Triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com Triathlon Training, Gear, Nutrition, Photos, Race Results & Calendars Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:39:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Andy Potts, Heather Jackson Win Again In Coeur d’Alene http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/andy-potts-heather-jackson-win-again-in-coeur-dalene_133483 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/andy-potts-heather-jackson-win-again-in-coeur-dalene_133483#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:39:35 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133483

Both 2015 Ironman Coeur d'Alene champions Potts and Jackson chose to return to the Idaho vacation town to compete for the half-iron titles.

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Americans Andy Potts and Heather Jackson repeated the victories they earned on this weekend in Coeur d’Alene one year agobut this time it was at half the distance. With the 70.3 taking over the late June weekend and the Ironman moving to August (with no pro option), both 2015 Ironman Coeur d’Alene champions Potts and Jackson chose to return to the Idaho vacation town to compete for the half-iron titles.

Potts put together a 23:27 swim, a 2:11:28 bike and a 1:15:56 half-marathon to take the victory in 3:54:45. Australia’s Josh Amberger was second at 3:56:49, with New Zealand’s Mark Bowstead rounding out the top three at 3:57:16.

Jackson was dominant in the women’s race, posting a 28:10 swim, a 2:23:24 bike and a 1:24:01 run on her way to the 4:19:34 win. Australia’s Ellie Salthouse finished second in 4:27:44, with Canada’s Malindi Elmore claiming third in 4:29:42.

2016 Ironman 70.3 Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – June 26, 2016
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

Men
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:54:45
2. Josh Amberger (AUS) 3:56:49
3. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 3:57:16
4. Ben Hoffman (USA) 4:01:24
5. Luke Bell (AUS) 4:03:02

Women
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:19:34
2. Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 4:27:44
3. Malindi Elmore (CAN) 4:29:42
4. Sue Huse (CAN) 4:34:47
5. Skye Moench (USA) 4:35:20

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Photos: 2016 Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/photos-2016-ironman-70-3-mont-tremblant_133447 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/photos-2016-ironman-70-3-mont-tremblant_133447#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:09:05 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133447

Canada's Lionel Sanders and Great Britain's Holly Lawrence continue to build on successful 2016 seasons.

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Photos: Julien Heon

Canada’s Lionel Sanders and Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence each continued to prove their prowess at the half-iron distance with strong victories at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant. Read the race recap.

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Lionel Sanders, Holly Lawrence Victorious At 70.3 Mont-Tremblant http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/lionel-sanders-holly-lawrence-victorious-in-mont-tremblant_133442 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/lionel-sanders-holly-lawrence-victorious-in-mont-tremblant_133442#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 19:53:45 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133442

The men's podium. Photo: Julien Heon

Canada’s Lionel Sanders and Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence each continued to prove their prowess at the half-iron distance with

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Canada’s Lionel Sanders and Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence each continued to prove their prowess at the half-iron distance with strong victories at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant.

Sanders’ day consisted of a 26:17 swim, a 2:02:29 bike and a 1:15:06 half-marathon, putting him across the finish line at 3:47:31 and giving him his second-straight 70.3 Mont-Tremblant victory. Fellow Canadian Trevor Wurtele was solid across swim, bike and run to finish in the runner-up spot at 3:52:24. American Chris Leiferman finished a close third at 3:53:25.

Lawrence, who finished second here last year, earned her victory in dominant fashionposting a 24:08 swim, a 2:15:40 bike (by far the fastest of the field) and a 1:25:05 run to cross the finish line at 4:08:53. Like husband Trevor Canadian Heather Wurtele finished in second, finishing her day in 4:17:08. American Lauren Barnett was third into the finishing chute at 4:22:46. American Meredith Kessler, the 2014 and 2015 winner, finished fourth in 4:28:15.

2016 Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant
Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada – June 26, 2016
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

Men
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:47:31
2. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:52:24
3. Chris Leiferman (USA) 3:53:25
4. Cody Beals (CAN) 3:57:33
5. Taylor Reid (CAN) 4:00:07

Women
1. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:08:53
2. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:17:08
3. Lauren Barnett (USA) 4:22:46
4. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:28:15
5. Lauren Brandon (USA) 4:32:24

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Mirinda Carfrae Breaks Ironman Austria Course Record http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/mirinda-carfrae-breaks-ironman-austria-course-record_133438 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/ironman/mirinda-carfrae-breaks-ironman-austria-course-record_133438#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2016 16:14:54 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133438

On the men's side, Belgium's Marino Vanhoenacker earned his eighth Ironman Austria victory.

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Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker earned his eighth Ironman Austria victory, while three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae claimed the women’s title in a new course record time of 8:41:17thanks in large part to her 2:49:06 marathon.

Vanhoenacker put together a 52:38 swim, a 4:19:56 bike and a 2:47:13 marathon on his way to the 8:04:18 victory. Ukraine’s Viktor Zyemtsev ran his way from seventh off of the bike to second at the finish line with a stellar 2:39:57 marathon, crossing the finish line at 8:08:39. Italy’s Alessandro Degasperi rounded out the top three at 8:12:37.

Carfrae was mostly uncontested throughout the 140.4 miles of racing, but it was American Linsey Corbin’s course record (8:42:42 in 2014) that proved to be the biggest challenge. Ultimately she turned in a 59:15 swim, a 4:47:38 bike and a 2:49:06 marathon to set a new course-best time in 8:41:17. The Ironman finish and victory (her first in Europe), validate Carfrae’s spot on the start line of the 2016 Ironman World Championship. Austria’s Michaela Herlbauer spent the majority of her day in the runner-up spot behind Carfrae, and that’s where she finished in 8:57:23. Austria’s Elisabeth Gruber rounded out the podium at 9:17:20.

2016 Ironman Austria-Kärnten
Klagenfurt, Austria, June 26, 2016
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

Men
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:02:26
2. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 8:08:39
3. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 8:12:37
4. Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:13:25
5. David Plese (SLO) 8:13:57

Women
1. Mirinda Carfrea (AUS) 8:41:17
2. Michaela Herlbauer (AUT) 8:57:23
3. Elisabeth Gruber (AUT) 9:17:20
4. Amber Ferreira (USA) 9:34:51
5. Katrine Amtkjaer Nielsen (DEN) 9:40:01

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No Time To Cook Breakfast? Try This Winner’s Circle Yogurt http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-winners-circle-yogurt_133424 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/racing-weight-recipes-winners-circle-yogurt_133424#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 21:23:37 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133424

Photo: Peter Bagi, courtesy VeloPress

Start with a bowl of yogurt and add your favorite things for a high-quality breakfast.

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There’s no excuse for skipping breakfast.

No time to cook?

That’s no excuse for skipping breakfast. A base of plain yogurt provides protein and calcium. Add whole-grain cereal, an important source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Top it off with fruit for sweetness and flavor and nuts or seeds for minerals, healthy fat and a good crunch.

Start with a bowl of yogurt and add your favorite things for a high-quality breakfast.

Plain Yogurt
Try Greek yogurt for higher protein.

