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From Spaceman to Ironman

Throughout his childhood in Italy, Luca Parmitano knew two things: he loved sports, and he wanted to be an astronaut. He spent his youth as an avid basketball player, swimmer, and runner, before relocating to California in 1995 as a foreign exchange student. Eventually, Luca returned home to Italy, graduating from the Italian Air Force Academy before making his way back to the U.S. once again to train with the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. During his career as a pilot, Luca achieved prestige by qualifying to fly more than 40 types of aircraft. In 2009, Luca fulfilled one of his childhood dreams-being selected an Astronaut for the European Space Agency. Luca and…
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From Preseason Project to the Big Island

In the early morning hours, before dawn breaks, 48-year-old Kit Allowitz is awake and grinding. The metrology development manager trains before the sun rises to ensure he can devote the remainder of his day to family and career responsibilities. Hours later in Colorado, Karen Cowles, a registered nurse working from home as a safety specialist with the FDA, is on the bike trainer, pushing through challenging intervals before her lunch break ends. Completing her workout during the day is key to keeping her evening hours open, where she will lead the track workout for her local training group.  In a Dallas Texas suburb, 30-year-old coach Elizabeth James wraps up her evening workout before settling into an orientation call with on-boarding…
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Top 5 Habits of Kona Qualifiers

It’s difficult to describe the opportunity to compete in Kona to a non-triathlete. It’s like describing the feeling of making it onto the field of the Super Bowl to someone who’s never experienced the joy of watching a football game. It is a unique opportunity to compete on the same day, and on the same course, as many of your idols. You get to live the dream of swimming in the beautiful but grueling Kailua Bay, to pedal against the unforgiving trade winds on the Queen K, and to endure the brutal, soul-burning heat flowing from the lava rock that flanks the Energy Lab. And to your left and right, there are your heroes, racing alongside you. At Kona, you…
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Madden on Excellence: From Adversity to Excellence

As I child growing up in a dysfunctional home in an inner-city area, I learned about the realities of adversity. Adversity was all around me and overcoming challenges both at school and at home were a major part of my everyday world. To manage these uncertainties, I learned the importance of persistence and always striving to do my best in all endeavors no matter how bad things appeared. Athletics was the place that seemed to be my niche and where I was in my element. During practice and competition, my desire to reach a high level of performance became one of the character traits that allowed me to embrace “excellence.” Performing at a high level in the competitive arena was…
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Family – How to Keep Priorities While Triathlon Training

Triathlon is an exceedingly rewarding sport. But it’s also an exceedingly time consuming affair. Triathlon training requires a lot of attention because there are so many extra variables involved in multi-sport that you just don’t get in a one-trick-pony discipline like running. The more devotion you show to those variables, the greater your success will be. But then the question becomes: At what cost? There’s the financial cost of triathlon we’re all too aware of. There’s the leisure cost. There’s also potentially the physical cost. But what about the relational cost? Most of us in triathlon have normal jobs and a family. We are literally not able of making triathlon training a twenty-four/seven hobby. The more we try to, the…
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How to Overcome Pain in Triathlon

Pain is a wholly necessary component to success in anything. You don’t get good at your job without some struggle or challenge. In triathlon, pain is the primary currency for improvement. It may seem scary at first, but there are ways to overcome pain that perhaps you haven’t considered before. Here are a few mental exercises that, if incorporated consistently in your daily routine, can help you rethink how to handle pain.   Prioritize Goals more than your Feelings Being driven is often lauded as a positive attribute to have. As triathletes, our non-athlete friends have probably asked us how we can put ourselves through so much suffering. We must be driven, they say. Before feeling warm and fuzzy about…
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The Top 3 Distractions in Triathlon Training

If there’s ever been a time to be distracted it’s here and now in the 21st century. Between smart phones, Twitter, and Netflix, our senses have been bombarded more than the dinosaurs in an asteroid shower. But even if you can manage enough focus to start your triathlon training, there are still distractions aplenty dedicated to veering you off course. These are the top 3 distractions in triathlon training to avoid.   1. Your Pace Typically pace is a positive thing, but every so often it can turn its back on you. In this case I’m using the term loosely. Here pace can mean average speed, minutes per mile, minutes per 100 yards, or power in watts. Now don’t get…
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Why Corrective Exercises Are Important to Triathlon Training

Whether you swim like Michael Phelps, bike like Chris Froome, or run like Meb Keflezighi, one thing is clear: your form is not perfect. Even the greatest of athletes still have room for improvement, and they work on their weaknesses daily. In fact, that’s much of what separates top-tier triathletes from the mid-packers. It’s the attention to detail. While fitness is obviously important, superior technique is the other half of the triathlon training puzzle. What we mean by technique is the ability to move one’s body in a repeatable way with the greatest possible efficiency. Technically speaking, it’s often true that if you’re capable of repeating the process of an exercise in a superior manner to the next person, you…
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Triathlon Training: What’s Really Required When It Comes to Protein?

Protein is a hot topic among triathletes these days. Hearsay and the wrong advice often flood the triathlon marketplace of ideas. Amidst the confusion, several questions regarding this subject demand answers. How much should I consume daily? Should I be consuming protein before my workout? During? After? What’s really required when it comes to protein? Let’s take one step back first. What exactly is protein anyway? Protein is one of the three macronutrients and is essential for building muscle mass. The other two macronutrients are carbohydrates and fat. Carbs provide the energy for our muscles. Fat does the same as a reserve along with protecting our overall body with much needed insulation. What’s been trending for the past decade or…
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Triathlon Nutrition – Metabolic Efficiency

In the triathlon world, there are a wealth of opinions and theories as to which nutritional method is best. For years we were taught that a high carb diet was an athlete’s best friend. Now science is putting that idea to the test. Metabolic efficiency, a term coined by sports nutritionist Bob Seebohar, is one such method of controlling our nutrition in and outside of training in order to perform better. Metabolic efficiency simply refers to how well our body uses our stored nutrients for energy.  In our body, we have two main stores for energy: fat and carbohydrates. Fat predominates our energy stores considerably more than carbohydrates. The body stores close to 80,000 calories of fat and only 14-18,000…

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