As athletes strive to improve themselves and their performances, they often push themselves to the point of injury.
The inherent cross training by multisport athletes can decrease the number of injuries, but unfortunately it does not eliminate them. Overuse bone injuries occur primarily during the running phase of training and racing and are more common with high running mileage and in individuals training for long course events.
Overuse injuries to bone encompasses a spectrum, from bone inflammation (stress reactions) to small fractures on one side of the bone (stress fractures), to breaks all the way through the bone. Stress fractures are a result of accumulative micro damage to bones from impact, which can lead to small or large breaks.
Bone is dynamic tissue with constant bony absorption and deposition stimulated by bone stress. Micro damage is a normal process that occurs with activity and is correlated with intensity and the amount of impact.
The body usually heals the micro damage before it can accumulate, and during the healing process, the body lays down extra bone to strengthen and prevent future injuries. This process is how athletes can improve their bone density. Unfortunately, there are times when athletes overwhelm their body’s ability to heal the bone stress and the damage accumulates to the point of localized inflammation or fracture.
The factors that are correlated with increased bony damage include: high running mileage, training errors, low bone density, high ridged arches, inappropriate foot wear, leg length discrepancies, and other malalignments. The most common of these factors that I see in the office are training errors, too much too soon, and inadequate recovery time, but all of them need to be considered.
The most common sites for stress fractures in runners are the shin (tibia) and foot bones (metatarsals and tarsals). Stress fractures typically present gradually but can also start with sudden pain.
Athletes sometimes are confused when a stress fracture presents acutely. Early inflammation and stress reactions can be pain free until the fracture occurs. Localized bony pain and tenderness is the hallmark of stress reactions and stress fractures. The area of pain is typically small and about the size of a half dollar. This localization is in contrast to shin splints, where the pain is over a much broader area such as the size of a dollar bill.
After the 2018 Ironman Boulder, the biggest complaint I heard from athletes was the heat and its relation to a high DNF rate. We are all aware that heavy exercise in high temperatures can lead to medical emergencies such as heat stroke, but so many tend to brush this off as something that could happen but certainly won’t happen to them.
So instead of focusing on heat illness, I’d like to discuss a heat-related issue that should catch any athlete’s attention: Yes, if your body overheats, your performance will be diminished and you will not be able to race at your full potential. Consider this athlete’s story.
Ironman Boulder second-timer Andrea Greger hit the start line prepared to annihilate her previous course time. The day started off well with a 15-minute PR on the swim leg, but by mile 30 of the bike, she knew she was in trouble. It was hot, she couldn’t eat and her pace suddenly slowed. After stopping three times to vomit, Andrea considered pulling from the race. With encouragement from teammates, she kept pedaling, finishing well behind her target pace.
As she started the marathon it quickly became clear that running wasn’t an option. No cooling effort could bring her core temperature down, and she vomited five more times. Although the task felt monumental, Andrea was determined not to quit and continued to march her way toward the finish.
“I remember at mile 25 of the run, a lady told me I was almost there, and I wanted to kill her!” she said. “It was another 20 minutes.”
Although it wasn’t the race she expected, Andrea learned a lot that day — about herself, about racing, and about the toll of heat.
Negative Effects of Heat on Performance
First, a quick physiology refresher. One of blood’s primary jobs during exercise is to carry oxygen to muscles. To cool the body, blood flow is shifted from muscles to the skin in an effort to dump heat. This process makes blood more difficult to pump to muscles to perform their work. The metabolic system used for muscle-fueling must then shift from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism, and VO2Max will be reduced.
One month ago, the top winter triathletes around the world competed for national and world titles in championship events that took place in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Cheile Gradistei, Romania. These wild red squirrels wanted to join the action too!
Swedish photographer Geert Weggen works extensively with wild squirrels to capture unique, whimsical images. We’re pleased to feature Weggen’s latest photos, inspired by the sport of winter triathlon, which consists of a run, bike and ski.
