KIS Athletes in Full Bloom at Wildflower Triathlon

It was a “wild” weekend of triathlon racing for the KIS Coaching athletes as they took on the iconic Wildflower Triathlon. Located in Central California’s beautiful Monterey, our XRCEL-sponsored KIS athletes came up roses as they turned in some superb individual performances, while showing off some early season fitness.

Leading the way for the KIS Coaching athletes were Carrie Lester, who finished second overall amongst the elite women, and Scott DeFilippis, who finished sixth overall amongst the elite men. DeFilippis, one of the founders of KIS Coaching, focuses on combining hard work with fun to help athletes of all levels meet their personal goals of making personal improvement. With no pro racing field in 2017, many of the elites were excited to get back to this one-of-a-kind event.

“As a Professional it’s very important to support events like Wildflower as they make a point in supporting the pros. Even after a year hiatus due to the drought in California, the race returned and still offered a $40k purse paying the top 10 men and women,” said DeFilippis.

However it’s not just the money that keeps the pros and age-groupers signing up for what is not just a race, but a weekend long experience. No matter what you enjoy in life, there is something for everyone. From wine tasting to beer gardens, music performances to painting while you sip, and from helicopter tours to yoga; the fun is endless and extends well beyond the triathlon race alone. Often called the “Woodstock of Triathlon,” you can choose to join the other campers and sleep under the stars or treat yourself to some comfortable night’s rest at the Wildflower Wellness Spa. You might even throw in a pre or post race massage during your stay.

Even with so many appealing activities, the triathlon is still considered the main event. At 35 years old, Wildflower has not only been around more than most races, but it consistently offers an honest, challenging race course, combined with the beauty of Mother Nature.

Wildflower is a very important part of our sports history. It’s unique race site in the middle of nowhere makes for a communal setting. It’s everything this sport was meant to be about, a tough as nails course that makes for fair racing,” added DeFilippis. “The location in Central California really can’t be beat in terms of venue location, tourism opportunities such as wine tasting or sightseeing along the Pacific Ocean, and near perfect weather.”

Preparing for the demanding race course takes a combination of triathlon training as well as dialing in your nutrition plan. Lester, who has cracked the Ironman distance code over the last couple of seasons, earning a top-10 finish in the last two Ironman World Championships, has found the right solution for staying fully fueled for the half distance races.

“In a half distance race, I will have three bottles of XRCEL with me for the bike versus five bottles for a full. On the run, I drink one in T2 and then carry another with me for the rest of the race,” said Lester.

Not only did the KIS Coaching pros turn in a stellar day out on the Wildflower course, but eight age-group athletes persevered through the grueling course. XRCEL is proud to fuel all of our KIS Coaching athletes and want to say a huge congratulations to all of them for hanging tough, working hard, and “fueling smarter!” Congrats on your outstanding age-group accomplishments!

Chris Deptula 46th in the 40-44 Age Group

Veronica Eguia 10th in the 30-34 Age Group

Megan Gibney 13th in the 40-44 Age Group

Richard Kane: 10th in the 45-49 Age Group

Olga Lech 28th in the 30-34 Age Group

Louis Mancuso 15th in the 50-54 Age Group

Amelia McKraken 6th in the 30-34 Age Group

Michael Villane 20th in the 50-54 Age Group

Top 8 Marathons for your Bucket List

With 2018 in full swing, there’s never been a better time to dip into your marathon bucket list and pull out a winner or two. Marathons are growing in participation and popularity all around the country, but there are a handful of races that stand out for good reason.  From running through a magical kingdom to running to the top of a 14,000 foot mountain, our “Eight Great Marathons” need to be on any new or seasoned runner’s list of “must-runs!” Pick one of our bucket list marathons, grab your XRCEL, and start training for what will only be an epic marathoning experience!

Big Sur International Marathon

Imagine yourself running in the most beautiful painting of nature you have ever seen. Now, sign up for the Big Sur International Marathon and you can actually run in the marathon that boasts the most gorgeous views your running shoes have ever encountered. This is an unforgettable point-to-point course run along California Highway 1 from Big Sur to Carmel. With canopies of redwood trees, the rushing of ocean waves, and the magnificent coastal mountains, your body might forget you are running 26.2 miles. At the halfway point, you will run across the iconic Bixby Bridge where you will be greeted by a tuxedo-wearing musician playing a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano. You will also be treated to some refreshing strawberries from local farmers around mile 23 as you head towards the finish line. The sights along this race course are unlike anything you’ll ever see!

