Last Minute Gifts for A Tri Dad

Hopefully you don’t need any last minute gifts…

You all planned way ahead and your gifts are already wrapped and hidden away ready for Sunday right?

Oh… they’re not?

Let me help a bit.

Amazon Prime is now your best friend… free two-day (or one-day depending on where you live) is a life saver. It’s Thursday, so a quick order today and you’ll have it Saturday in time to present proudly to your Tri Dad on Sunday Morning before Church (at least that’s when we do presents in my house.)

Upgrade the Pain Cave

I’m a big fan of indoor training. Swift is seeing a huge surge in popularity. I am partial to the structured training of TrainerRoad. Either way, adding a few things to make indoor training more manageable or exciting will go a long way for your Tri Dad!

Lasko 4900 Pro-Performance High Velocity Utility Fan

This fan from Lasco is amazing! get a direct, solid stream of air right where you need it to keep Dad cool while he’s training!

Smart Plugs for fans

You don’t always need fans running at the beginning of your indoor rides, but it’s annoying to get up and down to turn on a fan (or two). A great solution is to use Smart plugs!

You can get a smart power strip like this one, or go with a simple plug like this one that I use from TP-Link. Dad can use his phone to turn these on or off, or you can get an Amazon Echo Dot so he can control them with the sound of his voice! There’s also some great bundle deals with the Echo Dot as well!

Add a little comfort

Long hours in the aero bars can wear out those arms. Upgrade Dad’s ride with some new aerobar pads! These pads from Cee Gee’s are a very popular upgrade!

Stave off the hunger with some real food!

Sports nutrition is great. In fact, I use Nuun and Honey Stinger products a lot! But there’s just something to be said for real food. The Feed Zone Portables cookbook is sure to be a hit!

Upgrade that old swimsuit

This last one is actually not an Amazon item, but it’s too good not to throw on this list. Swimsuits get a lot of wear and tear and chlorine can wreck havoc on a set of jammers over time. Upgrade dad’s old swimsuit with a set of Jammers from Kiwami! These are actually on my list this year and I can get you a 30% off code for anything on Kiwami’s site! Just hit me up in the Contact Me section, on Twitter or Instagram and I’ll hook you up!

I hope you’ve found this list useful! If you are a Tri Dad, feel free to share this list with your family too!

Finally, all of these are Amazona affiliate links, but I’ve chosen the items I would want (in fact… many of these are on my list too!)

Happy Father’s Day!

Triangle Triathlon 2019

Another race done and dusted! Triangle Triathlon 2019 was a bunch of fun, but has left me with a lot to process. 

Before we get to that… let’s set the stage!

Pre-race

This is a sprint triathlon is New Hill, NC- just south of Raleigh. Raleigh has a great tri community and a lot of fast people. It also helps that this race is sponsored by the main local tri shop and the local teams make this one a priority to start off the summer! 

I was happy that my family could make the trek out for this one too! My wife mentioned this race is probably one of her favorites now because 1) it’s short 2) the location is great with a playground and lots of open space for the kids to be occupied between daddy sightings. Parking could have been an ordeal but we got a spot right next to the transition area. We got lucky, but the girls took full advantage of it!

Swim- Try to swim straight!

Lining up for the Start

As far as the race goes it’s a short 750m lake swim. This race has never been wetsuit legal being right next to the Duke Energy Nuclear plant and being in the summer too. This year was a rolling start on the swim with no rhyme or reason to the order. Racers simply lined up and off they went. I went off somewhere in the front third of the race. Being a time trial start it was a little weird to not know if you were off the pack or not like in a wave start. The plus side is that I got more of a draft from some races as the faster people swam past and I’d latch on for a few seconds here and there, but I mostly just swam my own pace. 

T1- Run, Run, Run

Transition was a nice long run through the grass into transition. I don’t like long T1 runs, but my oldest daughter ran along side the roped off path cheering me on. Coming out of T1 there is a ditch and then parking curbs you have to navigate before getting to the mount line. The ride out of the park is further complicated by the coned lanes they have to divide bikes out, bike in, and runners. I’d wager that slowed me down quite a bit trying to make sure I was going the right way. I’m sure if I do this race again I’ll know better and be able to get up to speed a little faster. 

Bike- Head down and hammer!

