Industry experts uncover the importance and secrets behind timing and results.

In triathlon, timing is everything. When precious seconds could mean the difference between a podium or personal best, accuracy is essential.

But just what goes into the intricacies of recording the data of oftentimes thousands of individual athletes at triathlon events all over the world?

“No one has any clue when it comes to just how difficult it is to organize a successful event, especially in triathlon when you are dealing with such varied distances, terrain, and challenges,” says 21-year XTERRA timing veteran Jim Lovell of JTL Timing.

The first international championship triathlon was timed with a chip in 1998. Since then, event organizers have been fitting athletes with ‘passive’ timing devices that were (and still often are) used to transfer an athlete’s individual identification number to recording stations along the race route.

Passive transponders are typically placed on an athlete’s bib. These units capture electromagnetic energy produced by a nearby exciter—the polyurethane antenna mats placed across strategic points such as the swim finish, bike start/finish, run start and race finish. When excited, the radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder emits a code picked up by a reader that then returns the time. This makes an excellent solution for high volume events like marathons where disposable chips are more practical.

RELATED: What to Do if You Go Off Course

Recently, however, the science of timing has become much more active through the use of brands like My Laps (used by Ironman) and Athlinks/ChronoTrack (used by XTERRA)....

It’s that time of year again. The frigid temperatures don’t have to keep you off the bike. Follow these eight winter cycling tips for an enjoyable riding experience this season. 1. Dress properly. To stay warm during a winter ride, think in terms of your head, hands, feet and torso. Most of your body heat escapes through your head, so using a balaclava under your helmet will help keep you warm. Wear either long fingered gloves or mittens to protect your hands, and thermal socks to keep your feet warm. If it’s really cold, consider wearing two pairs of socks and use thermal shoe covers to keep the wind off your feet. Wear layers to keep your torso warm, including a lightweight, breathable outer jacket that is both water and wind resistant. It also helps to use fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin. This will help keep you drier and warmer. As a general rule of thumb, use leg warmers to protect your knees when the temperature drops below 60° F. 2. Start warm. Never start your ride with a chill. This is a recipe for a miserable outing because your extremities will get cold very quickly. Start your ride feeling warm, perhaps even a bit too warm. Have a hot drink in a warm room just before you step outside. This will allow you to warm-up on the bike more comfortably. 3. Be visible. In many locales, drivers do not expect to see cyclists on the road during winter months....

Light up your movements—not just your torso—for your best chance at being seen.

It’s no secret the biggest number of grim bike accidents occur when the light gets low—between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to be exact. There are a number of factors associated with that, but the most obvious—and easiest to fix—is low visibility. And scientists are tackling that problem right now. Sure you can pop on a blinkie and a vest, but for max visibility, they say, you’ve got to light up your motion.

“Flashing is great at catching the eye,” says Richard Tyrrell, a professor at Clemson University who specializes in the applied aspects of human vision and perception, “but it’s not always great at perceiving what’s actually out there.”

Tyrrell believes that the future of visibility lies in something called “biological motion.” He argues that a simple fluorescent vest—though better than nothing at all—isn’t the most effective way for drivers to understand that there’s a highly vulnerable person out on the road.

“A reflective vest doesn’t offer the same richness of information as when we mark our extremities,” Tyrrell says, who advises wearing retroreflective bands on wrists and ankles that use cars’ headlights to bounce light back toward drivers. “Because the visual parts of our brains are hardwired to human movement,” he says. “We need to perceive not just a thing, but that it’s a person.”

Tyrrell’s says that living things have the intuition to recognize the movement of other living things. “Newborn babies can recognize other humans by...

Despite a rare, painful chronic condition that hobbles most who face it, Kristin McQueen just crossed her 18th Ironman finish line—and counting.

Kristin McQueen can’t wear a sun visor during a race. She struggles to put on a helmet or pull goggles over her head. In fact, pressure of any kind around her head or face triggers surges of pain best compared to electric shocks, brought about by a chronic condition called trigeminal neuralgia—or, as McQueen has nicknamed it, “Stabby Joe.”

Yet McQueen keeps going. Triathlon, says the 38-year-old physical therapist from Illinois, is her constant, her sense of normalcy. A tangible reminder that, while her body may be embattled and weakened, it still gives her what she asks of it. To date, it’s gotten her to the finish line of 18 Ironmans—nearly the same number of times she’s gone under the knife for brain surgery to treat her condition.

