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How to Transition from the Pool to Open-Water Swimming

Grow as a swimmer when you transition from the pool to open-water swimming

The thought of swimming in open water can cause anxiety and feel overwhelming if you’re used to the clear waters of a pool. But don’t worry! It’s not as daunting as it seems. Transitioning to open-water swimming can be done easily by following some helpful tips. If you want to become comfortable or get more comfortable with open-water-swimming, then you must swim in open waters regularly. Take note, all but one of our tips can be done in the pool! Get started today with our advice and you’ll become more and more comfortable with open-water swimming over time.

6 ways to become more comfortable with open-water swimming

1) Keep your eyes closed

Open water won’t have the helpful black lines.

While swimming in the pool, keep your eyes closed for several strokes. Increase the number of strokes as you become more comfortable. This will help you get a feel for swimming straight without needing to use the black line at the bottom of the pool as a reference. You still want to wear your swim goggles at all times in the pool and in open water. Make sure you have swim goggles that fit you best and are helpful in both environments.

2) Start fast

When you swim in open water, you need to make a quick start. This helps participants get their position right and then settle down. While in the pool, start quickly and then settle down to a pace that suits you. Practice this regularly so your body becomes more familiar with this approach.

3) Practice sighting

Practice sighting in the pool so you become familiar with it.

Sighting means you focus on something far away while open-water swimming. Focusing on that will help keep you from veering off course. To practice sighting, you need to synchronize looking ahead with your stroke and breathing. Look at a target at the end of the lane, swim for two strokes, look at your target, repeat. Gradually, increase the number of strokes. This will help you become more comfortable with sighting in open water and keep you on course. Don’t swim extra if you don’t have to!

4) Learn to be efficient

In order to be an efficient swimmer, you need to reduce your stroke count for each lap. Sighting will help you become more efficient too. It takes fewer strokes and less energy if you swim in a straight line versus zig-zagging in the water. Taking in the right amount of oxygen when you breathe can help you become efficient too. Keep your form the same as often as you can so you don’t over-extend yourself and feel like you have to play catch up.

5) Wear your wetsuit

Become familiar with your wetsuit before your event.

If you plan to wear a wetsuit during your event, you need to become familiar with it before race day. If you do this in the pool, know that the chlorine can be harmful to your wetsuit. Wearing it before your race allows you to gauge the buoyancy of the wetsuit and its impact on your form and stroke. Follow this helpful advice to care for your wetsuit and get the most use out of it.

6) Swim in open water

This would be a great time to get familiar with your wetsuit! Find a lake or other body of water to practice open-water swimming. Doing this before race day will help you prepare for what you’ll experience on race day. This is where all the work you’ve done in the pool gets used. You won’t have a black line to guide you, so sighting will be imperative so you can swim efficiently. 

Practice swimming in open water before race day.

This advice will be beneficial in helping you transition from the familiarity of the pool to the uncertainty of open-water swimming. As you practice in the pool, find what works for you and stick with it. Repetition in the pool is what will help you when you need it during your event. This Rookie Tri blog has some additional helpful advice to help you get over your fear of open-water swimming. Ask other triathletes for their tips and advice. Who knows, something they do might be useful for you. 

Home Gym: The 6 Items You Need to Get Started

Beginner’s Guide to Cycling: Triathlon Edition

Become more comfortable on the bike with this Beginner’s Guide to Cycling

Cycling is the second leg of triathlon. There are several ways for you to become more comfortable and efficient on the bike. Casual bike riding is much different than cycling during a triathlon. Read this Beginner’s Guide to Cycling to become more familiar with what you need to know and expect. This advice will help you now and set you up for success on race day!

Understand your bike

James will tell you all you need to know about your bike.

As a first-time triathlete, you must know the ins-and-outs of your bike. This is an essential part of your training. Knowing what your bike can and cannot do is critical to your training and racing. You’ll want to understand how the gears work, get a feel for the brakes, and practice mounting/dismounting and drinking on the bike. Contact a trusted bike mechanic, like James Balentine with Velofix, for a more in-depth review of your ride and to make sure it’s ready to go. The brand that built your bike might have helpful videos to watch on their website or YouTube.

