Tag Archives: triathlon

75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For A Run “I don’t even like running.”



1. What a beautiful day for a run!
2. This sucks.
3. Well, five miles is only two and half miles each way, which is basically two miles each way, so I’m really only running four miles. That’s not too far.
4. It’s starting to feel far.
5. How long have I been running? A year?
7. I can barely remember what my life was like before I started this run.
8. OK, concentrate. There are still four-plus miles to go.
9. But who counts the first and last mile? This is pretty much an easy three miler.
10. Oh, shit! A fellow jogger!
11. Should I wave?
12. I’m totally gonna wave.
13. OOOK, they didn’t wave back. Never doing that again.
14. Just keep running, no one saw. Except that old guy who may or may not be averting his eyes.
15. Man, I think I’m hitting that “second wind” thing my gym coach was talking about.
16. Wait, never mind. I’ve been running down a decline.
17. If I leap to avoid dog shit, does that make me a CrossFit athlete?
18. What the heck is CrossFit anyway?
19. Mental reminder: Google CrossFit when I get home.
20. If I ever get home.
21. If I had a heart attack right now, I wonder who would find my body.
22. OMG, I hope I never find a dead body. Joggers always find dead bodies.
23. Bodies. Body. Bod-ay. Runnin’ all day, no one can catch … may.
24. OK, I must be halfway done by now.
25. What?! Only two miles in?
26. Alright, stay focused. What am I going to eat when I get home?
27. I’m running five miles so I should probably eat five slices of pizza.
28. Or I could buy one pizza and ask them to cut it into five slices.
29. I should probably get a side salad too.
30. …
31. Fuck the salad actually.
32. Man, what are these people doing in front of me? Walking?!
33. Is this a contest to see who’s the worst at walking? Because you are both champions in my heart.
34. Maybe if I pound my feet on the ground they’ll hear me coming and let me pass.
35. Oh, God. They didn’t turn around and now I’m right behind them. They’re going to think they’re getting mugged by the world’s sweatiest criminal.
36. You know what? Now seems like a good time to run in the street.
37. * Jumps off curb * Parkour!
38. Hi hi hi please don’t hit me with your car.
39. Pedestrian pedestrianizing over here, let me cross.
40. Thank you, Mr. Blue Honda. I’m trying to smile at you but it probably looks like I’m having a stroke.
41. Actually, I wonder what I look like right now.
42. * Checks out reflection in shop window * Yeesh.
43. Is that what I look like when I run? What am I, a newborn deer with a drinking problem?
44. Whatever, I must be almost done by now.
45. Heck yes. Three miles down, two to go. It’s all downhill from here.
46. Except for that very real uphill in front of me. God damnit.
47. Wait, is that… Is that…
48. A DOG!
49. Hi dog! You are so cute. You are now my mascot. I will finish this run for you, pup.
50. And — hello — what do we have here? Your human is pretty cute too.
51. Hope you like drunk fawns, Cute Human.
52. Watch my bambi ass prance up this hill.
53. Holy shit, prancing is exhausting. I am exhausted.
54. Honestly, I don’t even like running.
55. Why do I even run?
56. Why does anyone even run?
57. Why are we even alive?
58. OK, let’s not go down that road.
59. Focus. Focus on that sweet, delicious ‘za waiting at the finish line, calling your name with its cheesy breath.
60. Wait, less than one mile to go? I am KILLING this run.
62. YES, including ostriches.
63. Honestly, I should sign up for a marathon.

64. What is it, like 30 miles?
65. That’s just 15 miles each way, which is practically 10, and 10 is twice five, and I can run five miles EASY.
66. That’s it, I’m doing it. Thirty miles.
67. Thirty-mile marathon…30-mile marathon…30 Rock marathon.
68. On second thought, I’ll probably just binge-watch every episode of 30 Rock. That takes a lot of dedication and I will be winded from laughing so hard.
69. But I could probably do a marathon IF I wanted.
70. OK, almost home. Should I shower first and order pizza or order pizza and shower before it shows up?
71. Yep, definitely ordering first. I earned that shit.
72. Oh, no. Oh god no. Another runner. Should I wave?
73. No, be strong! Do not get burned again.
74. OMG, SHE waved first! Hello! Yes! We are both runners! Look at us run!
75. I guess running’s not so bad.