Recently USA Triathlon and IRONMAN teamed up and created the Time to Tri Initiative aimed at attracting 100,000 new athletes into the sport of Triathlon. In this podcast, Barry Siff, President of the USAT Board of Directors discussed how this initiative came to be, what it means for local races and how it will impact the sport overall. The program hopes to inspire grass roots approaches to making triathlon more accessible.
At 303Triathlon, we are starting the “303 Beginner Tri Project”. We will tackle some fundamental challenges beginners face and offer workout goals and key workouts for local races and encourage new triathletes to gather for information and group training opportunities. Stay tuned for more on this. Meanwhile, take a listen to this podcast with Barry!”
Changes include a move from 10 to six Regions, increased communication with National Office
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced a restructuring of its Regions — reducing the number of Regions from 10 to six — to increase efficiency, collaboration and communication with the USA Triathlon National Office. The six Regions moving forward will be: Northeast, Mideast, Southeast, North Central, South Central and West.
Commissions, previously called Regional Councils, are responsible for aiding the development and growth of multisport within the designated states of each Region while acting as a liaison between the USA Triathlon National Office and USA Triathlon race directors, certified coaches, clubs and members.
The new structure will enable Regions to work more closely with USA Triathlon staff at the organization’s Colorado Springs headquarters, and will place a greater emphasis on regional programming that directly supports the 2018 USA Triathlon Strategic Plan.
Regional Representatives, formerly Regional Chairs, will no longer be elected officers. Instead, they will be appointed by USA Triathlon at the recommendation of senior volunteers within each Region.
“USA Triathlon’s Regional Representatives and volunteers are some of our greatest advocates — volunteer leaders advancing our mission at the grassroots level,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “This restructuring demonstrates our eagerness to work more closely with the regional network, share ideas and best practices, and make the entire multisport community stronger as a result.”
In addition, USA Triathlon is currently hiring three Regional Facilitators, each of which is a newly created, full-time staff position based in Colorado Springs. Each facilitator will serve as a liaison to two USA Triathlon Regions. Each one will also serve as a specialist in one of three key areas for multisport development: youth participation, women’s participation and short-course racing.
The number of USA Triathlon Regional Championship events will be reduced from 10 to six to align with the new regional structure, and six Regional Special Qualifiers will also be added to the calendar. At Regional Championships and Special Qualifiers, the top 33 percent or top-five competitors in each age group — whichever is greater — qualify for the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships. The total number of qualifying athletes at those events will remain consistent with previous years. Regional Championship and Special Qualifier events will be added to each Region’s webpage at usatriathlon.org/regions as event dates are finalized.
Athletes may also continue to qualify for the Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships by finishing in the top 10 percent of their age group at any USA Triathlon Sanctioned age-group triathlon. Additional qualification criteria can be found by clicking here.
USA Triathlon is seeking volunteers to help execute and support regional programming. Potential volunteers should enter their contact information in this form, and USA Triathlon will connect each individual with their appropriate region based on state of residence.
Additional details about USA Triathlon Regions — including leadership updates, race calendars and program information — will be added to each Region’s webpage at usatriathlon.org/regions as they become available.
USA Triathlon is partnering once again with the Grand Rapids Triathlon, home of the 2018 Clydesdale and Athena National Championships for the fourth consecutive year. The Grand Rapids Triathlon is known for its flat, fast course. It’s ideal for the new and experienced triathlete alike. It was also the location of the 2014 USA Triathlon Long Course Triathlon National Championships. With a beautiful swim in the lake-like Thornapple River with virtually no current, to a flat country-road bike course then on to the scenic, shaded run course with loads of local support. This race offers several free clinics leading up to the event, a pre-race swim and ride at the race site the week before along with an amazing expo. It’s the largest triathlon in Michigan and offers sprint, Olympic and long course distances all with separated transition areas to give you a small race feel. Come experience a world class event in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
USA Triathlon is headed to Waco, Texas for the 2018 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships! Hosted in conjunction with XTERRA Cameron Park on June 9, the 2018 Off-Road National Championship will take your breath away as you go up and down climb after climb, in and out of cedar breaks and into dark bamboo forests. From rocks, roots, limestone ledges, tight twisty turns and short power climbs, to narrow bridges and fast descents, this course has got it all and is often considered one of the most unique courses in the country.
