Thursday, May 31, 2007

Open Water Swimming

A buddy of mine, Dan Blank, told me a story of him trying to reach shore after his kayak over turned. Now I won't bore you with my version of the story let's just say it was funny, but also reminded me to get some practice before NY Triathlon. Open water swimming is much different than a pool, you have current, waves and debrey floating sometimes in your way. Not to mention sun glare, which could mess your stroke up when you turn to breathe. The main difference is making sure you have a high stroke, if it is too low and a wave catches your arm you will find yourself out of sequence. Go to the shore early morning and jump right in, the water will be colder or feel colder, and the sun will be coming up. There is only one way to get ready for open water that is to go and practice.
So get going!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Transport Your Bike, Race to Race

Now we talk a lot about training, but one this review it is about getting your stuff to an event, if you can't drive to an triathlon and have to fly then read further.
Along comes Tri Bike Transport! Now if you are traveling all the time then investing in solid case of your own might be a better alternative, then this one from Delta Cases is practically bullet proof. For the once a year triathlon that you need to get to like KONA you can't beat Tri Bike Transport. TriBike Transport offers a unique service to help ease the logistical headaches of preparing for and traveling to a North American Ironman event or other triathlon.

Avoid the high cost, inconvenience and risks of checking your bike with the airlines or shipping it via mass ground carrier to your big race. Simply drop it off, fully assembled, at one of our conveniently located partner bike shops before you leave for your IM destination and pick it up, ready to ride, before your race, within walking distance of the Ironman Village. Your bike is never disassembled or packed in a case.

After your race, drop it off at the same location the same evening or the next morning and we'll get it back to your local shop for you to pick up at your convenience after you get home.
Check them out! Tri Bike Transport

Friday, May 25, 2007

Transition: Swim-to-Bike, Bike-to-Run

The triathletes spend their time focused on swimming, biking, running rather than the transitions. You should spend some time focused on the transition, it is an event all it's own. Build transitions into your workouts, after a swim workout have your stuff layed out and do the switch, time yourself and get riding. Make a mental not of where you had trouble.
Check out this article from

Tips for getting in and out of the triathlon transition zones quickly

Most triathletes spend the bulk of their training time focused on the three events: swimming, cycling, and running. But the transition between each event also requires training. Each triathlon has two transitions: a swim-to-bike and a bike-to-run. Although they seem simple a poor transition can add precious time and waste energy during a race. A good transition can improve your position and spirits while a bad one can leave you struggling to make up lost time. Here are some tips to help you prefect your transitions. more...

Special thanks to Elizabeth Quinn

Monday, May 21, 2007

Changing it up: Learn how to swim butterfly

The hardest thing to do over a 16 week training schedule is to break it up! Swimming free the whole time can cause stress on the joints and even wear you out. Learning to swim different strokes can make training fun again! Swimming the Butterfly or "fly" is tough, but once mastered you are stronger and more flexible then when you started.
"Butterfly is a difficult stroke to swim as it needs both stamina and style.
The movements you need to make, however, are not difficult because you will have done many of them before in other strokes.

Under and over with the arms
1) Both of your arms work at the same time and keep moving throughout the stroke.
2) Put your hands in the water in front of your shoulders and push towards your feet.
3)When your hands reach your thighs, lift them out of the water and throw them back to the start.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

Well, it can be if you make sure that you are pushing hard as your hands reach your thighs.
This will help them to fly out of the water.

Look forward to breathe
1) You need to keep your head in the water all of the time, except when you need to breathe in.
2) If you lift your head up at other times it will be almost impossible to get your arms over the water.
3) The easiest way to breathe in is to push your chin forwards so that your mouth comes out of the water. It is best to do this when your arms are almost at your thighs.

Getting the order right.
If you do not do everything in the right order your stroke will have no style. Try this:
• Kick your legs down as your hands go in
• Kick your legs down as your hands come out
• Head down when arms go over the water
• Keep head down until arms are near thighs
• Breathe in quickly
• Remember to try to improve one bit at a time.

Once you think you have done all of these things spend a few sessions practicing them and then have a look at intermediate butterfly."
Check it out! BBC Sports

Friday, May 18, 2007

After the Bike: Have you trained for the run?

