlete Allan Armstrong running holding the bike by the saddle.

Once you can do this, you can then go out on the street somewhere quiet and practice getting your feet in your shoes and doing them up. This has to be done at a reasonable speed 14-18mph, no 8-10mph wobbles please!

DISMOUNT

Again, even if you decide not to do a flying dismount, and prefer to stop, unclip, and run with your shoes on, run holding the bike by the saddle.

Coming back in is basically the opposite….

  1. Well before the dismount line, remove your right foot from the shoe, keep pedaling
  2. Remove your left foot from the shoe
  3. Pedal to the dismount line and just before getting there swing your right foot over the crossbar
  4. Standing on your left foot and gliding in with your right foot tucked behind your left…
  5. When you get to the dismount line, drop your right foot, then your left
  6. Let go of the bars with your right hand, grab the saddle
  7. Let go with your left hand and run holding the saddle…

 

 

Again, practice this until it becomes one single, fluid and smooth transition.

 

 

 

Whatever you do, don’t do what my friend Carlton did, having spent a couple of hundred bucks on an aero helmet, he crossed the finish line and came to a complete standstill as he pressed the lap button on his Garmin, negating the benefit of the aero-helmet.

We both got 2nd in our age group, my transition times were 1:18/1:37, Carltons 2:20/2:58. If Carlton had my transition times he would have won his age group.

SOCKS?

Yeah, almost never ever wear them now. Lesson learned. Look at the numerous videos of Lance Armstrong at the 2012 IM 70.3 Texas. If socks are good for Lance….
I do use socks for the longer races. Well I can’t make up my mind about socks for half-distance, and for full-distance sitting in the changing tent and putting socks on isn’t a big deal.

So, if for a race you are not sure about socks, either because of distance, new shoes, etc. put your socks together with your running shoes in transition. Off the bike, into your shoes and out of transition with your socks in your hands.

Even if you want to do this in an Olympic distance race you’ll be better off sat on a curb 100yds from transition than you will be trying to get them on in transition, especially busy, packed ones.

For half-distance, I tend to treat transitions just like sprints, fast out, fast in, fast out, no socks. The first sign of any foot pain, sit on a curb and put my socks on. Looks odd, but assuming you have elastic laces it really doesn’t cost you much time. And anyone I’ve taught this trick too and timed in and out of transition is always able to put the socks on quicker sat on the side of the road than stumbling around in transition!

GETTING IT DONE

No matter how many times you race, eventually something will go wrong.

This was me back in 2009, I came into the dismount line in the lead, looked down and my bike computer said 24MPH, even I can’t run that fast, I was standing on one shoe ready to dismount, pulled on the brakes and this was the result.

Don’t be like Mark! Slow down before dismounting.

Finally, transition fast!

 

Mark Cathcart took up triathlon in the late 90’s to get fit for adventure racing, which to this day he has never done, and has since taken part in 170+ events. His pragmatic approach to training, racing, and life have lead in from being the Chairman of one of the bigger UK Triathlon clubs 15-years ago; British Triathlon volunteer of the year; a sometime race organizer; The organizer and ride leader for Austin Texas award winning Jack and Adams triathlon shop; doing sometime Sports Management for development and professional triathletes; he has attended all the Triathlon Business International, and Triathlon America conferences, where he usually asks the questions others won’t; moved to Colorado in 2016 and is a co-owner of Boulder Bodyworker.

Alison Freeman’s bike phsyio testing at CU sports performance center

WHY IS A LAB LACTATE TEST WORTH THE PAIN?

I recently went to the relatively new and categorically state-of-the-art CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center (CUSMPC) for some physiological and metabolic testing. Before the testing, I was taking on a tour of CUSMPC. I had *no idea* that I had access to a world-class sports performance facility practically in my backyard. In addition to physio and metabolic testing for bike and run, CUSMPC houses orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, an AlterG (anti-gravity!) treadmill, two methodologies for high performance bike fits, running gait analysis, swim stroke analysis and physio testing, and cycling classes (think spin classes but BYO bike). All of which is open to the general public. Who knew? Clearly not me.

