Strength Training for Triathletes: Best Strength Exercises

Strength Training for Triathletes

“What’s the importance of strength training for triathletes? What are the best strength training exercises? Read this article to find out!”

Strength Training for Triathletes

Are you over 35 years of age? Do you have a limited amount of training time? Do you want to reverse—or at least slow down—as many aspects of the aging process as possible? Are you an endurance athlete looking for an extra edge? Do you want to boost power, reduce fatigue, guard against injury and increase your late-race energy reserves?

Well, who doesn’t? And strength training can be the tool to help you accomplish each of these universally sought-after benefits. In fact, strength, or resistance, training is one of the most commonly overlooked means to improve endurance athletic performance.

All too many triathletes sacrifice strength training in favor of additional swim, bike or run sessions. This is unwise. In fact, a well-executed strength-training program can allow you to carve up to 25 percent out of your swim, bike and run volume while improving performance and enjoying better race-day results.

I fought going to the gym for years until I reached my mid-30s. Suddenly, speed work started to look more like steady-state training, and I could no longer override a lack of power on climbs with desire. My race performances started to suffer. I could see that even with a huge volume of miles out on the roads, my fitness was not what it was in my 20s.

Adding resistance training was the next step, but I had a problem. I had no idea how to design and integrate a strength program into triathlon training. I was also intimidated by the gym because I felt like the scrawny weakling on the beach compared to the hulks pushing around weights that would crush me. So there I was, the Ironman champion, embarrassed to go into the gym.

But my desire to win was even stronger than my embarrassment. I was introduced to a top strength coach, a woman named Diane Buchta. She led me through an entire season of weights, focusing on building overall body strength and, eventually, muscular speed.

The results were dramatic. In the first full season I used the program described below, I won the Triple Crown of Triathlon: the Nice International Triathlon, the Zofingen duathlon and the Hawaii Ironman.

GETTING WITH THE PROGRAM
I have boiled the program down to what I consider the 12 key exercises to develop overall body fitness for a triathlete. The workout is done twice a week throughout the year, and each session takes about 45 minutes. Separate the two weekly strength sessions by at least one day. The exercises, their order, the muscle groups they work and their sport-specific benefits are as follows:

1. Lateral Pull-downs (upper back; improves pull phase of swim stroke)
Beginning position: Grasp bar with arms straight and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Push chest forward; arch lower back
Ending position: Pull bar in front of head down to shoulder level

2. Leg Extensions (upper legs/quads; supports weight-catching phase of running and builds additional muscle mass necessary for half-marathon distances and up)
Beginning position: Sit on machine. Rest shin pad just above ankle. Line knee with pivot point of machine
Ending position: Extend both legs fully to straight line More at Mark Allen’s 12 Best Strength Exercises

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Swimming Training: Swim Workouts for Triathletes

“Your swimming training must be done specifically  for the triathlete in you. Check out these swim workouts now!”

 

Some  Masters swim programs don’t include workouts geared specifically for triathletes, instead focusing training toward Masters swim meets. I’m sad for those triathletes because a good coach and Masters group can make swimming more enjoyable. In addition to the fun-factor, a good coach can help your swim efficiency and improve your pace.

If you use a coach and the workouts in the column look fun, take a copy to your next swim practice. If you don’t swim with a Masters group–no worries–you can still do a couple of my favorite workouts on your own or with your swim buddies.

AEROBIC SWIM
First, read through the workout and notice that there is no designation for yards or meters. Use the measurement system associated with your pool.
For this entire workout, keep your perceived exertion at easy to moderate.

Looking at the first swim of the main set, the 900 is more fun if you swim it with three to six other people that swim roughly the same speed as you. You will rotate the lead position in a single lane. When the leader completes 75, they’ll stay on the right side of the lane wall to allow everyone else to swim past. They’ll then join the group as the new last person.

Rotating the lead position makes the time go by faster, helps you practice drafting and usually creates a higher average pace than if you swim 900 by yourself (given the same effort level).

After the 900 is complete, take a one to two-minute rest interval (RI) (but no more than two minutes) before beginning the 600. You can continue rotating the lead during the 600 or select one leader for it and each of the remaining sets. During the 600, do three repeats of: 100 closed-fist swimming then 100 regular swimming.

