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Swim Stroke Styles: What They Are and Why They Matter

Benefits of Incorporating Different Swim Stroke Styles into your tri training

Triathlon swimming is different from competitive swimming. You’re in open water with a bunch of triathletes on the same mission: to reach the end of the swim as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. The distance of the swim will help you determine which swim stroke style you should work on during training to do your best on race day. Your current skill level in the water is also important to factor in. Keep reading to see the benefits of learning multiple swim strokes during your training for your upcoming tri. 

Why Different Swim Strokes Matter

In open water racing, you’ll find yourself having to swerve around other athletes. You may also have to stop quickly to avoid getting kicked and make tight turns around buoy markers. Adding in new strokes for just one of your workouts per week will make a difference in being able to react to these circumstances in an efficient way. Not only that, using different strokes will cause you to use different ranges of motion resulting in less strain to particular muscles and more of a complete shoulder and chest workout.

Freestyle Stroke

Freestyle is the best-known swim style stroke, and the most common stroke we see out at Jack’s Generic Tri, because it’s the most efficient swim stroke you can learn. It takes you farther than other strokes without expending more energy. Freestyle also gives you a full-body workout. It works the muscles in your arms, legs, core, and back. If you are looking for a particular swimming stroke to strengthen your back muscles, freestyle is definitely the way to go. Although the most efficient stroke, it can also be difficult to master. One of the most important things to focus on during training is your breathing. You can practice this by using the flutter kick while holding a kickboard out in front of you and practice rotating your face in and out of the water to breathe until you’ve established a rhythm you can replicate in the open water.

Benefits of the Freestyle Stroke

Click here to learn more about the freestyle stroke

Backstroke

Backstroke is rarely used during a triathlon, but it is a great stroke to incorporate into your training because it helps your shoulders unwind after sticking with one specific stroke for a while. This stroke is great for improving hip rotation. It also works your shoulder flexibility in the opposite way from freestyle. Depending on the length of your swim, mastering backstroke is always a great alternative to have up your sleeve. Your face stays out of the water, so you can breathe whenever you want. Backstroke is extremely useful when you need a bit of a rest period or if the water is choppy on race day.

Benefits of Backstroke

Click here to learn more about the backstroke

Breaststroke

Breastroke is the perfect swim stroke style for building strength in your hands by using them as paddles. This will translate into a stronger pull in freestyle. It’s a great way to switch things up and focus on different muscle groups. If you’re hesitant to hold your breath, breaststroke is great because you breathe every stroke. You can also complete this stroke without having to put your face in the water. Some argue breaststroke is the slowest swimming stroke, which may be a con for people who prefer speed. This stroke can be done for longer periods of time, so it can serve as an endurance workout. It’s a good alternative to your regular stroke as a way to mix in some cardio and burn a lot of calories in a session.

Benefits of Breaststroke

Click here to learn more about the breaststroke

Butterfly Stroke

If you’re looking to challenge yourself in the water, the butterfly is the way to go. This stroke was named after the movement in which you move your arms and is great for strengthening your core. This is important to triathlon because a strong core aids in swimming, cycling, and running. Butterfly requires a great deal of strength and coordination that takes time to develop. Not only does is this stroke a great workout to build abdominal strength, but it also strengthens your shoulders and chest. Each stroke requires that your core muscles have enough power to pull your arms over the water. Just a few laps of butterfly leaves you feeling its effects and burns the most calories of any swimming stroke. If this stroke is something you’re interested in perfecting, consider joining a Masters Swimming Program to get to proper coaching and guidance you’d need.

Benefits of Butterfly Stroke

Click here to learn more about the butterfly stroke

Keep in Mind:

Although your goal may be to complete the distance as fast as possible, you have to pace yourself. Triathlon requires you to be as efficient as you can in order to save energy for the bike and run later on. Incorporating different swim strokes into your training builds strength in other muscle groups, reduces the risk of injury, and breaks the repetitiveness in your swim sets. In the meantime, try these ways to stay motivated to keep up with your tri training and we’ll see you at JGT in no time!