“Sure, I have my days where I break down, but I don’t want to stay in that place,” McQueen says. “I have to keep a smile on my face 99 percent of the time. Laughing about it takes the fear away. Everything that’s happened to me is ridiculous when you think of it.”

Aside from her near-constant searing pain, McQueen has a host of health issues that would bring the average person to her knees. She’s had seven surgeries since being diagnosed with metastasic thyroid cancer at the age of 24. (Trigeminal neuralgia, which affects the nerve that carries sensation from the face...

Burn off those excess holiday calories and jumpstart your unused muscles with this unique bike/run/weight brick.

This week’s workout comes from Dawn English, a coach with OutRival Racing. English has been coaching for 10 years, has been a triathlete since 1999, and is a Level 1 USAT-certified coach.

With holidays not too far behind and New Year’s resolutions already starting lose their momentum, use this jam-packed session to awaken multiple systems. “This workout addresses bike to run transition, run speed, muscular strength, and bike cadence,” English says. “The constant switching of activities will keep you engaged. This is a good workout to stay sharp in the offseason and get a lot done in a short amount of time.”

If you have access to an excellent home setup, this session can be done at home, but more likely you’ll need a gym with access to a stationary bike (or bring a trainer), a treadmill, and a lower-body weight machine. If use of a weight machine isn’t possible, substitute items from around the house for a makeshift setup.

RELATED: How to Start Strength Training

10 minutes of spinning, building to 90 RPM

Main Set:
10-minutes riding as 2 minutes at each cadence: 2min: 80-85; 2min: 85-90; 2min: 90-95; 2min: 95-100; 2min: 100-105 with moderate intensity, building to hard throughout

3-minute run on the treadmill at a steady pace for 1st round, moderate pace 2nd round, hard pace 3rd round

10 single-leg reps on the following machines all at a weight so that the last couple of...

What’s at the top of every triathlete’s 2018 wish list? A new PR, of course. Be the first among your training buddies to nab yours by attending a triathlon camp. And hurry—these spots sell out fast!

Whether your racing goals skew casual or Kona-caliber, training with an established coach during a structured camp can offer a fun shakeup for both body and mind. You’ll enjoy a different training stimulus while exploring a foreign place, forge new friendships, and get primed for a performance breakthrough. Start planning now for this year’s epic SBR escape with one of these premium experiences.

RELATED: Making the Most of a Triathlon Training Camp

The Dave Scott Triathlon Experience
Kona, Hawaii
$699, plus accommodations
January 22-26; April 9-13; May 14-18; July 30-August 3

Geared for: All abilities, although Scott suggests prior completion of at least one race of Olympic distance or longer and “a generally steady workout routine.”

The draw: This is the only camp where you can train directly under Scott, a six-time Kona champion on the iconic Ironman World Chamionship course. Scott, aka “The Man,” guarantees a breakthrough in your triathlon performance using his strategies for improving technique and form, and purposeful workouts. Bonus: You’ll feel like royalty as a guest at this seriously posh beachfront property.

Game-changing gain: You’ll learn how to train your body to become a fat-burning machine. (Hello, racing weight!) Scott, a big proponent of the ketogenic diet—which says no to starchy, processed carbs and yes to whole foods and good fats—will teach you how to...

Get your ride ready now to save time at the start of the season.

Besides a pre-season tune-up, there are a number of small details best sorted out in the off-season so your training won’t get derailed later. Check off the necessary items on this to-do list now so you can fully invest your time in riding when spring hits.

A fit or re-fit

Bodies change as far as strength and flexibility, and your fit may need an update. Or perhaps you’re a former long-course athlete who will be focusing on sprints in 2016 and you could use a more aggressive position. Whatever the reason, it takes a long time for your body to adjust to a new fit. Matt Cole, owner and chief fitter at Podium Multisport in Atlanta, says it can take up to 90 days for an experienced triathlete and up to 120 days for a beginner to adjust. The best time to make a change is when the miles and demands are low!

RELATED: Bike Fit Fixes

New cleats

It sounds like a very minor change, but I’m always amazed at the number of aches and pains that are caused by a cleat or shoe change. Think about it this way: Your body gets accustomed to thousands of pedal strokes in a certain position, and a minor change can have major repercussions. Best practice is to bring your old shoes in to a professional fitter to either help you get the position the same or see if a changed position...

Step one: Decide that you will. Keep the promise to yourself.

