Triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com Triathlon Training, Gear, Nutrition, Photos, Race Results & Calendars Mon, 08 Feb 2016 23:10:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Is Intermittent Fasting A Good Idea For Endurance Athletes? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/is-intermittent-fasting-a-good-idea-for-endurance-athletes_128108 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/is-intermittent-fasting-a-good-idea-for-endurance-athletes_128108#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:59:49 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128108

Matt Fitzgerald shares four reasons he advises endurance athletes to give intermittent fasting a pass.

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Intermittent fasting is the practice of restricting calories on one or more days of the week or going without eating for slightly longer than normal periods of time within the day. It has gained some popularity among dieters and bodybuilders seeking to shed body fat, and a growing number of endurance athletes (especially ultrarunners) do it to increase the fat-burning capacity of their muscles, which, in theory, increases endurance.

Endurance athletes often ask me for my take on intermittent fasting. Although some research suggests that it can be an effective way to lose weight, and although some swear by it, I discourage the practice. Here are my four reasons advising endurance athletes to give intermittent fasting a pass.

1. There are simpler ways to lose weight.

In a recent review of past research comparing the effects of intermittent fasting and continuous calorie restriction, Australian scientists concluded, “Intermittent fasting…represents a valid—albeit apparently not superior—option to continuous energy restriction for weight loss.”

In other words, intermittent fasting works as well as, but no better than, the traditional weight-loss method of eating a little less each and every day. But if intermittent fasting doesn’t work better than continuous calorie restriction, it is more complicated. One version of intermittent fasting entails choosing two days of the week on which to eat lightly (500 to 600 calories) and eating normally the other days. Another version entails choosing two days of the week on which to eat normally and fasting for 16 out of 24 hours on the other five days.

That’s a lot of numbers and planning and switching back and forth. Why not just consistently avoid overeating every day if the results are likely to be the same?

RELATED: Why Counting Calories Makes Sense

2. Fat burning is overrated.

Scientists have not rigorously investigated whether intermittent fasting significantly increases the ability of the muscles to use fat as fuel during exercise. But even if it does, this physiological effect is unlikely to translate to better running performance. Research involving low-carb diets—a more popular way of increasing fat-burning capacity that is proven to work—has shown that this method fails to increase performance in multi-hour endurance events and actually impairs performance in events lasting less than about 90 minutes. So there’s no reason to expect that intermittent fasting would do any better.

The most relevant study conducted to date was one that looked at the effects of Ramadan fasting on time trial performance in middle-distance runners. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between sunrise and sundown, a schedule that is similar to that of many runners who practice intermittent fasting. On average, the subjects’ 5000-meter performance dropped by 5 percent between the beginning and the end of that month intermittent fasting.

RELATED: How To Overcome “Carbophobia”

3. It encourages a magic-bullet mentality.

In my work as a sports nutritionist, I have found that some athletes have a magic-bullet mentality. They are always looking for some revolutionary new dietary method to give them the results that they have so far failed to achieve. But I believe it is this very mentality that prevents such athletes from getting the results they seek.

There is simply no need for revolutionary new dietary methods. The nutritional practices that really work—eating a balanced, varied, and inclusive diet, for example—have existed forever. These tried-and-true practices are how the most of the world’s greatest runners—the gold medalists and record breakers—get their results.

Think about it: If intermittent fasting was truly necessary to achieve an optimal body composition and maximum fitness, there would have been no endurance athletes with an optimal body composition and maximum fitness until intermittent fasting was invented!

RELATED: The Do’s And Dont’s Of Getting Leaner

4. It’s not normal.

I believe strongly in keeping the diet as normal as possible in the pursuit of health and fitness goals. Put another way, I believe in changing one’s existing eating habits as little as necessary to achieve one’s health and fitness goals.

There are a few reasons for this. First, an altered diet is easier to sustain if it retains some familiar and preferred habits and patterns. Second, an altered diet is less disruptive to a person’s social relations if it remains more or less culturally normal. And third, extreme and radical diets of all kinds often serve as stepping stones toward disordered eating for the susceptible.

Now, make no mistake: If your current diet is very bad, you will need to make significant changes in order to achieve your health and fitness goals. If, for example, the only vegetables in your current diet are french fries and ketchup, you are going to have to make room for at least two or three servings of real vegetables every day.

But there is never any need for more severe measures such as eliminating meat and fish from the diet, limiting carbohydrate intake to 100 grams a day or less, or practicing intermittent fasting. Such measures do sometimes work out for some runners, but the odds of success are much greater with the more conventional eating practices favored by most of the best athletes in the world.

