Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon Coaching Tips - Part 5: Recovery

Congratulations to everyone that participated and high fives to everyone that accomplished their goals! Nice work and great effort! Is it too early to ask, "when is your next race?!?" On the day after the race, if you did everything right (or wrong!), I'm sure you'll be a "little" tight and have heavy legs going up and down the stairs! So, let's discuss recovery. But before I do that, don't forget my advice from last week; do something special for your significant other and family. They have sacrificed (and supported) along with you.

  1. How many of you had a recovery drink or food within 30minutes to 2 hours after your race? For those of you that did excellent. This will speed up your recovery. For those of you that didn't, remember how you feel right now and compare it to how you feel after your next race when you DO replenish correctly! 30minutes to 2 hours after your event is the "recovery window". Your body will absorb the nutrition quicker and help transition your body from a catabolic state (breaking down) to anabolic state (building, repairing).

  2. Light muscle massage will help aid in recovery. Treat yourself. You earned it!

  3. Adding some new technology to the mix in the form of compression socks, tights, and tops are a good way to aid in recovery. They work by increasing the blood flow through your muscles, which flushes out waste and delivers essentials nutrients. There are specific forms of compression made for recovery, so shop wisely.

  4. Enjoy the Monday rest day. "Recovery days" and "Days off" are the days you strengthen, grow and improve as an athlete. Everyone thinks it's the hard training days that build the fitness. Quite the contrary, it's the days in between that make the difference!

  5. The Pro's and Elite's recovery days will probably consist of a technique, easy day in the pool or recovery "coffee shop" ride. These rides help flush out all the waste that has built up in the muscles during the race.
It's been fun for us to help out and assist you in making your experience as rewarding as possible. Take care and I hope to see everyone at Cadence on Main Street Manayunk in the coming months. Parking is free for all our customers. If you want more information on equipment, personal swimming, running or cycling classes, triathlon camps and coaching please e-mail info@cadencecycling.com or call (215) 508-4300.

Brian Walton
VP of Performance, Cadence Cycling & Multisport Center
2003 USA Cycling Developmental coach of the Year
2004 USA Triathlon U23 Executive Cycling Coach

Monday, June 22, 2009

Philly Insurance Triathlon Coaching Tips - Part 4: Transitions & Final Race Preparation

You have done the training and now it's time to put your taper into place. "LESS IS MORE" I can not stress this point enough. You will not get stronger this week by adding an extra workout.

Important FYI... If you don't read anything else here, read my most valuable suggestion...

"If you taper correctly, you'll be a little short fused with everyone and especially your loved ones! Your body has been in "training mode" and now you have this extra energy that should be used at the triathlon and not on your family or coworkers. Compound a little nervous energy in the mix and you have the recipe to explode! Plan something special next week. Make it unexpected. Trust me; this will go a LONG way. No one can succeed without family support."

  1. Make a mental note when setting up your transition area of where you are located in the transition area. You will probably be a little confused after the swim and having a benchmark will certainly help you find your bike. 2000 bikes is a lot of bikes!! Walk from the swim exit to the bike racks. Note the location. How many racks is it? I have seen balloons and signs marking personal transitions, as well as wash basins, towels for convenience. All of this is a matter of personal preference, and whatever you decide to use be sure you've practiced exactly how to use it! It will save you time but more importantly, make your experience just a little better. And of course, please don't forget the transition racks are very crowded -- be courteous to your fellow racers.

  2. Go over in your mind the first transition (T1). How will you dress for the bike? Do you need to sit down to take off your wetsuit? Trust me -- no one will truly look graceful. Be smooth and deliberate when you transition. Collect yourself. Strap on your helmet, cycling shoes, and sunglasses before unracking your bike. And think about your nutrition by consuming some calories with an extra bottle or a gel that you have placed in your transition area.

  3. Walk the transition area to the bike exit. Look at the mount and dismount lines. Plan your second transition (T2) Know where you are going to rack your bike. Where are your running shoes, number? Is your race belt ready?

