Triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com Triathlon Training, Gear, Nutrition, Photos, Race Results & Calendars Sat, 20 Dec 2014 01:09:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 TriathlEats: Winter Turkey Burgers http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/triathleats-winter-turkey-burgers_110852 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/triathleats-winter-turkey-burgers_110852#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:30:03 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110852

Photo: Echard Wheeler

The outdoor grill might be retired for the season, but you can still get your home burger fix with this flavor-packed recipe.

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Photo: Echard Wheeler


The outdoor grill might be retired for the season, but you can still get your home burger fix with this flavor-packed recipe.

Ingredients

1 onion, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
3 pounds ground turkey
1 6-ounce packet gluten-free chicken-flavored stuffing mix
2 eggs
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup bacon, finely diced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a skillet and cook the bacon until the fat renders out, then add the onion and celery and cook until opaque and soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place ground turkey, feta cheese, bacon, onion and celery mix, stuffing mix, cranberries, walnuts and eggs into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Form mixture into approximately 16 patties. Note that these will not shrink like beef patties, so ensure they are the size you require. Place on a greased baking tray and spray the top with olive oil spray. Bake until clear juices run from the burger, approximately 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Ensure they are cooked through by testing one—internal temperature should read 165 degrees. Serve with a grilled bun, lettuce, tomato and red onion, or as desired.

RELATED: Feta And Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Turkey Burgers Recipe

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Med Tent: How To Fix Sciatica http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/med-tent-how-to-fix-sciatica_91725 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/med-tent-how-to-fix-sciatica_91725#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:00:23 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=91725

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Treat and prevent this lower-back and leg pain.

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Photo: www.shutterstock.com

The Symptoms

Lower-back pain and shooting pain down the back of one or both legs, sometimes to the toes. It may worsen with sitting or bending forward. With piriformis-based sciatic problems, the pain hits the lower back and/or buttocks, sometimes feeling as if it’s deep inside the buttock muscles. It may be too painful to sit on the affected side. The pain and/or tingling can radiate down the back of the upper leg as well.

What’s Going On In There?

Sciatic pain comes from irritation of the sciatic nerve, a thick, ropelike nerve comprising several nerve roots in the lumbar (lower) spine that merge into one. Technically, sciatic pain is caused by irritation of this nerve after the nerve roots join together. Sciatic pain can come from two very different sources: the spine and the hip. Nerve roots, which are small branches of the spinal cord that exit at each level of the vertebrae and divide into smaller branches, are often pinched by a bulging or herniated disk in the spine. The nerve is compressed and pain, often excruciating, results.

Piriformis, or hip, sciatic pain comes from a spot deep within each hip where the piriformis muscle, a hip flexor, crosses over the sciatic nerve. If the muscle is tight or spasms, it can pinch or compress the nerve, causing pain, especially when you’re sitting on the affected side (this type of sciatic pain usually hits only one hip). The pain generally doesn’t shoot far down the upper leg.

RELATED: How Do I Treat Back Pain?

Fix It

Employ dynamic rest. You’ll want to lie down, but minimize the amount of time you spend on your back. Stay mobile, even if it means taking little shuffle steps around the house. Bed rest during spells of back pain only deconditions your muscles, which is the opposite of what you want to happen. During the acute stage, avoid straining your back, but do simple stretches to loosen your hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes. All of these can help alleviate any accompanying muscle spasms.

Ice it, then heat it. Apply ice for 15 minutes four to six times a day for the first two days. After two days, using a heating pad at the same time intervals can help relieve the spasms.

Try an NSAID. An anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen can help with pain and inflammation.

Vary your therapies. Effective pain relief therapies are very individualized. For example, some of my patients respond well to massage therapy. Others swear by acupuncture. My point: Try different therapies until you get results. Everyone responds differently to different things.

Stretch and strengthen your kinetic chain. As the pain subsides, start the reconditioning process with basic core strengthening and stretching exercises. Go slow. Stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and core. Do glute bridges and planks, adding reps and intensity as you improve. Once you’re pain-free, up your kinetic chain conditioning (see “Prevent It” section).

RELATED: Preventing Hamstring Injuries

Prevent It

The more muscles you have supporting your back, the better off your back will be. Therefore, back pain prevention isn’t just about strengthening your back muscles. Your back is working in combination with the rest of your core and your glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads for optimal performance. Your fitness program must include dynamic, compound exercises that target as many of these areas as possible. Workout staples should include multidirectional lunges, core exercises with trunk rotation, squats, squat jumps, burpees, planks, mountain climbers and more. Plyometric total-body boot-camp-style workouts are terrific. I also recommend regularly attending Pilates classes. All of these things focus on strength and flexibility throughout your kinetic chain.

