Beating The Post-Season Blues

Now that the triathlon season has come to a close, you may find yourself falling into a bit of a funk. You looked forward with great anticipation to the first few Sundays, when you could sleep until noon instead of riding a century before lunch (admittedly, I’m not speaking from experience here). And it was great to spend a Saturday evening out past 10 p.m. without a dawn race start looming over you.

After a week or two of this, however, you may have found yourself getting a bit restless. Sure, it is nice to get to know your spouse and kids again, and to spend an extra few hours at work to ease the guilt of cutting out early for Ironman training. Then, one day, you notice that you can no longer count your ribs in the mirror—and panic sets in.

The Deadly Dichotomy

At this point, most triathletes tend to follow one of two addictive-behavior patterns. Either they return to hard training to regain the fitness to which they had become accustomed by the season’s end, or they decide that trying to stay in shape through the off-season is a losing battle, and they throw in the towel completely, vegetating into couch potatoes.

Neither path is optimal. If you hurl yourself back into the old grind, you risk burnout or injury (not to mention divorce and unemployment). If you quit training and racing cold turkey, you waste some hard-earned fitness and start from scratch come spring. I recommend picking some short, low-key races and milking your fitness for all it’s worth. This keeps you motivated to stay in shape; gives you some goals to distract you from the post-season blues; and teaches you a few things about tapering and maintaining fitness that you can put to good use in future seasons.

Racing and Resting

The key to capitalizing on the base you built over the season is not being afraid to rest. You’re really in an extended taper phase; all you should do for training is light maintenance work to keep your muscles supple and functioning. In general, your mileage should be 50 percent or less of what it is during the regular season. Cut out all intensity, except for the races and an occasional “pickup” to stretch your legs.

It is especially amazing how long you can milk the fitness you gain from Ironman training. I experimented a little in 1995 with several races after Hawaii. Three weeks after Kona, I did a race in Thailand; I was definitely still recovering, but managed a pretty good effort. But at five weeks, with two more weeks of rest, I was able to win the Olympic distance world championships at Cancún, Mexico. After two more weeks of taper, I ran in a five-mile Thanksgiving Day road race and set a PR.

Just for kicks, I ran in the cross-country nationals 10 days later and discovered halfway through that I had pretty much sucked all the marrow out of the season. So I happily hung up the racing shoes and brought out the snowboard boots.

Now, I have an idea of my limits: I can race for up to eight whole weeks without going back to base training! That is two whole months of spending “money in the bank,” a treat that most people miss.

Post-Season Plans

Here are some ideas for a post-season racing program. I do these in the fall to help me resist that burning desire to jump back into six-hour training days … or to avoid the more realistic danger of becoming a permanent fixture on the couch.

  • Enter a few road races. You may be surprised with some personal bests—and you may be delighted at how much better you look in your race photos without bathing-cap hair. Road races are also an excellent way of gauging fitness gains from year to year, because the courses are usually a little more accurate than triathlon courses.

  • Pick a fun vacation race at a shorter distance. Though the season is winding down in most of this country, there are still races to be had in some fabulous destinations. I’ve done late-season races Israel, Thailand and Chile, to name a few.

A “destination” race at the end of the season makes sense because you don’t need to spend time training while you are there. You can realy enjoy some sightseeing, shopping, and other sub-aerobic activities done by normal people when they visit a new place.

  • Try a cross-country running race. If you missed out on this sport in school, you probably have never considered trying one. Come fall, these races are held unobtrusively in fields, trails, and woods throughout the country. They don’t attract the attention or numbers that road races do, so they may be harder to find, but they are definitely worth the effort.

Triathletes tend to be good at cross-country because it takes powerful quads to get up hills; a swimmer’s shoulders to hold your position on a narrow trail; and good transition skills in case you lose a shoe in the mud and have to quickly put it back on.

Break New Ground

The autumn months are a good time to sample a sport that you are afraid to try during the season because of the risk of injury. For me, mountain biking, in-line skating, and cyclo-cross all fall into this category. If you are sick of racing at the end of the season, you may want to focus on learning one of these new sports rather than competing.

I’ve yet to try cyclo-cross, but I went to watch the National Championships one year when it was in the Boston area. Seeing those people careening over the snowy terrain on their skinny-tired bikes in 16-degree temperatures (not including wind chill), wiping out on the icy downhills, lugging their bikes up the hills and over barriers with saliva frozen on their chins, really made me want to recommend it to you.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t train too hard or you’ll defeat your purpose. Stay active aerobically, so you don’t have to start from scratch next season, but back off enough in intensity that you allow yourself to rejuvenate.