Whole-Grain Cereal
Original or Multigrain Cheerios, Kashi GoLean, Fiber One, Total Whole Grain, or Wheaties

Fruit
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or peaches

Nuts
Almonds, walnuts, or pecans

Seeds
Chia, ground flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds

Tip: If you like to mix it all together but want the cereal to stay crunchy, stir the nuts, seeds, and fruit into your yogurt, then add the cereal on top.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at racingweightcookbook.com.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Use Protein-Packed Greek Yogurt

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Video: Get To Know Olympic Medal Contender Non Stanford http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/video/video-get-know-olympic-medal-contender-non-stanford_133418 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/video/video-get-know-olympic-medal-contender-non-stanford_133418#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 21:02:58 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133418

Great Britain's Non Stanford speaks with about the privilege of racing triathlon on the world stage of the ITU.

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Great Britain’s Non Stanford, the 2012 ITU Junior world champion and 2013 ITU world champion, speaks with about the privilege of racing triathlon on the world stage of the ITU and qualifying for her first Olympic team. Specialized traveled to Stanford’s base in Northern England to capture the routine, work ethic and culture of this high performance group as they prepare for the final two months ahead of the Rio Olympics with a clear goal for Stanford to medal at her first Games.

RELATED – Gwen Jorgensen On Triathlon Career: “It’s A 24-Hour Job”

RELATED: Lisa Norden Shares Journey Back To Olympic Form In New Video

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ITU Confirms 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series Calendar http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/itu-confirms-2017-itu-world-triathlon-series-calendar_133410 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/itu-confirms-2017-itu-world-triathlon-series-calendar_133410#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:42:57 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133410

The series will again kick off in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Janos Schmidt/Triathlon.org

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) today revealed the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) calendar.

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The International Triathlon Union (ITU) today revealed the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) calendar.

“The World Triathlon Series is the pinnacle of elite triathlon racing,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado in the press release. “The WTS has been paramount in bringing international attention to triathlon by holding races in iconic locations that are broadcast to a global audience.

“The Series not only serves as the pathway to World Championship titles and Olympic qualification in iconic locations, but also offers thousands of age groupers around the world the opportunity to race on similar courses as the professionals in a close environment. I’m confident that next year’s calendar will again impress our elite athletes, age groupers and fans everywhere.”

The 2017 WTS will get underway in Abu Dhabi after kicking off the Series the last two years. Gold Coast, which will host the Grand Final for the second time in 2018, next returns for a third consecutive appearance on the WTS calendar.

Longtime host Yokohama lines up as the third leg of the Series before the circuit then touches down in Europe for stopovers in Leeds and Hamburg.

Leeds debuted on the World Triathlon Series this year with in excess of 80,000 spectators lining the streets to cheer on the elites. Similarly, the German city of Hamburg annually welcomes more than 10,000 age groupers and has hosted a WTS race each year since its inception in 2009.

The tour will then return to Edmonton, Canada, which served as the Grand Final host in 2014 and has since continued on as a World Triathlon Series host in every consequent year.

The circuit will head back to Europe for two final WTS races in August and September. Stockholm, which will organize its fifth World Triathlon Series event next weekend, will serve as the penultimate event before the Grand Final in 2017.

Hosting the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships this summer, Rotterdam will next year welcome thousands of age group athletes, along with junior, U23, paratriathlon and elite athletes to vie for World Championship titles.

RELATED: Cozumel Named WTS Grand Final Host For 2016

2017 ITU World Triathlon Series Calendar

Abu Dhabi, UAE – March 3-4
Gold Coast, Australia – April 8-9
Yokohama, Japan – May 13-14
Leeds, England – June 10-11
Hamburg, Germany – July 15-16
Edmonton, Canada – Dates TBD
Stockholm, Sweden – August 26-27
Rotterdam, Netherlands – September 14-17
Distances for each race will be confirmed at a later date, and additional events could be added following the ITU Executive Board meeting in Brazil.

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Race-Week Swim Sets For Every Triathlon Distance http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/race-week-swim-sets-every-triathlon-distance_133407 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/race-week-swim-sets-every-triathlon-distance_133407#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:34:30 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133407

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Choose a set based on your distance focus and do it during taper week before your next race.

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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 (Mastersswimworkoutsbysaramclarty.blogspot.com)

Choose a set based on your distance focus and do it during taper week before your next race.

Sprint

200 easy swim
2×150 with 30 sec rest (50 kick/50 drill/50 swim)
8×25 with 5 sec rest (build each 25)
1–3 times through:
–1×50 with 15 sec rest (sprint)
–4×50 with 5 sec rest (steady pace)
100 cool-down

RELATED: One-Hour Workout: Train For Your Swim Race Distance

Olympic

400 easy swim
3×150 with 30 sec rest (50 kick/50 drill/50 swim)
8×25 with 5 sec rest (build each 25)
1–3 times through:
–1×100 with 10 sec rest (fast)
–3×100 with 5 sec rest (steady pace)
200 cool-down

RELATED: 4 Swim Sets For 70.3 Training

Half or full Ironman

200 easy swim
3×150 with 30 sec rest (50 kick/50 drill/50 swim)
4×25 with 5 sec rest (build each 25)
2–4 times through:
–1×50 with 15 sec rest (fast)
–2×200 with 10 sec rest (steady pace)
200 cool-down

More swim workouts from Sara McLarty

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Is Your Run Fitness Improving? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/is-your-run-fitness-improving_133404 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/is-your-run-fitness-improving_133404#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:18:02 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133404

Photo: TandemStock

Use this simple test to determine if your conversational pace is getting faster.

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Use this simple test to determine if your conversational pace is getting faster.

Now is a great time to evaluate your run fitness. I’m a strong advocate of testing often so you know if your training is working for you. Although this run test is designed with beginners in mind, it can and should be used for athletes of all abilities.

The best place to do this test is at a local track. You could use a flat trail or road that doesn’t have any hills, traffic, stop signs or red lights, but a track is always the best option. All you need is a basic watch with a lap button.

RELATED: A Track Workout For New Speed

The Test

Warm up into your “conversational pace” (as in you could easily tell your friend your full address without having to pause to catch your breath), and keep it there for at least 5 minutes until you feel like your heart rate has stabilized. Your goal for the test is to run 3 miles or 12 laps of a track, keeping your heart rate and effort even the entire time. Your pace may drop off after mile 1 and it may drop off after mile 2 as well. That’s to be expected, so don’t feel the urge to speed up your pace to run a fast last mile. That’s not the point of this exercise. You will hit the lap button on your watch each mile so that you can compare lap to lap as well as compare to future tests.

Results

The goal of this test is to keep the effort the same throughout and to see what happens to your pace. This test is at an aerobic effort and shouldn’t tire you, so recovery should be quick. Comparing paces each week will give you a strong indication if your fitness is improving and if your training is on the right path.

Frequency

I recommend doing this test often—as much as once a week if you have an easy Zone 2 heart rate run on your schedule. During your early-season base building you’ll see improvements, but when you do plateau, add in some intensity such as hill repeats or even tempo or fartlek-type runs.

