A New Era of Collegiate Triathlon: A Varsity-Level Coach’s Take on the Future of the Sport

Marymount University is making waves in the triathlon world by creating a varsity-level program at the institution; a first in a sport that currently revolves around club programs at the collegiate level. Marymount has hired Zane Castro as head coach of both teams. Castro brings with him to Marymount 15 years of experience coaching triathlon at both the national and international levels. YoungTri caught up with him to learn more about the collegiate triathlon world, how it’s changing, and about the Marymount program.

Why collegiate triathlon?

The simple response is that the collegiate years are the obvious hole in elite development in the US triathlon system. Very few people realize it, but Junior (under 19) results do not project success at the elite level. Our country created this sport, but right now we are the weakest at the elite level, and we shouldn’t be, given our resources. So we need to encourage real, effective development of the sport during the collegiate years.

marymount triathlon

Marymount Triathlon Header – http://www.marymount.edu/athletics/Triathlon

Until recently, the norm in the United States has been for athletes to get serious about triathlon after specializing in one of the three disciplines first. Why should a great runner or swimmer come to your school to do triathlon rather than running or swimming in college and then re-focusing on triathlon afterwards?

We are entering a new era in triathlon, so the old model isn’t going to work. A great swimmer may develop their swimming in college, but they will likely come out lacking run development… the same can go for runners. Many collegiate athletes on scholarship don’t have the freedom to work on the other two disciplines, even if they know how. Like some other sports that aren’t well-developed at the high school level we can take athletes who haven’t necessarily been involved in triathlon before, but have a significant running and swimming background and develop them.

How will NCAA triathlon be different from the current collegiate club triathlon model?

The current club triathlon model may or may not have supportive knowledgeable coaches. Club programs also have limited funding (athletes have to pay out-of-pocket to compete). Here at Marymount, about three-quarters of all competition costs will definitely be covered and we will be looking for more funding. NCAA teams are run by knowledgeable coaches with support from the school.

NCAA_LogoSince there are so few NCAA teams, who will you compete against?

Currently, we will compete against clubs and funnel into the current national system (Junior, U23 or EDR) depending on the ages of our athletes. Once triathlon becomes an NCAA sport, our competition will be the other NCAA schools—the first 10 schools to sign the petition.

The NCAA has made it pretty clear that triathlon will be added as an emerging sport for women. But, given Title IX, how can up-and-coming male triathletes be certain that collegiate triathlon will be a viable option for them in the future?

First off, the emerging sport mandate is thru Title IX, so, yes, it’s technically for women. But the mandate doesn’t have any bearing on whether a university chooses to get behind a program and support it for both men and women. Right now, a collegiate-development avenue is a great opportunity for male triathletes, regardless of whether triathlon is “technically” an NCAA sport. Specifically at Marymount, we have full support from our president and AD, so we will be able to offer development—to both men and women—regardless of what happens with the NCAA mandate.

Stay tuned for more about Marymount and other college triathlon programs in upcoming features!

10 Ways to Save Time & Tri Better – By Ben Greenfield

There are a ton of triathlon training schedules.

Some are good, some are bad, and some are nice to look at when you need to fall asleep quickly and don’t have any sleeping pills nearby.

But regardless of which triathlon training schedule you use, there are 10 crucial time-saving elements you need to be looking for, if you don’t want to waste time training when you could be kissing up to your boss, wasting time on YouTube, or teaching your kids how to make offensive sounds with their armpits.

Don’t Let Your Triathlon Training Schedule Get You Underwater.

So in no particular order of importance (except that the first one is about food, which I find myself thinking about a lot as a self-admitted food junkie), here are your 10 triathlon training schedule time savers:

10. Eat Lunch Fast. Taking 5 minutes to eat your lunch will leave, in most cases, 55 extra minutes in your triathlon training schedule. So what takes a long time to eat? Salads, casseroles, dinner leftovers – and pretty much anything that requires cutlery. Choose these instead: wraps, sandwiches, smoothies and shakes. And yes, I am that guy riding my bicycle down the road as I finish up a turkey-avocado wrap that I’ve wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed down my bike jersey.