Boston Marathon

With its 122nd birthday coming up this April, the Boston Marathon is one of the oldest and most memorable marathons around. With qualifying times set by the Boston Athletic Association, runners have to push their running limits to earn a spot on the starting line, which is what makes Boston extremely special. This point-to-point course starts in the quaint town of Hopkinton and ends on the busy downtown Boston street, Boylston Street. For 26.2 miles, you are never alone thanks to the Patriot’s Day celebration in Boston where  the whole city is off of work and ready to cheer for all of the runners. Hear the roaring students from Boston University as you crest the top of the treacherous Heartbreak Hill around mile 20. You will feel the rush of energy from the emcee and spectators as you finish strong through the downtown streets and make your final turn to the gigantic finish line, painted in bright blue and yellow. You have to be fast to race Boston, but we know you can do it!

Disney Marathon

It’s the most magical marathon of them all! Not only is Disney World an amazing place to make memories with your family, but it’s also become a delightful place to test your marathon legs. With your favorite Disney characters hosting this weekend-long event, runners get to experience an enchanting run through the wonderful world of Disney for all 26.2 miles. This is a marathon that welcomes all skill levels and is known as a relatively flat and easy course. Time will fly by as runners are fully-entertained on the course by music, loud cheers, and appearances by the world’s most famous mouse! Runners also receive a one-of-a-kind finisher medal for their time in the Magic Kingdom. If you really want to challenge your marathon legs, you can sign up for the other races taking place that weekend including a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. There are special medals if you choose to take on more than just the marathon and some fun kids races, making it a weekend the whole family can enjoy!

Honolulu Marathon

Get into the holiday and aloha spirit in early December when you run the scenic Honolulu Marathon. With no time limits on race day, runners can fully enjoy and take in all of the sights and sounds on the festive course. Even better, the race does not set a cap on participants, making it a great race for all of your family and friends to enjoy together.  The runners will get the full Honolulu experience as they run through the downtown streets, which are drenched in holiday lights and decor before heading through the famous Waikiki Village and scenic climbs around Diamond Head, where the ocean can be seen and heard for miles. You will feel like a rock star at the boisterous finish line as you can see yourself finish, thanks to a 20-minute delay, on the big screen in the finisher village. Let the Hawaiian spirit engulf you as you enjoy a marathon lined with palm trees and an ocean breeze as you run 26.2 miles in paradise.

Marine Corps Marathon

Known as the “People’s Marathon,” the Marine Corps Marathon is the largest marathon in the world that doesn’t offer prize money and, instead, celebrates the honor, courage, and commitment of all the finishers. This October race was created in 2004 to raise money for wounded service members and has taken on an extraordinary life of its own.The race strives to promote physical fitness, generate community, and showcase the skill of the United States Marine Corps, many who are participating in full gear. Runners from all 50 states and more than 60 countries take their marathon journey through both Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C., with the streets lined with members of the military and citizens cheering for miles. The flat and fast course is designed for everyone who aspires to conquer a marathon and will leave you with a true feeling of pride when you hit the finish line.

Miami Marathon

What better way to ring in the new year than with the marathon that never sleeps? The Miami Marathon is the party-of-parties when it comes to 26.2 miles because the people of Miami know how to cheer and celebrate a race like no other! Get ready for the course to be lined with excited crowds, mile after mile as you put your marathon legs to the test. The course is a great course for novices and experts alike as it is a flat and forgiving course. Whether you want to compete for fun or qualify for the Boston Marathon, this course is for you! Don’t be surprised if you recognize many of the spots on course from a movie or T.V. show and you may even see a famous face or two. Although the speedy course is definitely the “star of the show,” this January gem is sure to keep you entertained and inspired through every mile.

New York City Marathon

It’s not only one of the most popular marathons, but it’s also the world’s biggest marathon! With over 50,000 finishers, the New York City Marathon is a true bucket list race for anyone wanting to accomplish 26.2 miles. Even with the often-cold November weather upon the race, it doesn’t stop the millions of spectators from lining the streets to cheer on all of the racers every step of the way. You’ll feel the warmth and love of this patriotic race as it is regarded as a symbol of hope and unity since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Runners get a true tour of the city as they run through the five boroughs of New York City before the epic finish line that awaits in the iconic Central Park. The New York Marathon is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime marathon experience!

Pikes Peak Marathon

There is no actual way to measure or describe the difficulty of the Pikes Peak Marathon. Held in Manitou Springs, Colorado, runners start up a mountain trail with over 7,815 feet of climbing for the first 13.1 miles, hitting the halfway mark at the top of a 14,115  foot peak. However, what goes up, must come down and runners are then left with another 13.1 miles, carefully descending down the mountain to the finish line. Qualifying times are put in place to both challenge runners and to keep them safe. Despite being a tough race, it is also one of beauty and nature. Runners will get to experience running through the soft trails and mountainous terrain, overlooking the majestic surrounding mountains. For runners who want an even tougher challenge than the marathon, you race the Pikes Peak Ascent, straight up the mountain, the day before the marathon. The Ascent also has qualifying times, but we’ll never say no to a challenge!