RELATED – Racing Weight: Keep It Simple

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Open-Water Swim Skills With Coach Lance Watson: Choosing Your Race Start Position http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/open-water-swim-skills-race-start-position_128105 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/open-water-swim-skills-race-start-position_128105#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:33:52 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128105

Coach Lance Watson and Ironman champion Brent McMahon help you develop a strategy for deciding where to start your race.

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For many, swimming in the open water is one of the most intimidating parts of becoming a triathlete. In a new Triathlete.com-exclusive video series, LifeSport coach Lance Watson provides tips to help you refine your open-water skills and develop confidence ahead of your next triathlon. This week, Watson and Ironman champion Brent McMahon help you develop a strategy for deciding where to start your race.

Check back each Monday for another video from the series.

RELATED – Open-Water Swim Skills With Coach Lance Watson: The Race Warm-Up

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Photos: 2016 Ironman 70.3 Geelong http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/photos/photos-2016-ironman-70-3-geelong_128078 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/photos/photos-2016-ironman-70-3-geelong_128078#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:00:22 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128078

For the first time in Ironman 70.3 Geelong history, the men’s race was won by someone whose name was not Craig Alexander.

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For the first time in Ironman 70.3 Geelong history, the men’s race was won by someone whose name was not Craig Alexander, with young gun Jake Montgomery claiming his first 70.3 win. Melissa Hauschildt took the women’s win in a new course record of 4:14:28.

See images from Delly Carr above, and read the race recap from Ironman below:

Montgomery was twice the bridesmaid last year, passed late on the run at both Ironman 70.3 Mandurah and Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney to have victory snatched from his grasp, but not this time.

“That was a huge relief, I’m so happy to get my first win. I didn’t think I had it until I came up that finish chute,” Montgomery said. “It was awesome, I wanted that win really badly. It was great the spectators were awesome I heard my name a lot out there.”

After an injury-ravaged 2015, Hauschildt began the year with a commanding victory over fellow Australian Annabel Luxford and Czech Radka Vodickova.

“That was a hard win, I felt average all day, it was almost like I had a cramp from the start of the swim,” Hauschildt said.

Men’s Race

Montgomery, 21, and Josh Amberger, fresh of a second place at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, stamped their authority on the race from the gun, exiting the swim together, then both breaking the bike record of 2:09 by over two minutes, before France’s Cyril Viennot overtook Amberger late in the run to finish second.

“Josh and I went hard on that bike, it was a really good bike ride, I was happy with that,” he said of his 2:06:18 bike course record.

A mechanical issue with his bike forced defending champion Craig Alexander to retire late in the bike ride.

Women’s Race
Chasing three 70.3 titles in a row after finishing 2015 with wins at Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney and Ironmam 70.3 Ballarat, Annabel Luxford was 10 seconds ahead out of the water with Czech Radka Vodickova leading and first time Victorian professional Stephanie Demestichas in third.

Hauschildt started the bike with a 2:45 deficit, which by the end was all but gone as she exited transition ahead of Luxford, with Lisa Marangon in third and Vodickova in fourth.

Onto the run, Hauschildt went from strength to strength eventually winning by just over six minutes.

While it looked easy for the two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion, it was anything but with cramps almost forcing her to withdraw.

“I wanted to quit that race so many times, but I’m glad I toughed it out. I have a training camp up in Falls Creek and I thought if I win here the training will be so much better,” she said.

2016 Ironman 70.3 Geelong
Geelong, Victoria, Australia – Feb. 7, 2016
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

Men
1. Jake Montgomery (AUS) 3:51:48
2 Cyril Viennot (FRA) 3:53:14
3. Josh Amberger (AUS) 3:54:17

Women
1 Melissa Huaschildt (AUS) 4:14:28
2. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:20:15
3. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:21:49

Complete results

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Video: A Non-Traditional Core Exercise http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/monday-minute-the-palloff-press_71884 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/monday-minute-the-palloff-press_71884#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:35:22 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=71884

The Palloff Press will help strengthen your center of gravity, which in turn lessens the likelihood of injury.

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Unlike normal situps and pushups, this non-traditional core training exercise teaches your body to be in better balance and triggers the most important core stabilizer muscles. The Palloff Press will help strengthen your center of gravity, which in turn lessens the likelihood of injury.

More “Monday Minute” videos.

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Last Day To Vote: 2016 Triathlete Fit Contest http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/top-10-vote-2016-triathlete-fit-contest_127977 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/top-10-vote-2016-triathlete-fit-contest_127977#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:06:36 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=127977

It's time for the final round of voting! Two age-group triathlete winners will be flown to San Diego and be featured in Triathlete magazine.