But back to the matter at hand …

WHAT IS IT?
The physiological and metabolical performance testing done at CUSMPC measures your heart rate, blood lactate levels, fat and carbohydrate oxidation rates, and VO2 across a spectrum of workloads – either paces on the run, or power outputs on the bike – with the goal of scientifically determining your individualized heart rate, pace, and power based training zones as well as establish ideal racing paces. The tests are conducted by Jared Berg, a certified strength and conditioning specialist as well as a former pro triathlete and current coach, and have been tailored by him to reflect the physiological demand of endurance events.

Even if your eyes glazed over as I described the testing, what should have jumped out was the idea that your ideal racing paces can be scientifically defined based on your physiological and metabolic profile.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
If you’re looking to run and ride recreationally, and participate in triathlons for fun and fitness, then maybe you don’t care about your dialing in your training zones and race paces. But, if you’re starting to get serious about improving your performance, these pieces of data are pretty critical.

Many of us do field tests (such as 20 minute time trials for the bike and 5k time trials for the run) to estimate our lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR), functional threshold power (FTP), and run threshold pace. We then use these results to determine our training zones (more on that here). This is an easily repeatable and cost-effective approach – and a good start.

The results of field tests aren’t going to be as precise as a lab test, but typically – about 80% of the time, according to Jared – are reasonably accurate. What tends to be less accurate / less personalized, are those standard percentages that you use to set your training zones. Just check out how drastically my heart rate zones (left) and power zones (right) changed in the chart below. The blue zones are based on the standard percentages, and the green zones are the personalized zones set by Jared, based on my testing. Training zones are definitely not one-size-fits-all.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Your time with Jared at CUSMPC will start with a weigh in and caliper test to measure body fat percentage, and some guidance on where you’ll want to be by race day. (Compared to my scale at home, I weighed in a few pounds heavier but my body fat came in a few percentage points lower, so: Win!)

We then set up my tri bike on CUSMPC’s Wahoo Kickr and I warmed up at a super easy effort level for a solid 30 minutes. (You can also use their spin bike with a built-in perfectly calibrated power meter, or you’ll be on a treadmill for the run test.) Once I was sufficiently warmed up, Jared had me don the only moderately annoying mask, necessary to measure oxidation rates. We then kicked in with the test: intervals of either five or ten minutes, at increasing power levels, and ear pricks for blood samples every five minutes. Just ‘cause sweating your ass off while breathing through a mask isn’t quite enough fun for one day. All-in-all, I was on my bike for well over an hour, and given the effort level of the test was totally able to use that as my bike workout for the day.

After the test was over, I cooled down and Jared used that time to run all the numbers. That’s where the real insight comes in. Once you’ve changed out of your sweaty, smelly bike clothes, you’ll sit with Jared in a consult room and review your test results. Jared first takes the time to provide background on things like typical lactate profiles across a range of athletes before diving into your specific results. Then he’ll show you your data through a series of graphs, explaining and interpreting all the details and answering questions as you have them. In addition to providing your lactate threshold heart rate and functional threshold power, Jared will dial in your training zones, suggested race targets for power and/or heart rate, and race-day fueling guidelines tailored for your glycogen stores, race intensity and race distance. He also provides recommendations for your training – how much time to spend training in each zone to achieve your desired race results.

HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
Signing up for physiological and metabolic testing at CUSMPC is beyond easy. Just go to the CUSMPC website, review the services, pick a time slot, and – viola! – you’re good to go. Wondering whether to do the testing on the bike or the run? Interesting question. I prefer the testing on the bike because the uncomfortable mask doesn’t drive me crazy as much on the bike as when I’m literally gasping for air on the run. Also, if you bike with power then you will definitely want to test on the bike so you can get your FTP checked as well as your LTHR. If you still can’t decide, I’d go with the discipline in which you’d most like to improve.