What to wear

It might make sense to wear cycling shorts on race day since you have to ride a bike during the triathlon. However, keep in mind those are designed specifically for cycling and cycling only. They’re good for training and long rides, but triathlon shorts are designed for race day and brick workouts. The fabric dries quickly which would result in less chafing. 

The helmet you wear should snuggly fit your head. You don’t want it so tight that it hurts, but you don’t want it to be loose either. Consider wearing a pair of sunglasses during training and race day. They will protect your eyes and cut down on the sun’s glare.

Know the rules

You should always wear sunglasses when you ride. Credit – Ed Sparks

Jack’s Generic Triathlon is a USAT-sanctioned event and abides by its rules. Did you know if you don’t wear your helmet when you’re supposed to, the officials can disqualify you? When you get to transition after the swim, make sure you put your helmet on and buckle the helmet strap before you touch your bike. Similarly, after you complete the ride, make sure you rack your bike before you remove the helmet.

You should also know the rules about drafting and passing. These rules are set in place to keep you and other cyclists safe. Drafting is when you use the slipstream of another rider to reduce how much energy you use. Make sure you maintain an adequate distance away from your opponents until you’re ready to pass them.

Reference this Beginner’s Guide to Cycling as much as you need. The more familiar you become the better. You’ll improve as a cyclist and make the roads a safer place. Add to your cycling knowledge and become familiar with these cycling rules of the road.

2021 Jack’s Generic Triathlon Opens Registration

2021 Jack’s Generic Triathlon plans for 18th anniversary

Registration is open for 2021 Jack’s Generic Triathlon, also known as JGT. It’s one of the longest-standing triathlons in Central Texas. It will celebrate its 18th anniversary at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. JGT is produced by High Five Events. The event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 29, 2021. Participants can take advantage of Special Launch Pricing for a limited time: $89 for the sprint and aquabike and $149 for 2-3-person team relays.

“Jack’s Generic Tri was created with the triathlete in mind, but don’t let the word generic trick you,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “JGT’s race-day experience is top-notch and a major reason why it’s one of the oldest and most respected triathlons in Central Texas.”

One of the longest-standing triathlons in Central Texas

Jack’s Generic Tri has two divisions – Open Division and Age Group. Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Everyone else starts the swim in their division based on their age group, with two participants entering the water every few seconds in a time trial start. The top 3 in each age group will receive an additional award. Age-group awards are given in five-year increments. Jack’s Generic Tri also awards the top athletes in the Athena and Clydesdale categories, aquabike, and relay categories.

Jacks’ Generic Tri consists of a 600m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a 5K run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Participants will receive a custom 2021 participant tank, finisher medal, water bottle, and swim cap. After the race, everyone can enjoy the beer garden (21+), post-race food, and the signature finisher festival. Jack’s Generic Tri is a USAT-sanction event and provides professional timing and professional photography. A great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators make race day memorable for everyone involved. 

Go virtual

Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through JGT’s $40 Virtual Challenge. Participants can complete the distances on their own time at their preferred locations. Virtual challenge participants will have until September 19th to complete the distances and submit their results.

As part of the updated policies for 2021, JGT will offer free deferral to participants if a government entity issues a ban on mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic that would prevent this event from occurring.

Get Faster on Your Run with these Tips

Follow these tips to see improvement and get faster on your run

Whether you’re new to triathlon or a seasoned veteran, you will eventually want to get faster on the run. Improving the run is one way to shave minutes off your overall time! You’ll have to put in the work though. It takes hard work and dedication to increase your speed. Below are 6 different ways to help you get faster and chase those PRs. The more of these tips you integrate, the better. 

Interval training

Keep track of your time during interval workouts to maximize your workout.

This type of training includes periods of high and low intensity running. High-intensity interval involves running faster than your everyday pace. Interval training revamps the efficiency of the oxygen delivered to your body. This will help increase your speed and efficiency. The goal is to make small, incremental increases in speed over time. Try the workout below and adjust as needed.

  • Jog for three minutes at regular pace
  • Sprint for one minute
  • Repeat this cycle four more times

Pro tip: don’t skip your workouts when you use these 4 excuse busters.

