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Tips for a Hilly Bike Ride

Learning tips for riding the hills better is particularly important for triathletes since they need to be as efficient as possible in the bike portion of the race, in order to save energy for the running portion. In this blog, we will give you a couple of tips for a hilly bike ride to get through safely and efficiently during training and on race day. 

Equipment for a Riding the Hills

The bike itself is not the main concern here unless the bike course of your race is extremely hilly. In this case, a road bike would be more helpful than a triathlon bike. However, when talking about hills, your cassette and wheels are more important. Generally speaking, a cassette that has more teeth on the largest sprocket, will allow you to spin easier. Additionally, the type of wheels on your bike can be another element that can be helpful. It is better and to have wheels that are lighter and even if they are not the most aerodynamic ones.

Maintain Your Energy

tips for a hilly bike ride

Regardless of how long or steep a hill is, the key to conquer it is maintaining a steady amount of energy. Hammering parts of a hill, and then slowing down significantly, will only result in you spending a lot more energy. Instead of focusing on speed, you should try to maintain the same heart rate (or power, if you train with that) throughout your climb.

Watch Your Pedal Stroke

A simple way to be more efficient while riding the hills is by adjusting your revolutions per minute (rpm). A higher rpm, somewhere between 90 and 100, will help you save more energy. This might seem counterintuitive because you seem to be pedaling more, however, you are not wasting as much energy as you would with a slower and harder pedal stroke.

Focus on Your Form

You should also consider your position on the saddle. Seating further back, rather than forwards, can help you get more power from muscles like your glutes or hamstrings. Additionally, a more upright position can help you expand your lungs, making it easier to breathe. Something else to look out for is your heels. Make sure you are are not pedaling with your toes. Keep your foot flatter and drop your heel even more if you next extra push to get to the top of the hill.

Specific Workouts

Practice makes perfect, and that is also the case for riding hills. The more you practice these tips for riding the hills during your training, the easier they will be on race day. 

It can be helpful for you to incorporate hill-specific intervals into your training plan. Ideally, you should be doing high repetitions for intervals no longer than 2 minutes, rather than fewer repetitions for longer periods of time. Doing this can be beneficial if you’re trying to improve your climbing endurance. Additionally, if you are used to using a trainer, it is a good idea to add some single-leg pedaling drills to gain strength, fix imbalances, and improve your pedal stroke.

You’re Ready to Ride The Hills!

These tips are simple enough, but make a world of difference when hitting the hills for a bike ride. Keep these tips in mind before you get out for your next ride: Expert Cycling Tips for Riding the Hills

    • check your cassette
    • maintain your energy
    • adjust your bike pedal stroke
    • be aware of your form
    • practice regularly

With the help of these tips, you’ll be ready to conquer the hills on any ride!

Take a break and meet these adorable dogs of triathlon

Over the years, human spectators have brought their 4-legged counterparts to cheer on triathletes. These good boys and good girls bring a smile to everyone’s face, including their favorite triathlete! They’re also game for a good scratch from staff and others. Our triathlons are dog-friendly and we’ve met countless adorable pups over the years. We even asked y’all to share images of your spectating dogs at our events. Meet some of the most adorable dogs of triathlon that you’ll ever see!

Adorable Dogs at Rookie Tri

Want to bring your furry friend to the next triathlon? Review our dog-friendly triathlon tips below. We’d love to meet your pup and add them to our list!

Dog-Friendly Triathlon Tips

  • Bring snacks and water – Spectating is hard work, just like completing a triathlon. Bring hydration (and a bowl) and nutrition so your dog can refuel during the event.
  • Keep your dog on a leash – As much as we’d love to see pups roaming freely at our events, participant safety is vital. Keep your dog on a leash so participants aren’t tripped up and Fido doesn’t try to complete the swim portion of the triathlon!
  • Pick up after your dog – No explanation needed. Help us keep the race site in better condition than when we found it. Bring extra bags. You never know if you’ll run out or someone else runs out.
  • Follow park and/or city rules and regulations – If there are additional rules, follow them. We want to keep seeing more dogs of triathlon at our events, so follow any additional rules and regulations.