9. Quality Over Quantity. Most triathletes, especially the Ironman ones, swim 140% too much, bike 200% too much and run 170% too much – mostly because there is too little hard fast training and too much long slow training. I personally use a ton of high intensity interval training workouts (HIIT), and that means I get to watch movies with my kids at night. So what’s an example of HIIT? Rather than going on a 45 minute run, I’ll do 10 treadmill 30-60 second sprints on the highest incline I can possibly manage, and then do my core workout between each sprint.

8. Indoor Training. It sounds a bit blah, but if you want to free up time in your triathlon training schedule, you can save many, many minutes by hopping on an indoor trainer or treadmill rather than getting dressed for weather conditions, going outside, and fighting stop signs, stop lights, traffic and Grandma’s on rollerblades with their 8 grandchildren and 2 schnozzle dogs. You’ll even find me sometimes skipping my swim to do an indoor workout like the one in this FIT10 Indoor Workout video.

7. Commute. Ride your bike to work (or find a fast way to school or class if you’re in high school or college). Put your clothes in a backpack, and pack babywipes orActionwipes to wipe yourself down. If you’re like me, you can even go so far as to wash your hair in the sink. If this doesn’t work for your triathlon training schedule you can also: A) run to the grocery store or to errands (I run hard there, and then easy back while I’m carrying stuff like bananas); B) do errands on your bike (not recommended for anything that involves your hair looking nice); or C) ride or run to social events, like parties, and then drive home with your friends or family.

6. Eat Right. If you’re eating calories that don’t have high nutritional value, a good part of your triathlon training schedule is going to be spent simply A) trying not to get fat and/or B) fighting against the recovery and fitness reducing effect that “empty calories” have on your body. Anything process, refined or packaged should comprise only a very small part of your diet, and everything else should come from whole, raw, real food. And yes, the local coffeeshop bakery case falls into the latter category, even the cookies with the pink frosting that say “Fat-Free”. I also recommend that just about everybody take the bare minimum supplementation protocol (for reasons I discuss in an nutrition supplements audio you can hear by clicking here ): Vitamin D, Magnesium, Fish Oil and Greens.

5. Train with Friends/Make the most of your situation. As soon as my wife and I found out we were pregnant with twins (actually she was, I just helped, which was the fun part), we equipped our garage with a double bike trailer and a double jogger. Some triathlon training schedule advice is to do “Invisible Training”, which is done early in the morning or late at night when your training is “invisible” to your family, but I encourage you, at least once a week, to set a good example and make family a part of your training. Now, in regards to younger athletes, this can apply in a different sense. Training with friends can help you catch up/bond while fitting in a workout at the same time. It can also provide and added sense of motivation.

4. Communication. You, your family, your friends, your classmates, teammater and/or your boss should be aware of your triathlon training schedule when you have a 5 hour bike ride planned for the weekend, or you decide to disappear to the gym for an extra hour on Wednesday morning. I’m also very open to friends and co-workers when I can’t hang out. Don’t be embarrassed to wear your triathlon training schedule on your sleeve – most people will respect you for being committed to fitness.

3. Friday Night Fuddy-Duddy. Speaking of friends, I don’t recommend you engage in heavy drinking or late night social activities regularly on Friday night. Having said that, if you do decide to have a late night on Friday, be sure to compensate for it with heavier training on Sunday or Saturday afternoon so that you don’t sacrifice your training plan. I say this primarily because Saturday is such valuable time for getting in your triathlon training scheduled workouts. Save the tom-foolery for Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons, when you’ve gotten your high quality training out of the way.

2. Cross-Train. Lately, many of my social relationships are now formed from playing tennis with a group of guys. For me, that’s my social outlet that keeps me from being an isolated triathlon geek who has lost the skill to communicate with the general population and mostly just stares off into space and utters phrases like “Oily Cassette Blurby Blah-Blah”. You’re not “wasting time” when you cross-train in your triathlon training schedule – instead, there is often a very good training effect upon your triathlon fitness. While the social sports of golf, softball and baseball may not be the best cardiovascular cross-training activities, look into group activities like soccer, basketball, tennis, or if you are an international reader, cricket (I know nothing about cricket, but I threw that in there to make this a globally relevant article and to appease any Eastern hemisphere readers).

1. Non-Triathlon Post-Race Festivities. Turn your races into fun! If you’re at a race that requires staying at a hotel, engage your family and/or friends so they don’t regret going on the trip. Take some time to spend time with friends after the race if they’ve come to see you watch. Whatever it may be… a nearby amusement park, a bite to eat, a nearby beach… it could turn the experience into a lot of fun.

