Friday, October 12, 2012

Next Season . . . Starts Right NOW!

Most of us have finished our multisport season for 2012.  It's great at the end of the season to take a break and recharge.  After that break it's important to take a look back at the past year and take what lessons are there to be learned.

Not every race went the way we wanted it to.  This commercial from Dick's Sporting Goods spoke to me (probably because my training partner beat me in our last race).  Even if you weren't "defeated" - there's always room for improvement.  Figure out what you need to improve and get started.

Next Season Starts Right Now!

And yes, I'll be taping the results from that race on my refrigerator (because that's where I need to put in less work).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Transition Tips

 Questions about transition set up?  Here's how Coach Rich rolls.  This weekend a significant portion of the Tri For It! family has their first race of the season.  Many of them are experienced triathletes who have their transition set up locked in.  For the others:

Transition Set up:

You don't need a ton of room in transition.  Bike in rack.  Helmet (with glasses inside) set on bike.  Some races want you to put your helmet on before touching your bike - others you just need it on AND BUCKLED before mounting the bike.  Usually I tuck my bag under my rear wheel to conserve space.

Transition gear laid out on either mat or small towel (not a beach towel - some of these racks are packed and no need to hog space).


 I lay out my stuff in the order I need it front to back.  Bike shoes with socks tucked in or laid on top.  Yeah, yeah, lots of elites and elite wannabes race without socks, but I'd rather take 3 seconds to put on socks than limp in with blisters.  One of these days maybe I'll make the leap to sockless, but for now I'm putting on socks.

I generally try to place wetsuit where the bag is located in this picture (unless there's room to hang it on rack).  You want to avoid setting the wetsuit where it will get your running shoes wet.

Running shoes behind bike shoes.  I usually place running cap with race belt, watch and sunglasses tucked inside next to running shoes.  Coming in for T2 off the bike I swap shoes, dump my helmet and cycling glasses, grab the hat and go.  I can put on my running sunglasses, race belt, watch and cap while I'm moving. 

Once I've got my stuff set up and prior to leaving transition I make sure I put on sunscreen, body glide and heart rate monitor.  Where to put the glide you ask?  Any place that your wetsuit rubbed when you practiced in it - because you all practiced in it . . . right!  Back and side of neck and lats are common locations.  You can also put it on your lower legs to help with removing the suit after swimming.

Make sure you have your goggles and cap before leaving. 

No rain in the forecast this weekend but I usually have plastic bags that I can tuck my shoes/gear in (one for bike, one for run) if there's ANY chance for precip.  That way I can at least start each leg with dry gear.  I include a second pair of socks as dry socks feel awesome after a long bike (not really necessary for shorter races). 

Have a great weekend of racing!  This is the fun part. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prevent Workout Interruptis

Triathletes rely on their equipment.  It's what attracts some of us to the sport.  Geeky gps watches, flashy bikes made of exotic materials, bright shoes named after English physicists.   Today my equipment failed.  Worse that that, I failed.  Failed to plan for that failure.

I went to the gym with 1 pair of goggles in my bag.  That's the last time that will happen.  I wouldn't start a training ride without replacement tube, CO2 cartridge and tire wrench.  Now I won't head out for a swim without backup goggles.  I don't think I'll carry this preparation so far as to carry an extra pair of speed laces on a run, but you never know.

Well at least I had a spectacular 267 yard warmup before they failed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Get your new TFI Cycling Jersey

We've put together a new Tri For It! Coaching cycling jersey for 2012.  You can also get a sleeveless jersey or tri top.  We hope you like the design.  $50 gets you a jersey or tri top.  For sizing information check here Champion Size Chart.  Email to get yours soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Courteous Driving

New signage on the TFI support vehicle means I'll have to be driving more courteous.  The tagline about achieving YOUR goals - shares TFI's emphasis on taking each athlete as they come and helping them get to where they want to be.  Want some help achieving YOUR goals?  Start here -

Watch for new TFI cycling jersey design - coming soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

IM Texas 70.3 Brushes with Greatness (or at least fastness)

One of the great things about triathlon is that often it's possible to share the course with the best athletes in the sport.  The pros are often accessible in the days leading up to the race.  Here's TFI athlete OB chatting with Tim O'Donnell two days before the race.  We're not sure which of Coach Rich's coaching pearls OB shared with Tim, but it worked - Tim won on Sunday.
Tim chats with one of the other pros during the prerace press conference.  The other pro came in 7th after getting nipped at the line.  (You may recognize him)  Chris Lieto didn't race, but was hanging around at the tent for his charity More than Sport, visiting with age groupers, raising awareness and funds to fight poverty.  Here he is checking out the press conference.

Tim O'Donnell coming in off the bike trailing Lance.
 Lance came in first off the bike.  They were headed back in on the out and back course as Coach Rich and OB were headed out.

O'Donnell preparing for one of the run courses many hairpin turns.

