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Nutrition & Training
Race Day Nutrition – Super Sprint
Race Day Nutrition – Sprint
Race Day Nutrition – Olympic
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Warm Up and Stretching
Warming up before a training session is important, simply put, it is the process of preparing our bodies for exercise. This movement preparation will allow us to move more efficiently, which from a performance point of view is preferable. More efficient movement puts less stress on joints which contributes to lower injury risk. Flexibility is the combination of mobility and stability, so being bendy is pointless without the ability to control it.Here are three types of commonly used flexibility work and where they can be used: Static stretching moving our joints into a lengthened position until we feel a stretch and holding. While this will temporarily lengthen a muscle, and allow greater range of motion, it does not allow a nervous system adaptation to the movement and as such we are not stabilising. This lack of awareness may increase injury risk in explosive movements e.g. performing a static hamstring stretch, before performing lots of kicking movements. Static stretching is best used where poor joint mobility prevents proper movement. You should then follow this up with dynamic stretching or light movement to allow the body to re-learn the joints new range. DYNAMIC STRETCHINGRepeatedly taking a joint or joints through a full, stabilised range of motion. Many dynamic stretches can be movement based progressions of static stretches. If we continue with the hamstring example; you could slowly bow from the waist towards the floor until you felt a hamstring stretch and then return to the upright position, maintaining control throughout (No bouncing), repeating this and gently moving further each time until your maximum comfortable reach is achieved. Progressions from here can include single leg/arm variations and with the addition of rotation to mimic the movements required for many sports. FOAM ROLLING / TISSUE RELEASEUsing foam rollers, massage sticks & mobility balls etc. Muscle & connective tissue can be mobilised without lengthening, which is very useful when improved movement is needed, but not at the cost of joint stability. Perhaps the most common example would be the mobilisation of the Iliotibial band (ITB) on the side of the thigh as the restricted movement here can cause incorrect movement of the knee and put unwanted stress on the joint. Other useful areas for triathletes to treat in this way include; Glutes, lower leg, back, shoulders and feet. EXAMPLE MOBILITY WORKFoam rolling (ITB) – When using foam rollers or any kinds of mobility tools, the aim is to target muscles using massage and trigger point type techniques. Whichever mobility tool you’re using, get into position with the roller/ball and start by applying gentle pressure to the target area before moving around to apply different pressures and roll through the length of the muscle. In the case of the IT Bandstart at the hip and slowly roll towards the knee. By keeping your opposite foot on the floor, you can control the movement and how much force you put on your leg, so as not to make it too uncomfortable.Dynamic Flexibility (Hamstring, glutes & back) – This progressive variation of a single leg hamstring stretch also targets muscles in the glutes and back. Begin with a split stance with the front leg straight and toes raised. Bow forwards pushing your hips back and reaching towards the foot with the opposite hand. When you feel a stretch, return to the top position and repeat. Progress to movement with each repetition including more rotation towards the foot at the bottom and in the opposite direction at the top of the movement....
Race Day Checklist
There is a lot to remember on a triathlon race day and it can be very easy to forget kit that you may have planned on using on race day, the last thing you want to do is be running around at the event before your race stressing and trying to borrow forgotten items from fellow competitors.Even as an experienced athlete I still run through what kit I am going to need in the order I’m going to be using it, much like the list below. Here is our RG Active list of kit you will need and some nice to have items.SWIMGogglesAnti-Fog SolutionSwim CapWetsuitBody GlideSpare gogglesRace BeltBIKEBikeCO2 Cartridges or Mini PumpCycling ShoesHelmetSunglassesSpare Inner TubeTyre LeversCycling GlovesMoneyRUNRunning ShoesHatFlip flopsGENERALTowelTri ShortsTri TopSports BraBike PumpSocks (2 pairs)Race NumbersPost-Race ClothesWater bottlesFuel of your choiceFlashlight (if your race has a very early start)WristwatchVaselineTiming Chip (often collected race morning)Transition BagToilet PaperSunscreenID WEATHER REPORT FOR RACE DAY?If you are unlucky and get really bad weather for your race day, you may want to consider wearing another layer over your Trisuit after you’ve swum. A lightweight wind/waterproof gilet or jacket can be a good option, to help keep you comfortable, or a lightweight thermal top. Yes, this will add time to your first transition however if it will make you more comfortable for the rest of the race it might be worth it. You may want to have a quick practice with your extra layer, once you’re wet after a swim certain clothing is very hard to get on....
