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Dryland Exercises for When You Don’t Want to Swim

Try these dryland exercises to build strength and improve your performance in the water

Training for the swim portion of your upcoming tri is always important. This workout won’t be identical to the benefits you get while actually in the water, like perfecting your form and practicing breathing. But it’s still valuable to enhancing your performance in the water. Think of these dryland exercises as a way to target the same muscle groups you would while swimming. If you’re unable to hit the pool, these exercises can keep you on track to achieving your goals. These dryland exercises focus on working your core muscles, quads, glutes, chest, arms, back, and shoulders. Just like you would in the pool or open water.

Pro tip: take these exercises to the next level when you incorporate strength training.

Burpees

A burpee essentially works all the muscles you would activate during a pool session. It’s especially beneficial to build your stamina. It’s a full body and functional exercise that works on your muscle endurance and aerobic capacity. To properly do this:

  1. Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Lower yourself into a squatting position and place your hands on the floor in front of you
  3. Jump your feet back, putting yourself into a pushup position
  4. Do a pushup
  5. Jump your feet back into their original position
  6. Stand yourself upright, jump into the air, and clap your hands over your head

Repeat this exercise in 3 sets of 15.

Lat pulldown

You need some weight for this upper body exercise. However, stay light and stretch your shoulders well to reduce the risk of injury. To properly do this:

  1. Sit down at a pulldown machine and place your hands wide apart on the bar, palms facing forward
  2. Bring the bar down straight down to your clavicle
  3. Keep your torso still as you pull your arms down
  4. Draw your shoulders back, pulling the bar down as you exhale
  5. When the bar touches your clavicle and your shoulder blades are completely contracted, count to 2
  6. Slowly bring your arms back up to starting position, as you inhale

Control is key during this exercise. Trying to go fast will not work your muscles efficiently and can injure you. If you keep the weight low, you can do 3 sets of 25 for this exercise. Pro tip: don’t perform the exercise too fast or too slow

Pull-ups

If you do not have access to a pull-down machine, pull-ups will also work. They’ll strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms, providing a great dryland workout. You can even use the monkey bars at a local playground for this one. To properly do this:

  1. Move your arms shoulder-width apart and grasp an overhead bar with a firm, overhand grip
  2. Hang so your arms and legs are straight
  3. Steady your core
  4. Keep your back straight and do not swing yourself
  5. Pull yourself up, so that your head is over the bar, leaving the bar at your chest
  6. Slowly lower your body back to hanging position

You should also do this same exercise with your hands gripped close together at different distances. Shoot for about 5 sets of as many proper pull-ups as your strength will allow.

Reaching lunges

This exercise works your quads and glutes. It will help you with changing direction and help you prevent injuries. To properly do this:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Step far forward with your right leg and shift your weight so that your heel hits the floor
  3. Descend until your right shin is vertical and your right thigh is parallel to the floor
  4. Lightly tap your left knee to the floor
  5. Put your weight back onto your right heel to bring yourself back upright
  6. Repeat with your left leg

When doing these exercises, keep yourself balanced. Make sure your knee is bent at a 90º angle and does not stick out further than your toe. Do 3 sets of 15 for this exercise for each leg.

T-Rotational pushups

This spin on the traditional pushup offers you a more intense workout. It provides a better core workout, while still hitting the upper body and hip extensors. To properly do this:

  1. Begin with a rigid torso in a standing pushup position with your arms and feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Descend, bringing yourself chest to the floor
  3. Start ascending until your arms are straight
  4. Shift over into a side plank position keeping your arms straight
  5. Rotate back to push up positions
  6. Repeat on the other side

Do 10 reps total, alternating each side, for 3 sets.

Incorporate these dryland workouts so you can be a stronger, more confident swimmer when you hit the water. Once you get back to the open water you might be in the market for a wetsuit. If so, keep our advice in mind when choosing a wetsuit.

