Triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com The latest triathlon gear, training, nutrition, photos, races, movers, shakers, and more Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:54:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 http://triathlon.competitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/apple-touch-icon-180x180-120x120.png Triathlete.com http://triathlon.competitor.com 32 32 Jesse Thomas Prepares For His First Kona—On His Own Terms http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/lifestyle/jesse-thomas-prepares-first-kona-terms_293754 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 20:08:15 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293754 Jesse Thomas used to think Kona was crazy. He still does. But this year he’ll join the crazy—on his own terms.

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Pro Jesse Thomas will be joining the crazy on Oct. 8 by competing in his first Ironman World Championship

When I first started this sport in 2011 I was about 90 percent sure I’d never do an Ironman. If you don’t believe me, ask my wife, coach and family. No matter how intriguing, Ironman was just way too long. It beat the crap out of you, the training seemed ludicrous and you didn’t get to race that much. Why would I do that? It didn’t make any sense!

Later that year I was invited by some sponsors to go watch Kona. And after seeing my first ever live Ironman on that beautiful Hawaiian island, everything changed. I was now 100 percent sure I would never freaking do an Ironman. Oh my God, watching that race was maybe the most miserable day of my life. The heat! The humidity! The sticky T-shirt and unrelenting swass (Google it). It was agonizing. It felt like a perpetual, inescapable weight evenly distributed across my entire body. For hours upon exhausting hours, I watched as my friends competed, in between states of pure suffering and near blackout pain. I remember standing out there on the Queen K highway as the guys came into the finish, thinking, “Why the hell would anyone ever do this? It’s completely nuts.”

Triathlon’s infatuation with Kona, and Ironman in general, has always seemed “suspect” to me. For an event that lies so far on the crazy spectrum, its fanatical support feels almost cultish. People get tattoos, spend 1,000 bucks in 5 minutes before the race sells out, and agonize over Kona slots. I mean, it’s just a race, right? You’d think it was a Justin Bieber concert or something. In many ways, triathletes are to Kona what teenage girls are to Justin Bieber. The level of scream-crying excitement is scientifically unexplainable!

I wrote about this infatuation a couple of years ago in an article titled, “I’m NOT an Ironman, and that’s OK.” It always bugged me how I felt like any non-Ironman triathlon accomplishments I had were belittled when the first question I got from everyone was “Have you done an Ironman?” or “Have you done Kona?” to which my answer of course was always “no.”

But for some reason, my perspective has morphed over the last couple of years. I don’t know why exactly—maybe it was the need for a new challenge after years of focus on half-Ironman. Maybe it was the gentle prodding of my coach Matt Dixon: “I still think your best distance is Ironman …” Maybe it was seeing the last Ironman finishers before midnight and the sense of accomplishment on their faces. Maybe it was the resilience from years of training that led to more comfort and confidence in longer distances. Or maybe I just wanted to answer those two questions (“Have you done an Ironman?” and “Have you done Kona?”) with a simple “YES,” and maybe a “Thank you very much.”

In all likelihood, it was a combo of those reasons that led to my gentle, semi-reluctant dip into Ironman. And now, less than a year and two Ironmans later, I find myself entering the final prep for something I repeatedly told myself I would never do—Kona. And I feel partially excited, partially terrified, and partially … suspect, like I have always been.

I’m excited like you’d expect anyone doing their first Kona to be. It is, for better and for worse, the pinnacle—or the Super Bowl—of the sport. It’s high profile and carries with it more excitement, incessant analysis and expectation than any triathlon on the planet.

I’m terrified because I’ve witnessed firsthand, four times now, the physical and emotional pain that this race carries, not just during its execution on race day, but also during the preparatory months. All that high profile-ness, excitement, analysis and expectation makes people do crazy stuff before and during the race. I’ve seen it time and time again.

And because of that, I remain suspect. But I think (or hope, at least) it’s a healthy suspicion. Even though I’m excited and I know it’s obviously a big race, the athlete and industry infatuation still feels a little Justin Bieberish to me. And in the next couple of months, I need to make sure I am conscious of the fact that this obviously big race, when it comes down to it, is just another race. Even though Justin Bieber is a dude who can sing and dance super good, he’s still just a dude.

I’ve seen many of my friends and competitors, both pro and amateur, seemingly lose their way in the hype and build-up to Kona. Sometimes it’s simple or almost expected stuff like overtraining, or pushing their bodies too far. But I’ve also seen people change their plan, or do stuff entirely new just to try to gain a perceived edge. They commit to too much and don’t back off when they see or feel the signs because, by God, this is Kona! They psych themselves out about the competition or lose perspective on what it’s all about or what they are trying to accomplish. On race day, they get sucked into someone else’s race, or do things that don’t make sense because of the excitement of the moment. All of these things are natural psychological tendencies when readying yourself for a big day or important event, but that doesn’t make them right.

I am clearly anything but an expert on this race. I’m a rookie, and all my observations are secondhand. So what I write and think now could change dramatically after Oct. 8. But I’ve raced lots of “big” races over the years both in triathlon and on the track, and I think it’s super important to have a healthy amount of “suspicion” and consciously downplay those big races in your brain.

In the lead-up to Kona, I’ll do my best to remember why I’m here—because I want to experience this race, be able to say I raced Kona and check it off the bucket list of my career. That’s it. I’ll need to remember, and plan around the many other obligations I have with family and Picky Bars, which can’t just be dropped because of a race, no matter how big. And I’ll need to do my best to approach Kona in as similar a way as I can to my previous Ironman races—not asking my body, my family and my employees for too much just because it’s a world championship.

Ultimately, I want to make sure I make this Kona my Kona—approach it and experience it in a way that makes the most sense for me. I’ll try not to get caught up in the hype and expectation of what other people think it does or doesn’t mean, or how others think I should or shouldn’t prepare. I used to think Kona was crazy. I still do. But this year I’ll join the crazy—on my own terms.

Jesse Thomas (@jessemthomas) is a six-time Wildflower Long Course champion, Ironman champion and the CEO of Picky Bars (Pickybars.com).