For most Triathletes this is the hardest part, transitioning from the bike to the run, I am not saying this is the hardest section, most triathletes are not swimmers so this could be the hardest part of the event. But since one might be pushing a big gear before coming into the run your Cadence could be off making it harder to transition. "For example, if our running cadence will be around 180-190 steps per minute (for two legs), then pedaling cadence in cycling should be around these numbers 90-95 rpm for one lejavascript:void(0)g. Besides this, pedaling should be done on the easier gears, which provide reduced muscle tension just before the run. " more..
Special thanks to Dr.Romanov from Pose Tech

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Traineo: See Lives Change

All Triathletes need someway to track their progress, whether that is a spreadsheet, iCal, or just Outlook. I can say that there are many different training programs out there, the best I feel is Polar - Personal Trainer! You get a great web interface (slow at times) and you can track progress, set up training runs, lifting routines and it even calculates it all at the end of the week, all this can be had by uploading your data from your watch. Another product is Traineo this is a good product for you and others to help motivate you to stay on track, you can set up to five people to be emailed your progress, and instead of a trainer yelling at you your friends or family and give you the hard time.
"Motivation, Support and Accountability are the keys to achieving a weight loss and fitness goal. Our mission is to create the most effective weight loss and fitness community on the web by combining the latest software technology with sound information and services from the world’s leading health and fitness experts.

traineo is the culmination of over three years of development, testing and focus group studies in partnership with leading experts in weight loss, health, sports and fitness."
Check them out, it might help! Traineo

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Run Faster, and Smarter

Controlling your Lactic Threshold, is one of the most important pieces of knowledge that you can learn.

"What is Lactic Acid and Where Does it Come From?

The carbohydrates you consume consist of several different sugar molecules; sucrose, fructose, glucose to name a few. However, by the time the liver does it's job, all of these sugars are converted to glucose which can be taken up by all cells. Muscle fibers take up glucose and either use it immediately, or store it in the form of long glucose chains (polymers) called glycogen. During exercise, glycogen is broken back down down to glucose which then goes through a sequence of enzymatic reactions that do not require oxygen to proceed. All of these reactions occur out in the cell fluid, or cytosol. They proceed very rapidly and yield some energy for muscle work in the process. This glycogen/glucose breakdown pathway is called the anaerobic (no oxygen) glycolysis (glucose breakdown) pathway. Every single glucose molecule must go through this sequence of reactions for useful energy to be withdrawn and converted to ATP, the energy molecule that fuels muscle contraction, and all other cellular energy dependant functions.

Factors that Influence the Rate of Lactate Accumulation in the body

Absolute Exercise Intensity- for reasons mentioned above.
Training Status of Active Muscles- Higher mitochondrial volume improves capacity for oxidative metabolism at high glyolytic flux rates. Additionally, improved fatty acid oxidation capacity results in decreased glucose utilization at submaximal exercise intensities. Fat metabolism proceeds via a different pathway than glucose, and lactic acid is not produced. High capillary density improves both oxygen delivery to the mitochondria and washout of waste products from the active muscles.
Fiber Type Composition- Slow twitch fibers produce less lactate at a given workload than fast twitch fibers, independent of training status.
Distribution of Workload - A large muscle mass working at a moderate intensity will develop less lactate than a small muscle mass working at a high intensity. For example, the rower must learn to effectively distribute force development among the muscles of the legs back and arms, rather than focusing all of the load on the legs, or the upper body.
Rate of Blood Lactate Clearance- With training, blood flow to organs such as the liver and kidneys decreases less at any given exercise workload, due to decreased sympathetic stimulation. This results in increaed lactate removal from the circulatory system by these organs."
Special Thanks to Stephen Seiler for explaining Lactic Threshold. Check out his full explanation @ The Lactate Threshold

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Coming Up! New York City Tri!