The Gluten-Free Triathlete: Part II

In this second installment of our three-part series on gluten, top pros share why they decided to go gluten-free and the benefits they’ve experienced.


By Ian Stokell (Read Part I here.)

While the need to be gluten-free if you have celiac disease, or are gluten or wheat intolerant is obvious, benefits for those without negative reactions to gluten are less concrete, even for pro triathletes.

For current XTERRA world champion Lesley Paterson and multiple IRONMAN 70.3 champion Timothy O’Donnell, —both gluten intolerant, and multiple IRONMAN and 70.3 champion Heather Wurtele—who has a wheat allergy, the results of going gluten free have been striking.

“I basically feel very fatigued,” Paterson says of gluten’s effect on her body. “It’s almost like I have flu symptoms with achy muscles, headaches, chills, heat and cold sensitivity.”

It’s a similar situation for O’Donnell. “My gluten intolerance struck me on many levels,” he says. “It caused nausea, bloating, digestive issues, acid reflux and vomiting during races. It also caused general lethargy.”

Wurtele experienced digestive problems connected to her wheat allergy. “Before going gluten free I found that painful gas and cramping was an almost daily occurrence,” she says. “I just sort of accepted that a sore stomach was my thing. I would almost always have to dive into the bushes for any run over an hour. My digestive system was just irritated.”

For other pro triathletes that don’t have specific gluten or wheat conditions, such as Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield and multiple IRONMAN champion Luke McKenzie, the decision to go gluten free was less obvious.

Whitfield, for example, just wanted to see if it made a difference. Though not as strict anymore, he says he still avoids pasta and over-indulging in bread. “I’m surprised by the ‘gluten defenders,’” adds Whitfield. “It’s almost like a ‘gluten mafia,’ protecting bread and bragging about how much gluten they eat. I don’t really care. I noticed a difference for me.”

“I’m not 100 percent gluten free and have never been diagnosed as a celiac,” says McKenzie. “I just went gluten free as a suggestion to losing a little body weight and to generally feel better, which I did. I try keep my diet as gluten free as possible, but I treat myself from time to time which I feel hasn’t done me much harm.”

Dr. Alexander Shikhman, rheumatologist and founder of the Institute for Specialized Medicine and Gluten-Free Remedies says that the beneficial effects of eliminating gluten on physical performance are not incidental. He explains that when gluten protein is digested, something called exorphins are produced. When exorphins penetrate the blood-brain barrier, they interact with brain nerve cells and behave much like narcotics. This can lead to attention deficit, fatigue, mood swings and miscommunication between your brain and muscles. He says because of this, anyone can improve his or her performance by avoiding gluten.

Going gluten free isn’t easy. Paterson avoids anything containing gluten or soy. “I’m religious about it, so eating out with me is no fun,” she adds. O’Donnell says he avoids all gluten as much as he can, steering clear of breads, pastas, and beer.

Finding gluten-free foods is becoming easier, thanks to the popularization of the diet and the availability of products. Many grocery stores now include entire aisle sections of gluten-free foods, and most mainstream products feature gluten-free alternatives for their high profile brands.

Paterson says she eats lots of rice, as well as gluten-free bagels, bars, and cereal from Udis. Proteins (other than soy), veggies, fruit, and dairy are all allowed. “There are lots of choices really,” she says. “I mainly eat meats, fruits, nuts, and yogurt,” O’Donnell adds. “I eat a lot of gluten-free specific products too, such as granola and other treats.” Whitfield has his own list that includes chia seeds, yams, bacon, Greek yogurt, and steak.

For professional triathletes and middle-of-the-pack age-groupers alike, there seems to be a pattern to the benefits of going gluten free. “The best way to describe it is that I feel free and clear,” Patterson says. “I can access my energy and feel excited about life.”