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Triathlon Tour Guide: Hawai’i Island http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/lifestyle/triathlon-tour-guide-hawaii-island_293751 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:39:26 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293751 Venture beyond Kona’s Ali’i Drive and discover a whole other island.

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Venture beyond Kona’s Ali’i Drive and discover a whole other island

Go

Most triathletes descend on the Island of Hawai’i (aka “The Big Island,” a moniker the Hawai’i Tourism Authority is trying to move away from) in early October for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, but any time of year is a good time to visit. Even in the winter months, the average daytime temperature is a balmy 78 degrees F. (Just make sure to bring a jacket if you plan on any volcano hikes; weather at elevation can be unpredictable and downright chilly.)

Fly

There were more than 1.5 million visitors to the Island in 2015—there is no shortage of carriers or flights here. Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) is seven miles from Kailua-Kona town and 25 miles from Kohala Coast resorts. Hilo International Airport (ITO) allows quick and easy access to the east side of the island, home to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Stay

Named after the island’s dormant volcano, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (Maunakeabeachhotel.com) on the Kohala Coast was built in 1965 by Laurance Rockefeller, who wanted to create a luxury property worthy of the spectacular white sand beach it fronts. The stylish, high-end guest rooms reflect the hotel’s “understated elegance” design—spring for a room with a view of the bay, which is showcased by expansive floor-to-ceiling windows (even in the shower!). The iconic hotel hosts a traditional luau twice a week, a clambake, and don’t miss the Sunday brunch at the upscale Manta restaurant. Vino enthusiasts will also appreciate their excellent wine program. The recently remodeled Copper Bar is the property’s social hub and the spot for some of the freshest, tastiest sushi (and other inventive apps) and craft cocktails in a casual, breezy setting with postcard-worthy views. Also be sure to check out the hotel’s extensive fine art collection, which is on display throughout the property.

Just down the road, the Mauna Kea’s sister property, the sprawling Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (Hapunabeachprincehotel.com) is a more modern (built in 1994), affordable option that sits on its own perfect stretch of coastline on Hapuna Beach. A reservation here gets you access to the Mauna Kea amenities, but there’s plenty to keep you happily occupied between the paradise-of-your-dreams beach (and 32 oceanfront acres to explore) and Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole golf course. All 350 guestrooms (including 36 suites) include a lanai (patio) that overlooks Hapuna Beach. At 600 square feet, a standard room feels roomy and is equipped with thoughtful details like a coffeemaker with Kona-blend coffee, and slippers and robes. The buffet game is strong here—go to the resort’s Ocean Terrace for an alfresco all-you-can-eat feast for breakfast or dig into the seasonal crab dinner spread.

Play

Island Sounds
Jazz and blues fest

The Big Island Jazz and Blues Festival (Bigislandjazzandbluesfestival.com) in June brings together Grammy winners and Blues Hall of Famers for a weekend of intimate performances, many of which happen at the Mauna Kea’s oceanfront venues. From New Orleans jazz to Chicago Blues, the rhythms and beats are as lively as the sunset views are picturesque.

Adventure Awaits
Volcano excursions

KapohoKine Adventures’ Kilauea Hike & Glow Tour (Kapohokine.com) is an all-day excursion that is part nature hike and part crash course on Hawaiian history, geology and culture. During a couple-hour drive to the Hilo side of the island in one of the company’s tour buses, guides (who appear to be eager scholars in all things Hawaiian) highlight points of interest and answer all sorts of trivia questions. After a quick pit stop at the company’s Hilo HQ to retrieve picnic lunches, guests eat lunch in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park before going deeper into the park to explore the Thurston Lava Tube and active steam vents of the Kilauea Iki Crater (a massive cooled lake of lava). After an easy to moderate hike across the crater and along its upper rim, hikers are shuttled to the nearby Volcano Winery for a hosted barbecue dinner and complimentary wine tasting. Last stop before the return trip to Kona is the park’s Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, which overlooks the Halema’uma’u Crater. The red glow of bubbling and spitting lava inside the crater lights up the evening sky in a palette of orange and red.

Spooky Cool
Swimming with mantas

Guests at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel can take part in a guided nighttime standup paddleboard outing in the bay to view the huge (and super docile/harmless) mantas that arrive each night to the property’s Manta Point to feed on plankton. A light beneath the board illuminates the water below, attracting plankton and allowing for a close-up look of these eerie-looking sea creatures. For an even closer look, you can dive in with goggles and swim beside them.

Bird’s-eye View
Zipline fun

For an adrenaline-pumping, big-picture view of the Kohala Coast, take a 3-hour zipline/trek/rappel tour with Kohala Zipline (Kohalazipline.com), which has nine lines and five bridges for exploring the lush canopy (at speeds of up to 45 mph!). Another option is the Zip and Dip, which includes the canopy adventure, lunch, a hike and waterfall swimming.

Race it!

The Ironman World Championship (this year held on Oct. 8) may get the spotlight, but there are other travel-worthy races on the island. Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (June 3, 2017) lets you experience part of the world championship bike course, and the swim course at Hapuna Beach is one of the most raved about (turtles!) on the racing circuit. The Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon (April 2, 2017) is a 1500-meter swim at Waikoloa Beach, 40K ride (also on part of the Kona Ironman course) and 10K run that traverses lava fields and single-track trail before finishing on a white sand beach with a beer tent and barbecue. There’s also a 5K and kid’s aquathlon during the three-day festival.

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The Round-Up: Five Race-Ready Hats http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/gear-tech/round-five-race-ready-hats_293736 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:46:12 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293736 The trick is to find a hat that functions well in training, looks good and fits your head just right.

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In addition to blocking the sun’s harmful rays, the extra shade from a hat or visor helps reduce squinting, which keeps your face more relaxed. And there’s nothing like having a bill to serve as an awning for your eyes during a rainy run. The trick is to find a hat that functions well in training, looks good and fits your head just right.