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Dear Coach: Should I Do An Ironman? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/dear-coach-should-i-do-an-ironman_58201 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/dear-coach-should-i-do-an-ironman_58201#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:05:45 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=58201

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Ironman presents the ultimate challenge for a lot of triathletes, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

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Dear Coach: I’m a competitive age-grouper who has always done sprints and Olympic-distance races, but I feel like I should make the move to Ironman. How do I know if I’m really ready?

Ask yourself this: What’s driving my urge to do an Ironman? I’m always a little concerned when an athlete tells me what they feel they “should” do. If you’re thinking about it because you like going long and are willing to put in the requisite hours of training, then by all means go for it. But if you’re considering it because you think it validates you as a triathlete, please reconsider.

Certainly Ironman is the glamour event of our sport, and it presents the ultimate challenge for a lot of triathletes. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not an accomplished athlete if you don’t want anything to do with 140.6.

RELATED: How To Nail The Ironman Marathon

Consider some of the advantages of shorter races. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, you get to compete far more often. (If you love racing more than you love training, this is a big plus.) If your sprint race is derailed by illness, injury or a mechanical, you can bounce back and do another one a few weeks later. (Good luck getting into an Ironman in a few weeks’ notice.) And don’t underestimate the value of doing well in sprints, or the challenges they present. Sprints allow for less of a margin for error than longer races since even a small lapse of concentration and effort can make the difference between earning hardware or watching the awards ceremony from the sidelines.

If you’ve got a major sponsor or book publisher pressuring you to make your Ironman debut, by all means do what you “should.” Otherwise, do what you want.

Jonathan Cane is founder and president of City Coach Multisport in New York City. He is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weight Training, and has coached for Nike Running and JackRabbit Sports.

RELATED: Three Ironman Training Questions For Coach Matt Dixon

More “Dear Coach” articles.

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

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4 Ways To Use… Persimmons http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/4-ways-to-use-persimmons_128069 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/4-ways-to-use-persimmons_128069#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:07:24 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128069

Photo: John David Becker

Explore this seasonal fruit with these four recipes.

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This crispy, sweet winter fruit comes in two hybrids: jiro (aka fuyu) and hachiya. The smaller jiro, resembling a tomato shape, is meant to be eaten before it turns soft. The hachiya, the longer heart-shaped version, should be enjoyed once ripe and soft. Persimmons contain powerful amounts of beta-carotene, helping to promote eye health, and they are also rich in vitamin C and phytochemicals, which boost the immune system and aid in recovery. Eating persimmons can also help maintain bone and blood health because they contain high levels of calcium and iron. Explore this seasonal fruit with these four recipes.

Persimmon, Walnut & Goat Cheese Salad

Unique enough to impress dinner party guests yet simple to make as a weeknight dish, this recipe yields a large, family-sized salad.

Add one 8-ounce bag arugula to a large salad bowl. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet toss 2/3 cup walnut halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon agave or honey, ½ tablespoon cumin, ½ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper. Bake for about 8–10 minutes, tossing once, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Peel, core and dice 2 jiro persimmons. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons champagne or white balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave or honey and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Toss the arugula with a conservative amount of the vinaigrette. Gently fold in the persimmons, walnuts and ½ cup goat cheese crumbles, and serve with the extra vinaigrette on the side.

RELATED: 4 Ways To Use… Sweet Potatoes

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Try This Super Bowl Fitness Challenge http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/try-this-super-bowl-fitness-challenge_128064 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/try-this-super-bowl-fitness-challenge_128064#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:16:53 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128064

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Who says Sunday's big game has to result in a big calorie surplus? Peel yourself off the couch and try this challenge.

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Who says Sunday’s big game has to result in a big calorie surplus? Peel yourself off the couch and try this Super Bowl fitness challenge from Kyle Herrig, owner of Triplex Training in Chandler, Ariz., while you watch the game.

Touchdown: 6 jump squats
Field goal: 3 sit-ups
Penalty-yardage in skaters (5 yard penalty, 5 skaters)
Beer commercial: 10 push-ups
Red flag challenge: plank until decision is made
Safety: run to your mailbox and back
Interception: 50 jumping jacks
Two-minute warning: wall sit until play resumes
Sack: 50 mountain climbers
Golden Gate Bridge is shown: 5 burpees

In for the challenge? Play along on game day and post your pictures or videos to social media with Herrig’s hashtag ‪#‎TriplexSBChallenge‬.