Still, don’t take it too easy—or you won’t find your ribs again until July.

Posted in training

Gifts of Christmas Future

[Author’s note:  This article was written in 1995 or so, in the days before Garmins, GPS’s, and Computrainer Videos.  Read on and see how the techies at the North Pole were paying attention!] 

Now that I’ve unwrapped my last Christmas gift, eaten the last remnant of the pumpkin pie, and stored the unsent Christmas cards for yet another year, I have time to reflect on the outcome of the season. Not the racing season; the holiday season. I hauled in a lot of presents—Santa’s reward for my impeccable behavior (HO! HO! HO!) or possibly the benefit of having six siblings.

But I’m still feeling vaguely unfulfilled. I think the problem is that many of the things I need to make my life as a triathlete even more enjoyable haven’t been invented yet. Maybe I am overestimating the rate that technology is advancing, but these are some of the gifts that I would like to see under my tree by next year—unless I receive them for my birthday, which is September 1, if anyone needs to know.


Custom-Fit Bike Saddle

I picture this as an orthotic for the butt. With all the different sizes and shapes of derrieres, I think a custom-molded seat makes a lot of sense. Men wouldn’t have to angle their seat left or right anymore, and it would be built a bit off center depending on their preference (and size, of course). Women’s seats would have a totally new contour, which may surprise the current saddle manufactures, who must have missed their class in female anatomy. And I think we need a little work on the material being used as well. Perhaps some athletic shoe technology could be put to use here, like a “pump” seat, or better yet, an “Air Saddle.” I suppose when you have a blowout it could be a little embarrassing, but it would certainly scare off any drafters you have hanging on your wheel. Which brings me to my next wish…


Anti-Drafting Device

This would be a hookup on the back of your bike with a radar range of 10 meters. If it locks onto a rider for 15 seconds, it shoots a bright red paintball at them. We would have to work out some of the details, of course, but it would be good if a “hit” rider would be forced to stop and clean off his or her Oakleys for three minutes or so. I think this would also help our sport attract a wider viewing audience: it adds a certain je ne sais quoi that appeals to the typical sports fan. If we had the following little item, however, we may not need it.


Super Intelligent Bike Computer

This computer would calculate the distance to and from your nearest competitors. You would know if someone was sucking your wheel, just as you would know if you were unintentionally a tad too close to the person in front of you. They would know it too, so paintballs could be forthcoming. This would also give precious information that is often lacking during a race. The deluxe version would allow you to track particular competitors by keying in their number. No more wondering when the fast riders are going to overtake you; you could follow their progress minute by minute (and them greet them with a paintball just for fun).


Another computerized gadget for the bike that would helpful:


Virtual Reality Computrainer

This would allow you to train on courses from around the world without leaving your own home. You put on this helmet, choose whether you want to climb Alpe d’Huez or practice cornering on the criterium course in Cleveland, and off you go (virtually speaking, that is). Just think how much safer it would be to learn the descents at Nice this way. When you take a corner too fast go plummeting off a cliff, just hit reset and try it again with a nary an inch of road rash. Hopefully, you wouldn’t get mixed up the next time you are actually riding and get cavalier about cliff-diving.


Now that we’ve saved our skin from road rash, let’s move on to more skin related products.


Tan-Through Bike Shorts

I think the technology for tan-through apparel already exists, so what are we waiting for? Every triathlete anguishes over the cycling shorts tan line. We put in all these hours on the bike so we’ll look buff at our next race and we end up looking like geeks with farmers’ tans. And since the majority of the training time is on the bike, it’s nearly impossible to undo the damage while swimming and running, especially for those of us confined to an indoor pool most of the time. And while we’re on the tanning subject…


Tan-Saver Razor

I hate to spend all that time getting a nice tan only to have it practically removed every time I shave my legs. There has to be a way to remove the hair without taking off a skin layer or two with it. Now that I have mentioned losing a layer of skin, how about the following:


Magic De-Markers

These are just what they sound like—a writing device that removes or neutralizes, without loss of skin, the enormous numbers that are marked all over our limbs every race. There could be a place at the finish line for body-demarking just like there is a body-marking at the start. It only seems fair. And while we’re inventing this new marker/de-marker substance, you might as well make it tan-through as well. It’s January and I am still reminded that I was number 34 at Ironman every time I undress.