 

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Both Sides Of The USA Triathlon Ballot Controversy http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/news/sides-usa-triathlon-ballot-controversy_293728 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:55:25 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293728 An attempt from USA Triathlon’s Board of Directors to gain further power, or an introduction of necessary updates to an antiquated system?

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An attempt from USA Triathlon’s Board of Directors to gain further power, or an introduction of necessary updates to an antiquated system? We break down both sides of the hotly debated USAT ballot.

If you’re one of USA Triathlon’s 115,000 annual members, you received an email ballot last week that included proposed changes to USAT bylaws. What you may not be aware of is that the changes have drawn strong criticism from a number of elite athletes. While USAT holds elections every two years, this is a special ballot specific to these proposed changes. Most notably opposing the changes is the Athletes Advisory Council (AAC), a group of six elite athletes—Gwen Jorgensen, Erin Jones, Joel Rosinbum, Steven Sexton, John O’Neil and Ben Collins—elected by their fellow professionals to protect the interest of elites when it comes to USAT policy.

The AAC released a statement last week detailing why they are encouraging USAT members to vote against the changes put forth by the Board of Directors. Their reasoning is three-fold: First, they feel the changes will limit the ability of members to run for positions on the board. Second, if the changes pass, the number of regional representatives will be reduced from eight to six. Lastly, and of greatest concern to the elites, is that certain professional athletes will be precluded from running for a general director position on the USAT Board.

Limiting Ability of Members to Run for Positions

The current bylaws allow any USAT member who collects 50 signatures to run for a position on the board. Once a member receives the required signatures, he or she is then placed on the ballot and is elected by the members in his or her region. The proposed changes to the language of the bylaws would mean that a prospective board member would have to be nominated by USAT’s Nominating and Governance Committee (NGC), which is appointed by the USAT Board. According to the AAC statement, this would give the current board much greater control over the future makeup of the board.

USAT, however, claims the changes would allow for proper vetting of candidates to create a “competency-based board,” which was proposed to USAT by United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun (and has apparently been proposed to a number of other national governing bodies). The idea behind a competency-based board is to have people with a diverse set of skills making up the board. So, for example, one person may have a legal background, another might have an understanding of communications and marketing, and another may be skilled when it comes to finance.

Reducing the Number of Regions

The second issue of reducing the number of regions from eight to six may sound benign, but the real concern for the elite athletes is what would happen to the two spots that would open up on the 12-person board. Currently the eight regionally elected board members (or general directors) are elected by the members of his or her region (after receiving 50 signatures to get on the ballot). Under the proposed changes, six general directors would still be elected by region (after being nominated by the NGC), and the remaining two board positions would be “independent directors,” who would be nominated by the NGC and elected by the board. At this time there is only one independent director on the board and that position is chosen by a majority vote of the general and athlete directors.

The real question at hand is whether or not the current regional representatives actually represent their regions. USA Triathlon’s argument is that the present system of electing eight regional representatives was drawn up when triathlon was a much smaller sport and very grassroots. With the growth of the sport and the advent of the Internet and social media, triathlon has become a national (and international) sport. A triathlete from Florida may race in California and train in Colorado alongside athletes from New York. The idea of electing regional representatives to pursue the best interests of the sport may in fact be a bit antiquated, and USAT believes it is.

Limiting Elite Athletes’ Involvement

The changes to the bylaws say in part: “Elites who qualify to run for athlete directors are not eligible to run for any general director position.”

According to elite triathlete and AAC member Ben Collins, “The issue is in the definition of an elite athlete for the purpose of being an athlete director. The way USAT defines eligibility for an athlete director is that an elite must have competed in a project gold level competition in the past 10 years—meaning any ITU World Championship or WTS event.”

For example, Matt Chrabot raced in the ITU Long Distance World Championship this past weekend in Oklahoma City. Even if he retired from professional racing tomorrow to pursue other endeavors, he’d be prevented from running for a general director position in his region until 2026 (and even then he’d have to be nominated by the NGC).

The accusation that elite athletes would be underrepresented on the board doesn’t exactly ring true, says USAT. Currently there are around 400 elite triathletes in the U.S. Approximately half of those would be eligible to run for an athlete director position according to the current guidelines. That means that there are three board positions for a group of 200 potential candidates to become athlete directors. Meanwhile, there are nine board positions for the 115,000 USAT members eligible to be a general director. The math suggests that elites are well represented on USAT’s board. If that 10-year rule weren’t in place, USAT’s board could, in theory, be overwhelmingly composed of past and current pros.

The proposed bylaw changes put forth by USAT’s board are wide-ranging and are worthy of careful consideration by its voting members. The accusation that the recommended changes are an act of “cronyism” on behalf of the current board may be a bit far-fetched. If the changes are passed, a number of the current board members will likely lose their seats on the board. But when a council that includes the reigning Olympic gold medalist expresses its concern over the amendments, it demands mindful scrutiny from everyone with a vote.

USAT members have until Oct.15 to submit their ballots.

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One-Hour Workout: Strength And Speed Session http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/one-hour-workout-strength-speed-session_293719 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:19:43 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293719 This session is built around strengthening the muscles that help improve your run and keep your core and pelvis strong.

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Every Tuesday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 minutes (or less!)

This week’s run and strength workout comes from coach Katie Landa of Recess Endurance Training in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“This workout is built around strengthening the muscles that help improve your run and keep your core and pelvis strong,” says Landa. “Each set will continue to get harder, and your recovery time will feel shorter as the body fatigues. The point here is to really challenge the current fitness state. Positive physical change to the cardiorespiratory system is necessary to improve. Causing the body fatigue, with proper recovery, will provide cardiorespiratory improvements for the athlete.”

Warm-up

3-5 min easy jog

Speed Section

Run 3 min (Endurance Pace)
Sprint* 1 min
Walk 1 min
*If you are running on a treadmill, your sprint pace should be 1.0-2.0 points above your endurance pace

Strength Section

At the top of every minute you will start a strength exercise. However long it takes you to finish the exercise, the remainder of that minute is your recovery. You wait until the minute is up to start the next exercise.