Final tip: I highly recommend adding a sweat test onto your physio and metabolic testing. The sweat test will reveal your sweat rate and concentration, which then determines your fluid and sodium requirements during training and racing. That’s the kind of information that can save your race – it’s a no brainer add-on.

7 Reasons Cycling is better than Running

From Cycling Magazine

Not to dis our sister sport, but let’s face it, cycling rules. We can prove it.
By selene yeager

There’s a lot to love about running. It’s cheap to get started, great for torching calories, and works well with nearly any cross-training regimen you may have. But in the ongoing bar bet of which sport is best, we believe cycling is still the overall winner. (And, we think we can prove it.) Here’s why.

 

Get Fit & Build Endurance

True running burns more calories per mile, but most people can’t run as many miles as they can ride, especially if you’re a little out of shape or have some weight to lose. Blame gravity. When you run you need to lift your body weight up off the earth to propel yourself forward. Then you have to come back down, striking the ground and absorbing those impact forces. Both of those things make it considerably harder to run five miles than to ride twice or even three or four times as long. Running is also less forgiving of extra pounds with every excess pound slowing you down. Excess weight makes hills harder on a bike, but on the flats? Because gravity isn’t really a factor, you can motor along with the skinniest of ‘em.

 

Pain Points

Running beats you up more than cycling, even if you’re hammering super hard. One study that compared trained, competitive cyclists and runners exercising 2 ½ hours a day for three days found that the long distance runners had substantially more muscle damage (between 133% and 404% more), inflammation levels (up to 256% higher) and muscle soreness (87% more) in the following 38 hour recovery period than the cyclists. “We knew running places more stress on the body, but how much more damage and inflammation there was was surprising and greater than anticipated,” says study author David Nieman, MPH, professor of public health at Appalachian State University. “There’s just a lot more muscle trauma involved with running. It’s harder for the immune system to handle the damage.”

Go Places!

The ability to ride for multiple hours means you can cover a lot of ground and see some amazing sites in a relatively short period of time. You don’t see many running tours of California wine country or through the Italian Dolomites. But there are literally hundreds of amazing bike tours you can take all over the world. You also can carry far more things far more easily on a bike than you can on foot. You not only can stuff your jersey pockets to the gills, but also wear a messenger bag or backpack and even add carrying capacity to your bike. That frees you to use your bike for commuting, day tripping, bikepacking and as everyday Earth-friendly transportation.

 

Read the full, original article here

 

37 Reasons Running Is SO Much Better Than Bicycling on 303cycling here

Breaking News: IRONMAN forming “Team Colorado” for IM Boulder

Thinking about IRONMAN Boulder? Already signed up? Look here on 303 to find out about IRONMAN’s new Team Colorado to make this your best and most memorable Ironman ever! Opportunities for exclusive training with professional triathletes, one-of-a-kind IRONMAN Team Colorado gear, and more. Stay tuned this week for big announcements!

8 Tips to Make Your Long Run a Bit Less Hellish

From Shut Up & Run by Beth Risdon

Let’s talk about the long run. Let’s talk about the mental fortitude needed to complete the long run.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, my head wasn’t in the game. It was kind of a cool, grey morning. But, that wasn’t really the problem. The problem was wrapping my head around the distance and how long I would be out there. It had been along time since I had done a 16 mile long, steady run on the road. I wasn’t worried about finishing the run, I knew I could that. I was more in my head about the number “16” and how that seemed so far. I’ve run 16 miles so many times before, but it just felt different. I think it’s because I wanted to nail a certain pace and that would mean plodding along, steadily, without many walk breaks like I find on the trails.

There’s no magic to getting motivated for the long run. You just do it. It can be mundane. You are out there a long time. It can get lonely. But, it can also be a time for reflection and zoning out. The long run is a test in perseverance, discipline and determination. And, believe it or not, there are some tips that can make it just a tad easier.