Forty-four ambassadors selected to help grow multisport participation in their local communities
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its first-ever Ambassador Program, comprised of 44 multisport athletes who have represented Team USA in international age-group competition. USA Triathlon Ambassadors will provide resources, advice and inspiration to aspiring athletes in their local communities, using their collective stories and experiences to grow multisport participation nationwide.
Ambassadors are tasked with hosting at least three presentations in their communities over the course of the year, which may include school visits, skills clinics and Q&A sessions. These events are meant to introduce prospective and beginner triathletes of all ages to the sport, as well as provide helpful resources for training and racing. Each ambassador will also nominate a support team to help plan the presentations and build interest in the multisport lifestyle.
Of the 44 ambassadors who successfully applied through a comprehensive nationwide selection process, 30 are women and 14 are men. They hail from 20 different states, with California being the most-represented, and range in age from 17 to 87. Ambassadors were selected based on their background in multisport — with the prerequisite of having competed for USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA — as well as their commitment to the program and innovative ideas for recruiting new participants.
“We are excited to unveil the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program,” said Lauren Rios, USA Triathlon’s Team USA and Research Coordinator. “Our inaugural team of ambassadors is made up of incredibly passionate athletes who have amazing stories to tell. We are confident that this group will inspire the masses to give our sport a try, and support many new triathletes on their journeys to the start line.”
In addition to the presentations, USA Triathlon Ambassadors will also be available on a regular basis to answer training and racing questions via email or social media.
Some ambassadors will focus on specific disciplines of multisport, including triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon or aquabike, while others will focus on topics such as weight loss or mental training.
Industry-wide effort aims to attract 100,000 new participants to the sport by 2020
TEMPE, Ariz. — IRONMAN and USA Triathlon today announced Time to Tri™, an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to grow the sport of triathlon in the United States by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race. With the end of 2020 as a goal of introducing 100,000 new participants to the sport, Time to Tri provides training and racing advice, motivational tools and other resources at its online hub, www.mytimetotri.com.
The initiative, a strategic joint effort founded by both parties, was unveiled this morning at the Triathlon Business International Conference in Tempe, Arizona, in a presentation led by IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick and USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris.
“As an industry leader, we are proud to join forces with USA Triathlon to spearhead the development of Time to Tri,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “While a lot of effort has gone into this for the past few months, the truth is that we are really just beginning. The power, control and responsibility of this initiative lies with the entire industry and is truly something that should lead to the benefit of all, from athletes, to coaches, clubs, race directors and industry endemics. We all have a common interest in bringing new people into our sport.”
“Since coming onboard as USA Triathlon CEO, my focus has been to increase collaboration across the industry and work together on a shared goal of growing participation in triathlon,” Harris said. “Time to Tri is a critical step in that process, and we are proud to partner with IRONMAN in getting this effort off the ground. But, more importantly, this is an industry-wide initiative, and we will need the support of everyone across all of the sport’s constituency groups to be successful.”
By announcing the initiative at the TBI Conference, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon reached three key groups of industry stakeholders — coaches/clubs, race directors and retailers/brand manufacturers — with a call-to-action to sign a public pledge at mytimetotri.com and make this an initiative powered by the entire industry.
After signing the pledge, which asks stakeholders to spread the word about Time to Tri with their audiences via email and social media, signees will receive a “playbook” and a collection of branded digital assets to use in promoting the initiative. One of four playbooks will be distributed based on the signee’s affiliation as a race director, coach, club or brand, but each playbook includes sample messaging and strategic ideas for recruiting beginners to triathlon. In a public rollout on Monday, February 5, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will also equip their respective members and athlete database with the tools to get involved.
The content at mytimetotri.com is inspired by qualitative and quantitative research that addresses key barriers to entry, such as swimming ability and open water swimming experience, triathlon knowledge, and the perception of a financial barrier.