Bike Maintenance & Servicing
It is important to keep your bike clean and get it regularly serviced if you don’t look after your bike it is likely you will get problems with it more frequently. Your local bike shop will normally be staffed by experienced riders and mechanics and will offer different levels of servicing depending on what you need, they are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions it is a great way to learn more about cycling and your bike. HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU SERVICE YOUR BIKE?If you tend to use your bike only through summer and train for an annual event then at a minimum get your bike serviced professionally once a year, we would recommend doing this at the beginning of your main training period. If you ride all year round, commute or often ride in poor conditions this will cause faster wear on your bike so you should get it serviced more regularly. Of course, if you are having any mechanical issues with your bike then get it serviced again and don’t ignore any problems. THE ‘M’ CHECKThere are some basic bike checks that you can and should do yourself before riding, this is commonly called the ‘M Check’. Follow the ‘M’ shape shown below as a reminder of all the items to check – we’ve detailed some points to run through in 9 steps. REAR WHEEL – check wheel is sitting centrally in the frame and the locking device (often called a ‘quick release’) are securely closed. Spin the wheel and check it rotates freely without the brakes touching the rim of the wheel. If one side of the brake is rubbing, then the brake will need adjusting.SADDLE – Correct saddle height is important, over time the saddle may get knocked or moved so make sure it is secure and at the correct height. The saddle should be level, the nose should not be pointing up or down.DRIVE CHAIN – (the ‘drivetrain’ consists of the chain, rear cassette, chainrings and derailleurs) to keep the gears working efficiently the chain should be regularly cleaned and oiled, regular cleaning should mean you need to get your bike serviced less often. If your gears aren’t changing smoothly and jumping or slipping gears, then it is time to get your bike serviced.PEDALS – may look simple but they still need to spin freely. If you’re using clipless pedals, also make sure they are clean and free of debris so as not to impede your ability to clip in and out. Check the cleats on your shoes as well as they wear out and will clip in less securely over time.FRAME – issues with frames are rare however it shouldn’t be overlooked in your check. This is more important if you’ve had an accident or there has been an impact to your frame. Check for any damage or cracks, any damage may cause a serious failure when riding if it breaks further.STEERING – (this includes stem, handlebars, headset and front forks) handlebar and control position should be correct for your riding position. The stem should be in line with your front wheel and clamp bolts tightened correctly, to prevent the stem or handlebars twisting or moving. Hold the front wheel between your legs facing the bike while turning the handlebars is a quick way to check nothing has loosened and the handlebars are secure enough to ride, the front wheel and the stem should not move independently.BRAKES – you should be able to operate your brakes easily they shouldn’t be hard to squeeze. The brake pads (the part of your brake that touches the wheel rim) should contact the rim with equal pressure on both sides of the wheel, if one side contacts before the other then the brakes will need adjusting so they both touch at the same time. Brake pads do wear down over time if you are having to pull excessively on your brake levers the brake pads may need replacing.FRONT WHEEL – like the rear wheel, check wheel is sitting centrally in the fork and the locking device or quick release is securely closed. Spin the wheel and check it rotates freely without the brakes touching the rim of the wheel. If one side of the brake is rubbing, then the brake will need adjusting.TYRE PRESSURE – Having your tyres inflated to the right pressure will help roll more easily, and can help avoid punctures. Your tyre pressure can differ from the size of tyre you have; all tyres will list the maximum pressure on the outer edge of the tyre. Often on road bike tyres, maximum pressure can be up to 120psi, however, we recommend on average keeping the pressure at around 100psi. For hybrid/commuter or mountain bikes the pressure will be less – check your tyres for the correct pressure. Check your tyre pressure at least once a week or before riding. Ideally with a pump that has a PSI indicator.KEY TOOLSA set of Allen keys, for checking and tightening bolts. Prices start from around £7.A track pump has a PSI meter on it so you will know how high the pressure is in your tyres. Prices start at around £20...
We’re often asked ‘which goggles should I buy?’ Or ‘what goggles should I use for open water swimming?’ There is no simple answer, it comes down to personal preference, some styles of goggle will fit some faces better than others, some trial and error will be required.Try a few pairs on and pick one you find comfortable – you can use any goggles for pool or open water swimming, it doesn’t matter what size or style they are so long as they don’t leak!Once you’ve found a pair that works for you, consider buying a second pair in the same style with a different colour lens – it’s good to have the option of a clear or light tint for poor light conditions and a darker lens to help with visibility in bright sunny conditions. SOCKET STYLE GOGGLESSocket goggles are smaller in size and fit into your eye socket, you will see most competition pool swimmers wearing this style of goggle as they are very streamlined. There is often not much peripheral vision with this style of goggle which isn’t that important when pool swimming. Plenty of people still use these for open water swimming too. MID-SIZE GOGGLESA mid-sized goggle is a good all-round type of goggle, they sit just around the edge of the eye socket which some can find more comfortable. A slightly bigger lens can give a bit more vision to the sides. MASK STYLE GOGGLESThe larger mask type goggles have a wider lens and cover a broader part of your face so can offer a good seal around the face, they often get sold as open water swimming goggles. However, the amount they cover your face is not for everyone. LENSE TYPESGoggles come in many different lens types and colours and like sunglasses act in the same way to help visibility in different light conditions. Clear Great for low light and poor visibility outdoors and general pool swimming. Tinted Offer a small to medium amount of protection from brighter light conditions, fine for use indoors and outdoors Mirrored Reduce glare and reflection from the sun, great for outdoor swimming in sunny conditions Polarised Good in high light level conditions, they block out glare without dulling the view and also can increase contrast with is sometimes lost with a tinted lensPhotochromatic: These lenses automatically adjust to changing light conditions, they get lighter in low light and darker in bright light, of course this technology tends to come with a steeper price tag but good for outdoor swimming. CARING FOR YOUR GOGGLESIf your goggles are constantly fogging up or leaking and you’ve had them for a while, it’s probably time for a new pair! The following steps will help prolong the life of your goggles:Don’t rub the inside of the lens! This can scratch and ruin any anti-fog coating they have.After swimming, don’t leave them wet in your swim bag take them out rinse them with cold clean water to remove any chlorine or grit and let them naturally dry out.Once dry put them in a protective pouch or case.Don’t leave them in direct sunlight this can degrade the silicone seal....
