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Add these 5 Core Exercises to Your Triathlon Training Plan

Triathletes: don’t skip these 5 core exercises

Core exercises are a crucial addition to a triathlete’s training plan. A weak core is detrimental to overall performance. The core represents the muscle groups in the mid-section of your body. These muscles are used to create and transfer force, stabilize the spine, and assist most major movements. The most important advantage of core training is that it doesn’t take much extra time, yet produces substantial results. These 5 core exercises can be done before, during, or after your workout. You could even build them into your rest days. Download the helpful PDF below for a visual reminder of each core exercise. Pro tip: knock them out during your lunch break with these other quick workouts.

Plank and kick

You can plank and kick anywhere!

Planks are good, but adding dynamic movement can strengthen your abdominal muscles. Start in a normal plank on your elbows or hands. Now alternate lifting your legs, 10-15 times each, in the air. Plank exercises help strengthen upper body muscles as well.

Flutter kicks

These are simple core exercises that’ll improve your mid-section and legs. Add these to a circuit workout or before or after your next ride or run. Lie on your back and place your hands behind your head or by your side flat on the ground. Alternate kick your legs slowly, raising them no more than 6 inches off the ground. Keep them straight and don’t let them touch the ground. Do at least 15 for each leg. These will work your leg muscles and abs at the same time.

Side plank rotation

Hold a plank with your elbows in a sideways position, poking out. Bring your right knee to meet your left elbow. Repeat 15 times for each leg/elbow. The side plank rotation is good for increasing strength in your lower back and legs. Add the side plank rotation to these dryland exercises to improve your swim when you can’t get in the water.

Single-leg crunch

These core exercises helps cyclists because it works the lower back, transverse abdomen, and obliques. Lie on a mat face up, extend your left leg out. Bend your right knee, put your right foot flat on the floor, squeeze your belly button toward your spine. Raise your upper back off the mat, lift your left leg, reach your left fingers towards your left toes. Keep your lower back on the mat. Repeat with each side 15 times.

Glute bridge

Strengthening your glutes can reduce the burden on your back and help prevent lower-body injuries. The glute bridge also helps you maintain good cycling and running form. Lie on your back, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle. Place your feet flat on the floor and raise your arms. Press your back to the ground. Contract your glutes and push down with your heels. Now raise your hips to knee height. Repeat 15 times.

A strong core is the best-kept secret for optimal triathlete performance. Core exercises can prevent injury throughout the body and help stabilize your balance. These 5 core exercises don’t take much time, making them easy to add to any triathlon training plan. You could even build them into your workout’s warm-up and cool down.

Triathlon Training After 40: What You Need to Know

Age is just a number; of course you can start triathlon training after 40!

Triathlon involves mastering three sports – swimming, cycling, and running. This makes many people over the age of 40 think that triathlon isn’t for them. But that line of thinking just isn’t true. Triathlon training after 40 is possible and you can do it!

Don’t wait any longer, start your training today with an easy run.

How you train changes as you age. If you’re 40 years or older, then you need to pick a training plan that meets your needs. Focus on strength and endurance training. That’ll give you the foundation you need to get started on your triathlon journey. Many of the world’s top triathletes are over the age of 40. This proves triathlon training after 40 is possible. Below is everything you need to know to jumpstart your training today!

You can complete a triathlon at any time, especially if you start training after 40

The first thing you need to do is to visualize your end result: crossing the finish line. Visualize yourself doing that. This helps remind yourself that you can finish a triathlon. More importantly, it helps you to establish a long-term goal. When you know what you’re long-term goals are, you can set short-term goals that’ll help you get there. Next, choose a particular finish line, like CapTex Triathlon’s downtown Austin one, and register. You have to make the goal a real one. Registering for a triathlon gives you that goal. Now you can incorporate the advice below and begin triathlon training after 40.

  1. Start today

Training is the first step in helping you reach your goals. Instead of using excuses for why you shouldn’t train, find reasons why you should begin. This will help you get the ball rolling and help you follow your plan. When you’re starting out you don’t have to run ten miles the first day.

Wake up earlier and knock your goals out in the morning.

