Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Blogs

Bri-Tri (PA) -Plant-based, middle-aged group triathlete on journey to Ironman Lake Placid in 2013.
Blog Twitter

Amesmarie- S. Cali- Recently discovered the joy of running, cycling and swimming (and most things fitness) after losing almost 100 pounds. Blog about my training, life and teaching at risk high schoolers.
Blog Twitter

Travel Diva (MD)- I blog about my life and my Swim Bike Run adventures as a middle aged, back of the pack triathlete. I may be slow, I may be almost last, but I will look GOOD doing motto.
Blog Twitter

Brad Donavan (TX) -Brad's Journey to IMTX.
Blog InstaGram: Brad3

Staley-(Chicagoland) Once a huge man topping the scales at 470lbs, now 204lbs and an endurance athlete.
Blog Instagram-tristaley

Lora (FL)- Yogi training for her first triathlon
Blog Twitter

Friday, May 24, 2013

Transitions – Plan and Practice

By:  Local Chicagoland coach, Joe LoPresto

coach joe bio 2011 squareCan there be such a thing as Free Speed in triathlon?  Yes, and it can be found in the transition from swim to bike and again in the transition from bike to run.  Even if your goal is taking your time and having fun with the race, planning and practicing efficient transitions will make your stress levels lower and the race go better.  If your goal is to improve on your past race performance or place higher in your age group, then mastering transitions is a key component and can often take 3 to 5 minutes off your overall race time.  You’d have to work pretty hard and for many, many months to take that kind of time off your bike or run split!

Planning your transition strategy starts long before the day of the event.  In fact, by race day, you should have practiced your transition flow enough times that it is burned into your memory and can be executed without much thought.

The general rule for fast transitions is to keep it simple.  Having the right equipment will help with that.  Start by purchasing a tri top and tri short.  These items are designed to be worn from start to finish so no change of clothes is needed.  Next on the list is a pair of speed laces for your running shoes.  These inexpensive elastic laces stretch so that your shoes can be put on quickly and without having to tie laces.  Last is a race belt.  This inexpensive elastic belt allows you to quickly attach your race bib number around your waist as you go out for the run.  It eliminates the need to pin your bib to your shirt and have it flapping around on the bike.  That’s really all the special equipment needed for smoother transitions.
Now that you have the equipment, it’s time to practice!  Yes, you’ve spent hours and hours doing swim, bike and run workouts and you must practice the transitions too!  Besides having the wrong equipment or way too many pieces of equipment to deal with in transition, not practicing is the next most common reason why athletes slow down and struggle within the transition area.  To practice, set up your own small transition area at home.  Lay everything you’ll need on a small hand size towel next to your bike.  Then run up to it as if you just got out of the pool.  Some athletes will even jump in the shower and be wet so they can simulate the issues associated with wet skin (like how to pull socks onto wet feet).   Think very carefully about where everything is placed on the towel or bike and exactly what movements you’re going to make.  Consider what will you do first, then second, etc.  One trick I like to use is to go through the entire “grab and go” sequence in very slow motion, making mental notes and taking mental video with your eyes on how it all flows.  Then as you practice it over and over again, tell your mind to re-run the video sequences you just burned into the brain.  Always do the steps in the same order, like grab sunglasses, then helmet, then buckle helmet, then socks (if used), then shoes, then lift bike off rack, then run with bike to transition exit.  Keep it simple and easy to repeat!

You’ve practiced your transitions dozens of times and it’s race day.  You’re ready for the free speed,
right?  Not so fast.  There are plenty of additional attributes to smooth transitions on race day and they can’t be practiced at home.  It all starts with bringing only what you need into transition so your small area around your bike is not cluttered and difficult to maneuver around.  Don’t bring big bags, buckets to sit on or to wash the sand off your feet.  Just bring what you’ll race with.  Next step is to get there early and get a good spot on the transition racks.  Sounds simple, but every year I’m standing outside of transition in the morning and the line into transition gets longer and longer the closer it gets to the race start.  Sometimes I see athletes arriving after the transition area has closed and the race is ready to start.  Not only is this a problem for finding a good spot on the rack, it adds big stress to your race start and day.
Once you’ve secured your great transition spot, you’ll have plenty of time to get the lay of the land.  This is super critical.  It is chaos in transition during the race.  Athletes are running in all directions at high speeds trying to get into or out of their small spots and the transition entry/exit points.  Take the time before the race to memorize exactly where your bike is located within transition.  Look for landmarks like small trees, curbs, paths, etc. or count the number of bike rows from the place you’ll enter from the swim.  Don’t fall for the common suggestion of bringing a colored helium balloon to mark your rack spot.  Your balloon will either pop in the car, be a pain to carry to the race or be the same color as dozens of other balloons.  Remember, keep it simple and bring only what you need.  Once you have your spot memorized, now take time to actually walk the “flow” of the race transitions.  Come into the transition area from the swim location, walk toward your bike while counting rows and take those mental pictures again of your bike location.  When you get to your bike, chant through the “grab and go” steps you’ve practiced and memorized… sunglasses on, helmet on, helmet buckled, etc.  Mentally grab your bike and walk toward the bike “OUT” exit.  Again, you’re learning the exact path you plan to take.  Make a note of any uphill/downhill portions and sharp turns so you don’t slip and fall.  Also find the “mount” line, the point at which you can finally get on your bike.  Make sure you look at the pavement for any gravel or slight inclines.  These can be very dangerous when you try and get on the bike.  Most athletes stop right at the line, in the center of the road, and get on their bikes.  It can be a traffic jam and can cause a fall.  I like to find a spot about 10 feet past the line and off to the side to get on the bike.  Just less chance of someone running into me during the bike mount.