What to Know When Choosing a Wetsuit

Keep this advice in mind when choosing a wetsuit

Triathletes normally wear a wetsuit during the swim portion of triathlon. They can be advantageous in the water by increasing your buoyancy. But with so many options, brands, and prices, how do you pick what’s best for you? We break down the basics and provide you with the information needed when you begin the process of choosing a wetsuit. Pro tip: once you find the perfect wetsuit use these excuse busters so you don’t skip those swim workouts!

Types of wetsuits 

A wetsuit is a neoprene insulation suit made for warmth and buoyancy during the swim portion of a triathlon. Triathlon wetsuits are different from other water sport wetsuits. They are regulated by governing bodies like USAT. Wetsuits for a triathlon cannot be more the 5mm thick. 

The two most common types of wetsuits are sleeved and sleeveless. Full sleeved wetsuits are better for colder temperatures and are the most efficient. Sleeveless wetsuits are good too, but can let in water. This can cause you to slow down. Short “jammer” wetsuits have gained popularity for short distance triathlons since they are easiest to take off. Pro tip: track your workouts with these mobile apps and see how much difference a wetsuit can make.

Fit and range-of-motion

You want your wetsuit to fit snug to your body but not restrict breathing or inhibit arm movement. Putting on and taking off your wetsuit shouldn’t be a battle. If it is, it’s too small. Additionally, it shouldn’t restrict or alter your swim motion. If it does and you continue to swim, you increase the chances of injury. When choosing a wetsuit, keep in mind that the sleeveless version can allow for better range-of-motion. Learn more about swim strokes and how they can impact your training.

Fabric

Nearly all wetsuits are made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber that contains thousands of tiny air pockets. The material is what increases your buoyancy and helps your body retain heat in cold water. Keep in mind that not all neoprene is the same. They also come in varying thicknesses. Check the wetsuit to see if it has extra fabric panels in areas near the butt or lower back. The location placement of the extra material can help you stay more horizontal and potentially increase your speed. Not sure where to start when choosing a wetsuit? Check out some of our recommendations.

Cost

Wetsuits can be a big investment, costing anywhere from $100 to $1000. In terms of cost, sleeveless is usually less expensive. Less expensive wetsuits will also usually have uniform neoprene. High-end suits will vary across the body and incorporate more technology into the fabric. Become familiar with the range of options and designs for all brands and price levels. Just like most things, options that were once available in higher-priced wetsuits have made their way to less expensive options. Don’t want to buy one brand new? Check with local stores to see if they rent suits. You can also find second-hand wetsuits through Facebook groups like Tri ‘n Sell It.

The Benefits of Being a USAT-Sanctioned Triathlon

Learn about the benefits of Jack’s Generic Tri being USAT-sanctioned and having a USAT-certified race director

When researching triathlon events, you’ve probably come across the terms USAT-sanctioned and USAT-Certified Race Director. So what exactly do these terms mean and why should you care about the benefits of a USAT-sanctioned event?

USAT-sanctioned

USAT is an acronym for USA Triathlon, which is the governing body of the sport of triathlon in the United States. Additionally, since triathlon is a sport featured in the Olympic games, USA Triathlon is part of Team USA. Therefore, they must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees. When you see the phrase “This is event is sanctioned by USAT” or “This event is USAT-sanctioned” it means that the event organizer has completed a thorough questionnaire regarding how they plan to conduct the event. They have also received approval from the USA Triathlon Events staff. As a potential participant in a triathlon, the term USAT-sanctioned should give you confidence. You are registering for an event that meets minimum standards for safety and fairness.  