The heart rate that you run this workout at is also your long run heart rate—a strong aerobic effort where you don’t feel like you are working too hard. Over time you’ll come to appreciate the effectiveness of this test, no matter what level of racer you are.

RELATED: The Best Test Sets For Swimming

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TrainingPeaks Summit Offers Coaches Unique Learning Opportunity http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/learning-opp-for-coaches-at-trainingpeaks-summit_133400 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/learning-opp-for-coaches-at-trainingpeaks-summit_133400#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:04:39 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133400

Photo provided by TrainingPeaks

The 2016 conference will be a mix of presentations from both sports science and marketing experts.

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Coaches looking to further their sports science learning and grow their business will have the opportunity at the second TrainingPeaks Endurance Coaching Summit (ECS) at the University of Colorado July 21–24. The 2016 conference will be a mix of presentations from both sports science and marketing experts, including Allen Lim of Skratch Labs and Dr. Andy Pruitt, Siri Lindley, Joe Friel and Neal Henderson.

This year, TrainingPeaks has added case studies for analyzing athlete data and daily breakout sessions through a partnership with the renowned University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. (Learn more about the center here.) Coaches will have the opportunity to learn about the performance technologies used for cycling and running biomechanics, swim stroke analysis, physiological and metabolic testing and sport nutrition.

All USA Triathlon, USA Cycling and USTFCCCA-certified coaches earn CEUs for attending ECS. The two-day conference is $499 to attend, and after the conference, coaches can “attend” the recorded sessions online for $249.

Find more details and register at EnduranceCoachingSummit.com.

RELATED: Highlights From The First Annual Training Peaks Endurance Coaching Summit

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How To Train The 80/20 Way http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/training-the-8020-way_133391 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/training-the-8020-way_133391#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 20:28:46 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133391

Photo: Shutterstock.com

The so-called “80/20 rule” gives you a reliable framework to utilize in planning and executing your training.

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The most fundamental variables of triathlon training are volume and intensity. In lay terms, volume is how much you swim, bike and run and intensity is how hard you do these things. No other factor affects the outcomes of training as strongly as these two.

However, despite the supreme importance of volume and intensity, it was not until the early 2000s that researchers initiated attempts to provide solid, empirical answers to address the question of how to optimize these variables in the training process. There were two main questions they attempted to answer. The first was, “What amount of training improves fitness the most?” The second questions was “What are the relative proportions of low, moderate and high-intensity training that yield the best race results?”

Thankfully, these efforts have already generated findings that triathletes of all experience and ability levels can use immediately to overcome common mistakes and train more effectively. Specifically, it has been demonstrated that triathletes and endurance athletes gain the most fitness when they do approximately 80 percent of their training at low intensity (think zone 1 and 2) and the remaining 20 percent at moderate (zone 3) and high intensities (zone 4 and above). While much more work needs to be done before the volume and intensity questions are fully answered, this so-called “80/20 Rule” gives you a reliable framework to utilize in planning and executing your training.

How the Pros Train

The researcher who discovered the 80/20 Rule is Stephen Seiler, an American exercise scientist based in Norway. In the early 2000s, Seiler embarked on a mission to determine how elite endurance athletes really train. He found a remarkably consistent pattern. World-class cyclists, Nordic skiers, rowers, runners, swimmers, and triathletes in all parts of the world did approximately 80 percent of their training at low intensity.

In 2011 and 2012, for example, one of Seiler’s collaborators, Iñigo Mujika of the University of Basque Country, closely monitored the training of Spain’s top female triathlete, Ainhoa Murua, for 50 weeks in the lead-up to the London Olympics. He found that she did 74 percent of her swimming, 88 percent of her cycling, 85 percent of her running, and 83 percent of her combined training below the lactate threshold, or the intensity above which lactate, an intermediate product of aerobic metabolism, accumulates rapidly in the blood.

Lactate threshold falls in the middle of the moderate-intensity range, as most scientists now define it. This means Ainhoa did slightly less than the above-mentioned percentages of her training, almost exactly 80 percent, at low intensity. Ainhoa went on to finish seventh in the 2012 Olympic Women’s Triathlon.

It’s impossible to draw general conclusions from individual case studies. But the intensity distribution of Ainhoa Murua’s training in 2011 and 2012 is remarkably consistent with that of other elite triathletes and indeed other elite endurance athletes generally.

What accounts for this consistency? Seiler has proposed that it emerged as the outcome of a trial-and-error process much like natural selection (i.e., evolution) in nature. In the nearly 150 years since endurance sports took their modern form in Europe, every conceivable way of balancing training intensities has been tried and pitted against other methods in high-stakes international competition. Over the course of that century-and-a-half, all of the inferior methods have gone extinct at the elite level. Only the best, the 80/20 model, has survived.

The Moderate Intensity Rut

Recreational triathletes spend a much smaller percentage of their training time at low intensity and a much larger percentage at moderate intensity. A 2011 study by researchers at the University of Stirling found that age-groupers training for an Ironman event did just 69 percent of their training at low intensity and 25 percent at moderate intensity. The study also included periodic performance tests in all three disciplines that showed little improvement over the six-month training period.

Did these athletes fail to improve because they did too much moderate-intensity training and not enough low-intensity work? The results of another study suggest that this may have been the case. In 2014, Stephen Seiler and colleagues monitored the training of nine recreational triathletes training for an Ironman event. They found a strong correlation between percentage of total training time spent at low intensity and performance in the race. On average, the athletes spent only 68 percent of their training time at low intensity, but those who came closest to obeying the 80/20 Rule achieved the better finishing times.

Observational studies like this one do not prove that an 80/20 intensity balance is optimal. Only prospective studies, in which athletes of similar ability are placed on programs with different intensity ratios, can do that. This type of study has also been done, and the results offer further support for the 80/20 approach.

One such study was done by researchers at the University of Salzburg and involved 48 endurance athletes representing various of sports, including triathlon. These athletes were divided into four groups and placed on training programs with different intensity distributions for nine weeks. All four groups completed a battery of performance tests before and after the nine-week period. None of the groups followed the 80/20 rule precisely, but the group that came closest achieved the greatest improvements in VO2max, time to exhaustion in an incremental exercise test, peak cycling power, and peak running velocity.

The Volume Question

It is widely assumed that the reason elite endurance athletes spend so much time at low intensity is that they must do so in order to sustain the extremely high training volumes they do. In other words, it is assumed that volume is primary and intensity secondary in the formula for optimal training. But the latest science indicates that the opposite is true.

If a “mostly-slow” approach to intensity were necessary only to allow high-volume training, then recreational athletes training at lower volumes would fair better with an approach that leaned more on moderate and/or high intensity. Indeed, many age-groupers believe they can “make up for” training less by training harder. But in a 2014 study, Seiler found that club runners who ran just 35 miles per week on average improved their 10K race times by twice as much as runners who did half of their training at moderate intensity (which is typical of recreational runners).

