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So you've landed here on my iWillNotBonk.com Triathlon Training Blog and you're probably wondering who the hell this Tavis guy is and what iWillNotBonk is all about.

I'm just an average age-grouper / weekend warrior blogging about Ironman Triathlon Training and this complex puzzle of juggling life, having fun and reporting on my various feats of strength and endurance adventures!

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Now that you’ve successfully prepared for your first cycling race of the year, it’s time to dial-in how to warm up properly so all that hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Preparing for a bike race involves more than training hard leading up the big day. Some good pre-planning is necessary to make sure you perform to the best of your ability on race day. Going into the event, you will need to know exactly what type of warm-up provides maximum benefit for the particular race.

This question is best answered by knowing the type of race you will do and the area in which the race takes place. Once answered, planning your warm-up strategy becomes clearer. Some races require you to fire on all pistons from the start while other races allow you to ease into the pace. No matter the type of race, your body has to be ready to perform when called upon. As such, your warm-up is critical component of your overall race-day strategy.

Here are four things to consider when planning your warm up, as well as several sample warm up workouts for various types of cycling races:

Timing

Almost as important as the warm-up itself, is the timing of your warm-up. When planning your warm-up strategy, plan backward from the start time. You want to finish your warm-up with minimal time between completion and getting to the start line. Too much of a time gap and your body cools down again. Too little time and you risk getting a poor starting position, which is critical in a criterium. Or worse, you miss the start! The warm-ups I have listed below range from 33 to 35 minutes. Allow 10 minutes after your warm up to do your final prep, then head to the start line. Do the math, plan your warm-up start accordingly.

Road or Trainer

Next in pre-planning is where you will do your warm-up. There are some race venues that are not conducive to warming up on the road. If the race start is located in a highly-populated area or on a main road, there is a good chance you might need your trainer. Again, this is where the pre-planning comes in. If you have not done the race in the past, do some investigating to determine how you will do your warm-up. A trainer warm-up is more controlled. There are less variables to stress about; road obstructions, getting lost, etc.  Some like to take the worry out and do their warm-up on the trainer exclusively. While others like to be on the road and get a “feel” for their bike before racing. If both road and trainer options are available, it comes down to personal preference.

The Warm-Up

Different warm-ups are needed for different races. For races that are going to have an explosive start, a more aggressive warm-up is necessary. For example, the majority of criteriums start with a bang. Additionally, road races that have a hard hill within the first few miles would require an intense effort virtually from the start line. Short time trials and all cyclocross race starts fall into this category, too. If competing in any of the above mentioned races, your body is going to be put under a great deal of stress at the gun and will need to be ready to produce the expected effort immediately.

Races that could have a more “casual” start, require less intensity in the warm-up.  Longer time trials and longer or flatter road races  are examples of a less intense start. For these types of races, the body still needs to be ready, but not as quickly. Your planned warm-up can be combined into the first several miles of the event in order to ease you into a race effort.

Below are examples of different warm-ups for different situations on the trainer or the road.

Moderate Start Warm-up on Trainer

Mins
Watts

5
50% of FTP

5
60% of FTP

2
75% of FTP

1
80% of FTP

1
85% of FTP

2
Rest

1.5
75% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
80% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
85% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
90% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
100% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
105% of FTP

5
Rest

Total: 35 Min

Fast Start Warm-up on Trainer

Mins
Watts

5
50% of FTP

5
60% of FTP

2
75% of FTP

1
80% of FTP

1
90% of FTP

2
Rest

1.5
80% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
90% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
100% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
105% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
110% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
110% of FTP

5
Rest

Total: 35 Min

Moderate Start Warm-up on Road

Mins
Watts

10
40-60% of FTP

2
70% of FTP

2
Rest

1.5
80% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
90% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
90% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
100% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
100% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
105% of FTP

5
Rest

Total: 33 Min

Fast Start Warm-up on Road

Mins
Watts

10
40-60% of FTP

2
70% of FTP

2
Rest

1.5
80% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
90% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
100% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
105% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
110% of FTP

1
Rest

1.5
110% of FTP

5
Rest

Total: 33 Min

Doubling Up

Some racers have the opportunity to do multiple races at the same venue. For example, Masters and junior riders might be able to do an age-restricted race and the elite race. When this opportunity arises, a question that is commonly asked is, “How do I warm up for the second race?”