A problem I had this year at Ironman instigates me to lobby for the following invention:


Computerized Hydration and Energy Monitor

This system would monitor how hydrated you are, as well as your energy intake and outflow, to determine if you need to ingest more calories, more water, or both during racing and training. Maybe it would send an electric impulse through your stomach and could give you a readout of the concentration therein so you could be forewarned if something like Coke was building up like a restless volcano and prevent “eruptions” before they occur. Bonking and booting would be a thing of the past. Since we already have an electric impedance device that supposedly measures body fat, I don’t see why we can’t have one for measuring hydration. And we might as well have it print out your body fat as well to give you extra incentive on those long training rides. Now that I’ve brought up energy and long rides, it leads me to my next request.


Bicycle-Powered Generator

Sometimes when I am out riding for several hours, I think of the energy I am putting out that could be put to better use. If there was a little generator hooked up to my bike that would store the energy and then could be used to, say, heat my house or light my lamps, I could save some money and help the environment at the same time. This would also give your spouse a new appreciation of the time you spend riding and help struggling pros make ends meet. (Overtraining could become more of a problem for those in serous cash debt though.)


Well, maybe these requests will find their way to the North Pole in time for next year. Meanwhile, I will be spending the rest of the winter in hibernation with my leftover holiday cookies and Wicked Winter Brew.


And when spring rolls around, I will rely on a very useful invention that already exists: the Instant Training Motivator Dual System—my mirror and scale!

Posted in training

Off-Road, Off-Balance

I was intrigued last summer when I first heard about a mountain-bike triathlon called Aquaterra that was to be held in Maui in November. But when I realized it was being held only one week after Ironman, I dismissed it as a race I would read about, rather than experience.  After Hawaii, however, I grew restless nursing my wounds (mostly wounded pride) on the beaches of Kauai, and the idea of participating “just for fun” took hold. (In hindsight, I must have been still slightly delirious from Ironman.)

My enthusiasm rubbed off on the other recovering triathletes with whom I was vacationing. We all had some limited mountain-biking experience, though none of us had ever raced one. I called the race director, who encouraged us to come, assuring us that the mountain-bike ride wasn’t “technical.”

Suckers that we were, we hopped on the next inter-island flight.

The Excitement Of a New Thing

The race had a special buzz about it from the start. There was an excitement that often surrounds a new event that could be ‘the next big thing.’ Off-road triathlons could take off for a few reasons.  They are easier to stage because you don’t have to worry about road closures and traffic. There is a huge base of potential participants because of the popularity of mountain bikes. And it appeals to the free-wheeling spirit of our sport, which has, in recent years, grown a little too routine with the advent of criterium courses, standard distances and less-than-exotic settings.

Even the name “Aquaterra” has a certain panache (so much so that the organizers have since changed the name of the series to XTERRA because it is owned by another company!)

It’s Just Another Swim-Bike-Run

The first leg of the course was a 1500-meter swim in the relatively calm ocean outside the scenic Aston Hotel. I figured that my swim training for the week—multiple five-yard sprints to catch the excellent body-surfing waves in Honalei Bay—would really pay off here.

The 18-mile bike course started out on a paved road for about three miles before turning into a private ranch. The trails were only to be opened to riders on race day. We were relieved not to have to worry about practice rides, since we spent the whole day before the race renting mountain bikes.

I started to get a little suspicious, though, when I heard that the race director was reassuring triathletes that the course was not technical, but telling mountain bikers that it was really technical and they would be able to crush us on it.

The eight-mile run began out in the middle of the private ranch, wound through a couple of neighborhoods, then popped out to the beach for some nice deep-sand running before returning to the hotel.

We all decided that we wouldn’t test our running legs until race day, reasoning that either we had miraculously regained our strength and speed with every chapter we read on the beach, or we would feel like we were tacking eight miles onto the 26 miles of Kona shuffle we had just completed. We agreed that it was best to remain in suspense.

The race attracted a few of the stud mountain bikers, as well as non-Ironman triathletes, primed for their last race of the season. The days before were filled with hypothetical questions about how much time the mountain bikers would gain on the descents and how much time the triathletes could make up on the run. The Ironman athletes, meanwhile, asked whether it would be possible to hail a cab from the middle of the ranch if we decided that our legs were unwilling to perform a running motion.

Swim’s OK, But This Bike is Forked

The swim went pretty much as expected. The triathletes forged to the front and caused as much commotion as possible to induce panic in the non-amphibious mountain bikers.

