Out of all the events the swim is the weakest for me. At the same time typically I enjoy it the most when racing. Mainly its a mind set. Swimming is so different from any other form of racing because even though there are people all around you there is still the feeling of isolation. I enjoy the way it feels to be by myself. As long as you focus on what you are doing it is easy to work hard and still keep an element of calmness.
Panicking becomes a problem when details that are out of you control consume all of your thoughts…still a long way to go, goggles get knocked off my face, someone is trying to swim over top of me, etc. One time a person came across me over my back going the wrong direction – I laughed it off instead of letting it bother me.
Preparation – if you put your goggles on first and then your swim cap, you are less likely to get your goggles knocked completely off, and even less likely for for them to be affected at all.
When the race goes off just stay relaxed and react to the bumping and shoving match with other competitors only as needed. It is normal for your legs, feet, arms, or hands to make contact with others; use them to help establish your own swim space. It won’t take long before things spread out. Try to only react when your body or head are in danger, only to alter course slightly, or to establish your own space and let other racers know that you are not giving up space and they will have to alter their direction.
If your goggles get filled with water or come loose, first find an open spot and then switch to a back stroke/float while kicking to maintain some forward progress. Then take the time to empty, clear, and replace the goggles over your eyes.
After the first minute or two spot your target buoy to make sure you are on a direct line for it, and look around to find competitors to draft off of. It does not make sense to do the work on your own.
Pointers for drafting:
* Drafting during the swim is completely legal and should be taken advantage of whenever possible.
* Once you have picked a draftee you should follow as closely behind as possible – I am an advocate of occasionally tapping toes.
* Following slightly to one side or the other is a little more efficient, but it is also more difficult to continue to follow the other swimmer.
* In murky water, the bubbles produced by the draftee’s kick are typically easy to find even if you can’t see well. Also, you should be able to feel the current with your hands if you are in good position.
* After a good distance and passing a couple of buoys, make a decision as to whether you trust your draftee enough to pay less attention to the course and allow them to do more work.
* If another person is passing you as you draft at any time and they are close enough to easily branch off and follow, then of course the attempt should be made to do so.
Drafting should feel easier, so be careful when deciding that you are going too slow and making your way on your own. Test your ability by moving outside the draft area and step up your effort to a harder but sustainable level and spot the draftee to see if you are gaining ground. If you are passing them easily, then continue on without them. If it is difficult to make any progress or they are pulling away from you, fill in behind them again as quickly as possible. Try it a couple more times as the race continues on to be sure that your draftee is not fatiguing on you.
If you find that you have someone drafting off of you, don’t let it frustrate you – they are only trying to get to the finish line just like you are. There are 2 events still to come where drafting is not allowed or doesn’t make a difference, so be a good sport and help out a fellow competitor when you can
As you approach the swim finish take a moment to think about where you have to go in the transition area. Continue to swim until your hands touch the ground – at this point you will be knee to thigh deep in the water and will go as fast or faster then your swim speed. If you are wearing a wetsuit allow water to come in through the neck hole as you stand up – it will help cool your body and make it easier to get the wetsuit off.
Come out of the water running and pull off your goggles/swim cap first to improve your view of the transition area. If you are wearing a wetsuit, begin to unzip it and pull your arms out as you move to your transition location. If the suit has arms them let go of your goggles and cap as you pull your arms through – they will become trapped in the sleeve. Remove the rest of the wetsuit at your transition location – it should end up inside out when you are done. Feel free to post any questions or comments you may have!Click here to post a comment »
With the racing season in full swing, athletes are training longer and harder than other times of the year. While maximizing the quality of your training is important, rest is also critical to the training process and it can be easy to get carried away with too many hard workouts in a row.
The key is simply to listen to your body.
Typical muscle soreness – If you are feeling soreness in your muscles, then you may need a day or two of less intense (easy) workouts, but you should not necessarily take a day off. Your body needs to work through soreness, and sweating helps remove lactic acid from muscle tissue. Recovery days are always built into quality training plans.
Potential injury – If you are feeling soreness or pain in joints or bones, or the pain in the middle of a muscle is sharp then training on it can lead to more serious issues. A day completely off is best. When resuming workouts, be sure to stretch well and take it easy at first. Focus on the problem spot for signs of improvement or digression, and STOP if your condition continues or worsens.
Overtraining – If you are constantly feeling fatigued it can be a sign of over training. The body takes time to realize the effects of strenuous workouts, and loading on too much for too long will set you back significantly through injury or burnout. Look back over the past 1 to 2 weeks to determine how hard you have been working. I suggest using a training log (my preference is www.runningahead.com). You may need a day or two off to allow your body to bounce back.
Diet – Your diet is also critical to training, and may also affect endurance athletes most noticeably as a condition of fatigue. The higher your exercise duration and intensity, the greater your caloric intake must be. Distance runners and multisport athletes are subject to mild anemia (low blood iron levels). If your recent training history does not seem to be over bearing then your nutrition is quite often the next place to look. Green leafy vegetables, red meet, and cooking with an iron skillet are a few good ways to boost your iron intake. You can also always take a multivitamin to help out as well; however they do not all contain iron so check the label.
