Mentally Preparing for Races {One Week}

One week until Ironman Lake Placid. Can’t believe it!

As the days are winding down before the big race, mental preparation is becoming more and more important.

For whatever races or events you have coming up in the next few weeks — or months — mental preparation is key.

Visualizing a good race.

Choosing a pre-race playlist that helps your adrenaline to start pumping.

Calming nerves by talking to friends, meditating, watching your favorite show the night before, or writing out a race plan.

Whatever it takes — prepare mentally. That’s half the race.

Be confident in your physical ability and put in the time to make your mind just as strong.

How do you mentally prepare for a big race?

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Lake Placid two years ago!

Tri Hard,
Caity

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re A Triathlete

  1. One sport just isn’t enough. So you do three. In a row.
  2. Your friends fully expect that almost every time you hang out with them you WILL talk about triathlons.
  3. You have more workout clothes than regular clothes. And since this includes swimming, biking, and running attire, it’s a LOT.
  4. Your tan lines are weirder than any other athlete.
  5. Shot blocks and Gus are an everyday snack.
  6. One of the most used phrases in your vocabulary is “I can’t, I have to train”. (Or you have to eat. Or sleep.)
  7. Your body is so used to waking up at 6 or 7 AM due to training habits that you oftentimes cannot sleep in. No matter how much you want to.
  8. Wearing compression socks in public doesn’t phase you.
  9. While your friends have been asking for that new convertible, you’ve been eyeing the newest bike.
  10. The term “brick” has nothing to do with building houses.

Tri Hard,

Erin Begg, Caitlin Begg, Kaitlin Adams, Patrick LaBrode

Tri Treat: Spinach Banana Smoothie (Tastes like Bananas!)

Looking for a low-cal, sweet smoothie (and a way to fit in your greens)? Try this!

Spinach Banana Smoothie (two servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas (220 calories)
  • 1 cup spinach (10 calories)
  • 1 cup ice (unless bananas are frozen)
  • 1 3/4 cup almond milk (30 calories)

Total calories: 260 calories – 130 per serving

Blend until smooth.

This smoothie is perfect after a workout, as a quick breakfast, or a healthy snack! Although the coloring is green, it has a more banana-like taste.

Enjoy!

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Tri Hard,
Caitlin & Kaitlin

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

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“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Maybe this is why so many of us love triathlons so much. That while others may question the enjoyment in swimming, biking, and running for hours upon end (or in short, quick bursts), those who love sport understand that it’s the pushing yourself, the challenging your body to channel every fiber of strength and mental strength to excel, that makes the sport such an adrenaline rush.

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than the feeling that you’ve pushed yourself to your limits. Challenged what once was. And one of the great things about triathlon is that it can do just that.

How have you pushed yourself recently? By signing up for a new, longer race? Trying a new sport? Doing something outside your comfort zone?

Tri Hard,
Caity

How to Beat the Post-Race Blues

After training for many months, weeks, or even years for a goal race, some people feel what is called post-race or post-ironman depression. It is a feeling of “what now?” after completing any event that has taken a great deal of time and energy, resulting in a loss of motivation and a feeling of emptiness.

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Beat those post-race blues!

In order to stop post-race depression before it happens, make a plan for the weeks following your “A-race.”

1. Take time after your race to recover. This could mean 1-2 days for a sprint, to 1-2 weeks for an Iron-distance race. It depends on the distance but also how fast you recover. After recovery, get back into it slowly. Don’t start to train structurely yet. Listen to your body!!

2. Set goals! Without knowing “what to do with your life” after a goal race, it is nice to have another race to look forward to. It does not have to be as difficult and time-consuming as the first, but start thingking about that race and train for it. Your entire year should not be for 1 race!

3. Give yourself a “reward” post race. Make the celebration continue on past the finish line. Finishing your race shouldn’t be the end of it all.

It may not be possible to completely get rid of the feeling of post-race depression, but it is important to know what is coming and make a plan so that you’re prepared after the race. Happy training!

Cheers,

Brittany Abuhoff

YoungTri Ambassador

Collegiate Triathlon Teams: Get Involved! (you know you want to)

Joining a triathlon team in college is a great option — whether you’re a current student looking to get more involved in triathlons during the year (or get started in the sport) or a high school student starting to look at schools. Not only are the collegiate triathlon races fun (you get to compete against other schools in your region/conference), but it’s also a great way to get involved in the sport at a different level.

Triathlon is currently an NCAA Emerging Sport for women, and it’s current “club sport” designation allows teams to compete within ten large conferences. I am a Co-Captain of the Harvard Triathlon Team, and we compete in the Northeast Collegiate Conference (along with teams like West Point, Yale, and many others). There are nine other regions, all of which come together to compete at the USAT Collegiate National Championship in (this year it was held in Arizona).

