Entries Tagged as 'Professional Triathlete's'

Tip's from the Pro's for ALCATRAZ!

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If you're not feeling 100% confident about racing at this weekend San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz, listen to these pointers from the Elite's!



 "Remove sunglasses through the tunnel on the run and always be aware of downhill traffic on the run. Runners coming back down the switchbacks into Marina Green will be tired but carrying speed, the last combination you want to play chicken with. Stay to the right and avoid cutting in on the corners." - Dan McIntosh






- "The bike course is on the technical side, so if you can make it out to pre-ride one or two times before race day it'd be well worth the effort."- Courtenay Brown
 - "I get cold easily, so last year in anticipation of a chilly   swim I took a dose of First Endurance PreRace in the hour before the start so that my metabolism would be going pretty strongly. I didn't have problems with the cold water so I'll be doing that again this year!" - Courtenay Brown





- "Hold on to your goggle and spread eagle when you jump - you want to stay at the top of the water!" - Kelly Dunleavy
- "Use the flat sections on the bike and run to drink and eat; remember, there aren't many flat sections." - Kelly Dunleavy
- "Do NOT go crazy trying to get up the sand ladder as fast as possible. There is a reason most of the pros walk." - Kelly Dunleavy




- "The San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz offers such a unique experience that it really cannot be compared to your standard international distance triathlon - the cold water and nervous energy on the boat, the hills, and sand ladder, and the satisfaction of completing the challenge. Plus I love San Francisco and the opportunities to explore the city. If you are a first timer, the best advice I can give you is just to stay relaxed and take the day as it comes! Listen to the swim briefing and get an understanding of the currents and best way to sight to shore and KNOW that it is going to be cold! Make sure your bike gears and brakes are all working well for the challenges of the hills and breaking the course up into smaller sections in your mind can help you focus better at the tast at hand. The run, while challenging, is one of the most scenic in the world - take the time to enjoy the view and know that everyone hurts on the san ladder. And most importantly remember to have fun out there." - Pip Taylor

- "My first tip for the San Francisco Triathlon from Alcatraz would be: make sure you are prepared for all kinds of weather. I pack everything from sunscreen to gloves, a rain jacket and over-bike shoe booties. San Francisco is notorious for its "wintery" summers. After living there for 3 years, I know that all too well. My second tip is to use the last flat section of the bike (along Mason Street) to get down a gel. I like to use a 2nd Surge Accel Gel because it has extra caffine. This not only perk me up after an early start to the day, but it gives me the energy to hit the flat section of the Presidio with a little extra speed to drop my competition. Once I hit the downhill to Bakers Beach, I down another gel. Its always good to have extra energy before the beach and the climb up the sand ladder!" - Leanda Cave

Stagnation During Training? How to Go Beyond Your Plateau

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By: Brice Winkler

We've almost reached July, and with respect to the triathlon racing season, things may be just heating up for you, things may be in full swing already, or perhaps things may be slowing down. When the middle of the year comes along, I always like to write down in my log what goals I have achieved and what goals I still would like to achieve. Furthermore, I take a step back and try to bring a new approach to my training because I always seem to encounter some form of stagnation during my workouts. The middle of the year calls for novelty. For instance, at the beginning of each season, I make big leaps and bounds in my swimming. My technique gets sharpened and honed, my feel for the water improves tremendously, and week after week, my times per 100yd/meter steadily decrease. However, once I hit June and July, I begin to plateau. I've exhausted all my tricks, and I seemingly swim like a metronome. That is, I hit the same swim times no matter what. As I heard in the gym this morning from an older gentleman after weighing himself, “Well, I never seem to gain weight or lose weight. I'm just staying the same. Very odd.” For me, I would say “ Well, this hundred time just isn't coming down. Maybe I have hit my plateau. Will I get any faster?” This is what I'm referring to as stagnation in training. How do we eliminate it? Of course, stagnation can come in a variety of forms. You may have hit a plateau in your cycling or running. What I hope to provide is some general advice that can help jump up and above your plateau and avoid this dreaded stagnation.

Okay, the first thing I do when I encounter my own issues is grab a pen and paper and draft up a whole bunch of plans. What kind of plans? With respect to swimming, I write down what I know is staying stagnant (let's say my 100m time), and I brainstorm on how I can change that. Maybe try using more pull gear during my swim workouts to develop more strength? Shorter sets with more speed work added? Maybe a small diet change prior to my swim workouts? Do I substitute out a pool swim for an open water swim in Lake Sonoma? Ideas like that. The key is to be willing to experiment and figure out if your plans work or not. Otherwise, you will most certainly remain stagnant. The next thing I do is look at my overall weekly training schedule. Have I become sucked into a grind? What if I cycled on Tuesday instead of Monday, and what if I added my speed work session to a day where I swam as well? Even the slightest change in your weekly routine can give you some mental freedom and save you from saying to yourself “Oh, I guess it's Wednesday, and I have to go for a ride.” One of my ex-English professors emphasized how important it was not to get married to the things that one wrote. That is, people become extremely attached to their thesis statements and how they have structured certain body
paragraphs. They believe that because they wrote the sentence in a certain way that that is the best way the sentence can be written. However, this may not be true. In fact, it probably isn't true.