  4. Don't forget to cross the timing mat and only remove your helmet once you have racked your bike.

  5. Allow your body to get into a rhythm when starting the next leg. Pace yourself and don't go out too hard up the first hill during the bike leg. As you begin the run, it may take you a mile or two to find your legs. Don't panic. If you have done the training, they'll come around!

Note to Experienced Racers: Transitions are one of the places where you can make up the most time. Getting in and out of transition not only cuts time on your T1 and T2 time, but it can put you in a better position on the race course amongst your competitors. Less is more in the transition area. Prepare only what you need. Grab any fuels in transition and start moving. You'll want to get most of your nutrition while on the move!

Final Race Preparation:
  1. Have a bottle of water by your side at all times the week before your race. Focus on drinking 64 oz of water every day. I do not need to tell anyone how important hydration is to performance.

  2. Sleep. It is most important to get two good nights of sleep prior to the race. The day of the race, I prefer getting up early so I am not rushed and have time to compose myself and deal with any possible "what if's!" 30 minutes less sleep is better than rushing around with your head cut off the morning of the race.

  3. Socks? To wear or not to wear? Simple. If you trained with them, wear them. No need to find out if you'll get blisters by not wearing socks cycling or running.

  4. If you are traveling to the race and staying at a hotel find out if they serve breakfast early and the type of breakfast they serve? If you have home field advantage, eat what you normally eat before training on your hard days. I prefer eating 2-3 hours before the race.

  5. Check the weather and plan accordingly. Lars has promised no rain the weekend of the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. Have fun and look for us the Cadence Tent! We'll have two mechanics ready to help if necessary but please be cautious, there are 2000 competitors!
Enjoy the advice and if you want more information on personal swimming, running or cycling classes, triathlon camps, coaching, and race day equipment and bikes please e-mail info@cadencecycling.com or call (215) 508-4300.

Brian Walton
VP of Performance, Cadence Cycling & Multisport Center
2003 USA Cycling Developmental coach of the Year
2004 USA Triathlon U23 Executive Cycling Coach

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jersey Genesis Triathlon

Cadence athletes excelled at the Jersey Genesis Triathlon on June 6th. The town of Port Republic, New Jersey hosted this .5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 4 mile run sprint triathlon.

The swim was a triangle course held in Nacote Creek. The creek was calm and clean but it was a bit chilly due to the heavy rain from the night before. Cadence athlete Steve Delmonte posted a strong swim coming out of the water at the front of his wave. Steve followed his swim with great bike and run legs taking the 3rd place overall.

The bike portion featured a flat and fast, out and back course. Race officials did a great job keeping the roads clear of traffic for all those racing. Cadence athlete Jeff Roma threw down a great bike split averaging 24.1 mph for the 16 mile ride. This helped Jeff finish on the podium for his age group.

The transition area was well set up for a quick in from the bike and a short 20 meter run out of the transition area to the run course.

The run highlighted a scenic 4 mile loop around Nacote Creek with several water aid stations along the way. Cadence Coach Jack Braconnier averaged 5:43 miles around the creek for a solid run split.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Philly Insurance Triathlon Coaching Tips - Part 3: Cycling Strategy and Running Tips

Last week was about the "how to" aspect of cycling, bike handling and cornering. Now it's time to put your technique and fitness into a game plan and execute on a fun but technical two lap course.

Cycling: Cycling Strategy
  1. As you head out of transition one onto West River Drive (MLK Dr.) make sure you have your gearing set in place. Be in an easy race gear that you can accelerate quickly. Get into your aero race position quickly and then shift into a larger (harder) race gear and stay to the right!

  2. Pacing on the hills. Minimal time is gained on the hills but significant time can be lost at the top. What do I mean by this? Many competitors will almost sprint at the bottom of the hill. Half way up, they are out of breath and searching for their easiest gear, and are then recovering on the flat terrain after the hill. Hold back just a little on the way up, and then accelerate over the top to quickly get back to full speed.