At the transition, I hopped on my rented Trek, slipped my running shoes into the toe clips, and headed off—nearly off the bike, that is. Its suspension fork was new to me, and I quickly discovered it can give you quite a bounce.  After a mile or two, though, I started to think I had this mountain-bike thing nailed. That was because we hadn’t gotten off the pavement yet. When we turned into the trail, my race took a considerable downturn.

Most of the course was covered with a loose lava rock that caused tires to squirrel every which way and threatened to bounce you several feet in the air if you hit one head-on. On the uphills, it wasn’t too bad, because I was going slow enough to pick my way through. But on the downhills—and there were a few doozies—it was impossible to avoid them. 

Look, Ma—no brakes!

The strategy that the people whizzing by me seemed to employ was to take their hands off the brakes and “roll” with the punches. As person after person cruised by me, I pleaded with my hands to release the brake levers. But they seemed to be taking commands from a higher being—perhaps the spaceship behind comet Hale-Bopp—and were under strict instructions to maintain a death-grip.

Now as any mountain biker will tell you, it is much more dangerous to descend with the brakes on because you have less control. After considerable debate, I found it was best for all concerned if I just dismounted and walked my bike down, death-grip intact. My decision to walk was reinforced when I saw several people ride by with raspberries and cuts from falls.

Better Racing Through Physics

I guess that’s how you test your limits in this sport; you go like a bat out of hell until you fall—then you know your limit was just a smidgen below that. Having spent the last couple of weeks perfecting my tan, I decided that it would be a waste to spread my bronzed skin on these desolate lava rocks.

After an hour of sweating my way though the course, I started imagining that the run transition must be getting fairly close. This is about when I hit the six-mile mark of the 18-mile course. I started to panic a bit, realizing that I was in for a long day and that I hadn’t even brought a picnic lunch.

Luckily, my swim had gotten me out in the top-10 overall, so I had plenty of company. At least 60 people bounced by me en route to the finish—including my husband, who had these words of encouragement: “C’mon, you knucklehead!’

I prayed for uphills and flats so that I could get on my bike and make some progress, completely forgetting about my Ironman fatigue in my desire to finish the bike before dark. Two-and-a-half hours later, I managed to complete the bike course. I was so elated to have my feet planted on terra firma, I didn’t even mind that the leaders had finished.

Footloose and Fancy Free—Finally

I took a nice long time on the run, savoring the feel of the ground underfoot and enjoying the view that had eluded me while I was searching the path for safe passage. I finally made it to the finish, happy that I hadn’t totally missed the post-race party. The race I had naively believed would take me two hours to finish lasted three hours and 52 minutes.

I have to admit, I am still intrigued by off-road triathlons. They offer a whole new set of challenges. You don’t have to be just an endurance machine—you have to have fitness, courage and strength (and, in my case, a picnic lunch). I have resolved to do another off-road race sometime, but only after considerable practice on my descending.

Now, if the blisters on my hands will just heal, I’ll get started.


Posted in training

Reflections on the Early Days of Triathlon

John Lily from 220 Magazine asked some of us “old timers” to write up some memories of our racing days. Here are some of the memories I shared with him. This also appears on 220 Blogspot, great reading to learn more of the history of the sport.

From Karen Smyers: 

I have loved reading all the early 220 posts up through 1994—brings back some great memories.  Michael (my husband) and I remember lots of laughs over those years with the gang from 220 (British accents make every joke funnier to Americans).


The ITU World Championships in Cancun (thanks for the cover shot!) were significant that year in that it was the first time that drafting was allowed.  In 1994 the ITU had done a draft-legal experiment at the Goodwill Games and I found out the hard way what not to do; I had surged over and over again trying to whittle down the lead pack, which was completely ineffective at whittling down the pack, but very effective at frying my legs for the run.


I was a USA delegate to the ITU in 1995 and spent the days leading up to the World Championship speaking at the Congress against allowing drafting in triathlon.  I thought it was going to turn the event into a swimmer/runner event rather than a swim, bike, run.  In my opinion, the spectacle of having a fast biker out front being reeled in by a faster runner (like the Mike Pigg/Mark Allen or Spencer Smith/Simon Lessing races) was the essence of triathlon racing.


The USA delegation tried (in vain) to have the draft-legal concept defeated.  We were in the minority as the ITU had already done a lot of back-door politicking to line up votes. We were intimidated and ostracised all week long for fighting against them.  (I was mysteriously not invited to the press conference before the race even though I had won Worlds in 1990 and the Pan Am Games earlier that year.)  I remember being so upset after the Congress on Friday that I met Michael at an outdoor café right afterward and had a giant Margarita to de-stress.  We remarked that it was a good thing I had raced well in Hawaii because I had set myself up for a less than stellar outing at this race.  Cancun was five weeks after Hawaii where I had won my first…er, only… Ironman.


