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Understanding Triathlon Suits: One-Piece or Two-Piece

Understanding Tri Suits. Which one is right for you?

A tri suit is a garment designed specifically for triathletes to be worn during the swim, bike, and run. They are made of a swimsuit-like material that dries quickly during your transition to the bike. They also make riding more comfortable with built-in pads that you won’t even notice during the run. Most importantly, the suit allows for a total range of movement so you can wear the suit for the entire tri. A tri suit is an element of the basic triathlon gear you need, so keep reading to understand the differences between a one-piece and two-piece tri suit.

Two-Piece Tri Suit

Rookie Triathlete wearing a two-piece tri suit

Rookie Triathlete, Laura Gomez, wearing a two-piece tri suit on the run course.

A two-piece tri suit is a set of tri shorts and a tri top. Some athletes prefer a two-piece because they offer a few advantages. For example, a two-piece is less likely to restrict your range of motion from being too tight on your shoulders and allow for natural movement. The two-piece suit also tends to feel cooler than a one-piece, due to the fact your mid-drift can be exposed. A two-piece suit is also great for athletes who may require different sized clothing for the upper and lower parts of your body.

One drawback is the two-piece can be less aerodynamic during the bike portion if the suit bunches up. Leaning too far forward on your bike can also cause the back of your tri top to rise up and lead to exposed skin. This is not ideal to protect your skin if you were to fall on the bike course or raise the risk of getting a sunburn.

One-Piece Tri-Suit

Triathlete wearing a one-piece tri suit

Running into T1 in a one-piece tri suit!

One-piece tri suits are more commonly preferred by most athletes for simplicity. A one-piece suit typically has some compression built-in, making the suit more aerodynamic for athletes who opt for a one-piece. Women who wear one-piece suits claim that it’s more flattering on their figure than a two-piece. Athletes also say there’s less chafing with a one-piece because there are fewer seams in the suit.

One drawback of a one-piece suit is the material the suit is made of can cause you to feel warmer throughout the race. This is important to take this into account depending on which tri distance you complete and what time of year your race takes place. Lastly, a one-piece suit is a better option if you will be wearing a wet suit during your race.

At the end of the day, comfort is most important when choosing the best tri suit for you. Hopefully, now you have the knowledge and tools you need to get yourself the perfect suit for your upcoming tri!

17 Triathlon Terms Every Triathlete Needs to Know

New to the sport or a seasoned triathlete with many races under your belt, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete should know

From training terms to lingo you’ll hear out at the race site, the world of triathlon truly does have a language of its own. In honor of this year marking the 17th time we celebrate triathletes of all skill levels coming together at The Rookie Tri, here are 17 triathlon terms every triathlete needs to know that will have you graduating from a novice triathlete to a pro in no time.

  1. Aid Stations – Strategically located stations to help you replenish during the race. They usually have water, hydration drinks, and depending on the distance, can also have gels or chews. See where the run course aid station is located at The Rookie Tri.

    Athlete getting body marked on race morning of Rookie Tri

    Rookie Tri athlete getting body marked on race morning.

  2. Body Marking – In a race, you will be required to wear your race number on your body, the upper arm, and the back of the lower leg. Before a race, there will be designated “Body Markers,” volunteers who write your race number on your body with either a permanent marker or applying a temporary tattoo peel-off number.
  3. Brick – back-to-back workouts of the tri disciplines. Traditionally, a bike and run, smushed together like on race day. But it can really be any combination of two of the disciplines.
  4. Cadence – Also, known as RPM, or revolutions per minute, cadence means the rhythm of your swim stroke, bike pedal stroke, or run turnover as your feet hit the ground. Measured in “revolutions” per minute.
  5. Derailleur – A system on a mountain bike, road bike or triathlon bike made of up sprockets and a chain with a method to move the chain from one to the other to cause the shifting of gears.
  6. DNF – Acronym for “Did Not Finish” (the race).

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake

    Perfecting the dolphin dive into Decker Lake.

