Product ReviewsHere at TriBy3 we understand how hard it can be to shop for triathlon equipment, especially in New York. With such a plethora of swim, bike, and run products out there, who can you trust to give you an honest review or suggestion?
With the knowledge he gained from five years of triathlon retail sales, Greg will periodically add reviews for all the latest products and technology. And if you have something specific you would like us to review or have you own review of your latest triathlon toy, please feel free to post.
Ironman Hawaii- Xterra Velocity M Speedsuit
A lot of the triathletes out there know that the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has instituted some pretty big changes for legal swimwear. These rules went into effect last month and will effect all...
A lot of the triathletes out there know that the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has instituted some pretty big changes for legal swimwear. These rules went into effect last month and will effect all the Ironman and Half-Ironman events from here on out. I tracked down Glynn Turquand, owner of Xterra Wetsuits, while I was in Kona to explain some of the advantages of the new WTC legal, Xterra Velocity-M speedsuit. Glynn and Xterra have been sponsors of TriBy3 and the Snapple Tri Team for a while and I can tell you that you will never find a nicer guy or faster suit. If you want any more info on the Velocity-M or any of the Xterra wetsuits or skinsuits, email me. We also have some pretty great discounts if you want to get ready for the 2011 season.
Smith Pivlock V90 Max Product Review
While out here in Kona I did a review of the newest Snapple Tri Team sponsor, Smith Optics and their Pivlock V90 Max sunglasses. I'll be rocking these things (while hopefully rocking the bike course)...
While out here in Kona I did a review of the newest Snapple Tri Team sponsor, Smith Optics and their Pivlock V90 Max sunglasses. I'll be rocking these things (while hopefully rocking the bike course) on the Queen K on race day. Great glasses, cool look, 9.9 out of 10. They lose a tenth of a point because the "Ice Blue" lenses don't actually ice my face. Probably can't hold that against Smith but the name is a tease.
Excerpt from "Overachiever's Diary" by Louis Tharp
Most people can't drive their Toyota efficiently, and are intimidated at the thought of driving a Ferrari, efficiently or not. They don't realize the potential of their car, from a fuel economy, driving...
Most people can't drive their Toyota efficiently, and are intimidated at the thought of driving a Ferrari, efficiently or not. They don't realize the potential of their car, from a fuel economy, driving efficiency, or mechanical systems preservation standpoint. They use the brakes too much, don't pay attention to tire pressure, drive looking at the end of their hood instead of taking a long view of the road, bring too much destructive emotion with them, and tend to look at driving as something to do while eating, drinking, talking on the phone or spending quality time with their kids -- missing the entire point of driving.
Most people can't swim efficiently either, and are intimidated by the thought of it. They don't realize the potential of their body, from a physical, emotional, or energy preservation standpoint. They introduce resistance into their stroke, don't pay attention to breathing or balance, or they swim looking ahead. They bring too much destructive emotion with them to the pool, and they look at practice as something to slog through -- missing the entire point of swimming.
It's no wonder there are so many bad swimmers. Look at all the bad drivers.Connecting your emotions, judgment, physical potential, and logic will make you a better swimmer. I can't help with your driving, but luckily you don't need to be able to drive well to be a successful triathlete.
Swimming well is more a matter of breaking old habits. Learning new ones is easier.
There is a part of you that says "no" regardless of your actions, and this part, especially affects swimmers who already have a good grasp of technique -- above average swimmers -- and stubborn people. The U.S. Olympic Training Center has dealt with this issue in a several ways, none of them entirely successful. One interesting attempt to overcome psychological and emotional resistance to new levels of speed by breaking old habits was to tow a swimmer down the pool at world record pace. The theory, presumably, was to familiarize a swimmer with what it's like to go fast so the brain could connect with the body and make it happen without the tow rope. That's like jumping under a steam roller to get familiar with deep tissue massage.
There is a better way. Drills. But drills have a lot of problems with humans because humans don't naturally work and play well with drills. Coaches tell swimmers to do drills but they don't instruct them about how or what. Fast swimmers can hate them because they think they have to go slowly, they're not usually aerobic, are boring, are stupid, and the person behind is usually running into the person in front. And, they usually involve kicking. Pretty much, drills are the flossing of swimming. There is no way to make flossing more appealing, but drills have the potential to become the foreplay of an efficient stroke. Or whatever.
Here's what drills do for swimmers:They get blood to your muscles by allowing you to warm up, slowly at first and then allow you to move to race pace in a continuous pattern.They help your brain and body get reacquainted with the rules of efficient swimming.