If you have a photo of your furry friend cheering you on at Rookie Tri, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Tina’s First Triathlon

My first tri was The Rookie Tri on May 5, 2013. Here is how I remember it, looking back at it seven years later. But let’s back up a bit. I forgot to introduce myself. 

Who I Am & Why That Matters a Little Bit

Tina's First Tri Rookie Tri Staff StoriesMy name is Tina, and I am the Marketing Manager for High Five Events, the company that owns and produces The Rookie Tri

I got really into cycling in my junior year at the University of Texas, around 2009. My car had bit the dust, so I decided to save the money and get a bike instead. I was instantly hooked; I LOVED IT! 

This love of bikes eventually lead to my working at Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in the summer of 2011. For those not familiar with Jack & Adam’s, now Jack & Adam’s Fredricksburg, it was THE triathlon store not only in Austin but in the US. We had a fantastic staff that was full of knowledge and loved introducing new people to the sport of triathlon and cycling. 

Why I Did My First Tri

I have never been very competitive, and while I dabbled in swimming and running, it took two years before the staff/customers at Jack & Adam’s actually convinced me to sign up for my first race. We had decided to have the entire staff at the time do the Rookie. Everyone was at different levels, with many having completed many races, including Ironmans.

Prepping for My First Triathlon

Prepping her tri gear for The Rookie TriI trained for about 6-8 weeks leading up the event, mainly focusing on swimming. I went to the pool twice a week with a friend and did I think three open water swims in what at the time was the Pure Austin Quarry. I think one of the most helpful things was sharing a lane with multiple people, as it gives you the feel of swimming around others on race morning. 

The night before I stayed at a friend’s house so that we could get up in the morning. I was so nervous I set up my transition area several times, double-checking I had everything. It was supposed to be a little colder than usual the next day, so I “panic packed” extra stuff to stay warm on the bike.

The Big Day

Swim

Tina is ready to go at the Rookie Tri in 2013

The morning of, we got there as early as we could to set up in transition. We went down to swim start, and talked with people while we waited for the start. It was definitely chilly, and the wind had made the water a little choppy. As we entered, I realized all the “waves” (from the wind and other people) were coming from the right, and I only knew how to breathe to my right. Uh oh! I had to work out what to do on the fly, so I switched to a simple breaststroke and grabbed on the kayak at the first turn to help get my bearings. The lifeguard asked if I was okay to continue, and I said yes and continued. I also stopped to apologize to every person I ran into during the swim, not that they were listening. After making the next turn buoy and facing the shore, I knew I had it in me to finish. My final swim time, according to the results that year, was 10:01. 

Bike

I rushed into transition, and I was so amped and excited by everyone cheering that I forgot all of the extra arm warmers and stuff I had packed and jumped on the bike. Thankfully, it was okay because I was plenty warm after a mile or two on the bike. I completed the bike in 43:07.

Run

The run is my least favorite of the three sports, so I was not looking forward to the run. I reluctantly slip into my running shoes and head out on course. Looking at the results now, it says I ran a 20:59. Probably true because I remember enjoying myself and taking my time during my first tri. At this point, I think everyone else had already finished, so my only time constraint was finishing with enough time to drive back and be at work when it opened. 

I remember being greeted at the finish line and everyone cheering, and I still have my finisher medal. Total time 01:19:28. Not bad for a true Rookie! 

Overall First Triathlon Experience

Tina crossing the Rookie Tri finish lineOver the years, I have convinced untold amounts of people to sign up for their first triathlon because I honestly believe that it is good for people. It is such a unique experience, and above all else, it is fun. The triathlon community is so supportive, and I am lucky to call so many of them friends. 

I hope my story has helped inspire you to go ahead and give triathlon a try. If you see me at the next High Five Events race, stop by and say Hi!

Healthy on-the-go Breakfast Smoothies Recipes

Are you more of a breakfast-on-the-go person? Perhaps you aren’t a huge breakfast eater in general. Whatever the case may be, this is just the breakfast solution for you! Try these smoothie recipes for a healthy and easy breakfast for a great way to get you energized and start your day. Pro tip: make it easier and plan ahead. Divide out your ingredients into containers for the week for a one-step breakfast, ready on the fly!