A couple of my rules of thumb:
Training on a minor injury can cause long term effects, and it can also cause over compensation injuries to another areas of your body.
I try to steer clear of taking an anti inflammatory too often – once every other week or so is the most often I ever suggest.
Ice can make a big difference. Minimum of 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off (max 10 min segments).
When in doubt rest is best!Click here to post a comment »
The 2011 Fallston Duathlon has come and gone, and looking back on the race I’m happy to say that it was a huge success. Success for a race can be measured in several ways, but the most important measure is the feedback from our participants. We strive to provide an experience that exceeds expectations, and we were able to accomplish that. The original goal of the Fallston Duathlon was twofold – to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and to establish a race in Harford County that appealed to both beginning multisport athletes and seasoned veterans. This year we raised over $2,200 for LLS, bringing the total funds raised from this event to over $6,500. We’re proud to make this donation on behalf of our participants, and appreciate all those who signed up and supported the cause.
This year we also made some adjustments to the bike portion of the course to enhance participant safety and avoid some dicey Harford County back roads. The race atmosphere is great for beginners, as fellow racers are happy to share their experience and knowledge on transitioning, USAT rules, and all of the other details that go into a multisport race. The event also appeals to athletes who have been competing for years and are looking for a tuneup for other duathlons and triathlons later in the season.
We are constantly working to improve our races, and sincerely appreciate the feedback we have received on the duathlon. The weather was perfect, the participants were amazing, and the cause was more than deserving – sounds like a success to me!Click here to post a comment »
With the nicer weather finally upon us (for the most part), bicycles are becoming more prominent out on the roads. For those of you that are new to the sport of cycling or have had issues with breakdowns in the past here are a few helpful tips for the first rides of the spring.
1) There are 3 cutouts on the pads and if the rubber is worn down to the bottom of these gashes then it is time to replace the pads
2) They should be worn evenly in both directions and clamp completely on the rim without making contact with the tire.
3) When squeezing the brake levers there should be plenty of space before contact is made between the inside of the lever and the handlebar.
1) Check for cracks on the sidewall and for tread life
On smooth tread road tires look at the shape – a new tire will have a nice round profile and a worn tire will be flat across the top. A 1/2 inch flat across the tire is pretty bad – often occurring flat tubes is also a sign to change the tires.
2) Check for punctures in the tread area and sidewalls
3) Proper tire inflation is key
Go by the rating on the tire and the rim as well(some tires are rated for pressures of 145 psi, but most road bike rims can only handle 120 – hybrids are typically rated in the mid 80s and mountain bikes are much lower still)
Too little pressure will cause pinch flats more easily
Too much pressure will cause a blow out (hemorrhage of the tire or the tube
1) Pedals and crank arms should be tightened to the proper specifications
2) Chain should be in good condition with a light oil film
Wiping down the chain with a cloth and reapplying oil every other to every 4th ride will add significant life to the components that handle a lot of stress and wear and tear every time you go out
1) Stand in front of your bike and push down on the handlebars, turn them side to side while holding the front wheel still with your legs.
2) You should not be able to move the bars; that’s the last thing you want to happen to you when you’re bombing a hill or climbing one out of the saddle.
3) Tighten bolts as needed to prevent slippage (be careful as you can over tighten bolts, so only go as far as necessary).
If you are uncomfortable taking care of these tasks on your own then it is best to have the pros do it – go to your local bike shop and ask for a tune up. For about $70.00 you should have all the above completed, plus several other operations including but not limited to: both wheel truings, lubrication of other key mechanical components, and gear shifter adjustments.
A couple other safety recommendations:
1. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET
2. ID – Road IDs are great and there are several inexpensive options, but if you don’t want one then carry something else with you.
3. Wear sunglasses not just for the sun, but to keep debris and bugs our of your eyes
4. Lights – even in the daylight a flashing light on the front and back of your bike can make a critical difference
5. Wear gloves – they help prevent fatigue, and in a fall they come in handy
6. Ride in groups when possible
7. Carry a spare tube, means to change / inflate it, and the know-how to change it
8. Carry a cell phone, but keep it on silent (it’s for you to use if necessary, not for someone else to call you)
9. Know the rules of the road (ride on the far right side – you are considered a vehicle, but you don’t want to get hit by another one!)Click here to post a comment »
So the half marathon is just over 2 weeks away, and I wish I could say my training is progressing as planned. February threw quite a few kinks in the routine, and I ended up running only a few miles here and there during the end of the month. While I’m still confident I’ll have a decent race come the 26th, my goals have definitely been trimmed back to a more realistic level.
The excitement is building though, and I can’t wait to get up at the crack of down with thousands of other people and toe the line. I’ve got a sweet new jersey to rock, and I might even dust off the flats if I’m feeling ambitious. If I can get a few more quality tempo runs thrown in the mix with some easy 7-10 mile runs, I should be able to hold my own on Sunday.