Next it’s time to find the bike “IN” point and think about the dismount.  Again, look over the pavement for any danger spots and pick the spot a few feet before the dismount line where you’re going to get off your bike.  Most athletes will fly up to the dismount line, slam the brakes and almost fall off their bike.  Avoid this mess by thinking ahead and getting off a little early and to the side.   Now walk into transition and think about where your towel is located.  Keep in mind that during the race your spot will not be marked by your bike since you’ll have it with you.  Now you’re looking for a towel and there are lots of white towels on the ground.  One tip is to bring a towel that is unique in color or design.  Count the rows or find the landmarks that will ensure you find your towel and the spot to re-rack your bike.  As you approach your spot, start thinking about the “grab and go” steps again…. Lift bike to rack, unbuckle helmet, take helmet off, grab race belt, grab run hat, etc. and then walk the path toward run “OUT”.
Repeat this entire walk-through of the transition flow as many times as you have time for before you start your warm-up for the race.

Take the time now to plan and practice your transitions and get some Free Speed at your next race!

Joe LoPresto is the Founder, Head Coach and Race Director at Experience Triathlon.  Coach Joe and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Naperville based Experience Triathlon is a leader in the endurance services industry.  ET provides endurance coaching services, clubs, camps, race events, nutrition coaching, massage therapy and performance testing to athletes in the Chicago area and around the world.  Learn more about Coach Joe and Experience Triathlon at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Leon's Triathlon Giving Back

For those doing Leon's this year, the race is making a concerted effort to give back to the community which I am all for.  Charity mixed with sport is something I love to see and excited to see Leon's supporting lots of local organizations. So anyone racing or spectating, please consider making a donation! (i have italicized those donations that are direct money transferred to show there is are many ways to give back)

Here is a message regarding their program:
Leon’s Triathlon is committed to providing more than a well executed race.  Specifically, Leon’s has teamed up with local charities to help give back to those in need.  At the conclusion of the race, these organizations will be represented at Crush Tent City and we encourage you to bring any items you wish to donate towards these causes.  This is a great way for racers, spectators and families to give back.   Below are a list of associated charities, their mission and how you can help.  

Medals4Mettle- (I am the Chicago Coordinator which many of you know) M4M is a different kind of charity that does not seek to compete with other charities for valuable dollars. Medals4Mettle's mission is to provide an opportunity for endurance athletes and runners to pay it forward by enabling the gifting and awarding of earned medals to others who demonstrate similar mettle, or courage, as they face life's challenges.

How you can help: 
Donate Marathon, Half Marathon or Triathlon Medals
Recommend an individual or groups that could benefit from a M4M Medal!! (this is especially needed and i will have a little box for people to drop names in at Crush Tent City)

Hope to Give- The mission of Hope to Give is to raise money for children, families of children and organizations specifically created to help children living with life altering medical conditions. Our goal is to bring hope, money, and support to those that need it most through various fundraising activities and events.

How you can help:  
Monetary Donations
Participate in the Annual Golf Charity event

BackPacks for Class- BackPacks for Class’ mission is to collect backpacks filled with proper supplies for children in need.