Don’t cheat on the fist swims. Folding your fingers down and keeping an open palm does not count as a fist. Closed-fist swimming done correctly forces you to use your entire arm to catch water and can help increase cadence. When you open your hands after swimming with closed fists, it feels like you’re wearing paddles.

After the 600 is a 400 pull with a buoy and paddles. The 400 is followed by a 200 pull with a buoy and no paddles.

For the main set grand finale I like to work a few different muscles by adding backstroke.tri

WORKOUT #1
Warmup:
300 to 500 freestyle, 200 to 400 kick, 200 freestyle (alternating drill 25/swim 25)

Main set:
900 steady swim, change who leads the lane each 75
One but no more than two-minute rest interval (RI)
600 steady consisting of 3 x 100 fist/100 swim
One but no more than two-minute RI
400 pull (paddles and buoy)
One but no more than two-minute RI
200 pull (buoy, no paddles)
One but no more than two-minute RI
6 x 50 backstroke on 1:10
Goal of the main set: 2400 yards or meters of steady swimming at an aerobic pace.

Cool down:
Swim an easy 100 to 200 yards, choice of stroke

Total distance: 3200 to 3700

NEGATIVE-SPLIT THRESHOLD SWIM
I just love negative-split workouts. These workouts help athletes learn to meter their energy and not go too fast at the beginning of the workout.

Before beginning this workout, first determine the highest average pace per 100 you can hold for a set of three repeats of 300, with only 30 seconds rest between each swim (3 x 300 w/ 30 second RI). Call this your T-Pace. More at 2 Top Swim Workouts for Triathletes

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Training for Triathlon: Bike Workouts

Bike Workouts for Training for Triathlon

“Training for triathlon? Then you must check these bike workouts. Read more now!”

Bike Workouts for Training for Triathlon

Early spring is when you should get more specific with your sessions. You will be getting a little stale with long steady miles and the turbo trainer, so now is the time to speed up your riding.

Introducing some faster pace work into your training now will make the transition to racing later on a whole lot easier. The lighter and hopefully warmer evenings are perfect for short, snappy training sessions that will boost your fitness levels and won’t leave you too fatigued. Using your time on the bike wisely makes sense, leaving you more time to swim and run.

Most of us don’t have much free time after work, maybe an hour at most, but that’s still plenty. British Cycling lead coach, Chris Furber, thinks an hour is a perfect window of time. “The human body is designed to walk and run, so is neurologically and physiologically set up for those movement patterns. You can condition your body to follow a cycling movement pattern just by getting out on your bike regularly. If you stop cycling for too many days your body will quickly return to its normal walking state.”

MONDAY: THE HOUR OF POWER
Aim: To build strength and power
Tip: Try to hold your pace for the duration of the efforts. If you fade too much, try starting a little slower
Warm up:
• 15 minutes in a small gear, gradually bringing your heart rate up
Main set:
• 3×2 minutes hard and controlled, in a big gear + 90 seconds rests
• 4 minutes easy spinning
• 3×1 minute hard and controlled, in a big gear + 60 seconds rests
• 4 minutes easy spinning
• 3x30secs at maximum effort + 30 seconds rests
Warm down:
• 15 minutes in a small gear, gradually bringing your heart rate down

WEDNESDAY: SPIN TO WIN
Aim: A low load session designed to create pedaling efficiency
Tip: Pedal in circles, and don’t bounce in the saddle
Equipment A cycle computer that measures cadence
Warm up:
• 15 minutes in a small gear
Main set:
High/low cadence efforts
• 2 x (2mins spinning your legs at 110rpm, 2mins at 80rpm)
• 10 mins easy riding
• 2 x (2mins spinning your legs at 110rpm, 2mins at 80rpm)
Warm down:
•15 minutes in a small gear
More at Triathlon Cycling: One-Hour Workouts

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Best Running Shoes

Best Running Shoes for Triathletes

“Reviewing the best running shoes for Triathlon. Read it now!”