Understanding the Different Types of Bike Pedals

Types of Bike Pedals: Understanding the Basics

When it comes to choosing bike pedals, you need to consider the best option to meet your needs depending on the kind of riding you’ll be doing. It’s all about personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with. If you’re in the market for some new pedals, keep reading to understand the different types of bike pedals to figure out which ones are right for you.

Types of Pedals:

There are two basic types of bike pedals: Flat and Clipless. Flat pedals are the more common of the two when it comes to triathlon because you wear regular running shoes with this type of pedal. Which is great and convenient for the bike to run transition. Clipless pedals are great for athletes who want to feel more at one with the bike. With these pedals, you’ll need to wear special cleats that clip into the specific type of pedal system that’s compatible with your cleats.

Different Benefits:

Flat Pedals types of bike pedals

Flat Pedals

There are many benefits of flat or platform pedals. Any type of shoe you decide on will work with this type of pedal. They’re great for a quicker bike-to-run transition because, without changing shoes, you eliminate the need to spend any more time in transition.

Flat pedals also reduce any anxiety you may have about falling over during the bike leg. You can put your feet down to catch yourself, as opposed to if you were clipped into the pedals. Lastly, this is the more common and affordable option of the two kinds of pedals. Flat pedals can be found for $10 – $40.

 

Clipless Pedals

Clipless PedalsThere are also many benefits of a Clipless Pedal (clipless means clipped in). Increase your speed during the bike portion by being clipped into your bike pedals. This allows you to take full advantage of your pedal stroke, which in turn allows you to ride faster once you have mastered the push and pull of it.

A smoother more efficient pedal stroke will lead to better average power output. Being clipped in can actually keep you a little safer while riding because it reduces the chance of your foot slipping off the pedal while climbing, descending, or while fatigued. There are endless options when it comes to choosing clipless pedals if that is the

You can go clipless right from the start or use flat pedals until you are more comfortable in the saddle. There are benefits to each type of pedal, but the important thing is to choose what is more comfortable for you. Whatever you choose, spend time becoming familiar with your bike pedals to maximize your efficiency on race morning of Jack’s Generic Tri!


Protect Your Skin During Summer Training

Break out your sunscreen!

Summer is here to stay and the importance of protecting your skin during summer training is crucial, but often forgotten. Keep reading to see some of our favorite products to protect your skin during the summer months of training.

Protect your Skin

Whether you’re swimming, biking, running, it doesn’t matter. Apply sunscreen! Even if you run in the shade or ride on the trail, applying sunscreen is a must. If you’re doing any kind of training outside, or even just getting outside for a walk sunscreen is important. Take a look at some of our favorite sweat and water-proof sunscreen products before heading out for your tri training to protect your skin. It’ll last long during your workout and ensure the sun’s rays don’t impact your skin.

Applying sunscreen to protect your skin during summer training

Reapplying Rules

Training with a sunburn is not comfortable. Plus, the sunburn will warm your body and make it that much more difficult to keep your core cool. Whatever variety you go for, make sure to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading outside, to give your skin the chance to absorb the product so you don’t sweat it off right away. Then, you should reapply every two hours if you’re getting out for an extended period of time, apply sunscreen throughout. This advice will get help to protect your skin from UV rays as you continue to follow your training plan so you’re ready for Jack’s Generic Tri!

 

Rockin’ Training Playlist to Get You Ready for Jack’s Generic Tri

Get back to your JGT training with this rockin’ playlist

Looking for a new rockin’ playlist to get you in the zone for some Jack’s Generic Tri training?! You’ve come to the right place. We’re big music lovers at JGT, so we’ve put together some of our favorite hits for your tri training sessions! Get motivated for this year’s 18th celebration with this rockin’ training playlist that will make you feel like you’re at the JGT finish line festival!

Scroll through the playlist below!

