Monday, March 19, 2012

New Tips and Tricks

Today I attended a workshop put on by Gear Web Bike and Triathlon. It was good, I'm not down with all of who the people were but basically they get some local pro triathletes to talk about some stuff from their point of view.

It was setup it a way that lets you more or less choose what you want to learn about. I chose three fifty minute sessions and one twenty-five minute session. For $20, seems like a great deal. I'd definitely recommend this to someone.

Here's the stuff I think was interesting from the sessions.

Tri Hacks : Cheap and Aero
The basic idea behind this session was to identify some ways to go faster without running out and buying a new bike or some super awesome wheels. This was put on by David Thompson and his wife.

The main difference between a tri bike and a road bike is position. I've talked about that before. But not everyone can afford a new tri bike. So they talked about some things you can do to cut time off without running out and buying a new bike. They also mentioned that one of the first major races DKT won was on a road bike. They also said that most of their tips have been tested in a wind tunnel, but they didn't provide numbers. I trust them :)


  • Get some aero bars - but do not stop there. Many people do.
  • Get a forward seat position - you can use a fast forward seat by Profile Designs
  • Get fitted for your bike
  • Wear tight fitting clothing - a single piece tri suit works best. The idea is keep the flapping clothing down. Along this line, don't wear your running number if you can avoid it. If you must wear it, have someone put it on you when you're in aero so it's nice and smooth and flat when you're riding.
  • Put the bike number on the seat post, if it doesn't fit cut it so just the numbers are there. Don't ask permission. You want to be able to plead ignorance if someone tells you it's not allowed.
  • Simplify your setup. On a sprint, you only need probably one water bottle. Unless not finishing a race is of paramount performance, don't carry a repair kit (though they did mention Hutchinson Fast-Air which can fix a flat. You could just tape it to the bottom of your seat.)
  • The best place to put your water bottle is to put a regular bottle in a cage between your aero bars. It fills a void and actually makes you more aero. I looked it up, Profile Designs HC cage is basically exactly what they were talking about. The worst place is in the back on the seat - which I was pretty surprised about.
  • You can turn any helmut into an aero helmut by using window insulation, or even glad press-n-seal. It's not totally the same as buying a high end helmet, but they suggested it's probably 90% there. A word of warning, it's got no venting.


  • A hill doesn't end at the top, accelerate over the top and pick up speed. If you're on a big enough downhill hill, get up to speed and then tuck in
  • A good tuck on a steep enough downhill (i.e., you start your tuck and continue gaining speed) is going to be faster than pedaling. DKT says he starts his tuck at 30 mph - I might start before that.
  • Keep your knees in - you should be able to touch the inside of your elbows with your knees (not that you should do that, but that's a better leg position.)
  • Stay in aero - they had a small argument about the numbers, but the idea is if you stay in aero for some long amount of time, there is a much smaller amount of time you can come out of aero before you loose the benefit you gained in aero
Goal Setting
I didn't get a ton out of this. It basically boils down to what I wrote here, and then they talked about this race.

VO2-MAX Demo
It was basically just a demo of a V02-MAX test. It was sort of interesting, but I think everyone there would agree it wasn't that informative. The only thing I pulled from it was that you do this test to establish your HR or power zones.

Running Fast in a Triathlon
The basic idea here is that you long slow running / biking / swimming will not eventually result in getting faster. You must incorporate speed work. This talk mainly focused on running, but it applies to biking and swimming as well. This session was put on by DKT and Dan Hedgecock

  • Tempo - Run your 10k race pace for 30 minutes
  • Intervals - Sections of speed mixed with recovery sections where the speed is faster than tempo. Total distance is maybe two miles.
  • Speed Work - basically all out sprints for 1/2 mile mixed in with recovery sections
  • Threshold - You know you have hit your threshold when you want to slow down, but don't really have to (i.e., you can push through it, but it's no longer super comfortable)
When doing speed work, remember to keep good form. The idea is that you don't want your running to fall apart during a race, so if you practice these with good form you'll be more likely to hold that good form
  • Arms bent at 90 degrees at the elbow at all times. Swing from your shoulders
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Lean slightly forward
  • Forefoot strike
  • Try not to bounce, you can tell if your bouncing by paying attention to your head's up and down motion when running.
Running off the bike
I thought this little section was very informative, as I have basically been operating under the assumption that your legs were basically split between the bike and run
  • You can push hard on the bike and still run fast. They are dissimilar enough to be able to handle this
  • Know that your legs may feel like jelly or logs when you start to run, just know it and don't pay attention to it, it will pass
  • Run fast out of transition to set the pace. If you take it easy out of transition you will likely have trouble building back up to a faster pace.
  • The first mile always sucks, for everyone :)
  • Bricks are important, but tend to be overrated. You'll get more from focused work. Don't just not do them, but you don't need to do it every time you get on the bike.
General Ideas
  • Everyone feels like crap. The pro who is running 5 minute miles feels just as crappy as you do to hit ten minute miles.
  • Feeling like crap isn't bad. That nauseated feeling you get or the urge to use the bathroom are normal responses to high intensity work. It's a race, you'll live through it. The exception is some sort of sharp pain, don't ignore that. 


Anonymous said...

The fist mile sucks and everybody feels like crap... and you do this why?

Yer mum

Jeremy said...

Because it's a challenge :)

Amy said...

I suspect that the run fast out of transition is true. Although I don't know if I can pull it off. Also knowing that everyone else feels like crap doesn't actually help me personally push through the crap feeling ... that must be a guy thing :-) Doh!

Did you feel all kinds of inspired after the workshop?

Jeremy said...

I don't know about inspired, but I feel like it was good info.

I definitely feel better knowing that when a pro finishes a race he's feeling the same way I do when I push myself, and that it's not me pushing too hard :)

Bethany said...

I'm glad to know everyone feels like crap. If they can keep running through it so can I!