Participant benefits

As a participant in a USAT-sanctioned event, you must have a current membership with USA Triathlon.  Annual memberships and one-day memberships (purchased per event) are available. Most adult triathlons in the United States are sanctioned by USA Triathlon. This helps the individual event. It also helps keep the national governing body strong so that it can support race directors, growth of the sport initiatives, and Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

USAT-Certified Race Director

Additionally, USA Triathlon has created a Race Director Certification program that goes above the standard sanctioning process. Race Directors who choose to become certified go through approximately 16 hours of coursework and complete an exam. They are required to recertify every two years and complete a background check through NCSI and take SafeSport training. The recertification and coursework ensures that the race director remains current in their knowledge and engaged in the triathlon community.  There are two levels of Race Director Certifications. Level II is the most difficult to obtain and retain. Only the most qualified race directors reach this level. Dan Carroll of High Five Events was among the first race directors to achieve Level II certification. He has maintained that certification since the program was created in 2007.

So the next time that you register for a triathlon like Jack’s Generic Tri, look to see if the event has the benefits of being USA-sanctioned and if it is produced by a Certified Race Director. That way you’ll know you’re safe in good hands and you’re in for an awesome experience!

Reasons Why You Should Include Strength Training

Reap the benefits when you include strength training

Strength training is an underrated physical activity that has a lot of advantages. Some people think it is a physical activity that is meant for bodybuilders and weight lifters, but that’s not true. Everyone should include strength training to their overall plan. You’re asking a lot from your body when you think of all the swimming, cycling, and running. When you include strength training, you’re giving your body the strength it needs to do what you want it to do. Below are 4 reasons why you should include strength training. Pro tip: train smarter with some of our favorite apps.

Become stronger

Getting stronger occurs whether you use weights or complete exercises using your body weight. The great thing about getting stronger is it doesn’t have to cost you anything! Your body needs a foundation to build upon when you begin training. Increasing your strength will give you the ability to complete all that your training plan calls for. Pro tip: you have to put in the work! Use these 4 excuse-busters and don’t skip your next strength workout.

Prevent injuries

Overuse injuries occur when you complete the same act repeatedly. Give overused muscles a rest when you include strength training. Various exercises, like lunges and squats, can help strengthen your lower body and allow your upper body to rest (if you completed a swim workout the day before). Conversely, push-ups, dips, or rows can strengthen your arms and allow your lower body to rest. Pro tip: here are some additional tips to avoid knee pain.

Improve your endurance

As you get stronger, you’ll improve your endurance. You teach your body to go further and further when you include strength training. The stronger you become, the more power your body will have to swim, bike, and run further than the week before. 

Stay fit

You don’t have to train for a certain event to include strength training. Use it as a means to stay fit. You can maintain your foundation of strength by focusing at least 10 minutes on your core and 10 minutes on your upper and lower body. This allows you to keep swimming, cycling, and running so that you’re ready for your next event. Pro tip: eating healthy helps you stay fit too. Make sure you’re eating your greens with these healthy recipes.

The benefits of strength training can be enormous, especially when paired with these 8 habits of a successful triathlete. It all depends on how much you invest from a time standpoint. But the great thing about increasing your strength is you don’t need heavy weights or expensive equipment. You can do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, and anything else you think of from the comfort of your home. Include strength training and establish the foundation needed to stay fit, prevent injuries, and get stronger.

7 Inspirational Quotes to Motivate You

Get the boost you need from these inspirational quotes

The words of someone else can often reignite your fire or reinforce your self-belief. That little spark can get you back on track and working towards your goals. It’s true and it works for us! We share inspirational quotes with our Instagram followers because it reminds us to keep pushing. We hope that by sharing these with you that they provide the same boost. It’s much easier to skip a workout than it is to complete the day’s workout. Use these inspirational quotes and our four excuse-busters to keep crushing those workouts.

Pro tip: learn how you can get the most out of your workouts with these training apps.

“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.” – Kyle Chandler

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Action is the foundational key to success.” – Pablo Picasso

“Don’t be pushed around by the FEARS in your mind. Be led by the DREAMS in your heart.” – Roy T. Bennett

“Dream big, start small. But most of all start.” – Simon Sinek

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” – Victor Kiam

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” – Robert H. Schuller

Train Smarter: Mobile Apps Every Triathlete Needs

Here are some of our favorite triathlon training apps to maximize your training.