These songs can pump you up, give you a second to catch your breath or help you through the warm-up/cool-down. With these hits, you’ll want to crank up the volume, but make sure you can still hear your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you!

Top 5 Fitness Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow

Follow these top 5 fitness Instagram accounts for your fittest year yet!

Maybe you’re someone who likes to work out alone, or maybe your schedule is so crazy you can’t seem to find the time to get a good workout in. Luckily for us, getting a good workout has never been so easy! Well… convenient. Get back in the fitness groove for Jack’s Generic Tri on August 23rd, or start a new healthy habit with our top 5 fitness Instagram accounts you need to follow.

Strava @strava

Strava top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @strava on Instagram

Explore new paths and see where your training will take you with the help of Strava. “Designed by athletes, for athletes, Strava’s mobile app and website connect millions of runners and cyclists through the sports they love.” Connect with athletes all over the world and check out people’s favorite places to run or cycle all over the world! You can expect daily running or cycling workouts, along with words of motivation to help keep you on track. If you travel a lot, this is perfect for finding the top places to run when you visit or experience new places. You can follow other athletes to share your progress on the app. This is a great way to keep up with your tri squads training progress by uploading and sharing your routes with one another.

sworkit top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @sworkit on Instagram

Sworkit @sworkit

With over 18 million followers, the Sworkit (Simply Work It) Instagram account is a must-follow. This Instagram has it all. From daily workouts accompanied by instructional videos, to words of inspiration to help light a fire under you to get started on your fitness journey! This feel-good account also shares thousands of their participants’ journeys that bring a sense of community that can help you with your own fitness improvements.

 

 

Baby-Fit Gym @babyfit_gym

babyfit_gym top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @babyfit_gym on Instagram

Baby fit-gym was created by Kristy Ardo after having children a few years back. This one is for all the moms out there as a way to get you back to your fitness routine on your schedule! Kristy, a mother of three herself,  knows how difficult it can be to make the time. Especially when your hands are full. Kristy is a certified personalized trainer that specializes in pregnancy and postpartum fitness. These 15-minute workouts are based on your current fitness abilities and can be adjusted to increase or decrease the intensity. She has an impressive following that makes moms and new moms feel united and allows them to share their stories and encourage one another to keep up the hard work.

 

shona_vertue.top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @shona_vertue on Instagram

Shona Vertue @shona_vertue

This is for all our fellow yogi’s or anyone looking to get into yoga! Shona Vertue is an elite, ex-gymnast from down under who shares her fitness tips and tricks to inspire others to follow along with her. Her motto is based on consistency and sustainability to keep you healthy and fit for life and not focusing on your appearance. If you love her account as much as we do, she also offers more specific programs to join online depending on what you wish to improve on.

 

 

Susan Niebergall Fitness @susanneibergallfitness

Follow @susanniebergallfitness on Instagram

Move over kids, let Susan Niebergall show you how it’s done! Susan is a personal trainer and strength coach in her mid-fifties that says she’s “living proof that anything is possible at any age.” She’s also very passionate about the importance of a healthy well-balanced diet. If one of your goals this year is to shed a few pounds and develop healthier eating habits, this is the account for you. With over 101 thousand followers, it’s safe to say Susan has helped so many people accomplish their fitness goals and continues to inspire others to make the change to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

 

With access to endless amounts of online training workouts, tips for living a healthier lifestyle, and so much more, it can be overwhelming to find one that’s right you. Hopefully, this list of our top fitness Instagrams will point you in the right direction.

Registration for the 2020 Jack’s Generic Tri Opening Soon

Bust out those race calendars! It’s almost time to secure your spot at the 2020 Jack’s Generic Tri

The time has come for you to start your planning for Jack’s Generic Tri’s 18th celebration! Registration opens for the 2020 Jack’s Generic Tri on Sunday, March 1st with exclusive launch pricing ($79) lasting one week only.

