Posts

Race Day Countdown

By Angela Lilly

Here we are! You’ve had months of planning, training, learning, nutrition consumption and hopefully, great race day experiences in your blood. As soon as I wake up one week from race day, it’s called “race day countdown”.  We have many challenges, juggling family, career and triathlon training. Here’s some tips for this week.

  1. Get your gear ready now; make sure everything is working as it needs to and do this when you have the time.
  2. Make paper lists; write down what needs to happen every day this week as well as lists for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if needed) by the hour.
  3. Plan your nutrition liquid and food; whatever it is, stash it at home and make sure you, nor anyone else, consumes it. Nothing worse than packing Friday night and your gel isn’t where you left it.
  4. I like to take my “race gear” out for a test run; everything from the wet suit to the bike with race wheels and whatever you are going to carry for nutrition to even my race day shoes carrying whatever nutrition I am planning to use. It just helps for race day when you are dumping out your bag at T2 and need to get dressed in seconds.
  5. Take care of yourself; you should have more time daily so fill that with “to do items” that are off your feet. I like to use my TP massage roller more and just sit on the floor and stretch while chatting with the kids and paying attention to our dog after school.
  6. Sleep and rest; I’ve set myself a firm bed-time and let those around you know what time this is. Open communication with my husband and kids let’s them know when I’m “on” and “off” duty. They are wonderfully supportive when they know.
  7. Pack the extras in a separate bag; I know what I’m going to race in BUT if it’s cold on Sunday then I might need something to keep my toes or fingers warm prior to the start or during the race. I like to keep all that packed in a separate bag so I’m prepared if I need it, but right now in my planning, I’m not counting on it.
  8. Independent support crew; Team Lilly is ready and with their experience, will rock out their race day with their plan just like I will with mine. If your goal on Sunday is more competitive, let them do their own thing and you do yours. If it’s less competitive, experience every hour together. There is a lot to do between the athlete meeting on Saturday right through to the awards presentations Sunday afternoon. They want you to be your best so go do it.

Time Trials Will Test You (for the better)

By Angela Lilly

I have tried to keep triathlete growth both in mind and in training up to speed regularly over this season, however I feel it’s time to dig a bit deeper than social media so here’s an article.

The last month was a lot of planning of training and racing and life. We get used to racing by age group but MSC keeps us chasing new goals and challenges as they offer their unique “time trial start” at the Bracebridge triathlon.  When I first started racing this years ago, I was concerned that I was in a 15-minute deficit and I had so many more challenges than my fellow friends/racers. Now, I’ve found strength in this format of race. Here’s some points to share about why you should try a TT:

  1. The swim is really spread out in beautiful water.
  2. The exit of the swim is exciting; lots of spectators and lots of bikes gone off the rack.
  3. The bike course is very positive and sportsman-like. I once found that I raced courses that I would call encouraging words to other racers as I passed them, or they passed me, and they would be silent.  In MSC racing, it is wonderful.  We must all pass through an imaginary beam of light as we walk over the starting mat that beams us up for a personal best day.  In MSC racing, if there is a pass, both triathletes are encouraging to one another.
  4. The bike course is full, but it isn’t as tough to ride as “full-wave start” races. It’s much more spread out, less chance you get caught in a drafting situation, safer, and if you pay enough attention, you can even follow the triathlete ahead of you and ride a good line (no pot holes or cracks in the road).
  5. The run makes you truly race your best with what you have left. You always know your pace depending on the distance; however, I have found TT races to push you beyond that zone. I find someone ahead of me and try to push my pace by 5 seconds. If I get passed, then I tuck in behind them and try to feel their strength to run better than I was (there are the triathletes that are always faster runners than me and those ones I have to let go because I don’t want to completely blow up). Don’t try to push it or race by yourself.  There are hundreds of people on course so make a friend and quickly talk.  Find out where each other is at and help one another. MSC has so many great triathletes that have made me push it till the last second at the finish line.  I hope I too, have done the same for others.
  6. The race truly isn’t done until the finish line and this is even more powerful when it is a time trial as you can’t possibly know if someone has beaten you by 10 seconds or 3 minutes. It’s up to you to push your limits till the final line. Sportstats will take care of the rest.

I treated my next race the same way and good things happened; personal best time!

Now that we are on to our final races of 2019 triathlon season in Ontario, race your triathlon like a TT.  It will hurt but you will achieve more than you set out to achieve.  What a great way to complete 2019!

Open Water Swim Workouts with Andrew Bolton

Rock Your Best Swim at the Barrelman’s Swim Course

Figure 1.  Welland International Flatwater Centre where Barrelman racers will swim 2 km in a rectangular course.

Figure 1.  Welland International Flatwater Centre where Barrelman racers will swim 2 km in a rectangular course.  Underwater cable is available for most of the course to, which racers can follow without excessive sighting.

It is August, and many Barrelman racers are also deep into their training. With work, family, life, and triathlon training all require one’s time and attention, a fundamental aspect of training is keeping yourself motivated to make the time to work out while also balancing everyday responsibilities. To this end, this article serves two purposes: (1) to offer some specifics in the Barrelman’s race site at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) that may be useful to triathletes, and (2) to offer a simple (no brainer) swim workout that can be used by anyone in the pool or in open water.

Based on my regular open water training swims at WIFC, knowing a few things particular to the center can help you make the most of your training and racing.

Figure 2.  Meter markers at the bank of the canal.

Figure 2.  Meter markers at the bank of the canal.

Figure 3.  Meter marker on the opposite side of the canal.

Figure 3. Meter marker on the opposite side of the canal. Large buoys are placed at the meter to denote the distance traversed in the water.  