So it appears that an 80/20 intensity balance is optimal for all endurance athletes. The optimal volume of training for each athlete is the amount of 80/20 training that yields the best results. Because low-intensity training is so gentle, this amount will be relatively high for everyone, but higher for some than it is for others, and it will tend to increase for each athlete as he or she develops.

RELATED – Train Like Crowie: The Importance Of Slower Sessions

Training the 80/20 Way

Now that you’ve been persuaded to obey the 80/20 Rule in your training, it’s time to start actually doing it. This is a two-step process. Step one is planning; step two is execution.

Planning

One of the great things about the 80/20 Rule is that it’s mathematical, which makes planning relatively easy. All you need to do is create a schedule in which approximately 80 percent of your total weekly training time (not distance) in each discipline is spent at low intensity.

Of course, in order to do this you must first know what low, moderate and high-intensity mean for you. As mentioned above, the borderline between low and moderate intensity is the first ventilatory threshold, which falls around 77 percent of maximum heart rate in the typical trained triathlete. Why this threshold and not the more familiar lactate threshold, which is somewhat higher? Because research by Stephen Seiler and others suggests that training slightly above the ventilatory threshold is significantly more stressful to the nervous system than training slightly below it, even when intensity remains below the lactate threshold. The borderline between moderate and high intensity is the second ventilatory threshold, or the respiratory compensation point, which falls around 92 percent of maximum heart rate in the typical trained triathlete.

My 80/20 Training partner David Warden has created an online calculator that makes it easy to determine individual training zones in swimming, cycling and running. We use a five-zone scheme where Zones 1 and 2 are low intensity, Zone 3 is moderate intensity, and Zones 4 and 5 are high intensity.

Note that it is only necessary to follow the 80/20 Rule when you are actively pursuing maximum race fitness, which you should not do throughout the year. During off-season and early base training, it’s best to do somewhat less than 20 percent of your training at moderate and high intensities. This will allow you to gently build your fitness to a level where you’re ready to switch over to 80/20 training for the final push toward competition.

High Intensity Intervals

Note also that in high-intensity interval workouts, the entire interval block, including active recoveries, should be counted as time spent at high intensity. This is because doing so more accurately reflects where your heart rate actually is over the course of the session. For example, suppose you do a cycling interval set consisting of 8 x 1 minute at high intensity with 2-minute low-intensity recoveries between intervals. In this case, your heart rate will spend close to 24 minutes in the high-intensity range even though you are only producing high-intensity power outputs for 8 minutes.

Swimming

Swim workouts are almost always planned in distance. When planning your swim training in accordance with the 80/20 rule, account for the fact that you will cover equal distances in less time at higher intensities than you will at lower intensities. If you plan to cover about 75 percent of your weekly swim distance at low intensity, you will end up spending about 80 percent of your weekly swim time at low intensity.

Execution

Planning to train by the 80/20 Rule is one thing. Actually doing it is another. On a practical level, getting in line with this rule requires slowing down a little in workouts that are intended to be done at low intensity. A majority of recreational triathletes unconsciously self-select swim, bike and run speeds that are slightly above the ventilatory threshold in basic aerobic conditioning sessions. In other words, when athletes think they are at low intensity, they are in fact at moderate intensity, a phenomenon I call “intensity blindness.”

Overcoming intensity blindness requires constant monitoring of relevant intensity metrics such as heart rate, pace, and power and a willingness to go a little slower than your body wants to. This transition proves surprisingly challenging for many athletes, who find it difficult to escape the inertia of habit and/or difficult to believe that slowing down will actually benefit them.

It takes discipline and restraint to complete this transition, but those who do are always well rewarded. First you will notice that you just feel more comfortable in your low-intensity workouts and perhaps enjoy them more as a result. Then you will discover that you feel fresher for your harder workouts and perform better in them. Next, you will experience accelerated fitness development. And finally you will achieve a performance breakthrough in your next race. By then, you will be completely sold and forever hooked on 80/20 training.

RELATED: Train Slower To Race Faster

This article originally appeared at Trainingpeaks.com.

Matt Fitzgerald is a journalist, author, coach and runner specializing in the topics of health, fitness, nutrition, and endurance sports training (read more about Matt on his blog). Matt uses TrainingPeaks to train, coach and deliver pre-built training plans for runners including training plans built specifically to be used with a Garmin Forerunner. View Matt’s plans here

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Recipe Of The Week: Watermelon-Pomegranate Salad http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/recipe-of-the-week-watermelon-pomegranate-salad_133394 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/recipe-of-the-week-watermelon-pomegranate-salad_133394#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:49:48 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133394

A fresh and simple way to enjoy this summer melon.

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The season of watermelon is here! That means endless amounts of ways to incorporate this sweet, juicy, and naturally hydrating fruit into your meals. Watermelon-pomegranate salad, rounded out with salty feta, zesty mint and crunchy pistachios, is a fresh and simple way to use this fruit.

Ingredients

Makes 2-4 servings

Salad
8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups watermelon, finely diced
1 cup Persian or English cucumber, finely diced
1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 TBSP fresh cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup shelled, salted pistachios, chopped

Spicy Jalapeno-Lime Dressing (Optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
½ TBSP lime zest
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP honey
pinch salt and pepper

RELATED: 4 Melon-Based Recipes

Preparation

1. Make the dressing first by combining the ingredients in a blender.
2. To assemble the salad, put the romaine in a large serving bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, toss the watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, pomegranate, mint and cilantro with ¼ cup of the dressing. Alternative dressing may be used in place of the dressing in this recipe.
4. Pour the watermelon mixture over the top of the romaine.
5. Finish by scattering the feta and pistachios over the top. Serve with extra dressing on the side, or store in the fridge.

More recipes from Jessica Cerra

Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif., and the co-founder of Harmony Bar. A former professional XTERRA triathlete, Cerra now races for Twenty16 Women’s Professional Cycling Team.

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The Trickle-Down Effect In Triathlon Tech http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/gear-tech/trickle-effect-triathlon-tech_133383 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/gear-tech/trickle-effect-triathlon-tech_133383#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 19:17:00 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133383

Features formerly reserved for the highest-end products have made their way into mid- and entry-level options.

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Features formerly reserved for the highest-end products have made their way into mid- and entry-level options.

While it may seem like the cost of much triathlon gear has risen to the realm of ridiculous, a closer look at current offerings reveals that you may actually be receiving more bang for your hard-earned buck. Like most consumer industries, the triathlon gear industry is full of examples of trickle-down technology. Qualities and designs of the lightest, fastest top-shelf products are now incorporated into gear at more affordable prices in some categories (wetsuits), while the cost of expensive electronic gadgets (power meters) continues to drop as new brands crop up and innovation drives forward. New methods of working with existing materials like aluminum has raised the bar for the level of performance consumers can now expect in an entry-level road bike. As manufacturers continue to innovate, the trend of trickle-down benefits will reach more consumers—especially in these four areas.