Jack’s Generic Tri will take place on Sunday, August 23rd, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. This award-winning triathlon consists of a 600m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Park. We also offer aquabike and relay options for race day. The relay team can consist of two or three members.  The aquabike is for those who wish to complete the swim and the bike only. Although this year marks the 18th time toeing the start line alongside Austin’s finest athletes, our goal remains the same: forget about the fancy packaging of today’s triathlons and put all the focus on guaranteeing each participant an unbeatable experience.

Feel confident hitting the racecourse

Participants getting ready to kick off Jack's Generic Tri!

Team Radioactive getting ready to rock the Jack’s Generic Tri race course!

The 2020 Jack’s Generic Tri has three different divisions: Open wave is for athletes expected to finish in the top 50. Athletes in this division will not be eligible for age group awards and will go head-to-head with other athletes. Awards are given to the top 3 males and females. All other athletes start the swim with their division based on their age group with two participants entering the water every few seconds. Jack’s Generic Tri also features Athena and Clydesdale categories. Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through the virtual option on their own time at their preferred locations.

Participants always first!

Participants will receive custom 2020 participant tanks, finisher medals, water bottles, and swim caps. After the race, it’s time for the legendary finish line party (arguably everyone’s favorite part of any tri.) You can expect rockin’ music, check out some of our sponsors, and celebrate with others who share your latest accomplishment! In addition, everyone can enjoy the beer garden (21+), some post-race snacks and fresh fruit, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for all athletes.

Celebrating at the Jack's Generic Tri finish line party!

Celebrating at the Jack’s Generic Tri finish line party!

Set a calendar reminder and spread the word to help your fellow athletes save some cash when they register for Jack’s Generic Tri for the best pricing available, through 11:59 PM on March 6th. We’ll see you at the finish line!

 

Add to Calendar

5 Ridiculously Relatable Triathlon Memes That Will Make You Laugh

For those times when you’ve hit the wall during your training, remember: you are not alone!

A little humor never hurt anyone, so we’re here to help you laugh through the pain as you train for your upcoming tri with these relatable memes for every triathlete.

 

5 Must Try Yoga Poses for Triathletes

Give your muscles the TLC they need when you incorporate these 5 must-try yoga poses for triathletes into your training.

Adding yoga to your life offers many benefits such as increasing mobility and range of motion, preventing injuries, and relieving pain. Hopefully, you already have some kind of stretching routine included in your training. If you don’t, the offseason is the perfect time to try some new things! We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most beneficial yoga poses for triathletes to combat the wear and tear we put our bodies through during training.

1. Downward Facing Dog

Purpose: This is a common pose but is especially beneficial for a triathlete with any built-up tension in your calves and feet from running. Also great for cyclists with lower back from riding. Hold this pose to help build strength in your shoulders, arms, and chest.

How To: Start on your knees with your hands out in front of you, push your bottom up until you feel a stretch in your calves and the bottom of your feet. Straighten your legs if you can, but the main thing to remember in this pose is keeping your back flat as possible.

Downward Dog

2. Crescent Lunge

Purpose: This pose utilizes all the muscles in your body but focuses on getting a stretch in the back of your legs, groin, and hip flexors, while building strength in the front of your legs. Practicing this pose will open your range of motion in your legs and hips.

How To: Start in a standing position, and go into a lunge until your front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your core tight to remain balanced as you lift your arms above your head. During this motion, you will feel a stretch in your triceps and chest.  Take deep breaths as you hold this position, switch to your other leg and repeat.Crescent Lunge

3. Pigeon Fold

Purpose: The Pigeon Fold is a great yoga pose for opening up your hips and getting a deep stretch in your hip flexors and glutes. Good for athletes who spend more time cycling to loosen and realign their hips after putting in hours on the bike.

How To: Start in a Downward Facing Dog, bend your right knee and sweep your leg down and place it on the mat beneath you. Lower yourself to a comfortable seated position with your left leg behind you as you feel the stretch in your quad and hamstring. Hold your chest high to focus the stretch in your legs. Pigeon Fold

4. Cross-Legged Twist

Purpose: This pose focuses on stretching your lats, shoulders, and neck. This will help reduce any pain you may have from constantly rotating your body side to side during your freestyle swim stroke.  Holding this pose will lengthen and help mobility along your spine which is great for increasing your range of motion during your swim training.

