6 remaining races left to experience your first triathlon

If you’ve been on the fence about signing up for your first triathlon this year here are the remaining races you have left in San Diego. Time is running out to get in shape.

Don’t be worried about training, though. It won’t take too long to get you in shape. If you can afford 7-10 hours a week and at least 8 weeks, you’ll be just fine. Click one of the links below and sign up and the button at the bottom to sign up for a training plan.

Upcoming Races

If this is your first triathlon, you might need a training plan. We’ve got you covered. Just click the button below and we’ll get you started.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below or contact us through our contact page

Epic Sprint Finish

A rare sight in the triathlon world, an epic race to the finish. At the final mile there were 8 people in the final group pressing to the finish. It’s an epic battle worth watching.

Do you have any videos of some epic finishes? Post them in the comments below.

Rise and Shine

Came across this epic video on Reddit. It was originally posted on Addicted 2 Success.

I love this quote in the beginning of the video. We all know the feeling when we get up and how much we want to curl up and continue sleeping.

“The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is a voice of defiance”

Rise and shine.

3 Things You Should Know About Training for Your First Triathlon

There is a great article from the Weekend Triathlete blog. The blog is geared towards new triathletes. So if you’re new to the sport, this article is for you!

If you want to skip my thoughts, the link is at the foot of this post.

There are a lot more than 3 things you should know, but this is a great simple start. I would add something about nutrition, maybe. I was listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss (author of 4 Hour Work Week and 4 Hour Body). He was talking about people getting into an activity to lose weight or just be more active. One of the things he said that resonated with me was the working out is an additive to your daily day, while nutrition is just a change. It’s the easiest way to make a difference in your fitness goals.

That being said, working out changes how your body feels the most. As much as we hate the feeling of being sore, this is ultimately what makes us feel like we’re making progress. All said, the article is perfect if you’re looking for 3 simple things to focus on.

Source: 3 Things You Should Know About Training for Your First Triathlon

Good Luck to those Racing St. George this Weekend

Here’s an inspiring read from one of the top triathletes in the world. I love this quote:

“I love to race and this will never change” -Meredith Kesslet

When I was a high school swim coach I would preach about the love of the race. Best times are great and all, but the pure love of racing and winning is what sports are all about. Too often we’re consumed with data, personal records and so much nonsense that doesn’t even matter in the end.

Just get out there and beat the person to your left or right at the finish.

Source: Meredith Kessler Ahead Of St. George: “I Love To Race”

Swim Foundations

Swim Foundations

I’ve been thinking a lot about how triathletes approach swim. I hear often that people will go out and swim 1,000 meters and then be done with their workout. There’s no variation in what they’re doing and certainly no purpose behind it. Before you go any further you need to understand the swim foundations that make up a good workout.

Once in a while is it ok to grind out a 1,000 meters for time? Hell yeah! When triathlon races are anywhere from 500 meters to over 3,000 meters you bet it’s a good idea to get in some workouts that last the same amount time and distance.

When you consider running a marathon race do you train by running a marathon everyday? I hope not, because you’re not going to be very effective. Does it prove you can finish? Yeah, but I think everyone can finish a marathon if they want to bad enough. You often hear runners on the weekend say they’re “going for my long run today” because it doesn’t make sense to run a lot of long distances everyday. A lot of short intense runs throughout the week help build your strength.

So, here are few tips for becoming a better a swimmer.

Focus On Technique First

Before anything else, you need to have quality technique. I suggest hiring a coach to help you analyze and correct a few things that might be causing you to work harder than you have to. Once your technique is solid you can move on to the next thing, finding your base interval.

Find Your Base Interval

What is your base interval? To make this simple, I usually say your base interval should be whatever interval you can hold at a comfortable pace for 10 x 100s. For me, when I can hold 10 x 100s @ 1:30 with 5-10 seconds of rest, I know I’m in okay shape. When I can hold 10 x 100 @ 1:20 with 5-10 seconds rest, I’m in great shape!

Here’s a small chart to see where you fit in. There is absolutely nothing scientific about this chart. It’s based on over 15 years experience dealing with different levels of swimmers.

Set Length Novice Beginner Intermediate Advanced
5 x 100 freestyle 2:00 1:45
10 x 100 freestyle 2:00 1:45 1:30 1:20

When you look at this, see where you fit in. That’s how I would categorize you and where I would say you need to set your goals. If you can do 10 x 100 @ 1:20 I’d say you’re doing pretty damn well! If you’re struggling to finish 5 x 100 on 2:00 then you’ve got some work to do.