Best Running Shoes for Triathletes

There are several factors you need to consider when buying a new pair of running shoes. They are:

Flexgrooves
With the current trend for more natural-feeling running, flexibility has been increased in many shoes, with some models having lengthways grooves designed to help guide your foot gently in a straight-forwards line

Arch support
Many manufacturers are paring down their support features but you’ll still see plastic arch bridges in some to help control excessive pronation (rolling in) and to aid a smooth ride

Outsole
Durability and traction are the two things you want from your outsole: sticky, black rubber compounds should help you claw over wet concrete while more aggressive tread patterns can help if you run off road

Upper
The fabric part of the shoe should be breathable and quick drying. Overlays on the upper can help add support, while special lacing designs locking into the upper can help cradle your foot for a more secure feeling

Midsole
In traditional everyday running shoes, the midsole contains most of the technology you’re paying for: light, bouncy foam or gel for shock protection and denser foam or plastic units to help control pronation

Inner
The inside of the shoe should be seam-free to keep you clear of cuts. Look for soft, brushed material, a thick, padded tongue for comfort and, in more expensive shoes, plush sockliners for extra cushioning

1. Puma faas 500
The Simplicity of the FAAS line’s look is down to the one-piece FAASfoam midsole running the length of the shoe. Stability features are limited to a split heel and supportive mesh round the midfoot in the upper, so it’s a light and bouncy shoe, which our tester liked better for faster runs. The plush step-in feeling, thick tongue and secure-feeling upper makes it a good racing choice, with the low weight and seam-free inner reinforcing that. It offers plenty of protection for heel-strikers but midfoot or forefoot strikers will find it slappy. Low breathability (compared with other shoes tested here) lets down its racing potential but grip was great even on slick roads

Verdict
Plush, light and neutral shoe that favours heel strikers.

2. New Balance 870 v2
There was a time you wouldn’t get any change from 350g for a stability shoe, but ever lighter foams and less intrusive support features have changed that. The latest 870 is a good example, with new Revlite foam doing the cushioning honours and just a small, split section of higher density foam providing medial support; it’s designed for light overpronators. Nevertheless our tester found it rigid and very stable compared with others we tested, and good for heel-strikers rather than midfoot or forefoot runners. Despite a low 8mm heel-to-toe drop, road feel isn’t great, possibly because of the less flexible outsole than others we tried. The shoe’s inner caused us no problems though.

Verdict
Light shoe for overpronators but not the fastest feeling or most flexible. More at Best Running Shoes For Triathlon

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Running Accessories

Running Accessories for Triathletes

“These running accessories will surely be of big help on race day. Check out what they are below!”

Running Accessories for Triathletes

Running is probably the only sport out there that doesn’t require a whole bunch of expensive “stuff.” You need shoes, yes, but other than that you can just hit the road! However, there are a TON of awesome accessories, gadgets and gear that can take your running experiences up a notch.* These are a few of my favorite “must haves” when I hit the road for a run.

1) RaceReady shorts – I have both regular and compression shorts in this brand and I can’t say enough great things about them. The regular shorts are very light weight and don’t ride. I do choose to wear the compression shorts if I’m doing distances over 6 miles (that’s when the chaffing starts to become a problem). The BEST part about the RaceReady’s are the pockets. You can stuff yourself like a pack mule with these things and you hardly notice anything is catching a ride on your bum. I had 6 Gu’s, my cellphone (in a plastic baggie), chapstick, and a stick of Body Glide packed into mine for 26.2 miles and didn’t feel a thing.

2) Nathan Shadow Pak – This pak, that non-runners will mock and call a fanny pack, was my first running accesory purchase. I needed to carry my cellphone with me and it wasn’t feeling great rubbing against my boob stuffed into my bra. Don’t judge, you know you’ve all done it, too. This pak is small, but it will hold a cellphone and 1 or 2 Gu’s. You can also stick your car key in it. I mainly use this on short runs when I’m not wearing a pair of RaceReady’s. It feels best for me around my natural waist with the pouch in the small of my back.