In the same way, triathletes have a very difficult time breaking out of their routines. Hey, I have a very hard time breaking out of a proven weekly routine; however, if it's starting to become stale, then I know a little bit of change is on the horizon. I have to warn you that changing things up does not always result in positive change. I've tried new things that made me slower, that made me feel ill, that made me never want to change my tried and true routine ever again. But you have to be flexible and willing to experiment to know what works and what doesn't. If there is a great restaurant up the street that you've eaten at for years and have always been impressed by, and then a new restaurant opens up nearby, what do you do? Do you continue to eat where you've always eaten or do you take a risk and try out the new place. The old restaurant will always be there, and you know what you're getting, but what if this new place simply rocks your socks off? I think you know what I'm advocating here.

I have the utmost confidence that if you are experiencing any sort of stagnation in your training that you will be able to overcome it. Write up a plan and see if it works. Always remember to be flexible, flexible, flexible. Best of luck with everything you do. :-)

If Wildflower is Vanilla, Then Treasure Island is Definitely Strawberry

Professional Triathlete's , SF Triathlon at Treasure Island , Training Tips No Comments »

By: Brice Winkler

First, congratulations to all of the Avia Wildflower Triathlon finishers! All three of these events (the Long Course, Mountain Bike, and Olympic) are brutal in their own unique ways, and especially in this year's long course event, mother nature didn't want to have any cyclists finish the bike segment. What an incredible wind from miles 19-40! Wow! Up next: The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island. There is no need to worry about a long course option here, so your training in the next few months should be focused more on quality, sustained efforts lasting around 2-3 hours on the bike and around 45min-1hr on the run. I would recommend swimming as long as you normally have been.

Having a few extra yards or meters in the bank is not a bad thing. However, please keep in mind that you should throw in some sprint sets to prepare for the shorter swim distances. In my last post about Wildflower, I emphasized the importance of a “dress rehearsal”. That is, knowing quite accurately how your race is going to go before it even begins is essential. Please keep this idea in mind. As Andy Potts

once said in an interview, “Race how you train.”

How many calories are you going to consume in 24.8 miles on a very technical and almost criterium-style bike course? Are the turns and other technical aspects going to stand in the way of your nutrition? Are your bike handling skills good, satisfactory, or do they need improvement? These are a few of the questions I ask myself prior to Treasure Island each year. Considering I've crashed hard twice in a 4-mile span during the sprint distance race, I would definitely take a good solid look at how you handle your bike. I have a set of rollers that I use religiously year round, and they have definitely helped how I handle everything out on the road. Rollers help you be able to make micro-adjustments that could very well keep you upright. I would definitely recommend looking into purchasing a pair.

If rollers are not on your radar, I might recommend a local criterium race just to get a feel for close contact with other riders and technical courses. Wildflower has a whole different flavor than Treasure Island: Big open roads and a cross country style run that weaves through the countryside. If I

were to assign an ice cream flavor to Wildflower, it would definitely be vanilla. Treasure Island, on the other hand, is a good strawberry ice cream with multiple loops on the bike and multiple loops on the run. Unlike Wildflower, it's really hard to get in the aero bars, keep your cadence high, and find a good rhythm. At Treasure Island, keep those hands in the drops, and be ready to brake hard if necessary. The course is tight, and even if you know what you are doing, the athlete right next to you may have trouble with a turn or may brake suddenly to get through a difficult, technical section. See everything. Be careful, and please do not crash like I did. However, it was very fun being invited to so many Tegaderm fashion shows (just kidding)!

To summarize, “technical” is the key word for the Treasure Island Triathlon. To do well in this event, you must have confidence in your ability to handle your bike well, and you must be aware that sharp turns are going to come up quickly and quite frankly, be a bit dangerous. I crashed when I made a left-hand turn much too early near the start of my second loop. I slid across the pavement and lost a lot of skin. Ouch!! Please learn from my mistakes, and keep your eyes open for everything.

All that hard training should definitely not be interrupted by a fall. You are going to do great at Treasure Island! :)

Stay positive, stay focused, and please remember what I emphasized last time: “Race how you train!”