#1 Components

Perhaps no other brand in the industry exemplifies the idea of trickle-down technology better than Shimano. New tech often debuts on the top-of-the-line component group Dura-Ace, then appears in subsequent versions of Ultegra and 105. With strategically staggered product launches, it seems Shimano is constantly introducing a new group of components.

As far as triathletes are concerned, the two biggest trickles over the 10 years come from electronic components, first introduced as Dura-Ace Di2 7970 in 2009 along with the propagation of 11-speed groupsets, which has made its way down to 105. Electronic shifting is arguably more impactful for triathletes compared to roadies because shifts can be actuated from both the basebar and aerobar extensions on a triathlon bike. That feature has huge payoffs, allowing the rider to shift while keeping both hands on the handlebars through technical terrain or while climbing. Ultegra Di2 changed the game, bringing the powerful performance advantage of electronic shifting to a more attainable price. Take a look at any manufacturer’s range of triathlon bikes and note how many come spec’d with Ultegra Di2. It’s the perfect blend of high performance and value. All of this begs the question: Is 105 Di2 on the way? Probably not anytime soon, but it’s definitely possible.

RELATED – 2016 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Components

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2016 Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant Pro Start List http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/2016-ironman-70-3-mont-tremblant-pro-start-list_133378 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/2016-ironman-70-3-mont-tremblant-pro-start-list_133378#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:55:07 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133378

Sanders will look to defend his 2015 title. Photo: Julien Heon

Canada's Lionel Sanders and the United States' Meredith Kessler will look to defend their 2015 titles at this Sunday's Ironman 70.3

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Canada’s Lionel Sanders and the United States’ Meredith Kessler will look to defend their titles at this Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant in Québec, Canada. The victories won’t come easy, with several top names competing on each side. Athletes are competing for their share of a $60,000 prize purse.

Check back for a race recap and photo gallery, and see the pro start list below:

Men
1 Lionel Sanders (CAN)
2 Taylor Reid (CAN)
3 Terenzo Bozzone (NZL)
4 Richie Cunningham (AUS)
5 Cody Beals (CAN)
6 Paul Matthews (AUS)
7 TJ Tollakson (USA)
8 Trevor Wurtele (CAN)
9 Matt Russell (USA)
10 Thomas Gerlach (USA)
11 Chris Leiferman (USA)
12 Jarrod Shoemaker (USA)
13 Ian Boggs (USA)
14 Andrew Bolton (CAN)
15 Barrett Brandon (USA)
16 Sacha Cavelier (CAN)
17 Timothy Clarke (USA)
18 Matthew Curbeau (USA)
19 Nick Glavac (USA)
20 Cameron Good (AUS)
21 Travis Hawkins (USA)
22 Antoine Jolicoeur-Desroches (CAN)
23 David Lacombe (CAN)
25 Doug MacLean (USA)
26 Brent McBurney (USA)
27 Jordan Monnink (CAN)
28 Justin Park (USA)
29 Lucas Pozzetta (USA)
30 John Rasmussen (CAN)
31 Ryan Rau (USA)
32 Sebastian Salas (CAN)
33 Matthew Shanks (USA)
34 Mikael Staer-Nathan (CAN)

RELATED PHOTOS: 2015 Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant

Women
41 Meredith Kessler (USA)
42 Holly Lawrence (GBR)
43 Magali Tisseyre (CAN)
44 Heather Wurtele (CAN)
45 Leanda Cave (GBR)
46 Lauren Barnett (USA)
47 Lauren Brandon (USA)
48 Jessie Donavan (USA)
49 Laurel Wassner (USA)
50 Sarah Bonner (CAN)
51 Brooke Brown (CAN)
52 Sarah Cameto (USA)
53 Florence Chretien (USA)
54 Kaitlin Donner (USA)
55 Annie Gervais (CAN)
56 Jennie Hansen (USA)
57 Heather Leiggi (USA)
58 Heather Lendway (USA)
59 Kristen Marchant (CAN)
60 Carrie McCoy (USA)
61 Darbi Roberts (USA)
62 Molly Roohi (USA)
63 Isabelle Rouleau (CAN)
64 Stephanie Roy (CAN)
65 Leah Sherriff (CAN)
66 Katie Thomas (USA)

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Overspeed Training: Take Sprint Intervals To The Next Level http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/overspeed-training-take-sprint-intervals-next-level_133373 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/overspeed-training-take-sprint-intervals-next-level_133373#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:26:57 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133373

Illustration by iStock

The tactic requires running at a speed that pushes the body past what it is accustomed to during sprinting pace.

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Overspeed training takes sprint intervals to the next level.

There are a plethora of ways to increase running speed—track intervals, plyometrics and specialized strength training, to name a few. But one you may not be familiar with is overspeed training, which requires running at a speed that pushes the body past what it is accustomed to during sprinting pace, prompting neuromuscular development and training leg muscles to contract and legs to turn over faster.

Overspeed training can be performed via three main approaches:

  • Treadmill sprinting at a high speed, which forces the athlete to keep pace
  • Bungee cable-assisted sprints
  • Downhill sprinting, which naturally forces the legs to turn over faster

Greg Moore, a performance specialist at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis, says that while overspeed training can be effective, athletes should exercise caution to avoid injuries associated with explosive movements.

“An athlete must progressively implement these methods into a training program in order to decrease the likelihood of injury and increase maximal gains,” he explains. “With a consistent and systematic overspeed training program, unassisted running speeds will be improved by the recruiting of more muscle fibers and through improvements in stride length and stride frequency.”

Not only is it important to ease into overspeed workouts in terms of reps and speed, but also to perform them when you’re fully recovered to ensure that you are able to maintain proper form.

RELATED: What Role Can Motor Pacing Play In Triathlon Training?

Want to incorporate overspeed training into your routine? Moore suggests the following tips:
1. Perform unassisted runs in the same workout as overspeed sprints. Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that athletes will run faster unassisted immediately following overspeed training. You’ve got roughly a 10-minute window to do unassisted sprints following overspeed sprints to garner the most benefits.

2. Keep overspeed sprint pace to within 10 percent of unassisted speed. Everyone has experienced that out-of-control feeling when careening down a steep hill. No matter how you implement overspeed training, you put yourself at risk for injury if you are going so fast that you aren’t able to maintain an athletic and efficient gait.

3. Perfect your sprinting technique. Think about running tall, strong and relaxed during overspeed sprints. Proper form is imperative to achieving top speed.

Downhill Repeats

Whether you’re training for a race with abundant hills or you’re simply looking to increase your foot speed, downhill repeats offer a great training and technique session. Perform this workout well-rested one time per week. Moore suggests utilizing a gentle downhill grade of between 1 and 2 percent.

10 minutes easy jogging warm-up

5–8 x 20–30-meter downhill sprints (starting with 5 and adding extra repeats in coming weeks and months)

Walk or jog back up the hill after each repeat

2 minutes rest

5–8 x 20–30-meter flat sprints (on pavement, grass or a track)

Walk or jog back to the start after each

10 minutes easy jogging

cool-down

RELATED: Do Speedwork Now, Benefit Later

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Recovery: Stay Injury-Free With Self Massage http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/recovery-self-massage_16388 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/recovery-self-massage_16388#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:30:30 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/2011/08/videos/recovery-self-massage_16953

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Self-massage is an easy and effective way for endurance athletes to treat tightness and stay injury free.