20 box jumps (jump squat alternate)
20 pushups
20 burpees
Full 1 min forearm plank hold

1-2 min recovery

Repeat entire series (speed and strength) until you reach one hour

More one-hour workouts

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Photos: 2016 ITU Salinas World Cup http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/photos/photos-2016-itu-salinas-world-cup_293667 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:39:32 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293667 USA’s Kirsten Kasper and Spaniard David Castro Fajardo captured their very first World Cup titles in the debut event in Ecuador on Sunday.

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It was a day of firsts at the 2016 Salinas ITU World Cup as USA’s Kirsten Kasper and Spaniard David Castro Fajardo captured their very first World Cup titles in the debut event in Ecuador on Sunday. Read the recap at Triathlon.org

2016 Salinas ITU World Cup
Salinas, Ecuador – Sept. 27, 2016
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run

Women
1. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 59:16
2. Summer Cook (USA) 59:23
3. Gillian Sanders (RSA) 59:31
4. Vanesa De La Torre (MEX) 59:43
5. Emma Jackson (AUS) 59:58
6. Mari Rabie (RSA) 1:00:01
7. Aoi Kuramoto (JPN) 1:00:03
8. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1:00:26
9. Dominika Jamnicky (CAN) 1:00:32
10. Lisa Norden (SWE) 1:00:32

Men
1. David Castro Fajardo (ESP) 53:33
2. Matthew Mcelroy (USA) 53:34
3. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 53:35
4. Felix Duchampt (FRA) 53:37
5. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) 53:39
6. Léo Bergere (FRA) 53:41
7. Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) 53:44
8. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 53:51
9. Bence Bicsák (HUN) 53:55
10. Lukas Hollaus (AUT) 53:56

Complete results

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Every Triathlon Training Plan Needs Wiggle Room http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/every-triathlon-training-plan-needs-wiggle-room_293702 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:04:07 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293702 "Life is not built around an Excel spreadsheet.”

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“Life is not built around an Excel spreadsheet.” If there is one phrase tri coach Matt Dixon repeats to his athletes, it’s this. While a training plan is essential for most age-groupers, failing to yield to life events results in setbacks, not growth.

“Trying to ram a rigid plan into the dynamic of life is a recipe for disaster,” Dixon says. “Simply sticking to the plan without adjustment typically results in the accumulation of fatigue, heightened injury risk and less-than-optimal yield for your hard work.”

Triathletes, who are often overachievers by nature, can feel the pressure to “do it all”—be a perfect spouse and parent, excel at their job, handle social commitments and nail every workout, every time. But checking all the boxes comes at a cost, Dixon says. “The goal is not simply execution of a rigid plan, nor accumulating hours. We must respond as life events happen, sleep gets compromised or fatigue accumulates.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should skip a workout every time life gets in the way. But a little wiggle room—missing a swim in favor of date night, or cutting a ride short because you were up all night with a sick child—can go a long way in keeping athletes happy and healthy.

Should You Skip?

Some excuses for skipping a workout are just that—excuses. But some hold water.

Excuse: “I’m tired!”
Recovery is important, but that doesn’t make fatigue an automatic license to skip. Some fatigue is normal—even important—to manage and train through. However, if you are developing fatigue to the point of insomnia, night sweats, suppressed heart rate or great perception of effort relative to normal output, take a rest day.

Excuse: “My daughter has a band concert.”
“As an amateur, it is worth remembering that this is a hobby, albeit a serious one for many,” Dixon says. “Remember that family is first, and if one training session is missed because of important functions or life commitments, just keep smiling and carry on.”

Excuse: “I’m too busy!”
A few missed workouts do not a disaster make. If a pressing deadline at work is skewing your training schedule, focus on hitting your key sessions (brick workouts, intervals, tempo efforts) and scratch your supporting (read: “easy”) workouts for the day.

Excuse: “I’d rather ride with my buddies.”
You’ve got two hours of intervals, while your pals are planning an easy out-and-back to the coffee shop. Though the lure of donuts and conversation can be strong, stick to your plan.

“The worst modifications are those that change the entire theme of a session to train with buddies, make it more fun or simply do something that you like better,” Dixon says. “If it is written in the plan, there is a reason for it. If you don’t know, then ask your coach.”

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Spruce Up Your Swim With Time-Trial Workouts http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/swim-training-spruce-up-your-swim-leg-with-time-trial-workouts_7336 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:25:16 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=7336 Swim time-trial workouts look more like a real triathlon swim leg than a set of 50-meter sprints and can enhance your performance come race day.

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Swim time-trial workouts look more like a real triathlon swim leg than a set of 50-meter sprints and can enhance your performance come race day.

You are training for a long-distance triathlon later this year. You know your swim training is going well because your times in your 50-meter sprint sets keep coming down. This is a sure sign your performance potential for the swim leg of your upcoming race is headed in the right direction, right? Not necessarily. While any type of improvement in workouts is usually a good sign, improved performance in short sprints is not always a reliable indicator of increasing performance potential in a long open-water swim. For real evidence, you should regularly perform workouts in the pool that look more like a real triathlon swim leg than a set of 50-meter sprints.

That’s where time-trial workouts come in. A time-trial swim workout serves the dual function of giving you a race-specific training stimulus and letting you know whether the rest of your training is actually serving to increase your race-specific fitness. The idea is to do one such workout every two to four weeks. If you see a satisfactory degree of improvement, you know your training is on track. If your level of improvement is disappointing, or if you fail to improve at all, you know your swim training needs to change.

Always do your swim time-trial workouts when you are well recovered from recent swim sessions. Warm up with at least 200 meters of easy lap swimming plus a few short (25-meter) sprints to prime the nervous system. Swim the designated distance as fast as you can (but evenly paced), record your time and cool down.

The length of your time trials depends on the distance of your next triathlon. However, I recommend increasing the distance of your time trials from one session to the next, starting at 800 meters and building from there. If you’re training for a sprint triathlon, you need not progress beyond 1,000 meters, whereas if you’re training for an iron-distance event, your longest time trial should about two miles.