Run hill repeats

These might be difficult at first, but they’re worth it. Running hills is a form of resistance training.  Look for a hill that takes you about two minutes to ascend. Run at a steady but hard effort on the way up and easy jog back down to recover. Your body will work harder, but this is a chance to work on controlling your breathing. Focus on your recovery on the downhill. Engage your core and regain control of your breathing on the way down. With hill training, you’ll increase your muscle strength, especially your glutes and calves. Those are the muscles needed to sprint across the finish line! Avoid knee pain when you run when you incorporate these tips.

Add strength training

Pushups are a great workout if you don’t have weights at home.

How you increase your speed is not just about running. You need to keep yourself active and functioning. Strength training involves exercises that improve strength and endurance. It typically involves the use of weights, but can take a variety of different forms such as bodyweight workout. Start with lighter weights gradually work your way up. If you don’t have weights at home you can still complete a workout. Incorporate pushups, dips, situps, lunges, squats, and any other exercise that uses your body’s weight.

Be steady and focused

Things take time, so don’t get off track. You won’t achieve your big goal overnight. Set up smaller, weekly goals along the way. Take it easy on yourself. Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and steady builds speed! Take challenges and try running faster than the day before. Be just as focused on your recovery as you are about getting faster on your run. Learn about the benefits of an ice bath and how it can help with your recovery process.

Try yoga

Yoga can improve your breathing, flexibility, and core strength.

Yoga has extensive benefits beyond our imagination. Add yoga to your daily or weekly training plan and you won’t be disappointed. A study showed that twice-weekly yoga sessions increase flexibility in the joints and improve the balance of your body. Deep breathing associated with yoga will also help you consume oxygen more efficiently when completing more strenuous workouts. Get started with these 5 yoga poses for triathletes.

Eat right

Eating right is crucial. Optimal fueling gives your body what it needs to improve. Plus, by eating healthier you could lose some weight and develop lean muscle. Don’t forget to hydrate!

These are some of the most tried and valued running techniques. Everyone has their unique ways to get faster on the run, so make sure you do what’s best for you. Listen to your body and don’t get too harsh on yourself. Just like training for the finish line, getting faster on your run takes time.

4 Effective Foam Rolling Tips

Recover from your workout faster with these foam rolling tips

A foam roller helps with myofascial release. Foam rolling can loosen your muscles before a workout. It can also help your body recover after a workout. The benefits of using a foam roller include: relieves soreness, helps with tight muscles, and increases flexibility.  These are the three most common issues triathletes want resolved so they can begin the recovery process and get ready for their next workout. Here are four foam rolling tips that’ll help you recover faster and be ready for your next workout. Pro tip: make sure you’re recovering effectively when you avoid these foam rolling mistakes.

4 foam rolling tips

  1. Be consistent

Consistency is key when foam rolling, just like your training.

All people who have engaged in any physical activity know consistency is key. The same is the case with taking care of your body. Foam rolling is no different. Create a plan of action, just like your training, and make foam rolling a part of your routine. This is especially true when you factor in what you ask of your body after swimming, cycling, and running. Effective recovery is just as vital as your training. Build it in before and after workouts and eventually it’ll become a part of your training plan. Track all of your training progress, including foam rolling, with one of these training apps.

  1. Focus on muscles used in workout

Foam rolling before workouts increases circulation and flexibility. It also loosens your muscles. When you foam roll afterward, it begins your body’s recovery process. Focus on sore and tight muscles, especially if they were heavily used. Foam rolling can have similar effects to a good massage. Pro tip: learn why you should add strength training to your overall plan. Don’t forget to foam roll!

  1. Roll slowly

Whatever foam roller you use, make sure you stay relaxed and roll slowly.

Don’t roll too fast is the basic mantra for foam rolling. Rolling too fast can be harmful and ineffective. Roll slow enough for the affected muscles to feel the roller and relax. Roll slowly and intentionally over specific muscles that are feeling sore. If you have a spot that is tight, spend some extra time trying to loosen the muscle. 

  1. Take deep breaths

A combination of foam rolling and deep breathing can do wonders for your blood’s circulation. Taking deep breaths can help you remain calm and relaxed. It also helps increase the circulation of blood throughout your body, pumping fresh blood to the muscles that need it most. Deep breathing can also relieve anxiety and help manage stress. 

These proven foam rolling tips will help you get the best results and expedite the recovery process. You’ll be ready to crush your next workout. Just don’t forget to foam roll before and after!