As the race unfolded, a few fast swimmers formed a small pack out front on the bike and I was in the larger pack behind that slowly gobbled them up.  I was very careful not to repeat my mistake from the Goodwill Games and conserved as much energy as I could.  About ¾ of the way through the bike, we had formed one pack with all the favourites in it and the pace slowed dramatically.  I remember sitting up on my bars in the middle of the pack mostly just trying to avoid a crash, and Joanne Ritchie (World Champ from 1991) who was riding next to me, saying “Can you believe this is a World Championship and we are sitting up on the bike talking?”  I agreed it was surreal but we had a nice little chat as if we were sitting in a coffee shop catching up on old times.


I had a great transition from bike to run and managed to stay in the top five  for the first 5K with Emma Carney, Jackie Gallagher and Joy Hansen Leutner trading off the lead.  It was significant that Michellie Jones, one of my big rivals at the time, had decided not to race in protest at the draft-legal format.   I couldn’t believe it when I found myself surging to take the lead for good at 6K.   Ironically, the drafting on the bike probably was key for me to have enough in my legs to win the race that day.  That, and the salt from the Margarita.  I felt a little guilty—but hey, I didn’t make the rules, I just played by them!


Simon Lessing outran the field to win his second World Championship in the men’s race. And so began the draft-legal era.



The Indoor Triathlon in Bercy was probably the most unique, fun triathlon I have ever done. It was in a huge indoor stadium with a temporary pool built in the middle, a velodrome around it and a run course that had a snaking lane that looped around  the stadium floor between the pool and the velodrome.  I had never been on a velodrome before and was petrified that I would fall down the steep sides if I didn’t go fast enough, so I hammered the bike purely out of fear (not only in the race but in practice and warm ups too!) It was something like 40 laps on the velodrome and each lap took just 15-20 seconds.   They could only race 6-8 people at a time because we all had our own lane in the pool (for the 400m swim) so we had several heats in the “Trials” and the top two in each heat qualified for either the “Consoles” or the “Finals” the next day.  At some point, they realised that wet triathletes on a velodrome was a recipe for disaster so they instituted a mandatory 10 second stop for drying-off in T1.  There were several glitches in the first few heats that had to be worked out; trouble counting laps and a light system that malfunctioned that was supposed to show how many laps to go for each competitor.


What can you say? Rina then Karen ending up third.

I qualified behind Sabine Graf Westhoff and Rina Bradshaw Hill (coached by Brett Sutton at the time) who both beat me in the swim by a chunk. Once everyone converged on the velodrome, there was very little chance to get away. In the trials I had ended up down two laps to Sabine and one lap to Rina at the end of the bike and was beaten handily.  So I knew if I wanted any chance to win, given how we matched up on the run, I had to get on the velodrome before they completed two or one lap(s) respectively, then blast the first part of the bike so that I would catch up to them rather than them catching up to me from behind.  In the finals I managed to do just that by the skin of my teeth. Sabine got off a lap ahead and Rina and I came off together and took off after her.  Rina passed me early on and I hung close but could never re-pass her.  It came down to the final stretch of the run. Rina caught Sabine right near the end to win and I fell two seconds short of catching her for third. Mais c’etait magnifique!


Karen with her husband Mike and of course a copy of 220 lolling in the Dead Sea.
Posted in training

Stream of Consciousness

by Karen Smyers

“What do you think about when you are on a long ride or run?” I am sometimes asked.  My standard response, in which I attempt to showcase my serious dedication as an athlete, is something like, “I think about my breathing, monitor my heart rate, visualize riding or running with perfect form while engaging in positive self-talk, and keep track of split times and my lactate osmoseology for future reference.”  People are surprised that there is that much to think about and are especially surprised when they discover that osmoseology is a word I made up.

The people who ask that question often can’t imagine exercising for more than 30 minutes.  You know the type–they need headphones, a magazine, and several TV’s in view  just to get them through twenty minutes on the exercise bike at the health club.  They have no idea what you can learn about yourself by going out for a long workout armed with nothing but your own company. Continue reading

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Death of a Thyroid: my diagnosis and treatment for thyroid cancer

By Karen Smyers

In September of 1999, I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma—thyroid cancer.  I want to write up my story so that others can maybe learn from the details and also be reassured that this diagnosis does not mean the end of your athletic dreams.

