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Why Core Strength is so Important for Triathlon

They’re not just for looks, guys and gals. Your abdominal section, or better yet your entire core, is the proverbial backbone of triathlon’s three disciplines – excuse the confusing anatomical metaphor. Many triathletes might assume strengthening their arms and legs will generate the most benefits since these are the extremities that directly impact your movement in the swim, bike, and run. However, putting all of your focus there would be a mistake. The core may arguably be the most important muscle group to strengthen in triathlon. But why is core strength so essential for your progress as a successful triathlete? The short answer is posture and form. Core Strength for your Swim Swimming requires a stable trunk and streamlined position…
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How to Measure Your Swim Threshold in Triathlon Training

Most technically savvy triathletes are familiar with terms like “functional threshold power” on the bike or “lactate threshold for their run.” These are measurements of your pace based on your sustained threshold ability for a given amount of time; usually one hour. In other words, what is the maximum pace you can hold for an all out one-hour effort? However, few triathletes know their functional threshold in the swim or even know how to obtain it. Knowing your threshold ability in all disciplines is essential. In essence, there are two types of triathlon training: aerobic and anaerobic. Any kind of effortful training below your threshold is aerobic. Anything above is anaerobic. Now in actuality, triathlon training zones are much more…
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How Many Hours of Triathlon Training Do You Need?

There’s a saying by successful businessman and syndicated columnist, Harvey Mackay, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Truer words have never been spoken for the triathlete. Every hour is a precious commodity, which always seems to be in short supply. Yet every bit of time’s small stock is absolutely necessary to achieve any sort of triathlon-related goal. As any seasoned triathlete is aware of by now, successful triathlon training requires a significant quantity of hours of work per week in order to mean something. The real question is, how much is enough?…
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Foam Rolling – Five Important Minutes for Triathletes

Self-myofascial release, or self-massage, is the technical term to describe foam rolling. Triathletes benefit from foam rolling because it targets a specific point on your body that is suffering from muscle tightness or knots. There are major benefits to using a foam roller and the good news is it isn’t time consuming and you can do it while watching TV! Why Use a Foam Roller? Nearly all triathletes have good reasons to partake in foam rolling. For one, stretching by itself isn’t always sufficient enough to release muscle tightness. Sometimes you need a little extra oomph. And if you have a knot in your muscles, just imagine tying a knot in an elastic band. You can stretch the band and…
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How to Handle the Heat when Triathlon Training

For most triathletes, training in the heat is brutal. Not only is the heat and humidity physically draining; it’s mentally demoralizing. In fact, as a triathlete in training, you may even be struggling with the mere reality of garnering enough courage to train outside during these few intense months. However, with the proper planning and the correct mindset, you can master triathlon training in the heat. Here’s how: Hydrate Early Hydrating during your triathlon workout is pointless if you’re starting without the proper amount of liquid to utilize. And hydration to battle severe heat doesn’t start 15 minutes before your workout either. You need to be hydrated many hours or the night before. You’ll need the time for your body…
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Triathlon Cycling: Pedaling Technique – Part II

In Part I of our post on triathlon cycling: pedaling technique, I discussed the differences between toe down and heel down and, with all other things being equal, the lack of advantage one has over the other. Today we’ll look at the implementation of toe down or heel down when cycling on flats vs. climbs as well as the pedaling technique known as ‘ankling.’ First, it’s important to note that you will pedal differently depending on your cadence. It’s widely known that the faster your cadence is, the less likely you’ll be able to control any sort of pedaling technique. This makes sense. High cadence usually equates to high effort. And as Steve Hogg illustrates from "Pedaling Technique – Which…
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Triathlon Cycling: Pedaling Technique – Part I

Toe Down vs. Heel Down Pedal efficiency is a cycling nerd subject. We all know how to ride a bike but the triathlete who’s really dedicated really wants to know how to ride a bike. Really. Pedaling technique is an argument over how to be more efficient. Should you ride toe down? Heel down? Or somewhere in between? Through my research and experience, great cyclists and triathletes have accompanied all forms of pedaling techniques. The legends have run the full gambit of toe down, heel down, and average. So it only stands to reason that this kind of pedal technique is not necessarily indicative of your cycling prowess. Thus, I suppose we could technically just stop here and say it…
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How to Motivate for Triathlon Training

When you’re not “in it,” finding the motivation to train is a difficult hurdle to climb. The desire to train doesn’t usually spark out of thin air. It’s developed by positioning yourself within the right mental and physical circumstances. So if you’re having trouble staying motivated in your triathlon training then here’s some advice on how to buck that trend. Create Goals Training just to train is a difficult task to take on. When there’s no urgency or event on the horizon it’s easy to ask yourself why you’re even doing anything triathlon related in the first place. Therefore, a triathlete always needs a goal to be shooting for. The misconception, however, is that this goal always needs to be…
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Misconceptions about Carb Loading in Triathlon

At some point over the past four decades or so athletes created a picture in their mind of what carb loading looks like. And that image became a big bowl of pasta the night before a race. In reality, effective carb loading for any endurance event, much less triathlon, is much more involved than this. First of all, why do we “load” carbs prior to a race? The reason is because of glycogen. Glycogen is the most accessible store of energy in the body. Glycogen is what you’ll be burning as fuel during a triathlon. When you eat something like pizza, most of the carbohydrates from that pizza get stored as glycogen in your body. Thus, eat pizza the day…
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What do New Running-Watch Metrics Really Mean to Triathletes? (Part 2)

Last time we started a post-series talking about running-watch running dynamics and what part cadence plays as a metric for triathletes. Today we’ll be covering two other metrics that new running-watches are capable of tracking and discuss why you should be paying attention to them. Ground Contact Time In all honesty, the remaining metrics are really only derivatives to that of run cadence. However, these are still great data values to track and are very representative of where you are in your running form. Ground contact time (GCT) is literally the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground upon each step. This metric is measured in milliseconds. Naturally, as speed increases your ground contact time decreases.…

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