RELATED: Super Bowl Swim Set

RELATED – One-Hour Workout: 5 Strength Sessions, No Gym Required!

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Quick Set Friday: Kickboard Drills http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/kickboard-drills-swim-workout-for-triathletes_75586 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/training/kickboard-drills-swim-workout-for-triathletes_75586#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:05:33 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=75586

Photo: Shutterstock.com

We feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool.

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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), you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

A:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
4×300 on 4:30 (100 free/100 IM/100 free)
8×200 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–4, 5–8)
4×50 kick on 1:10 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on :60 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :50 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*4,500 Total*

RELATED: Are Kicking Sets That Important?

B:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 on 6:00 (2×100 free/50 non-free)
6×150 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–3, 4–6)
4×50 kick on 1:20 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on 1:10 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :60 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*3,500 Total*

RELATED: Refine Your Swim Kick

C:
600 warm-up (2×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 with 30 sec rest (2×100 free/50 non-free)
4×150 pull with 20 sec rest (descend time 1–4)
8×50 with 10 sec rest (descend stroke count 1–4, 5–8)
100 cool-down
*2,600 Total*

Drills

Catch-up With Stick: As you take a stroke with your right arm, keep your left arm extended forward in the water, holding on to a sideways kickboard or stick. Complete the stroke with your right arm and after it enters the water above your head, tap your left hand. This signals the start of the stroke with your left arm. Repeat on other side.

Tombstone: Hold a kickboard upright in the water and push it forward. The more of the board you hold under the water, the harder this drill is!

RELATED: Why It’s Important To Conquer The Swim Kick

More swim workouts

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

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Dave Mirra Dies Of Apparent Suicide http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/dave-mirra-dead-of-apparent-suicide_128058 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/dave-mirra-dead-of-apparent-suicide_128058#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 01:01:01 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128058

Mirra appeared on the August 2015 cover of Triathlete magazine.

BMX star-turned-triathlete Dave Mirra has passed away from an apparent suicide, according to Greenville, N.C. police reports.

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BMX star-turned-triathlete Dave Mirra has passed away at 41 from an apparent suicide, according to Greenville, N.C. police reports. After retiring from his BMX and X Games career, Mirra competed in several triathlonsincluding at August’s Ironman Lake Placidand said his goal was to qualify for the Ironman World Championship.

Mirra was a husband, father, mentor and friend to so many, and a passionate triathlete. By all accounts, he brought incredible energy, dedication and enthusiasm to all of his pursuits, and dared others to dream big right along with him. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with his family.

See the media release from the Greenville Police Department below:

At approximately 4 p.m. today, Greenville Police responded to the 200 block of Pinewood Road for an apparent suicide.

Upon arrival, officers discovered Dave Mirra, 41, of Greenville, sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had been visiting friends in the area a short time before the incident.

Considered an icon in the pro-BMX world, Mirra, was instrumental in bringing the sport to the City of Greenville, which now is home to more than 20 professional BMX riders. The record-holding athlete is survived by his wife and two children.

“We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human being who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift. He called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage. A young life with so much to offer was taken too soon,” said City of Greenville Mayor, Allen Thomas.

The Greenville Police Department will be handling the death investigation.

The family of Dave Mirra would appreciate privacy during this very difficult time.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are encouraged to seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK.

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Triathlete.com Poll: What Is Your Bucket List Triathlon? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/features/triathlete-com-poll-what-is-your-bucket-list-triathlon_128052 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/features/triathlete-com-poll-what-is-your-bucket-list-triathlon_128052#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 21:28:35 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128052

Palm Cove, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Photo: Shutterstock.com

The sport of triathlon can take you to amazing places around the world. Which race tops your dream list?

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The sport of triathlon can take you to amazing places around the world. Finding ways to plan for, pay for and train for these destination races can all be barriers, but it’s fun to dream. In that spirit, we want to know which race you dream of competing in one day? Because we know the Ironman World Championship will be the dominant choice—and includes a tough selection process—we’ve decided to leave it off of the poll. These 40 choices all came from reader input over social media. We’ll feature the top choices in an upcoming issue of Triathlete magazine.

RELATED: 16 Bucket List Triathlons (Outside Of Kona)

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Photos: Clever Cyclists Use Strava To Create Art http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/photos/photos-clever-athletes-use-strava-to-create-art_128036 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/photos/photos-clever-athletes-use-strava-to-create-art_128036#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 20:13:34 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128036

The workout-tracking app Strava has its share of creative endurance athletes—and here’s the proof.