Ben Greenfield is YoungTri’s official coach and nutritionist.

Ben’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness 

Ben Greenfield Fitness:

5 Quick Tips: Take Advantage of your Open Water Swim

For many new triathletes, swimming in the open water is a daunting prospect. Open water swims even give some some seasoned triathletes chills. However, open water swims can be fun and invigorating if you follow these 5 quick tips.

1. Swim with other people – swimming with other people in open water is much safer than swimming by yourself. If something goes wrong, someone is right there. Otherwise, you have someone to compete against on your swim!

2. Wear a brightly colored cap – This is very important! I usually wear my neon pink Rev3 cap or random other neon caps that I’ve gotten from other races. Neon caps definitely help you stand out in the water.

3. Wear a wetsuit – On an open water swim, having a reliable wetsuit to help you along is a must.

4. Stay hydrated – Make sure that you are hydrated before and after long swims! This helps avoid exhaustion and such in the water.

5. Enjoy yourself – Take in the scenery, stop for a minute to talk with your swimming partner, or simply push yourself and get a great workout (My cousin Erin and I like to stop in the middle of Mirror lake during our swims for a quick break and talk… hehe :). Trust me, it makes the experience much more enjoyable!

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Open water swims are an essential part of training for races! There’s nothing like swimming in water as beautiful as Mirror Lake (pictured)

Tri Hard,

Caity

It’s About More Than Just Swimming, Biking and Running [part one]

We all race for a reason.

Whether it’s to beat our old PR, to accomplish a lifelong goal, or to try something new, triathlon provides an outlet through which our competitive desires can be fulfilled. And now more than ever, more and more triathletes are proving that triathlons are about more than just swimming, biking and running.

Many individuals choose to race for a cause to intertwine their competitive spirit and their desire to serve and do good. Whether you’re passionate about finding a cure for cancer, helping the blind, helping those with special needs or otherwise, there are many avenues in the triathlon world through which racing for a cause is possible. Some of these come directly through specific charities, like The MMRF. In other cases, athletes raise money through foundations or community funds, like through the Ironman Foundation.

Through our “Get Involved” series, you’ll find out more about these opportunities – and especially how you can take advantage of them.

YoungTri will be featuring more charities in the upcoming weeks and months; especially through a series about the Ironman Foundation and the measures that the organization takes to support local non-profit organizations.

8556261One of the charities featured on YoungTri.com’s “Get Involved” page is Swim for Smiles, a charity that YoungTri Executive Board member Alex Werden has been personally involved in for many years. The organization raises money for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital by putting on swim-orientated events involving hundreds of local children. Every year, the foundation puts on a youth triathlon in May. You can find out more about getting involved here: swimforsmiles.org

2412783_origI’ve been involved with Swim Across America for over a decade, an organization that makes waves to fight cancer through swimming related events. Swim Across America has raised over $30 million for cancer research. To get involved, check out the Swim Across America site for swims all across the country as well as information on how to start your own pool swim! (It’s not difficult, promise!) swimacrossamerica.org

These two charities are just a few of the ways that athletes can raise money and get involved for a cause close to their heart. Check out YoungTri’s growing “Get Involved” page here: http://www.youngtri.com/get-involved1.html Your favorite charity not on the list? No worries! Just click “submit” and tell us about it!

We’ll have more on racing for a cause soon – with stories from athletes as well as ways to get involved in your area.

Do you race for a cause? What’s your motivation?

Tri Hard,

Caity

Transition Talk: Eye On Ironman [lake placid. 2013.]

Seven letters. Two syllables. One word synonymous with the sport of triathlon.

Ironman.

Ironman_Mdot_Logo_sticker1The allure of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112, and running 26.2 all within a 17 hour time frame escapes many; for often individuals fail to see how such an endeavor can be in any way, shape or form enjoyable. However, this is not the case for many of those in the triathlon world.

There’s something to be said about the mental fortitude and physical power of each individual that crosses the finish line of an Ironman event; hearing Mike Reilly’s quintessential “YOU. ARE. AN IRONMANNNNNNN” greeting as they take their final steps of their Ironman journey. I probably have a slanted view of the magic of this Ironman journey – for my dad has completed seven, my uncles both five, my aunt three, and my cousin one. As much as I love dancing around the finisher area with my cousins in Lake Placid, patiently waiting for our relatives and making new friends in the process, [read: giving out “random hi-fives” to everyone who walked by. my brother made a sign. hahah] I’ve always longed for an Ironman journey of my own.

