Getting Faster in the Water

By Debbie
October 13, 2014 on 10:00 am | In Product Information, Training, Water | No Comments

This blog brought to you by TriSports Champion Tom Golden. He’ll blow most peoples’ doors off in the water, so read on and get fast.

Much like a drug addict wanting a greater high, every year we, as triathletes, evaluate how to get to get more out of our addiction and take it to the next level.  For me, I think about that every year when it comes to running, which is my need-to-improve sport.  Fortunately, I grew up as a distance swimmer and consider it the lethal part of my race. More often than not, I hear from fellow triathletes, “I wish I had your swim” and “I just can’t seem to get faster.”  When I ask what they are doing in the water, I usually hear the same thing and think to myself, “no wonder your swim has not improved, you’re not really pushing your swim.”  I am by no means an expert but I have a very simple way to improve over the course of a season.  In fact, if you have 3 months left this year you still have time.

First, get in a masters swim program. [Editor's note: Many triathletes are intimidated by the thought of joining a Masters swim group, mostly because of the name...don't be. There are lanes for the very fast, but also the very slow, and they welcome everyone!] There are several really reasons for this. I know it costs money, but if you get in a good program, it’s worth every penny.  I used to swim on my own and it did the trick, but getting in the water and being pushed to race others in practice is a sure fire way to improve. It builds consistency at each workout.   You also gain the confidence of swimming tactfully.  You gain insight on how to wear someone out by changing your pace, or pacing with someone and then trying to drop them as they tire out.  You also gain knowledge from other, more experienced swimmers around you.  Having a coach from the deck to correct your stroke is essential, as well. Get the right equipment – kickboard, fins, paddles, buoy, your favorite goggles, and sometimes even a snorkel, and you’ll be ready to go.

A coach on deck can really help you improve your stroke

Second, it’s important to know that most masters programs are not designed for triathletes or distance swimming of 1.2 or 2.4 miles.  Most programs are tailored to a mid-distance sprint of a 200 or 500 yard race.  As a distance swimmer, you may think you need to be doing long sets of 800 repeats, and sometimes that’s good, but more importantly you need to learn how to pace and hold that pace. In a masters program, you will need to modify what you are doing so that you can work on pacing.  For instance, let’s say the set calls for 8×200 descend 1-4, 5-8.  You would adapt that set to holding a solid steady pace on each repeat and then get after the last one. Or going out moderate on the first 100 and negative split by 2 seconds on the second 100.  This will teach your body how to hold a pace, which is what you want to do in a race.  Be sure to be aware of others around you who are doing the set the way the coach called for and make sure that you don’t get in their way.

Use other swimmers to learn how to pace

Third, you need to adapt over time working in a tighter interval.  For example, each season, after all the fitness is gone and I get back in the water after a month break, I will start out in the 1:15 per 100 threshold lane. I focus on that concept of holding a pace no matter what the set calls for.  After about a week, I move to the 1:10 per 100 lane, again working on holding a pace. I will spend about a month letting my body adapt to shorter rest intervals.  Then I will move to the 1:05 threshold lane and do the same for the majority of my season.  Now to be honest, the first month in that lane sucks and I may barely make the interval but that’s exactly what you want to do.  Hold a pace and let your body adapt.  Hang with it, be consistent and it will pay off.

And pay off it does...the author exiting the water at 2013 IMAZ in a faster time than most of the pro field

Finally, like the other two sports, having good form and being efficient in the water is important and should not be sacrificed.  To this day, in every workout in every set on every repeat, I am thinking about reaching out and finishing through on my stroke. How I am breathing, rotating through the water, snapping my hips and how I am catching the water.  All the tips in the world are useless if your form is a mess.  So take the time to get instruction and watch good swimmers in the water.  Good luck and I hope you get fast!

The swim is just the start of what can be a very long day...make it as easy on yourself as possible!

Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated!

By Debbie
August 21, 2013 on 11:19 am | In Nutrition Tips, Product Information, Training, Water | No Comments

This blog brought to you by Team TriSports athlete Nicole Truxes (rhymes with “success”). Check out her blog at www.nicole-stateofmind.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter – nicoletruxes.