KIS Coaching Triathlon Team Continues to Race Strong in the Off- Season: November Update

By KIS COACHING

While it’s the off season for most triathletes, the XRCEL sponsored KIS Coaching Team are still racing strong.  Fueled by XRCEL for several years now, the members, including top female pros and XRCEL ambassadors Carrie Lester and Laurel Wassner, continue to have incredible winning seasons .

While the Triathlon season has come to an end for most athletes, we did have a few in action during the first two weeks of November.

Congrats to Glen Lee for setting a 10 minute PR at the NYC marathon in a time of 3:47. Also on course conquering the 5 boroughs of NYC was teammate Rachel Pennycuick who also ran a PR time in 4:34:04!

Big congrats to Sean McGuirk for competing at Ironman Florida.
He’s been training hard and is showing improvement. This was his 3rd Full IRONMAN of the season.

In NYC we had Susan Bos & Krissie Jenssen racing at the Haunted Half on Halloween. Susan used the race as a long training run, while Krissie was running for the podium and finished up 3rd In her Division. Great job ladies!

This past weekend, Coach Sam, along with Luis Pou and Diana Ruderman, was in action at the USAT Long Course Championships. Coach Sam used this race as a training day for the upcoming IRONMAN in Cozumel. While Sam was out getting around the course for training, Luis and Diana were trying to finish off their seasons on a high. Both did just that with Diana finishing 3rd in the women’s 45-49 division, while Luis was able to take the overall title in the Men’s 40-44 Age Group. Congrats to you both for ending your seasons on the highest of notes!

Caroline Gaynor was also down in Miami, but once again she was giving back to our sport by guiding a visually impaired athlete in the Aquabike division. Although the day did not go as planned, and they did an extra loop on the bike, they still gave it their all and finished the day smiling. Great job Caroline!

Coach Scott and Coach Carrie flew south to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to use the 70.3 as a final tune up for their last race of the season, which will be next month at IRONMAN Western Australia. Coach Carrie, fresh off her 7th place at last month’s IRONMAN World Championship , finished 3rd in the Women’s Pro Division earning $3,500 for her effort. Earlier this season, Carrie took her 8th Iron distance title as she became the 2017 IRONMAN France Champion.

Coach Scott finished 13th in the Men’s Pro Division earning $0 for his effort but getting another good lesson that racing at the pointy end now a days, there is zero room for error or hesitation.

Scott and Carrie were happy to be on hand to support Daniel Perez as he conquered what was the final Iron Distance event in the stunning location at the tip of the Baja Pennisula. Daniel had his 2nd best day ever over that distance, all the while carrying a smile all day despite the difficult course and extreme heat. Congrats Daniel!

-Coach Scott: 13th place Male Pro 4:10
-Coach Carrie: 3rd place Female Pro 4:21
-Danile Perez: 11:20

Last, but certainly not least we would like to not only welcome our newest KIS Coach,  Laurel Wassner, but also say huge congratulations on finishing 7th in the Women’s Professional Division at IRONMAN Malaysia in 10:40, just after her 3rd place finish at 5150 Bohol the weekend before. Laurel is fresh off winning IRONMAN Taiwan  (just a few weeks ago, so well done backing up in what is probably the hottest Iron Distance race on the planet. Laurel is based out of NYC and we are happy to welcome her to the KIS Family! Enjoy some down time now after collecting some valuable points towards your chase of Kona 2018!

XRCEL Açaí Smoothie Bowl

By Rebeccah Wassner, Pro Triathlete and food blogger Athlete Food 

 

This recipe was inspired by the açaí bowls found at Basik Cafe in Kona, Hawaii . This cafe has been known to fuel athletes preparing for the upcoming Ironman World Championships – so you might see them popping up on your favorite pro triathlete’s Instagram feed this week. 

Our Athlete Food version includes XRCEL, an ingredient we added because it replenishes depleted energy stores after a workout with readily convertible carbohydrates.

 Enjoy, 

Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner

 

 

XRCEL Açaí Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

 

Bowl Ingredients:

1 packet Unsweetened Açaí (found in grocery stores in the frozen fruit aisle)

1 handful of frozen mango chunks

1/4 cup coconut water

1 banana 

1 scoop protein powder (we used collagen protein)

1/2 bottle orange XRCEL

 

Toppings:

chia seeds

coconut flakes

whole roasted almonds 

sliced bananas or strawberries 

 

Blend all bowl ingredients until smooth. Add toppings. 

The 7 Wonders of Cross-Training for Triathletes

For many triathletes, the off-season has begun or is on the horizon. After a long year of strenuous swimming, biking, and running, making some changes in your training regime this off-season may do your mind and body some good. By adding cross-training into your training plan, you can still keep your fitness while venturing out into some unknown territory, filled with fitness and fun. Our XRCEL, and pro ambassadors, chimed in on some of their favorite cross-training activities and told us why they feel it helps them as they rev up for the new season.

