What To Do With All That Spare Time

Watching and reading posts in my Club’s Facebook group, and hearing comments and posts in other places prompted me to post the following, in the hope that it will drown out the voice of hysteria that seems to threaten to overtake all reasonable thought and action this week. It’s a triathlon, not brain surgery. It should be enjoyable, not stressful or anxiety producing.

I’m hoping that this information will keep everyone who is getting ready for their “A” race this coming weekend entirely too busy to worry about the dust in their house, the lack of food and meals for their family, the cross-fit class you’ve been dying to try, and any other non-race related distraction you are obsessing over.

So, here goes:

My free coaching advice for the day — RELAX!!!!!

If you followed a plan and did your training then you are good and the best thing you can do right now is relax. There is no last minute magic workout or purchase or adjustment or discussion or anything else you can do.

If you didn’t follow a plan and / or didn’t do your training then you are NOT good, but the best thing you can do right now is relax. There is no last minute magic workout or purchase or adjustment or discussion or anything else you can do.

What can you do? Check your equipment, lay out your clothes (check the weather) and review your nutrition plan as used in training. Eat healthy and clean, stay hydrated. Maybe get a massage or an adjustment or some ART if you normally do that.

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”. ― Erma Bombeck.


Double check that you have enough of everything you will use on race day to eat and / or drink. I always make sure I have an extra hour beyond my slowest predicted time.

Very important to have an extra hour of pre-race nutrition as you never know what happens the morning of a race. If there is a delay you aren’t starting in a nutritional / hydration hole.

Make sure you have water bottles, flasks, etc.

There is still time to get any of the above before the weekend if you are short.

Now is a good time to review what to do with your bike before a big race:

1. Hopefully you already scheduled a pre-race tune up at your local bike shop. If you didn’t then call now. Maybe you’ll get lucky

2. Make sure your bike is clean, that always makes me feel better.

3. Make sure your chain is clean and lubed.

4. Inspect your tires for damage (your bike shop should have done that, doesn’t hurt to double check, though).

5. Pump up your tires to around 100/110 psi and make sure they hold most of that pressure overnight.

6. Check your tire supplies for race day — For any longer distance race, I always carry two tubes, two tire levers, two C02 cartridges and the attachment for them, a dollar bill or empty gu packet just in case a tire “blows out”. If you have or are renting race wheels make sure that you can fill them from your CO2 device or hand pump.

Even if you don’t know how to change a flat you should have the above supplies, just in case you are lucky enough to have someone stop and help you. Do not ask or expect anyone else to give you their supplies. What if they need them later in the race?

If you don’t know how and / or never have I’d suggest you get yourself and your bike to your bike mechanic and ask them to teach you how, on your own bike! Yes, both the front and the back! And yes, on your own bike.


Last but not least, what are you going to wear?

For the swim:

Check your goggles and make sure you have a spare pair with you. Could be sunny or cloudy so I recommend both light and dark tinted goggles.

Check your wetsuit. Plan on bringing all possible options if you have — sleeveless, long sleeved, swim skin. Water and air temp can change quickly, be prepared for all possible options.
I use goggle defogger for my goggles, and Aquaphor on any possible areas that chafe.
Hopefully you have been training on some workouts with what you plan on wearing. Lay everything out, make sure everything is available and you haven’t lost anything, loaned it and not gotten it back, ripped anything, etc.

Swim / bike / run attire:

Keep checking weather.com or the like for race day temps and realize that over 5 or 6 or more hours the weather can change a lot. I like layers — gloves, arm warmers, vests, etc. that allow me to add or remove stuff. Putting a long sleeve shirt on over something when you are wet isn’t always easy.

Plan for plus or minus 10 degrees from what is forecast. Make your decision the day before and / or morning of.

A good place to check is either of these two websites for some guidelines. I have found from experience that I like to feel “Cool” if I am racing, and “In-between” when training.



Just a quick post, if I worry about formatting and the like I’ll never get around to publishing it.  Hoping it helps someone relax a bit!

Making the Best Use of Your Trainer Time

Sounds crazy but I was thinking a lot of how best to use indoor trainer time, even though I was able to ride outside today.

Take time to smell the daisies.

First off, a couple of notes on today’s ride:  Florida may not have hills but, it has bridges and it has wind.  And when you are going over a bridge and it’s windy, it’s tough.  And when you are riding into a head wind, it’s tough.  Maybe because I haven’t been on a bike much lately but, I still think it’s tough.  That being said I totally enjoyed my 40 miles today, and riding at 20 plus miles an hour even if it is with a tail wind is awesome!  To give you an idea of the wind — I rode out for two hours, took me an hour and 40 minutes to ride back.  What I focused on during the ride was good pedaling technique, and keeping my weight off the front of the bike.  A side note on “Training Effect” on the Garmin 910XT.  Mine was nominal today but I know from how I felt that it was a good workout.  So much for training devices.  I wanted to do a bit of a brick run when I got back but knew Brody wouldn’t stand for that since Bryan was out golfing.

So, trainer rides.  I hear everyone saying they hate riding a trainer, it’s boring, they don’t know what to do.  I’ve had this discussion before but thought I’d save it here for future reference.  Besides the obvious benefits of a structured workout, it’s generally accepted practice that a one hour training ride is the same as an hour and a half ride on the road.  There are all kinds of dvds and websites with indoor trainer rides available.  Some of the ones that I’ve heard discussed that people in my group like are Trainer Road, Sufferfest, Spinervals, Cyclops, USAT Endurance Films.  I’ve heard great things about PainCave, but haven’t had time to check it out since I’m not home and don’t have my trainer with me.

Besides a good workout routine,  here are some things that you can work on while on the stationary trainer.  Come warm weather you will be ready to ride on the road.

1. Clipping in and out, rest your foot on top of the pedal and clip in and out over and over again, till you can do it without thinking about it. Keep spinning while you are doing this.  And if you are comfortable doing it with your dominant foot then practice with the other.

2. Reach for your water bottle, drink out of it and then put it back – without looking.

3. Shifting gears.

4. Focus on good pedaling technique.

5. Standing up, you usually want to be in a “big” gear (a lot of resistance).

All these skills are much easier to practice from the relative safety of a stationary trainer but will make riding outside much easier and more efficient.

And yes, Mary and Gail, you can fall off inside, make sure your bike is securely in the trainer but don’t over tighten. There should be some resistance but you don’t want to see black “snow” from your rear tire.

A few suggestions:

Wipe down the rear tire with some rubbing alcohol and a rag to remove road debris from the tire so you don’t grind it in with the trainer.

If you have a carbon skewer, get an inexpensive one from your local bike shop and replace on the rear wheel.  A trainer can chew up a good skewer.

Put down a big piece of vinyl or a yoga mat and then a towel (if you sweat a lot) so you don’t mark up the floor.

If there is anything right behind your bike throw a towel or sheet over it.

I’ll add more to this if any has other suggestions, but these were just my thoughts about how to make that trainer ride not so boring and a bit more productive.