  7. Dolphin Dive – a way to enter the water in a swim start where the water is shallow in order to start swimming right away.
  8. Fartlek – The definition of the Swedish word Fartlek is ‘speed play’ in English. Involves training at different paces and speeds within one training session and can be applied to all three triathlon disciplines; swimming, cycling and running.
  9. Ladder – an interval workout with progressively increasing then decreasing distances at each interval. For example, run fast for 400m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 1200m, jog for 200m, run for 800m, jog for 200m, run for 400m, jog for 200m. (BeginnerTriathlete.com)
  10. Open Water Swim (OWS) – swimming in a natural body of water (lake, river, ocean, bay)
  11. Podium – the first 3 competitors in each age group. I “podium’d”. Boom!
  12. PR – Acronym for “personal record.”
  13. Race Number Belt – A belt where you can attach your race number. This is helpful for putting on your number after the swim. You clip the belt around your waist with your number to the back (on the bike), and then when you run, you rotate your number to the front.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line.

    Professional timing gives you accurate results as soon as you cross the finish line!

  14. Taper – The period of time before a race where you slow down the frequency and intensity of the workouts in order to give your body time to recover and rest before the event.
  15. Timing Chip – Usually handed out in race packets and is to be worn around your ankle during your tri. When you pass over certain points during a race, the timing chip registers your time for the official race results.
  16. Transition – Two time periods within a triathlon. T1 is the period of time between the swim and bike; T2 is the period of time between the bike and the run. Transition is also the physical area in the race where you will transition from one sport to another.
  17. Wetsuit “Legal” – a triathlon where the water is cold enough to wear a wetsuit, as often set forth in the USAT rules.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the most common, essential triathlon terms used by athletes. Try them out during your Rooke Tri training and you’ll be ready to chat with the pros!

‘Tis The Season For New Running Shoes

Out with the old, in with the new. Separating with your trusty pair of running shoes can be traumatic. You have covered lots of ground together and they have always been there for you. Sadly there is a time when you will need to retire them and bring in the new guy. Below are some tips on when you know it is time to retire, and how to break in your new shoes for many more miles of running bliss.

How to Test Your Old Running Shoes

Count Your Miles

Typical running shoes have a lifespan of around 300-500 miles, while some lightweight shoes have as little as 250-300 miles.

Keep track of when you start putting miles on a pair of shoes so you can be on the lookout for changes in foot strike and any pains that may be associated with worn-out shoes.

Visual Checks

When shoes are wearing out sometimes, the insoles will become loose. This can cause rubbing and blisters and is also a sign that your foot is slipping around inside the shoe.

The tread on the bottom. Look at the bottom of your shoe for a wear pattern. See spots that are wearing down? While this is not a for sure sign to replace it is a good gauge of life left in the shoe. Obviously, if there is a hole in the bottom – it is time to replace.

The top. A hole here or there is fine but if your big toe is sticking out feeling the breeze, consider that pair a goner.

Tired Legs

This one can be hard, because whose legs are not tired after a long run? But having your legs feel more tired than usual maybe more on your shoes than on you. Take this as a sign to buy new running shoes and start breaking them in so that you do not find your self with time in between.

Breaking In New ShoesCheck your running shoes to make sure your pair is still in good shape

Give Them Time

Plan some time to break in your new shoes. They are not going to be ready to go out of the box.

Date Them

In a place where it will not rub off, write with a permanent marker the date you start running in your shoes.

Wear Thick Socks

Wearing an extra pair or thicker socks can help break in the shoe from being stiff.

Short and Sweet

Keep your first runs under 6 miles. Remember, if you feel any discomfort shut down the run. It’s not worth risking a long-term injury by running in shoes that are not ready.

Have a Race Day Pair Ready

Buy a new pair of shoes 3 or 4 long runs out from race day. Break them in and then box them up. You will rest easy knowing that you have a pair of shoes that will be run-ready on race day of Rookie Tri!

Don’t let old running shoes be the cause of your pain during your tri training, use this guide next time you give your running shoes a check-up to know when it’s time for a new pair! It’s possible that the shoes you’re wearing are not the source of the pain you’re experiencing. It may be that you could need some European orthotic shoes, boots and other footwear to support and protect your feet by distributing pressures evenly over your feet, providing additional cushioning and accommodating your unique foot shape. It’s something to think about next to you take your shoes off and experience pain.

5 Most Common Misconceptions About Triathlons

If you’re new to triathlons or can’t decide if you want to participate in one, it’s probably because you have some questions. We’re here to debunk the 5 most common misconceptions about triathlons.

With all the craziness of everyday life, adding training for a triathlon can seem nearly impossible. Whether you don’t have the time, resources, or you doubt your abilities to complete a triathlon, we are here to show you that you can do it by telling you the 5 most common misconceptions about triathlons!