This July 28th, I’ll have the chance to join my cousins, aunt, uncles and dad in Ironman Lake Placid. I couldn’t be more excited! I’m also raising money for the Ironman Foundation to compete… the organization is really, really great. It raised money for  “local non-profit organizations that recognize citizens in need and support The IRONMAN Foundation’s mission”. http://ironman.kintera.org/lakeplacid2013/begg

I’m looking forward to Mike Reilly’s “YOU. ARE. AN IRONMANNNNNNN” chant for myself, but that’s not really why I’m racing. I’m doing it, [just like most of you probably do] because I love racing. That rhythmic beat your body gets into during the swim. Miles passing by on the bike. Thinking of things that frustrate you and anger you and channeling them to get up the arduous hills. Running, running, and running some more even though the body aches. There’s something about it… something about triathlons that make you keep coming back for more.

And that’s not just me. Not just a few people who share this sentiment. There are thousands of people each year who expand upon their triathlon aspirations and compete in Ironmans. And if it’s not Ironman, it’s diving into that first race, tackling an Olympic, trying a half. Whatever it may be, there’s something about the sport that keeps thousands of us crawling back. [even when we SWEAR after a really hard race that we’re DEFINITELY taking time off. stop kidding yourself. you won’t. I’ve seen it firsthand with my relatives when it comes to Ironman.]

I think that besides the competitive drive and love for racing that triathletes share, it’s something about the community. Something about the “ties that bind us”… about the people around us who are as passionate about swimming, biking and running and we are. When you meet someone at a race that has an inspirational story, when you bond with other triathletes through relatives, a club or otherwise, when you see the myriad racers around you the day of an event… there’s nothing like it. And it’s that sense of community – that sense of belonging, intertwined with that never-ending competitive fire, that serves as the impetus for my passion for triathlons.

My hope is that my Ironman journey will only expand upon this. Whatever “tri journey” you’re going through this year – whether you have your eye on an Ironman, sprints, halfs, or are taking a year off, take a moment to think about what it is that motivates you. Why you’re racing. That’s what will keep you going.

For now, I’m keeping the words [you. are. an. ironman.] on my head in r e p e a t.

A constant inspiration for July.

What’s your inspiration this season? What are you working towards?

Tri Hard,

Caity

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From Triathlons to Rowing at Stanford: YoungTri Featured Athlete Andrew Gyenis (Part 2)

While east-coasters are enduring sub-zero temperatures, not all of us have been dealing with adjusting our outdoor training schedules to frigid temperatures. YoungTri member Andrew Gyenis has been enjoying his freshman year and training at sunny Stanford. We checked back in with him to hear about his winter training and summer plans – and how being a rower compares to being a triathlete.

For Part 1 of our interview with Andrew, go [here]

How has the winter season been going? What type of training have you been focusing on?

The winter training season has been going great so far, now I’m just dying to race! Our racing season starts the first weekend in March and will continue until the beginning of June. Right now my training is consisting of a lot more time rowing on the water than in the fall (especially in fours), but I am also getting in a decent volume of erg workouts, weight training, and swimming. It’s all about finding that ideal balance of aerobic fitness, power, and technique right now.

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Did you attend any winter training camps with your team? What was the experience like? How did it compare to any triathlon camps etc. you have attended?

The rowing team came back to Palo Alto five days before class started to do a short training camp that consisted of rowing on the water twice a day and an erg session once a day. For the almost three weeks prior to that, I stayed at home with my family in the DC-area. I was able to reconnect with my old swim coach (John Flanagan of NCAP), and I did some brutal practices with his training group almost every day I was at home. His 10,000 yard practices combined with some runs and strength training got me in very good shape heading into January. I stayed off the erg and didn’t row for almost the whole months of November and December while I recovered from two dislocated ribs and a strained lat muscle that I injured while doing an erg workout in November. Everything is all good now and I have been injury free since.

How do you think being a triathlete has helped you in the rowing world?