Well it is approaching fast only 72 days left. So learn the course and (download course PDF) adjust before race day. One of the biggest problems that I had was the run in Central Park, it has hills, bigger than you would think. I would suggest as part of your training a month before you start running Central Park. You can't swim or bike the course but the run I feel is where many get caught . Also remember this is July in NYC, hot is to be expected.
Check it out! New York City Triathlon

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

United States Masters Swimming: JAM

One way to get serious about training is to join the United States Masters Swimming, there are local clubs in just about every state and town. Jersey Area Masters or JAM for short is in the Princeton, NJ area. When you are looking to really get to the next level, training with a group can help you!
JAM has enjoyed plenty of individual and team successes:

Swim Club:
1st Place 2005 at the Annual JAM Holiday Classic
2nd Place 2004 at the Inaugural JAM Holiday Classic Swim Meet
2nd Place 2004 & 2005 at the Ocean County YMCA Unofficial Team Championships
3rd Place 2006 Ocean County YMCA Team Championships
United States Masters Swimming #1 Relay (National Champions): 6
United States Masters Swimming Top Ten Relays: 40+

Individual Member Accomplishments:

USMS #1 Swimmer (National Champion): 4
USMS Top Ten Swims: 50+
USMS Open Water 1 mile National Champions: 2
Colony Zone Records: 10+
New Jersey Masters Records: 40+

Chesapeake Bay Triathlon Winner: 1
Hawaii Ironman Qualifiers: 1
Ironman Finishers 16+

Marathon Completions:30+

Practicing with a group like JAM gets you ready for competition or as close as you can get. The levels range from never swum to college swimmers and triathletes. You get a coach and workouts that you can print out and use anytime, even if you miss a practice.
Check it out!
United States Masters Swimming, Jersey Area Masters

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bike Body Position video

At Think Tri, we are about making you faster by showing or telling you way's to accomplish that! Now not to take anyone away from, but YouTube is one of the best places to find hundreds of videos, from swimming to biking and even running. What I am trying to do is find the best so that you don't have to, keeping you in one place, ThinkTri.
This video is about body position on a bike and finding the comfort level, based on body position, it can even give you some knowledge when purchasing a bike. What I find the best part and most overlooked for most triathlete's is the shifters and breaks on the aero-bars (Profile Design). Having the shifters and breaks on the ends of your bars keeps you in the tuck position enabling a great stream and not having to sit up or move around to shift or break.
Check it out!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Freestyle Drills to Improve Swimming Technique

image from
Here is a list of Drills that one can do, thanks to: Mat Luedders, from
Swimming drills are specific movements, done repetitively, to get your technique "in the groove." They can help you get more efficient and they can help you become a faster swimmer. Generally included in all workouts, most coaches feel that you can never do enough technique work. You should include some in your workouts, too.
• Catch-up: to isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and a long body position.
Swum like regular freestyle, except one arm is stationary, always extended forward (front arm), pointing towards the destination, while the other arm performs the stroke (working arm).
When the working arm moves forward and "catches-up" with the stationary arm, they change places.
• 3/4 Catch-up: Just like full catch-up, except the stationary (front) arm begins to work or move before the other arm fully "catches-up" - it begins to move after the working arm is about 3/4 of the way through a full arm motion.
• Catch-up with a board: Just like regular catch-up, only your front hand is holding a kick board.
As the arms trade places, they hand off the board to each other.
You can substitute a pencil - or anything else that won't make you sink.
• Fingertip Drag: to promote a high elbow recovery and to make you aware of your hand position during recovery.
Swum like regular freestyle, except your fingertips never leave the water as your arm moves forward during the stroke recovery.
You drag your fingers forward through the water, slightly off to the side of your body, focusing on good body roll and keeping your elbows pointed up.
Change how much of your hand stays in the water: fingertips, hand, wrist, even your whole forearm.
• 10/10 (simple): to promote good body roll and head alignment (when you add breathing - see the next drill). This looks like regular freestyle in very slow-motion.
• One arm is extended forward, pointing towards your destination (front hand).
The other is backwards, pointing towards where you just left (back hand), with the arm resting against the edge of your body.
• You should be on your side, with the back hand side of your body up, the front hand side of your body down (towards the bottom of the pool).
• Your ear should be against your front hand shoulder, chin in line with your chest, eyes sideways (or even up a bit), mouth out of the water (so you can breath).
• Take 10 kicks, then stroke, so that your body rolls and your hands switch places.
• The front hand takes a stroke underwater and finishes against your side, becoming the back hand.
• The back hand recovers over the surface of the water, becoming the front hand.
• Your head switches, rotating with your body (rolling down into the water and then up on the other side), and you continue, taking 10 more kicks, then everything switching again.
• When you have this drill figured out, move onto the next step, adding breathing (see the next drill).
• Fist: to promote "feel" for the water. Swum like regular freestyle, except you hold either one or both of your hands in a fist.
• Vary the pattern and the number of strokes that you are "fisted."
• When you unclench your hand, you should notice a difference in pressure on your hand - use this feeling to keep your hand holding water as you move through your pull pattern.
• When you are clenched, you should also try to press on the water with the inside (palm side) of your forearm - think of the lower arm, from elbow to wrist, as an extension of your hand. And don't forget body roll!
One-arm: to focus on one arm at a time.
• Swum like regular freestyle, except only one arm is moving.
• The other arm is stationary, either forward (front hand) or backwards, against your side (back hand).
• The moving hand takes a series of strokes, each arm performing a set number of pulls before they switch roles.
• Practice this drill with the stationary arm in both positions.
• When your stationary arm is on your side, breath towards that side (away from the moving arm).
• When your stationary arm is forward, breath away from it (towards the arm doing the work).
• Again, time the breathing so that as your body rolls, your head rolls with it for a breath, then your head should return to its forward alignment.

