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Celebs You Didn’t Know Are Triathletes

Ever wondered which of your favorite celebs share the love of triathlon with you??

The world of triathlon knows no bounds. With an estimate of 4 million people participating every year, the sport is constantly growing and adding new athletes to the mix! We see every type of person enter triathlons, but have you ever thought about which of your favorite stars are triathletes too? See if your favorite star made the list with these celebs that TRI!

 

1. Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin, Triathlete

Image: Getty Images

Shawn Colvin is a Grammy award-winning artist that was bitten by the tri-bug back in 2001. “It’s true, once you do one of them you want to do more!” She regularly participates in triathlons all over the country and was even at the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon Festival where she sang the national anthem to kick-off Saturday and Sunday of race weekend! Colvin holds a special place in our hearts because she’s one of our very own and completed Rookie Tri in 2006!

 

 

James Marsden

Image: Noel Vasquez

2. James Marsden

James Marden, known for his role in The Loft, is an actor, singer, and a regular participant of triathlons all over the States. He is constantly keeping up with his training and participates in various triathlons every year to maintain his muscular physique. Marsden says triathlons are a great way to stay in shape year-round so he is camera-ready at all times.  He even missed the 2017 Emmy awards because it conflicted with one of his triathlons!

 

3. Jennie Finch

Image: Matt Peyton

Jennie Finch is one of the best softball players the sport has ever seen. After retiring from her 11-year career earning her 2 Olympic medals, she hung up her cleats and traded them in for running shoes. She began by entering marathons before she participated in the 2013 New York City Triathlon as a way to get back in shape after her third child was born. She crossed the finish line of the Olympic-distance (we see what she did there) with an impressive time of 2:51:15!

 

 

Triathlete Gordon Ramsay

Image: Clara Molden

4. Gordon Ramsay

Hell’s Kitchen’s overlord, Gordon Ramsay, took his skills out of the kitchen to participate in the 2013 Hawaii Ironman. Since then, Ramsay, 52,  has competed in several marathons, half ironmans, and other races throughout his journey. The competitive environment of the events is what keeps him coming back year after year. He trains throughout the year to keep up with his physical condition alongside his wife, Tana.

 

Jennifer Lopez Triathlete

Image: Jean Lacroix

 

5. Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez was inspired to begin her journey as a triathlete for a good cause. She participated in her first-ever triathlon at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in 2008 to raise money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. New to the sport, she had to spend most of her time training for the swim portion. On race morning, her training certainly paid off with her finishing time being 2 hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds!

 

Matthew McConaughey

Image: Gregg Deguire

6. Matthew McConaughey

Austin local, Matthew McConaughey, is no stranger to the sport, having completed several triathlons since his journey began. McConaughey started his journey in 2008 by completing an Olympic-distance tri. He showed off his athleticism by earning a time of 1:43:48. How would you like that for your first ever triathlon time? Although he’s completed several triathlons since then, he has yet to complete Rookie Tri! Maybe we should ask him!

 

7. Claire Holt

Claire Holt Triathlete

Image: Chris Polk

Best known for her role in the TV series The Vampire Diaries, Claire Holt was instantly hooked on triathlons. Like the other star triathletes, Claire Holt is a regular participant of the celebrity division at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Once she discovered her love for the sport, she found herself returning every year with the goal of improving her performance! She achieved her goal at the 2012 event by taking home first place with a time of one hour and 44 minutes.

 

Image: Noel Vasquez

8. Joel McHale

Joel McHale is the newest celeb to become a triathlete. He was especially impressed with his defeat of fellow triathlete and star, James Marsden, during the run portion of the race. He plans on returning to race triathlon again next year and plans on recruiting other celebs to join him!

 

9. Megyn Price

Megyn Price

Image: Chelsea Lauran

Rules of Engagement star, Megyn Price, started her triathlon career because she wanted to have a goal that would test her physical strength.  She finds it important for females to have goals that are based on something more than how you look. Her efforts paid off when she took home first place at a 2010 triathlon with a time of 2:10:23, just 3 years after her first tri! Way to go!

