Tagged: practice

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #21 Grind it Out on the Foam Roller

How is the “31 Easy Tips…” series treating you? I hope it is helping. Implement one or two things from the list (don’t try to do too much) over the course of a few weeks and track your progress. These tips are elements of triathlon that you might not come to mind, but will contribute to improved performance without significant effort.

Today’s tip is #21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller

Using a foam roller for triathlon recovery stretching fitness

In this case “it” refers to any knot in your muscles. If you have tight or achy muscles a foam roller will help. The nature of triathlon is that we perform the same movements over and over – be it on the bike or while running – and this leads to sore and tight muscles.

You can use it before or after a workout as a form of massage and to break down trigger points in your muscles.

When you start using one, it will likely hurt like hell, so vary the pressure and ease into it, and after a couple of weeks it will hurt less as your muscles loosen up.

There are many benefits to using a foam roller. One major one is injury prevention – I used to have ITB problems but once I started foam rolling I have experienced no issues.

It is the one piece of equipment I recommend before all others. OK, maybe except for a swim suit!

All it takes is 10 minutes a few times a week. Incorporate it into your stretching routine and/or do it in front of the TV. Spend $20-50 on a foam roller and you have access to unlimited free massages!

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #20 Do LESS Freestyle

How is the “31 Easy Tips…” series treating you? I hope it is helping. Implement one or two things from the list (don’t try to do too much) over the course of a few weeks and track your progress.

Today’s tip is #20: Do LESS Freestyle

Phelps is a world class in breaststroke as well as his traditional fly and free, which helps his all-round game

Yes, you read that correctly – do LESS freestyle!

Most triathletes swim freestyle and only freestyle, given that it is the fastest stroke. Fair enough.

However, experimenting with the other three strokes will benefit your swimming in a number of ways:

  • Give your freestyle-specific joints and muscles a break and avoid overuse injuries
  • Make your swim practices more interesting
  • Develop your non-freestyle muscles (e.g. strengthen your legs doing breaststroke)
  • Give you options in a race should you need to switch strokes – take a breather, fix your goggles, etc.
  • Up the intensity in the pool by adding butterfly
  • Give you confidence in your overall swimming ability by mastering the ‘other’ strokes
  • Maybe counter-intuitively, a strong kick can help with sighting in open water as you can use it to get your head out of the water and maintain forward progress

Try adding a mix of the different strokes in the warm up and warm down, and go from there. Your freestyle muscles will thank you!

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #19 Stay Healthy!

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is designed to provide suggestions for areas of improvement in your triathlon training and racing which offer great gains that you might not be aware of.

Today’s tip is #19: Stay Healthy!

Portrait-Photo-Sick-person-going-to-Lourdes-to-take-in-the-water

Easier said than done of course, especially in the cold winter weather.

However there are a lot of things that we can and should do to minimize our chances of getting sick, and reduce the training days we miss due to illness:

be proactive to avoid getting sick and race your best triathlon or ironman

By being proactive we can maximize our training effectiveness over the course of a season. Consistency throughout the season is key when it comes to performance and racing our best – be it triathlon, ironman, open water swimming or running (etc, etc).

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #18 Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is designed to provide suggestions for areas of improvement in your triathlon training and racing that you might not have previously thought of.

Today’s tip is #18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door.

ignore your bucket of troubles to train harder and race faster

By that I mean, don’t bring your stresses and worries to practice. Leave your bucket at the door so it doesn’t drag you down while you’re training. Swimming with a bucket is tough. Running with a parachute will slow your progress, and cycling while distracted is just dangerous! Improve your triathlon and ironman performances by focusing on each practice.

Another way of looking at it is to manage your ‘Energy Pie’. You have many family, friends, obligations and hobbies and limited time and energy to handle them all. So prioritize them and manage them in a way that maximizes your happiness and ability to train.

Whatever your issues, try and forget them for the hour or two you are training. Focus on the session at hand. It will allow you to work harder and get more out of the practice.

You can return to tackling the problem afterwards, and hopefully a good workout and shower will make you feel better.

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #17 Be on Time

The “31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of easy-to-implement tips that provide avenues to improve your performance.

Today’s tip is #17: Be on Time.

be on time to reduce stress

The days I am early or on time to practice I find I perform significantly better. I am less stressed, less frazzled, more relaxed and focused, have more energy and find it easier to commit to working hard on what my coach demands.

It makes sense to be on time. It’s good manners and shows respect to your teammates and coach but it is also hugely beneficial to you and your performance.

So, get out of bed 10 minutes early, or build in a cushion for those inevitable delays as you commute to practice. Don’t make like an airplane – be on time!

Previous tips in the 31 Easy Tips series include:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence: #3 Ask an Expert

31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence is a series of simple, easy-to-implement tips that produce significant gains in performance for minimal effort. Previous tips in the series included:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)

Tip #3 is a little harder but should yield instant results in the form of actionable feedback: Ask an Expert.

Asking an expert for help new ideas insight feedback tips technique practice coach

The hard part of this is working up the courage to ask someone for feedback or advice. Once you starting asking for help, you will find that most people are more than happy to help you.

You can ask a coach for feedback on your technique, or for advice on the format of various practices. Go to a bike shop and ask the staff their opinion on particular equipment. Get a bike fit. Join a club and train with others to help push yourself and/or benefit from a coach. Before practice ask your coach to give you technique tips. If you do not have a coach ask a friend who knows the sport to watch you and give you pointers.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a routine, taking for granted that what we are doing is correct and will yield results. But it is often surprising how often our habits are bad, and how bad our habits are. This week I asked my spinning instructor to help me set up my bike before class. She adjusted it far differently to what I had been doing and it resulted in a more comfortable class – eye opening!

I always believe in deferring to the experts, and the more help you can get the better. Get a different point of view, challenge your assumptions and try something new. You have nothing to lose – if it doesn’t work then go back to what you know. At the very least you will have challenged yourself mentally and had at least one interesting practice.