I’ll be sure to post my final training update on Friday before the race. If I stay focused, it will be filled with “this is gonna be great,” and not “this will be interesting…”Click here to post a comment »
As the last of the snow (hopefully!) melts, spring is right around the corner and the racing season is about to take off. Here at Elite Race Management we are gearing up for several races that will not only give you an opportunity to test your fitness, but will also support some local organizations that do great work in Harford County and beyond. Registration is open for all of the events listed below.
The Survivor Run – April 3, 2011 – Bel Air, MD
According to the Stroke Network, “over 750,000 people in the United States experience a stroke every year; one every 45 seconds.” Founded and lead by Phil Anderson, the 4th annual Survivor Run strives to raise awareness and funds for The Stroke Network ; an organization that provides support and resources to the public regarding stroke. The race returns to the Ma & Pa trail, with a free post-race breakfast at MaGerks Pub and Grill.
Set the Pace with RAACE 5k – April 10, 2011 – Bel Air, MD
Founded in 2004, the RAACE Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the epidemic of child sexual abuse by raising public awareness. 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. While the numbers are staggering, the RAACE Foundation and TeamRAACE provide opportunities to educate adults and children on this hidden epidemic so that no child has to suffer. The 5k race, kids run, and stroller stride at Cedar Lane Park will kick off an afternoon of fun activities for the whole family.
The Fallston Duathlon – May 1, 2011 – Fallston, MD
In its third year of existence, the Fallston Duathlon has raised over $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. With an extended bike course and team relay option, the 2011 Fallston Duathlon promises to challenge both beginners and seasoned veterans alike.
LASOS Running of the Bulls – May 14, 2011 – Bel Air, MD
LASOS (Linking All So Others Succeed) is a nonprofit organization based in Harford County, MD that assists non English speaking residents with the resources they need during the integration period. By providing translation and adult literacy services, bilingual youth mentoring, and English as a second language classes, residents will be empowered to contribute and communicate more effectively in their families, work places, and communities. The Running of the Bulls will feature a 5k and kids run around the Bel Air High School campus.
Please consider joining ERM at a race this spring and help support these organizations as they work to make our county, our state, and our world a safer and healthier place!Click here to post a comment »
Due to the overwhelming number of requests for an update on my training from our tens (of thousands?) of readers, I’ve decided to indulge you with the latest. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve gotten back into the running mix and signed up for my first half marathon on March 26th. I convinced Shawn to do it with me, along with his brother, Alex, and my friends, Eric, Zack, and Buck, in hopes that a little friendly competition would make us all train a little harder. I started training on December 18th, and thanks to my awesome running log, I’ve tracked my progress so far and can look back and evaluate how things are going. Here’s where I’m at:
31 runs logged out of 46 days = roughly 1 day off for every 2 days on…not impressive!
148 miles logged
Quickest run = 6.4 miles in 44:14 (6:55 pace)
Slowest run = 3 miles in 25:00 (8:20 pace)
Ignoring the numbers and going on how I feel during (and after) my runs, I’m definitely getting back into the swing of things after a month and a half. The first few days are an interesting combination of excitement to be back and soreness in just about every leg muscle. Then you get a few weeks in, and while the soreness has left, the motivation to get out and run is tested with a little help from Mother Nature. With only 49 days till the race, I still have an opportunity to build up my mileage and put myself in a better position to reach my race goal. My main focus will be to steadily increase my mileage over the next 5 weeks while minimizing missed days. I’d love to hit 50 miles a week before race time, and missing more than one day a week makes that pretty tough without hefty long runs. Any time I’m tempted to skip a day, I’ll just picture Shawn’s Neanderthal-like stride pulling away from me and I’ll be sure to lace them up and hit the road.
Spin classes at the gym are great physical fitness workout. They will help you build endurance or maintain it through the colder months, or while dealing with injury. However, spending time with your personally fitted bike on a trainer can be much more beneficial in terms of improving your riding ability as well. Changing hand positions, correctly altering cadence and gearing to match real road situations are a couple things that spin classes don’t cover.
Q: How often do cyclists alternate standing and sitting for 10 seconds at a time out on the road?
Q: How often does a route match up perfectly with a series of songs on an iPod?
5:00 – 10:00 Warm Up – easy pedaling (remember this gear as it should act as your recovery throughout the workout)
5:00 Tempo – 1 gear greater than recovery and increase cadence to ~ 85 rpm
6:00 – 8:00 Hill Climb
5:00 – 7:00 High cadence Intervals
4:00 – 8:00 Single Leg Workout – 1 gear easier than recovery gear – un-clip from one pedal at a time and make the other leg do all the work – 30 seconds – 1 minute per side. This workout is not something that is done on the road, but it does help teach a rider to make the leg work the entire pedal stroke rather than just on the push.
Repeat one or more of the previous segments to add time.
5:00 – 10:00 Cool Down - stretch calves and hip flexors on the bike (great practice for triathletes as this should be part of your last mile or so to prepare for the run)
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com, or post a comment if you have a question about the workout. If you don’t have a trainer at home and live in the Harford County area, consider joining the Harford Multisport Club for indoor cycling classes at the Bicycle Connection Express!Click here to post a comment »