1. Plan a Route You Can Get Excited About. I like to use Map My Run to get creative. There’s nothing like starting a 20 mile run already bored to tears with where you are going. I’d rather drive a bit to start somewhere that inspires me versus following some old worn out route that puts me to sleep. Here was this weekend’s run. I do love the back-roads of Boulder County.

2. Drag Someone Along. Distraction is a wonderful tool. Bring a friend and talk about every mundane thing you can think of like Beyonce’s even fuller breasts since getting pregnant or how long it takes corn to move through your system (this is very easy to figure out. Just keep a diary of when you had corn chowder and when it showed up later). A good friend will also share supplies with you like toilet paper, an extra gel, a tampon or condom (now that really would make your long run more fun).

3. Bring Happy Fuel. If you hate the taste of gels, but you eat them because you are “supposed to” or they were on sale, that’s no fun. Bring along your most favorite candy or gel flavor. Maybe companies should market cocktail themed gummy treats for runners (jam packed with electrolytes and carbs of course) like Rum Runner (get it?), Sex on the Beach (for the wild crowd), Bloody Mary (for those running in the morning or during Sunday brunch time) and Mint Julep (for the Southerners).

4. Tell People Even If They Don’t Care. I like to let a few friends know if I’ve got a really long run (say 16-20 miles) because in my head I think they are cheering me on and that they really care if I finish or not. Somehow it holds me accountable. Ok, maybe my mom just cares, but so what?

Read the remaining four!

Get Techie: Why You Should Love TrainerRoad Almost As Much As I Do

by Alison Freeman

I will be the first to tell you that my love for my indoor bike trainer borders on unnatural. I can justify this in three ways: (1) I am terrified of bike crashes; (2) I am a serious wimp about the cold, the wind, and anything wet; and (3) my indoor bike training is very, very focused. Reason #3 is why my love for my trainer goes hand in hand with my love for TrainerRoad. It’s also why, even if you’re fearless about cars and downhills and weather, you should love it too.

WHAT IS IT?
TrainerRoad is an app (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android) that provides structured workouts for use with your indoor bike trainer. You know how the great thing about Masters Swim is that you just show up, someone tells you what to do, and you get a great workout? TrainerRoad is like that, but for your bike trainer.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
If you want to improve as a cyclist, you need to do more than just go out and bike. Yes, time in the saddle is a key driver of bike fitness, and yes you need to go out on the road to hone your bike handling skills. But if you no longer tip over at stop signs and your fitness gains from time in the saddle have leveled off, then it’s time to get more precise about how you train.

As an athlete, I reached this point a few years into my triathlon career and I soon learned that trying to do specific interval repeats out on the open road was seriously hampered by the existence of stop signs and hills – both up and down. As a coach, I rely on indoor bike workouts for the precision of structured interval workouts as well as the intensity limits that are imposed from doing endurance-level work indoors.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
TrainerRoad one uses of many sources (see table below) to arrive at a basis for power-based training. Translation: with Trainer, Road you don’t need a power meter or a smart trainer to train with power! (ICYMI: Power-based training is the Holy Grail of bike training, because – unlike heart rate – it is an instantaneous measure of effort that is not affected by the weather, your fatigue, your hydration level, or the state of your immune system.)

Knowing your power output is only meaningful if you know where that output falls relative to your ability, so you’ll start off your TrainerRoad career by doing a test to determine your FTP (Functional Threshold Power). Yes, it’s a pretty brutal workout, but knowing your FTP is mission-critical to dialing in the rest of your training. Once you finish the test, TrainerRoad will automatically update your FTP setting and all future workouts will be based on this number and your associated training zones – as in, all workouts are now personalized to your current fitness level.