It’s Too Expensive

The great thing about your first triathlon is you probably already have all the gear you would need! Let’s start with the basics. A swimsuit and goggles are all you need for the swim portion. We will provide you with a swim cap based on your age group and/or division. You may think you need an expensive racing bike, but any bike that will get you from A to B is just fine! If you don’t have a bike, that’s okay too – you can rent one or borrow one from a friend. Top it off with any bike helmet and you’re all set! For the run, all you’ll need a pair of tennis shoes, which hopefully you already have. And that’s it! You’re ready to tri. Pro tip: get yourself an affordable tri suit to wear from start to finish, to skip any clothing or gear changes during the race.

Running along the Rookie Tri run courseTraining Takes too Much Time

A sprint distance tri does not require as much training as you may think. Depending on your current swimming, cycling, and running abilities, you will know what areas you need to focus more time training on. With that being said, you can train as little as 3 to 5 workouts a week (2 swims, 2 bikes, 1 run) to get you race-ready. Focus on your weakness and complete more of those workouts where needed.

You have to be a Super Athlete

Triathletes come in all different ages, shapes, and sizes. If you can swim in a straight line, ride a bike and put one foot in front of the other, you can complete a triathlon! According to USAT, the average age of triathletes is 38, with the second-largest age group of participants being 40-44, so it’s never too early or too late to start your tri journey. The Rookie was designed with beginner triathletes in mind, to give you a chance to get comfortable with the sport before attempting a long-distance race.

You Have to be able to Swim, Bike and Run

Get a group of friends together to complete a triathlon with you

If you want to participate in a tri, but cannot complete one of the legs for any reason, you can still race in one! Get together a relay team of 2 to 3 people so you can divide up the work while still getting to experience a tri. We also have an Aquabike option available if you know you cannot complete the run portion.

You Need to Get a Coach

There are endless options of free training plans created by professional coaches online for every distance triathlon. Once you find one, stick to the training plan and trust the process. Having a coach is great if you are trying to improve your time but with all the resources out there, a coach is not necessary for your first tri. Try this free sprint distance training plan from professional triathlete and Coach, Paul ‘Barny’ Matthews.

Nothing beats the feeling of taking your final steps across the finish line!

Whatever your reason for starting your triathlon journey, your main goal when participating in the Rookie Tri, as a first-time triathlete, should be to cross the finish line. Along with an unbeatable sense of accomplishment, the health benefits you’ll get from all your hard work and training will be far more gratifying than your race time. Hopefully, this feeling will encourage you to participate in other triathlons in the future, but in the meantime, make Rookie Tri your first tri!

Tips to Make Sure You Have The Correct Fit for Your Helmet

For a bike helmet to protect you correctly, you need to purchase one that fits you properly. Keep reading for tips to make sure you have the correct fit for your helmet. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your helmet, you need to find one that fits you best in all the following ways. Use these tips on how to make sure you have the right fit for your bike helmet. 

Size

tips to get the perfect fit for your bike helmet

A great example of how a helmet should sit on your head with the proper fit!

The first thing you should adjust when choosing a helmet is the fit pads or adjuster ring. The helmet needs to be snug around your head to effectively protect you. It should not be too tight where you feel pressure, and not too loose that there is any wiggle room. If needed, add more fit pads to get a secure fit. If your helmet has an adjuster ring, modify the circumference until the helmet is fitted properly for your head. 

Height

The next thing to determine is how high the helmet should sit on your head to protect your head on all sides, in case of a fall. It should sit somewhat low on your head, leaving only one to two finger-widths visible on your forehead. You can also decide if your helmet fits properly by looking up. You should be able to see them rim or front edge of the helmet when you do so without interfering with your vision. Pro tip: you should always wear protective lenses with your helmet, so make sure there is enough room to wear them both comfortably.

Straps

The straps of this bike helmet fit perfectly

A perfect view of how your helmet’s chin straps should fit

To keep the helmet in place, the next step is ensuring the chin straps are long enough to reach under your chin and can be tightened securely. This part is especially important because you do not want to be dealing with an ill-fitting helmet during your next tri. The “Y” shaped strap needs to fit under your ears comfortably and buckle under your chin without being too tight. Your helmet should not be able to move more than an inch in any direction. After you buckle the chin strap, it should be secured in the correct position. 

Remember: bicycle helmets only work if you wear them correctly. If you’re riding alone or going on a group ride, use these tips when shopping around for your next helmet to make sure you are as safe as possible on your future rides.