When To Call A Doctor

If you have pain radiating down the back of one or both legs, see a doctor. This is a clear symptom of discogenic back pain and you need to have an MRI to determine the size of the disc herniation and X-rays to reveal any other underlying bone problems.

A doctor can also give you a cortisone or anesthetic injection to help with the pain. Physical therapy is also a good idea in these cases, both to reduce the acute muscular pain that often goes along with this problem and to begin reconditioning your kinetic chain to bring muscular stability to the spine. The exercise and stretching ideas I offer here help, but a physical therapist can direct your care and teach you the correct form and how many repetitions to do based on your individual case.

New York City sports medicine specialist Jordan D. Metzl, M.D. is a 29-time marathon finisher and 10-time Ironman. His book, The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies, has more than 1,000 tips to fix all types of injuries and medical conditions.

Get the latest in triathlon training, gear, nutrition and news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for Triathlete’s newsletter.  

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First Wave: 12 Top Images From Our 2014 Issues http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/12-top-triathlon-photos-2014_110813 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/12-top-triathlon-photos-2014_110813#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:37:02 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110813

The “First Wave” pages of Triathlete magazine are reserved for the sport’s top photographs.

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The “First Wave” pages of Triathlete magazine are reserved for the sport’s top photographs. Look back on the 12 images from the magazine’s 2014 issues with this photo gallery.

RELATED: Triathlete magazine’s 2014 Covers

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Top 10 Most Popular Workouts Of 2014 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/top-10-popular-workouts-2014_110836 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/top-10-popular-workouts-2014_110836#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:36:37 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110836

Looking for a swim, bike, run or brick workout? Check out the 10 most popular clicked-on sessions of this year.

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We feature swim, bike and run workouts on Triathlete.com every week. Here are the 10 most popular workouts featured on Triathlete.com in 2014.

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2014 Triathlete Holiday Gift Guide: Books http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/triathlete-gift-guide/2014-triathlete-holiday-gift-guide-books_109799 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/triathlete-gift-guide/2014-triathlete-holiday-gift-guide-books_109799#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:20:30 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=109799

A variety of training and lifestyle books that will intrigue any endurance enthusiast.

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A variety of training and lifestyle books that will intrigue any endurance enthusiast.

As the Crow Flies

$39.95, Velopress.com

Five-time world champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander’s released his first book, As the Crow Flies, which, in his own words, traces his journey to becoming the first-ever double world champion in 2011 (by winning both the Ironman and 70.3 world championships in the same year) and to his first sub-eight-hour Ironman performance in early 2012. Though he’s well known as a private family man, the book gives readers an intimate look into how Alexander balances his training, traveling, racing and family life through not only the writing but also the stunning black-and-white photography.

Read an excerpt here.

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How Do I Break Up With My Triathlon Coach? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/dear-coach-how-do-i-break-up-with-a-coach_91203 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/dear-coach-how-do-i-break-up-with-a-coach_91203#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:00:59 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=91203

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Hiring a coach is smart, but it’s important to ensure the relationship will work out. If it doesn’t, you need an exit strategy.

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Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Dear Coach: I’m about to hire a new coach, but what if we start working together and I decide I want to break up?

Managing the relationship with a triathlon coach can be a little like dating. Here’s my best advice to avoid a messy breakup.

Before You Get Started

Remove preconceived notions: You need time to establish a connection and sort out communication styles — try a minimum of three months. Making arbitrary deadlines in your mind — “If I don’t win my next race after hiring this coach, I’m done” — isn’t logical or fair.

Set expectations up front: How often will you communicate? Review his coaching philosophy before you hire him — does it mesh with your own beliefs and experiences? If not, are you truly willing to try something different?

Agree on an end point: If your goal race is four months away, identify up front that you plan to rest and reassess for the next race after its successful completion so you don’t feel obligated to someone indefinitely.

RELATED: The Benefits Of Self Coaching

Reasons To Consider A Breakup

Lack of communication: First, remember that communication starts with you. Your coach can’t change the plan if he or she doesn’t know there’s a problem to begin with. That said, a turnaround time of 24 hours is certainly reasonable, less if it’s something with a time constraint. A consistent lack of response or lack of engagement isn’t acceptable.

Lack of individualization: The whole reason you hired a coach was to address your specific strengths and weaknesses. If you’re paying for an individualized plan, it should have a clear focus on your best path to improvement.

Lack of purpose: A coach should be able to clearly articulate the reasons for a specific workout or training block when asked.

RELATED: Should Everyone Try A Coach?