OK, so now you need a workout. This is where TrainerRoad provides a ton of value: they have a library of over 1,000 workouts, hundreds of which are an hour long, that are all designed to make you a better cyclist. The majority of these workouts include written instructions that function as a virtual coach. It’s kind of like having a coach whispering in your ear during the workout, keeping you focused and educating you about purpose and benefits of the training you’re doing. Many workouts also use the instructions to walk you through cycling drills or specify cadence targets throughout the workout, both of which will ultimately make you a better, stronger cyclist.

So then, how do you decide on which of their 1,000+ workouts you should do today? If you already know the focus of your training, you can pick a workout based on training zone: Endurance, Tempo, Sweet Spot, Threshold, VO2 Max, Anaerobic Capacity, or Sprint. No clue what type of workout you should be doing? They have over 100 training plans you can follow, which vary based on your cycling focus, training volume, and where you are in your training season. Trying to dial in some race-specific intervals? Or maybe your coach has specified a very detailed set of intervals for you? TrainerRoad also allows you to create custom workouts if one of their existing workouts doesn’t meet your needs.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?
First you’ll want to confirm here, https://www.trainerroad.com/equipment-checker, that your equipment is compatible with TrainerRoad. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re good to go, you’ll set up a subscription with TrainerRoad ($12/month or $99/year) and fill out your profile. You can set up auto-sync with TrainingPeaks and Strava so that you get credit for all your hard work, without doing any extra work.

Now that your profile is ready, you’ll want to download the appropriate software for your laptop / desktop / tablet / phone here: https://www.trainerroad.com/download. The last item of business is to pair your ANT+ or Bluetooth speed sensor / power meter / smart trainer to the software. Then just knock out your fitness test and you’re on your way to becoming a better cyclist.

Feedback’s tiny trainer a favorite among pro triathletes

Helle Fredericksen uses the trainer in a hotel room at the Island House Invitational.

From Triathlete Magazine

Feedback Sports’ Omnium portable resistance trainer makes traveling easier.

Golden, Colo.-based Feedback Sports built its reputation on making the very best in bicycle repair equipment. Work stands, tool kits and bike racks are its bread and butter. But when company founder Doug Hudson met a machine shop owner with an engineering background who showed him a two-drum, fork mount, foldable trainer, Hudson couldn’t resist getting into stationary trainers. He loved the smooth rolling drums and the progressive resistance magnets hidden inside the cylinders. He kept and patented those features on the Omnium, this little marvel of flight-friendly gear.

The front half was re-engineered to make it fold to stow like Feedback work stands. It’s just over two feet long folded up and weighs under 14 pounds. Feedback says in its tote bag, the Omnium is an easy carry-on. In fact, Feedback staffers have field-tested this claim by flying with the Omnium, successfully clearing TSA checks and slipping it into overhead compartments. It’s an ideal piece of equipment for triathletes traveling with their bikes; Gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen set one up on her balcony in Rio, and Helle Frederiksen stayed loose on an Omnium in her hotel room while prepping to race the Island House Tri in the Bahamas.

Read more

7 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know You Can Do With Your Garmin 920XT

By Alison Freeman, D3 Multisport

You’ve worn your Garmin for countless hours in the pool, on the road, and out on the trails. But you may not know that your Garmin can do a helluva lot more than just track your distance and pace. Here are seven of my favorite Garmin 920XT features, many of which I use week in and week out. Have a favorite that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it.

Note: Many of these features require the Garmin Connect website, the Garmin Express desktop app, and/or the iPhone/Android/Windows phone Garmin Connect app.

Wireless / Bluetooth Sync

I’m really hoping that this is a super disappointing start to my list because you already know that you don’t have tophysically connect your Garmin to your computer in order to sync your workouts. You can sync wirelessly after setting up your home wireless network using Garmin Express, or you can sync to the Garmin Connect app on your phone using Bluetooth. Either way – no cords required.