The answer lies in the time gap between the two events. Anything less than 30 minutes should not require a structured warm-up before the second race. Try to keep your legs moving a little between the two races. After you have rehydrated and refueled, get back on the bike and keep rolling around to keep your legs loose. Try not to let the muscles stiffen up.

If there is a larger gap between the finish of the first and the start of the second, you can afford a little time off the bike between races. Again, replenish your body, then, with about 15 minutes to go before the next start, get back on the bike. Do 10 minutes ramping up from 40 to 70 percent of FTP. Then do three by  20 seconds at 105 to 110 percent FTP with 1:30 between efforts at 50 to 60 percent FTP. If it’s necessary to get back on the trainer, the same format can be followed.

Conclusion

Your warm-up can make or break your race performance. Going to the start line with “cold” legs is likely result in a poor finish. By being detailed with your warm-up planning you have a strong advantage over your less prepared competitors. Make the most out of the hard work you have done and be ready when the whistle blows!

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Injuries, unfortunately, are a part of endurance sport. We can do our best to avoid overuse injuries,  but sometimes they happen anyway. For example, last summer during a ride, I reached for my water bottle at what turned out to be an inopportune time. My front wheel hit a bump in the road and I ended up with a broken elbow.

If you find yourself in an injured state, there are some things to think about in terms of nutrition to aid in recovery and make sure you are in the best condition to get back into training when ready.

The first thing to consider is probably the most obvious, and that is caloric intake. If you go from very active to a lot less active, your energy expenditure goes down so your intake should also be reduced. Keeping a food log for a few days can help, as you also don’t want to cut back too significantly or you could hinder the recovery process because your body isn’t getting enough energy.

If you had a high training load, you might swap out some grain carbohydrate sources and replace them with a variety of fruits and vegetables. You still want a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, but you may not need as many carbohydrates if your training load has decreased.

The next important thing to make sure you are doing is eating quality food. Your body is working to repair itself, so make sure it has the tools it needs. Depending on the injury you might need additional protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Here are some nutrients to keep in mind:

Protein (amino acids) is important to build and repair tissues, help maintain water balance, form enzymes involved in cellular processes, transport substance, maintain optimal blood pH and protein is synthesized into important hormones we need.
Vitamin C plays a role in collagen syntheses, and we need collagen as it is used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It also helps in the absorption of iron, and plays a role in red blood cell synthesis.
Vitamin A helps keep bones healthy, and it is also needed to maintain immune system health.
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which is helpful if you are dealing with a bone injury. Vitamin D also helps with immune function and has anti-inflammatory properties.

In short, eat a variety of fruits and veggies with your normal healthy diet, and monitor your caloric intake if your activity level has decreased.

All injuries are different, and depending on what your current diet consists of, you may or may not need to modify it. Talk to a sports dietitian to learn if there are any dietary modifications that might be beneficial for your type of injury.

And as always, prevention is always the best medicine! If you aren’t injured, be sure to eat to support your activity and training levels, maintain healthy bones and muscles, and support a healthy immune system. If by chance you hit that inopportune bump in the road like I did, it will be a much easier healing process and a faster return to training.

If you’re looking for some important mental skills for dealing with injury, check out our TrainingPeaks University online course, “Mental Toughness During Injury: How to Regain Your Confidence and Get Back to Competition” with mental skills expert Carrie Cheadle.

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Welcome to the TrainingPeaks Endurance Strength Roundup video series. In each installment D3 Multisport coaches will show you quick, efficient movements with minimal equipment that are designed to be easily added to your multisport routine for increased strength, power and injury prevention.

This edition features exercises targeting the lateral muscles in the hips, which, when inefficiently trained can lead to knee and hip pain. Triathletes are susceptible to tight and weak hip muscles as they generally move only in a forward direction, so side-to-side movements are important for injury prevention and correcting common muscle imbalances.

The first exercise are banded monster walks. You will need a light to medium-resistance band that needs to be placed just above your ankles. Try to do three sets of 15-25 monster walks in each direction, keeping your abdominals pulled in and avoiding too much of a knee bend, which will prevent you from performing the movement correctly (if done correctly you will definitely feel the burn in your hips!) Do this exercise one to two times per week for optimal results.

The second exercise is a weighted lunge with a twist, although you can do this one without any weight if you need to. Use a light to medium weight dumbbell (5 to 15 pounds). Remember to lunge toward the leg that is in front, keep your abdominals pulled in tight, and be careful not to allow your front knee to wobble in either direction. Do three sets of 10 reps per side, and do this exercise one to two times per week for optimal results.