How To: Begin on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bring your knees to your chest and place the bottom of your feet on the ground. Slide your left foot on the ground under your right leg to rest your foot beside your right hip. Bring your right arm across your body and place it against the inside of your left knee. Push slightly to twist your body until you feel a stretch in your lats and shoulder. Cross Legged Twist

 

5. Bridge Pose

Purpose: Offers relief from pain caused by the position you are in when training on your bike. Good stretch for your quads, chest, and abs while also strengthens your glutes and hamstrings. You will feel this pose strengthens your back muscles to reduce or prevent pain you may have from running and cycling.

How To: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent with feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Place hands on either side of your body to help keep yourself balanced. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor and push your hips up off the ground.Bridge Pose

 

These yoga poses work muscles that are often neglected in the repetitive movements you do while preparing for a triathlon. Get the most out of your training when you add in these 5 yoga poses that are best for triathletes before or after your next workout!

15 Reasons You’ll Love Jack’s Generic Tri

Still searching for that one triathlon with an experience different from all the rest? Look no further!

If you’re a regular racer, you’re familiar with big-name races that cost big bucks to participate in, but your experience ends up being subpar.  Or maybe you’re a new triathlete searching for your perfect race to kick start your tri journey. If you’re looking for a race that puts the participants first, Jack’s Generic Tri is the tri for you!  Keep reading for 15 reasons why you’ll love Jack’s Generic Tri!

Reasons to Love Jack's Generic Tri

Pre-race warm-up to kick off the open wave!

1. Location

Jack’s Generic Tri takes place at Lake Walter E. Long (aka Decker Lake) and spans 1,200 acres. JGT kicks off with a 600-meter swim in the lake. The bike course goes around the lake for 11.2 miles and features some rolling hills. The run is on a mix of off-road paths and paved roads. Then we meet back up at the finish line party for some fun!

2.Participants Always First

JGT was inspired by creating a race unlike any other that put the participants at the forefront of the entire event. This race has come a long way since 2003, but our goal remains the same: give the participants an unforgettable experience from start to finish.

3. Pre-race Warm-up

Final steps of preparation before we kick off the race. Camp Gladiator is there with us to lead you in a group warm-up as the sunrises over the swim course in Decker Lake.

4. Professional Race Photos

This is a race you’ll want to remember. We have professional photographers set up all along the course to capture your best moments during the race! You can even pre-order your photos for a discounted price.

5. Super Cool Participant Shirt

This isn’t your typical tri, so you won’t receive a typical race shirt. Be ready to make all your friends jealous when you rock your JGT shirt around town!

6. Family-Friendly Course

Reasons to Love Jack's Generic Tri

Fun for the whole family!

Make sure you bring the whole gang to cheer you on throughout the race. There are great locations for your family and friends to watch along the course.

7. Professional Timing

You can count on accurate chip timing to have your results waiting for you at the finish line party.

8. Volunteers

The Jack’s Generic Tri volunteers are there every step of the way and go above and beyond to help you reach your goal of crossing the finish line.

9. Free Food and Drinks

You’re going to be hungry after all that swimming, biking, and running! We have free food and drinks ready for all participants at the finish line party to enjoy as you share your race stories with fellow athletes.

Reasons Why You'll Love Jack's Generic Tri

Cheering on your teammates as they take their final steps over the finish line!

10. Comradery With Other Athletes

One of the true highlights of JGT is the sense of comradery all the athletes bring to the event. The constant support we see among the participants throughout the racecourse is inspiring and is what makes us love this race above others.

11. Fully Supported Course

There will be a mechanic there on race morning to help you with any last-minute mechanic issues.  There is 1 aid station outside of transition, and 2 aid stations located along the JGT run course stocked with water and hydration beverages to help you make it across the finish line!