When I started in the sport of triathlon, I could not swim or bike or run. Judging by my years of mediocre triathlon finish times, many might contend that I still don’t swim, bike, or run. I have news for everyone—going slow instead of fast? Still a triathlete, still an athlete, and most importantly—still a better version of ourselves.

Over and over again people ask me—how do I become a triathlete? Where do I start? What do I do? Of course swimming, cycling and running are keys—and then putting those three things together in a little race called a triathlon is the main how-to.

That being said, there are two major components to get from the couch to the finish of a first (or next) triathlon. These qualities are important to embody for a first race, sure. But even more so, the qualities are paramount as you get further down the road in the sport—when jumping up to the next distance, feeling burned out or facing your first DNS (Did Not Start) or DNF (Did Not Finish).

Make a Decision

Every great action starts with a decision. We say: now is the time! Never again! I will ______! The decision is the first step.

In 2010, I decided that I would become a triathlete. I didn’t make any “Oh, I think I would like to ‘try’ a triathlon.” I made the promise to myself that I would become a...

Dr. Allen Lim is a sports physiologist who has worked with the biggest riders in professional cycling. One of his most influential contributions to the sport has been changing how the traditionally pasta-fueled peloton thinks about food.

Lim and professional chef Biju Thomas tested hundreds of recipes with Tour de France cyclists to find out what worked: what was easy to make, delicious to eat, and friendly to high performance. They share their favorite dishes in The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, available from VeloPress.

Servings > 2

Time > 10–15 minutes

1 cup water
dash of salt
1 cup “old-fashioned” rolled oats
1–2 cups milk, depending on desired thickness
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 banana, chopped
¼ cup raisins

Use any kind of milk—dairy, soy, almond. Start with 1 cup and add more to achieve your desired consistency.

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a low boil. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

2. Add milk and brown sugar, and return the mixture to a low boil. Add molasses, banana, and raisins, continuing to stir until oatmeal reaches desired thickness. Remove pan from heat. Let rest for 10–15 minutes if you have the time.

Finish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a splash of milk.

PER SERVING> Energy 490 cal • Fat 6 g • Sodium 181 mg • Carbs 102 g • Fiber 10 g • Protein 19 g

This recipe from The Feed Zone Cookbook used with permission of...

Knowing the answers to these three common questions can boost your swim split—and take the drag out of training.

Q. Do I really have to do flip turns?

A. Some athletes worry that flip turns are “cheating,” because you’re getting an extra push with each lap.
In fact, the opposite is true. “Lots of people take two to three breaths at the wall when they do an open turn,” explains Matt Ison, head triathlon coach at University of California, Santa Barbara. “But you don’t get to stop and take extra breaths every 25 yards in open water.”

Flip turns help you learn to control your breathing in the unpredictable wildness of the swim start. And they teach you to train yourself to maintain your pace, as you’ll do in your race. Swear you can’t? Check out our Fearless Flip Turn Guide below.

RELATED: The Top 5 Reasons Why Triathletes Flip Turn

Q. Can’t I just swim race-distance every practice?

A. Not if you want your swims to get better. “When you swim a continuous set, your stroke breaks down as you get tired,” says Ison, who’s also a Carmichael Training Systems expert coach. Maybe your strokes get shorter, or your hips sink, or you fall into your favorite bad habits. “When you take intermittent rest—even 10 or 15 seconds after a 100 or 200—you reset, so when you push off the wall, you’ll have a better stroke again for a period of time before you break down again.

The idea in all of training is...

In this video, Tim Crowley and friends demonstrate the side bridge runner, an exercise specific to runners that engages the glute medius and promotes both shoulder and core stability.

More “Monday Minute” videos

The post Video: An Exercise To Promote Shoulder And Core Stability appeared first on

How can I safely get back into speedwork after running inconsistently for the past couple of months?

Ah, speedwork. It hurts so good! But alas, if it hurts so bad, you can derail your season before it even gets started.

How we ramp into training mode is critical to how we race, and running is where the majority of injuries tend to emerge. I like a steppingstone approach that ensures the right type of work at the right time.

RELATED: Beginning Runner’s Speed Workout

Step 1: Pre-hab.  This is what keeps you out of rehab. Our studio is conveniently located within Finish Line Physical Therapy—a great, athlete-focused PT in NYC. All of our athletes go through their pre-hab screening. It provides a baseline for mobility, gait, flexibility and balance.