The bike is a mostly closed course which is super nice! It’s also mostly a rolling course with only one minor “climb” that you go over twice. I felt good and just put my head down and worked my way along. I know I picked off one guy in my age group on the bike, but other than that it was simply rolling along…. until we got back to the park and the crazy cones. 

Navigating the cones

With the three lanes of cones, it’s rather difficult to pass anyone, and there was an older lady in front of me coming into T2. I squeezed passed her and rolled around the second to last turn. That’s where I took my feet out of my shoes so I naturally slowed down. She passed me going through the last turn because she wasn’t getting out of her shoes. I had to brake more and it was rather frustrating. She came to a full stop and got off her bike but I kept flowing and did a running dismount like I usually do. There was another few seconds lost, but nothing to worry about.

T2- get those socks on quick!

I’ve opted for running in socks the last 2 races. I just haven’t had success recently with sockless running and I figured the pain of the blisters forming slows me down more than the tines putting on socks. I practice this too so it’s not too bad. 

I got to hit my family’s sign that said “touch here for power” on my way out onto the run. It was a hit with the other races too so I heard! 

Run and Breath

I tore out of T2 and was fully focused on my breathing… as evidenced by this ugly race picture. 

I was feeling great and by the time I got out onto the trail section of the run and hit the first aid station at mile 1 I abandoned my plan to walk the aid stations and kept running. I didn’t even get any water at the first one. 

The run was mostly on gravel trails and again was rolling. I had set my sights on a lady racing the advanced category about 100yds in front of me. I slowly reeled her in over the course of the 5k and passed her about a half mile from the finish. The support on course was great and with no spectators on the trails the volunteers made up for the lack of people cheering. 

I picked up the pace in the last mile and finished with a solid 22:33 5k and finished at 1:30:04.4

Post-Race Processing

This is where the timing and time trial start get to be a little tricky. They didn’t have results posted for a long time. When they finally started rolling I was showing up at 24th overall with no telling on the AG side of things. I assumed any of the fast guys in my AG would have started in front of me so I counted the finishers in front fo my and I thought I was 3rd. 

Right before the awards I check again and the results showed me down to 58th overall, but the first 3 people were all ladies under a hour with some of the advanced men finishing 1:10-1:15 and listed in 5-10 places. I knew that was wrong so I guessed the mini-sprint race were all clumped in together. 

At awards they got my AG and my name wasn’t called. I figured I was just barely off the podium but I wasn’t sure how far. When I got home I checked and AG results were up. The 3rd pace time was 1:29:56.9… 7.5 seconds faster than me!

Needless to say, I’ve been stewing over the misdeed opportunity. Counting seconds here, seconds there that I could have saved in transition, my run, on the bike. Even if there had been a wave start… that would have been some sprint finish!

Well, I’ve got my motivation for the next training block. Thankfully my season goal is on the series points and not individual races and the points are awarded on time not finishing position. My next race is also a time trial start, so you can rest assured I’ll be pushing myself the whole way!

No 8 second loss again if I can help it! 

Northeast Park Duathlon 2019 Race Preview

Racing has started again in 2019!

Like the previous 2 seasons, my 2019 racing will start at the Northeast Park Duathlon!

The NE Park Du is a sprint distance race with a 1.6mi run followed by a 10mi bike and a repeat of the 1st run. It’s a great way to get back into racing!

NE Park is always a great race as Trivum, arguably the best race event company in the state always puts on a smooth, fun, race. It’s also quite fierce competition due to the timing and location! Everyone is itching to test themselves again at the start of the season, and it’s central to NC’s best High School and College club teams pulling from both the Triangle and the Triad. 

So what does the 2019 race look like? 

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Thoughts On Competition

I was talking to someone the other day and they mentioned how some people are all about competition while others shy away from it.

Then, I was listening to the TrainerRoad podcast and their interview with former pro cyclist Amber Pierce. There, they dove into the topic of competition. Amber made a statement that stuck out to me: “Your completion is your ally.”

The people you compete against are not your enemy.

A lot of times we like to think about our competition like Rocky going up against the Russian. See, I don’t even remember his name. It is just full on USA vs. USSR.

Sometimes that’s how we see those people toeing the line with us at a race or lining up across from us in a ball game. But that’s not how it is at all.

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Getting your feet wet: 3 Encouragements in your Swim Training

While intimidating, Triathlon is actually an easy sport. 

Think about it. What kid (barring disabilities) didn’t run? At least just while playing on the playground or in the back yard?