 Despite trailing the other top pros the camera stayed on Lance for the entire race.

If nothing else, having top pros there gave our "sherpas" something to do while we were riding 56 miles.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Partnership with Xterra Wetsuits

Tri For It! Coaching is stoked (we are talking wetsuits here so stoked seems appropriate) to announce its partnership with Xterra Wetsuits.  As a TFI athlete, friend of TFI (or frankly casual reader of this blog) you can get up to 60% off Xterra Wetsuits.  This includes, my personal favorite, the Vector Pro X2.

I've used this suit for 4 seasons and was blown away by the upper body flexibility.

Follow this link and enter CO-TRIFORIT during checkout. Xterra Wetsuis Coaches Discount

Here I am in my Vector Pro:

On the shores of Lake Couer d'Alene prior to Ironman CDA 2009
(ignore the small guy in the 2xu)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Race Selection Criteria

So how does your 2012 season look?  Most of us are base building,  working on limiters, eyeing the calendar and trying to put together our race schedule.  Early bird registration discounts are expiring soon (those that haven’t already) – now is the time to act.

New races are added to the local triathlon calendar every year.  Good thing too, since so many of the races fill quickly.  It's practically possible to race every weekend in June, July and August (often both days) without leaving the Twin Cities.  Sounds expensive and exhausting.    How to narrow down the choices?


The easiest starting point is proximity to your home.  If you live in Minnetonka, Liberty Triathlon  is more convenient than the Manitou Triatlon held in White Bear Lake the same weekend. The reverse is true if you live in Lake Elmo.

Many triathlons have fostered close relationships with the communities in which they are held.  Let's face it; disrupting traffic (even early on a Sunday) doesn't always make us popular.  Donating over $32,000 like the Turtleman did to community charities in 2010 is one way to keep races going.  It’s nice to know that your race helps others in your own community.

Racing close to home also makes it easier for friends and family to come out and watch you sweat.  They might even get caught up in the energy of the event and give this whole multisport thing a try.  Sweet – more training partners.


Not all sprints are created equally.  The distance of each discipline (swim and bike) can vary greatly from race to race.  The run distance in a sprint is pretty consistent –  around 3 miles.

Not a big fan of swimming in cool water?  The New Bri Tri with its ½ mile swim in early June probably isn’t the sprint for you.  Maybe Minneman’s 1/3 mile swim/walk (the water is shallow for a long way) in late June is a better fit.

Bike distances vary as well – Chisago Lakes Tri has a 22 mile bike for the Sprint. That’s almost twice as far as your typical 13 mile bike in a sprint.

Course Characteristics

One of the great things about Triathlon is that each course has its own unique characteristics.  Lake size varies.  A big lake can lend itself to rough water.  Water quality varies as well – the swim in the Square Lake races in early September is in some of the cleanest, clearest water you can find.  The Twin Cities Triathlon is held in the Mississippi River in St. Paul.  It’s downstream and fast, but not so clear.

Lots of races advertise themselves as “flat and fast” – some are flatter and faster than others.  Other races tout the difficulty of the course profile.  Trinona’s tagline is Battle for the Bluff.

Liberty’s run is on rolling paths with lots of shade (and one climb on woodchips).  Chisago is mostly on roads with less shade (especially the half iron distance).  One Last Tri in Big Marine Park in mid September is run on a mix of paved and unpaved trails.

If you like challenging hills on your ride and run – there’s a course for that.  Hills make you . . . uh, run for the hills?  There’s a course for that.

Look at the race websites, talk to your coach, talk to the staff at your local tri shop, check out race reports at  Course information is out there, you just have to look.


Sometimes you want to build your fitness over the season and finish with your “A” race.  Maybe it’s the first time you’ve tackled an Olympic, a half iron, a full iron.  Having that race cap off your season makes sense.  Although with the Olympic and half distances it is sometimes nice to have 2 of them in case the first one doesn’t go as planned.

Need some late winter/early spring motivation to get in shape?  Schedule a half as early in the season as you can.  Liberty’s ½ in early June fits the bill if you don’t want to travel.  Yes, you’re asking for a lot of quality time in your basement on the trainer, but we should all be there anyhow.


Not all races are priced the same.  Generally as your race gets longer, the price goes up.  Ironman Wisconsin will cost you $625 (normal registration) – that’s assuming you were there the day after the race last year and have already registered.  If not you can purchase a Foundation Registration for $1,250.  Mineapolis Lifetime Tri is probably the next most costly at $149 for either the Sprint or Olympic distance.

This won’t help for 2012, but FrontRunner USA (which puts on New Bri, Square Lake, St. Paul Tri among others) often has a ½ price sale towards the end of the calendar year.

A lot of race organizers offer free registration to one race if you volunteer at one of their other races.  Definitely worth an email.  Volunteering is a fun way to give back to the sport.

Whichever factors are most important to you, now is the time to act.