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In this video Sage Rountree explains how self massage can be a useful bridge between regular massage sessions and can help target areas that are overtight or overworked. Also, learn how tools such as a golf ball, foam roller or massage stick can aid in restoring the body back to a less-tight state.

RELATED VIDEO: Calf Self Massage Exercise

More recovery tips.

 

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How To Treat A Sunburn http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/how-to-treat-a-sunburn_133370 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/how-to-treat-a-sunburn_133370#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:26:02 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133370

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Almost every single triathlete has made the mistake of skimping on the sunscreen—and paid for it.

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Feeling the burn? A dermatologist shares how to recover.

Almost every single triathlete has made the mistake of skimping on the sunscreenand paid for it. The day after a long race, a sunburn can be just as painful (if not more painful) than muscle soreness or chafed skin. Soothe your skin with these tips from Dr. Cynthia Bartus, a dermatologist and triathlete from Allentown, Penn.

Sunburn 101

A sunburn happens when the skin is overexposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There are different degrees of severity to sunburns, says Bartus:

“The mildest form is a suntancaused by lesser amounts of ultraviolet radiation. The majority of sunburns fall into the category of first degree, or superficial, burns characterized by skin redness, dryness, and pain.”

A severe sunburn, resulting in red, moist skin with blistering that is very painful falls into the category of a second degree burn, termed “superficial partial thickness” burn.

It takes about two to four hours for skin changes to appear after sun exposure, with the redness peaking at about 24 hours post-sun. As the redness develops, the skin may start to hurt and feel warm. Some also report experiencing fever and chills. Though these symptoms are normal and should resolve quickly, intense symptoms require medical intervention. If experiencing skin infection, severe pain, dehydration, or signs of other heat-related illness (such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke), get to a doctor immediately.

RELATED: The Triathlete’s Sun Safety Toolbox

Your Action Plan

The best approach for a sunburn, of course, is to make sure one doesn’t happen at all. Taking precautionary measures, such as avoiding the sun during peak hours (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), wearing protective clothing, and applying a generous amount of broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen every 90 minutes can help reduce the risk of redness.

Already feeling the burn? Swift action can minimize pain and peeling. Immediately, Bartus recommends taking an aspirin or ibuprofen to help minimize the redness, pain, and swelling. Drinking water is also a key element of damage control, as sunburn and dehydration often go hand-in-hand. Finally, take a cool bath or shower as soon as possible to help soothe the skin.

There are many creams and lotions on the market advertising relief and fast healing for sunburned skin. Bartus says your best bet is a regular moisturizing cream applied multiple times per day. Despite the hype, aloe is not a magic elixir for sunburns:

“Moisturizers that contain aloe may be beneficial, but are probably no more effective than a non-aloe containing moisturizer,” says Bartus. “Also, avoid products that contain “-caine” ingredients (such as benzocaine). These products can cause further irritation or allergic reactions.”

If a regular moisturizing cream doesn’t cut it, Bartus says hydrocortisone cream, applied twice daily, can be used for any particularly uncomfortable areas.

RELATED: Triathlon’s Dirty Little Secret

To Peel or Not to Peel?

As the skin regenerates, dead skin will flake offwhat most people call “peeling.” Though it can be tempting to slough off the skin for cosmetic reasons, Bartus warns against interfering with your body’s natural processes:

“Avoid peeling the skin! Frequent application of a skin moisturizer will help make the skin look and feel less dry. If blisters have formed, avoid popping or peeling them. The blisters allow the skin to heal and prevent infection.”

A sunburn will heal on its own within one to two weeks. During this time, keep skin well-moisturized and protected from the sun during the healing process. And, of course, restock your medicine cabinet with SPF for your next big day in the sun.

RELATED: 5 Skin-Saving Products

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Sweat, Swig, Repeat: 4 Sports Drinks To Try http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/sweat-swig-repeat-4-sports-drinks-try_133359 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/nutrition/sweat-swig-repeat-4-sports-drinks-try_133359#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:10:13 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133359

Photo: Oliver Baker

Stay hydrated and fueled during hot-weather workouts with one of these sports drinks.

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Stay hydrated and fueled during hot-weather workouts with one of these sports drinks.

GQ-6 Flooid

This powdered drink blends easily in water and utilizes three different carbohydrate sources (maltodextrin, glucose and fructose) for a total of 28 grams per serving. It scores originality points for its tasty green apple flavor, which is especially refreshing when cold. Bonus: This drink contains zero artificial flavors or colors. Each serving contains 115 calories and ranks high on the electrolyte scale. $40 for 30-serving canister, Gq-6.com

Invigorade Endurance Drink

Available in three fruity flavors, Invigorade comes ready to drink with a natural ingredient list that includes sea salt and pure cane sugar. The coconut flavor, which is made with coconut water, won over taste testers, thanks to its unique yet refreshing tropical taste (one tester requested a paper umbrella). The drink features three different carbohydrate fuel sources plus an amino acid that delays muscle fatigue, according to the company. Each bottle (two servings) contains 120 calories, 32 grams of carbs plus sodium and potassium. $2.49, Invigorade.com

RELATED: 6 Ways To Upgrade Your Water

PLUS for Nuun

This flavorless effervescent tablet contains a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes and was designed to be used in conjunction with your favorite flavored electrolyte tablet. It contains 50–90 calories per serving, depending on how many tablets you choose to dissolve in water (12 tabs per tube), giving you control over your calorie intake without messy powders or scoops. While it can complement any electrolyte tablet, it pairs perfectly with Nuun’s popular Active or Energy electrolyte tablets, which come in more than a dozen flavors and have both just had their ingredients upgraded for certified vegan and non-GMO status. $6.99, Nuun.com

First Endurance EFS-Pro

This updated version of EFS (Electrolyte Fuel System) was created with both customization and optimal osmolality in mind, allowing you to adapt your calories and electrolytes to your workouts while avoiding GI distress. It’s available in two very mild flavors—testers preferred the lemon water, which tastes true to its name. At 40 calories per scoop, you can mix 2–4 scoops in 12 ounces of water, though it may take some rigorous shaking to fully dissolve. The drink has multiple carbohydrate sources plus a hefty serving of electrolytes. $50 for 25-serving canister, Firstendurance.com

More nutrition reviews from Triathlete.com

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Rio-Bound Paratriathlete, Amateur Duathlete Included In ESPN’s Body Issue http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/rio-bound-paratriathlete-amateur-duathlete-included-espns-body-issue_133363 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/news/rio-bound-paratriathlete-amateur-duathlete-included-espns-body-issue_133363#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:52:55 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133363

Photo: USA Triathlon

Two USA Triathlon members are among the 19 athletes featured in ESPN the Magazine's eighth annual Body Issue.