Here's what swimmers do for drills:Give them a bad name.
It's a lopsided relationship so it's not surprising that it's dysfunctional.
In order to perform any athletic activity at maximum potential, your muscles have to be warm. This means there has to be an abundance of blood carrying oxygen to the muscles, and carrying various waste gasses away. Without this you enter that intriguing anaerobic state, that depending on your age, is a little like bad acid, or good percocet. Either way, you won't be competing for long with cold oxygen-deprived muscles. It's also a waste of time to warm up -- to get maximum oxygen flow to your muscles -- without incorporating something else, such as drills. You have to warm up anyway, so why not use drills? Because here's what happens: as swimmers the only thing we have in common with fish is our memories. That's right, you saw Nemo, and the only funny part was when Ellen DeGeneres kept saying the same thing over and over again, courtesy of her seven-second-span of goldfish memory. Your swimming memory is a little better, but not much.
Triathletes have been running and biking for years, whether they've been competing or not. Swimming, not so much. Running and biking are all about push to go faster, apply more energy and see the result immediately. Swimming, not so much. Then there's breathing and not being able to do it with your head planted under water.
With as little comparative time spent in the water versus biking and running, and factoring in the fear issue that centers around breathing, there's no reason why a triathlete should assume that swimming is natural. You need to refresh and retrain constantly. Oh yea, drills do this.
The problem with drills is we do the wrong ones, for the wrong amount of time, for the wrong reasons, too slowly, and we allow our neuromuscular systems to draw the wrong conclusions.
Drills must be custom. They must reinforce what you're doing right and emphasize what you are doing wrong so you can fix it before the workout. They need to be done at a virtual standstill, and at race pace. They need to be the way you reboot during a race when your swimming world falls apart and you're sucking in the muddy water churned up by the feet belonging to the person who just passed you.
Your particular drill sequence must be constructed when I can see your stroke at resting and maximum heart rate. You need to be able to continuously reinforce the proper technique as well as test for the wrong technique during your drill sequence. After a drill sequence you should be saying to yourself, "OK, what's my workout? I'm ready to swim," because talking to yourself is part of your drill sequence. We talk to ourselves constantly. The only way to tell if we're crazy is to examine what we're saying, not that we're doing it. If Ralph Waldo Emerson were a triathlete in addition to a poet and essayist he would have said, "you are the kind of swimmer you tell yourself you are during drills," but instead he said, "A man is what he thinks about all day long."
Your drills are all about maximizing efficiency, balance and speed. You begin a drill sequence with balance, then move to efficiency and then speed. So when you see someone jump in the water and start swimming at something close to race pace, you know that's the person you are going to beat in the next triathlon -- probably during the bike when that big lead coming out of the water disappears about 90-seconds past the transition area.
Because all drills are custom, it's impossible, without seeing your stroke, to tell you what drills to do. I'm not going to list them because you'll do them incorrectly, you'll do the wrong ones, and you'll end up still hating drills. Instead we're going to talk about what they do and we'll agree during practice on the drills, their order, what they do, and their importance.
The first drills are for balance. Balance is critical in sport. The difference between balance in the water and on land is the water part. Water isn't as blunt as earth. When you pound water it moves out of the way. When it moves out of the way you sink, when you sink you get nervous. Water responds to the lighter touch compared with earth. So it's easier to understand water when you compare it with air, not earth. Compared with air, water is highly resistant and buoyant. Think of the effort you put into being streamlined on your bike. That's the mindset that will be successful in the water when you're trying to achieve balance, efficiency and speed.
Balance is all about staying on the top of the water. It's about keeping your entire body in a single horizontal plane -- hips, feet, head, shoulders abs. If you hips and legs are dragging you're swimming uphill. If you head is raised and you're looking ahead, your hips will drop, and you'll still be swimming uphill. If your body is not streamlined, your stroke is not balanced, and your alternate side breathing not fully integrated into your stroke, you won't swim in a straight line. Worst case -- you're swimming uphill crooked, and a wetsuit won't save you.
But you're a sinker, you say. There is no way you can be horizontal in the water. Well you were once but you were horizontal about a foot below the surface. The only way you achieve any kind of floatation -- forget about balance -- is when you put your wetsuit on. In fact, you schedule your competitions so wetsuits are allowed.