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You have spent countless hours training in preparation for your IRONMAN. Each weekend the focus has been doing long-course specific training for optimal performance. However, race specificity remains one of the most important factors to long-course racing success. One of the best ways to get this race specificity (without overtraining) is to incorporate aquabikes and duathlons into your IRONMAN training. Two-disciplined races (aquathons, aquabikes and duathlons) are great ways to leverage opportunities to gain necessary experience for optimal performance.

With a little research you’ll also find more and more of them popping up around the world. Just remember, none of these events should be viewed as your “A” race for the season, but instead as important tune-ups toward your overall long-distance racing goal.

Here are five reasons why you should incorporate some two-disciplined racing into your IRONMAN build:

You Can Practice Mass Starts and Open Water

The swim remains one of the more dreaded legs of long-distance racing for many IRONMAN athletes. Because of this, many athletes avoid doing any open water racing. However, in an aquathon, athletes will get to practice swimming in large packs of people—an opportunity that does not happen in the pool or an open water session with a friend.

This will help lessen the anxiety of a mass start when experienced prior to the IRONMAN race day.

You Can Practice Race Intensity

In an aquabike, athletes will go from a hard swim to a hard bike. This is often neglected in a training program, yet so essential to start the bike feeling strong. Lastly, duathlons will help athletes figure out proper run pacing after being fatigued from another run and hard ride. Duathlons can also be used to gain valuable race experience during cold winter months (ideal for those racing early season IRONMANS) when open water swimming is not an option.

You’ll Save Your Legs For Race Day

Besides vital experience, two-disciplined events (particularly the aquathon and aquabike) will not leave as much fatigue as a full triathlon due to the lack of any running. As many IRONMAN finishers can attest, it’s really the marathon at the end that gets you.

Because of the lack of running impact, athletes can also train through these races, compared to an IRONMAN 70.3 which requires a proper taper and recovery. The shorter recovery will allow athletes to get back into training faster while still gaining valuable race experience.

You Can Practice Transitions

Transitions are often a neglected part of long-distance triathlons. However, how many times have athletes lost Kona spots or podiums by minutes, or even seconds, at the end of an endurance event? Two-disciplined races emphasize the importance of a speedy transition, and can give you an opportunity to practice new strategies to save time.

Transitions can be free speed, yet they are rarely practiced during a typical training week. Unfamiliarity breeds avoidable mistakes. That said, athletes can afford to make mistakes in races leading up to their big “A” race.

You Can Practice Race Day Nutrition

Aquathons and duathlons are also great opportunities to practice your race-day nutrition plan so you can make any necessary changes ahead of race day. Sometimes in training your nutrition needs will differ as you lack the right intensity, however lower priority races like these are great opportunities to see just how your body responds to certain nutrition strategies when you up the pace a bit.

In conclusion, consider two-discipline races as great opportunities to race hard and make mistakes that will lead to success later on during your IRONMAN. Enter a local two-disciplined race and get out of your comfort zone to help you reach optimal performance when it counts.

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Triathletes spend hours training for optimization of fitness and technique in the swim, bike and run. However, another aspect of the race often overlooked are the transitions: The period between the three athletic components.

An efficient transition can mean a PR, while being less prepared and disorganized can cost an athlete precious time and quite a bit of mental distress. With input from two pro triathletes, plus my own observations from years of coaching and racing, I’ve put together a simple guide that can help any athlete shape their race day performance.

The key is to focus on three components:

Knowing your event
Practicing
Simplifying gear and set up

In this first installment, we’ll focus on the first transition in a triathlon, when the athlete transfers from swim to bike, also known as T1.

Know Your Course

Amber Ferreria, a seasoned professional triathlete with experience at different race distances put it this way, “A race could be lost with a slow transition, especially in a sprint distance.”

Her recommendation was to study the transitions in a race and be prepared for the specific elements of each. Every course is unique. Knowing the running surface, distance and elevation changes can assist in planning.

Some races, including many long-distance events like IRONMANS, have wetsuit strippers who provide assistance removing your suit. Others, such as the Escape From Alcatraz and the Wildflower Triathlons, have long runs that are better executed with your suit kept on—air temperatures can contribute to this decision.

For T1, or the transition from swim to bike, Amber suggests mimicking race conditions by practicing an exit from the pool or open water during one workout a week. For example, an athlete can try removing cap and goggles or unzipping a wetsuit while running.