Build Speed and Strength

To build speed and strength in swimming you should consider breaking your workouts into smaller chunks. We call these chunks, “sets”. In running they’re often called intervals. Within each set is a variety of distances and intervals that challenge you aerobically and anaerobically. One of my favorite sets is below

1 x 500 Free @ 1:30 base (7:30 interval)
1 x 100 Free @ 1:20

1 x 400 Free @ 1:30 base (6:00 interval)
2 x 100 Free @ 1:20

1 x 300 Free @ 1:30 base (4:30 interval)
3 x 100 Free @ 1:20

1 x 200 Free @ 1:30 base (3:00 interval)
4 x 100 Free @ 1:20

1 x 100 Free @ 1:30 base (1:30 interval)
5 x 100 Free @ 1:20

Total yards: 3,000

This set is great for someone in the intermediate to advanced range. It challenges you aerobically and pushes your heart rate up a bit near the end. If you can do this set on these intervals I’d say you’re well on your way to being an outstanding triathlon swimmer.

If you’re looking at this set and think “holy shit, there’s no way”, then just knock a couple off the top. This set is essentially 5 x 600 but it’s broken up to be a little more challenging.

To conclude, hiring a good swim coach is extremely helpful. Not all triathlon coaches are good swim coaches, so be aware. I am not as good of a cycling coach as I am swim coach. I’ll tell you that from the start. I am learning and gaining a lot of experience every day. Hopefully your coach is honest with you and if you need a swim focused triathlon coach, we have two excellent coaches here with Victory Tri.

If you tried this set, let us know in the comments how it went for you!

Training and Racing Nutrition Strategies

I recently read a great little article about nutrition as it relates to both training and racing. In the article they say there are three primary factors to consider. Fuel (what you’re consuming), intensity (the level of effort your exerting) and duration (how long your race/workout is). Essentially you fuel differently for a sprint than an Ironman distance and need different strategies. The same goes for training. You obviously don’t need to pound gels for an hour and a half swim session.

…if you are following a one-size-fits-all approach to how you refuel during both training and racing, you may want to consider a more context-specific approach.

Triathletes are notorious for being analytical, sometimes to a fault. However, I think in the world of nutrition, it’s really important. There isn’t one strategy that will work for everyone. It takes time and experience to develop the best method for you. Sometimes, a strategy that worked in the past will completely fail you in a future race.

One of my good friend’s Victor taught me a lot about strategy. With him it wasn’t just what you’re eating, it’s also when. There was always logic behind it for him. For instance, he wouldn’t consume anything within 15 minutes of his bike to run transition simply because he didn’t like the feeling of water swishing in his stomach.

You should test out the types of nutrition you like during training. You need to consider everything from taste and texture to how it affects you physically. Does it keep your energy levels stable or do nothing at all for you? What kind of hydration do you like and works best for you?

Anyway, bottom line like it says in the article you “nutritional needs are highly individual” and what another person does may not work for you.

Check out the original article: Differentiating Between Training and Racing Nutrition Strategies | TrainingPeaks

Coronado Open Water Swim

Just a quick recap of our Open Water Swim swim today in Coronado, California.

My Garmin didn’t connect with GPS so I don’t have a map for ya. We only did about a mile, so it wasn’t much. It was a beautiful day and sometimes, it’s nice not having a computer tracking your every move. As much as I love data, I’m ok without it once in a while.

Last week we were in Glorietta Bay. It’s technically open water but there’s no surf or swell to throw you off like there is in the ocean.

One of the things I didn’t mention in last week’s post was the swell, the current and how your mind can play tricks on your eyes.

The Swell & Current

In the ocean, the wind is always moving the water. Nothing is still. We jumped in the water (which is much colder than the bay) and swam past the surf. We regrouped and got a head count. We took off south towards the Hotel del Coronado. It’s only about a half-mile and we swim with the current.

Swimming with the current makes you feel like a champ. I swam about 800 meters just under 9 minutes which is pretty dang fast for someone just getting back to it. It was effortless and easy. The swim back was not nearly as fun. Not only were we fighting the current the swell was messing with our breathing.

One way to deal with this is to “bilateral breathe”. Basically, you need to learn to breathe on both sides.

Swells are unpredictable and inconvenient. Being prepared and knowing where the swell is coming from is one great way to neutralize any problems you might have. We had one guy on our swim today breathe in a mouthful of salt water and he decided to call a day after that. In a race, you’ll have to learn to keep going.

Another tip is to wait a second before you inhale. Doing this will give you a chance to see if there’s a swell coming and prevent choking on water. If you’re in a freshwater environment, this is less important, you can swim normally.

Mind Games

One of the things I hate about open water swimming is my mind. In San Diego the seafloor is dark sand. This means that you can’t see much below you. This is both good and bad. It’s great because you can’t see anything and you’re not distracted. I feel like I’d have problems swimming the Kona Ironman because of how clear and beautiful the seafloor and reef are. I’d seriously forget I was racing and look at a turtle or something, I’m sure.