Swimming Wetsuit Guide
There are lots of types of wetsuits on the market make sure you get one designed for swimming. These are created with buoyant, flexible neoprene to not only help keep you warm but also allow for movement in the shoulders and improve body position.FITSwimming wetsuits fit very tightly, there should be no loose baggy bits anywhere! This tightness can be slightly disconcerting, to begin with, but you will get used to it in time. It can be quite hard putting your wetsuit on sometimes, however, they do come off easier when they’re wet after swimming.BOUYANCYCheck the thickness of the neoprene, there should be a panel of neoprene that is at least 4mm thick, normally in the legs and torso, there are some cheap pretenders on the market with 1-2mm of neoprene all over, while these may offer some warmth in mild waters (temperatures above 17°) they will give you no buoyancy and are not a true triathlon/swim specific wetsuit.ENTRY LEVELEntry level wetsuits are perfect for those getting into the sport, at a lower cost, starting at around £100. They tend to be a simpler design in terms of the number of panels the suit is made up of and different thicknesses of neoprene throughout. They offer a good level of buoyancy although can sometimes feel a little more restrictive around the shoulders than higher cost wetsuits. Rental wetsuits will normally be entry-level models.MID LEVELMid-range wetsuits range in price approximately from £200-£400, generally, these will offer a better level of flexibility in the shoulders and arms. The neoprene panelling will be slightly simpler than a top of the range wetsuit but will have different thickness of neoprene which can provide a more balanced body position than entry level suits which tend to offer a more all over buoyancy.TOP-ENDTop of the range wetsuits tends to start upwards of £400 in price. In top end wetsuits, you will normally see the widest range of neoprenes generally from 3mm to 5mm offering the most buoyancy where most people need it and more flexibility around the arms and neck. If you do go for a top of the range suit, take extra care with them, with finer neoprene they can sometimes be slightly more fragile. Look out for ‘end of season’ sales, sometimes you will find half-price top of range wetsuits.CARING FOR YOUR WETSUITSwimming wetsuits are made from very delicate neoprene, here are some pointers on caring for it to help it last longer.Avoid using your fingernails when putting on your wetsuit! Nails can cut the neoprene very easily and leave small crescent moon shaped cuts, these have the potential to pull into bigger holes.Avoid tugging on the zip with the cord, the weak part of the wetsuit is at the bottom of the zip at the base of the spine, it can easily rip here, ask someone to zip up the suit for you.After swimming, rinse off the wetsuit in clean fresh water, leave inside out to dry, once that side is dry turn the right way out to dry any excess water off the outside.Store out of direct sunlight, this can degrade the neoprene if left in the sun for extended periods.Don’t leave on a hanger for extended periods of time as this may stretch the neoprene in the shoulders, loosely fold to store.ACCESSORIESIf you really enjoy your open water swimming or struggle with the cold there are a few extra accessories you can consider – although please note, some items can only be used in training and not for races.Neoprene caps are available made out of the same neoprene as your wetsuit and with a chin strap, they can offer extra warmth in the very chilly water. NB: a lot of people do find the strap under the chin off-putting or uncomfortable.Neoprene booties offer an extra bit of warmth for your feet for training to help keep you in the water a bit longer. Not allowed for triathlon races, occasionally allowed for open water swim races if water is very chilly, check with the organiser first.Neoprene gloves can help keep your hands warmer, the come in webbed finger versions or non-webbed versions, webbed versions allow resistance for training but are never allowed to be worn in races. People who suffer from Raynaud syndrome can sometimes seek permission from event organises to wear non-webbed gloves but you must contact the organiser prior to the event for permission if you plan to do this.A neoprene vest under your wetsuit can help add warmth when training, however not recommended for racing as they are very hard to remove by yourself once you’ve finished the swim....