Practice

Catherine Sterling, an XTERRA and Cyclocross pro who excels at bike handling and expedient transitions, gave similar advice. PRACTICE! Take your wetsuit off. Try removing your cap and goggles. Set your bike up as you will on race day and then run over, put on your helmet and sunglasses and bike shoes if you aren’t leaving them on the bike, and run a short distance pushing your bike. Learn how to get on your bike in a smooth motion. You’re going to need to do this over and over.

The swim to bike transition is unique because an athlete goes from the horizontal position in swimming to the vertical position in standing—and then has to run! This can be dizzying, especially if exertion was high. Understanding that this slight disorientation will pass, and figuring out how you can work through it will come from doing it in practice.

Getting out of your wetsuit during this short period of disorientation can take some practice as well. You want to do this enough times before race day that you won’t waste mental energy or time with zipper woes. Practice finding your zipper while jogging forward and reaching an arm behind your back.

If you want to learn how to leave your shoes on your bike for mounting and dismounting, this has to be incorporated early into each bike ride. Repeat it over and over until it feels easy. My recommendation to beginners is to put the shoes on your feet leaving transition, but learn how to leave them on the bike coming back into transition. Some races don’t allow shoes on the bike, so check with race rules before making a plan.

Simplify

I’ve seen some amusing setups on race mornings, including everything from buckets of water to a full-sized suitcase packed with items for the race. Don’t do it! Standing around at transition and trying to make decisions about what to use or attempting to find things is a huge waste of time. Set up your transition area with a minimalist mindset. What do you really need to race? For most athletes this includes:

Bike
Bike shoes
Helmet
Sunglasses
Sunscreen
Running shoes
Race number belt
Fuel
Hydration

These items don’t take up a lot of space, making it far easier to find things when you arrive in the transition zone.

Here is a sample plan of attack for your race day T1:

Race Day: T1

Know the transition area. Walk around, ask volunteers about the entry and exit points. Make sure you are aware of how to hang your bicycle properly. A USAT official is often walking around and can help.
Bring a small, bright towel to mark your spot and then look around and make note of what landmarks you can spot from the swim transition entry point that will lead you to your bike. If the race requires you to store your transition items in a bag, mark your bag with permanent marker and obnoxiously bright duct tape. The transition area can look remarkably unfamiliar once it is full of stuff.
When you get out of the water, push your goggles up onto your head so your hands are free while you remove your suit. In most situations, unzipping and dropping your suit to the waist is adequate. Run to transition, pull off your cap and goggles, and peel off the rest of your suit.
Use Bodyglide or Trislide or another wetsuit-safe lubricant on the arms and lower legs of your suit. This will help the suit come off quickly. Ideally you can pull off one leg while standing and then use that leg to help release the other. Sitting and pulling can waste time, but practice various methods and see which is better for you.
Socks or no socks? Rule of thumb for a lot of athletes is no socks for short course, socks for long course. Putting baby powder in your bike shoes can keep feet from chafing if you go without socks. If it is rainy or muddy, I’ve found socks help. A muddy foot in a bike shoe can mean torn skin.
Put your helmet on! Leave it on the aerobars or somewhere you can’t miss it. Remember, it has to be buckled and secure before moving forward. Sunglasses can rest in the helmet so they are not forgotten.
Race belts are good for numbers but check with your specific race to see if you need to wear it on the bike. If not, leave it with the running shoes. If so, hang it over the bike or put it over your helmet so you don’t forget.
Have your water bottles already on your bike. If you are taking gels, blocks or other fuel sources, put them neatly by your shoes or belt so you put them in a pocket. Some athletes tape gels to the bike; this can work. Always leave an extra bottle of fuel in transition, as well as an extra of whatever else you are carrying in case you need it. Usually you won’t, but again, sometimes fuel gets dropped from a pocket, or temps change and you need more.
Remember, most IRONMAN races require transition items to be stored in a bag; it helps  to go through your transition set up the night before and then put the items in your bag.
Mentally prepare! Spend time visualizing what you will do at each point of the transition process and couple that with knowledge of the race environment. Doing this will lead to less stress and more fluidity on race morning.
Bring an extra pair of running shoes, clothes and food. Transition areas can close long before your own race start or be inaccessible after a race. Being able to warm up on your own schedule and then have dry clothes and food after is essential.

Having seamless, fast transitions doesn’t happen by accident. Know your course, practice before race day and keep it simple no matter what the race distance. Follow these guidelines and then race fast!

Stay tuned for Part Two of the Transition Clinic, which will focus on T2 (bike to run).

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