Now that everyone has seen the triathlon light and signed up for a race, what can you expect on race day?  Triathlons require a little more planning and gear compared to running, and race morning is typically more involved.

The night before the race: Set out your gear!  I stress this with running as well, but it is vital with triathlon!  With 3 events, it is easy to forget something important, like goggles or running shoes.  I like to make a list and mark things off as they go into my bag.  Goggles, bike shoes, gloves, and helmet, socks, sunglasses, running shoes, a visor or hat, sunscreen, water bottles and nutrition, an extra tube, and a towel are the main things you will need.  Most triathlons supply a swim cap for racers (each age group will wear the same color), but bring one just in case, if you require one to swim.

The morning of the race: You are well-rested, perfectly trained, and had a balanced breakfast.  Now, it is time to head to the race site!

-First is packet pick-up.  To participate in triathlons, a membership to USA Triathlon (USAT)  is required.  You can purchase a one day pass for $10, usually with race registration, or an annual membership for $39.  Go to www.usatriathlon.org for more information.  You will need to bring your annual member card and a photo ID to packet pick-up.  You will receive 3 numbers in your packet – a sticker for your helmet, a number for your bike, and a bib to wear during the run.

-Next is body marking.  Take your number to the nice people holding Sharpies.  They will write your race number on both thighs and arms, and your age at the end of the calendar year on your calf (I had a 31 on my leg at my last race, despite it being a couple of weeks before my birthday).  Tip: Fast Orange is a great product for removing permanent marker or bike grease.  It’s found in the automotive section at stores like Walmart.

-After you are all marked up, take your numbers for chip pick-up.  You will wear your chip on a band around your ankle for the whole race.  They sell dry fit bands for roughly $5 or races will provide disposable bands for you to use that day.

-Set up your transition area.  This is very important!  You want to have everything you need, arranged in a manner that makes sense to you.  You will have all of your required gear, like shoes, helmet, etc.  Anything else you want to bring is based on preference.  I cannot run without gum and Chapstick, so I leave those out at my transition area.  I bring 2 towels, one to briefly dry off with and another to set all of my gear on.  Just remember – be mindful of those around you.  There is a limited amount of space for hundreds of triathletes, so use as little space as possible.

-Remember where your transition area is located!  It sounds silly, but when you are running through the transition area after the swim and bike, it is very easy to pass your transition and have to backtrack.  Some people will bring balloons or old swim caps to put on the end of the rack to make their location easy to spot.  Whatever works for you!

-Now, it’s time to start!  If you are doing an open water swim, be mentally prepared to hit and be hit.  With that many people in the water at once, it is just going to happen.  On the bike, drafting isn’t legal in the triathlon world, so either pass or stay back.

Triathlons are a great way for runners to try something new, get some awesome cross-training, and most importantly, have fun!

Happy training!

Jennifer

We’ve all been a little bored with running at some point.  Running 4 or 5 days a week, week in and week out, can only last so long.  With triathlon season starting, why not TRI something new?  Triathlons can be intimidating .  You mean I have to swim, bike, and then I get to run?!  However, the cross training can lead to great advances in your running. 

The swim – I hear more people voice concerns about the swim than any other portion of the triathlon.  However, swimming is a great addition for runners.  It is low impact, requires efficiency, and works different muscle groups than running.  Triathletes typically swim freestyle, a stroke most people can already do at a basic level.  Not a swimmer?  There are swim clinics, like Total Immersion, as well as personal trainers, that can assist with perfecting your stroke.  Gear required – a swimsuit and some good goggles (easy enough, right?).   A sprint triathlon swim can vary in distance from 300 meters to 750 meters.      

The bike – when I first got a bike, I thought “I’m a runner.  I’m in shape.  I should easily transition to biking, right?”.  WRONG!  Yes, biking requires a strong cardiovascular system and legs, but it is also very technical.  It just takes practice!  However, biking is a great way to improve your running.  It strengthens leg muscles and improves cardiovascular fitness, but is low impact. ( I recently PR’d in a half marathon, while running only 2 days per week, but biking 3 days).  Cycling requires considerably more gear and time than running or swimming.  However, it is worth the investment, if you can do it.  Not convinced you will like it?  Consider borrowing or renting a bike for your first triathlon to make sure it is something you want to continue.  Going to buy a bike?  Ride them first!  Don’t choose based on what you’ve read online or which bike has the best paint scheme.  Be prepared to spend a couple thousand dollars.  Put your money into the frame – you can always upgrade wheels and components later.   Remember, most local bikeshops have weekly group rides for cyclists of all levels.  And don’t forget your helmet!  A sprint triathlon bike is often 12-15 miles. 