The dark seafloor is bad because my shark week infested imagination will get the best of me. Any refraction of light in my goggles will have me thinking there’s a great white shark or a giant mana ray below me. Twice today I had to pause and pull myself together. I had an inner dialogue about the odds of a dolphin or seal in the area and I couldn’t shake it.

There aren’t any tip for getting over any ridiculous fears like this. I think swimming in groups and staying together is comforting. Come race day I think the adrenaline and amount of people in the water makes it easy to forget your fears. You’ve just got to go with it and trust that nothing is going to happen to you regardless of whether or not it’s logical.

Victory TRI - Open Water Swim

Tips For Your First Open Water Swim

We spent the afternoon with Pulse Endurance and the crew from Zoot (wetsuits) for a short open water swim.

Open water swimming is an important aspect to our sport. It sometimes feels like a different sport when you’re out there. Even in the bay where the water is calm and warm it feels different.

In a pool where everything is controlled (temperature, clarity and distances) it’s easy to forget how to deal with the uncertainties of the open water. In open water you have the opposite of warm temps, clear conditions and no lane lines to keep you headed in the right direction. Add on the fact that you need to learn how to swim (fast) with a wetsuit, spot buoys or landmarks and somehow stay in the right direction and it gets complicated real quick.

Here’s my advice for new triathlon swimmers going out for their first open water swim.

1. Get fitted for a wetsuit

You want to make sure you have a good fitting wetsuit. Get one too small and it will constrict your movements and breathing. Too big and it could fill with water preventing movement and not keep you warm. Your suit should be smooth. It should bunch anywhere. Make sure your shoulders are free to move and don’t feel restricted.

2. Find a calm open water environment

Something like a bay or harbor (where there aren’t a lot of boaters), a lake, or calm river where you can swim without getting rocked by waves. This will help you get used to the conditions that are much different from a pool.

3. Take your time

The first time you swim with a wetsuit, take your time. Just float around at first. Feel the difference in buoyancy (especially for salt water swimmers) and the different sensations that come with wearing a wetsuit. Swim a few strokes and then stop. See what it’s like to stop and tread water for a bit.

Of course, if you jump in and don’t feel any claustrophobia or fear get to swimming!

4. Practice Spotting

The only way to go in a straight line is to either have a perfectly balanced swim stroke or spotting. Spotting is briefly popping your head up to spot a buoy or landmark. I like to do it at the start of a stroke and breathe. This way I lift my head up, spot, then turn to breathe in my normal progression. You want to be careful you don’t push your hips down too far thus causing your body to go a little vertical and creating resistance, slowing you down.

5. Body Glide

There are different types of body glide out there. You’re going to want to rub this stuff on your under your arms and around your neck. Wetsuits cause friction and leave nasty rashes if you don’t do something to neutralize it. Using some sort of lubricant will also help you get your wetsuit off when in transition.

6. Practice Taking Off Your Wetsuit

You have all morning before a race to get your wetsuit on. You need to practice taking off a wet wetsuit. It’s tough to do this multiple times as a wet wetsuit is incredibly difficult to put on.

When you’re done with your swim take a second to catch your breath. Then sprint to the dock or beach as if you’re finishing a race. As you rise to your feet, reach back for your zipper and unzip. Start pulling the top half of your wetsuit off as you make your way to the beach. Leave your cap and goggles where they are until you’ve got your wetsuit around your waist. Then, when you get to your stuff throw your cap and goggles in your bag and start working your wetsuit off of your legs. You want to use as few movements as possible. When taking off your left leg, use your right to help pull it down by stepping your wetsuit.

If you can make this transition quick, you could save up to a minute on your transition time and could ultimately be the different between breaking your 1 hour goal for your next sprint race.

Conclusion

Open water swimming is a lot different than pool swimming. In the context of a race, it’s even more foreign. You need to work to get used to the different sensations and elements the open water has to offer. Get out there and do it. We’re going to be at Glorietta Bay every Monday evening for the summer. Come on out and join us!

Pulse Endurance Ride

We had a fun ride this morning! We took off around 7:30am from the Pulse Endurance store in Chula Vista. About 26 people were on the ride. This was the first shop ride of the season and the pace was very moderate. Which is to say, it was perfect for me right now!

The 125 portion was fun. It’s always a thrill to ride your bike on the freeway. This is where the bulk of the climbing for me occurred. Nothing hard at all. I like to climb, just not so much on my time trial bike.

Once we were back on Otay Lakes Road my chain fell off briefly. It was enough to fall behind the main group and made it real tough catching up. I got in a little pace line for about 3 and a half minutes when I was dropped. Looking at the data I was pushing Zone 5c which obviously isn’t going to last long.

Anyway, it was a great morning with some fantastic people. I’m excited to be getting back in the saddle and out in the fresh air.

Here are the stats from my Garmin.