12. Finisher Medal

Get ready to earn some awesome bling with your very own finisher medal made especially for JGT’s 18th celebration!

13. Finish Line Party

Meet back up with your friends and family after the race at the rockin’ finish line party full of music, beer, free food, and drinks! Be sure to stick around and check out the vendors for your chance at some free goodies!

Reasons to Love Jack's Generic Tri

Participants and spectators celebrating at the finish line party!

14. Beer Garden

One of the highlights of any tri: the beer! We have our beer garden stocked full with Oskar Blues Austin beer to cool you off after the race.

15. Swag Toss

We wrap up JGT every year with our signature swag toss with awesome opportunities for you to win some free race entries and other great prizes!

 

There are many more reasons to love Jack’s Generic Tri, but these are a few of our favorites! Come on out and join us in celebrating JGT turning 18 this year and see for yourself why you’ll love being part of Austin’s coolest triathlon.

17th Annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon Sees Sizzling Times

17th annual JGT featured massive finish line festival, beer garden, and Brad, the water-spraying unicorn

Fleet Feet Austin's Ari Perez hangs out with Brad, the water-spraying unicorn, at the 17th annual Jack's Generic Triathlon.

Fleet Feet Austin’s Ari Perez hangs out with Brad, the water-spraying unicorn, at JGT. Fleet Feet Austin is the Official Running Store!

The 17th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon (JGT) took place this past Sunday, August 25th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. More than 700 triathletes from all over Texas and 11 states registered for this beloved Central Texas triathlon. Hundreds of spectators arrived early to cheer on friends and loved ones. Overcast skies provided excellent weather for fast times and PRs by everyone who crossed the start line.

“I loved every minute of Jack’s Generic Tri, especially the amazing atmosphere created by the volunteers,” said Jordan Martindale, who completed his second ever triathlon (1:21:10). “JGT made me challenge myself and is something I will definitely do again!”

Pablo Gomez took the overall victory with the time of 57:15. Second and third place overall featured a close race. Peter Murray (57:58) edged out Adrian Cameron (58:03). The women’s podium was topped by Kearci Smith with a winning time of 1:05:35. Second place finisher Mina Pizzini (1:06:27) and third-place finisher Brandi Swicegood (1:07:44) rounded out the women’s field. Marcus Cook, who once weighed 500 pounds, traveled from Houston to finish in 1:49:30. All participants cooled off from the Texas heat underneath a 6-foot tall inflatable unicorn that sprayed water.

Professional triathletes love Jack’s Generic Tri

“The half distance is normally my focus, but it was a ton of fun to race a sprint triathlon in Austin,” said Smith, who is currently coached by former professional triathlete Paul “Barny” Matthews. “I’m proud to be the 2019 JGT female champ. There’s nothing like race day, you can’t simulate it!”

2019 Jack's Generic Tri champion, Pablo Gomez, crosses the 17th annual JGT finish line.

Pablo Gomez, 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri champ.

Participants received a commemorative 17th-anniversary shirt, sunglasses, reusable water bottle, swim cap, finisher’s medal, post-race food and beer, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival made the 17th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon one to remember. Jack’s Generic Tri was created with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the more participant-friendly triathlons.

“JGT is a summer favorite for me and I’m super pumped to take the overall victory in a competitive field,” said Gomez, who also won the 2019 Rookie Triathlon (45:28). “High Five put on another great event and this will help me begin the second part of my season.”

Jack’s Generic Tri would like to thank all of the volunteers for coming out and making yesterday’s event memorable. Their willingness to arrive extra early, lend their time and energy, and cheer on every participant truly made the 16th anniversary unforgettable. JGT would also like to thank sponsors City of Austin, Travis County EMS, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Department, City Limit Cycles, Ascension Seton, Fleet Feet Austin, nuun hydration, RunLab Austin, CampGladiator, Oskar Blues Austin, and Z’Tejas. Jack’s Generic Triathlon participants can see their times here. Participants and spectators can relive race day on JGT’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.