How you can help:
Monetary Donations
School Supply Donations; no donation is too small (ex: Pencils, erasers, crayons, folders, binders)

Warm Belly Project-Collecting food and clothing donations
How you can help:
Donate Gently used clothing 
Canned goods of non-expired food

I look forward to seeing some of your there.  Email me if you some of you want to meet up!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meet the Pro - Malaika Homo

Looking forward to seeing Malaika dominate this weekend at IMTX.  Saw her on the run course at last years Rev3CP.  I was doing the half and she was doing the full. Really cool to see pros run right by you! (and humbling when they are running much faster than you and have gone twice as far :)  

Good luck this weekend Malaika and thanks for the interview!!!

You race a lot, what are you favorite recovery tips/rituals?
Recovery has become an essential part of my training, especially now that I'm getting older and (hopefully) wiser!  My favorite recovery tool is the Recovery Pump system; I could sit in my boots for hours if I had the time.  On a typical day I'll wear the Recovery Boots for at least an hour in the evening while I'm winding down.  For additional compression I'll wear compression sleeves or socks, particularly when I'm flying or spending extra time in the car.  I'm also pretty religious with using a foam roller to work out any knots---I work at a gym where foam rollers are readily accessible plus I have two or three rollers at my house, so I have no excuses!  If my legs are especially worked I'll take an ice bath and sleep with my legs elevated.  Oh yes, and let's not forget that "s" word---SLEEP!  I'm not much of a napper but I do aim for a solid 8 hours each night.

Any tips for us sea level people training for altitude racing?
Well, I'm in the reverse situation these days so I may not be much help!  I guess the most important thing is to recognize that it's going to be more challenging on your lungs to race at altitude and then just make sure you arrive physically fit at your race.  It wouldn't hurt to do some specific training that especially taxes your lungs, like hill repeats for running and biking, and maybe doing some hypoxic swimming sets or swimming with a snorkel.  If you're not used to altitude then definitely breathe more during the swim leg of the race if you feel the need! 

Winning Rev3CP 2011
Before you relocated to Utah, you lived in Indiana, any favorite Midwest races?  and why?
Memphis in May has always been one of my favorite Midwest races; the event just has a good laid-back vibe and the triathlon community in Memphis is super friendly.  One of the first times I did that race I actually camped across the river in Arkansas and there was a tornado!  I literally woke up floating in the middle of  the night and spent the rest of the night sleeping on the floor of the ladies bathroom.  I was sure my tent was going to fly away but it was still there in the morning---in about 3 feet of water but all the pegs held it in place!  My other favorite Midwest race is the Muncie Endurathon (now the Muncie 70.3).  I did it once as an impromptu part of a relay whose runner didn't show up, then a year or two later I did it again as my debut at the half iron distance.  I had no clue what I was doing but clawed my way through and ended up placing pretty well. 

What is one of the hidden perks of being a professional triathlete?
That's a good question, and a hard one to answer!  It's honestly not as glamorous as it sounds---it's not like being a pro ball player with million dollar contracts floating around.  I think one of the best things for me about being a professional triathlete is that it's something I've chosen to do, no one else is breathing down my neck telling me to do it, and that's a very liberating thing---like being your own boss.  I've worked hard to get where I am and I really enjoy the process, and the satisfaction of putting it all together and having one of those rare magical days when everything just clicks is a pretty awesome feeling.  It's not really a hidden perk, but it can be an elusive one!

Malaika's  BLOG  and TWITTER

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Guaranteed Entry to 2014 Ironman Wisconsin

Want to race IMOO 2014 and not volunteer, or drive up there for midnight registration??  Well, I have a solution for you! 

Irongirl is starting a program that allows you to get a guaranteed entry (i.e. no volunteer, no standing in line at midnight, no traveling) if you get 4 ladies to sign up for Irongirl Lake Zurich or Pleasant Prairie.   All they have to do it sign up, put your name in the referred by box (make sure they include your full name) and then you email Megan at WTC at and she will process you for a 2014 slot! It is quite simple!

Perhaps you want to buy registrations for your lady friends or you have two friends that sign up and then you realize that signing up your mom and aunt is easier than going up to Wisconsin, getting a hotel and volunteering.  However you cut it, all you need are 4 Irongirl referrals and you are in!!!!

Use LZIRONGIRL13 for $10 off for Lake Zurich
Use Code: PPIRONGIRL13 for $10 OFF for Pleasant Prairie

Fine print:  The 4 ladies must be signed up by June 30, 2013 for either event. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tri-Friends - Ryan Frederickson

Meet our 5th tri-friend, Local Pro -->  
Ryan Frederickson

Tell us a little about yourself: where are you from, what you do?
I'm originally from the Northwest Chicago suburbs, but at the moment I am at Purdue University. I study Chemical Engineering out here and currently compete as an elite in short course non-draft race series and some smaller ITU races. Most of my time is consumed by these two things but I hope to also do a little coaching this summer since I have left myself some extra time.

