Sunday, August 21, 2011
Top 10 "Training Aids" and My Fav Nutrition
Like any sport, triathlon is not something we can do just using our bodies. There is a fair amount of equipment involved (often more than the average non-triathlete thinks about). It is not as equipment-heavy as say, ice hockey (ahem ahem), but there is the bike (and accessories), the running shoes (and accessories), and the swim cap and goggles (and accessories).
Every athlete, endurance or not, relies a great deal on their bodies and minds. We just ask our bodies and minds to do what they do for a lot longer than the average athlete. And in order to do that we often rely on training aids besides those basics (bike, shoes, goggles, wetsuit) listed above. So I wanted to make a list of the training aids I use on a daily basis; those that, in my triathlete life, I cannot live without. As I began to make this list, however, I found that it was rather long. Turns out that I am not as self-sufficient as an athlete as I had imagined. Also interesting was how many items are nutrition...see earlier post about always being hungry...
I will now list the top ten training/living aids (besides the basics) that I think are most important to triathlon survival (in no particular order). I've decided to break the nutrition out of "training aids" list and give it its own section:
Foam Roller - The first thing I do when I get home from a tough workout is hit that foam roller. So far I believe that it has single handedly kept my hip problems (IT band syndrome) in check. It hurts bike a b*tch but in a good way...I guess...
HooHa Ride Glide - I am ashamed to admit that this is a relative newcomer to my training aid repertoire. What the heck was I doing riding without it? I don't know but life is definitely better now. And as a bonus, I smell like menthol for my entire ride and sometimes for a few hours after, even post-shower...
Bandanas - These, in contrast, are not a newcomer. I have been a slave to the bandana for many many years. Keeping the hair and sweat in check while running or while riding, the bandana can be tied as a headband, cover the entire hair under a helmet, or just used as a sweat rag. I have, however, stopped using it as an everyday hair control item, which is what I did for several years when my hair was very short. You're welcome family.
RoadID - Luckily I have not actually needed this item yet (knock on wood), but I still think it's super important to have. I almost never have much on me in the way of identification when I run or ride, so this has all my important contact info and alerts any potential rescuer to my asthma. I even wear it in open water swims!
Chill Bottles - Better than regular water bottles, these have a liner that keeps your water/electrolite mix/gatorade/whatever colder for much longer. Add ice cubes and even on the most sweltering days you can still have a cool drink 2/3 of the way through your ride. Excellent.
LogYourRun App (and iPhone) - This app (there are many like it) has been truly awesome for me. I use it to monitor how far I have gone when I run and to save my running and riding routes. It's not always 100% perfectly accurate, depending on signal strength, but it's darn close. The GPS system saves my routes and I can upload them online and into my training log on the LogYourRun website. The website also allows me to map out routes before I go out. Only trouble is that sometimes my bike computer disagrees with the mileage my logyourrun app gives me. Who to believe?
Compression calf sleeves - Sure, the jury is still out about whether or not compression really works for recovery or performance, but the anecdotal/circumstantial evidence is in its favor. And I like it. I have an interestingly sore/possible pulled muscle in my calf and I love the compression sleeves. They also helped deal with my shin splints last year while half marathon training. I want full tights, but darn those things are expensive!
CO2 cartridges - Hands down beats having to pump up a flat in the middle of a group ride when the testosterone fueled peloton waits for no man (and definitely not the silly chick who is supposed to be a "shop leader" and who ran over a piece of glass trying like a maniac to keep up...)
Honda Fit - It fits in my Fit! With the back seats down, that includes two bikes and ALL of my basics and training aids. Transition bag? check. Pump? Check. Bags of clothes for race day cause I can't be sure what the weather will do? Wetsuit? The kitchen sink? CHECK! All that, and my athletic supporter (aka my wife, who should rightfully hold the number one spot on this list)!!
Indoor Trainer - Also a relative newcomer in my life, it has made this training season much less stressful. If it's 115 outside, or thundering and pouring, or what have you, I can always set it up and train in my living room. I add it in on days when I am time-crunched as well. Plus, I think that I actually work harder on it than I do outside because there is no coasting. Ever. I think added in with plenty of real rides with real hills, indoor training has made me stronger.
Honorable mentions: Body Glide, Swimmer's Ear Solution, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen, Old Navy Running shorts (I swear they are the most comfy!), new Uback sports bra from Nike (it is cute AND has clasps! Sooo easy to get on! Super support!), Netflicks streaming on the Wii (for those days on the trainer...)
Training Nutrition Staples:
Coffee - Ok so I don't drink this during my workouts, but most of them wouldn't get started without it. I basically can't get started without it. And I am not the only triathlete who says so, so I will not be ashamed.
Stinger Waffles - LOVE LOVE LOVE. These are my favorite before I start a hard training session or ride. I can eat them as close to the ride etc as I want without any discomfort or GI issues and they're delicious.
Luna Protein Bars - Quick way to get in protein post-ride if I can't get a meal in right away, and they're the best tasting protein bar. Plus they're fewer than 200 calories, which you don't often find in protein bars. This means I can get most of my post-workout refuel from REAL foods a little later without going overboard on the calories.
G2 - The low-calorie Gatorade. All the electrolites without all of the calories. I like to get my calories from Gus and Chews rather than liquids when I am working out.
Bananas - This is no revelation. Natures perfect pre-workout fuel. Every race morning, and most other mornings too. Gotta get that potassium! They even fit in your jersey pockets when you're riding.
Gu (Jet Blackberry or Vanilla Orange Roctane) - I only take the ones with caffeine, so jet blackberry and Roctane are my fav. The vanilla orange tastes like a creamsicle. They're super quick, so they're easy to deal with during a workout and don't upset my stomach.
Stinger Chews - MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! Seriously, these are so tasty. I cut the top off of a pouch and put it in my bento box. I can eat one or two when I get to stoplights or pop one in my mouth almost whenever on a ride. They are delicious and organic and I like the consistency better than the clif shot blocks which stick in my teeth.
Alright, now you know all my training secrets!! (Ok there are still a few). Now it's time for me to get to the Y and jump in the pool! Everyone be good and have fun training!