Some fun parts about collegiate triathlon are the flexibility and the friendships formed. Depending on your school’s setup, you may have a professional coach or a student-run program (and may be able to be a member of the team if you are a varsity athlete on a different team — depending on the schedule).

For a complete list of collegiate triathlon clubs, go here.

Stay tuned throughout the summer and fall for more information and features on collegiate triathlon! Below are some pictures from my first race with the Harvard Triathlon Team in May — the New England Season Opener.

Questions? Want to submit your collegiate team’s information (pictures!) for free YoungTri stickers? Email caitlin@youngtri.com.

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At the NE Season Opener in May!

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Team dinner night before the race

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Leaving Harvard!

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The transition area

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The members who raced!

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“Call Me Maybe” after the race

Are you planning on joining a triathlon team in college? Are you a member of one now?

Tri Hard,

Caity

How to Condition Family and Friends to Become “Iron Spectators”

Unlike other sports like football, soccer, and lacrosse, triathlon is not usually thought of as a “spectator sport” — one that people get excited about watching. Rather than sitting in a comfortable lawn chair or bleacher while snacking and talking, spectating a triathlon (especially an Ironman) is a sport in it of itself.

In the case of an Ironman event, spectators are often seen sporting matching t-shirts (often with iron-on letters or “Go IronMike” like slogans), running from place to place, panting, and constantly attempting to calculate when to watch their loved one pass by on the swim, bike, or run.

snagged a great spot at the swim start #IronSpectators (throwback to three years ago)

snagged a great spot at the swim start #IronSpectators (throwback to three years ago)

A lot of heart and dedication goes into being a proper Iron spectator. It’s taken years for my brother TJ and cousins to master the art. From yelling DOUBLE BONUS at anyone with both an aero helmet (they like to call it a hershey helmet) and aero wheels and to pass the time to figuring out what restaurants to go to and WHEN during race day (to avoid long lines of rookie spectators), my cousins and brother are definitely dedicated Iron Spectators.

So, how to approach asking family members to spectate an Ironman…

First of all, DO NOT lie to to relatives or sugar coat the truth. Saying “Hey grandma or Boyfriend Sean, want to come on a fun trip to Lake Placid? There will be lots of pretty lakes and good food! And oh, by the way, you can watch me do a race, but it’s a ton of fun!” will not do you any good. Be honest. However, Informing your relatives and friends that spectating can be, let’s be honest, AWFUL, isn’t always the best route to take either.

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Selfies with an A+ Iron Spectator – Guy dressed in an Ironman cape.

So, how do you condition family and friends to become “Iron Spectators” — to avoid the fatigue and boring long hours of a dedicated triathlon-watcher? Follow the steps below, and before you know it you’ll have a team of “Team Iron (insert your name here)” running around in matching t-shirts to cheer for YOU. Yes, you! Wahoo.

  • Timing – The night before the race, make sure you have your loved ones’ race number and projected finish times (and loop times if the bike and run is a loop course) for the swim, bike, and run (And make them be realistic. If need be, remind them that they are not Chrissie Wellington and will most likely not be finishing an Ironman in single-digit hours).
  • Proper Nutrition – A Nutrition plan is just for the athletes? Psh, no way. Hunger and dehydration can run rampant amongst Iron Spectators if you are not careful. Remember, it’s a MARATHON not a SPRINT. Don’t eat all your ziploc-ed goodies at the swim start, and don’t forget bottled water. Map out restaurants you may want to try (but you’ll have to be careful about when you go to avoid long lines) Or else you’ll be sorry. And hungry. Which is not fun.
  • T-Shirts – T-shirts are the heart and soul of all classy Iron Spectating teams. Whether it’s a triathlon club jersey or printed (or iron-on) shirts, matching is ideal. The weirder the catch phrase, the better. “Iron (Insert your name here)” has been done. Come up with something creative and funny that will make the other Iron Spectators WISH they could be as cool as you.
Meeting random friends while Iron Spectating (we somehow made it into the VIP tent)

Meeting random friends while Iron Spectating back in the day (we somehow made it into the VIP tent)

  • Signs – This is where the all-star Iron Spectators are separated from the pack. Is your sign for your loved one (you just HAVE to have a sign or a cowbell) going to be traditional? Funny? Colorful? The possibilities are endless. TJ has some top-secret signs in the making for Ironman Lake Placid 2013, so you’ll have to stay tuned for those.
  • Activities – Let’s be honest. Iron spectating can get boring. And long hours of sitting on the pavement waiting for a relative to pass by for five seconds isn’t always conducive to children (or adults) being happy. So, future Iron Spectators, plan activities!!! Whether it’s stuffing your face at a local restaurant in between the bike and run, swimming, or shopping, you’ll need some way to pass the time. If things get really boring, you can always do what my cousins and I did in Lake Placid a few years ago — the croc count. We counted how many people had crocs and informed people of their number (it had been a looooong day, haha).
One of the best perks of a long day of Iron Spectating... seeing your loved one cross the finish line

