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Tip of the Week

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Tip of the Week

Postby natellerandi » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:33 am

Equipment choices.

Pretty quick tip this week. It's intuitive enough, but . . .

In general, as we train day-to-day, choices in equipment are not imperative. However, as we hone in on our races, especially our key races, it makes perfect sense to utilize our "race day" equipment more and more. Case in point would be a TT on the bike.

If you typically ride a road bike, getting used to your TT machine well in advance of the TT is important. Your body's in a different position, you're using your muscles differently and, thus, you need to get used to the nuances. Also, if you then use a TT helmet, you will find that your neck and upper shoulders are a little stiff and/or sore after the first time you practice with it on. Keeping the "fin" of the helmet down against your mid-back requires you to consistently look forward, which tenses the back of the neck, which leads to discomfort and stiffness. If you're not used to looking forward, your tendency will be to look down, which will be less aerodynamic - and, thus, slower - than if you keep your eyes forward.

For running, it would be a matter of getting used to the shoes you will be racing in. For shorter races, that would typically be a pair of racing flats. The perfect place to break these in - and get your legs accustomed to them - is on the running track. Do your speed workouts with your racing flats on. If you're an ultra-runner, then the key is to get accustomed to the heavier trainers you'll be using race day (typically ultra-runners cycle through multiple pairs of shoes during the race).

Again, all this sounds intuitive, but it is so easy to think, "Yeah, biking is biking, so I can whip out the TT bike and TT equipment on race day and bang out my fastest 40k, no problem." Well, not really. Taking the racing flats example, running in racing flats puts you up on your toes more so than typical running shoes. This in turn puts more stress on the calves and achilles tendons. If you don't break down mid-race, you most assuredly will post-race. The risk of injury after overly stressing the calves and achilles tendons is fairly high, so clearly the key is to get used to the running flats well in advance of your race.

The more familiar you and your body are with your race day equipment, the more positive the experience will be.

Happy Training,
Nate Llerandi
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Re: Tip of the Week

Postby Fred » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:14 pm

Nate -

For a middle of the pack IM finisher, how helpful is it to use an aero helmet? I ride a road bike with aero bars rather than a TT bike.

Fred
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Re: Tip of the Week

Postby natellerandi » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:56 pm

Hi Fred:

Just seeing this, sorry for the much delayed response!

In effect, the longer it takes you to cover a given distance, the more magnified the benefits of any time-saver. Thus, a wetsuit is a huge advantage to slower swimmer than to faster swimmers because the time knocked off the swim is greater (10% of 20 minutes is quite a bit less than 10% of 30 minutes, for example). So, as a middle-of-the-pack IMer, the benefits of the aero helmet are greater than what a top-tier pro would experience.

Hope this helps,
Nate
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