I was grateful that within 24 hours of my diagnosis I was able to connect with a role model:  A Canadian rower, Emma Robinson, who had been treated for the same thing the previous year and had gone on to set a world record 5 months later.  It gave me the hope and confidence I needed that I would come through my treatment as well. Maybe my story can do the same for others.

IF you want to know what I learned without taking valuable time out of your day to read the gory details, here is the summary:

  • Arm yourself with knowledge
  • Tackle one thing at a time, but do it with gusto
  • Stay positive—find the silver lining of your situation
  • Find something you are passionate about to motivate you through the tough times, and
  • Keep your perspective Continue reading
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Confessions of a Poppy Seed Addict

by Karen Smyers

The IOC recently announced that it is adding marijuana to its banned list of drugs and triathlon’s governing body will follow suit.  (When the IOC says jump, the ITU says “Altius?”)  I find it rather ironic that their reason for adding a non-performance-enhancing drug to the banned list is that athletes must be good role models.  The ironic part is that nobody including all of the young impressionable fans of Canadian gold medalist, whochamacallit, would ever have known he had anything to do with marijuana (primary or secondhand smoke-wise) if it weren’t for the IOC’s testing.  Now the overriding impression of snowboarders is that they are “potheads.”

Anyway, I don’t mention it because I am encouraging people to smoke marijuana, I just don’t think it ought to be tested for if it is not performance-enhancing.  The reason we need to test for steroids, EPO and other harmful substances is that we don’t want athletes to be required to damage their long term health in order to compete with the best.  There is no need to test for things that are good for you and performance-enhancing (like more sleep, vitamins, training at altitude) and things that are bad for you and performance-detracting (lack of sleep, excessive alcohol, junk food, and marijuana). Continue reading

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Stay on the Sunnyside

by Karen Smyers

Lately I have been getting a lot of practice at making the best of a situation.  Last summer, I turned a severed hamstring into a good opportunity to go forth and multiply.  I took advantage of the C-section that followed nine months later  by getting back on my bicycle seat much earlier than a regular delivery would allow.   Now I am faced yet again with another situation that could be viewed by those less optimistic than I as a serious setback.

Yes, getting knocked off my bike by an 18-wheel truck which resulted in six fractured ribs and a third-degree separation of my right shoulder does sound a bit depressing at first.  I had been training for a big comeback at Ironman, and now I will be forced to watch from the sidelines for the second year in a row.  But if you put on your rose-colored Oakleys, you’ll see that it is not really that bad.  Consider the following advantages:

At least this year on the sidelines, I won’t be on a nine-month moratorium from my favorite beverage.  Actually, Kona isn’t a bad place to hang out when you don’t have a full day of pain looming over your head the whole time you are there. Continue reading

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Going Nowhere Fast

by Karen Smyers

This is the time of year that many of us hunker down to wait out the cold and blustery winter.  When it takes longer to get dressed to battle the elements than it does to do the actual workout, I usually nix biking outside.  Some of you may be hardy enough to bear the weather, but must succumb to the lack of daylight at this time of year.  When it is dark when you head off to work and dark when you come home, what is a triathlete to do?  Taking a leave of absence, calling in sick, and getting a night job all come to mind.  But if those aren’t prudent options, opt for the indoor bike workout.

You may have an aversion to indoor biking because your bike doesn’t go anywhere.  That is understandable; most of the motivation to keep putting power to the pedals on an outdoor ride is to get from point A to point B, with the added bonus that food and a shower probably await you at the destination.  Lacking the need to cover the distance between me and food, I have had to come up with other ways to motivate me during an indoor bike workout.

Continue reading

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Training with Calvin K

by Karen Smyers

An essential element of most triathletes’ success and longevity in the sport is their training partners. Your partner in pain can goad you into one more hill repeat like nobody else can.  Think of the number of mornings you would have just hit the snooze alarm if it weren’t for the fact that your buddy was meeting you in the cold, quiet dawn.  (Notice I say “you” and not “we”; I have a policy that if the workout time requires setting an alarm clock, it is too early for me.)  But I do attribute the discipline I have mustered in managing to skip happy hour most evenings to my buddies who I know will be at the pool expecting me.

To an outsider, all triathletes come from the same mold: compulsive, driven, exercise-addicted, passionate, and slightly crazy.  But from within the pack, we have come to know and appreciate a host of different characters all of whom contribute their own quirks to the group. It’s important to have this mix of personalities in your training group to add balance and diversity to your training regimen. Continue reading

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