Why not make all of your time trials about two miles if you’re training for an iron-distance race? First, your performance in time trials of gradually increasing distance will tell you as much about your race-specific swim-fitness development as a sequence of long time trials. You just have to interpret the data somewhat differently. Naturally, you should not expect to swim at a faster pace in a 1,500-meter time trial you do today than you swam in a 1,000-meter time trial performed three weeks earlier. However, you should be able to hold nearly the same pace over the longer distance. Secondly, in the early stages of training for an iron-distance triathlon, most of us lack the endurance to perform decently in a long-swim time trial. You would overtax yourself only to learn what you already know.

RELATED: 8 Triathlon Swim Questions Answered

Another reason to start with shorter time trials is that the progression from shorter to longer time trials fits with the way your overall swim training should progress. The goal of your training is to extend speed over distance. You achieve this objective by focusing on faster efforts exceeding race pace early in the training process and then gradually extending the efforts and slowing the pace toward race pace. Thus, the early period of your training for an Iron-distance triathlon should look similar to peak training for a sprint triathlon. So it makes sense to make your first swim time trial equal in distance to a sprint triathlon swim leg.

As mentioned above, if your degree of improvement from one time trial to the next is disappointing, you should modify your swim training to address the problem. The specific modification you make should depend on the specific limiter you identify (that is, the apparent cause of your disappointing performance). If you found the pace of your time trial manageable but you bonked toward the end, you were probably limited by your endurance and should increase the distance of your longest swim-training efforts.

If you started to feel uncomfortable at the pace you felt you should be able to sustain early in your time trial, then one of two factors is probably limiting you: insufficient speed or lack of specific endurance (or fatigue resistance at race intensity). If your sprint performance has been satisfactory in your other swim workouts, then lack of specific endurance is probably the issue and you should add some longer (200-400-meter) intervals to your subsequent training. If you have generally neglected sprint work, then lack of speed is probably holding you back and you need to add some shorter (25- to 100-meter), maximum-intensity intervals to your subsequent training.

RELATED: The Benefit Of The Time Trial For Triathletes

The tables below present suggested swim time-trial workout progressions for each of four triathlon race distances.

Suggested time-trial workout schedule for a sprint triathlon

8 weeks before race 800 meters
6 weeks before race 800 meters
4 weeks before race 1000 meters
2 weeks before race 1000 meters

Suggested time-trial workout schedule for an Olympic-distance triathlon

11 weeks before race 800 meters
8 weeks before race 1000 meters
5 weeks before race 1200 meters
2 weeks before race 1500 meters

Suggested time-trial workout schedule for a half-Ironman triathlon

14 weeks before race 800 meters
11 weeks before race 1000 meters
8 weeks before race 1500 meters
5 weeks before race 1 mile
2 weeks before race 1.2 miles

Suggested time-trial workout schedule for an Ironman-distance triathlon

17 weeks before race 800 meters
14 weeks before race 1000 meters
11 weeks before race 1500 meters
8 weeks before race 1 mile
5 weeks before race 1.2 miles
2 weeks before race 2 miles

Take-home message

A time-trial swim workout serves the dual function of giving you a race-specific training stimulus and letting you know whether the rest of your training is actually serving to increase your race-specific fitness.

Do one such workout every two to four weeks. If you see a satisfactory degree of improvement, you know your training is on track. If your level of improvement is disappointing, or if you fail to improve at all, you know your swim training needs to change.

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4 No-Hassle Post-Workout Breakfast Recipes http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/nutrition/4-no-hassle-post-workout-breakfast-recipes_293657 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:08:44 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293657 It’s true that a balanced morning meal brings about a slew of benefits, including better concentration and more energy.

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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

As the old saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s true that a balanced morning meal brings about a slew of benefits, including better concentration and more energy. Yet those who are committed to endurance training know that the path to better fitness is smoother when they take their post-workout nutrition just as seriously as breakfast.

With a little planning ahead, you can really improve your recovery immediately after your workout with these pre-made snacks that taste great.

Note: All recipes include substitute dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan ingredient options.

Republished with permission from “Rocket Fuel” by Matt Kadey, RD. Learn more at velopress.com/rocketfuel.

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Three Awesome New Tri Helmets At Interbike http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/bike/three-killer-new-tri-helmets-interbike_293649 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 13:11:43 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293649 Helmet options for triathletes have come a long way in the past few years.

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Helmet options for triathletes have come a long way in the past few years. These three new options showcase unique features that will appeal to a variety of triathletes.

3

Lazer Wasp Air Tri

Who should check it out: Gearheads

Shown here in a special edition Kona paint job, Lazer’s $350 Wasp Air Tri may be the ultimate in head protection.

The shell has two methods of heat relief. As expected, the vent on top provides air flow. When you need more relief, you can click out the two-position lens to create an air passage between the top of the lens and from rim of the helmet.

Want additional cooling? Lazer has what it calls an aquavent on top of the helmet. Water can be squirted into the port, channels inside send water around the head and out the back. Wet head, dry eyes.

This helmet does heart rate too with Lazer’s LifeBEAM sensor. It’s ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 and tested to withstand motion and moisture and will run you an extra $130.

The helmet also promises to help you maintain the optimal aero position with an inclination sensor that can sense as little as 2 degrees movement. Program it to vibrate when your head drops out of position, then clip it onto the back of your helmet. The sensor runs an extra $100.

Chose between four color combos, two of which let you change out the trim and the vent screen for a different look. Lazer’s long tail can also be clipped on for a more aero advantage.

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Photos: 2016 Oklahoma ITU Long Distance World Championships http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/photos/photos-2016-oklahoma-itu-long-distance-world-championships_293588 Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:00:22 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293588 Frenchman Sylvain Sudrie and Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow both reclaimed their world titles.

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Frenchman Sylvain Sudrie and Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow both reclaimed their once earned titles after being crowned the 2016 ITU Long Distance World Champions, after their wins in Oklahoma City. Conquering the 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run multisport course through very strong winds, both elites claimed their second world titles years after earning their first.