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The workout-tracking app Strava has its share of creative endurance athletes—and here’s the proof.

Whether it’s celebrating the holidays, or coming up with a clever way to propose, take a look at how some clever Strava users are “drawing” their way through cycling.

RELATED: Do’s And Don’ts For Triathletes On Strava

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Recipe: Green Curry Shrimp And Vermicelli Bowl http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/recipe-green-curry-shrimp-and-vermicelli-bowl_128030 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/recipe-green-curry-shrimp-and-vermicelli-bowl_128030#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:12:09 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128030

Pile on the servings of veggies with this beautiful noodle bowl.

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Pile on the servings of veggies with this beautiful noodle bowl. A simple green curry adds tons of rich flavors to the crisp and colorful veggies, and simple broiled shrimp.

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings
24 large shrimp (peeled and deveined with tail on)
8 oz thin rice noodles (Vermicelli style)
8 cups mixed greens (or chopped romaine lettuce)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 cups jicama (chopped into matchsticks)
½ English cucumber, sliced into coins
½ cup salted, chopped cashews
½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup prepared green curry or green curry-simmer sauce (or similar)
2 limes, halved

RELATED – Recipe Of The Week: Shrimp Tacos

Preparation

1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent from sticking. Gently pat with paper towel to remove moisture.
2. Heat oven to Hi Broil. Toss the shrimp with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and broil 90 seconds to 2 minutes per side (until golden on outside and just cooked through).
3. Divide the greens or lettuce among 4 large bowls. Arrange the red and yellow bell peppers, jicama and cucumber among the 4 bowls.
4. Place one-quarter of the noodles, along with 6 shrimp on each bowl. Drizzle ¼ cup of the curry sauce over the shrimp and noodles.
5. Scatter the cilantro and cashews over the top of the bowls for garnish.
6. Serve each with ½ lime squeezed over the top.

RELATED RECIPE: Baked Coconut Shrimp

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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Beginner’s Luck: Grounded In Gratitude http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/features/beginners-luck-grounded-in-gratitude_128027 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/features/beginners-luck-grounded-in-gratitude_128027#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:56:33 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128027

Illustration by Hunter King

"Triathlon and a new attitude helped me find the person I had lost in the rat race of life."

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Triathlon and a new attitude helped me find the person I had lost in the rat race of life.

I’ll admit that around the time my kiddos were the ages of 1 and 2, I had sort of lost my way. Not in a directional sense, but more in the sense of not knowing who I was. I was confused about who and what I had become. I had graduated from college, married young and plunged head-first into law school. Before I knew what happened, I had a legal career that was making me miserable, a spouse who was working ridiculously long hours and two young babies who (while precious and amazing) were very, very exhausting. I was trying to do it all, and I was running on fumes.

When I added triathlon to the mix, I am not sure what I was thinking. I should be taking away extra things to do, not adding work, I said to myself. Plus, I totally suck as a triathlete. I can’t swim worth a crap. I fall over at every red light on my bike. And running? Let’s not even talk about it. I know what running looks like, and I am not running.

I kept at it, though. I (sort of) sucked a little less with each workout. More importantly, I began to enjoy the process of training for triathlon. The swim made lovely bubbly noises, which at 5:30 in the morning was comforting. Underwater was a secret place where no one could reach me: no emails, no phone calls and no “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” Runs were hard and sweaty, but I gradually improved. As an added bonus, I began to stop easily and without drama on my bike.

I did some races over the course of a year: some sprints, an Olympic distance, and I topped off my first full season of triathlon with a half-iron-distance race, finishing pretty solidly for the overweight, slow racer I was. But even with a half-iron under my belt, I didn’t consider myself a “real” triathlete.

“I do triathlon things,” I would tell people. (What does that even mean?)

RELATED – Beginner’s Luck: Just Keep Moving Forward

Well, turns out that I was afraid. I was afraid of triathlon things. I was afraid of it all. Training, race day and my bicycle. No matter how much I swam or biked or ran, I was a nervous Nellie. Also, no matter how much I swam, I hated putting on the swimsuit around other people. I hated myself in my cycling jersey and in the tri kit on race day. I was racing (albeit slowly), but I still felt like a fraud. Why was I doing things that were terrifying me?
With my first triathlon bike, I decided to take stock in my worth and really start behaving like a triathlete. No matter if I looked like a triathlete (I didn’t) or not (still don’t), darn it, I was going to act like one. Me and my fancy new set of wheels. On my flagship bike ride with Andy Potts (not the real one—the name of my bike at the time), I was feeling like a “real” triathlete. Look at me! I have allll the triathlon things now! I swear to you, I was saying that in my head when I ran off the trail and rode my bike slap into a solo rider. Poor Andy. I felt like such a newbie. I mean, who gets a brand new tri bike and crashes it just because?

