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The Importance of Strength Training During Off Season

During off season one of our top priorities should be to increase muscular strength. Incorporating strength training will improve your performance in all three disciplines, improve recovery, and reduce the frequency and severity of injuries. Strength training sessions will look different during off season. You can push your body a little harder. For example, I would have an athlete doing some plyometrics (if they are ready for that). In addition, add more strength building (heavier weights) with less reps exercises. This builds strength and muscle mass. The more muscle we have the more mitochondria we have. Mitochondria aids in oxygenating our muscles and that’s a good thing. When an athlete is off season, their volume is lower which allows them…
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TriDot 101 – What is my Triathlon Training Stress Profile (TSP) and Why Should I Care?

Triathlon is stressful—literally. And for good reason. After all, stress is the point of good triathlon training. This is because we induce stress so as to incur a positive result later. However, to be a positive result, your body must be capable of absorbing the training in a beneficial way. The explicit capability of handling stress isn’t something a lot of triathletes consider. But think about it. Let’s say this is your first year in triathlon and you’re new to running and your coach sets you up with a workout that has you doing 50% of the total duration at threshold pace (once all of the interval durations are summed). How much of that stress do you really think is…
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What’s the Perfect Triathlon Racing Weight?

Throughout my years in triathlon I’ve heard a lot of athletes ask about a particular physiological subject of which I’ve never placed much stock in myself. A simple topic that we as a nation are obsessed with: body weight.   Macca’s Story The general consensus among endurance athletes, many of which are triathletes, is that “the lighter I am, the faster I will go.” Chris McCormack (affectionately known at Macca) directly challenged this line of thinking in an article for Triathlete from June 2015. Chris began by noting, “I’d say 99 percent of people I talk to in this sport believe weight’s relationship to performance is as simple as ‘less is better.’ This is a half-truth – the weight puzzle…
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How to Train for a Triathlon During an Injury

If you’re a triathlete and you’ve never been injured – congratulations on being in the minority. For the rest of us, however, we’ve been down this frustrating path before. The worst situation to be in, of course, is waist deep in triathlon training for a very expensive race and that nagging injury-groundhog rears his head up to announce six more weeks of depression. You can crawl back down your hole and wallow in self-pity – or you can fight back. While this isn’t the rule of certainty, it often times is possible to train through an injury and still arrive on the other side ready for your triathlon. Here’s how:   1. Identify the Injury Triathlon training injuries come in…
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5 Steps to Your Most Effective Triathlon Taper

My non-athletic roommate in college once claimed quite proudly, “Yeah, I’d go on a run with you, but I’m still tapering. It’s been a 10-year taper so I’m gonna be super-fast once it’s over.” Sadly I don’t think he understood the science nor the art of what tapering really is. Unfortunately, many triathletes are in a similar boat. We’re often guilty of equating tapering simply to the word “rest.” But rest can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, tapering is quitting training altogether before their A race (not smart). For others, it’s training at a consistent volume but going easy for every workout. For others still, it’s perhaps a guess, like skipping every…
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Does Strength Training Affect Triathlon Running Mechanics?

I’ve been running for over half my life. That means two things. One: I’ve been logging miles for over 16 years. Two: I’m getting old. In my early, naïve days, I did a lot of strength training. It wasn’t the right kind of strength training for running, but it was strength training nonetheless. The question is, did the improved strength affect my running mechanics? The answer is “yes” and “no.” Hold the phone. “Yes” and “no”? How could it be both? Here’s why: My running mechanics at the time were… not great. I wasn’t altogether inefficient, but I wasn’t exactly a Kenyan either. The thing about good running form is that it doesn’t just happen by being stronger. Good running…
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How to Avoid Bonking in Your Triathlon Training

If you’re new to triathlon you may have heard the term recently, saw it satirically written on a fellow triathlete’s t-shirt, or even ate a “Bonk Breaker” chew, but do you know what the word actually means? The noun/verb “bonk” is simple. It is a reference to the physiological state your body reaches when all glycogen stores have been depleted and not enough new glycogen has been restored. In other words, you’re out of gas. You’ve hit the wall. Train for triathlon long enough and this will happen to you. We all do it at some point or another. Bonking is almost like an undesired rite of passage that every triathlete in training must go through. But, of course, we…

5 Goal-Setting Tips for Triathletes

A shot in the dark gets you one of two things: Either a very happy-to-be-alive deer or a very upset neighbor with a newly flattened truck tire. You need a light to shine the way. In triathlon, that light is a goal. A finish line you can run toward. Triathlon goals are different for every triathlete. For some it’s beating their PR. For others it’s placing top 5 in their age group. Maybe you want to qualify for Kona. Or maybe you just want to finish your first triathlon. The goal-setting possibilities are endless! But if you have yet to set a goal or are having trouble deciding what it should be, consider these five tips for triathletes to ensure…
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What Type of Bike Do I Really Need for Triathlon?

As a seasoned triathlete and a coach, I’ve heard this question a lot. Often beginners want to know what kind of bike they should buy for triathlon. And my response is initially always the same (and not without my patented sense of snark): “A bike that fits.” But, of course, that’s another topic for another day. Others who have a few races under their belt want to know if what they’re riding is right for them. This is tricky because upgrading depends so much on your budget and your priorities. Therefore, the question can really only be answered on a case-by-case basis. However, one thing is universally true. A triathlon bike will always be faster than a road bike. Case…
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Why You Need a Methodical Triathlon Training Program

Ever heard the statistics of how many Ironman triathletes are also engineers? Well, you can put another tally on the board, because I’m among their number. But why are so many triathletes naturally found in fields of work where “Type A” personalities thrive? The reason is because triathlon training requires a methodical, almost scientific, approach in order to be successful. It demands organization, consistency, and the evaluation of repeatable processes. Is your training methodical? If not, here are a few things you might be missing out on. Triathlon Training is a Science Experiment A science experiment, in essence, is made up of three parts: Hypothesis Testing Results. We want to discover something unknown so first we must theorize what the…

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