Whether you are a runner, triathlete, or other endurance sports junkie, chances are you're using some type of tech to help you measure performance.
There’s certainly no shortage of tech devices on the market, and athletes ask all the time where they can get the biggest bang for their buck.
From bikes, to GPS watches. Heart rate monitors to power meters, where should you start?
Here’s our list of recommended gear!
We’ve done our best to list these recommendations in order of importance, assuming an athlete can only get one item at a time. Build your gear supply by working down the list, as you grow with the sport. Let us know if you have any questions, or if you have any great recommendations of your own!
Here’s the quick list, but keep reading for reasons why we chose them, and the brands we recommend!
Most cyclists and triathletes agree, when it comes to measuring fitness improvement, Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the gold standard. As the cost of technology that measures FTP comes down, more athletes are able to use power as a training tool. There are even power meters that will now measure power specifically on the run (stay tuned for our upcoming program on running with a power meter!).
What is FTP?
At its essence, power refers the amount of force being created on a bicycle by the cyclist. Runners can also use a device like the Stryd running meter (more on running with power in later blogs). This metric is important, because it tells us the work that an athlete is actually doing, in realtime. Other metrics like heart rate can be impacted by things like temperature, hydration levels, stress, etc. and are lagging indicators of effort.
FTP, is generally considered the power output that an athlete can sustain for 40-60 minutes. Check out more on our blog to find out how to take a FTP test! We recommend athletes retest every 3-5 weeks to see what gains they are making.
Boosting your FTP
So, now that you know what FTP is, and know where to go to find out how to take the test, how do you go about improving it?
You’ll need to focus on a combination of easy riding, and riding at or above your threshold (threshold is another way to say, FTP). The easy days (if they’re easy enough), help you build your FTP from the bottom up. The hard days (if they’re hard enough), help pull your FTP higher from the top.
Triathletes often overlook look their running, opting instead to try and improve the swim, or boost their FTP. Building confidence in the first two disciplines is certainly vital for a successful race. What athletes don’t always realize though, is that they can build a higher level of in-season running performance, by focusing on their technicals skills and aerobic efficiency in the off-season.
Download our run specific training block to help you refine your technique and progressively build milage, all while increasing your running efficiently and helping you avoiding injury!
This planned is geared toward triathletes, so the running workouts will be supported by both swim and bike sessions. These swim and bike sessions should be done at an easy intensity as we want your legs rested and ready for the key running sessions! If you're note a triathlete, simply drop the biking and swimming from the plan.
Finally, this plan was originally drafted for Full and 70.3 Ironman athletes. However, on the next page you’ll learn how to set specific targets for your current fitness level (Sprint to Full Ironman!).
Running might be one of the most natural things we do as humans. As the title of Christopher McDougall’s book, of the famous Springsteen song implies, “baby, we were born to run!”
Chance are, if you’re reading this, your either already runner, or looking for the best way to start. Regardless of your background, or experience, the best place you can start is with your form! Why start with from, and not run/walk intervals, what shoes to buy, or how many miles to start with? Well, ask yourself this. If you’ve run before, have you ever had to miss a workout due to pain? Have you ever had to slow down, or drop out of a race because your legs couldn’t handle any more?
Contributed by Diane Harrison
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When it comes to diet, nutrition, fitness, and overall health, we all have different ideas of what we want. Some of us are looking to better fuel our athletic performances. Others hope to boost their energy, loose a few pounds, or simply incorporate more nutrient dense foods in their diet.
Whether your a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or just thinking about stepping into fitness, making positive choices to meet your ultimate goals is not easy! I'm always looking for ways to improve my clients experiences, and recently I began pursuing my Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. It's an amazing program, that I've seen work for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
It's been a crazy year so far, and never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined we'd be here in quarantine! First and foremost, I hope you and your families are staying healthy and well! Ideally, you're still able to get out for some fresh air from time to time.
Walking or running (at an appropriate social distance from others) is still something we can all do. As the weather warms up, and we see more sunlight and warmer weather! Getting in that activity and fresh air can be a vital part in helping keep our immune systems boosted!
While stuck here with more indoor time than usual, I've also had a chance to sit back and reflect over the first quarter of the year. I've been working hard to help my clients achieve their health, fitness, and race goals. In the process, I realized I achieved some personal goals of my own.
Contributed by: Michael Nokes
Making good habits is hard. Without an action plan, it is easy to skip the exercise for a day, eat fast food, and fall asleep in front of the TV. The best plans establish a routine with every step already thought out. Once it’s as simple as a reminder on your phone to put on your running shoes and stretch, the convenience of following the routine takes over.
In this post, we share our tips for organizing healthy meal plans so they’re easy to implement into your schedule and painless to do.
With only a few weeks left before the 2018 Pittsburgh Marathon, I have a lot of runners coming to me with aches and pains popping up. Maybe they didn't quite stay focused on their form during that last 20 miler, ramped up a little too fast, or didn't even know it was possible to run in a less impactful way.
Whatever the reason, it's probably safe to say that not nearly enough of us are taking the time to "pre-hab," of work on our "goats" after a run.
Check out these great exercises from my friend, Katherine Dryer, in her article "Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention." They're not a silver bullet for ailing achey legs, but they're a good start!
Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention
by Katherine Dryer
Fervent runners know how important it is to be fully stretched and prepped before hitting the pavement or cross-country ground, yet many fail to exercise the hip flexors fully. While it is easier to remember the hamstrings, calves and quads, we should also take the time to lengthen and loosen our hip flexors. In this post, we highlight the importance of this muscle group and suggest a few easy stretches.
When I'm working with new (or even experienced) clients on their form, one of the first things we focus on is posture. Recently, I've added a few quick posture lessons to my Instagram feed and YouTube Channel. Check them out if you're not familiar with posture.
Once I have my client's posture into a good place, we usually focus on leaning into gravity, and allowing the foot to fall below the body's center of mass. This allows the foot to strike the road with less force, landing under the body's center of gravity an sweeping back (vs. landing on the heel in front of the body).
This all sounds good, but how do you put it into practice? How do you keep your legs landing below the body's center, but keep from pushing off moving into your next stride?
Check out some of these thoughts from ChiLilving & ChiRunning co-founder Katherine Dreyer (originally posted on ChiRunning.com)
One Thing to Make Your Running So Much Easier
You can make running easier…after all, why push yourself down the road when you can be pulled…by gravity, that is.
In our last workshop some people found it difficult to let go and let gravity do its job. Whether it’s a mindset that says you need to work hard, or legs that want to be tree stumps and not loose like noodles, the hardest part of ChiRunning® is learning to relax and let go.
When Donna felt her legs go truly limp she was amazed and very pleased. She’d never felt her legs relax so much! And then movement became easy.
Here are some tips to get your legs to relax. Practice these with beginner’s mind – the kid-like energy of, “heck, what might happen if I try this”:
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Ken Presutti is a certified ChiRunning instructor, ACE Personal trainer, Spinning instructor, and coach. This blog is a mix of new articles and posts from his original blog, Overkill is Underrated.