That's it, Think Tri!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Triathlon, Swim Coaching - Catch up drill

Well we all want to improve our technique wether in the water, bike or run. I have found that YouTube has some very good short videos of various types of triathlon training videos. This one is swim - Catch up drill:
Catch-up: to isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and a long body position.
Swum like regular freestyle, except one arm is stationary, always extended forward (front arm), pointing towards the destination, while the other arm performs the stroke (working arm).
When the working arm moves forward and "catches-up" with the stationary arm, they change places.

Train Smarter!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Aquaman, a "better" wetsuit

There are many on the market and all that do triathlons have one or should get one. You have makers like IronMan, Orca, Quintana Roo, they all make great wetsuits. The difference between all is the technology and how long they have been in the game. Aquaman since 1984, at this time triathlon was in its infancy and the need for wetsuits specially made for triathlon was finally there. As we are seeing Tri's become more popular, different companies are going to start emerging, and with new technology towards gear. Aquaman has a list of cool features that would appeal to all types of triathletes, price would be the only deciding factor:

Express Opening System
The best zipper for Triathletes, close it down, and open it upwards. Will not open when you swim.

Friction Free Collar
A collar made for Triathlon, designed to avoid friction on the neck. No seams against the skin and no contact with the Velcro components.

Flexible Zip
The flexible zipper will stretch and mold with the curve of your back,shoulder and neck making the suit very comfortable.

Arm Propeller
This grooved panel will grip the water in the pull phase of the stroke and will allow a better propulsion.

Ergo Shoulder
AQUAMAN is the only company to design and produce a one piece shoulder. Just one seam with no chaffing and no restriction.

HYDROPRENE 6000 SCS Composite Rubber
Yamamoto Smoothskin # 39 with SCS incorporated. Will provide 360 degree multidirectional flexibility and the most comfortable fit.

The Flexor is a thinner piece of neoprene with Ultra Flex textile inside which is designed to release pressure on the lower back during the swim and will be found on the Metal Cell and the Bionik models.

The Cut
Over 30 years of wetsuit experience have gone into our unique cut. Aquaman believes it is the best fitting wetsuit on the market.

At the transition, every second counts. That is why the end of the wrists of the Metal Cell and the Bionik are thinner and more flexible thanks to the Ultra Flex textile inside.

Pre-shaped Arms
It is at the moment that the swimmer’s arm bends into the stroke that the propulsion phase is most important. The sleeves of the Metal Cell and the Bionik are already pre-shaped to the form and angle of the arm to offer a minimum of restriction during the swim.

Behind The Knees
At the end of the swim it is often necessary to run several hundred yards in your wetsuits before reaching your bike. Flexibility at the knee is most important for reaching your bike fast. The Metal Cell and the Bionik have the flexor behind the knee to help running.

You make the decision! Aquaman