Many triathletes and pool swimmers, including myself, desire to know the distance they are swimming and how fast they are going. While it is more challenging to measure speed and distance in open water, WIFC marks distances at several points:  *200 m, 250 m, *500 m, 750 m, and *1,000 m. [1] The distances marked at WIFC make it easier to swim intervals at varying speeds in open water (similar to a pool workout), which breaks up the monotony of swimming a single speed and is more beneficial for conditioning. For example, tonight I swam 8 x 200 at faster-than-race pace as a workout. On race day, the markers palso provide distance information to aid in pacing, which is important for many participants in Barrelman.

In addition to meter markers along the shore, WIFC also places buoys (Figure 4) in the water both lengthwise and widthwise. Buoys placed along the width of the canal (Figure 3) demarcate separate lanes for swimming, rowing and other aquatic activities. Buoys throughout the length of the canal are anchored to the cables and spaced 25 m apart, which aids in measuring distance per stroke and provides a more precise measurement between meter markers.

Figure 4.  The buoys in the water demarcate the rowing/swimming lanes at WIFC

Figure 4. The buoys in the water demarcate the rowing/swimming lanes at WIFC, with small buoys approximately 25 m apart.  

The precise measurements at WIFC allow you to work out much like you would in a pool. Whether you are training at WIFC on a regular basis, or from your local swimming pool, here is a no brainer workout that I used from time to time:

x (m*100), 25 build + 25 distance per stroke + 25 fast + 25 decelerate, with 15 seconds rest , where n is the number of reps, and m is the distance (in 100s) per rep (i.e., if = 3, you are doing x 300)

This workout provides a lot of flexibility in stroke choice, distance per rep, number of reps, technical emphasis, and even rest interval. This main set is scalable in three ways: (1) swim nx 100’s as many times as one desires in one workout, e.g. ranging from = 5 to = 20+;  (2) one may scale the workout, such as x 200 or a longer distance for a more challenging workout; and (3) after repeating this workout for a few times, gradually reduce the amount of rest between each 100 in subsequent workouts, from 15 seconds rest to 5 seconds rest to 0 second rest. Sometimes in a very busy day, I don’t really want to think too hard in swim training, but the above main set contains practically everything you need to get through the swim portion of a triathlon. The build portion is designed to train you body to swim fast, for example, when you need to get around another swimmer. Distance per stroke helps with endurance swimming that one maximizes every stroke, gaining further distance for less effort. The fast portion is self-explanatory, by adding some speed work into one’s repertoire. The decelerate portion is designed to give one some way to recover before ramping up the swim speed again. This portion teaches you to recover while still making forward progress in the water. The goal is to reduce the amount of rest you need until the 25 decelerate becomes sufficient for your body to recover before moving into the next rep.

I hope the above gives many Barrelman racers some insights into the WIFC swim course as well as a simple way to train for the race. Happy swimming!

Chris Yuen, 2019 Barrelman Racer,

Buffalo Masters Swimming Club

USMS Certified Masters Swim Coach

[1]* Indicates the presence of a watch tower at this distance, which is ideal for sighting.

When Life and Training Doesn’t Go as Planned

By Angela Giddens

Triathlon season is short in Ontario. We train all year for 3 months of racing. With this training comes lots of planning, sacrifices and goal setting but as we all know too well, life doesn’t always go as planned.  

A nagging hamstring/ piriformis injury had me modifying my training early on this year, but that was ok. I knew I had lots of time to get back on track before race season and the ITU World Championship in Switzerland in August. I like to think I’ve gotten smarter over the years and I know enough to listen to my body. By May, I was finally getting some speed sessions in and I was feeling like I was back on track.  I was looking forward to racing and was even feeling confident enough in my training to register for the Barrelman Triathlon.

Life had other plans for me though, a personal crisis left me emotionally and physically drained. I knew then that my race season was not going to go as planned and I was faced with two options, throw in the towel or re-adjust my expectations. For me, triathlon is a part of who I am. I couldn’t imagine not having it as part of my life so I decided to throw out my training plan and my goals for the year and try to be happy with what I was able to do. Swimming, biking and running became more therapeutic in nature. I let my body and mind dictate what I was capable of on any given day.  

Before I knew it, it was the week of my first race, The Rose City long course, I had not put in the training I’d wanted and I was doubting if I’d be able to complete the race. A run that week reminded my that my piriformis also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it through the race. With a bunch of coaxing from my family and friends, I packed up and headed down to Welland. My swim and bike went better than expected, thanks in large part to the amazing race venue, but my run was less than stellar. I kept having to walk and stretch, I’ve never considered pulling out of a race but I sure did that day. It’s funny the little things that will motivate you to push on. An elderly gentleman who was volunteering at an aide station with some kind words, a gentleman who ran beside me for a bit and lots of ice all helped get me through to the finish. While it was not the race I’d envisioned at the end I was happy to have pushed through. Now, as I prepare for Gravenhurst this weekend, I know I’m still not where I want to be but I know I will get through the race and hopefully this time finish with a smile on my face. 

We all know we all race for different reasons, we all have our own goals. But what I have learnt this year is that we need to be prepared for those reasons and goals to change. Racing, as with life, doesn’t always go as planned. It’s up to us to push through and make the most of the hand we are dealt and remember to smile at the finish!

2019 Welland Long Course Triathlon Race Day Summary

Some pre race, bike course footage and post race recap video.

 

 

2018 Barrelman Triathlon victories for Laundry and Jewett

By Roger Hospedales

Guelph’s Jackson Laundry redeemed himself after a DNF in 2016, and Toronto’s Tamara Jewett set a new course record at the 5th Annual Niagara Falls Barrelman Triathlon, presented by Keystone Communications. Read more