More information about wireless setup can be found here

More information about pairing your phone with your Garmin can be found here

Phone Notifications

And just when you were thinking that my list was going to be a total bust … Did you know your Garmin can kinda be an iWatch? First you connect your Garmin to the iPhone/Android/Windows phone app on your phone. Then any time you open the app it will push phone notifications – like incoming texts and phone calls – to your Garmin. So, if you launch the app and head out on a ride with your phone in your jersey pocket (and, really, who doesn’t?), you can read your incoming texts and see who’s calling on your Garmin, while you’re riding, without ever touching your phone.

More information about pairing your phone with your Garmin can be found here

More information on phone notifications can be found here

Intervals

OK, so let’s say today’s workout is a bunch of repeats of the same interval – not hard to remember, but you reallydon’t want to have to stare at your watch and hit your Lap button at the start/end of every interval. Plus: precision. No problem! Just go to “Training,” select “Intervals,” and set up your 10x 1/4-mile intervals with 90 seconds rest. Hit “Do Workout” and your Garmin will tell you when to go fast and when to rest. Voila!

More information about intervals can be found here

Structured Workouts

Maybe today’s workout includes some horribly complex set of run or bike intervals, and – unlike with the single interval repeats – there’s simply no way that you’re going to be able to remember them. Again, no problem! Your Garmin can still tell you exactly what to do and when to do it. Just set up the workout on the Garmin Connect website and send it to your watch using that nifty wireless sync feature we already covered. Then, when you’re ready to do the workout, go to “Training,” select “My Workouts,” select your workout for today and hit “Do Workout.” Voila again!

More information about structured workouts can be found hereNOTE: If your workout intervals are set up in TrainingPeaks’ new structured workout builder, you can send the workout from TrainingPeaks right over to your Garmin. See the TrainingPeaks help article on this here

Routes

Here’s one that I don’t use a lot, but when I do it’s mission-critical: if you’re running/riding a new route and youdon’t want to get lost, you can set up the route on the Garmin Connect website, send it to your watch using that nifty wireless sync feature, and then follow the route on your watch. (It’ll be hidden under “Navigation,” in “Courses.”) It does take some paying attention to follow the route because it’s a line without a map underneath, and so it helps to play with the scale to make sure you see the turn before you miss it. But once you get the hang of it, the course map will keep you from inadvertently adding several errant miles onto your day.

More information about routes (which Garmin calls courses) can be found here

Live Track

A “LiveTrack” is a website with a live feed of your ride (or run), which can be made available for 24 hours after yourride/run ends. This is a feature that I use EVERY SINGLE TIME that I ride outdoors. Why? Because if I don’t come back, then someone knows where to start looking. Also, if I run into mechanical issues, then it’s really easy to let my ride know where to find me. I’ve even used the LiveTrack + Phone Notifications to receive texts from my husband with weather updates based on where I am and where I’m heading. (“Turn around and ride fast! Storm heading straight for you.”) Within the Garmin Connect app on your phone, you simply go to “More” and “LiveTrack,” enter one or more email addresses, then hit “Start LiveTrack” to send the web link to your support crew.

Custom Alerts

The last of my favorite features is great for long rides and runs where you want to stay on schedule for your nutrition: You can set up custom alerts at specified intervals, with specified messages. On bike rides, my watch reminds me every fifteen minutes to “Drink!”. If you want to take salt tabs every 40 minutes, you can set an alert for that. If you want to tell yourself to suck it up every 1.75 miles, you can set an alert for that – just go to “Activity Settings” and “Alerts” and you’re in business. The possibilities are endless. (Just remember that alerts are specific to the activity, so if you set up an alert for Bike, it’ll stop reminding you when it’s time to Run.)

More information about custom alerts can be found here

Racing Burnout and Mid Winter Blues

By 303 Ambassador Marty Rosenthal

I am often asked, “Aren’t you going to burn out?” “Don’t you need a break?” “How can you enter 2 or 3 full distance Ironman races in a year? I need to take a year off after each race.” My reply is typically No, No and it’s easy….