 

 

These breakfast smoothie recipes are perfect for a little something to get you going before heading out for a training session and can double as a recovery drink for your Rookie Tri training!

Celebrating Rookie Tri Moms for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating all the hard-working moms who stay dedicated to triathlon on top of everything else life throws their way. While appreciation for any parent should be every day of the year, we wanted to show our extra appreciation for all the moms on this special day. We love seeing you all show up and show out each year at Rookie Tri, so moms, this one’s for you!

Moms in action at The Rookie Tri

Moms can do it all. Balancing work-life, family, AND making the time to stay dedicated to tri! Take some time this Mother’s Day to celebrate the tri mom in your life and thank her for everything she does for you.

Make worrying about transitions a thing of the past when you use these time-saving tips for triathlon transitions

A quick and easy transition is an important skill to save time during your triathlon. However, it is often overlooked during the training process. These transition techniques should be practiced during your training leading up to your upcoming tri to save time and reduce any stress you may be feeling about tackling transition on the morning of your race.

Know Your Way Around

Having an idea of the layout of the transition area of your tri beforehand is especially crucial on race day. Reviewing the course maps will eliminate any uncertainties you have and should be done in the days leading up to your race. Take it a step further and arrive at the race site early to do a pre-race walkthrough in transition.  Get familiar with the flow of transition during your walkthrough.  Make a point to identify where you will swim in, bike out, bike in and run out.

Athlete getting her gear set up in transitions before the racePlan Your Gear

Know what gear you will be using first will help you determine how to layout your gear when you arrive at the race site. If your goal is to improve your overall race time, you will need to be organized in your transition layout. Another common mistake we see athletes make is bringing too much stuff. Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Layout your items in the order you use them to save time when you arrive in transition during the race.

Practice

Practicing your transitions is the best way to be prepared come race day. Set up a practice transition area wherever you find an open space like in your driveway, or an empty track. This will give you the opportunity to time yourself and see how long the swim to bike transition will take, as well as the bike to run. Determine which time-saving techniques you’ll use such as deciding to have your shoes already clipped into your bike, or where to place your helmet for easy access. Practice putting on and removing shoes, and mounting your bike while keeping your rhythm. Layout your gear to get in and out of transition in the least amount of time possible.

Only Bring the Essentials

Getting into gear in the transition area

Only bring what you need to avoid losing any items, or having items in the way to slow you down. Along with completing a gear check to make sure you have all the items you need, take some time to make sure your gear is functioning properly. The idea is to have everything ready to go when you run into transition during your tri.

The best way to get good at anything is practice, practice, PRACTICE! Training for transitions ultimately determines how well you can tackle them on the day of your race. Use these tips for your upcoming tri to improve your race time, or maybe even PR!

If Rookie Tri is on your calendar or on your radar, we want to help you feel prepared when you toe the start line by offering you a free training plan

Be ready to swim, bike, and run and celebrate your accomplishment at the finish line party when you follow this free Rookie Tri training plan to get to the finish line on May 3rd! Look no further than the 3-month training plan below.

This training plan was created by professional triathlete and coach Paul “Barny” Matthews just for you. Matthews has won or placed at numerous IRONMANs and 70.3s. He broke onto the triathlon scene at the 2014 IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne. The native Australian finished 2nd in his home country with an impressive time of 8:02:14. He has also won some local races, including Jack’s Generic Tri and yours truly, The Rookie Tri.

This downloadable training plan is geared for triathletes of all levels, from true Rookies to seasoned veterans. You can further customize it yourself by cutting certain workouts in half (first-timers), adding more time (veterans), or adjusting the specific workouts and their days to fit your busy life.

After you download Barny’s free Rookie Triathlon training plan, click on the day’s workout to learn about the workout’s description.

Pro tip: When you have a rest day, take it! Listen to your body and don’t over-do it during training.

If you want to take your training to the next level, then contact Matthews today. Make sure you ask for his special Rookie Tri coaching rate! Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see where he’s training and join him for a workout.

Enter your email and download your FREE training plan today!

Barny's free training plan for the month of February for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of March for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of April for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

Barny's free training plan for the month of May for the 2020 Rookie Triathlon.

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.