When It’s Time To Make The Call

Tailor your approach: For a long-distance, casual relationship, a simple, short explanation on why you’ve decided to go another way should suffice. However, if your coach is a friend, training partner or mentor with whom you’re working closely and seeing regularly in person, you owe them and yourself more than a text breakup!

Be honest: Being honest yet tactful can ultimately be helpful if phrased right. Putting a little of the onus on yourself can get the message across while preserving the relationship. For example, “I feel like you’re ignoring my emails and phone calls” can be phrased as “I’ve realized I’m a little bit needy and I need someone who’s more available.”

Remember roses and thorns: If your coach wasn’t the right fit but had your best interests in mind, soften the blow with a rose and a thorn. Give credit for something positive (“I appreciate your wealth of knowledge”), while explaining your reason (“I just need someone more hands-on”).

Also, remember that while triathlon is growing, the world of coaching is small and tight-knit. Who knows, you may seek out the services of your current coach’s training partner or best friend in the future. You want to ensure you meet your own needs and also preserve your reputation as someone fair and good to work with.

More Dear Coach articles.

Join in the conversation about everything swim, bike and run. “Like” us on Facebook.

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Quick Set Friday: Short-Course Intervals http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/quick-set-friday-short-course-intervals_55472 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/quick-set-friday-short-course-intervals_55472#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:30:38 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=55472

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Take a new workout to the pool this weekend with this set from swimming superstar Sara McLarty.

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Photo: Nils Nilsen

Triathlete contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program in Clermont, Fla. We’ll feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (NTCMastersSwim.blogspot.com), you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

The A sets are between 4–5000 yards total, with intervals ranging from 1:20–1:30 per 100. The B sets are 3000–3500 total, with intervals of 1:50–2:00 per 100. The C sets are 2000–2500 total and all based on a rest interval.

A:
500 choice warm up
8×75 @ 1:20 (kick/drill/swim by 25)
4×250 swim @ 3:30 (descend 1-4)
50 easy recovery
4×50 pull @ :50 (build each 50)
7×150 pull (odds: FAST @ 1:55, evens: cruise @ 2:15)
50 easy recovery
400 IM (kick/drill/swim/freestyle by 25)
6×125 IM @ 2:10 (free/fly/back/breast/free by 25)
200 cool down
*4800 Total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Remaining Calm In The Open Water

B:
500 choice warm up
6×75 @ 1:45 (kick/drill/swim by 25)
4×200 swim @ 3:40 (descend time 1-4)
50 easy recovery
4×50 pull @ :60 (build each 50)
4×150 pull @ 3:30 (descend time 1-4)
50 easy recovery
300 (kick/drill/swim by 25)
6×75 @ 1:30 (free/non-free/free by 25)
200 cool down
*3600 Total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Battling Foot Cramps

C:
400 choice warm up
6×75 w/:15 seconds rest (kick/drill/swim by 25)
3×150 swim w/:20 rest (descend time 1-3)
4×50 pull w/:15 rest (build each 50)
3×150 pull w/:20 rest (descend time 1-3)
300 (kick/drill/swim by 25)
4×75 w/:30 rest (free/non-free/free by 25)
100 cool down
*2600 Total*

More Quick Set Friday workouts.

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Perfect Your Mechanical Skills This Off-Season http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/perfect-your-mechanical-skills-this-off-season_68490 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/perfect-your-mechanical-skills-this-off-season_68490#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:30:36 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=68490

Photo: Nils Nilsen

You’ve got your training and nutrition strategy dialed. But there’s another element to being a successful triathlete: mechanical skills.

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Photo: Nils Nilsen


You’ve got your training and nutrition strategy dialed. But there’s another element to being a successful triathlete: mechanical skills. As you prepare for your 2015 season, work on improving your wrench skills in the following areas.

The Basics

Fix a flat. It’s every novice (and sometimes experienced) triathlete’s nightmare, but it doesn’t need to be. Ask your local bike shop when they are offering their next flat-changing clinic, or tap an experienced fellow cyclist to show you how. Then practice in the comfort of your own garage before your luck runs out far from home or during an important race.

Adjust rear derailleur. Most bikes have a small barrel adjuster where the cable housing meets the rear derailleur. If your shifting is not spot-on, shift into the middle cog in the back, then try turning the barrel a quarter-click at a time in either direction until shifting improves. If you’ve tried a full rotation in both directions and shifting is still subpar, ask your go-to mechanic to fix it while you watch on.

Remove pedals. If you plan to travel for a triathlon, you should know how to do this. Many pedals can be removed with a simple Allen wrench, while others may require a specific pedal wrench (most cost about $20). Again, ask your local shop which tool will work best and to show you how to remove and reinstall your pedals. Be sure to use grease on the axle and don’t over-tighten them.