Learn How to Find Swim Goggles That Fit You Best

Everything you need to know about finding swim goggles that fit you best

A good pair of goggles is an essential item for swimming. They can make or break your swim at your big race or during your training. That’s why it’s important to find a pair of swim goggles that fit you and your needs. Durability, fit, comfort, clarity, and adjustability are qualities you should look for before purchasing a new pair of swim goggles. Different kinds of goggles provide better protection, benefits, and effectiveness depending on the type of swimming you’re doing. Find the swim goggles that fit you best with our recommendations and links below! Pro tip: if you’re just starting out keep these beginner swimming tips in mind.

Here are a few things to keep in mind

Size matters

Swimmer swimming towards the water exit at Jack's Generic Triathlon. It's important to ensure you have swim goggles that fit.

Swim goggles that fit will keep them from falling off during your swim. Credit – Ed Sparks

The most notable difference between pool goggles and tri or open water goggles is that tri goggles are bigger. They provide a wider range of vision. This feature is critical to maximize your field of vision and properly sight while looking for other athletes, buoys, and the almighty swim finish line. The same pair of goggles often come in different sizes. Make sure you get the pair that best fits you without compromising your sight. Correct fit is critical to how well the goggles will seal around your eyes and keep the water out.

Pay attention to tint

Style may be important, but you don’t want to compromise style for function. Tinted goggles may appeal to you more, but if you’re doing an open water race on an overcast day or if the water is muddy, heavily tinted goggles would hinder your vision during the swim. Plus, if you’re new to open water swimming, limiting your already hindered vision may be intimidating for most swimmers. Once you find the swim goggles that fit you best, it is a great idea to get a few pairs with different tint levels. Have it all in your swim bag so that you are ready for any situation.  

Polarized lens

These are a must for a sunny, open water swim. A polarized lens will reduce glare off the water from the sun and allow you to see more clearly. Many goggles come in both regular and polarized lenses. You should consider getting both. Use the regular lens for training and the polarized lens for races. 

UV protection

You protect your eyes during every other portion of triathlon. The swim is no exception. Typically most goggles have this feature, but make sure you look for a pair with UV protection to prevent any damage to your eyes. The sun’s rays reflect off the water and make it hard to see. Goggles with UV protection will shield your eyes from any damage. They will keep your vision manageable on sunny training or race days.

Train in the goggles you will race in

This is the best way to avoid any race-morning mishaps from keeping you from performing your best on race day. Adjust your goggles to the exact tightness you’re comfortable with to avoid your goggles from filling up with water or even falling off mid-race.

Top 5 triathlon goggle recommendations

Roka R1 Goggles

  • Patented design for greater field of view
  • UV, anti-scratch, and anti-fog coating
  • Flat silicone head strap with locking adjustment clip

Speedo Socket 2.0 Mirrored Goggles

New Wave Fusion 2.0 Swim Goggles

  • Low-profile design with streamlined shape
  • Soft, durable silicone double head straps
  • Four nosepiece options to fit all swimmers

Aqua Sphere Kayenne Polarized Lens Swim Goggles

  • Polarized lens reduces glare and increases contrast
  • Oversized lens for great visibility
  • Anti-fog and UV lens treatment for long-lasting clarity

AqtivAqua DX Wide View Swim Goggles

Now you have all the information you need to find the swim goggles that fit you best! Is a wetsuit next on your list? Make sure you know what to look for when choosing a wetsuit.

Why It’s Important to Wear Sunglasses When Riding

Protect your eyes and wear sunglasses when riding

In addition to looking cool, there are other benefits when you wear sunglasses when riding. This applies to running, hanging at the beach, driving a car, and especially riding your bike. If you have some sweet specs that make you look cool, all the better! We recommend the UA Igniter II Sunglasses by Under Armour. Learn why it’s beneficial to wear sunglasses when riding. Pro tip: follow our advice and don’t forget about protecting your skin!

Protection

Dust and debris

You will encounter visible and non-visible projectiles whether you’re riding the trails or commuting to work. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from flying debris might be the most important reason. Flying debris doesn’t care if you’re riding solo or with a group. Cars kick up rocks, bugs are everywhere, even other cyclists can kick up debris on the side of the road. Dust is everywhere. It’s often stirred up by cars, other riders, or Mother Nature. Glasses won’t protect you from all the dust, but it’ll surely help. Your shades are going to get dirty. Make sure you clean them after every ride.