Truthfully, I think it is all a mindset and how one goes about their training and racing. Quite simply, I love it! I love to train and I love to race. I enjoy the comradery. I like staying healthy and fit. I am humbled by the challenges and obstacles that many have overcome to just make it to the starting line of any race, let along a full distance triathlon. I am in awe and inspired by the thousands of people that stand besides me at that starting line.
I believe that people shouldn’t race, if they don’t love it. Why put yourself and your family through months or years of stress and training if you don’t truly love it and desire to be a part of it? Why get monkey butt for hour upon hour of riding unless you love taking it all in and feeling alive. I could not image enduring anything for 10+ hours let alone 2 hours if I didn’t find enjoyment and satisfaction in what I am doing. There is no medal they could give me after crossing a finish line that would be worth it, if I didn’t relish in taking flight and flying to finish with a smile on my face.

Training and racing are times for us to truly be free and experience life and explore our minds our souls and wonderful regions of this world we might not otherwise get the opportunity to experience. This is why for the 3 years that I have been racing, I’ve done it non-stop and toed the line for 7 Ironman races and a countless number of sprints, Olympic distances and half ironman races.

Mindset is not the only way to keep the mid winter blues from destroying your training. I like to mix things up. So besides
just doing triathlons, adding cross training into my routine, is extremely helpful and an essence of me staying fit and having fun. Hitting the slopes, snowshoeing, going to the rock climbing gym, trail running are just a few ways in which I like to stay active in the winter. Another favorite activity for me to do is to enter in ½ marathons in warmer climate cities and plan a great 3 day weekend with my wife. It gives us some great quality time to share together. Visit a city we may not have been to before. Forget about PR’s and racing and age grouping and just enjoy being with one another and having fun running together. Screaming for more cowbell, flying to the finish and sharing Bloody Marys afterwards.

 

Three Quick Foam Rolling Tips

By Kate Ripley
From the blog of Boulder Bodyworker

It’s foam roller clinic season and here are a few pointers we like to throw out to participants to answer some FAQ’s….

1) If you are pressed for time, foam rolling post-activity is a more economical use of your time. 10 minutes to roll glutes, hamstrings, quads and low back are usually a great and semi-easy routine to commit to.

2) DO NOT waste your time rolling your IT bands. The muscle that regulates the tightness of your IT band is actually between the ASIS (top bump on your pelvis) and the greater trochanter (head of your hip), it’s name is the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) A more efficient use of your time and energy is to get a lacrosse ball, stand near a wall and put the ball on the wall at the correct height for the TFL and lean your leg/hip/TFL into the ball–with your weight off the leg being worked. We have a video here on the the website showing how to do this…or check out our YouTube channel.

3) Foam rollers are not all created the same. The white foam (in our estimation) can break down and become too squishy very quickly. Which negates their effectiveness. They are great for beginners who are new to rolling, but be aware you will need to graduate to the more firm rollers about 3-4 months after purchasing.

Our fave rollers are the 36-inch, black polystyrene rollers. Fave retailer is Amazon, here’s the link.

Here’s why. The black rollers are made of a firmer/dense foam roller that lasts quite a long time, even with dedicated usage. The size that we chose is due to the fact that you can do more things with the longer version. Our favorite move that demonstrates this best is, when lying with the foam roller parallel to the spine, with one end resting where your skull and spine meet (occipital ridge) and the other end resting at your sacrum (base of the spine) A very small movement (2-3 inches) back and forth (left to right) to each side of the spine is the most awesome feeling and release after a long day on your feet, after a run, long drive, etc. We like to stretch our arms out to each side to stabilize ourselves and open the chest a bit. Throw in some deep breaths and stay here for as long as you like, but at least 2 minutes to give the muscles a chance to “let go.” Try it and let us know what you think next time you are in.

Cheers!