Change bar tape. This simple upgrade should be done regularly so that your sweaty hands do not lose grip during sharp cornering or when hitting a bump in the road. New tape is also one of the cheapest ways to keep your bike looking spiffy and new, and clean is fast!

Tune brakes. Triathletes who use different wheelsets for training and racing should learn how to adjust their bike’s brake calipers to account for different rim widths. Although some newer tri bike frames hide the brakes from plain view, you should still be able to access them and simply turn the barrel adjuster to widen or tighten the brake pads.

RELATED – Do-It-Yourself Bike Tune-Up: A 5-Step Checklist

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Quick Look: Giro Synthe Helmet http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/quick-look-giro-synthe-helmet_110804 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/quick-look-giro-synthe-helmet_110804#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:08:44 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110804

Photo: John David Becker

The Synthe flawlessly combines ventilation with performance.

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Photo: John David Becker

The Synthe flawlessly combines ventilation with performance.

Weighing in at a mere 250 grams, the Synthe melds the qualities of two helmets in the Giro lineup—it features the aerodynamic features of the Air Attack aero road helmet and the lightness and ventilation of the company’s traditional training helmet, the Aeon. Although wind tunnel tests showed the Attack is still faster when the head is tucked, Giro claims the aerodynamics of the Synthe are on par with time-trial helmets in a traditional road or climbing position. It features the same internal locking system as the Attack, which pulls the helmet up and away from the head. For racing a triathlon, a true aero helmet is still the fastest bet, but for a high-performance training option with supreme ventilation, the Synthe is a welcome upgrade.

Giro Synthe
$250, Giro.com

RELATED: Smith Designs New Road Helmet With Women In Mind

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Announcing The Best Bodies In Tri Contest http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/features/announcing-best-bodies-tri-contest_110808 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/features/announcing-best-bodies-tri-contest_110808#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 21:50:50 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110808

Has triathlon transformed your body? You could be profiled in the mag via our Best Bodies in Tri contest.

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Dispatch: Bahrain Old And New http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/features/dispatch-bahrain-old-new_110774 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/features/dispatch-bahrain-old-new_110774#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:41:57 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110774

Holly Bennett reflects on her time in Bahrain, which she visited to cover the highly-anticipated Challenge Bahrain triathlon.

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Dispatch columnist Holly Bennett reflects on her time in Bahrain, which she visited to cover the highly-anticipated Challenge Bahrain triathlon.

I’ve been home from Challenge Bahrain and the Middle East for nearly two weeks now, but–as often happens when I travel–images and memories of my time there make ongoing appearances in my dreams. Bahrain was vastly different than anywhere I’d yet traveled and, as I did not race but rather focused on the astounding pro field assembled for the inaugural race, I had more opportunity than most to explore some of the area–an area that’s an unknown to many westerners and that many of my friends, followers and readers have expressed curiosity about. With a few afternoons and evenings of wandering under my belt I can attest to the fact that there’s plenty to see and do (when not busy swimming, cycling and running) in this tiny yet passionate desert nation.

Bahrain is a fascinating mix of old and new, with soaring skyscrapers, the slick F1 motorsport track and the lavish Sofitel resort juxtaposed against the ancient Dilmun Burial Mounds (dating between 3000 BC and 600 AD), the Qal’at al Bahrain (the Bahrain Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Tree of Life (a 400-year-old tree flourishing in the desert despite no known water source). In the capital city of Manama one can shop at some of the world’s most illustrious malls or meander through the old-style market in the Souq. On the city streets, an equal blend of men in western business suits and men in traditional thobes and ghutras dot the sidewalks. At dawn and at dusk, the otherwise monochromatic desert-scape takes on a magical glow. These are the images that continue to fill my mind and make me eager to share more of what I experienced as I toured some of Bahrain’s cultural highlights.

No visit to Manama is complete without a stop at the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. I was surprised to learn that the mosque is relatively new (its construction was complete in 1988) and that the massive building can accommodate 7,000 worshipers at once. It’s one of a handful of mosques in Bahrain that allow non-Muslim visitors, and people of all denominations are welcome to join in the four-time daily prayers (informative guided tours, a must for any visitor and available in multiple languages, are halted while prayers are in progress). Female visitors to Al Fateh are required to don traditional abaya robes and headscarves (provided at reception), and although the main prayer floor is reserved for men, women have use of the expansive balcony and also a separate women’s prayer room (complete with modern streaming video of the service, of course). The mosque’s celebrated architectural elements are a nod to the concept of international and interdenominational inclusiveness, hailing from all corners of the globe. These include a giant Austrian crystal chandelier, handblown glass light fixtures from France, Iranian stained glass windows, Italian marble lining the vast courtyard and stairs, carpeting from Scotland and Indian teak wood doors and banisters–a truly elaborate mish-mash of inspired design.