Last Minute Reminders for Wildflower Triathlete's

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By: James Lubinski

The work is done. The hay is in the barn. You trained hard, ate right, nursed saddle sores, missed parties, etc, all for the big day. Next Saturday/Sunday is your day. Time to put the pen to paper and see what you got. I’ll give you a few last reminders you will hopefully remember and take to heart prior to, during, and post race.

Wildflower is exciting. The whole atmosphere is amped up with more energy than you can imagine. Keep a steady head. You are there to have fun, but you are also there to get work done. Keep your regiment, eat what you normally eat. Bring the right food with you. There are stores in Paso Robles if you need something, but know what YOU need. Come with a plan for nutrition and stick to it. Sleep may be tough, so earplugs are a must. Cars pull in at all hours of the night and athletes wake up at 3:30a.m. race morning (for what reason I have no idea). You don’t want to be bothered by these sleep distractions. EAR PLUGS! A comfortable sleeping arrangement. Tents are good if you are boozing all weekend, but when you have to perform, you need to upgrade your tent. Get an air mattress from Walmart, it makes a world of difference. Don’t forget to hydrate Friday. There is a lot of commotion prior to the race and this could take your attention away from the necessities.

Equipment-wise, you know what you have been training on, so don’t change much. Bring an extra pair of goggles. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Put Yanks! in your shoes (These are laces that allow you to easily slip on your shoes out of T2). Don’t be a hero, wear a wetsuit, that water is cold. If you make one change, RENT A PAIR OF WHEELS! Raceday Wheels (www.Racedaywheels.com) will be on site to rent you wheels for the race. If you can make one upgrade it should be wheels. They make your bike more aerodynamic and lighter. That reduction of weight adds up to a lot when you have to climb up, up, and away. With Raceday Wheels, you don’t have to buy a $1600 pair of wheels, you just rent them than give them back. It’s an ideal situation.

Just remember, pace yourself, check your ego, remember you nutrition, stay focused, and party hard post race. You deserve it. Enjoy the atmosphere, and when you see me up at the lake, stop and say HI!. I look forward to meeting all of you. Good Luck, Be Safe, and RACE HARD!

Remember to stay BALANCED

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By: Tenille Hoogland

How many times have I heard myself say to someone or someone say to me – how do you find balance? Up until 1 year ago I tried to balance work, being a pro-triathlete, relationships and life. Once I realized that I was on the brink of exhaustion I made being a pro-triathlete my work and my priority. The question remains though – have I achieved better balance? To answer this question I have looked to the dictionary and talked to several people. This is what I learned in my quest to understand what it means to me.

Definition #1: An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady

To me this definition gets at the physical dimension of balance that triathletes struggle to achieve in their quest to strengthen three demanding sports. I, like many others, have not managed to stay “upright” or “steady” in training or races due to injury, poor mechanics, or nutrition. Lack of balance can be too much emphasis on motor development at the detriment of skill development. It can be too much time spent on one sport, leaving another to become the weak link. It can also be missing the recovery needed to keep going at such intensity, volume while meeting life demands. For me - there really is only one solution. Get a coach. Zane has taught me so very very much about the need to balance skill and motor development with recovery. He constantly is finessing my training schedule to meet me where I am at and where my body is at. Some say planning is the biggest job and execution is the easy part… to keep me swimming, biking and running healthily, I believe it.

Definition #2: A stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability

I had the incredible opportunity to listen and speak to Peter Reid at the Specialized Training Camp I attended two weeks ago. 

From the Pros- Reid and Rapp [Watch]

One thing that really struck me is how strongly he emphasized knowing why you are doing something. Triathlon is no easy undertaking. For me there are times when everything hurts, I am tired and that it takes everything in me to step out the door to go for that second run. These are the times that knowing why is critical. There are a million different reasons why each of us undertakes the mission to complete a triathlon. It is only your reason that matters though and that will bring joy to the training day and to the race. Know it and breathe it – it will bring stability just when you really really need it.

Definition #3: Something that is left over; a remainder.

I like this definition as it applies to life because it is often that we are cramming in lots of life into the “remainder” time we have after training, working, school, etc. Two friends of mine were talking about what balance means over dinner and the suggestion was that balance is meeting the must dos and being able to pursue the want to’s beyond that. Important to this notion is accepting that you likely can’t do or achieve all your want to’s.

Skot Campbell, BG bike fitter at Bicycle Sport Shop, said to me that balance is something that we all aspire to but rarely attain because we are, after all, asymmetrical. I loved this because it reminds me that it is the pursuit of life that brings balance and that it is human to be a little lop-sided.

Perhaps as we struggle to strike the right balance of work and play, family and friends we need to fundamentally remember that life is in balance when it is full of all those things that are important to us—that we are meeting those things that we have set as priorities and are enjoying once and awhile the nice to dos.