Read the recap at Triathlon.org

2016 Oklahoma ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships
Oklahoma City, Okla. – Sept. 24, 2016
4K swim, 120K bike, 30K bike

Men
1. Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) 5:59:46
2. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 6:02:11
3. Matt Chrabot (USA) 6:06:13
4. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 6:07:22
5. Cody Beals (CAN) 6:08:17
6. Craig Alexander (AUS) 6:12:57
7. Miguel Angel Fidalgo (ESP) 6:14:38
8. Samuel Betten (AUS) 6:15:01
9. Davide Giardini (USA) 6:22:28
10. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 6:22:42

Women
1. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 6:37:11
2. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 6:44:40
3. Rachel Mcbride (CAN) 6:56:05
4. Annie Thorén (SWE) 6:59:05
5. Emily Cocks (USA) 6:59:43
6. Kelly Williamson (USA) 7:05:06
7. Lesley Smith (USA) 7:07:17
8. Skye Moench (USA) 7:10:52
9. Catherine Jameson (GBR) 7:21:47
10. Maria Pujol (ESP) 7:26:57

Complete results
All photos by Janos Schmidt/Triathlon.org

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Argon 18’s Game-Changing Aero Concept Isn’t A Bike http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/bike/argon-18s-game-changing-aero-concept-isnt-bike_293584 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:02:30 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293584 If the bike company’s vision comes to life, triathletes are gonna be drooling over nose cones.

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If the bike company’s vision comes to life, triathletes are going to be drooling over nose cones

Canadian bike company Argon 18 stunned the cycling world when it debuted its aero concept bike in August. Dubbed the Smart Bike, it’s laden with 22 sensors that pull data from the bike itself, the rider, and the environment to display a real-time drag reading. But the Smart Bike isn’t the only forward-thinking thing Argon 18 has up its sleeve. The company revealed at Interbike that its nose cone could be fastened to any bike and also give real-time drag readings. It’s a potentially game-changing piece of equipment for triathletes.

Those drag readings come in the form of a number called CdA. Argon 18 techies describe CdA as the size of your parachute or the amount of drag created by athlete and bike. And a holistic approach to reducing drag, says Argon 18’s brain trust, is the new frontier in improving performance.

The value of drag ranges from zero to 1.0. The average athlete creates .32 CdA, pro triathletes about .23. If a rider can reduce drag by 10 percent, flat 40k TT times improve by at least two minutes.

The long term goal is to develop a head unit that interprets data and instructs the rider to lower their torso or pull in an elbow or make any number of adjustments to improve performance. It conceivably could tell a rider how hard to take a turn. That project is still on paper.  

By Interbike 2018, Argon 18 would like to have its nose cone in the market. And even though it would lack the fancy algorithms and custom displays of the head unit, Argon 18 Product Strategist Michael McGinn says a rider could monitor drag on a Garmin. The athlete could apply CdA to answer equipment questions: is one helmet slicker than another? Is 100psi or 110psi faster?  They could repeat courses and make body position adjustments to see if CdA goes down and speed goes up.

Improvements can be made off the bike too. Reducing drag by 10 percent could be as easy as a few downward dogs, since a more flexible rider is a more aero rider. McGinn says CdA may lead an athlete to a series of yoga classes.

Word of Argon 18’s drag measuring device has bike fitters dreaming big too. It’s one thing to set up bike position in a studio, it’s another to send that customer out on a ride and cross check adjustments made to saddle height or bar reach.  Fitters have also told Argon 18 they see a world where aero profiles are created that address course conditions, profile and distance. An athlete could have one position dialed for Kona and another for Coeur d’Alene.

“The technology presents an insight to the rider,” McGinn says, “and the rider adapts.”

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Quick Set Friday: Race 75s http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/quick-set-friday-race-75s_97305 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:18:21 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=97305 A new swim workout from Triathlete contributor and superstar swimmer Sara McLarty.

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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:
300 swim/300 pull/300 drill/300 kick
4×200 pull @ 3:00 (3/5/3/7 breathing pattern by 50)
8×25 @ :30 (1/2 FAST!, 1/2 easy)
20×100 @ 1:50 (75 RACE!/ 25 easy)
200 cool-down
*4400 total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: The Optimal Strokes Per Breath

B:
300 swim/300 pull/300 drill/300 kick
3×200 pull @ 4:00 (3/5/3/7 breathing pattern by 50)
8×25 @ :40 (1/2 FAST!, 1/2 easy)
15×100 @ 2:30 (75 RACE!/ 25 easy)
200 cool-down
*3700 total*

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: How To Use A Snorkel In Training

C:
200 swim/200 pull/200 drill/200 kick
3×150 pull w/ :30 rest (3/5/3 breathing pattern by 50)
6×25 w/ :15 rest (1/2 FAST!, 1/2 easy)
10×100 w/ :30 rest (75 RACE!/ 25 easy)
100 cool-down
*2500 total*

More swim workouts from Sara McLarty.

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Photos: Fun Tri Finds From 2016 Interbike http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/photos/photos-fun-tri-finds-2016-interbike_293557 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:54:27 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293557 Contributor Michael Hotten shares some of the gear triathletes will be most excited about for 2017 and beyond.

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We’re on the ground at the 2016 Interbike trade show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. getting a look at the latest innovations in cycling and triathlon gear. Contributor Michael Hotten shares some of the gear triathletes will be most excited about for 2017 and beyond.

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Soccer Legend Frank Lampard Wants To Be An Ironman http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/news/soccer-legend-frank-lampard-wants-ironman_293547 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:08:59 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293547 The famous Brit says 140.6 is his next sports goal when he retires from Major League Soccer.

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British soccer legend Frank Lampard hasn’t officially announced his retirement from soccer, but once he does hang up the cleats you may find him swimming, biking and running alongside you at an upcoming triathlon.

Lampard says he would love to tackle an Ironman triathlon after his career in Major League Soccer is over.