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Two USA Triathlon membersU.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team qualifier Allysa Seely and amateur Duathlon World Championships competitor Chris Mosierare among the 19 athletes featured in ESPN the Magazine’s eighth annual Body Issue.

Read the announcement from USA Triathlon below:

The full roster of athletes included in the July issue of ESPN the Magazine was announced by ESPN this week, and Seely and Mosier join the likes of Nathan Adrian (swimming), Adeline Gray (wrestling), Greg Louganis (diving) and others from the NFL, NBA and other Olympic sports. The issue will be available online beginning July 6 and hits newsstands July 8.

Seely (Glendale, Ariz.) is the reigning paratriathlon world champion in the PT2 sport class and qualified for a spot on the first-ever U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team in March. Seely will compete in Rio on Sept. 11 as paratriathlon makes its Paralympic Games debut. In addition to her world title at the 2015 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships on Sept. 18, 2015, Seely also won the PT2 sport class at the Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Event on May 14 and the Edmonton ITU World Paratriathlon event last August.

Mosier (New York, N.Y.) recently represented the U.S. at the ITU Sprint Duathlon World Championships as part of USA Triathlon’s Team USA, comprised of the nation’s top amateur multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Mosier became the first known transgender athlete to qualify for a world championships team and has also qualified to compete at the 2017 ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Mosier is the first transgender athlete to appear in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue.

Visit Espn.com/bodyissue to learn more about the 2016 Body Issue and its featured athletes.

RELATED: Behind The Scenes At The Body Issue Triathlon Shoot

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Up Your Game At The Ultimate Triathlon Testing Center http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/game-boulder-performance-center_133355 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/06/training/game-boulder-performance-center_133355#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:15:41 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=133355

The author at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder. Photo: Kim Farin

“Pros can improve by seconds and minutes, but the age-groupers we work with improve by hours.”

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Get your training, technique and fit dialed at this Boulder performance center—formerly reserved for pros but now available to age-grouper triathletes—and up your game this season.

Pro triathletes have a distinct advantage: They often have access to a team of experts providing personalized advice on swim stroke, bike fit, training zones, running form and all the X-factors that get you to the line fitter and faster.

Now, for the cost of a pair of Zipps, that same level of expertise is available to the amateur triathlete at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder, Colo. Late last year the center debuted an assessment package called Up Your Game that offers a chance to work with highly credentialed staff armed with state-of-the-art equipment under one roof. Triathletes can choose from one- to three-day packages that feature fitness testing, nutrition consultation, gait analysis, a Retül bike fit, saddle pressure mapping, SwimLabs stroke analysis and more through a multi-disciplinary team of sports scientists, physical therapists and athletic trainers.

The mission is to help age-groupers advance by leaps and bounds, says Inigo San Millan, Ph.D., who directs the Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab and has trained world-class athletes including a Tour de France winner. “Pros can improve by seconds and minutes,” he says, “but the age-groupers we work with improve by hours.”

Lab Rat

As someone who once shaved 45 minutes off her Ironman swim time by employing a swim coach, I am a believer in the power of expert analysis and consult. I jumped at the opportunity to test-drive a three-day triathlon package during the program’s soft launch last November. I’d been big into triathlon a few years back, including a trip to the XTERRA National Championship in Lake Tahoe and Ironman World Championship in Kona. After a few years of focusing on ultra-endurance mountain bike racing, I was ready to dip my toes back into the triathlon waters, but I knew I could really use some help, especially since I hadn’t gotten younger during my absence. I was rusty in the pool and I’ve always struggled to stay healthy when my running volume expands.

As an athlete and writer for publications like Bicycling and Runner’s World, I’ve had the opportunity to undergo an awful lot of testing over the years. As a certified USA Cycling coach and NASM-certified personal trainer, I stay up on sports science. And I was still blown away. Here’s what I learned (and you can too!).

The Swim

The facility features a constant current SwimLabs pool that is equipped with mirrors and an array of video cameras so you can watch yourself swim as the instructors analyze and capture your stroke on digital video. The program offers stroke analysis as well as lactate testing.

Stroke analysis
I’ve been recorded in the pool before, but nothing like this 360-degree fish-in-a-bowl level of scrutiny. And oh how far I’ve fallen in the seven years since Ironman—my hips are sinking as I’m slugging the water, kicking from my knees, and randomly rotating with no discernable rhythm. My analyst, swimmer Chloe Sutton, a two-time Olympian and five-time national champion in both pool and open-water swimming is poolside with plenty of advice.

We work on making my kick small and quick on the surface, creating a straighter bodyline and bending my elbows and hinging for a better catch and pull. I leave with a high-def video that shows my entire session, instructions and some side-by-side videos of me juxtaposed with elite swimmers demonstrating textbook perfect form.

I also underwent swim lactate analysis at the end of the session. My poor swimming condition made it challenging. But it was a light bulb moment when after being instructed to relax, slow down and lengthen my stroke, my heart rate dropped and lactate levels declined despite the fact that I was swimming faster.

The takeaway: For many triathletes, swimming is the hardest of the three disciplines. Technique is everything when it comes to going faster and leaving the water fresher. This analysis is particularly helpful because you can refer back to the video to refresh your memory as you practice.

RELATED: Get The Most Out Of Video Swim Analysis

The Bike

The Boulder staff use an SRM Ergometer stationary bike to put participants through a battery of tests, including “an incremental maximal protocol” or simply, a ramped test to exhaustion. The program also offers Retül bike fitting, which uses a 3D capture system to analyze your position and pedaling mechanics from every angle.

Full physiological test on ergometer
This test shows your heart rate, oxygen consumption, lactate metabolism and fat and carb burning rates, starting with an easy warm-up and ending when you hit the wall and can’t push another second. Throughout each phase of the increasingly difficult test, a physiologist periodically pricks your finger to test blood lactate levels. It’s as pleasant as it sounds, but it yields a goldmine of data including your personal lactate metabolism, mitochondrial function (how well you burn oxygen, carbohydrates and clear lactate) and aerobic abilities.

I learned that I’m a “world-class” fat burner, which is awesome—until I have to burn carbs. Then my lactate accumulates pretty quickly, and show-stopping fatigue hits fast. The verdict: My aerobic base had degraded following a season of racing and several weeks of mostly high-intensity work. San Millan recommends more Zone 2 base training for the next two months to build mitochondria, the cell’s energy producing furnaces, which will continue to improve both my ability to burn more fat and increase lactate clearance. By spending three to four days a week doing Zone 2 work, I could improve my capacity to use the lactate I’m producing and work harder and longer before fatiguing. I went home with a detailed physiological performance evaluation complete with heart rate, power and threshold data plus recommended training zones to share with my coach.

The takeaway: There is no triathlete, age-grouper or otherwise, who couldn’t benefit from this level of evaluation. It highlights your strengths and weaknesses, takes the guesswork out of establishing training zones, and provides detailed recommendations that can serve as the foundation for creating your own training plan or, better yet, to guide your coach.