O’Donnell says that since adopting the diet, all of his physical symptoms are gone. “My GI system works much better in races, and after taking Zantac for over a decade for acid reflux, I no longer need to take it. I feel clear-headed and motivated to train and race.”

Digestion is key for Wurtele, who says she has a “generally happier digestive system, and less painful gas and stomach cramps.” She says it’s also easier to maintain a better body composition.

Whitfield, even though he’s not totally gluten-free, says he’s noticed better sleeping habits, less bloating on runs, and a proclivity to make better food choices in general. McKenzie reports less bloating and gas, and an easier time maintaining a body weight 2-3 kilograms lower.

For those who suffer from celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and wheat allergies, avoiding gluten is a necessity. But there is considerable anecdotal evidence from non-sufferers as well, many of whom are quick to list the diet’s benefits. Perhaps the best way to find out if a gluten-free diet will benefit you is to try it.

Next month, part three of this gluten-free series looks at diagnosis, testing, and the process of going gluten-free. (Read Part I here.)


Ian Stokell holds a MA in Physical Education from Chico State University, with an emphasis on coaching. He has coached a variety of sports from running to volleyball to soccer, where he holds national certifications. Currently, he is directing his efforts toward motivating and coaching triathletes.

KONA Multisport is the leader in providing only the worlds top Triathlon Supplies, Gear, Equipment, Apparel and Tri Bikes conveniently available at http://www.swimbikerun.com. Shop us for your SBR Tri Shop needs.

The Gluten-Free Triathlete: Part I By Ian Stokell

If you have been thinking about going gluten-free or just cutting back, check out this article for important triathlon specific information.

Take a stroll down any high street grocery aisle and you’ll notice the term gluten-free on an ever-increasing number of products. Visit specialty grocery stores and you’ll see entire aisles dedicated to the products.

Gluten free is one of the biggest trends not only in sports nutrition, but in the health and fitness world in general. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the United States gluten-free market rose 28 percent from 2004 to 2011 and now tops out at more than $2.5 billion a year.

Dr. Alexander Shikhman, rheumatologist and founder of the Institute for Specialized Medicine and Gluten-Free Remedies, describes gluten as “a protein found in certain grains, including wheat, barley and rye.” It’s found in many processed foods, including pizza, bread, pasta, and most cereals, and in unlikely culprits like beer, vinegar, jams, and soy sauce. Gluten-free foods include potatoes, rice, beans, nuts, oats, popcorn, and quinoa.

Photo by Au Kirk

Most people have no problem with gluten, but for some it can cause digestive problems. For a small number of people who have celiac disease, it can be life threatening.

Human digestive enzymes cannot completely digest gluten in the gastrointestinal tract,” explains Dr. Shikhman. “Consumption results in the formation of large protein fragments that typically are excreted along with other unusable parts of the food we eat. But in genetically susceptible individuals, these fragments launch an immunological chain reaction causing chronic inflammation and autoimmune responses.”

For those with celiac disease, the gluten protein contributes to an immune reaction in the digestive system, which can lead to permanent damage to the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to an inability of the intestine to absorb essential nutrients.

Lesley Paterson, a prominent IRONMAN 70.3 pro and two-time XTERRA world champion, went on to a gluten-free diet at the suggestion of her doctor. “I had a tolerance test done by my specialty doctor after complaining of digestive issues, bloating, and fatigue” she recalls. “My test came back positive and he recommended that I should give it a try.”

Though gluten intolerances or wheat allergies are different from having celiac disease, moving to a gluten-free diet may alleviate common symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.

“If people genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance do not ingest gluten, the illness will not manifest and their symptoms will subside,” says  Dr. Shikhman. “They will likely have increased energy, more focus and less gastrointestinal problems.”

Paterson at IRONMAN 70.3 Mooseman in 2012

Paterson says gluten affects her in a complex way. “Basically it compromises my immune system by impacting the flora and fauna (microorganisms) in my gut. I get bloating, gas, nausea, and severe flu-like symptoms, plus plenty of fatigue.”