It can take months of hard work to train for a triathlon. The right technology can help you train more efficiently. Whether its support from your fellow triathletes, customized workouts, or a virtual coach, there is an app for every need. Plus, it is one less excuse to skip a workout!

1. Strava

A performance tracker that is compatible with every Android and iOS GPS system, Strava is an app that helps you monitor heart rate, speed, and power. With a global community of athletes, Strava can also be used to share workout routines, race information, and organize activities with friends, teams, and brands.

2. Go Swim

A swimming app, Go Swim offers video drills to improve stroke technique. This mobile app also features the latest news, articles, and blogs from around the world on swimming, Olympic sports, triathlons and more with practical advice on how to incorporate them into one’s own workout.

3. Myfitnesspal

A fitness app that helps track and improve your diet when training for a triathlon. Myfitnesspal doesn’t just count calories, it also monitors nutritional value and serving size. It helps you understand your food habits better so that you make smarter, healthier choices.

Camp Gladiator Workout App - with workouts for Triathlon Training

4. Wahoo Fitness

A training app, Wahoo Fitness is compatible with most Android and iOS phones and can be used for all aspects of triathlon training including running, cycling, and swimming. Pair it with your cycling sensors, heart rate monitors, and bike trainers to improve the efficiency of your workout.

5. Headspace

Your training plan should have a balance between fitness, exercise, and relaxation. Headspace, a meditation app helps you decompress after a workout. It is also an effective sleep app. Sleep is very important for recovery and meditation can be helpful for calming pre-race nerves.

6. Camp Gladiator

A workout app, Camp Gladiator, offers real-time coaching with a certified personal trainer to monitor and modify your workouts. You can schedule virtual workouts that will help you develop muscle, body strength, or lose weight in the comfort of your home.

While all of these are not specifically triathlon training apps, they all offer great resources to help you train smarter. You can also download the Jack’s Generic Tri mobile app to stay up to date on everything you need for race day. If you are looking for more inspiration and easy access to workouts, be sure to follow these 5 fitness accounts on Instagram.

Eat Your Greens! Healthy Green Recipes

Healthy Recipes Loaded with Greens You’ll Love

The NEED for Greens

Adding green vegetables to your diet can be easy, delicious, and quick with the right recipes, tips, and tricks. Whether it’s a smoothie, powder, or just a salad, greens contain numerous essential nutrients that result in a stronger immune system, improved bone health, decreased risk of diseases, and so much more. Keep reading to understand the benefits of adding greens to your diet and discover your new favorite recipe!

Why You Need Leafy Greens

From preventing diseases to helping you manage weight loss, incorporating greens in your daily diet can improve so many aspects of your overall health. Leafy greens are low in calories, contain fiber, vitamins K and C, and calcium that will enhance different aspects of your health, such as your brain, bones, and skin, boosting your overall well- being and making you live longer. Greens also enhance the body’s natural enzymes that break down food, helping your digestive system. 

Best Greens for You

While all greens contain nutrients beneficial to you, kale, broccoli, spinach, and romaine lettuce are the best options to include. Out of all the green vegetables, kale is the most beneficial to you. Broccoli and spinach are high in both vitamins C, and A. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant protecting your cells from damage. Vitamin A is proven to support your immune system and improve vision. 

Green Recipes You’ll Love

Click to be taken to your new favorite recipe!

Time to Eat Your Greens

What looks good to you? With these yummy recipes, you’ll never struggle to eat your greens again. Let us know which recipe you’ll try on Facebook or Twitter, or share it with a friend who would love these healthy green recipes!

2020 Jack’s Generic Triathlon Canceled

18th annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon canceled

Thank you for registering for the 18th annual Jack’s Generic Tri. We have an update concerning this year’s event scheduled for August 23, 2020. Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel the 2020 Jack’s Generic Tri as a result of mandates by local/state governments and the recommended CDC guidelines. And, unfortunately, postponement is not a viable option based on permitting and venue availability.