Acting like a triathlete and having all the fancy things clearly was not the issue. All the things just made it all the more clear that I was out of my league. Because in my head and heart, I still believed that I was some sort of weird triathlon fraud. Was it because I wasn’t super fit looking like “everyone else” on the race course? Maybe. Was it because I was slower than most? Maybe. I started thinking and making lists about all the things that were “wrong” with me, and after a while, it was clear that I should quit the sport entirely. Time. Money. Speed. Back fat. Arm fat. Black toenails. Spandex. (Just to name a few of the hundred.)

But I continued to come back to one reason and one reason only that I continued to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to train. There was one reason that I continued to push through the fear. My mind circled right back to this one small thing about triathlon: Deep down, triathlon made me happy.

Once I embraced the fact that I was doing this sport simply because I enjoyed it, then things began to change for me. Somehow, I began to believe myself a triathlete—I found myself worthy of that small title: triathlete. I put out the mantra “be brave, be thankful” in preparation for my first Ironman race. I began to repeat to my triathlete friends: Race with a happy and thankful heart. Yes—be brave on the race course, but be thankful you are out there, racing and enjoying the beautiful day in a body that is working for you. Making the switch from a fussy, worrywart newbie into a semi-confident triathlete felt fairly simple when I changed my internal dialogue from, “You are such a triathlete loser!” to “Look at what your amazing body just accomplished!”

RELATED – Beginner’s Luck: Room For Two?

Oh, the body. Please understand that I am so grateful for the capable, strong and fiercely determined body. Still, my body is sometimes the biggest struggle for me. My body is the one hang-up that keeps me timid in my quest for being a real triathlete. No matter how much weight I lose, I still think of myself as someone who is lost, wandering around on race day, getting in the way of the real triathletes out there. (“Who let that little chubby girl across the Ironman finish line? Get her back in the food tent, stat!”)

I jest, and I keep going back to gratitude, over and over. Because no matter what my body looks like, it is a body doing wonders for me on race day and in each day of training. I think about the people in this world who would give anything to have a healthy body that is even slightly capable of swimming or cycling or running—not to mention all three in one race. With each day of triathlon gratitude, I watched myself gain back a little bit of the person I had lost—that person who had become so muddled down and lost in the rat race of life. By surrounding myself with this triathlon shield of gratitude, everything else seemed to make more sense. I began to search for happiness and gratitude in other areas of my life—at home, at the office, in my relationships with co-workers and friends. I found that I listened more carefully and loved more deeply. I was kinder and gentler to those around me because I felt blessed and thankful to just be me. Me: the person who just happened to be a real triathlete.

Meredith Atwood is a wife, mom, attorney, Ironman, coach and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children, and blogs at SwimBikeMom.com.

More “Beginner’s Luck”

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Bike Kit Close-Up: Blur Cycling’s Unique Jerseys http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/gear-tech/bike-kit-close-up_128024 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/gear-tech/bike-kit-close-up_128024#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:36:52 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128024

Photo: John David Becker

With only 75 of each jersey made, Blur Cycling caters to athletes who want a jersey their training partner doesn’t have.

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With only 75 of each jersey made, Blur Cycling caters to athletes who want a jersey their training partner doesn’t have.

The trio of cyclist friends who created Blur Cycling hold themselves to three standards when designing bike kits: Every collection must have a simple theme, each must be offered in men’s and women’s sizes and only 75 of each jersey can be printed.

“We decided that we wanted each jersey in our small-batch collections to look like it is part of a whole,” says one of the founders, Jonathan Gates. “They’re intentional. They’re planned. This way, it keeps us from getting bored and allows us to sort of re-invent our brand with every collection.”
Gates says that they generally hate the idea of wearing the same kit a dozen other people are wearing, so they keep quantities limited to foster exclusivity. “We’ve carried that through our packaging and will lean into that even harder on our next collection by individually numbering each jersey, i.e., ‘2 of 75,’” he says. “We think that’ll be something really special for people who can get their hands on a jersey before the collection sells out.”

First came the design, then came the hard part—finding the right materials to meet their quality standards. “We sampled materials and manufacturing from all over the world,” Gates says.

But in the end, they wound up using the highest quality fabrics they could find, which—of course—came from Italy (Gates says the fabrics for the jersey feel like “unicorn hair”). They created the Mono, Vol 01 jerseys as a summer collection to withstand hot summers with mesh paneling on the back and sides, and used an Italian Cytech chamois, a staple in the cycling industry.