When did you realize you wanted to make the jump from Amateur to elite status?
Pretty early in college I was told I had potential, having a strong swimming background and decent running, which at least got me thinking but I had already burnt out of one sport (swimming) and was in no hurry to have that sort of heartbreak again. It was probably a mixture of two events that clicked for me. The first was freshman year over the Purdue Triathlon 2011 spring break trip to Clermont, FL. There I found that I loved training and racing no matter how tough it got or the condition. I got a taste of what it would be like to train, eat, sleep every day and I couldn't get enough of it. Later that year I started training with Well-Fit in Chicago and made some pretty stressful travel arrangements to make workouts. Even though they added 1-2 hrs to my already 2.5 hrs of commuting to my internship in Indiana, they were good for me as an athlete and I enjoyed the work. The fact that I was able to stay motivated through that summer even though I lost countless nights of sleep gave me faith that I could make it.

What has been the biggest adjustment going from an Amateur to an elite triathlete?
I want to say the competition but really it has been the travel and volume of racing. Because of the number of series I am racing (Rev 3, ITU, 5150, and collegiate races) I have been traveling at least twice a month. The good thing is although I used to struggle with travel I have been enjoying it a lot this year.

The next adjustment that rivals the travel is actually the financial barrier. Last year I was working as an engineering intern, making fairly good money for a 20 year old kid, and now I am running on the faith that I'll "make it" before the savings account goes dry. Its pretty difficult because until you get results, you can't expect companies to shell out for you, but to get those results you need to spend money on travel, therapy, etc.

What are your goals in your first elite year?
I gave myself some pretty broad goals this year since I was not sure what would happen. One of my main goals is simply to start building a good reputation and prove that I am here to stay. I'm hoping to see a couple podiums by the end of the year and get in the money as well. A concrete goal I am going after would be Hy-Vee qualification through the 5150 races, which takes a top 30 ranking in that series.

What is your A-Race this year?
Right now that depends on how things pan out. ITU-Dallas certainly is an A race for me, since there is a chance to pick up one of two US u23 slot to the ITU World Series Finale in London. After that it will depend on if I qualify for Hy-Vee or not. My last race of the season (Rev 3-Florida) will definitely be an A race.

When you are traveling for a race and are required to hop in a car or plan right after a race; what is your go-to recovery process? 

This happens a lot to myself and most other pros actually. After a race I always make sure there is time to do some sort of cool-down, be it a 5min shuffle or 15min spin. Also, I force myself to eat anything and everything I can handle to help give my body fuel and supplement that with PowerBar Protein Plus bars as I am traveling. I stretch really well either at the race site or hotel or even the airport if I had to go directly there. I get some time rolling my legs with this cool new device call the R8 (from Roll Recovery) and a lacrosse ball that I keep in my carry on bag. Before I go anywhere I put on Zensah Compression Socks or Ultra Compression Sleeves to help me start recovering fast.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lake Zurich Iron Girl Triathlon Coupon Code

Where my ladies at?!?!
Looking for a sprint triathlon to kick off your season...
and get a discount too!?!

Check out
Iron Girl Lake Zurich
Sunday June 16, 2013

Iron Girl's LogoThe event is a women's only event with women specific tech shirts, warm post race breakfast, awesome finisher medal and age group winner jewelry!

USE coupon code: LZIRONGIRL13 for $10 Off Registration!

Excited to announce another coupon code for  
Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie 
Sunday August 11, 2013
Pleasant Prairie, WI

Use Code:  PPIRONGIRL13 for $10 OFF!


Monday, May 6, 2013

A Giveaway!!!

Thanks to fellow Chi Tri-er, Mike Hebert, we have another giveaway!  Trainer Road has agreed to give one lucky subscriber 3 mths free of their program.  Trainer Road allows you to take virtually any ANT+ device and get live data.

Straight from their website:
All workouts require a bike, a trainer and a computer (laptop or desktop, Mac or PC).  We don't have an iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android app at the moment.
Click here for more info on ANT+ Devices

Two ways to enter:
2 entries = Add our blog badge to your blog; comment below you added so we can verify!***
1 entry = Subscribe to the blog and then comment on this post why you would like to try out TrainerRoad
Ends May 31, 2013!

***how to add a blog badge you ask?  
  1. Copy and paste the code on the right side
  2. Go under LAYOUT under blog management
  3. Add Gadget
  4. Under the Widget Box, add HTML/JavaScript Gadget
  5. Then paste the info into the box!!!