Definitely my biggest advantage in the rowing world has been my aerobic capacity. On the erg I can sustain a higher stroke rate and heart rate than a lot of the other guys, but I am still working on my power and technique. One of my coach’s favorite quotes is “fitness plus length equals speed”, and I appreciate how he encourages cross training during the week to stay at peak fitness. In terms of working on generating more power, I have completely changed my weight training program to include exercises with reps of 8-10 versus reps of 16-20 like I was doing for triathlon training. I have gained about 10 pounds since the beginning of the year, and although it may not be ideal for fast running, I feel like I am getting more leverage and moving the boat more per stroke now than when I started rowing.

Do you plan to compete in any triathlons this summer? Or just focus on rowing?

I am still trying to get together my plans for this summer. I know for a fact that it will not include competitive triathlon training though, maybe just one or two for “fun”. Either I will stay out here in the Bay Area and focus on rowing and competing at summer races, or I will go home for the summer and focus on swimming with my club coach and do some open water and long course racing. Regardless, I want to have a part-time job as well, so that may influence my decision on where I spend my summer. I am really interested in global warming/climate change research and policy, and I am looking into doing research this summer.

What is your favorite part of being a student athlete at Stanford?

My favorite parts about being a student athlete at Stanford are the combination of the ideal training climate and facilities we have. Nothing beats rowing on the San Francisco Bay on a clear morning, and every time it reminds me of how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to be here. The coaches, the weight room, the boat house, the rowing equipment, and the gear are all top notch, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Plus, we get to row outdoors 365 days a year (unlike some of those Ivy League Schools haha).

Aero-road Frames: Worth the Money?

Giant, Trek, Cervelo, and Specialized are all selling road bikes with features such as aero-tubing, hidden breaks, and internalized cable housing. While these new machines are beautiful, are they worth it?

The answer in short: it depends on your budget and needs.

From a performance standpoint, the benefits far out way any costs. The typical cost of making a frame more aerodynamic is adding material and making the frame heavier. Since the vast majority of resistance comes from aerodynamics (except when in the mountains) any additional weight probably will only add marginal resistance. Interestingly enough, Trek’s revamped aerodynamic aero madone is actually lighter than its non-aero predecessor. The verdict: if money is not an object than going aero is the way to go unless you are climbing more than a few thousand feet vertically in a given training ride.

From a price standpoint, aero road bikes are almost always carbon fiber and rarely start below $2000 and often start at price points closer to $3500. Even with the aerodynamic engineering, a triathlon bike is still much faster than an aero road bike due to its better positioning for any non-draft legal racing. Buying the bike doesn’t mean one can save by not buying a triathlon bike. However, if you are looking for a road bike and are already looking to spend over $2000, than you are better off getting the aero frame.

-Aaron Lidawer, YoungTri Executive Board Member

The Top 10 REAL Reasons We Do Races.

one of our favorites here at youngtri, haha

1. The after race food and free-bies
2. So we can wear the black paint on our legs and brag about our amazing times
3. We always could use another race shirt for the collection
4.  We love to look up our times 2000 times.
5. So that we can get the rust of our bikes for the real race next week.
6. We love when people ask how far the race was and how fast we did it.
7. We love telling people how far the race was and how fast we did it.
8. We secretly love to be tired the rest of the day.
9. It is great to push ourselves.
10. We love to get attention. hehe

-TJ Begg(Comedic writer)

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After Ironman Lake Placid last year

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With my uncle Mike

484561_4424879746549_809884996_nChillin with the Ironman Mascot

Trouble Sleeping? How to Hack Your Sleep & Sleep Better – By Ben Greenfield

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly had times in my life when I simply couldn’t sleep.

zzzAnd it’s extremely disturbing when you can’t sleep. It can be especially frustrating when you know you have an important day of work or a workout the next day and you know you’re going to be too tired, or when you’re extremely sleepy, but you just can’t get your darn brain to shut down.

Sometimes this kind of insomnia happens because there’s too many thoughts going through your head from work or school…

…other times insomnia happens because you’re worried or anxious about a life or relationship situation…

…and sometimes insomnia can be purely biological, such as you being hungry, or having a neurotransmitter imbalance, or being over trained from too much exercise or not producing enough melatonin.

In today’s article, I’m going to tell you what you need to know about the important biology of sleep, give you a video that explains your circadian rhythm in detail, and then tell you how to hack your sleep, beat insomnia, and get into a deep sleep phase as fast as possible.