“It also became really important to us that our kits were made ethically,” Gates says. They partnered with a Canadian manufacturer to sew their kits and are proud of the decision. “Yeah, it lowers our margins significantly, but it also allows us to sleep well at night knowing there aren’t some kids in Myanmar sewing our kits while we’re sleeping.”

RELATED: 10 Must-Haves For Winter Triathlon Training

On Him

Check Yo Self jersey, $110, and bibs, $160

On Her

Slat jersey, $110, and bibs, $160
Blurcycling.com

More Bike Kit Close-Ups

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Gwen Jorgensen Shares Her “Eatcation” Secrets http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/gwen-jorgensen-shares-her-eatcation-secrets_128022 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/gwen-jorgensen-shares-her-eatcation-secrets_128022#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:02:36 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128022

Gwen Jorgensen and husband (then fiancé) Patrick. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

Gwen Jorgensen writes about how food is the focus of her travel.

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As part of its countdown to Rio 2016, Travel and Leisure is talking to Olympic hopefuls about how they travel. American triathlete Gwen Jorgensenwho is the No. 1 triathlete in the world and has already qualified for her second Olympic berthwrites about how food is the focus of her travel.

Every year, my husband Patrick and I plan a trip entirely around food–an Eatcation. I’m a huge foodie, and checking restaurants around the world gets me extremely excited. Before we take-off, I make sure to check out Yelp reviews and map out Michelin-starred spots at each destination. Anytime we can try new foods or score a table at a hard-to-get-into restaurant, I consider it a success.

The first Eatcation we took was actually in San Francisco in 2013. Even after three days indulging in delicious food, I felt like we hadn’t scratched the surface of the culinary scene there. That can happen quite often. There’s so much to try, and so little time to get to everything. It’s helpful for us to narrow the list to a select few restaurants or dishes. That way we can focus our trip and avoid rushing to fit everything in. Otherwise, some destinations would be quite overwhelming.

Read the complete feature at Travelandlesiure.com.

RELATED: A Day Of Eating With Gwen Jorgensen

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Video: 2016 XTERRA Full Nelson Mandela Bay Highlights http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/video/video-2016-xterra-south-africa-highlights_128016 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/video/video-2016-xterra-south-africa-highlights_128016#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 20:50:41 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=128016

Brad Weiss wins again and is 2-for-2 to start the season in South Africa, while Carla Van Huyssteen takes women's title.

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Brad Weiss wins again and is two-for-two to start the season in South Africa, while Carla Van Huyssteen takes women’s title at inaugural XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay on Jan. 29. Complete results.

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2016 Triathlon Gear We’re Excited About http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/gear-tech/2016-triathlon-gear-were-excited-about_127992 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/gear-tech/2016-triathlon-gear-were-excited-about_127992#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 20:16:02 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=127992

Our round-up of the gear and tech you’ll be coveting this year.

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We glimpsed the future of all things cycling at last year’s Interbike tradeshow and bring you our round-up of the gear and tech you’ll also be coveting this year.

SRAM Red eTap

SRAM’s new electronic shift system stole the show as the most talked-about product at Interbike. While not yet completely wireless for time-trial bikes (a “BlipBox,” which holds the electronics, is required), eTap represents a leap forward in electronic shifting and will be a game-changer for triathlon and time-trial bikes. Riders have the ability to place the shifters (or “Blips”) anywhere on the bike, and manufacturers are freed up to design bikes without the need for cables. The product—available in spring 2016—comes in two different packages: $1,580 for a wireless upgrade or $2,835 for a complete group including all of the necessary mechanical parts. In comparison to a Dura-Ace Di2 upgrade, Red eTap is nearly $500 less expensive and 135 grams lighter. Sram.com

RELATED – SRAM Red eTap: Why It’s A Triathlon Game-Changer

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30-Minute Countdown: The Post-Workout Snack http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/30-minute-countdown-post-workout-snack_100415 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/nutrition/30-minute-countdown-post-workout-snack_100415#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 19:00:16 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=100415

Photo: John David Becker

Refuel during the post-workout recovery window to supercharge your next session.

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Refuel during the post-workout recovery window to supercharge your next session.

It’s easy to do—drive to meet a group for a hard workout, spend several minutes chatting afterward, then by the time you make it home to choke down a protein shake, you’ve already missed your chance for optimal refueling. The first few minutes after a workout are critical for replenishing your glycogen stores and repairing your muscles—missing out could hurt the quality of your next workout.