It’s heating up here in the desert, as I’m sure it is for much of the country.  Summer time BBQs filled with burgers, watermelons, and margaritas are just around the corner!  Everyone loves summer, with more hours of sunlight, less clothing, great tan lines – especially us triathletes ;) – and (for most) no school!  Even with all we have to look forward to in the summer, all the sweating during those hard miles does take a toll on your body, one that you may not be used to coming out of your winter training.

Getting hot, must hydrate!

Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of our training, and it’s one of the easiest ones to forget.  First thing in the morning, aside from the hunger I’m sure many of you experience, you should be thinking about a glass of water.  You don’t have to overdo it, especially if you have a workout shortly after you rise (gotta beat the heat!), one 4-8 oz glass is fine depending on what you can handle and the duration of your workout.

If you think about it, the adult body is made up of about 60% water; wouldn’t it make sense to make it a key ingredient in our daily nutrition regimen?  Many of the metabolic processes necessary for training and recovery require the proper amount of water to happen, so why wouldn’t you supply your body with this integral piece of training equipment?

Your body is made up of about 60% water

Another important thing to consider is the amount of electrolytes you’re getting.  This word is thrown around a lot, but do you know what all of the electrolytes are and how to figure out if you’re low on any of them?

  • Sodium- the most common, most demonized, but very necessary electrolyte.  Sodium gets a bad rap because of all the high blood pressure and heart disease we have in this country; however, as an endurance athlete you need to be very aware of how much sodium you get because you may not be getting enough!  If you often get confused, or dazed when doing a hard workout (particularly one where you sweat a lot), you’re covered in white, and your skin tastes like salt—you might be in need of some sodium, pronto!  This confusion you’re experiencing is one of the first signs of hyponatremia, which can be very serious if you do not take care of it. When your sodium levels drop in your blood and you do nothing to bring them back up it can cause you to go from confusion to vomiting to more serious things such as cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema, or even death.  This has happened in many of the major marathon events and can even be caused by having too much plain water and not enough electrolyte supplementation.
  • Potassium- just eat some bananas, right?! For the most part, yes.  Potassium is much different than sodium in that when your blood levels first drop, it is difficult to tell that they are low.  It is not until real problems begin and your muscles are already cramping that you know you are very low in potassium.  This can also cause GI distress (mainly constipation) along with the muscle cramps, so be sure to eat your ‘nanners.
  • Calcium- Stress fracture fighter no. 1! It may come as a surprise that some of the most avid runners have some of the lowest calcium and therefore weakest bones.  But running is weight bearing? Yes, running is a weight bearing exercise, but sometimes runners (particularly female) have such low hormone levels that it causes their calcium to go down and therefore their bones become weak and brittle, allowing for stress fractures to happen much more easily.  Calcium can be taken in a supplement daily to help raise these levels and prevent against stress fractures; however, vitamin D is very important to take along with it to help boost absorption into your blood!
  • Magnesium- Seldom talked about, but very important!  Magnesium is a mineral we don’t generally hear a ton about.  However, it is very important to carbohydrate metabolism and muscle strength (two very important things for an endurance athlete).  Magnesium deficiency can decrease endurance by fatiguing muscles and decreasing the efficiency of carbohydrate metabolism.  The symptoms of low magnesium are difficult to distinguish from those of potassium or sodium, so it is important to supplement magnesium along with the other electrolytes!
  • Phosphate- Generally phosphate is not a problem for athletes.  It is very common in our diet and usually not lost in mass quantities when exercising.  The only time this electrolyte is a problem is when an athlete has an eating disorder or other severe disease of some kind, in which case they should seek medical attention anyway.

So that is a quick and dirty breakdown of the electrolytes. Many triathletes supplement with electrolytes caps. A great source of hydration and energy that I like is Fluid Performance. Check yourself every once in a while, monitor your electrolyte intake and determine if you have any of the beginning stages of any of these electrolyte deficiencies.  Not only will this increase your performance, but it could save your life!