Step 2: Know thyself. Identify your strengths and weaknesses through a simple SWOTT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, timing (when you work out, scheduling commitments), toys (gear at your disposal).

Step 3: Get your run on. I love to see four to six weeks of goal-oriented baseline running. Staying off the hills and track, I recommend two runs per week of 60–90 minutes capping the heart rate at an endurance level and focusing on stride cadence.

After a warm-up, run three to four miles at an endurance-level heart rate on the same route each week. Let’s say week one the pace of those miles was 9:10. By week four we would like to see that pace drop while the heart...

Based on tried and tested yoga positions, these four moves have been tweaked to target a triathlete’s tightest spots: the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors (iliopsoas), shoulders, back, and glutes—including the potentially troublesome piriformis. Perform them daily, holding each stretch for a minimum of 60 seconds. Ease in, exit gradually, and breathe slowly through your nose.

1. The Foam Aero Bar Lunge

Targets: Upper quads, hip flexors, and adductors

Method: If you don’t own two yoga/Pilates foam bricks, then a stack of books under each forearm will do. From all fours, step your right foot up to the outside of your right hand. Position your bricks under your forearms and lower your hips into the lunge. Experiment with the height of the bricks (side on or flat) or—if flexibility allows—remove the bricks altogether.

2. The Ultimate Glute Stretch (with a Tilt)

Targets: Gluteus maximus and piriformis

Method: Lie on your back with your legs bent. Lift your right foot off the floor, and place your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Let your right knee drop out to the side. Hold in front of the left shin, or behind the thigh, and draw both legs in towards you. Tilt a little to the left and hug the legs in closer. Grimacing indicates you’ve found your piriformis.

3. The Front Crawl Lengthener

Targets: Back extensors, shoulders, and anterior ankle muscles

Method: From all fours, sit back...

Who says granola has to be served from a bowl? These little bundles of nutrients are an on-the-go way to carry your beloved hippie food.

Granola Bites

Makes 12 servings

1/2 cups quick-cook oats
1/3 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1/2 cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, pecans or almonds, hemp seeds, cranberries, apricots, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and stir in honey or brown rice syrup and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is moist. Divide mixture among 24 greased or paper-lined mini-muffin cups and make sure to pack it down tightly to help hold everything together. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Cool several minutes before un-molding. Chill in refrigerator for up to 1 week and transport in a small zip-top bag.

Per serving: calories 243, protein 8g, fat 12g, carbs 32g, fiber 3g, sodium 106mg

Republished with permission of Velopress from Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure by Matt Kadey, RD. See more recipes at

When it comes down to it, wearing the proper clothing is the most important factor.

As frigid temperatures take over most of the country, most people are staying indoors, figuring this must be too cold to run outside. In fact, though, research suggests that as long as it’s warmer than -18 degrees, it’s not too cold to work out—as long as you take the appropriate precautions.

“People, of course, have walked to the Poles,” said John Castellani, an exercise physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Castellani was co-chair of a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine that found, “For the most part, cold-weather is not a barrier to performing physical activity.”

The main thing Castellani and his co-authors studied was the danger of frostbite, which has the highest risk below -17 or -18 degrees. But, he said, they also looked at other common fears about running or working out in the extreme cold.

While there are certain populations who are at risk, the vast majority of research suggests that people won’t damage their muscles or their lungs in the cold—two common misconceptions.

The group did find an increase incidence of asthma and cardiac stress in populations that are predisposed to those problems. Those with circulation issues can also have a high risk for frostbite even at warmer temperatures. Largely, however, people are able to run in freezing and below freezing temperatures without hurting themselves.

Of course, the caveat—and it’s a big one—is that you have to be appropriately prepared.


Blow out the cobwebs of the offseason using short intervals mixed with kicking, drills, and pulling. Use this workout to refamiliarize yourself with the pool, while at the same time getting a head start on open water skills.