We know that this news may be disappointing to you. We also understand the hours you have dedicated to training for this race. Please know that this cancellation was made with the safety of the entire community in mind. All registered participants have the option to transfer to another triathlon in the series at no additional cost or request a full refund. Every participant should receive an email with details on how to complete this process. Please fill it out no later than Friday, August 7th. Please allow at least 60 days to process your refunds or transfer requests.

We look forward to seeing you soon! We will continue to post blogs & social media on triathlon, training, and everything you need for a healthy & happy lifestyle.

Complete your transfer/refund

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Jack’s Generic Triathlon, all registered participants can transfer to one of our 2021 triathlons at no cost or request a full refund.

Events that are open to transfer include:

Participants who wish to upgrade distances at the 2021 CapTex Tri or 2021 Kerrville Tri will need to pay the difference in registration for that distance. That request can only be filled after the transfer to the original distance is complete. All participants who do not wish to transfer your registration to next year’s event may request a full refund.

Every participant should receive an email with details on how to complete this process. If you didn’t please check your spam folder. If you still can’t find it, email info@jacksgenerictri.com and we are happy to resend you the link. Please fill out the form and submit by Friday, August 7th. If no action is taken by the deadline you will automatically be transferred to next year’s Jack’s Generic Tri at no cost.

Please keep in mind, all merchandise & USAT Membership purchases will be refunded for the event, regardless of transfer or refund request. Please allow at least 60 days to process your refunds or transfer requests. We appreciate your patience.

Run Austin Virtual Series

Don’t let your training stop just because JGT isn’t happening! Stay motivated with the Run Austin Virtual Run Series! The 6 virtual runs will be introduced at the beginning of each month, have a unique distance, and Austin, Texas-theme.

Participants receive:

  • Personalized, themed bib that can be printed at home
  • Digital finisher medal
  • Online results
  • Downloadable finisher certificate

Register for each event individually or get the entire series, over $100 value, for FREE with registration for the 2021 3M Half Marathon or the 2021 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K!

 

How to Avoid Knee Pain While Training for a Triathlon

Tips to avoid knee pain during tri training

If you experience knee pain during your training, you’ll want to make some changes to the way you train as well as look into what could be causing the pain. The source of the pain can come from any of the three tri disciplines, so you’ll want to pay close attention to when you feel discomfort to address the problem source. While you do not have to stop training, it’s important to ease up on your training intensity and make some adjustments to the way you train to combat the pain and prevent further harm/damage to your knees. Follow these tips to avoid knee pain during your tri training.

What’s the Problem?

Tips to avoid knee pain while training for a triathlon

Knee pain is a common problem we hear about in the world of triathlon because you’re training for two sports known to cause knee pain. Best described as pain felt above, below, or behind the kneecap that is caused by overuse or misuse during specific physical activities. Knee pain is very common for triathletes, but most often stems from the incorrect form while running or cycling.  It can lead to swelling and even grinding or cracking sounds when doing any physical activity, so it’s best to get to the root of the problem before it’s too late.

Train Without the Pain

Swim

Swimming is the lowest impact on your body in a triathlon. For this reason, it’s the safest alternative to turn to when dealing with knee pain. When hitting the pool for a workout, find a swim stroke style that causes the least amount of discomfort in your knees. Swimming is also an excellent way to alleviate current pain and helps you avoid causing any further damage. You can also try focusing on arm-only workouts and use a pull-buoy to avoid making the problem worse.

Bike

Knee pain is typical when riding for extended periods for any athlete. Avoid riding on hilly terrain or unpaved roads to avoid putting too much strain on your knees. Another thing that could be the cause of your knee pain is incorrect bike fit. You can fix this with minor tweaks, like correctly adjusting your saddle height. While this seems minuscule, it impacts your knees much more than you may think. Suppose you are experiencing more pain than usual when out for a ride, this is an indicator to ease up on your training rides. Deal with your current injury to prevent permanent damage.