Cross Country Skiing

shutterstock_243199279If you live in an area where blankets of snow cover the ground in the winter, then cross-country skiing is a great cross-training option for you. Cross-country skiing is effective in building aerobic endurance without putting your joints and tendons in a world of hurt. The low impact that accompanies this winter adventure is great for building lower-body muscles, like your legs and glutes, that help you in a triathlon. Pro triathlete, and XRCEL ambassador, Patrick Evoe told us that one of the greatest benefits he gets from cross-country skiing in the winter is the core work. “Cross-country skiing activates my core, which is crucial when it comes to triathlon. Having a strong back and core helps me with my power in all three triathlon disciplines.” Even if you don’t have a big open field or woods to cross-country ski through, you can always go to your snow-covered local track and do intervals.

HIIT Training

High-intensity intervals are not only a great way to burn calories, but they also put your coordination to the test. These types of workouts are a great way to keep your body guessing as well as keep you strong and fit. Pick any six to eight exercises and do them consecutively, without any rest in between each move. After you have finished all the exercises, rest for two minutes and repeat. Our pro triathlete James Hadley said that he likes to mix up some upper body, lower body, and core exercises when he does a HIIT routine and end it with a tough conditioning move at the end. “I like throwing one or two HIIT sessions into my off-season workouts. It helps me gain strength while challenging my heart and lungs. Best of all, HIIT routines are efficient and effective ways to get in a less time-consuming, but vigorous workout.”

Hiking

Who doesn’t love the beautiful scenery of mother nature and the crisp, fresh air? 3195a9dc-ed02-4db5-98af-fcd6d1aaadfaWhen it comes to enjoying your surroundings, while getting sufficient exercise, there’s no better workout than a hike. Hiking can come across as an “easy” form of cross-training, but the way you put your core, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and quadriceps to the test, you know it’s a solid workout in the making. With these muscles getting a workout, you can bet on gaining some serious strength and power building for those swim, bike, and run workouts. Due to the ever-changing planes, while moving upward, that hiking provides, you are sure to get a solid cardio workout while working on your agility. Pick up the pace to add some speed training to your workout and really push your lungs and muscles for a maximum workout. Most importantly, hiking helps improve bone density because it is a weight-bearing exercise. To add even more enjoyment to your next hike, don’t forget your favorite furry friend as company! Make some lasting and fun memories with your dog while gaining fitness.

Mountain Biking

One of the most popular cross-training exercises amongst triathletes these days is mountain biking. Part of that is due to the Fat Tire Bicycle, which allow athletes to go over virtually any terrain including sand, snow, icy patches, and rocks. Weather is not an obstacle for these bikes, but if you can’t afford a Fat Tire Bike, you can still gain benefits in your triathlon training by riding a mountain bike. The beauty of mountain biking is that you can take a break from the roads and venture off onto trails or back roads. This can help your mental strength as you must pay very close attention to the tough terrain in front of you. This can translate into the mental toughness needed to get through a triathlon. Last year, our XRCEL ambassador Brian Norling took 1st place at the 6 Hours Cathedral Pines Mountain Bike Race and knows how mountain biking can aid in triathlon training. “The best advice I could give to all triathletes is to grab a mountain bike in the offseason. You’ll be surprised how it helps your bike handling skills.” Mountain biking requires power and strength to get up the hills and maneuver through tough terrain that may be made up gravel, rocks, or, roots. Between the weight of the bike and the makeup of the surface, you can, expect a great lower-body workout. One major perk of taking out the mountain bike is that you can get out and enjoy trails and routes you might not normally train for when you are on a road bike, so enjoy the ride!

Peloton

Cycling in the off-season can be tricky, especially if you live in a place that gets Peloton-laura-300freezing wind or lots of snow. A good way to keep your legs spinning while having fun in the convenience of your own home is by training with Peloton Cycle – see our Peloton editorial here . This innovative and revolutionary system allows you to take live on-demand classes from anywhere, anyplace, so when you travel for the holidays or just feel like an intense workout, Peloton’s high-energy classes and instructors can help keep you fit and motivated while you get a serious workout. If you really want to stay motivated, watch the leaderboard and see where you rank amongst other Peloton cyclists. You have the option of buying their Peloton bike, which allows you to simulate riding outdoor terrain with a simple adjustment to the resistance option. You can feel like you are climbing a mountain or pushing hard on a flat, straight-away in seconds. You can just as easily set up your own bike on a trainer and take a class using an electronic device. Thanks to the Peloton app, the access to an array of classes can help you find the right ride for you. This allows you to keep your cycling legs pushing hard without the harsh conditions of the road. Check them out at PelotonCycle.com