Start small, with a 2-mile run. Tomorrow you can ride your bike for 45 minutes. Next, add in swimming an amount of time that’s comfortable for you. The amounts are up to you, but you have to start. You’ll eventually increase your time and distance. Getting your body used to the training process is a core part of your training, especially if you’re a beginner. Add to your preparation when you know what to expect at your first triathlon.

  1. Follow your training plan

As people age, their muscle mass and bone density become lower than when they were younger. This means that you need to focus on building your strength and endurance if you start triathlon training after 40. Creating and following your training plan helps inform you of what you need to do every day. You’ll gain the motivation you need as well. A triathlon training plan also helps you track your progress. Pro tip: get over your fear of open-water swimming with these 5 tips.

  1. Wake up earlier

Cycling to work is a great workout.

As someone who is training after 40, you may feel as if you don’t have enough time. This isn’t true. There’s plenty of time, you just have to adjust your schedule. For example, wake up one hour earlier for the first few months of training. Now you’ve finished your workout before work. 

Your life is busy with family and friends, work, and hobbies. It’s possible to incorporate training into your everyday life and not sacrifice any of that when you begin training after 40. Cycle to work instead of driving. Knock out your training, increase your bike mileage, and reduce your carbon footprint. Go for runs near your house. Find a swimming pool nearby so you can swim. Finding ways to increase the chance you work out helps you be consistent with your training.

  1. Use the gear you have

When you start training, you may already have the 6 items every beginner triathlete must have. This list includes running shoes, swimming trunks, and a road/mountain bike. Maybe you’ve seen or heard about expensive equipment that can improve your time. You don’t need that in the beginning. Work with what you have so you can begin your triathlon training as soon as possible. As you continue to train, you can slowly upgrade your gear with new equipment.

  1. Join a triathlon group

There are many benefits to joining a triathlon group.

Definitely join a triathlon training group near you. They’ll have veteran triathletes who can offer you great advice like how you can tell if you’re dehydrated. Triathlon training groups also act as a strong motivating force and might have a beginner group you can train with. They also might offer information on training plans, nutrition/hydration advice, and beneficial discounts. Those discounts could help you save money. Most importantly, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who can act as a strong motivating force.

Triathlon training after 40 is a rewarding experience. You’ll try something new and improve your health. Who knows, you just might meet your goals this year! Remember, age is just a number. Learn how this Rookie Triathlon Ambassador began training at the young age of 52!

Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down

Warm-Up and Cool Down: The Basics

We know that each workout should start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down, but more often than not, athletes tend to skip one or both. Especially when pressed for time. Not incorporating a warm-up and cool-down into your training can be detrimental to your overall performance when it comes time for race day. While also puts you at the disadvantage of a much higher risk of injury. Just like giving your car time to warm up before cruising at 65 mph, your body needs this time to get in a higher gear for more intense workouts or fitness activities. Keep reading to know the importance of warming up and cooling down during your CapTex Tri training.

Why You Should Warm-Up

A warm-up before a training session or race is essential for preparing your body and mind for a workout session. The main point of a warm-up is to increase your body core temperature and muscles. Warming up will not only help you to perform better, but it will also protect your body from injury. A good warm-up gets your blood flowing and gives you a chance to get energized for the rest of your session. It also helps increase the range of motion to your joints and muscles, which should allow your muscles to feel less stressed and stiff when you start. A dynamic warmup should aim to increase blood flow to the areas which will be working and to wake up the nervous system throughout the body.

A guideline to a general warm-up routine would include:

Jogging, biking, etc. for about 5 minutes to just get your blood flowing and get those muscles and joints moving. You want to work at a comfortable pace that’s easy to moderate. For the bike, a good warm-up should consist of five to 10 minutes of easy spinning, and then slowly increasing to the gear you wish to complete your session in. This really helps “open up” your body before getting into the more strenuous part of your workout.

Why You Should Cool-Down

Don’t come to an abrupt stop when completing your exercise, especially if it has been high intensity. Instead, you should cool-down by exercising at a lower intensity than the main session to bring your body temp and heart rate back down to pre-exercise levels. The cool-down should last around five to 10 minutes no matter what discipline you are training for that day. Cooling down helps to gradually decrease your heart rate and get rid of the metabolic waste from your muscles.
Mentally, cooling down also allows you some space to reflect on your performance and gives you some time to set you up for the rest of the day. Don’t underestimate the importance of this! Pro tip: Add some stretches to your cool down while your muscles are warmed up for one of the best ways to improve your overall flexibility and mobility while also reducing post-workout pain.