Run

Typically, running is where athletes feel the most pain and discomfort during training. Running is known to be hard on your joints, but there are ways to reduce this to keep reaching your triathlon goals. An alternative workout for knee pain we recommend is aqua running. If running is especially painful for you, take some time to evaluate your form when you run. Make sure you’re running lightly while maintaining a comfortable stride to avoid heel-striking.  

Try training with a group or with a professional coach who can watch your technique and form to help find the source of your problem. It’s always great to have people looking out for you. Plus, you’ll enjoy getting advice from those more familiar to the sport if you are just starting. 

When in Doubt, Stretch It Out

Tips to avoid knee pain while training for a triathlon stretches

Pain in any joint is attributed to the tightness and strength, or lack-there-of, in the muscles around it. This is why flexibility and mobility are so essential to avoid further knee pain. There are a number of knee-specific stretches you can do. Most athletes find the effects of stretching properly essential to dealing with knee pain during training. These stretches almost instantly alleviate knee pain and can be done in front of the tv, or anywhere you’d like. You can also incorporate yoga for triathletes into your training to work on strengthening the knee while increasing your flexibility.

Take a Break When Needed

If you are experiencing extreme knee pain, take some time off when training to prevent causing permanent damage. While this may be tough or feel counteractive, you’ll thank yourself in the long run (pun intended). Pay attention to your body, and take a break if you need to. With the help of these tips, save yourself the trouble and avoid knee pain from happening down the road.

 

How To Adjust Your Bike To The Perfect Saddle Height

Steps to Achieve Your Perfect Bike Saddle Height

Adjusting your bike to the perfect saddle height is crucial in order to maximize comfort and payoff during your training rides for Jack’s Generic Tri. Incorrect saddle height leads to pain and discomfort during and after your ride. It can also prevent you from improving your performance on the bike. Learn the importance of correct saddle height, and how to adjust your bike to the perfect saddle height with these easy steps.

What is Saddle Height?

Saddle height is measured by the distance between the center of the pedal axle and the top of the saddle, or your bike seat. This is set by adjusting the seat post to your ideal height to balance your comfort and power on the bike. Saddle height is arguably the single most important adjustment on your bicycle. Incorrect saddle height can contribute to discomfort in the saddle, anterior and posterior knee pains, and ultimately limiting how much power you produce.

How To Adjust Your Bike To The Perfect Saddle Height

How To Adjust Your Saddle Height

There are many ways you can approach finding your perfect saddle height. One of the best approaches is to establish it based on the rider’s individual ride characteristics and flexibility. You can follow the “heel to pedal method” before your next ride. This will get you in the ballpark.

  1. Stand next to your bike and raise the saddle to your hip to get an idea of where to start.
  2. Get on your bike, and place your heel on the pedal to determine if you will raise or lower your saddle.
    • If you are having trouble making contact with your heel to your pedal – the seat is too high.
    • If your knee is bent – it is too low.
  3. Put your bike on the trainer and adjust accordingly.
  4. Get back on your bike with your heel on the pedal and pedal backward to reach the six o’clock position.
  5. Your leg should be completely straight, without being overextended to achieve the correct saddle height.

Pro tip: Make very small adjustments during this process, then repeat until you have found the perfect saddle height.

Ready to Ride

Once you find the proper height, use a piece of electrical tape around at the base of the post where it meets the seat clamp as a marker. Take a tape measure and record the measurements at which you think you’ve found your perfect saddle height. This is good to have in case you need to make very slight adjustments in the future.

Have a professional look at your bike every few years to achieve maximum comfort on your bike. After adjusting your bike to the perfect saddle height, make the first few rides short. Give it time!  Your body may need a few sessions to adapt to your new saddle height before you feel yourself improving on your cycling journey. How often do you check your saddle height? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.