UV exposure

Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun will have negative consequences on your vision. Protecting your eyes is critical to the short-term, and in this case, the long-term health of your eyes. Make sure your lenses are polarized and have a coating that absorbs the sun’s rays. Lenses also need to be a neutral color, not crazy tints and extreme colors. Your goal is to protect your eyes while replicating what your eyes see naturally.

Safety

A clearer view

The correct lenses will help clear your view when cycling. Cyclists have a large amount of information to process when riding. You’re watching for vehicles, intersections, signaling turns, avoiding potholes, tracking other cyclists and runners, the list goes on. Any time you can eliminate distractions you free up the ability to pay attention and process more information. Proper lenses will also help reduce the sun’s glare. Glare could shine in your eyes from street signs, windows on buildings, or the hoods of cars. Proper fitting sunglasses will also reduce the amount of wind that hits your eyes. Wind alone can cause dryness and irritation when riding.

Next time you’re on the road, grab a pair of sunglasses for your ride. Even a cheap pair will provide protection until you can get a pair that you’ll love. Taking care of your eyes now will pay dividends down the road. Make sure you’re comfortable during your ride so you can keep your eyes on the road. If you’re uncomfortable you might need to adjust your saddle height. Just a few millimeters can make all the difference!

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!

How to Defeat the 4 Most Common Excuses for Skipping Your Workout

No more excuses, it’s time to get your workout on!

We’ve all been there. We have the best intentions of following a workout routine, but sometimes life gets in the way. Next thing you know, we’re skipping more workouts than we should. There’s good news, you’re not alone!  Below are four solutions to the most common excuses for skipping workouts.

What’s Your Excuse?

1. You’re Too Tired

Taking time off when you’re tired is essential, but it may not be the best solution when it comes to skipping workouts. Sometimes pushing through a workout is the perfect way to get the boost of energy you need. Exercise increases blood flow and the release of serotonin and dopamine. All of which will help make you feel better. 

Solution: Maybe your regular workout is not ideal if you’re tired. Try less-intense exercise such as yoga or walking. They can be just as beneficial. You’re getting outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, and increasing your blood flow.

2. Gym Memberships Are Expensive

While gyms might be useful for strength workouts, it’s no secret that some memberships can be expensive. However, there’s an easy way to defeat this excuse and still increase your strength.

Solution: Get some basic equipment and create your gym at home. Start with a couple of dumbbells and resistance bands and slowly expand from there. Mix it up and find some online workouts for free to try at home. You can expand your gym from there. Additionally, you don’t need a membership to run or ride your bike and most city pools only charge a small fee.

3. Not Enough Time

Life can be crazy sometimes. When we look at our packed schedules, we might think the last thing we have time for is a workout. Try this, instead of finding time to work out, make time to workout.

Solution: You don’t need to work out for an entire hour to get the benefits from exercise. Sometimes 30 minutes can be enough. Try waking up 30 minutes early to exercise. Take some time off during your lunch break to ride your bike. You can also multi-task. For example, why not try out some body-weight exercises while you binge-watch your favorite series? If you have kids at home that might prevent you from working out, make it fun, and get them involved in your routine. Schedule family walks/runs/bike rides around the neighborhood.

4. Just Not Motivated

Sometimes improving our health or getting a PR in our next race is not enough motivation to help us stick to a workout routine and save the excuses.

Solution: Set smaller, short-term goals that are realistic and achievable. While setting big goals is important, it might take a long time to accomplish them. You might become unmotivated over time. For some people, having someone else to exercise with can be very motivating. Finding yourself an accountability partner can be helpful. Lastly, doing something that is not fun is definitely not going to be motivating, so find a type of exercise that is fun for you! 

How to Defeat the 4 Most Common Excuses for Skipping Your Workout

It’s Go Time!

Whether it is a lack of time or motivation, we’ve all made some excuse to skip a workout here and there. The good news is that there is always a way to defeat our excuses. No more slacking off with these four solutions for skipping workouts. For extra motivation, join us on Facebook for a great place to share training tips, advice, and keep up with your fellow triathletes!