To Wetsuit Or Not To Wetsuit

Let’s start by saying that wetsuits are completely optional at The Rookie Tri. The water temperature is 72 which is more than comfortable to swim in without a wetsuit. So what are the advantages and disadvantages to wearing one? We created a Rookie specific why or why not list.

For all of our true Rookies out there, remember the golden rule: Nothing new on race day. Unless you have an opportunity to swim in the exact wetsuit you will wear on race day at least once before, it is advised to not try something new the day of the race.

A Quick Overview of the Rules and Water Temps

Here are the USAT’s rule on wetsuits and water temps. (all temps refer to surface water temperatures)

Under 50 degrees: Not suitable for open water swimming, even with a wetsuit
50 to 65 degrees: Suitable for open water swim, but a wetsuit is highly advised
65 – 78 degrees: Suitable for swimming with or without a wetsuit. Sleeveless suits are popular at this temp.
78 – 84 degrees: Race directors use their judgment to allow or not allow wetsuits at this range. Usually not eligible for awards at this temperature.
Over 84 degrees: Wetsuits not allowed

Why Wear a Wetsuit

Help Swim Ability

Wetsuits provide buoyancy. This can come in handy for any open water swim “panic” as the wetsuit will give you extra lift and make it easier to float while you bring your heart rate down and your focus back to swimming. I hear that wetsuits for women from Ann’s Cottage are fantastic for swimming in.

“Free” Speed

The buoyancy of the suit allows the wearer to swim faster than without the suit. The better the swimmer the less advantage the wetsuit may show. A swimmer can expect to save anywhere from a few seconds to tens of seconds per 100. Usually the longer the distance the more the savings is noticeable. With the less exertion in the water, you will feel less of an energy drain as you are heading up to T1.

Warmth

The wetsuit can provide warmth to the swimmer in the cold water. If you are sensitive to the cold this can be great at making your more comfortable in the water.

Why Not Wear a Wetsuit

Cost

Wetsuits can be a big investment costing anywhere from just over $100 to almost a $1000.

Constricting

If you are not very comfortable and used to wearing a wetsuit, they can be constricting. Imagine wearing a life vest that is a size too small. This tight feeling across the chest can cause panic if one finds themselves uncomfortable mid-swim.

Added Time For Taking Off

While they may save you time while swimming, you still have to get out of the suit. This can add minutes to your transition time.

So to sum it up, for a short swim like the Rookie Tri the time saving can be negligible. It is really a toss up to how you feel on race morning and what you have trained for. Pack it in your bag and if it comes time to leave transition and you don’t want to wear it, simply leave it by your bike.

What else should you wear on race day? Check here

6 Items To Check Before Race Day

Make sure and check your gear before an event. Training can put wear and tear on important items. Here is a good check list to follow

1. Goggles: Make sure you have used them recently and that the eye seals have not perished and leak water. Check that the strap and nose piece aren’t brittle and are securely attached. Make sure the lenses aren’t scratched. If your goggles have any of these issues, consider replacing them and bringing them as back-ups to your new ones.

2. Wetsuit: Check for potential tears and frayed seams. Look for holes and cuts; these can be patched and glued to prevent water entering the suit. Jack & Adam’s can help you decide if the suit can be repaired. Wetsuits aren’t required, so don’t worry if you don’t have one.

3. Bike: Make sure that the bike frame has no cracks, the wheels are not bent, and that all components are in working condition including brakes and shifters. If you do not know how to check for these things, don’t worry – just call ahead to your local bike store and ask them to safety check it. This can also be a great opportunity to learn how to check the bike yourself. On race morning, make sure tires are inflated properly.

4. Helmet: The plastic shell needs to be firmly affixed to the foam and the strap should not be frayed. There should be no cracks or dents as these will likely not pass inspection when checking into transition. It should fit snugly around your head. The general rule for the chin strap is within two fingers spaces from the chin.

5. Cycling Shoes & Pedals: Make sure that the cleat is firmly attached to the bottom of the shoe. Replace cleat if it is worn down and may inhibit safe clipping in. Check and make sure pedals are firmly attached to the crank.

6: Running Shoes: Look to see that they are not worn out of alignment or that the midsole is crushed. Cut down or replace any long or frayed shoe laces. If using elastic laces make sure that have not lost elasticity and that any plastic is still in good working condition