 

 

Brendan Hansen Triathlete

Image: Jamie Squire

10. Brendan Hansen

Brendan Hansen is best known for his professional swimming career. During all the chaos of winning 6 Olympic medals, breaking world records left and right, and starting a family, Hansen managed to find time to become a triathlete! Hansen competed alongside our Rookie Triathletes in 2010 and continues to participate in triathlons in and around Austin, Texas. When asked about his triathlon journey, Hansen told The Orange County Register, “Triathletes are great. They’ve got a screw loose, the way they train. But at the finish line, there is a beer tent. How great is that?” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

These folks may be superstars, but at the end of the day, their triathlon journey started just like everybody elses. With a Sprint Distance Tri and online training plans. If these stars can fit training into their schedules around all the craziness, you can too!

 

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!

A Few Reasons To Love The Rookie Tri

If you’re interested in getting into triathlons, here are 4 reasons why you’ll love Rookie Tri, and why you should give it a try!

The triathlon community is an exciting place that brings all kinds of people together to share their love of swimming, cycling and running. To make our participants feel more comfortable easing into this world, we created The Rookie Tri. Taking on a sprint distance triathlon as your first tri is a great way to build your self-confidence and hopefully spark your desire to continue your tri journey!  If you don’t already, keep reading for a couple of reasons you will love The Rookie Tri.

Location

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park has great running, biking, and hiking trails!

The home of Rookie Tri is one of Austin’s known hot spots, Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park aka Decker Lake.  The park is located at 6614 Blue Bluff Road.  On race morning, we always kick-off The Rooke Tri with a group stretch as the sun rises, looking out over Decker Lake. This is a great opportunity for you to get a look at the swim course if you aren’t familiar with the area. Pro tip: If you live around the area and are nervous about the swim portion, get out there and do a mock swim beforehand. For the spectators, there are great spots along the course for friends and family to join you on race day while getting a great view of you throughout the tri!

Different Options

We offer different distances and divisions to make sure all our participants get the most out of their individual race experience. There is an aquabike option for all of our non-runners out there. There is also a relay option, so you have the choice to divide up the tri and have your friends or family complete it with you! Along with these different distances, The Rookie Tri is special because of its separated Rookie (beginners) and Veterans (experienced triathletes) groups.

Everyone’s a Rookie Here

We know how intimidating your first triathlon can be. The Rookie Tri was created to help beginner triathletes dip a toe in before diving straight into a full distance triathlon. As soon as the race begins, everyone’s a Rookie. However, knowing you are completing your first tri along with others who may be new to the sport is not only comforting, but a great opportunity to meet other athletes at your current skill level. Our biggest goal is for the participants to have the most fun possible. That’s easy because we always have the best participants who cheer one another on and help each other out throughout the course, so you’ll feel right at home. 

Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Participants having a blast at the Finish Line Party

Where else would be better than to celebrate your victory on completing The Rookie Tri than with fellow Rookies? Participants get complimentary hot food and cold drinks waiting for them at the finish line. Also, you’ll receive some other great treats from various vendors. There’s also a beer garden for our 21 and up participants to enjoy! Last but not least, everyone loves the swag toss we do to wrap up the finish line party, although you won’t want it to end!

There are many more reasons to love The Rookie Tri, but here are a few of our favorites we wanted to highlight. Whether it is your first triathlon or your tenth, get ready to have an incredible time at The Rookie Tri.

Swim Training: The Pull Buoy

Learn how you can use the pull buoy to become a better swimmer.

Image result for pull buoyWhat is a pull buoy

A pull buoy is a “figure 8” shaped piece of foam that is typically held between the upper thighs to float the hips and legs at the surface of the water. They are one size fits all but different brands may have slightly different designs, so do your research and find the one that works for you. It is called “pulling” when you swim with a buoy because all of your forward movement is from your arms.

Help with proper positioning

The pull buoy is positioned between the thighs causing the butt and legs to float to a more proper position. When your butt drops and your legs are further underwater you are creating more drag and less efficient swimming. The pull buoy helps show us what the proper body position should feel like so that we can work on transferring this to our regular swimming.

Focus on Technique

Swimming with the pull buoy also requires less effort so you are able to swim longer and increase your upper body fitness. Also with kicking your legs out of the mix, you can really focus on your arm form. Practice different drills, watch where your arm enters the water and the timing of how you rotate your body in response.