How it works:
The 30 (and some research says up to 45) minutes immediately following a workout has shown to be the time frame that the body can best absorb carbohydrates and protein. After a workout, “your muscles are torn, you’ve used up a lot of your stored carbohydrate or glycogen,” Dallas-based sports dietitian Christina Strudwick says. “Nutrients can enter them a lot easier in that window.” Also that brief timeframe is when levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, are increased and your body’s in a state of tension—“taking that nutrition is what begins to reverse that.” It’s especially critical, she says, if you’re exercising more than 60 minutes, if you’re doing two-a-day workouts (almost unavoidable in triathlon training), or if you have less than 12 hours between training sessions.

Fueling guidelines:
To best take advantage of the recovery window, you need to consume a meal or snack that has a ratio of three or four parts carbohydrate (to replenish glycogen stores, which is what fueled your workout) to one part protein (to repair torn muscle). Ideally, she says, you should be getting about 70–100 grams of carbs, and 20–25 grams of protein (any more protein and your body won’t be able to effectively use it). There’s also a second window—about 2–3 hours after your workout—when you should get in a second snack or meal with a similar carb-to-protein ratio. “After those two refueling times, that’s when you’ve really [nutritionally] recovered from a hard workout,” she says.

Back-up plan:
What if you missed the window? “You still want to get something in as soon as you can,” Strudwick says. Put something in the car for such situations—a small bar, a piece of fruit, a hard-boiled egg, a bottle of chocolate milk or some nuts. You could also start by at least rehydrating—whether it’s water or a sports drink. “Any of those things—sports drink, fruit, a small bar—would start the healing process,” she says.

RELATED: The Importance Of The Post-Workout Snack

Natural Nutrition

Powdered sports drinks aren’t the only way to consume the optimal proportion of nutrients. Dietitian Christina Strudwick recommends these whole-food snacks and meals—each of them meets the ideal 3:1 or 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio—for post-workout refueling.

Smoothie: Greek yogurt + fruit (such as berries and banana) + a little 100 percent juice + spinach

Breakfast tacos: Whole-wheat tortillas + eggs + 2 percent cheese + a little avocado + (on the side) banana or other fruit

PB&B sandwich: Whole-grain bread + peanut butter + banana + (optional) honey

Breakfast sandwich: Whole-wheat English muffin + egg + 2 percent cheese + (on the side) low-fat milk and fruit

Oatmeal bowl: Oats + tablespoon of peanut or almond butter + banana + (on the side) 1–2 eggs

Greek yogurt + fruit

16 ounces low-fat chocolate milk

Simple smoothie: Low-fat milk + fruit

Got chocolate milk?
Corroborating the hype surrounding chocolate milk as a recovery tool, Strudwick says it’s in fact a great recovery choice. “It fits that ratio of three or four parts carbohydrate to one part protein pretty perfectly,” she says. Also, it contains leucine, which is one of the amino acids that’s been shown to best help muscles recover post-workout. Just make sure you go low-fat, she says—whole milk has too much fat and could hinder your recovery.

RELATED: Eat Your Way To Recovery

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Triathlon Cofounder Jack Johnstone Passes Away http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/triathlon-cofounder-jack-johnstone-passes-away_127994 http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/triathlon-cofounder-jack-johnstone-passes-away_127994#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:06:20 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=127994

CrusePhoto.com

Jack Johnstone, one of the creators of the triathlon, has died at age 80.

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Jack Johnstone, one of the creators of triathlon, has died at the age of 80.

It was nearly 42 years ago that Johnstone and Don Shanahan decided to mix it up by adding another sport to a running race. “We had a number of events in town. Two were fairly popular run-swims,” Shanahan said at the 40th anniversary at Mission Bay in San Diego. “So I got to thinking, well, it would be really fun to put a bike on the back end of this.”

“Jack was a member of the (San Diego Track Club), he called up and wanted to put on a swim-run,” Shanahan said. “They said, ‘Well, Shanahan has this crazy idea. Why don’t you talk to him?’ So Jack called me and we put it on.”

They combined their ideas and held the first-ever running, biking and swimming race on Sept. 25, 1974, in Mission Bay. Shanahan said they called it the “triathlon” because swim-run events were already called biathlons.

After reportedly battling Alzheimer’s disease since January 2013, Johnstone passed away last week in San Diego.

San Diego-based reporter Claire Trageser remembers Johnston in this report for NPR.

RELATED PHOTOS: Triathlon Celebrates 40 Years In San Diego

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