Anthony S Casey

Businessman, Triathlete, Dad

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Tips for Transitions

Triathlon is a dynamic and challenging sport. When one thinks broadly of the sport, what comes to mind is swimming, running and cycling — obviously. However, the transitions between each leg are very important parts of the competition. Effective transitions are paramount to a serious competitor’s success. It is the moments between legs that really separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s take a look at some ways that triathletes can optimize their transitions.

Don’t Lose the Bike!

A common issue during the water to cycle transition (the first, known as T-1), is wasted time looking for the bike. When you emerge from the water, the last thing you want to do is spend extra time looking for your bike. Shifting from water to solid ground can be disorienting, but you don’t to compound any delays by wondering the row of cycles looking for yours.

The way to avoid this is to get to the race early and very consciously choose where you are going to place it. Let this position cement itself into your memory. As you step out of the water, you should already have your eyes on where your bike is. No one is going to move it, so be confidant about where you’ve placed in and you’ll have a smooth T-1.

The Little Things

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Notice the sunglasses perched atop the helmet.

There are few little tips that can shave some time off your first transition. These little tricks may not make a huge difference, but for elite level competitors, they can be helpful. For example, don’t put your sunglasses on until you’ve already mounted your bike. Once you are rolling, you can lower you sunglasses. Often, shades can be secured in the vent holes on your helmet, so sliding them down after you’re astride and on your way is easy. If your helmet and sunglasses aren’t compatible, you can secure the glasses to your bike frame with tape or velcro.

Also, try using elastic laces. Shoe laces can be tricky to tie, especially when your heart rate is up and adrenaline is flowing. Substitute your normal laces for elastic ones will allow you to slip your shoes on and off easily. To that same end, try and forgo socks. Not worrying about socks can help insure a quick transition from water to land.

These are just a few tips to expediting your transition times. Experiment with these and see if they make you feel faster!

Wearable Tech in Triathlons

Very cool product but too good to be true?

Recon Jet: The Ultimate Triathlon Device from Recon Instruments on Vimeo.

NCAA partners with USA Triathlon

The NCAA, the organization that presides over college athletics in the United States, is welcoming a partnership with USA Triathlon to help grow the sport among female student athletes. The NCAA has been looking for ways to lessen the disparity of female versus male student athletes. Currently, men make up 56.6% of NCAA student athletes. The NCAA has tried to further this initiative with team handball, archery, and synchronized swimming. The NCAA has requirements for new sports to gain “Championship” status, specifically that 40 Division 1 schools and 23 Division 2 and 3 schools must create varsity teams within 10 years. Failing to reach that benchmark is why the NCAA formally recommended the removal of equestrian as an official collegiate sport in 2012.

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USAT and NCAA partner to grow triathlon

To help make the inclusion of triathlons an enduring success, USA Triathlon is committing $2.6 million in grants to colleges and universities the form women’s triathlon teams. Schools will submit an application, and once approved they’ll receive up to $140,000 over four years to fund their program. The hope is that financial backing will ensure success. USA Triathlon is certainly a profitable organization, based in part on the demographics of triathletes. Adults with disposable income are willing to pay the commonly $100 entry fee for an event. Coupled with the growth of the professional circuit, USA Triathlon has money they can confidently reinvest in the sport.

USA Triathlon expects college events to benefit the triathlon community in immediate ways. When a college-level event is happening in an nearby area, you’ll be able to compete as well. The amateur participants will follow the competitors after an appropriate delay, similar to how the amateurs begin well after the professionals during the New York City Marathon. This model of open registration will help fund the expensive equipment associated with triathlon.

The endeavor will accomplish several important goals: provide more athletic opportunities for young women and help grow triathlons even more.

Training Methods

Training for an event as diverse and challenging as a triathlon can be a daunting task, especially for a beginner. There are many different ways that someone can increase their endurance, but to prepare for the triumvirate of swimming, running and cycling should be considered more conscientiously. It is important to keep in mind that what might be effective for one athlete may not be right for another. Some folks like to train in solitude, while others, especially newer athletes, would benefit from more one-on-one instructing and feedback. Coaching expenses can varying significantly as well. Let’s take a look at a few different training options and strategies.

Clubs

 

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Training for your triathlon requires organization.

Many communities have triathlon clubs. A good feature of these clubs is a wide variety of intensity. Sometimes local clubs are just likeminded athletes looking for some new people to train with. They can operate in more social function than anything. There are also clubs that are far more serious and performance oriented. Those clubs can breed a healthy competitive element that drives everyone to be better. Also, rookie racers can benefit from a steeper learning curve.

Going Online

There are a lot of internet based training programs available. The world wide web gives you plenty of options, whether you want to find an talented athlete to model your training programme after, or if you want to collaborate with a world renowned coach. This choice is great for people preparing for specific goals, such as hitting a predetermined time or qualifying for an event. An online training regimen encourages more solo work outs, which can help build mental toughness and overall character.

The problem with online coaching is the lack of immediate feedback. A coach who is there in person can fix problems with form immediately, where an internet based programme is far more delayed. The more communication between an athlete and the their coach the better, so online training can be a bit of a drag in that sense.


 

As with anything, it is important to experiment and find what works best for you. More than likely, your perfect programme will be a combination of the strategies described above.

SWISSMAN Xtreme Triathlon

Here is a great short film about an extreme triathlon that happens in Switzerland every year. Enjoy!

SWISSMAN Xtreme Triathlon 2013 from Marc Håkan Paulsen on Vimeo.

History of Triathlons

Triathlons are among the most popular events for people looking to stay healthy and test their fitness. But where did triathlons start? Let’s take a look at the history of modern triathlons. But first, lets briefly look at the triathlon’s big brother, the marathon.

The history of marathons is a little more well known. According to legend, Pheidippides, a Greek messenger, fled the battle of Marathon to bring word to Athens that the Persians had been defeated. In the legend, Pheidippides, who had been fighting in the battle, ran straight to the capital without stopping, burst into the assembly, declared victory and then promptly died. As with most stories that toe the line between legend and history, the accuracy of the story is murky, as some writers give the messenger a different name, but the legacy lives. The distance between Marathon and Athens is, depending on the path one might take, 42.195 kilometres.

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Triathlons originated in France in the 1920s (photo: Getty Images)

The origins of the triathlon are far less sexy and ancient. Most accounts credit it’s origin to 1920s France. Triathlon historians and archivists hold that that the first triathlon was an event interchangeably called “Les trois sports” or “La course des Touche à Tout”. This event is held annually in Joinville-le-Pont, in north-central France. This event is the first documented combination of running, swimming and cycling. However, it is not the first 3-staged athletic competition.

In 1902, a French newspaper reported on a 3-stage race that featured running, cycling and canoeing. But, by all accounts, by 1920, organizers and participants made the choice to forgo the boat and get into the water bodily.

It wasn’t until the 1974 that the name “triathlon” was used to describe a ran, swam, and cycled race. In Mission Bay, San Diego, California, the San Diego Track Club organized what would be the first triathlon in America.

Modern triathlons are very popular and varied. There are several governing bodies organizing triathlons at various lengths. In 2000, triathlons became an Olympic event when the games where held in Sydney, Australia. The latest development in the world of triathlons is it’s coming inclusion in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paratriathlons will be held in six different categories, according to the nature of physical impairment.

Though triathlons aren’t nearly as old as some other races or sports, they are growing in popularity every year.

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