RELATED PHOTOS: 2014 Challenge Bahrain

In search of a more historic site, I paid a visit to Qal’at al Bahrain (the Bahrain Fort), perfectly timed with sunset and the subsequent moonrise. The long walk leading up to the fort was mesmerizing, with the dramatic stone walls rising up in front of me, the Fort Museum on the bank of the Gulf of Bahrain sitting to one side and the buzzing streets of the capital city in the distance on the other. Standing under an ancient turret at the fort and looking back to see the moon sparkling above Manama’s uber-modern skyline highlighted the union of age-old and contemporary elements that is commonplace in Bahrain. Similarly, the arched doorways and secret passages throughout the fort beckon for exploration, with several leading to avant-garde visual and audial art installations within the fort’s aged rooms.

At the base of the fort was one of two artisans markets I attended in Bahrain. This one, hosted by the Ministry of Culture, was tiny, with just five booths–a potter, a weaver, a spice seller and two vendors of homemade snacks–plus a keyboardist playing local music. Still, it drew a decent crowd, with locals and tourists alike wandering between the market, the museum and the fort and stopping to socialize between each venue. From the fort market I hailed a taxi and headed to the trendy Adliya neighborhood, Bahrain’s hub of upscale restaurants and contemporary creative art. The main attraction that evening in Adliya was an annual market known as Market 338/The Nest hosted in and around the Al Riwaq Art Space (a gallery, café and series of eco-themed outdoor art installations). Market 338 was similar to an artisan’s market one might find in Boulder or San Diego or any number of U.S. locales, with vendors lining the streets offering organic juices, freshly baked sweet and savory treats, unique housewares, handcrafted clothing and funky jewelry. A DJ spun tunes in a central courtyard, children climbed on playground structures and adults kicked back and enjoyed the refreshing December evening air–with men and women both dressed in a visually interesting mix of western and traditional wear.

I hardly had time for everything I wanted to do in Bahrain–visits to the National Museum, the Barbar Temple, several historic homes and an array of Middle Eastern restaurants will have to wait until next year. But I certainly enjoyed a number of experiences that gave me a positive impression of Bahrain as a place with an array of cultural offerings, both ancient and au courant.

RELATED: A True Taste Of Bahrain

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How To Plan A Fun And Successful Triathlon Season http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/how-to-plan-a-fun-and-successful-triathlon-season_71019 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/how-to-plan-a-fun-and-successful-triathlon-season_71019#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:33:12 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=71019

The 2013 Events DC Nation's Triathlon. Photo: Dan Hicok

Break out the calendar and get ready for an exciting 2015 season.

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The 2013 Events DC Nation's Triathlon. Photo: Dan Hicok


Break out the calendar and get ready for an exciting 2015 season.

There is a time of year for training and a time for playing. Ideally, you’ll soon be wrapping up an adventurous and rejuvenating play season during which you shunned written training schedules, and your workouts were deemed successful based on sheer fun versus time spent at lactate threshold.

Training season is almost here, soon to be followed by racing, so now is a great time to get out your calendar and make a proactive plan for several rewarding months of triathlon fun.

Choosing your races

Begin by selecting one or two “A” races, which require a full taper, peak and recovery period—up to a full month in total. Register and commit the money, then write them in ink on your calendar. I suggest prioritizing a date that allows enough lead-up time with good weather in order to be well prepared with minimal anxiety. Also, be sure there are no major work projects or family obligations in the month or two leading up to an “A” race.

Add in two to four “B” races, which may be shorter, less expensive or closer to home. Plan on a shorter taper leading to the race (as little as a few days), but be sure to recover from the race thoroughly before resuming full intensity training.

A “C” race may be done in place of a scheduled hard workout, and therefore will not have any taper at all, aka “training through” the race. C races can often provide an even better training stimulus than a solo workout given the competitive environment, so sprinkle in as many of these as you like and can afford. Expand your C race schedule by including single-sport events like 5Ks, swim meets or bike races (hill climbs or time trials are best for triathletes). If cycling is your weakness, use your train-through races as an opportunity to test your bike fitness. Set ambitious goals for your bike portion and treat the run as an easy training day.

Plan a week-long break: If your race schedule permits, try to break up your season into two halves separated by a week of play time. You’ll approach the second half with a refreshed body and mind, and likely nail the training necessary for a peak performance at your final A race.

