Tag Archives: triathlon bike

Visual Cues to Make You a Better Swimmer – By Jené Shaw

Avoid common swimming mistakes with help from these visual cues.

The experts at SwimLabs use creative analogies to illustrate and explain technique tweaks. Some of our favorites:

Problem: Not properly finishing the stroke.
Do this: Press the hand to the hips and think kayak paddling—the paddle finishes right next to the boat and it helps align and straighten it out. The same goes for swimming. Finish strong to help your other arm set up the top of the stroke.

Problem: Crossing over.
Do this: Picture “riding the rail”—keep hands following the side of the body to the hips like railroad tracks. And try the Elbow Pop Drill: Put one hand on a kickboard, preferably using a snorkel, then upon entry, track your arm from shoulder to hips. Pause at shoulder position to give yourself time to make sure fingertips are pointing down and elbow is lower than your shoulder.

RELATED: The Most Effective Way To Become A Better Swimmer

Problem: A flat hand entry. Many swimmers also lead with the thumb and their hands end up way outside the shoulder in an “outsweep” motion.
Do this: Adjust ever so slightly having the pinkie down so you start the stroke closer to the shoulder.

Problem: Rushing the stroke. Don’t flail your arms like an old-fashioned pinwheel, instead slow down to swim fast.
Do this: Reach Out Drill. Extend your arm forward, setting up the beginning of the stroke, with your hand below the elbow and elbow below shoulder. Do a two-count, then bend the elbow to start the catch.

Problem: “Riding the bike” as you kick.
Do this: Focus on a straight-leg kick, initiated from the hip not the knees. Think “crack the whip” and let the ankle flex to finish the kick.

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Take One Ride Twice Daily

Take One Ride Twice Daily

Side effects may include loss of weight, reduced stress, happiness…

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.

glutenfreethumb

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.

Patch or Replace Your Tube?

Having a flat tire during the bike portion of a triathlon is one of the most potentially time consuming delays you can encounter. Despite how attentive you may be to preventing this from happening, it is bound to happen sometime. What Road Bikersyou do when your triathlon bike wheels go flat depends largely on how far along you are and if you are actually racing when this happens.

To Patch or Not to Patch

Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or early parts of the end of your biking event, you have a choice to patch the tube or replace it altogether. The bottom line is that it’s less expensive to patch the tube, but replacing it goes a lot faster. If you get your flat during training, by all means patch the tube, but if you are actually in a race, replace the tube.

One thing you should know: It is extremely important in either case to find and Bike Flatremove whatever may have pierced your tube. If you skip this step, you could very well get another flat later in the race.

Inflating Your Tri Bike Tires—CO2 or Hand Pump?

CO2 cartridges are great time savers for inflating tri bike tires, there is no arguing that. However, they have their drawbacks, so it is in your best interest to have a hand pump around all the same.

First of all, you only have to buy a hand pump once, but CO2 carts are disposable.

CO2 Cartridge to Fix Flats

CO2 Cartridge to Fix Flats

Definitely, if you’re training or if it’s early in the race, just use your hand pump to inflate your tires. This has benefits beyond saving money. CO2 is thinner than normal air. The lighter butyl bike tubes will leak CO2 but not the air from a hand pump. If you inflate your tires with CO2 too early in the race, you could be dealing with another flat by the end of the race.

You should save your CO2 for later in the race. The rule of thumb is that it is much easier to make up the time you lost early in the race than it is later in the race. This increases the closer you get—if T2 is within your sight when you go flat, it might be better to just “run” your bike to the end.

Tip: If you bring CO2 cartridges, bring your hand pump anyway. It is a rare occurrence that you can top off a tri bike tire with CO2.

2 Timesavers on Triathlon Bike Tire Changing

If you notice that your back tire is going flat, switch to the lowest gear before you pull over. It makes removing and replacing the chain much easier and faster.

Practice, practice, practice. Removing and replacing the chain, wheel, tire and tube, along with patching, should all be firmly imbedded in your muscle memory before the next race. Fumbling at any stage of a tire change is wasted time.