• 3×150 swim/50 kick warm-up
• 2x [4×25 on :30 with buoy between ankles; 200 pull with regular buoy and paddles on 3:00]
• 6×50 on :60 (25 kick/25 pull with board between thighs)
• 6×50 on :50 (2 build, 1 easy)
• 8×75 on 1:30 (25 kick/25 drill/25 swim, IM order)
• 8×75 on 1:15 (25 Tarzan drill* fast/50 smooth)
• 300 swim, no walls (turn at the ‘T’)
• 300 pull (50 breathing every third stroke/50 breathing every fifth)
• 300 cool-down (50 non-free/50 free)
Total: 3,900

RELATED: Relearn Proper Stroke Habits After a Break

• 2×150 swim/50 kick warm-up
• 2x [4×25 on :40 with buoy between ankles; 200 pull with regular buoy and paddles on 4:00]
• 6×50 on 1:15 (25 kick/25 pull with board between thighs)
• 6×50 on :60 (2 build, 1 easy)
• 4×75 on 2:00 (25 kick/25 drill/25 swim)
• 4×75 on 1:50 (25 Tarzan drill* fast/50 smooth)
• 200 swim, no walls (turn at the ‘T’)
• 200 pull (50 breathing every third stroke/50 breathing every fifth)
• 200 cool-down (50 non-free/50 free)
Total: 2,800

RELATED – Ask Coach Sara: Returning To Swimming After A Break

• 150 swim/50 kick warm-up
• 4×25 with 10 sec rest, buoy between ankles
• 200 pull with regular buoy and paddles
• 4×50 with 15 sec rest...

Chinese real estate and entertainment company Wanda Group may list its sports holdings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which includes the World Triathlon Corporation and the Tour de Suisse, among other assets. The news was reported by Reuters, which referenced five sources familiar with the situation.

Owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, Wanda also owns a wide range of sports holdings, from cycling and basketball leagues in China to a sizable stake in Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid. In 2015, the group acquired Swiss sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media—which owns the Tour de Suisse—as well as World Triathlon Corporation, which operates the Ironman and 70.3 triathlon series.

In 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that Wanda was looking to acquire ASO and the Tour de France after the company unsuccessfully tried to buy the RCS Sport and the Giro d’Italia from Italian group RCS Mediagroup.

According to Reuters, the IPO is part of Wanda’s efforts to rationalize its broad portfolio across sports, real estate, and entertainment. Over the last few years, Wanda has acquired several high-profile entertainment assets, including American film production company Legendary Entertainment and movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings.

The post Wanda Considers IPO for Triathlon, Cycling Holdings appeared first on

Four writers give us a glimpse inside their minds.

Proving Myself Wrong

By: Susan Lacke

The writing process is the worst thing for one’s confidence—there’s always something to revise or tweak, and nothing is ever good enough. Kafka didn’t want any of his books published; Hemingway was convinced everything he wrote was crap. I’m convinced this self-loathing is why you don’t see too many writers in triathlon: If you think we’re hard on ourselves when we’re sitting at a manuscript, you should hear the things we say to ourselves in a competitive setting.

I know I should be nicer to myself—in writing and in racing—and yet I’m not. I’ve crossed dozens of finish lines in my career, and yet every time the starting gun goes off, there’s that voice in my head that tells me that I suck. Things I would never say to another human being become perfectly acceptable to say to myself.

That’s exactly why I do triathlon—not because of I’m a glutton for punishment, but because I need to prove myself wrong, often and spectacularly. Because the truth is this: I can be kind of awesome sometimes. One of these days, maybe I’ll even let myself believe it.

I Did That, I Can Do This

By: Chris Foster

When I was a sophomore in high school, my dad passed away from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It was mid-summer when it happened, less than a week before Father’s Day, and as a cross-country runner who was...

A balanced life is key to success for the amateur triathletes says coach Matt Dixon. Enjoy this excerpt from his new book, Fast-Track Triathlete.

I often discuss with athletes the concept of their potential within the context of the life they lead. Many triathletes never reach their potential; it’s difficult to manage all of the training hours (because of fatigue, poor scheduling, or a training plan at too high a volume), it’s not possible to be present and focused enough to train effectively, or the emphasis on training leads to feeling distracted and overwhelmed in other areas of life. Even as athletes try to cram the training into daily and weekly schedules filled with other important commitments, the results become more elusive. That kind of self-pressure puts an athlete on a downward spiral that leads to chronic fatigue, overuse injuries, frustration, disappointment, and burnout.

Ultimately, long-term sustainable success is going to require a clean slate, a new approach that permeates all areas of your busy life. The good news is that if you can take this on, you should not only achieve your triathlon aspirations but also establish a platform for excelling in health, work, and life as a whole.

Balancing the Sport/Life Equation

In seeking an effective performance model, it’s natural to look to those achieving great results. Amateur triathletes as well as many coaches have traditionally turned to top-level pros for inspiration, studied their approach, and mimicked how they train. Although there are certainly many things to learn about training and racing from...