Stay hydrated everyone!!

(I’m sure many people have seen this memorable finish…these ladies could have definitely used some electrolytes!!)

Water

By Zachary
December 23, 2011 on 11:28 am | In Water | No Comments
Water Harvesting Tank in front of TriSports.com

Water Harvesting Tank in front of TriSports.com

There is no more precious resource in the desert: Water.
TriSports.com uses an advanced water harvesting system, one of the largest private systems in the U.S., to reclaim the precious desert rainfall into usable water. As a result, less water is pulled from commercial sources reducing our impact on the environment and on the local environmental infrastructure.
Water is channeled from the roof of our headquarters building in Tucson, Arizona into two massive 18,000 gallon storage tanks. The tanks store water for use in a vital irrigation system that sustains all of our irrigation and non-potable water needs, reducing our water consumption significantly.
Our water harvesting system is so advanced it is a City of Tucson Water Harvesting Demonstration Site, an example to other businesses of how to manage the desert’s most precious resource.
Water harvesting is one more part of our commitment to our community and environment, and a huge part of who we are at TriSports.com.

Being a Green Business

By Debbie
September 26, 2011 on 10:03 am | In Community, Giving Back, Life at TriSports.com, Solar, Water | 5 Comments
What does being “green” really mean? It is quite trendy to be green nowadays, so you hear it everywhere, but how do you know if a business you frequent cares about the environment? Here at TriSports.com, Sustainability is number one on our list of Core Values, and it encompasses everything we do, and have been doing, since we began back in 2000. We were just nominated for a contest for “Arizona’s Greenest Workplace Challenge” on Mrs. Green’s World, a local radio show. Given that, I wanted to take a moment and let everyone know what we do to make us a “green” company, and hopefully at the end, you’ll go vote for us every day until the end of the contest on September 30th (and tell all of your friends, too)!
The first things you see upon arriving at TriSports.com are the enormous water harvesting tanks, located at each end of the building. One of the largest systems in Arizona, the tanks hold a combined 36,000 gallons of water (and are currently full)! Water is collected from the roof, both rain and condensate from the evap coolers, and goes to cover the landscaping needs. These tanks are also a City of Tucson Water Harvesting Demonstration Site.

One of our water harvesting tanks

By year end, the tanks will be joined by a 128kW solar array that will cover approximately 90% of the building’s energy usage. Panels will be located on the roof, as well as being constructed as part of two shade structures over the parking lot. This is something we’ve been striving for since we moved into this building and we are super excited to see it come to fruition!
Along with the very visible “green” features that TriSports.com has in place, there are many other programs and processes in place. The employees are all dedicated to lowering their environmental footprint, so ideas come from everyone on what can be done to this end. Some of these efforts include:
  • Dual light controls in office spaces, along with plenty of natural light, so everyone thinks twice before flipping those switches.
  • Zoned A/C throughout to ensure that only the spaces being used are being cooled.
  • Extensive recycling – the recycling container is about 4x larger than the trash container, and it doesn’t stop with paper. We recycle the pallets that bring our shipments to us, the boxes that come in our back door, clothing, shoes, bike parts and more!
  • Commuter program which encourages employees to bike to work by giving them a credit for every mile they commute, along with contests and awards to make it fun and interactive.
  • Herman Miller furniture throughout, most of which is made from recycled material and can be recycled after its useful life.
  • Carpet tiles made from recycled materials, which also make it easy to replace small areas rather than having to entirely re-carpet if something were to damage it.
  • Greenbox program which gives our customers the option to receive a recycled box and packing material instead of new (about 90% of our customers choose this option).
  • Shoe collection program which donates collected shoes to a local non-profit for reuse within the Tucson community.
  • Bike parts are donated to Resource Revival to be re-made into art and awards.

Mel, one of our many employees who commute, parks her bike.

This list could keep going on and on! TriSports.com is able to make all of this a success through a combined effort from all of the staff, and everyone feels passionately about preserving natural resources. It really is a team vision!

Water Harvesting Video – Now it’s official.