  3. Pacing. It is a two lap course with hills. Try and negative split (faster on second lap.) When getting close to T2, drink, stretch the back and legs, relax just a little in the last 1/2mile, and coast down that last hill into transition. Your run time will thank you for it!

  4. Drink while you ride! By the end of the bike leg you should have finished a minimum of one large bottle of water. It's much more difficult to drink while running. Use the flat sections on MLK or Kelly Drive to easily rehydrate if you are an inexperienced rider. For the more experienced, drinking while climbing the hills is best (while you are going slower), or just before the start of a climb while setting up for the turns and decelerating. I also recommend getting out of the aero position and stretching the back every now and again. It can make a big difference in positively setting up your run.

  5. Concentration is the key to success. Since the bike leg has many twists, turns, and hills you will be shifting constantly. Even on the "flats" along MLK and Kelly Drive, the road undulates and you should be constantly shifting gears to account for the variations in terrain. Significant time and muscular strength can be saved by using your gearing efficiently and not letting yourself get "bogged down" or "spun out" in a gear. Pay extra attention to the terrain around Strawberry Mansion, just before you head back to Kelly Drive. Also be aware on Lansdowne Hill, around Sweet Briar, and down Black Road.

Running Strategy and Tips:
  1. Get running off the bike right away! Make a quick T2 by using a tri-belt for your race number, and pull-tight or elastic shoe laces so that you don't spend excess time tying your shoes. These small changes can cut large amounts of time to your transition.

  2. The run takes place on MLK Drive and it is very flat. This is a great run course to PR in the 10k! During the run look ahead to be aware of the curves along the boulevard. Don't follow the crowd or those around you running the course. Take the shortest line through the curve, but be sure to stay on course!

  3. Almost halfway through the run you will move from running on the street to running on the grass, as you progress around the back of the transition area. The grass won't really change how you will run, but pay extra attention here to any possible divots or mud. One short section will be very wet and slippery as you run past the swim exit. Better to be slow and cautious then risk a muddy fall!

  4. Once you pass the transition area toward the end of the first 5k you will make your way onto MLK Drive heading toward the Art Museum. This last part of the run course will be out and back all on the drive. Be prepared for it to be hot! Be sure to get some hydration at every aid station, and pour a cup of water on your head if you need it. It's a great way to cool down!

  5. Once you hit the last turn around at the Art Museum you are approximately 1.5 miles from the finish. This is the time to start slowly building your kick to the finish. Your legs will be tired so concentrate on lifting your knees and maintaining a strong running form. When you can see the finish line, start your final sprint! This is the last little bit of the race so leave it all out on the course!

Enjoy the advice and if you want more information on personal swimming, running or cycling classes, triathlon camps, coaching, and race day equipment and bikes please e-mail info@cadencecycling.com or call (215) 508-4300.

Brian Walton
2003 USA Cycling Developmental coach of the Year
2004 USA Triathlon U23 Executive Cycling Coach

Jack Braconnier
Cadence Triathlon Coach
3 time All American Track and Field athlete at UConn

Philly Insurance Triathlon Coaching Tips - Part 2: Swim Tips and Bike Handling

Swimming Strategy and Tips
By Holden Comeau

Holden is a triathlon coach at Cadence Cycling and Multisport in Philadelphia and can be reached at hcomeau@cadencecycling.com. He is the swim course record holder for the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon with a time of 17:18 set in 2005. He was an NCAA Division I All-American and captain of the Penn State University swim team in 2000, and is now a professional triathlete.

  1. Get there early! The most unique feature of the Philadelphia Insurance Olympic Triathlon has to do with the logistics of the start. You will ride a school bus from the transition area to the swim start. There are plenty of busses, but the process takes about 15 minutes, and you don't want to rush. Get your transition set up quickly, and catch an early ride to the start!

  2. Bring only the essentials to the start. Get yourself "lubed and wetsuited" PRIOR to boarding the bus. Wearing your wetsuit just up to your waist will keep you from overheating on the ride the start. All you'll need to bring is you cap, goggles, and timing chip. Some disposable sandals are also a good idea, and personal nutrition is always smart. Race organizers provide water and sports drink at the swim start should you need it, and there are plenty of portable restrooms too!