Related image

Help with Breathing

Pull sets are a great time to work on breath control and breathing technique. Kick can cause elevated heart rates, leaving you feeling winded and without the energy to focus on when and how you are breathing. By lessening the effort you can set up a breath pattern and work on your breath timing with each stroke. Swimming with a pull buoy is also a good time to practice bilateral breathing, which can come in super handy during open water swims.

Important Notes

Don’t become addicted to your buoy and use it as a crutch. The ease of gliding through the water may leave your regular laps feeling less than ideal but remember that the buoy is a tool to help you and won’t be there on race day. The best way to do this is by having planned sets and only use the pull buoy during those designated times.

Professional Swim Advice for Rookie Triathletes

Complete at least one open water swim before Rookie Triathlon

Hundreds of Rookies will complete their first triathlon at Rookie Triathlon on Sunday, May 6th. If you’re training for your first triathlon like William, then you’ve probably never completed an open water swim. Perhaps all of your training has taken place in the pool. Until Tuesday, April 24th, all of William’s swim training has taken place in the pool. Check in with his training and see how his open water swims went. Paul “Barny” Williams, William’s coach and professional triathlete, provides some advice and talks about the importance of completing at least one open water swim before race day. Watch the video below and feel free to share the advice with your Rookie friends!

Rookie Triathlete: Part 7: The Open Water

The open water swim is a game-changer

Up until Tuesday, April 24th, none of my Rookie Triathlon training swims were in open water. They were all in a pool. The pool was daunting at first, but over time I became more accustomed. Clear waters allowed me to see the guiding, black line below. Lane dividers kept me from going all over the place and running into others. Protocol taught me how to share a lane with someone else and not crash head first. For good reason (whether I liked it or not), all of that was about to change.

open water

Sunrises at Barton Springs never get old.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about graduating to open water and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. Yeah, so I put off that graduation swim for a couple weeks. I found every excuse I could to not visit Barton Springs. I’d hit the snooze button, go for a bike ride, or return to the pool. Everyone I talked to about their first triathlon said they’re glad they did an open water swim beforehand. Others wish they had completed at least one non-pool swim before their first triathlon. I knew I needed to get out of the pool. I just needed to clear that mental hurdle.

Mental hurdle cleared

I jumped in Barton Springs (how else do you get in?!) this past Tuesday morning (4/24). I made sure I had my buoy (and noseplug!) for my first open water swim. This would be the longest continuous swim for me since my mock Rookie Tri championship. My breathing and form have improved tremendously. I didn’t want to lose all of that on my first non-pool swim. I wore running tights, no board shorts this time! The water felt good and I knew standing around wouldn’t help matters. So I took off.

open water

Can’t help but have a great day after that swim!

I tried to remember everything from the pool, plus sighting. My first long swim in Barton Springs would not result in running into someone. Everything started feeling good until about the halfway mark. That’s when the rocks disappear. Your energy starts shrinking. The form and breathing you’ve practiced goes out the window. But this is where Barny, my coach, kicks in. Just like anything else, it’s all friggin’ mental. I can’t control the rocks disappearing, but I can control my form and my breathing. Both of those impact my energy levels and my ability to remain calm.

Open water swim: Take Two

I needed to go back to the Springs. Barny had it built into my training plan. Rookie Tri is less than two weeks away. I need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Barny wanted to stretch out a new wetsuit in the Springs. He and I planned to return the next day, Wednesday (4/25). This time, he challenged me to do the swim with no buoy. After all, I can’t use the buoy on race day.

This swim was harder, not because of the missing buoy. I had a hard running workout with RAW Running the night before. Add to that, I biked to the Springs from our office (~4 miles one way). So my body wasn’t in peak shape. But in the end, this is all preparing me for Sunday, May 6th, at Decker Lake. As I mentioned, the swim was harder, I needed to breaststroke a few times to get me breathing back down. I paused at the end of the Springs to rest and catch my breath. BUT I DID IT. I feel my upper body getting stronger. Plus, I didn’t run into anyone!

If you’re a Rookie and have been in the pool 100%, I strongly encourage you to swim in the open water at least once before Rookie Tri. You need to experience something similar to what you’ll experience on race day. I promise you’ll be better off for completing at least one open water swim. I know I’m planning at least one or two more. Check out our next blog post to watch a video from Barny where he talks about the importance of an open water swim before your first triathlon.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 5: Graduate

Time to graduate from the safe pool to the open waters of Barton Springs

Image of Deep Eddy Pool.