While many of the benefits of a gluten-free diet are anecdotal for those without digestive problems, there is no lack of willing proponents, as the multi-billion dollar industry will attest. According to Dr. Shikhman, the benefits are real. “For someone who does not have digestive problems the benefits are improvement of endurance, improvement of ‘mental performance’ and energy increase.”

Anecdotal or not, what is undisputed is that eliminating gluten from your diet—for example, in breads and processed foods —means less sugar and fat, and a move towards fresher foods.

Many believe that going gluten-free also means weight loss because of the lowered carbohydrates. But this is not a guaranteed result. Any ensuing weight-loss may simply be a by product of eating a healthier diet—fewer processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to weight loss, the opposite might even be the case. Gluten-free products, although lower in starch and carbohydrates, are also lower in fiber, which helps to make you feel full. As a result, people on a gluten-free diet might actually eat more. People may also think that, because they are eating healthier foods, they can consume more. Gluten-free products also tend to be lower in vitamins B and D, fiber, folic acid, iron and calcium. This is because, unlike regular wheat flour, gluten-free wheat substitutes are very often unfortified with necessary nutrients.

Going gluten-free helps different people in different ways. Paterson says it has made her feel free and clear. “I feel like my energy systems are functioning a lot better, that I am much less fatigued from training and I recover quicker. It’s been a gradual process though and has taken a year to really feel the top benefits,” she says.

For anyone thinking of going gluten-free, the first step is getting tested. While medical testing, such as by blood or biopsy, requires that there is gluten in the body’s innards, another possibility is simply to try it and see if it has any affect. Dr. Shikhman then recommends trying an elimination diet. “Eliminate gluten for at least two-three months and pay attention to how you feel; then reintroduce gluten to see if your symptoms come back. If they do, chances are you have a sensitivity or intolerance. Alternatively, you can have blood tests focused on genetic markers associated with gluten intolerance.”




Swim Speed Series: Keep Your Head Down By Gary Hall


KONA Multisport has all of your triathlon training gear from swim accessories, running shoes, bike parts, and triathlon apparel.

A proper head position means you’re working less to move forward faster.

Just like in golf, there’s a temptation in swimming to look up. In fact, 95 percent of the swimmers who come to train with me—from beginners to Olympic hopefuls—hold their heads too high in the water in freestyle, as well as in backstroke, breaststroke and fly.

Holding your head high is bad for two reasons:

1. Lifting your head in the water creates a nice bow wave bouncing off of your forehead with every stroke you take. How significant can that be at the speed you are swimming? Well, surprisingly significant. Surface or wave drag is one of the most important forces that contribute to you slowing, and your head is the primary culprit. By lowering your head in the water, particularly as the lead hand enters the water (the fastest point in your stroke cycle), you actually allow the wave to go over your head and let that wave drag just pass you by.

2. When you lift your head, your backside sinks down in the water. Suddenly, you turn your relatively straight body into a hammock in the water. As a result, your body’s drag coefficient (the amount of resistance you create in the water) increases and you are working harder for the same precious yards of gain.

So why does everyone swim with their head up?

Self-defense, for one. If you have ever been smacked in the head by someone veering into your side of the lane, you, too, will swim like Tarzan from that moment on. When your head is in the proper position, looking straight down, you will not have a clue as to what is in front of you, only that black line painted on the bottom of the pool. Avoid those head-on collisions by staying way to the right, leading your lane if possible or leaving 10 seconds behind the person in front of you.

The other reason has to do with the ongoing conflict between power and frontal drag. Although the position of least frontal drag for your body is a straight body in alignment with your head, to get the most power at the initiation of the underwater pull (lift and propulsive phases), you actually have to arch your back some, just as if you were trying to start a pull-up. In fact, if you closely observe the lower back of a fast swimmer during the stroke cycle, you will find that the lower back arches some at the initiation of the underwater pull, then straightens as the next hand enters the water, repeating this cycle over and over. As a result of the arch, the head also lifts slightly higher in the water, causing more frontal drag.

Head position is another example of the compromise you need to take between the position of least frontal drag and the position of most propulsive power. Remember, however, if you are going to err, side with the least frontal drag. It trumps power in swimming.