  3. Plan for a swim warm up. Entering the Schuylkill River from St. Joe's Boathouse (swim start) couldn't be easier for a good warm up. Just walk down the boat launch ramp and get swimming up-river. The race course progresses straight down-river, so your warm up will not interrupt the race.

  4. Know the course. The swim course is fairly straight forward. You will progress downstream along the left bank until the final turn buoy, around which you will make a right turn and cross the river to the swim exit -- which is a clearly marked sand beach. Along the way you will pass under a railroad bridge and will have two options for which "tunnel" to swim through. Pick the left-most tunnel closest to the riverbank.

  5. Pay attention to your equipment. The water temperature typically allows for a wetsuit swim for amateur athletes. Wetsuit technology has come a LONG way in the past few years. If you've been thinking about a new suit, and are thinking about a swim PR (or making a run for my record!!), this is the swim course to do it! Straight and Fast! Be prepared also in the case of a non-wetsuit swim. A "swim skin" is a necessity to wear over your traditional triathlon uniform. You won't want to swim down the river in a loose jersey.

  6. Check your goggles. You'll want lightly shaded or clear goggles to navigate the murky water and low sunlight on race morning.

  7. Keep your arms moving! One of the most significant factors that influence a swimmers pace is arm-stroke turnover rate. As you fatigue, the first thing you might lose is the quickness with which you had been moving you arms. In open water swimming -- especially while wearing a wetsuit -- arm speed is extremely important. Just keep your arms spinning!

  8. Watch where you're going. Though the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon swim course is fairly easy to navigate, there is still plenty of room to swim too far should you not look where you're going. Buoys mark the right side of the swim channel every 300-400meters, and swimming buoy-to-buoy is always a good strategy. Plus, should there be any down-river current on race morning, it will be strongest the further you swim away from the riverbank. Look up quickly to catch a glimpse of where you're going, and do it with frequency!

  9. Be cautious at swim exit. The exit is abruptly steep, and fairly narrow. The volunteers are always extremely helpful here, and the race organizers ship in lots of sand that creates a soft embankment. Regardless, the bank is steep and the river is deep until you get very close to edge. Keep swimming until you touch the bottom of the river lightly with your hand, and navigate the exit like an athlete!

  10. As always, have fun! Swimming in the Schuylkill River is beautiful. The water is very clean and refreshing, and the course is really like no other. It's a great start to a great race!

Cycling: Bike Handling and Cornering
by Brian Walton
Bike Handling and cornering are very important aspects for the bike leg of the triathlon not only from the obvious safety standpoint but also from an overall physical efficiency standpoint. Being able to stay relaxed and conserving energy around turns and transitioning into hills will help you decrease your overall time and allow you to save energy for the run.

EYES and HEAD: "Keep your head up and look to where you are going." What we mean by this is keep the eyes focused not down at the road 10 feet in front of you but well past the turn. You'll be amazed at how relaxed you'll be. Just do a quick check every down and again for debris on the road.

BODY: "Keep your body over the bottom bracket." The bottom bracket is the heart of the bike where the cranks are attached to the frame. Don't lean into the direction of the turn. Almost stay upright and lean "away" from the turn.

ARMS and HANDS: Keep your elbows bent and relaxed and hands on the drops of the handlebars for a lower center of gravity. I suggest keeping your hands on the brakes and use the right (rear brake) and left (front) to slow yourself down by feathering the brakes. Always go into the turn in control and at a speed you feel comfortable. The race will not be won in any turn. Only lost...

LEGS: Inside leg should always be up going around a turn. For example if turning 90 degrees to the right, the right leg should be up. Don't drop the knee thinking you are a motorbike racer. All this does is take your body weight further away from bike and the potential for sliding out is increased. The outside leg should have pressure applied to it (weighted). For you skiers, you know what I'm talking about, carve that outside edge!


Take care and next week we will continue to focus on the bike and add running into the mix.

Safe and happy training,