Deep Eddy Pool.

Just a few days ago I wrote about swimming being as difficult as I’d imagined. All of my swimming, except one swim, had taken place at Big Stacy Pool. I was comfortable at that pool. There were familiar faces. My routine was consistent: change clothes, swim, shower. On April 9th I show up for my regular lunchtime swim to find out Big Stacy is closed until the end of the month! What?! Doesn’t the City of Austin know I’m training for my first triathlon?! And to think, I was getting more and more comfortable in the water. Now what do I do?! Graduate.

I knew of a few other pools, so I skipped across town to Deep Eddy Pool. The adjustment took time out of my swim workout, but I had to get in a swim. The switch made me get out of my comfort zone. New location, more traffic, different showers, $3 entry fee, etc. This was a baby graduation. I had to learn about a new (to me) pool and all of its nuances, including the temperature difference. The water temperature was closer to that of Barton Springs (~68 degrees). Deep Eddy isn’t free to use like Big Stacy, which added to my process. Side note – Deep Eddy pool is the oldest pool in Texas, built during the Depression Era.

By now, swimming laps has honed in my stroke and breathing. My familiarity with swimming and level of comfort in the water has grown exponentially since my first swim. Less time is spent on each end of the pool catching my breath. What’s next? Graduate.

Become comfortable with the uncomfortable

This graduation will be bigger. At first, I was uncomfortable swimming longer distances. I’ve since become comfortable. Now it’s time to revisit being uncomfortable again.

graduate

Barton Springs.

I’m planning my first open swim (since my mock Rookie Tri championship) in Barton Springs. The lanes aren’t 25m or 33.3m. They don’t have a black line guiding me under water. There aren’t lane lines to keep other swimmers from swimming in my direction. Basically, all comforts of the pool are gone. But, this is essential and I need to swim in open water before Rookie Tri. Afterall, the swim portion of Rookie Tri takes place in Decker Lake, not Decker Pool.

If you’re just starting out like me, don’t spend 100% of your time in the pool. Become comfortable with swimming in the pool, then branch out. Being as prepared as you can for Sunday, May 6th, will ensure a much better experience!

Rookie Triathlete: Part 4: Swimming

Swimming is coming along, slowly, but surely

Swimming has been more difficult than I imagined during my Rookie Tri training. I knew swimming would be difficult as it’s easily my weakest discipline. It feels like such a foreign concept to me, continuously inhaling above water and exhaling below water, all while trying to keep my hips/legs from sinking. As difficult as swimming has been, the progress I’ve made has been tremendous. I’ve dedicated more energy to the swim than I have the bike and the run and it shows.

When I first started I was doing everything I could to get from one end of the pool to the other, expending way too much energy. Barny, my coach, likened this to learning to run long distances using only speed workouts. There was no pacing, no patience. The improvement stems from using a pool buoy and kickboard. The pool buoy helps your hips stay elevated in the water so you can focus on using your upper body with minimal kick. The kickboard gives your upper body a rest so you can focus on tiny kicks and keeping your feet below the water’s surface. I also feel it working my core.

swimming

Incite Elite goggle set, with nose plug!

My first swim workout took place with a co-worker at the Townlake YMCA. Every swim workout after that has taken place at Big Stacy Pool. That place is a hidden gem and not many people use it during lunchtime (when I normally go). The facilities are nice, the water is cool, and you can take a quick shower after your swim before going back to work. Big Stacy Pool is 33.3m long. Each swim workout has gotten progressively longer for me, working on form, breathing, and endurance.

Full disclosure, my first swim was without a nose plug. I tried swimming without a nose plug, honest. No matter what I did, water would get in my nose. For Valentine’s Day, my wife got me this sweet Incite Elite goggle set that came with ear plugs and a nose plug (YAY!). The nose plug is a lifesaver. I’m not sure if this is normal for beginner swimmers or not. For me, the difference between using a nose plug and not using a nose plug is night and day. I have noticed that it slid a little bit during a few laps. It might still be in an adjustment to my nose process. I’ll keep an eye on leading up to race day.

I’m going home for Easter weekend and will attempt my first open water swim in Lake Mexia. I’m not sure what to expect or how far I’ll go, but it’ll be a nice gauge for me to see where I am outside of the pool.

What were your first swim experiences?