The 38-year-old has enjoyed a resurgence in his second season with New York City FC, scoring 12 goals in 15 starts.

Lampard has yet to say if he’ll return to NYCFC next season, but while answering fans’ questions on the club’s website, he said he plans on staying fit after he retires.

“I’d love to do an Ironman. I’d love to,” Lampard said. “I’ve always had a huge respect for people who do the Ironman, honestly.

“It’s a very tough endurance race that I think is much more popular these days than ever. At the end of my career, hopefully after a little bit of rest, I can attempt to do that.”

If he does choose to line up at a 140.6, Lampard will join a string of top-notch athletes who’ve tackled the Ironman after retiring from the sport that made them famous, including short track speed skater Apollo Ohno, NFL hall-of-famer Hines Ward and MLB star Eric Byrnes.

Read the original story at Espn.com

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The New Way To Fight Knee Pain? Don’t Move http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/new-way-fight-knee-pain-dont-move_293541 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:47:54 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293541 The most effective exercises for combatting patellar tendonitis might be the simplest.

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The most effective exercises for combatting patellar tendonitis might be the simplest

For those who experience knee pain, relief may be as simple as holding a squat.

According to a study published in the August 2016 issue of Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, Australian researchers found isometric exercises—steady-state exercises, like wall sits and planks—can relieve knee pain caused by patellar tendonitis.

Typically, patients with patellar tendonitis are asked to perform a mix of isometric and isotonic (exercises that require movement) maneuvers. However, because the knee is a joint, the movement associated with isotonic exercises can sometimes aggravate pain. The result: frustrated athletes who give up on rehab.

“The isotonic exercises used for patellar tendonitis are painful to complete,” says Dr. Ebonie Rio of Australia’s Monash University. “When these exercises are given to athletes, research has shown their pain increases and their adherence to doing these exercises is poor, probably because of the pain.” Rio, along with a team of researchers, wanted to see if lower-stress isometric exercises could help fix the pain—and the compliance problem.

After recruiting 20 athletes with diagnosed patellar tendonitis, the researchers split the subjects into two groups: one set who performed isometric leg holds, and another who did isotonic leg extensions. After one week, the isometric group reported significant relief from knee pain. At the four-week mark, the isometric group had higher rates of exercise compliance than the isotonic group, in large part because they were experiencing far less pain.

That result led Rio to conclude that, “heavy isometric muscle holds reduce patellar tendon pain immediately and substantially. They are more effective for immediate pain relief than isotonic exercises.”

So does that mean we can do away with step-ups and lunges forever? Not quite. Isotonic exercises should still be a part of the patellar tendonitis rehabilitation protocol once the knee pain is reduced. Staying strong with a variety of maneuvers is an important part of training. Says Rio: “Don’t miss leg day.”

Try it: Spanish Squat

To do this isometric exercise, position a belt around a sturdy pillar, creating two loops on either side of the pillar. Wrap the belt as many times around pillar as need so that when you step one leg inside each loop, the belt is around your upper calf and your toes are against the pillar. Squat back as deep as possible, keeping your spine upright. Don’t lean forward. Hold this position for 45 seconds; rest, then repeat.

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How To Prevent Chafing http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/partnerconnect/how-to-prevent-chafing_293527 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:16:25 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293527 Stop chafing! New 2skin gel is safe for neoprene wetsuits and is recommended by world champion Jan Frodeno. What is chafing? During sports—especially during triathlon—our […]

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Stop chafing! New 2skin gel is safe for neoprene wetsuits and is recommended by world champion Jan Frodeno.

What is chafing?

During sports—especially during triathlon—our skin suffers from chafing. Chafing is a condition that arises when skin tissues rub against one another or when skin rubs against clothing. It can lead to a variety of symptoms, including redness, itching, inflammation, tenderness, soreness and swelling at the affected site. These symptoms can worsen when the affected area comes into contact with water or sweat. Chafing during triathlon is most likely to occur near the seams of the wetsuit, on the inner thigh area, the nipples, the feet, the skin underneath the heart-rate monitor strap or at the groin or rear, where the bike saddle exerts large amounts of pressure on the skin through the clothing.

Preventing chafing

One way to help prevent chafing is to wear appropriate clothing. This includes clothing that helps keep your skin dry and wicks moisture away from your skin, as well as clothing with no or only small seams. Underwear and bras with seams or other sewn parts that rub against the skin should be replaced with items that do not contribute to friction. Comfortable synthetic fabrics and clothing that do not rub against the skin are recommended. Clothing that compresses—for example, garments made of Spandex or Lycra—may also help. If you tend to suffer from chafing on the thighs, you should also wear pants and/or shorts made of these materials. Make sure you change out of wet clothing promptly after exercise.

New gel to prevent chafing

A new product that even top triathlete and Ironman world champion Jan Frodeno uses in his races is also highly recommended: pjuractive 2skin, a gel that protects against chafing and blisters. Immediately after application, it forms an invisible protective film on the skin. The cell structure is strengthened and the pressure on the skin is spread out over a larger area. And unlike conventional creams and sticks, your skin remains breathable! 2skin has been dermatologically tested, is free from skin-weakening emulsifiers and is water and sweat resistant. The product is also safe to use with functional sports clothing and wetsuits.

Jan Frodeno is a fan: “In the past, I often had problems with sores and blisters. But thanks to 2skin I no longer experience chafing, even during long open-water swimming sessions or after endless miles of cycling and jogging.”

pjuractive 2skin offers many advantages over traditional creams that are often used by cyclists. Only a small amount is needed and it is applied directly to the skin, whereas traditional creams are applied in thick layers between the skin and clothing.

Treating chafed skin

If you do end up with chafed skin or if you’re reading this because you didn’t have any gel on hand to prevent chafing, here are a few tips: take time to allow your skin to heal, while ensuring good nutrition, and apply a bit of chamomile ointment to the area. Chamomile oil (also known as calendula oil) promotes healing and has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Before applying any ointment, cleanse the affected area with lukewarm water, even if it stings at first. This will help prevent infection.