Bottom Line

Group Warming Up and Cooling DownAdding a warm-up and cool down into your fitness routine is a simple, yet proven way to maximize your benefits when working out. The warm-up gives your body a chance to prepare for your session while the cool-down then helps you focus on slowing your breathing and return to your normal heart rate. Rather than seeing it as an optional part of your workout, think of warming up and cooling down as part of your session to get the most out of all the hard work you’ve put in!

Beat the Heat: Tips for Training this Summer

Summer is setting in, take precautions when adjusting to training in the heat.

Even with the occasional summer thunderstorms, temperatures in Central Texas consistently hit the mid-90s. High temperatures won’t keep you from training, so you need to make some adjustments. Training in the heat does have some benefits, but being smart and altering your schedule/plan will help uphold your training regimen, and continue without any bumps. Incorporate these 5 tips for training in the heat to be prepared for the Virtual CapTex Tri, or your next race.

Ease Into It

Give yourself some time to get used to the temperature adjustment. Although some athletes have less trouble adapting to training in warmer temps, that may not be the case for you. If you know you struggle with adapting to training in the heat, it’s important to take baby steps. At first, shorten your runs or rides as you adapt to handle the heat. Then, work your way up to the distance you are training for.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body better than anyone. Paying attention to the way you feel while out on a run or ride is the first thing to do in establishing a baseline for keeping you cool as the temperatures soar during your training.  Early signs and symptoms of heat illness include fatigue, discomfort, lightheadedness, disorientation, and nausea. This will be your indicator of how you need to adjust the following in order to keep up with your tri training during these hot upcoming summer months.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Hydrating on the CapTex Tri course!

Hydrating on the CapTex Tri course!

This is the most obvious and most over-looked tip for training in the heat. You know to hydrate in the summer months, but you don’t always do it. Perhaps you get caught up and forget during your day-to-day schedule. Even if you are hydrating, it may not be enough. It’s recommended that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. In the summer months that should increase, especially when training in the heat. Your body is losing fluids and you need to make it a priority to replace them. Don’t just drink water either, incorporate an electrolyte-enhanced drink.  Alternate between water and electrolytes. If you’re training in the heat you should aim for no less than 100 ounces of water/electrolytes every day. So start early, and drink up!

Train in the mornings/evenings

It’s no secret that the hottest part of the day is noon – 5:00 p.m. If you can avoid training during that timeframe – do it!  Your training should occur earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings during the summer months. Training early in the morning before work is your best bet. That’s the coolest part of the day. For those of you who love your sleep, try to move your workouts to an evening time like 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. It’ll be warm, just not as hot as midday. Bonus – without the sun angled directly over you like it would be in the middle of the day, there will be more shade on your run or ride.

Dress to Sweat

Runner in light-colored clothes to prevent over heating

Wear light, breathable clothing to combat the heat!

You’re going to sweat, so aim to wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training. Darker colored clothing attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat. Cotton shirts and shorts absorb and carry sweat, and can weigh you down. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training in the heat. The lighter colors will reflect the sunlight and not absorb as much heat. The same goes for breathable clothing. The fabric is less absorbant so you’ll wick away sweat and prevent your clothes from weighing you down. This allows your body to stay cool and work more efficiently.

Run/bike on the Trails

Hit the trails! The pavement’s temperature can soar as high as 140 degrees when you’re running or cycling. This heat can last well into the evening. Visit some of the many local trails for your next run or ride. The shade from the trees helps keep the temperatures down. There’s often little-to-no vehicle traffic. The ground is softer than the hot concrete. Often times there’s a creek or river nearby that you can jump in if needed. Check out some favorite shaded spots to train from Jack’s Generic Tri. Bonus – the trails will make you a better runner/cyclist!

As you can see, there are many ways to beat the summer heat and stay in shape. Use these tips to stay cool this summer and continue to tackle your triathlon goals.