Why Lack Of Sleep Matters

A lack of sleep:

…weakens your immune system (and for athletes, getting sick = less training or poor training).

…leads to obesity. Recent studies have shown that even one night of poor sleep can result in changes in appetite and food intake. Sleep deprivation also impairs carbohydrate tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and glucose uptake. When glucose uptake is inhibited, you aren’t able to refuel before, during, and after your workouts.

…causes intellectual decline. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts short-term and working memory, long-term memory and the generation of nerve cells – all of which affects our ability to think clearly and function well.

…raises inflammation. Sleep deprivation causes chronic, low-grade inflammation. Inflammation is the root of all modern disease and severely inhibits the bodies’ ability to repair muscles, tissue, and tendon damage.

…increases risk of injury: When you don’t get enough sleep your motor responses are dulled, this leads to bad form, inefficient neuromuscular patterns and injury.

And I believe it was Paleo author Robb Wolf who I once heard sum up the importance of sleep like this:

“If you want to kill somebody fast, deprive them of sleep.”

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My Top Recommendations For Getting A Better Night’s Sleep

Now that you understand how your circadian rhythm works, it’s time to get into a bit of “sleep hacking”. The following sleep recommendations, insomnia natural remedies, and sleep supplements are taken from my “Ben Recommends” page and explained in more detail below…

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Using Sounds for Better Sleep

– Buy this 99 cents album, which is a 2:00:00 track – “3 Hz Binaural Pure Sine Delta Wave And Rain For Deep Sleep”

After I used this, I put 4 of those tracks above (for a total of 8 hours) on an iTunes playlist which started with this free 20 minute relaxation podcast track I downloaded from iTunes:

“ZZZZZZ – Stin Meditation Station Fitness & Nutrition”

 

-use the PZizz iPhone app to create “binaural beats” (read about how those kind of beats work here). I’ve found this works really well for short naps, but not so well for long nights, and you need to use them about 5-10 times in a row before you brain gets “trained”.

-use a White Noise app for sleeping loud settings (if you’re sleeping where dogs are barking, kids are crying, trains, sirens, airplanes/airports, etc.).

-use something like the Dream Essentials contoured face mask with fitted ear plugs to block light and sound altogether.

-Get the “The Delta Effect” CD’s/mp3 downloads to play as relaxing background to lull you to sleep in your bedroom.

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Using Supplements for Better Sleep

There are a variety of supplements that can be used to enhance sleep. These require some degree of self-experimentation, because some work for some people and some don’t.

This is because insomnia, light sleep, or trouble getting to sleep can be so dependent on a variety of factors – such as neurotransmitter balance, mineral deficiencies, leptin insensitivity, melatonin secretion, etc. 

Here are some of my favorite insomnia natural remedies and sleep supplements:

-400-500mg potassium citrate combined with 400-500mg Natural Calm magnesium (use this 30-60 minutes prior to bed, and back off if you get loose stool!). If magnesium upsets your stomach, listen to this podcast about which magnesium is best.

-2-3 tablespoons MCT Oil or coconut oil 30-60 minutes prior to bed. This works well if appetite cravings keep you awake, but you don’t want an insulin spike from carbohydrates or protein.

MillenniumSports Somnidren GH (can be very effective, but you must use this on an empty stomach, 30-60 minutes prior to bed, and you have to cycle it as 5 days on, 2 days off so you stay sensitive to it).

-Hammer REM caps (use 15% referral code 80244 at http://www.HammerNutrition.com) – a source of valerian root and melatonin that can be especially effective when traveling. Take 60 minutes before bed because if the surge of melatonin hits your bloodstream while you’re sleeping it can wake you back up.

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Using Gear, Apps & Tools for Better Sleep

From enhancing your relaxing Delta brain wave production to decreasing the ability of artificial light to suppress melatonin release, the following sleep gear, tools and apps can help beat insomnia or give you deeper sleep:

-Install “Flux” app on computer so your screen dims blue light at night

-Wear blue light blocking glasses, especially for evening computer use. I recommend Gunnar glasses because they look cooler than most of the others.

-Install low blue light bulbs as a replacement for regular bulbs in your house, and put ablue light blocker screen on your computer or television.

-Use Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy for enhancing deep sleep cycles (I highly recommend the EarthPulse and swear by it for naps, long deep sleep and travel).