RELATED: 5 Tips For Planning A Family-Friendly Race Season

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Guidelines for Breaking In New Gear http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/break-time-acclimating-to-new-gear_91424 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/break-time-acclimating-to-new-gear_91424#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:30:47 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=91424

Race day is never the time to test out a new piece of gear. Here are some suggestions to follow.

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“Don’t try anything new on race day” is a piece of advice just about every triathlete has heard. But this suggestion really isn’t very helpful on its own because the amount of time needed to adapt depends on what change you’re making — for example, adapting to a new helmet takes less time than getting comfortable with a fit change. Follow these guidelines to calculate the proper time period to maximize your comfort on race day.

Wheels

Both brakes and derailleurs must be readjusted when wheels are swapped, and braking performance can change, especially when swapping to carbon rims.

Break-In Time
Minimum: One ride. Make sure the bike is tuned to the new wheels.
Ideal: One week. Get accustomed to different braking and ride feel.

RELATED: Buying Aero Wheels On A Budget

Bike Fit

Cycling ability isn’t universal — fitness is tied in part to a position. Change an aspect of fit, and muscles have to retrain to function while stretched to a different length.

Break-In Time
Minimum: For small tweaks, two weeks is enough time to adapt.
Ideal: Changes like dropping the bars or major adjustments require four weeks before becoming totally comfortable.

Running Shoes

A new shoe can be a little stiffer, and different models impact gait.

Break-In Time
Minimum: When swapping to a fresh pair of shoes you’ve been using, five runs is enough to break the new set in and discover if there are any blister-inducing seams.
Ideal: Changing shoe model takes a big adjustment. Heel height differential, for example, can dramatically alter stride, so give yourself five weeks to adapt to an entirely new race shoe.

RELATED: Shoe-Fitting Advice From The Experts

Aero Helmet

Vision, heat dissipation, fit and transition are impacted.

Break-In Time
Minimum: One brief trip around the block is enough to see if a helmet is a problem.
Ideal: Studies have shown that five days of heat training is enough to acclimate, so shoot for five rides in the helmet if temperature is a concern.

Wetsuit

Fit, friction and flexibility are all hard to assess from dry land.

Break-In Time
Minimum: A single swim will alert you to any severe problems, which are often less harmful to a race than swimming without a wetsuit.
Ideal: Building strength to overcome a wetsuit’s restriction takes weeks. One swim a week for three weeks is enough to start developing resiliency.

RELATED: 14 Triathlon Wetsuits Revealed

Follow Triathlete on Twitter @Triathletemag for inspiration, new workout ideas, gear reviews from our editors and more.

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Triathlete Magazine’s 2014 Covers http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/triathlete-magazines-2014-covers_110759 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/triathlete-magazines-2014-covers_110759#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:59:02 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110759

A look at the amazing athletes (and the photographers who captured them) featured on the 2014 Triathlete magazine covers.

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A look at the amazing athletes (and the photographers who captured them) featured on the 2014 Triathlete magazine covers.

RELATED: 10 Most Popular Training Articles Of 2010

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10 Most Popular Recipes Of 2014 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/top-10-popular-recipes-2014_110744 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/photos/top-10-popular-recipes-2014_110744#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:34:45 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110744

A look at the most popular healthy and tasty meal ideas from Triathlete.com contributor and chef Jessica Cerra.

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For the past few years chefand professional cyclistJessica Cerra has shared her healthy, tasty creations every week with the Triathlete.com audience. Here, we look back on the top 10 most popular Recipe of the Week articles featured on Triathlete.com. Visit Triathlete.com every Thursday for new ideas from Cerra.

More recipes from Jessica Cerra.

Jess Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. Jess recently launched Harmony Bar, and all natural gluten-and soy free bar designed to tasted like a soft baked cookie. She is an ex-professional XTERRA triathlete and mountain biker, and current elite amateur road cyclist for the SPY GIANT RIDE p/b MRI Endurance team. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page, as well as the “Harmony Bar” Facebook page. Also on twitter @fitfoodbyjess and @harmonybars.

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Reviewed: 3 Trail Running Shoes http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/reviewed-3-trail-running-shoes_110734 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/gear-tech/reviewed-3-trail-running-shoes_110734#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:23:27 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110734

Photo: John David Becker

The varied terrain of trail running offers a change in pace (literally) and takes the pressure off of hitting your in-season splits.

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Photo: John David Becker


Three trail-ready shoes to shake up your winter runs.

Trail running is the perfect off-season activity—the varied terrain offers a change in pace (literally) and takes the pressure off of hitting your in-season splits. These three trail-specific running shoes will make the transition to dirt more enjoyable.