The site will also offer editorial content as well as free, customized sprint-distance training plans to athletes who sign up with their email address. Each plan’s workouts are developed by USA Triathlon Certified and IRONMAN U® Certified Coaches and are based on the athlete’s self-selected skill level in the swim, bike and run.
In addition to launching the digital platform at mytimetotri.com, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will engage in proactive outreach to identify new and aspiring triathletes. The running community is a primary target audience, and Time to Tri will have a presence at running race expos across the country in order to reach those athletes.
Time to Tri will also promote pool and indoor triathlons as a non-intimidating first triathlon experience — directly addressing the fear of open water swimming as a barrier to entry — as well as short-course (sprint- and Olympic-distance) racing, relays and beginner waves.
Building on the success of IRONMAN’s Women For Tri® initiative, Time to Tri will join forces with Women For Tri to increase the percentage of women triathletes (currently, that number is 39 percent) by driving the creation of women’s-only events and clinics while further supporting the Women For Tri online community.
Other outreach opportunities include partnering with the USA Triathlon Youth Splash & Dash Aquathlon Series, youth triathlon clubs and summer camps to recruit more young people to the sport; reaching new audiences on social media during the second annual National Triathlon Week this July; and enlisting the help of 44 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes through the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program.
TEMPE, Ariz. — The USA Triathlon Board of Directors elected four of its members to officer seats at its first meeting of 2018, held today in Tempe prior to the Triathlon Business International Annual Conference.
Barry Siff (Tucson, Ariz.) was re-elected as Board of Directors President, extending his tenure that initially began in 2014. Also re-elected was Treasurer Kevin Haas (Berkeley, Calif.), who has been serving in that role since 2014.
Staci Brode (Dallas, Texas), who served as Secretary from 2016-2017, was elected Vice President. Mike Wien (Marietta, Ga.), who served as Vice President from 2014-2017, was elected Secretary.
Siff has been involved in the triathlon community for nearly 30 years — first as a competitor, then as a race director and coach. He first joined the USA Triathlon Board of Directors in 2012, has been a member of the ITU Executive Board since 2014, and represents the U.S. on the CAMTRI (American Triathlon Confederation) Executive Board. He is also a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach.
“I am proud to continue in my role as President of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, especially as we carry out our Strategic Plan focused on collaboration and growing triathlon participation nationwide,” Siff said. “I know my fellow officers are equally committed to providing leadership and direction as we advance USA Triathlon’s mission. Most importantly, our collective passion for the sport will guide us in making decisions that help our multisport community thrive.”
“Each elected officer brings a wealth of experience and an innovative mindset to the USA Triathlon Board of Directors,” said Joel Rosinbum, an Elite Athlete Representative on the Board and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. “I am confident in the leadership team’s abilities to take on the opportunities and challenges that our sport faces today, and I look forward to working alongside each of them in the year to come.”
Haas has been a member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors since 2013. He previously served as the Collegiate Committee Chair, Conference Commissioner for the West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference and President of the UC-Berkeley Triathlon Team. Haas holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UC-Berkeley and is the Director of Bioinformatics at Counsyl Inc., a health technology company that offers DNA screening for diseases that can impact men, women and their children.
Brode has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2015, and is the Board liaison to the Race Director Committee. She is a USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director who has been producing triathlons since 2004. Brode is the President of Playtri, overseeing race production for more than 25 events as well as overall operations of the company, which also includes retail stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Through Playtri, Brode is also involved with coaching and group training programs, youth programs and triathlon camps. She runs her business with her husband, Ahmed Zaher. She has two sons, Ali, 10, and Aiman, 6.
Wien joined the Board in 2013 and served as its Vice President from 2014-2017. He spent 28 years in senior marketing leadership positions at Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Omni Hotels, CitiBank and Deloitte. Wien left the corporate world 15 years ago to become a professional speaker, a marketing professor at Georgia State University, a consultant and a dedicated triathlete.
As mandated by USA Triathlon Bylaws, the officer seats — President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer — are elected by the members of the Board of Directors with the vote taking place at the first meeting of the year following a general election.