Wetsuits provide buoyancy, but if you can't get buoyant without a wetsuit, you're not only not balanced, but you're not swimming efficiently, or as fast as you can. This means you'll be rolling into T-1 with a high heart rate and half-depleted glycogen when the volunteers are breaking out their bag lunches. The reason you sink is because you aren't relaxed in the water and you aren't going fast enough. We'll get to the "fast enough" part later. Your muscle mass plays a role, but there are triathletes with high muscle mass who float. They are relaxed. Relaxation in the water can be difficult. Check for tension in your hands and neck. Everything should be relaxed. Check what you're saying to yourself. Talk about relaxing in the water. Do the static balance drill. Think of your chest as a basketball. When you push a basketball into the water, it pops up. You can't keep it down because it has air in it. Practice this by pressing on various parts of your chest and watch for the water to provide resistance. Stand on a kick board in the water. Understand the small stabilizer muscles you need to recruit in order to stay on the kickboard. Try to translate these movements to your horizontal position. We'll do this more in practice.
Get mentally balanced. When you pass through the door to the pool everything that doesn't help you swim gets left in the hall. This is not the place for extraneous worries or concerns, anger or frustration. This is the place you swim. This is the sanctuary where learning takes place every time you get in the water. This is where you "aim for success, not perfection," because as Dr. David M. Burns goes on to say, "never give up your right to be wrong because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life." Being mentally balanced allows you to be wrong and successful at the same time -- in or out of the water. Being physically balanced allows you to be efficient and fast at the same time -- in the water.
Yea, I have no idea who Dr. David M. Burns is either. I found his quote a long time ago and I like it.
Next practice: efficiency and speed drills. Stone skipper will become your best friend.
Goggles Review in the New York Times
TriBy3's good friend Lou Tharp did a goggle review for the Fashion and Style section of the New York Times. He reviewed six different pairs and rated each based on "geek factor", seal, comfort,...
TriBy3's good friend Lou Tharp did a goggle review for the Fashion and Style section of the New York Times. He reviewed six different pairs and rated each based on "geek factor", seal, comfort, and adjustability. Considering the fact that Lou can out-swim just about anyone, when he talks about swim products, we listen. Find the review here
And if you are interested in finding more information about Sable Optics, the brand that Lou rated highest, just shoot us an email. TriBy3 is an official retailer of Sable goggles.
Trigger Point Performance Therapy Product Review
If you spend any time with me after a weekend of long riding and running, you'll quickly discover that I am a HUGE proponent of massage therapy as a tool for recovery and muscular development. You...
If you spend any time with me after a weekend of long riding and running, you'll quickly discover that I am a HUGE proponent of massage therapy as a tool for recovery and muscular development. You will discover this because I constantly whine about how desperately I need something worked out or flushed or loosened up or some other variation of the same complaint. When it gets really bad, I pay a visit to my personal massage therapist
Craig Bohn at the Hockessin Athletic Club in Delaware (side note here: I am fully convinced Craig would have been burned at the stake 300 years ago for the magic he is able to work with his hands). But 200 mile drives and the cost of 3 hours on the table add up pretty quickly, so I needed something more convenient and cost efficient to get me through the typical aches and pains of training. This is where I found Trigger Point.
Trigger Point Performance Therapy, based in Austin, Texas, is a company committed to hands-free, in home, self-massage therapy. TP offers five products- a Massage Ball, Footballer, Quadballer, Baller Block, and The Grid. What makes these products unique is that they are intended to mimic the feeling and density of a human thumb. After applying pressure for 5-7 seconds, the patented material of the TP tools changes shape which allows the muscles to relax and the massage to penetrate deeply, like a traditional massage.
Many people use foam rollers, tennis balls, or DIY devices made of wood or plastic to alleviate lactic acid buildup and restore blood flow to the muscles. While these things may provide temporary relief, they aren't ideal. Soft or air-filled massage tools fail to penetrate the muscles deeply while hard wooden or plastic objects can be traumatic to the muscles and actually cause more damage.
Personally, I love the TP Total Body Package (pictured below) and use it every day. Just 20 minutes on the ballers before an after a workout lets me perform at my maximum and restore blood flow to tired muscles. While it isn't the cheapest thing out there ($139.99 on the TP website), it gives you the freedom to do a daily massage in the comfort of your own home. I also pack the kit on my travel bag whenever I go anywhere and then I don't have to worry about finding a good massage therapist at a race.
I don't think anything can replace a really good massage therapist, but Trigger Point Performance Therapy at least gets me through the days between massages without the typical training aches and pains I would otherwise suffer. Check out the TP website for more information.