Retül bike fit
I met with cycling biomechanist Charles Van Atta, who wired up my arms and legs and recorded me as I pedaled. Various screens show the angles of my arms, legs and torso as well as planes of movement. Van Atta looked for deviations from the norm that could result in wasted watts or an increased risk for overuse injury.

I’ve had numerous fittings over the years (though none on this particular bike), so I was not surprised that my fit was fairly well dialed. Van Atta did note that my left knee tracked a hair more side to side than he’d prefer and that my toe-down pedaling style didn’t allow for as much heel drop as he would like to see for engaging the calves and generating maximum power from every pedal stroke. He tweaked my saddle position a hair down to allow more heel drop. Since my feet have low arches and tend to collapse inward, he placed 1.5 mm varus wedges under the footbeds of my shoes to stabilize my foot and minimize side-to-side motion. I also left with a homework assignment: 1 minute on, 1 minute off drills for lower heel position while pedaling. We finished with saddle pressure mapping to ensure none of my sensitive tissues were bearing any undue burdens. They weren’t, but if they were, he had a host of saddle shapes and widths right there for testing.

Out on the road, the adjusted position was especially comfortable for seated climbs, where dropping heels can really help produce more watts when you need them.

The takeaway: A bike fit is a good educational experience even if you’re happy with your position. Plagued by aches and pains on long rides? It’s a must. Aiming for Ironman? It can be the difference between wrapping up 112 miles comfortably ready to run and hobbling your way through the marathon.

The Run

The center offers a two-part gait analysis that starts with an observational and hands-on clinical evaluation to examine your anatomical structure, strength, flexibility and range of motion relative to your goals. Following the evaluation, you run on a treadmill while video is taken to evaluate running gait.

Biomechanics and gait analysis
Within 52 minutes of meeting physical therapist and exercise physiologist Tim Hilden, who acts as head of the center’s Gait Analysis Lab, he identified and helped rectify a series of ongoing lower-body joint issues I’ve had on and off for years. Hilden works his magic by getting “your story,” and that means everything—what you did as a kid, your athletic history, injuries and issues, hopes and dreams, day-to-day life. He listens to your story as he assesses how you stand, walk, perform single-leg squats and as he tests your flexibility and muscular strengths and weaknesses through a series of tests on the assessment room table.

I relayed bouts of IT band issues, random medial left knee and right hip aches and pains. Stuff that all came and went but put a damper on distance running over the years. On my back, legs bent 90 degrees, I’m stunned when I can’t resist against even minor pressure as he pulls my right foot and easily straightens my leg. Legs straight, I’m equally stunned when I can’t keep my right foot pointed toward the ceiling and it flops helplessly to the side as he uses two fingers to press it outward. I tell him I’ve been diagnosed with weak glutes and have done a billion clamshells to no avail.

“That’s because your muscles aren’t getting the signal to fire,” Hilden says. “It’s like turning down the dimmer switch on a light bulb. It’s not a problem with the bulb, but rather the electricity getting to the bulb. All those PT exercises don’t have a chance at making you stronger when the electrical input is compromised.” He gives what I have a name: S1 neuro weakness. The right side of my sacroiliac joint is all locked up. He manipulates the joint to free it. We do the tests again: Like a light switch, I can fully resist. “You’re not ‘fixed,’” he cautions me. “This could happen again. I want you to babysit this.” He instructs me to have someone test me regularly. If it returns, he’ll contact my sports therapist to get it freed again. Then we head to the treadmill where video cameras capture my stride from every angle to the fraction of a second. My form isn’t bad. My arm pump is brisk and tracks through a healthy arc from front to back. General hip-knee-ankle alignment is good. But my feet are slow—around 160 foot strikes per minute—and noisy, and I’m leaning too far forward from the waist. It doesn’t look or sound very pretty.

Hilden cues me to pull my hips underneath me. I automatically straighten up. Then he starts a metronome and instructs me to synchronize with it and quiet my feet. I comply. Quicker and quieter and straighter, I look and feel like a whole new runner. Psych! “You’re not ‘fixed,’” Hilden says again, bringing me back to reality. “You need to practice this or you’ll unknowingly slip back into old habits. I see it all the time.” He has me switch back and forth between old form, which is now surprisingly difficult to do, and new form. I am to do these switching drills progressively for a month to make them stick. I leave enlightened and elated. Since my evaluation, I have ramped up my mileage from nearly no running to a 20-plus-mile week with zero issues.

The takeaway: Raise your hand if you’re an Olympic- to iron-distance triathlete and have never suffered a bout of IT band pain, plantar fasciitis, knee pain or other niggling musculoskeletal issue that disrupted your training and/or racing. Thought so. A biomechanics and gait analysis can work wonders to improve your form and help prevent injury no matter what level triathlete you are.

RELATED: 5 Exercises To Bolster Your Running Form

The Great Outdoors

All your tests are done in the controlled environment of CUSM&PC’s world-class facilities, but don’t think you’ll be cooped up indoors for your entire stay. The point of going to Boulder is to get outdoors. That’s why the center is billing the Up Your Game packages as a “traincation.” To that end, you’ll be treated to guided rides and runs with members of the sports performance team as part of your experience.

I got a chance to ride up the iconic Flagstaff Mountain with a few coaches and physiologists so I could assess my bike fit, run through my prescribed training zones and ask questions. The following day I got to test my new running gait in the wild and enjoy the stunning foothill trails of Chautauqua Park. I appreciated how easygoing, approachable and fun the staff was along with being experienced and knowledgeable. p

Bang For Your Buck

The cost of this service is very reasonable considering you’re getting the undivided attention, analysis and advice of some of the brightest brains in the business. Prices may vary according to season (visit Bouldercoloradousa.com/upyourgame), but range from $900–$1750.

Know Before You Go

Best time to go: Anytime, really. But if you’re training for a big event, plan your trip to give yourself ample time—at least six to eight weeks—to make training adjustments based on your results. “It’s like a training checkup,” says lead exercise physiologist rob Pickels. “How are you right now? And what do you need going forward?”

Where to stay: There are two cooperating Up Your Game host hotels in town. The Millennium Harvest House (Millenniumhotels.com) and the Historic Hotel Boulderado (Boulderado.com). Both are within 10 minutes of the center, and you can’t go wrong with either.

Bike shop needs: University Bikes (Ubikes.com) in downtown Boulder can receive, build, hold, pack up and ship your bike for you for an added fee. It’s been around since 1985 and the mechanics are knowledgeable about all things two wheels.

Eats and treats: It’s Boulder—toss a spoke wrench and you’ll hit a great place to grab a bite or a drink. Be sure to check out Cured, owned and operated by former pro cyclist Will Frischkorn and his wife coral (Curedboulder.com) and grab some Joe at Amante in Uptown (Amantecoffee.com).

Adjust for altitude: Remember, Boulder sits 5,344 feet above sea level. Hills you’d generally hammer up will leave you sucking wind. Arrive early if you can to acclimate a bit.

RELATED – Triathlon Tour Guide: Boulder, Colo.

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