Open Water Tips

Practice for open water in the pool by turning your head rearward for the breath, which will make it more natural to return the head to the down position. This also helps you avoid swallowing some water by keeping your mouth behind the bow wave created by your head. The only times you should be looking forward in open water are at the beginning of the race and when you’re sighting. Otherwise keep your head down.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Running: 3 Things to Know About Treadmill Training By Caitlin Chock • For Active.com

Treadmill running is a great substitute for outdoor running when conditions are too wet or too cold. This article highlights a few diffences and things to think about when transitioning to each indoor and outdoor running.

The rain is pelting down, hail slices through the night air like bullets, and the cracks of thunder and flashes of lightening set the backdrop for any great horror movie. The sounds of your footfalls are lost in the chaos, but the miles ticked off aren’t done on the slick pavement, but rather, in an indoor haven on the treadmill.

The treadmill can be an excellent training tool for runners when weather conditions are uninviting or downright dangerous, or when running outside isn’t an option. Not to be scoffed at by “running purists,” there are times and places when a treadmill is a better bet:

  • Safety: When it is too dark out to safely navigate your route, or when the weather has left the terrain iced over or slick enough to invite a fall and possible injury.
  • Workout Quality: If the conditions outside don’t allow you to run safely at a faster pace, you can turn to the treadmill to make sure you’re able to hit the proper level of exertion.
  • Hills and Incline Training: If you don’t have access to a steep hill or an incline that is long enough, you can create your own using the grade on a treadmill.
  • Injury Prevention: The belt of the treadmill is more forgiving than the hard pavement; running on a treadmill reduces impact and is easier on the body. This can be especially important for those coming back from an injury.
  • Family: Leaving the kids unattended to go out for a run isn’t exactly a glowing parent strategy. “I use a treadmill because I need to be close to my family, and we got our treadmill the day our second son Grant was born. I watch both our sons most mornings and I can still do my workouts and spend time with them,” explains Michael Wardian, an elite ultrarunner who does much of his training on the treadmill.

Indoor Versus Outdoor Running: The Differences

While there are treadmill benefits to boast of, there are still key differences runners need to be aware of between indoor and outdoor running.

Hamstrings: Because a machine powers the treadmill belt, the mechanics of your running stride differ when you run outside. When running on the treadmill, you use your quads to push off. But, unlike outdoor running, where you would typically rely on your hamstrings to finish the stride cycle and lift your leg behind you, the propulsion of the belt does much of that work for you. This means your hamstrings aren’t firing as much and don’t get worked running inside as they would outside. The extra effort demanded of your quads is also a factor to keep in mind.

Terrain: Or more correctly, the lack thereof. “Something that I try and keep in mind is that the treadmill is really consistent and even, but outside things are constantly changing. Each change takes energy and thought, so I remind myself not to zone out while outside and especially on trails, where a bad footfall can mean stitches and a new tooth,” says Wardian. 

Outside of a potential fall due to unsteady outdoor footing, landing wrong on your foot can cause strains and other injuries. If you’ve been doing much of your running on a treadmill, your body is used to a nearly even and constant stride. Should you run outside, your risk of an injury from even a minor misstep would be higher because the small muscles, tendons and ligaments of your ankle haven’t been forced to get used to a variety of landings. (i.e.: sharp turns, curbs, uneven pavement, trails, etc.) 

Wind Resistance: Even in ideal outdoor conditions you run against air resistance; you don’t get inside, so the paces you run on a treadmill are a bit easier than they would be outside. To negate this, you can put the treadmill incline up to 1.5 percent to account for lost wind resistance and make the paces comparable to those run outdoors.

With these key elements in mind, you can adapt your training as need be. If you’re doing much of your running indoors, make sure to supplement with extra hamstring-strengthening exercises. 

To safeguard your ankles, work on balance and mobility drills such as balancing on one leg on a Bosu ball or pillow. After you can hold there, test your balance further by moving your arms or reaching down with your opposite arm towards the foot you are balancing on. This will build strength in the ankle area.