The run – you are not going to be able to run 5 days per week anymore and that’s OK!  If you are swimming and biking regularly, you will not lose running fitness.  You just have to be more picky about how you will use your time to run.  No more ‘junk miles’.  Continue with one long run per week and make the other runs high intensity, like tempo runs or intervals.  Gear – you already have this!  A sprint triathlon run is usually a 5K.  

There are a ton of great sources for information on getting started with triathlon, like beginnertriathlete.com, The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, and many local running stores will offer triathlon training groups. 

Fight off those summer running blues and TRI something new!  You’ll love the challenge and will  be surprised at how much better you feel.

Next time: what to expect on triathlon race day!

Happy training!

Jennifer

Want to join Team RWB for one of the best marathons in the country?!  The Marine Corps Marathon is a great race, whether it is your first or 20th marathon (there is a reason registration closed in 28 hours)!  You will run, with tens of thousands of your closet friends, through the streets of Washington DC, finishing on a hill near the Iwo Jima Memorial.  There is great crowd support, the weather is typically perfect for running, and you can do it all with Team RWB!  There will be a Team RWB pre-race dinner and post-race party.  So, come run for a great cause, see the beautiful sights in DC, and spend some time with your RWB friends!   Mark your calendar – the race is Sunday, October 30 at 8 AM!  

-Were you lucky enough to register for the race in February when  it opened? 

Fundraiser:  If you are interested in fundraising for Team RWB, please create a profile through our online donation website.  Our runners that fundraise a minimum of $100 will be provided a Team RWB shirt and a ticket to our pre-race pasta dinner at no charge.  Go to www.firstgiving.com/teamrwb to get started.   

Awareness:  If you are interested in supporting Team RWB and helping to get the word out about our cause, but don’t feel comfortable fundraising, you are still welcome on the team!  We simply ask that you pay $20 for your shirt and will be asked to pay for your meal at the pre-race pasta dinner (price TBD).

-Not yet registered for the race, but still want to run?  It’s not too late!

Through our Charity Partnership with the Marine Corps Marathon, runners that were not able to register for the race during open registration are given another opportunity. To cover the cost of forming this charity partnership, as well as providing funding for our veteran programs, we ask that all charity partner runners commit to fundraise a minimum of $400.

The registration process:

  • Complete the Team RWB Charity Partnership Marathon Registration Form and email it to [email protected]. You will receive an email confirmation about your registration from Team RWB, however you will not receive one from race officials until a later date. You will be given a link to our online donation website. Please create a page within this site to track your fundraising. 
  • Once all our charity partner registration spots are filled, Team RWB will finalize the registration process with race coordinators, you will not receive a confirmation email from the Marine Corp Marathon until this time.  This step may not take place until as late as August, however spots may fill earlier.
  • Race officials will email an e-confirmation card on September 20, please print this information, as you will need it at packet pick-up.
  • During this process you will receive information from Team RWB about reserving your seat at our pre-race pasta dinner on October 29.  This dinner is provided free of charge for our charity partner runners, as a thank you for your support. As a charity partner runner, you will also receive a Team RWB wicking shirt.

If you have any questions throughout this process, feel free to email [email protected] or [email protected]

For links to the information regarding MCM and all of our races, go to http://www.teamrwb.org/our-events/races.

Happy running!

Jennifer

If you are anything like me, you are constantly waiting for that elusive good night sleep.  You go to bed 8 hours before you have to wake up, withouta perpetual to do list running through your mind, and you fall asleep within minutes, waking up rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world.  I’m 30 years old and I can count the number of times this has happened on one hand.  But, as athletes, sleep is about more than just rest – it’s about recovery and performance. 

Poor sleep clearly reduces our ability to perform at our peak.  Also, lack of sleep can alter glucose metabolism, causing poor muscle recovery.  Insufficient sleep causes immune function to decline, leaving us more susceptible to infections.  Lack of sleep can also cause mental effects, like anxiety, poor concentration,  and irritability, which can make any workout seem worse (I’m sure I’m not the only person that can be cantankerous on an early morning run). 

Sleep needs are obviously individual.  Some people can function perfectly on 5 hours, while others get ornery if they get less than 8.  You know what is right for you.  But remember, you may require  more sleep during your training.  Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier every night – it could make a big difference! 

Some recommendations for better sleep

-Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends. 

-If you are going to nap, only take a 20 minute power nap.  Anything longer can interfere with your night time sleep and can leave you feel more tired when you wake up. 

-Have trouble quieting your thoughts long enough to fall asleep?  Try writing down your to do list before bed to allow yourself to relax. 

-Regular exercise, like running, leads to better sleep, so stay active!    

Sweet dreams!

Jennifer

Exciting News for all Team RWB Athletes — we have made it easy for you to receive support as an athlete and fundraiser and help spread the word by creating a page on FirstGiving. Your personal page will help you share your experience as an athlete and active TRWB member to your supporters and followers.
Go to http://www.firstgiving.com/45622 to get started!