One of the best perks of a long day of Iron Spectating… seeing your loved one cross the finish line

  • Charged Devices – Don’t be that guy. That guy who is texting, updating apps, and playing Candy Crush all day and draining your battery faster than the energy of a tired Ironman athlete. The last thing you want is your phone or camera to run out of battery RIGHT BEFORE your loved one crosses the finish line (minus 1000 Iron Spectator points for this). You will never hear the end of this. Ever. SAVE THAT BATTERY!!! Or bring a charger.
  • COMPETITIVE SPIRIT – CAN YOU YELL THE LOUDEST? TAKE THE MOST PICTURES? HAVE THE MOST ABSURD OUTFITS?  Yeah. You can. So dig deep. And be the best Iron Spectator you can be. Your Ironman will be proud.

Inform and teach your family members the above six elements/steps to being a superb Iron Spectator and they’ll be set. Which is also better for you. Because you get better race pictures and more happy family members. 🙂 Iron Spectating can be fun if you do it right!

Shoutout to all of you Iron Spectators out there (you know who you are), you make the races great. Keep killin’ it. 🙂

Tri Hard (to be a good Iron Spectator),

Caity

High Fives: A Guide For Spectators and Racers

High fives are a big part of triathlons. Some people love to give them — and others view them as a distraction. As a veteran Iron-spectator, I have become an expert on the art of the “High five” (Not to brag, but I even high fived Craig Alexander as he was running towards his victory at the 2008 Kona Ironman Championship).

The most important part about high fiving athletes during the race is knowing which ones want it and which ones will get annoyed. The athletes that are smiling usually will chuck you a high-five, and the ones that are staring at their feet or sprinting past you will usually ignore you. It’s not your fault that they ignored you — because they were just in the zone.

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Guide to high fives: the run is the safest option

The best part of the race to find people that are willing to high five is the beginning and the ending of the run. The racers are understandably happiest at the end of the race and will demonstrate this through their high fives to the crowd.

I have had the least luck during the middle of the run in longer races. It is also a bad idea to high-five racers on the bike because they might fall or something bad could happen. And if you can get a high five during the swim that would be cool but I don’t know how you could pull that off…

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High fivin’ it up in Lake Placid

The same rules apply to athletes. Try to avoid high fives on the bike and anytime on the run when these friendly gestures would distract you. It is vital to remember that going out of your way (even a step) can slow you down. If you high five fifty people, then that is fifty steps out of your way!

A bonus is to high five spectators and cheer them on. They are probably having a rough day (being an Iron spectator can be brutal and they could use a high five). I like to spice things up and give fun high fives or “Awkward High fives”. We did this last year for a few hours in Lake Placid during Ironman (and even made a sign).

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our “awkward high five” signs

Remember to have fun with it… and keep on high-fiving.

Stay classy out there,
TJ Begg

Become a YoungTri Ambassador!

Want to get more involved in the triathlon community? Connect with other triathletes? Receive free gear?

Then Apply to Become a YoungTri Ambassador! Fill out the form below.

The Executive Board Members & I have decided to put together a team of passionate, excited YoungTri ambassadors from all over the world. We’re very excited about the program!

Who: Members in the Youth, High School, College, and Beyond category… of ALL experience levels!

Why: Connect with other young triathletes, share your story, spread the word about YoungTri, and receive free gear!

When: Don’t worry! Being an ambassador can be a small time commitment (unless you’re interested in doing more!). It’s all up to you.

All ambassadors receive FREE YoungTri gear as well as being featured on the website, newsletter, and blog (if they’d like… and other perks – like free samples!). 

A little bit about YoungTri ambassadors:

  • Featured on Site as Ambassador
  • Spread the YoungTri love in their community
  • Receive updates & Contribute ideas and input
  • Optional: Run local training groups & events

We’ll email you back with more information.

Tri Hard,

Caity

YoungTri Video Series: How to Mentally Prepare for Race Day

This week, we launched our YouTube video series! Stay tuned for more videos from Executive Board members, me, and more!

Watch below for the answer to Anna P. from Minnesota’s question:

How do you mentally prepare for race day?

What questions do you want us to answer in our videos? What topics do you want us to cover? Let us know. Use “#youngtri” on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (or comment!)

Tri Hard,

Caity