Few kids never learned to ride a bike. 

That right there makes a strong point for duathlon as an easy start into the multipart world. 

But that swimming component. 

Some people never learned to swim. Some don’t like swimming, or just hate getting wet (or cold). 

I get it. 

Now there are some out there who seem to be like fish. This post is not for them. This post is for those who dread the pool, or at least would prefer training on land. So here’s 3 encouragements in your swim training

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3 Reasons I’m Using a Paper Training Diary in 2019

Welcome to 2019!

That’s right, it’s another new year. People are all starting back on their New Year’s resolutions, many of which focus on getting back into some type of fitness routine, and endurance athletes are looking longingly at a new season.

It’s a normal tendency to look forward to the New Year with expectancy and plan the things that are going to change. As an athlete, it’s really hard to remember what you did last year (or even last month). But that’s the place to start when planning a new season.

I’ve written on this before from the season review to even why to keep and Training Diary or what to record there. In 2019, I’m actually trying something new. Keeping a paper diary.

That may come as a shock to many people. Triathlete’s are known for being high tech data nerds (guilty!!) and I’ve even developed a reputation for hating paper! (The secretary at work know not to print anything for me but to email it instead!)

But for the last 2 months already I’ve taken a different approach. I bought the Triathlete’s Training Diary and used it to plan and record my weekly training. Now, I still use TrainingPeaks Free version and especially the new Calendar features at TrainerRoad, but having the paper diary has helped me in 3 specific ways.

1. Focus

This is definitely the number one reason I’ve enjoyed the paper training diary. All of the electronic platforms do a great job of consolidating all your data (still waiting on TrainerRoad to import my swim and run data) and holding the info for later analysis. Electronic platforms also are awesome for historical records and searching. But what every last one of them lacks is the focus on the process goals throughout the season.

Read any book or article on season planning and goals and you’ll find a lot of space given to process over outcome. Yes, I want to podium at the NC Tri Series, but I can only control that to a small degree. What I can control is my process month-to-month and even week-to-week and day-to-day. Keeping my paper training diary helps keep the end goals in view and set short-term process goals each week.

The Triathlete’s Training Diary even has a spot for 3 weekly goals when you plan each week. I’ve used these to help focus my training not just in performing the workouts each day, but in the whole process of recovery and consistency.

2. Subjective thoughts and feelings

As much as we would like to think our bodies are machines tuned for high performance, that’s not the way it works. What works for one person won’t work for another. What works this week might not work next week. How you feel at the start of each day is very important! Are you even up for training today?

There are plenty of electronic platforms and apps that can help you track the subjective scores (Like HRV4TRAINING) but I’ve found a simple number system of the 4 major subjective feelings has helped me be honest with how I feel each day. I give a 1-7 number to my sleep, stress, fatigue, and soreness (with 7 being the best) and I also log my resting HR and HRV (raw RMSSd). I’ve found these few things to be perfect for evaluating how i feel day to day and forcing myself to make a decision on the day’s training. Again, the paper forces me to focus and cuts out the noise.

The paper diary also helped me to get consistent with annotations how a workout went. Too often with the auto-sync of the electronic platforms I found myself forgetting to type my thoughts on the workout. Was it good? Did I feel strong? Where was my head? Did my mind wander or did I focus? Was that missed interval because I was tired or did I just loose focus? Going though my paper diary, even a few days later helped me make more of these types of annotations week-to-week.

3. Simplicity

This is kind of a reiteration of what’s already been said, but sometimes the more bells and whistles, the harder it is to use. When I built my first website for a Bible College I worked at, They made me use a specific host and editor that I absolutely hated! It was chosen because it was “more powerful and had more features) but quite honestly, those features were useless. I didn’t know how to use them and neither did anyone else in the organization. I could accomplish all that we needed faster and more efficiently with WordPress (what I’m using for triathlonpal.com).

I find the paper planner this way too. TrainerRoad is making great strides in this direction with their new Calendar and Analysis, but I’m still waiting for run and swim integration to be more full-featured. With a paper set-up, I can get what I need and nothing more. I don’t get bogged down with useless features that add nothing to my progress. I’m focused and efficient.

What do you use for your Training Diary? You are keeping one right? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! I’d love to chat about your experiences!

Also, are you looking for a training plan in 2019? Consider my Free 6 week Sprint Triathlon Plan, or a custom plan… or even Coaching!