Strength Training

jm-squatsStrength training is something many of the pros are now adding into their seasonal training, and even more in their off-season training. During the season, it can be challenging to squeeze in strength sessions around swimming, biking, and running workouts.  Not only that, having the energy to add a fourth element into your weekly regime can be difficult. XRCEL ambassador Patrick Evoe says, “adding more strength training sessions into my off-season is very beneficial. I am able to work on building strength in muscles that can help me push harder on the bike as well as help my body adapt better to the pounding my quads take from all of my run training during the season.”  Another XRCEL ambassador, and Ironman Mallorca Champion, Jocelyn McCauley makes strength training a staple in her off-season training. “I incorporate a couple of heavy lifting sessions a week during the off season. This helps with injury prevention during the season.” One of the biggest upsides to strength training is, not only can it make you stronger and faster, but it can help strengthen your bones, making you a more powerful triathlete.

Technical Swim Sessions

Hadley Swim Coaching[1]Triathletes spend hours in the pools pushing themselves hard to simulate race day, but off-season is a great time to work on technique and drills. “Since I live in San Diego, I like to take time in the off-season to work on my swim technique both in the pool as well as in the ocean,” said our XRCEL ambassador, and pro triathlete, Scott Defilippis. “During the season, I don’t always have time to work on swim technique due to the tired legs I get   from riding and running.  I am often short on time when I am racing, so I like to take my fresh legs to the pool.  I also love to put my wetsuit on and go body surfing as I find that really helps my open water skills.” James Hadley, a lead-pack swimmer also takes time to focus on his swim technique in the off-season to help him gain speed and efficiency, as he talked about earlier this year in his XRCEL blog. “Body position is absolutely critical. Your body needs to be as straight, but relaxed as possible in the water. If I swim with my head up at all, or at a 45+ degree angle, I get tight in the neck and shoulders, so I practice keeping my head down to look at the bottom of the pool. This keeps my head in a neutral position, which helps me to relax everything and keep my hips and legs higher in the water. Taking the time to focus on the “little things,” in the water may help you make some big improvements come race day!

No matter which cross-training exercises you plan to blend into your off-season, using XRCEL athlete fuel can help you push your body harder for longer, helping you outlast the competition. Not only is XRCEL formulated with the highest-quality ingredients, it’s patented, glucose-loaded, micro-gels are pH and body temperature responsive to quickly and steadily release fuel as your body needs it. You can count on XRCEL to get you through any cross-training workout without hitting the wall or suffering with GI issues. Pick your favorite XRCEL flavor today and start fueling smarter!

7 Triathlon Travel Tips from a Veteran Pro

As a veteran of Ironman and Ironman 70.3 racing, I’ve traveled quite a bit for races and training camps. I’m writing this blog as I pack for my next full Ironman in Taiwan. This will be my 33rd full Ironman and I’ve probably raced between 40 and 50 Ironman 70.3 races. Add in training camps and I’ve packed up my gear and bike probably close to 100 times and headed off via trains, planes, and automobiles. Along the way, I’ve had many great experiences, as well as encountered some challenges. I’ve had seamless trips, but I’ve also been stranded in Iceland, and lost in the streets in Japan in the pouring rain with my bike box and all of my bags.

Here I wanted to share with you some thoughts and tips on traveling to your next race. Hopefully some of my experiences can help you the next time you venture away from home.

When possible, travel by car: I’ve found that if I can drive to a race in 15 hours or less, it’s worth hammering out one long road trip day to get to my race rather than flying. Many airlines charge $100-$150 each way to fly your bike. Putting your bike in your car not only will save you $200-300 just on bike fees, you don’t have the hassle of disassembling your bike and reassembling it when you get there. With how early we have to arrive at airports now, sometimes a 9 or 10 hour road trip may only take a few hours longer than actually flying.

Do your homework on the location: spending some internet time at home can save you hassle and stress when you arrive. I always find out where I can swim before I arrive. Where is the local pool, when are the lap swim times, etc. Where is it safe to ride my bike? If I’m at a downtown race like Miami or San Juan, Puerto Rico, where can I safely ride my bike. I’ve actually brought my bike trainer with me to race where I drove because I knew that where I was staying there wasn’t a good place to ride my bike nearby.

Keep essential items close to you: nothing is worse than your bags not making it to your final destination. I try to carry a few essential items in my carry-on in case this happens to me (which it has). I carry my running shoes, bike shoes, and race outfit with me. Because those items are really specific to me, they would be hard to replace and break in if my bags were lost. I also carry a journal with my bike measurements, so if my bike gets lost and I can find a loaner, I can quickly adjust it to my exact fitting. Also, I carry one running outfit, swimsuit, and goggles with me. If my bags are delayed a day or two, at least I can get out and swim and run while I wait for my bags!