A healthy, balanced diet can also help to heal damaged skin. Foods rich in Vitamin A, C and beta-carotene boost the immune system and promote healing when skin is chafed or inflamed. Monitoring your calorie intake can help prevent weight gain that contributes to skin folds, which are areas where chafing is more common.

If the chafed area is small, you may also cover it with a small bandage to protect the skin and prevent further chafing. If the affected area is swollen, crusted, bleeds, or is unusually painful, you should consult a physician. Skin that is infected may require treatment with prescription antibiotics.

Pjuractive 2skin, the gel that can prevent the onset of chafing, is already available from many retailers in the U.S., and can also be ordered from Pjuractive.com.

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Recipe: Herbed Cornmeal, Cranberry, Date Muffins http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/nutrition/recipe-herbed-cornmeal-cranberry-date-muffins_293534 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:21:52 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293534 The first day of fall calls for a themed muffin.

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The first day of fall calls for a themed muffin. Fall apple shreds keep these earthy, herbed muffins moist, while cranberries and dates lend a pop of sweetness and texture.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups stoneground cornbread mix*
1 ½ cups coconut milk
¼ cup canola oil
1 egg
1 large apple, grated
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

*Look for a brand that is Organic and non-GMO in your grocery health food section or specialty grocer (recommend Bob’s Red Mill)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, canola oil, egg and apple.
3. Stir in the cornbread mix. Then gently stir in the dates, cranberries, thyme and rosemary.
4. Use a ¼ cup to scoop batter into the muffin tin, use extra batter to even out the batter in each tin.
5. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Then use a butter knife to loosen edges and remove muffins onto a cooling rack.

Serving suggestions: Wrap in foil and pack as ride food, toast in a pan and serve with over easy egg on top, crumble into a pan with browned turkey sausage for a cornbread stuffing side.

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 JoJe Bar. A former professional XTERRA triathlete, Cerra now races for Twenty16 Women’s Professional Cycling Team.

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What’s Holding You Back As A Cyclist? http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/training/whats-holding-you-back-as-a-cyclist_124455 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 16:55:44 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=124455 This fall, address the bike limiters that are standing in the way of your best results.

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Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

This fall, address the bike limiters that are standing in the way of your best results.

Finding new speed on the bike during your off-season sounds like an unlikely occurrence, right? But improving some simple things that factor into your cycling strength may be simpler than you think. It may not even involve doing more cycling!

How fast you go depends on a few factors: your power, weight and how aerodynamic you are. On a flat course, what matters most is your power and drag. On a very hilly course, your power and weight matter more (watts per kilogram). Take advantage of this time of year to address your biggest limiter.

Your power is lacking.

„Ride more. Sometimes the simplest solution is the answer. This option is great if you haven’t been training for a long period of time or training consistently. The great thing about just starting out is that nearly any stimulus works. If you’ve been riding for less than a year—or less than three times a week for a longer period of time—you will benefit merely from riding more. Find a way to make it fun. Join a cycling group, sign up for a fall century or try some shop rides.

„Follow a plan. After you’ve been riding for a few years, it takes more than “just riding” or tagging along on whatever ride your friends are doing to improve. Check out the plans available on Trainer Road (Trainerroad.com) as a starting point. Whether your goal is to improve your functional threshold power (FTP) or add some structure to your endurance miles, it’s likely that Trainer Road has a plan for you.

„Hire a coach. Objectivity matters! I have found that when left to their own devices, most people will push themselves too hard (thus failing to elicit improvement) or go too easy (not enough of a training stimulus to improve). This is where accountability comes in and objectivity is key. Even if you are a coach yourself, the adage is true: “Every coach needs a coach.”

RELATED: How To Use A Power Meter In A Race

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It’s About Darn Time Female Athletes Got These Emojis http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/09/news/darn-time-female-athletes-got-emojis_293520 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 21:10:58 +0000 http://triathlon.competitor.com/?p=293520 Apple and Fleet Feet Sports roll out the best emojis yet. Sorry, poop.

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Apple and Fleet Feet Sports roll out the best emojis yet. Sorry, poop.

Workout updates just got a feminine touch: with Apple’s latest iOS 10 system update, users are now able to choose from both male and female emoji characters for swim, bike, and run.

Emojis, those ubiquitous smiley faces and fist bump icons, have changed how we express ourselves in text messages and social media updates. What originally started out as a basic set of smiley faces has evolved into a de facto language: today, emojis exist for everything from sushi and hamburgers to aliens and Kim Kardashian.

Until recently, however, the athletes among us were left with few options: some wave-like icons for the swim, a row of tiny dudes cycling, or a guy running. For women in any sport, the representation was nonexistent.

Not any more.

Back in May 2016, executives at Google scrutinized the lack of gender diversity in emoji art. To them, it didn’t seem logical that women—the heaviest users of emoji in text messages and social media—vastly underrepresented in the icon world. Apple agreed, and quickly set out to work on updating their emoji set. Going forward, all sports emojis— including the swimmer, cylist, and runner—have both male and female options. Apple also created more diversity in professional emojis (female doctors and construction workers, for example) and social icons (like a male option for “getting a haircut”). The iOS 10 update is available now, and is for iPhone 5 or later generation phones as well as newer iPads, iPad minis, iPad pros and iPod touch devices.

Apple isn’t the only company diving into diverse sports-mojis. Fleet Feet Sports announced it’ll roll out an app called runMoji on Oct. 1 that features both female and male runners—and female and male runners pushing strollers.

A running-woman emoji may seem like a small thing (no pun intended) but it actually represents the shifting demographics of sport. Endurance sports in particular have seen drastic changes in female participation—in 1990, women made up just 25 percent of the field at running events; today, they represent more than half of all participants. In multisport, female membership in USA Triathlon has grown from 27 percent in 2000 to more than 37 percent in 2014. Initiatives such as Women for Tri aim to further increase female participation in multisport events, hoping to grow those numbers to at least 50 percent. At this month’s Ironman Wisconsin, females made up almost one-third of the total field toeing the line.

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