New Balance 980 Trail

$110, Newbalance.com

The best part about running in the New Balance 980 Trail is how your legs and feet feel when you’re done. The Fresh Foam midsole is plush yet resilient, offering a springy ride that leaves your body feeling surprisingly untaxed. The 4mm heel-to-toe offset keeps you in tune with the trail. The outsole features a semi-aggressive tread that provides door-to-trail versatility, making it perfect for runs of mixed terrain where you transition between roads and trails. The pattern of the tread is designed to provide traction over loose terrain going up or downhill, and the gusseted tongue prevents dirt and rocks from entering the shoe. The no-sew synthetic mesh upper does a great job of letting air in while keeping dirt out. This neutral trainer feels light on your feet at 10.5 ounces and offers up little in the way of pronation control, which is true of all Fresh Foam-equipped models. But the 980 feels remarkably stable if you have a mostly efficient stride, even after a few hours of trail pounding. With that in mind, this shoe performs best on mellow trails because it doesn’t have a rock plate.

RELATED: 5 Reasons To Try Trail Running

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Ironman And Life Time Announce “Women For Tri” Initiative http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/news/ironman-life-time-announce-women-tri-initiative_110736 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/news/ironman-life-time-announce-women-tri-initiative_110736#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:04:25 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110736

Photo: John David Becker

A Board of Advisors and Ambassador Team will be given the task of creating a sense of community for women in the sport of triathlon.

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Photo: John David Becker

Ironman and Life Time Fitness announced today that they will select a Board of Advisors and Ambassador Team, which will be given the task of creating a sense of community for women in the sport of triathlon.

Through research, study and investigation, Ironman, Life Time and other industry leaders will aim to continue to increase female participation across the continuum of triathlon distances. The new initiative will unite and empower female athletes of all fitness levels, champion content to identify and break down barriers to entry and help more women to accomplish their fitness goals through triathlon. This initiative will include an appointed Board of Advisors and an Ambassador Team to lead a network and social community for women in the sport.

“As we continue to see female participation in endurance sports rise, it is essential for us to ensure we are creating an unmatched athlete experience and environment that is welcoming and encouraging to all athletes. We feel this important initiative is a major step in growing the sport,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for Ironman in the press release. “We are extremely proud and fortunate to have a rich history of female athletes and look forward to seeing future generations make their mark on triathlon.”

The Board of Advisors will include a select group of influencers from all walks of life who are passionate about triathlon and will be selected from the ranks of pro athletes, age groupers, coaches and other industry participants. They will work with Ironman and Life Time to research, brainstorm, create and put into action strategies, which will further develop female participation. Ironman and Life Time will also form an Ambassador Team that will mentor and help cultivate new athletes while providing support to first timers throughout their training and competition journey.

To learn more about the initiative, including how to apply for the Board of Advisors or the Ambassador Team, read the complete announcement at Ironman.com.

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3 Healthy Ways To Eliminate A Sweet Tooth http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/3-healthy-ways-satisfy-sweet-tooth_110728 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/3-healthy-ways-satisfy-sweet-tooth_110728#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:48:58 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110728

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Learn how to keep the reins on evening sugar cravings.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

How should I satisfy a nighttime sweet tooth (especially around the holidays)?

I have three main strategies I like to employ to keep the reins on evening sugar cravings:

1. Eliminate all artificial sweeteners. This may surprise you: Artificial sweetener intake can sabotage your weight control and healthy lifestyle goals. Numerous studies have shown both lack of weight-loss success and worse—increased cravings for other sweets—as a result of artificial sweetener consumption. It all relates back to how our taste buds—and brains—perceive artificial sweeteners. Try to eliminate your intake of artificially sweetened yogurts, desserts, beverages, etc., and use a small amount of real sugar if you want to sweeten your coffee, tea or oatmeal.

RELATED: Are Natural Sweeteners Really A Healthy Alternative?

2. Fuel well throughout your day. If you try to “be good” or “eat clean” all day, only to blow it at night, you may be too restrictive during the day. Do include all food groups, including complex carbs, with all meals—even during your off-season. You still need energy to move, think and complete your workouts, and by fueling well all day you can decrease late-night cravings.

RELATED: Start The New Year With Weight Loss

3. Keep only portion-controlled, satisfying “treats” in your home. Anything you can eat and enjoy one serving of is allowed in your home. Anything you cannot stop eating once you start is out! My favorites include individually wrapped frozen fruit or fudge bars, fresh or frozen fruit you can blend with a 1/2 cup of dairy or soy milk and a good dark chocolate bar you can savor one square at a time.