 

Pack your XRCEL: I always pack my XRCEL in a checked bag when I fly to a race or training camp. Remember that XRCEL is a liquid and each bottle is 4.75 ounces which is above TSA’s 3 ounce allowable limit for carry-on luggage. I pack a small bag with all of my food and XRCEL and place it in my suitcase. You could also put XRCEL in your bike box/bag, but I tend not to because my bike box is already near the weight limit to not pay extra overweight fees. I once showed up at a race and another athlete asked me if I had any XCREL because he had put his in his carry-on bag and it was confiscated by TSA at the security checkpoint. I didn’t share mine, too bad for him!

Be self- sufficient: think through the items you may need and take those items so you can be self -sufficient. I found the best investment I’ve made was a $9 electric tea kettle. It fits in my bag, it’s light, and it boils water. This means I can make oatmeal and coffee anywhere in the world!

Carry the right tools: I’ve learned that it’s smart to carry most of the right tools to fix many problems with my bike. I don’t carry everything, because a major issue would need a mechanic’s attention anyway. I always carry electrical tape, super glue, zip ties, and a sewing kit. You can fix a lot with those items. You can superglue a small slit in a tire you get the day before the race or you can sew up a tear in your race kit or swim skin. Another item I carry is a spare dérailleur hanger for my bike. Most bikes come with a spare when you buy it and that part can easily get bent in shipping. So it’s wise to have an extra with you so a mechanic can easily swap it out. I always hear of people getting their dérailleur hangers bent in shipping their bikes.

Be a germaphobe: nothing will sideline your race faster than getting ill before the race. It’s happened to me before and happens to many athletes. Traveling through airports it’s easy to pick up a bug. When I travel, I become a germaphobe. I keep hand sanitizer in my pocket and clean my hands after I touch anything. When I get on the plane, I wipe down the seat belt, arm rests, tray, and anything I may touch on the flight with disinfecting wipes. Yes, I may look like a freak to some travelers around me, but I would rather that than to miss my race because of the flu. If you’re in a hotel with a buffet for meals, hand sanitizer after every time you go get more food. All those grubby hands are grabbing the serving utensils.

I’ve learned a lot from my years of race travel, so I hope a few of my tips can help you make your next race trip a little smoother.

evoe-bike-1

Patrick Evoe is a professional triathlete and an XRCEL ambassador. He is an Ironman and Ironman 70.3 winner, as well as 8x full Ironman podium finisher. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge with nearly a decade of professional Ironman racing and 30 full Ironman finishes. You can find more information about Patrick on his website Patrickevoe.com as well as his social media: Twitter – @patrickevoe , Facebook – /patrickevoeracing.

 

Three reasons why triathletes should strength train: 5 Exercise to get you started

“But I don’t have time!” A common phrase uttered by Ironman athletes. You put so many hours of precious time into swimming, biking, and running that no time is left for other aspects of training like strength work and recovery. I would love to discus recovery in a future blog (you can just sleep through that one), but here we will discuss what I have gained through strength training and how it can impact you too.

1. Injury prevention

Everyone has muscle imbalances. Even the best-trained triathlete will have imbalances of strength, which can be a contributing factor to injuries. Lifting relatively heavy weights will even out those imbalances while also strengthening tendons, ligaments, and bones making them more injury resistant.

2. Increased strength/power/performance

There is so much research showing that strength training benefits event endurance athletes. Studies have shown a 13% improvement in running time and increased stamina on the bike. In a race that is all about stamina, strength training will increase that and will help competitors maintain good form through the end of a race.

3. Increased testosterone

Yes, it’s a banned substance to take but it can be increased in natural ways such as lifting weights. While endurance training has been shown to decrease testosterone levels, strength training can be used to counteract those effects.

If you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of exercises to get you started:

1. Dead lifts (great for getting more power on your bike)

Set a barbell on the floor with appropriate weights (you can start with 5lbs if you have no idea what you can do).  Your feet should be shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet under the bar. Bend at the hips (not the waist), slightly bend your knees then grasp the bar underhand with one hand and overhand with the other. Stand up by raising your hips and shoulders while maintaining a flat back. Keep your core tight and slowly lower the weights back down to the ground.

2. Squats (great for holding running form)

Put a barbell on the top part of your back (traps). Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Slowly lower yourself as though you are sitting in a chair and focus on keeping your bum back. Stand back up without locking your knees.

3. Overhead pull-over (all muscles of the catch phase of swim stroke)

Get into tabletop position on a stability balls by placing your upper back on the ball, your feet planted on the floor, and your hips up. With slightly bent elbows, bring a dumbbell up over your head and back down.