By Seton
March 21, 2011 on 4:18 pm | In Announcements, Water | No Comments
There are a lot of you out in cyber land that keep track of our happenings through various sources. For those of you following the water harvesting thread, it is now official – we have our sign and we just released the official press release last week. Chalk one up to Mother Earth!
Water Harvesting Demonstration Site Sign

Let The Water Harvesting Begin! Update #3

By Seton
January 3, 2011 on 1:58 pm | In Giving Back, Random Musings, Water | No Comments

After nearly 3 months, it is finally time to start harvesting the water from our newly installed Rainwater Harvesting System (see Update #1, and Update #2).  Since this was installed during one of two dry seasons, we actually only missed one or two small rain events (hence the whole reason for us installing this system – we live in a DESERT).  The last part of this project was connecting the building to the tanks.

  Inside look at one of the diverted roof drains.

Inside look at one of the diverted roof drains.

 

Outside look at the connected roof drain.

Outside look at the connected roof drain.

Last week, during our one week of winter here in Tucson, we got almost a little over a foot in each tank (over 4,000 gallons). We are expecting to harvest about 100,000 gallons per year from our roof PLUS an additional unknown amount from our AC condensate and swamp cooler wash out.   All of this will be used to irrigate all of our landscaping around the facility.

Water Harvesting Update #2

By Seton
November 3, 2010 on 6:44 pm | In Giving Back, Random Musings, Water | 2 Comments
Our water harvesting tanks are well on their way to completion (see my original post)!  Over the last couple weeks they poured the oversized slabs (taking 16 yards of concrete each) and have started to erect the two 18,000 gallon tanks.  The tanks are held together by some 1,200 bolts.
One of the two foundations.

One of the two foundations. The foundations are oversize to accommodate a seating area for our guests (mainly during large group rides).

A completed foundation - forms still up while concrete cures.

A completed foundation - forms still up while concrete cures.

The tanks are built from the top down.  Here a lift holds up the tank for the final assembly.

The tanks are built from the top down. Here a lift holds up the tank for the final assembly.

Bolts, lots and lots of bolts - over 1,200 per tank.

Bolts, lots and lots of bolts - over 1,200 per tank.

When this project is complete it will be one of the largest rainwater harvesting systems in the United States….and my Hydrology professors never thought I would use my degree, jeesh.

Harvester of…..Water

By Seton
October 4, 2010 on 2:56 pm | In Announcements, Giving Back, Water | 2 Comments
Yes, my small tribute to Metallica. As you may know, or not know, we made the commitment at the end of last year to install a rainwater harvesting system on our building. Fast forward 10 months and our water harvesting system is finally being installed. Being in Tucson, Arizona we don’t exactly get a ton of rain and when we do it usually comes so fast that most of it runs off (Tucson is in the Sonoran Desert – home of the Saguaro cactus – and we have two rainy seasons, February-mid April and July-mid September that combine for a total of 12″ of rainfall per year).
Water Harvesting - future location of one of the 18,000 gallon tanks

Water Harvesting - future location of one of the 18,000 gallon tanks

In order to better utilize this precious commodity we are installing two 18,000 gallon tanks on our building, which will be used to supply water for our plants and washing the TriSports.com truck and trailer.
Here is a view of the Water Harvesting plans of one of the tanks.

Here is a view of the Water Harvesting plans of one of the tanks.

Throughout the year we should be able to harvest a combined total of 100,000+ gallons of rainfall PLUS we have are routing the air conditioner condensation and swamp cooler cycled water (we have auto cleaning swamp coolers) into the system as well.
Here is a scale rendering to give you an idea on the size of these tanks.

Here is a scale rendering to give you an idea on the size of these tanks.

Time will tell what we will be able to harvest but we will certainly keep you updated. In addition to this system we have removed quite a bit of concrete from the front of our building to make way for additional plants, vines and trees.
Fresh concrete aggregate to match our building covers the new pipes connecting the tanks.

Fresh concrete aggregate to match our building covers the new pipes connecting the tanks.

Tank walls waiting to be assembled on site.

Tank walls waiting to be assembled on site.

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