3) Nathan Fuel Belt – I just recently bought this because I can’t stand carrying a drink in my hand. This belt has been a life saver for runs on a hot day. It took a good bit of getting used to but I don’t mind wearing it now. Each bottle holds 10 oz which is plenty of fluids for a short or a long run. I only take in a few ounces every 3 miles, so I could easily do a 20 miler with this belt. Odds are, if you’re running more than 20 miles, you’ll pass by a store where you can refill the flasks. (Unless you’re running in farm land, then just find a generous cow.) I put water in one flask and rum, I mean, Gatorade or nuun, in the other. You can also get the belt with 4 flasks but I wasn’t a fan of having bottles surrounding me and jabbing my ribs. Just a warning; non-runners will also mock this item.

4) T2M2R Tech Tee – This one isn’t just because I drink the T2M2R “kool-aid.” I honestly LOVE this shirt. Most of the time it’s dirty from me lounging around in so I don’t get to wear it on my runs. However, when I do wear it, it absorbs sweat, keeps me feeling nice and cool, and it has a bright green logo that makes me feel very visible out on the street! More at My Top 10 Running Accessories

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Road Bicycle: Must Buy Affordable Road Bikes

Affordable Road Bicycle

“Looking into buying a road bicycle? We’ve listed down some of the most affordable road bikes in the market. Check them out now!”

Affordable Road Bicycle

Specialized Allez Comp 105 – $1,750
Getting to my favorite 8-mile climb on a route that includes plenty of broken roads is almost as tough as the climb itself, but the Allez Comp proved worthy. When the dirt became smoother than the remaining pavement, the relatively stiff-riding aluminum frame offered an acceptable level of comfort, keeping me from being jarred too harshly.

The Allez rides lighter than its 20-plus pounds (size 56cm) would suggest, thanks mostly to the stiff, responsive frame. The front end’s rigidity rivals that of a Tour-worthy racer and looks as if it came off a top-end Specialized Tarmac.

Buy It If: You want a go-fast bike with Tour-proven geometry and upgrade potential
Forget It If: You insist that carbon is king

Felt F5 – $2,299
Out of the box, the F5 reads like a race bike. It has performance-oriented features such as a drivetrain-stiffening BB30 bottom bracket and a stiff fork for competent handling. On the road, though, it shows that it has more nuance than speed.

The F5 is built around Felt’s FC race frame—the same one the Exergy pro cycling team will race in 2012—and includes an appropriately short head tube (160mm on our 58cm test bike), letting you get out of the wind. But the bike’s compliant ride, compact double crank, and stout Mavic CXP-22 rims make it best suited to solo explorations, spirited group rides, and turbocharged commutes.

Felt sees the bike as a do-it-all road platform. While the 34/25 low gear will let you crawl over any hill, the 50/11 top end is fast enough to sprint for a finish line. The handling and geometry skew to the racer’s preference for fast, nimble reactions, but the UHC Performance carbon 3K weave doesn’t. Instead it gives you a more comfortable ride, which was preferred by some of our testers: “I’d rather have a bike that’s a touch too compliant than one that’s too stiff,” read one ride log.

Buy It If: You might race occasionally, but mostly just want to ride
Forget It If: You’ll be tempted to clean the white tires after every ride

Blue Axino EX – $2,900
A new bike for 2012, the EX is the lowest-cost carbon model in Blue’s growing Axino family, and it shares some features and frame shaping with the top-of-the-line Axino. To reduce costs, Blue used less-expensive composites, resulting in a heavier frame (1,150g vs 950g).

As expected from a company with the phrase “competition cycles” in its name, the Axino EX feels like it’s ready to race. With average geometry, you get straightforward handling that’s neither frighteningly fast nor so sluggish as to hold you back in a crit. The EX’s frame stiffness impressed us. Some bikes, including many high-end models, ride as though engineers built differing stiffnesses into disparate parts of the frame. Taken individually, these zones might receive top marks, but in totality, the frames lack unity. That’s where the EX shines: It may not have the stiffest drivetrain or head tube we’ve ever experienced, but it’s balanced in a way that makes the frame feel like a single, harmonized entity. It’s an admirable trait, especially at this price point.

Buy It If: You want a performance bike with a damped ride
Forget It If: You’re looking for a lively ride feel

More at 7 Fast, Fun & Affordable Road Bikes

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