RELATED: Healthful Holiday Treats

Lauren Antonucci, R.D., is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, three-time Ironman finisher and the founding director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.

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What Makes Up A Gu? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/makes-gu_110721 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/makes-gu_110721#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:33:43 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=110721

Photo: Scott Draper

It fuels endurance athletes, packs nicely and comes in a plethora of flavors—but how do the ingredients of the popular energy gel

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Photo: Scott Draper

It fuels endurance athletes, packs nicely and comes in a plethora of flavors—but how do the ingredients of the popular energy gel actually work?

With help from energygelcentral.com, we take a closer look:

Maltodextrin and Fructose
Depending on the flavor, a single Gu packet contains 70 to 80 percent maltodextrin and 20 to 30 percent fructose. When maltodextrin is combined with fructose, a main sugar naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables, runners reap the carb-energy more quickly—meaning more energy during a long run with less blood being diverted from muscles to aid digestion. Maltodextrin’s high concentration of carbs, combined with very little sugar, makes this pairing ideal, enhancing the sweet factor without the consequences of a sugar crash.

Amino Acids
Gu comprises four protein-building amino acids that fight muscle fatigue. Histidine works against metabolic acidosis, aka a buildup of too much acid in the body, by producing protein that allows the muscles to endure longer workouts. The Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)—leucine, valine and isoleucine—aid protein synthesis, or the conversion of protein into usable fuel.

Citric Acid
When muscles are fatigued, the citric acid cycle is responsible for breaking down and processing amino acids, glucose and fatty acids into ATP—the energy molecule required to keep the body going. The acid itself leaves a tangy, tart taste.

Antioxidants
Anti-aging vitamins E and C (ascorbic acid) slow the body’s oxidation, or decay, process. In Gu, these antioxidants protect muscle tissue from cell damage caused by an oxygen increase in exercising muscles.

Electrolytes
As in most energy fuel products, electrolytes are key to replenishing the loss of salts in the body from excessive sweating. The potassium citrate, sodium citrate and sea salt found in Gu all work to replace electrolyte concentrations in the blood stream, which is regulated by the kidneys. Sea salt also enhances flavor and satisfies the body’s craving for it.

Gellan Gum
This gelling agent thickens and increases the liquid’s viscosity, producing a clinging sensation in the mouth that allows the flavors to linger longer. Similar to flour or starch, it is a polysaccharide—or a long chain of carbohydrate-based molecules that can withstand higher temperatures. It also contributes to the gel’s opaqueness.

Pectin Powder
Pectin powder enhances the distinct silky sensation of the gel. Pectin is also a soluble dietary fiber—it slows glucose absorption by binding to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and adding bulk to the stool, which may explain any sudden bout of runner trots.

Caffeine
Not all Gu energy gels contain caffeine and most packages stick to a 20-milligram dosage in addition to the green tea leaf extract ingredient. The new seasonal Carmel Macchiato flavor packs 40 milligrams of caffeine for an extra boost of speedy fat-metabolizing stimuli.

Herbs
For recovery, chamomile and ginger extract target the muscles and stomach respectively. Chamomile, a natural anti-inflammatory, helps decrease muscle swelling, while ginger soothes the stomach during the rapid digestion of Gu pre-, mid- or post-run.

RELATED: Top 3 Nutrition Trends From Interbike

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Try It: Sink-Downs http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/try-it-sink-downs_67701 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/12/training/try-it-sink-downs_67701#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:07:30 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=67701

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Constant exhalation is a necessary skill for an efficient freestyle stroke, but many athletes tend to hold their breath underwater.

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Photo: Nils Nilsen

Constant exhalation is a necessary skill for an efficient freestyle stroke, but many athletes (especially newbies) have a tendency to hold their breath underwater. To master your exhale, try this sink-down exercise from coaches Paul Newsome and Adam Young of Swimsmooth.com. If you’re surprised by how hard you have to exhale in order to sink to the bottom, the coaches say this means you’re not exhaling strongly enough in your normal stroke.

How To

1. Tread water in the deep end.

2. Take a deep breath, bring your arms to the side or above your head.

3. Picture yourself letting out a big sigh as you start to exhale. Try to sink straight down to the bottom with no pauses.

4. Once your lungs are out of air, push off and come back to the surface.

If you struggle to sink, you may be subconsciously holding your breath. If you sink a little but pop back up to the surface, you may need to exhale more quickly. The coaches also suggest making a “brrrr” sound through your lips, to help your exhale. Once you’ve nailed the exercise, do three sink-downs in a row before your workout to release tension and remind yourself of proper breathing technique.

RELATED – Swim Tip: Coordinate Your Breathing With Your Stroke

More swimming tips.

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