How to Transition Between Indoor and Outdoor Running 

If you have been doing nearly all of your training indoors, you need to be especially cautious as you begin to move back outside. You need to transition gradually in order to avoid a resulting injury. So start with one or two of your easy, shorter runs per week outside and build from there; you can also split runs up—some miles can be completed on the treadmill and the rest outside. 

Of course it works both ways: If you’re moving from all outdoor running to more treadmill running, rely on the gradual transition method.

As we head into the winter months, if the wind is hollering, the snow has left your running route only navigable by snow-shoe, or you need a training partner who doesn’t care if you’re tired and would like to slow down, the treadmill can be your respite.

Faster Transitions: A Key Component in Improving your Performance – By Lily Mason

Tips to help you improve improve your transition time so that you can become a top triathlete!

Inexperienced triathletes often regard the transition area as a place to celebrate the completion of one part of a race and prepare for the next. It is often easy to forget how important it is to have a fast transition, as out on the racecourse everybody is moving forwards but in the transition area, triathletes are milling about in different directions, which can create the illusion that they are taking a break from being competitive. However in reality, it is essential to master speedy transitions if you want to become a top triathlete. How many hours of practicing swimming would it take to reduce your swim time by two minutes? Probably at least a few hundred. It is considerably easier to lop a couple of minutes off a transition time, meaning that learning how to transition quickly can give you a major competitive edge. Here are some tips for doing this.

Draw Up a Plan

It is always less tricky to do something quickly if you know exactly how you are going to do it. Plan what routine you are going to follow in the transition area and practice it over and over again. Rehearse it mentally on the morning of the race and do not deviate from your plan. By the time you are transitioning during the race, you should be working on autopilot, which will mean that you don’t have to waste time stopping to think what to do next.

Shoes in the Pedals

Coasting down the course at fifteen miles per hour whilst putting your feet in your shoes will advance you far ahead of somebody who is sitting in T1 doing the same thing. Set your bicycle up in the transition area with your shoes attached to its pedals and rubber bands looped between the frame and heels holding them horizontal. Upon leaving T1, pedal the bike with your feet resting on top of your shoes. Once you have started cruising at speed, coast while slipping your feet into them. Remember to keep looking ahead and not down at your feet. On the return, take your feet out of your shoes before reaching T2. You can practice these techniques on an indoor trainer before trying them out on the road.

Running with your Bike

By running quickly and safely with your bike, it is easy to fly over the distance from rack to mount line. Run upright on the left side of the bike holding the seat with your right hand whilst letting your left arm swing by your side. Keep the bike upright in order to go straight and lean it to one side in order to turn. This can be practiced in an empty car park.

Getting your Bearings

Have you ever come out of a shopping centre and had trouble locating your car? It is possible to have a similar experience to this in a large transition area. Make a note of where your rack spot is and how to find it from the bike entrance and swim exit. From your rack, know where the run and bike exits are and ensure that you are aware of the quickest routes to them. Psychologically prepare for this feat of navigation before the race, as a recent article in Triathlon Plus magazine highlights the importance of mental rehearsal when taking part in an event. This can mean the difference between success and failure.

Baby Powder and Speed Laces

Tying your shoelaces takes up precious time and can be eliminated by using speed laces or lace locks. Sprinkling your feet with baby powder will help them to slide inside your shoes. Some people also like to sprinkle baby powder in swimming caps in order to get them on more easily but this is inadvisable, as some baby powder contains propylene glycol, which can cause hair loss. Research shows that regular exercise can stimulate testosterone in women so female triathletes are already at risk of a form of hair loss known as testosterone hair loss, which is caused by a by-product of testosterone called DHT. It is therefore better to avoid powdering your swimming cap unless you want to save yourself from having to put on a cap for future races by leaving yourself hairless.

Have the Correct Mentality

The main method for having fast transitions is to treat them as competitively as you treat the other aspects of triathlons. Practice for them, try as hard as possible to be speedy in the transition area and ensure that you have a clear idea of what tactics you are going to use. Above all, be confident in your abilities. This will ensure that you shave minutes off your transition time, giving you a significantly greater chance of winning the race.