-Use a light box such as NatureBright Sun Touch for morning light therapy, and click here to learn about what time of day is best to use a light box.

-In the winter or season when it is dark in the morning, use a Sunrise Alarm Clock for waking and “rebooting” your circadian rhythm.

-If traveling, use a grounding mat or grounding bedspread (stand on for 20 minutes and use in bed at night after arriving at destination) or go outside barefoot in the morning whenever you are travelling outside your normal time zone).

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Tracking Your Sleep

To see if you’re actually sleeping as much as you think you might be (you’d be surprised at how little you might be sleeping, even if you’re lying in bed for 8 hours), or to see how the supplements or tools listed above affect your sleep, you can track your sleep cycle using the tools below:

Zeo Personal Sleep Coach system

Fitbit wireless tracking device

-Or a more affordable alternative to either of the methods listed above: SleepTime app by Azumio

What about you? Have you ever had insomnia? Have you found good insomnia natural remedies? Do you have questions about how to hack your sleep, beat insomnia and get into a deep sleep phase as fast as possible? Leave your thoughts below.

EarthPulse

Triathlon: the Next NCAA Sport? [it very may will be… for women]

ncaa-logo1For many of us college-aged triathletes, we’ve either decided to specialize in one of the three disciplines of our beloved sport, focus on another (like crew) or join our school’s club triathlon team. It seems unthinkable that the option to pursue triathlon as a viable NCAA option in college could be possible.

Well… not anymore.

Or not anymore SOON, that is.

A feature on the NCAA website [read it hereindicates that triathlon is poised to be the next emerging sport for women. For all you male triathlon enthusiasts… don’t hold your breath. It may be a few more years or more after even women’s triathlon becomes official that you see NCAA recognition for your side of the sport. Angry? Take it out on Title nine. But hey, be positive… right? Now there’s a chance there might be more triathletes on your campus! More training buddies?

The recognition of triathlon as an NCAA sport has the power to change triathlon forever. For, as of now, many YoungTri members as well as other triathletes have chosen to put off training during the year to compete in other sports at the NCAA level. Patrick LaBrode, YoungTri Executive Board member, struggled with the decision of whether to train for triathlons in college or swim. He’s now a D1 swimmer at the University of Texas, and says he couldn’t be happier. He’s excelling in the sport. Besides going the traditional swim, bike, or run route, more and more triathletes are trying their hand at the rowing world in college. I speak from firsthand experience… I was recruited from triathlons to row in college. Andrew Gyenis, another YoungTri member, is now rowing at Stanford and is thrilled with his decision.

The question still remains, however, how the possibility of triathlon as an NCAA sport would affect the college choices of potential college triathletes. Would athletes used to switching between cross country and swimming during the year be committed to doing triathlons year round? In other situations, would athletes be willing to race at one of the few schools that may offer triathlon as an NCAA sport instead of pursuing swimming, cross country, crew or otherwise? This is a question that can only be answered at the time of the sport’s true entry into the NCAA.

triathlon1Right now, the six schools in support (letter writers) of triathlon as an NCAA sport are Adams State, Air Force, Arizona, Colorado-Colorado Springs (the school established the Elite Triathlon Academy in 2011), Marymount (Virginia), and Monmounth. With Navy’s intent to also sign on, three other schools would be necessary to begin the process of securing triathlon’s NCAA status by the deadline of June 1, 2013. If this NCAA emergence takes place, it will be interesting to see how it alters the collegiate national championship (for it would be an NCAA race rather than just a USAT race) and whether schools with already prominent club triathlon teams like Stanford, Duke, UNC, UVM, Cal and others would sign on or keep their club designation.

An NCAA designation for triathlon could do the sport a great deal of good. Increased awareness, participation, enthusiasm, and scholarship opportunities can only lead to better athletes – which could eventually lead to a strengthened U.S. Olympic team. If you’re interested in pursuing triathlon as an NCAA sport if the opportunity presents itself, I encourage you to read the NCAA article linked above and stay in touch with current happenings. And if you’re already a college athlete? Hey, don’t fret. The great thing about triathlon is that it’s a sport for a lifetime (you know you want to be that 80 year old doing Ironmans…) – taking four years off (or being a LITTLE less intense year-round) won’t kill you ;).

Tri Hard,

Caitlin