4. Punch-outs (core work that helps everything)

On a cable machine, position it slightly lower than chest level. With your feet hip-width apart and with your side to the machine, punch your hands out and bring them back into your chest. Focus on keeping your core tight and engaged.

5. Planks (core work that helps everything)

Get down on your elbows and toes. Focus on keeping your body in one straight line by not allowing your hips to sag or rise up too high.

Jocelyn McCauley

Marathon Pace Workout

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We caught up with Pro Triathlete and Triathlon coach, Scott DeFilippis  while he is training out in Switzerland.  Scott shares one of his intense running workouts for the seasoned athlete with a solid running background

Marathon Pace Workout

This set comes on the last day of a 7 day block of training. The goal here it to spend some time running :10/:15 per mile or :5/:10 per km faster than intended Marathon Pace for the Ironman. During this particular block I am training out of Leysin, Switzerland which is at 4500ft of elevation.

4km or 2.5 miles easy jog

8km or 5 miles at 3:45km/6:00 mile pace

1km very easy jog

8km or 5 miles at 3:45/6:00 mile pace

1km very easy jog

5km or 3 miles at 3:35-3:40 or 5:50 mile pace

1km very easy jog

Total: 28kms

Nutrition: 2 bottles of XRCEL + 1 20oz bottle of Isostar Electrolyte

Of note this set is done 48 hours after a 10 x  mile track set at 5:30 per mile or 30-45 seconds quicker then Marathon Goal Pace. I used a hard swim and long easy 5 hour ride in the mountains to bridge the 2 quality runs.

My goal is do to 3 x 8kms or 5 miles at this pace inside a 20 mile run before Embrunman on Aug 15th

I’ll finish the day off with an easy 10km jog this evening.  Tomorrow will be a rest day which means 5-6km mixed set swim of some speed and strength but no heart rate. Followed by an afternoon at the Montreux Jazz Festival (being normal):)…

I would only give out this run to a very seasoned athlete or someone that comes from a running background.  If you did want to tackle this set I would start with   miles, 3 miles, 2 miles as your main set with 1 mile easy jog rest between. Warm up and cool down 15-20mins easy jog.  Then a few weeks later try, 5miles, 4miles, 3miles.

About Scott DeFilippis:

Scott is a professional triathlete and a Triathlon coach for KIS Performance Team.  You can learn more about his coaching services here.

Treat Yourself to a Triathlon Coach

Whether you are training for a sprint or a full distance race, having a triathlon coach definitely has many benefits. Being able to put together a successful race is more than just having a good swim, bike and run on race day. We talked to three of our XRCEL sponsored triathletes, and coaches, Scott DeFilippis, Patrick Evoe, and James Hadley to find out why they feel having a coach in your corner is key when it comes to race preparation and performance.

Triathlon Specialists

With three different disciplines to focus on when training for a triathlon, one might think that it’s best to take advice from different coaches who specialize in swimming, biking, and running. However, just because someone was a former pro cyclist, they aren’t going to have knowledge on how to bike after a swim, while saving your legs for a run. “One of the biggest lessons I got from my mentor, Brett Sutton,  is that triathlon is one sport and you must treat it that way. The worst mistake many people make is taking a bit of advice from a swim coach, a bit from cycling expert, and a bit from a runner.  You have to look at triathlon as three events in one,” said pro triathlete Scott DeFilippis.

Structure

The saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” can definitely apply to triathlon racing. No matter what the distance your triathlon race may be, a coach can put together a specific plan to help you be successful. “One of the biggest mistakes I see triathletes make is that they over train for a race and then go terribly on race day,” said pro triathlete James Hadley. “ A coach can take a step back and look at things from a holistic view without emotion, fatigue or any other influences and keep the athlete on the right training path.” Hadley adds that “ when you need to put in that extra 1% of work, it’s easier to switch off your mind and save energy when you have a coach telling you exactly what to do in training.” Sounds like a plan!

Keeping it Real

Whether it’s your first or thirtieth triathlon, it’s easy to get excited to train and set expectations at an all-time high. Who doesn’t want to do well? This can become a problem if your goals are a little too lofty for where you are at physically, the difficulty of the course, typical weather for that race location, as well as how much training is actually attainable during your normal week. A coach can see the big picture and factor in reality so that you can maintain an achievable goal as well as improve in order to get to the next possible goal. “It’s great when my athletes want to race fast, but I always make sure we break down their swim, bike, and run goals so that they focus on each moving part with realistic goals based on what their training has actually been like going into the race,” added pro triathlete Pat Evoe.

Motivation

“One of the most motivating factors for me when I am in a training session I don’t want to do or don’t feel well doing is knowing that I have to report my workout to my coach,” said Evoe. “There’s a level of accountability in having a coach and you’re more likely to grind out that tough workout or challenge yourself if things aren’t going your way.” With that said, many coaches will log your workouts so that they can see your progress and reassess your training in order to help you meet your goals. Coaches can keep you honest in your training and help you find a way to get even the toughest workouts completed. “It’s easy to make excuses for yourself when you’re tired and you don’t have a coach,” added Hadley.

Nail Your Nutrition

“Know your nutrition. Know what it is supposed to do for you, how it works, and when you need to consume it,” says DeFilippis. It can be easy to overlook nutrition as part of your “race plan,” but take it from our pros, practicing how, when, and what kind of nutrition you take is just as vital as any swim, bike, or run session. “Having a coach can remind you to practice your nutrition in training so that you can find what works for you. I have my athletes report how they felt when they took certain products during workouts so we can assess and change anything in order to get it right for race day, ” adds Evoe.  Coaches are great for guiding triathletes down different nutritional paths and can base the amount of nutrition you will need depending on the distance of your triathlon. Many athletes tend to over or under consume the amount of calories need to be effective. ” I use, and recommend, XRCEL as my carbohydrate source because of its extended release properties and the fact that it’s easy on my stomach. Whether it’s XRCEL or any other nutrition product, you have to make sure you properly plan out and try your nutritional strategy several times before your big race,” notes DeFilippis.

Expect the Unexpected

One of the best and worst things about race day is that things can go differently than you planned. Hopefully, it means you are feeling better and racing faster than you had planned, but sometimes it can turn into the complete opposite. Having a coach is great for helping you prepare for the unexpected on race day. “One thing I always go over with my athletes is what to do if something goes wrong. We talk about possible scenarios that they may have dealt with in past races or that they are worried about and then we come up with possible solutions. This seems to help them go into the race more mentally settled since they have a backup plan and aren’t stressing about what could go wrong,” said Evoe. Problem solved!

Before you start training for your next triathlon, maybe you should ask yourself, “Do I really know how to prepare myself for this race?” Like most of us, we could probably use a little guidance, so take it from our pro triathletes and treat yourself to a triathlon coach!

Magnolia Master’s Swim Training Camp: 5 Tips to improve your Swim Time

Swimming has been my weakest link since I started triathlons. I swam in a summer league growing up, but that was my only formal swimming experience. Beyond that, I enjoyed informal sessions with my family and even a few two-a-days, all in a relaxed, noncompetitive setting.

Recently, in my continuing efforts to improve my swimming abilities and results, I decided to attend one of Tim Floyd’s swimming camps. A couple weeks prior to driving down to the swim camp, I pulled an intercostal and oblique on my left side which kept me dry for 1.5 weeks. I was scared jumping into two-a-days with high intensity, but, as I learned, sometimes your body can cope with much more than you think it can.

Tim Floyd puts this camp on every year for 3-4 weeks in January. He is an amazing swim coach and the improvements his athletes show speak to his knowledge and abilities as a coach. I was fortunate enough to meet Tim in September during a camp he was doing for some pros then building up for the IM World Championships. I saw the value of his on-deck corrective coaching and knew I had to come down in January and experience it for myself.

The workouts are all outlined on his blog. If you are wondering about all the crazy workouts we did, go ahead and have a look. He also writes a lot about technique that even seasoned swimmers will find helpful.

We had two workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and single workouts on the rest of the days. I also had intense bike and run sessions on top of all the swimming. It’s always important to keep properly fueled, yet it was super hard with the busy schedule we had to keep. Swim from 7:00-8:30, bike or run around 10:00/11:00, and then swim again at 3:00 pm. This training regimen left little time to be able to get proper meals in without having issues with the next workout. For breakfast I had 2 muffins and then to keep me going during the 1.5-hour swim in the morning, I consumed a bottle of XRCEL Athlete Fuel 15 minutes before entering the water. Afterwards, I would return home and then have oatmeal with some eggs. With my bike or run completed it was time to replenish again. Depending on the time, I would have a banana with almond butter and a granola bar or more of a “real” meal. After the final swim I’d have a snack and then head off to find dinner. Proper nutrition and fueling was critical to my success at camp and I found it really helped me take advantage of all that I was learning and applying. Adding XRCEL to my training and competition has allowed me to take advantage of the benefits of extended release fuel – refueling less, enduring less stomach volume & GI distress, and ultimately reducing peaks and valleys in my performance. Tim added the finishing touches with his training routines and specific pointers.

Following are the top 5 recommendations Tim changed in my swimming that resulted in me dropping from 1:12 to 1:07 on 1:30 100 yd repeats as well as drop my hold pace 25yd repeats from 15 to 13/14.

1. Keep your arms wider, don’t cross over

2. Finish the stroke all the way through

3. Don’t chop the stroke short in the front, reach long

4. Hips up (bum up), head down

5. Time in the pool, feel of the water

Jocelyn McCauley – Pro Triathlete