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Probiotics Are they worth taking

220 triathlon 3 weeks 2 days ago
Thinking about adding probiotics to your diet Renee McGregor explains all you need to know

How to train during your menstrual cycle

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 3 days ago

Real talk. Real life. I get my period monthly. I have PMS monthly. There are days when I’m so fatigued that the world seems to be ending. It’s almost like I’m drugged. I’m not rational. The days leading into my period, I become irritable and frustrated at minor things. I get the body changes – enlarged breasts, water retention and bloating. I know in the back of my head it’s PMS, but it’s almost as if my rational brain is in a fog. On top of this, I often find regular workouts harder. My power is low, and I have low motivation for harder efforts.

Related: Is it “normal” to feel an off-season funk?

Photo: Pearl Izumi and iracelikeagirl

Most women can relate to the above. Our hormones change how we feel physically and mentally. I have to be honest though, after all the research and using a phone app to follow my cycle (best thing I ever did), the effects of my period still surprise me

Not to go into depth here, but I feel it’s best to provide a general sense of the different stages of our hormonal cycle.

The Menstrual Cycle

  • Follicular Phase (typically days 1-14):  Menstruation – A typical period lasts 4-7 days. Estrogen and Progesterone levels have dropped. After your period, estrogen slowly begins to ramp up.
  • Luteal Phase (typically day 14-28):  Ovulation – Primed to have a baby. Progesterone levels rise. Estrogen and progesterone are both high in this phase of the cycle.

Recommendations for Training with Your Menstrual Cycle

Work With it, Not Against it.  

In the last ten years, I have raced before, during and after my period. I’ve had great performances when in my period. I approach each race with a mindset of ‘Let’s see what I’ve got,’ and focusing on mental cues of being strong. Competing is less about hoping for your best day, and more about learning how to deal with whatever comes your way and making the most of it.

Photo: Pearl Izumi and iracelikeagirl

Below are some tricks I’ve used. Note: This is my personal experience. No two people are the same, and no two cycles are either. I recommend documenting over time how you feel throughout each cycle and getting to know your own body.

Power of your Period

In the follicular phase, I have higher energy and pain tolerance levels. I tend to recover faster and am ready for almost every workout. This is an excellent time for me to push more intensity in my training. As I get closer to ovulation and into the next phase of my cycle (day 14-28), I tend to slowly feel changes until I’m pre-menstrual – where I am more fatigued, irritable, bloated and find it hard to handle the heat. Our changing hormone levels can explain all of this.

Consider your Menstrual cycle when you look at your Program/Training Plan

  • Listen to your body: Usually, exercise helps with menstrual cramps/symptoms. If it’s difficult, consider easing into the workout. Consider more aerobic training before your period, and more high-intensity workouts after your period. Use your period to your advantage.
  • Get a Menstrual App on your phone: Document your period for many months to see how you respond to your cycle. I currently use the free version of the Period Tracker, though there are several Apps on the market.
  • Consider a day off: Schedule as you normally would, but adjust when needed. I have some months when PMS affects me greatly, and others it doesn’t. Overall though, I can bet on at least one day of utter fatigue.
  • According to a Swedish study, you can gain more muscle mass by training during the first weeks of the menstrual cycle: Use this to your advantage in your training with higher intensity training.
  • Find a coach that you can be 100% open with about your cycle. Hormonal changes affect you as an athlete, and he/she should be well-versed in this area. It can only help you as an athlete to be able to be open and communicative with your coach. If you’re a female athlete working with a male coach or any coach for that matter, this conversation should be a common one.
Photo: Pearl Izumi and iracelikeagirl

Nutrition and your cycle

Pre-period (high hormone phase; luteal phase; later days of days 14-28 in your cycle)

  • Take in a few extra carbohydrates to help with performance.
  • Be diligent on your post-workout protein and carbohydrate intake. Recovery drinks are key.
  • Increase your fluid intake. Be diligent in your hydration and sweat loss. Add more sodium and electrolytes/fluids during this phase of your cycle.
  • You can pre-load workouts with sodium and other electrolytes.
  • Beets and other foods high in arginine can help thin blood.

During your period 

Increasing your magnesium and iron levels is helpful. You may consider using a supplement. During this time, I make sure to eat more red meat and leafy greens.

Photo: Pearl Izumi and iracelikeagirl

Race Day

The best time for a great race performance is during the follicular phase (during your period and the days after). Bleeding is not convenient, but if I had to choose when to get my period, it would be the days leading into a race or even race day.

If you happen to have your period on race day, my best tip is to be prepared – mentally and physically. If you have cramps/bloating, consider looking at what helped you in previous cycles. For me, I usually take some Advil and have it in my special needs bag. You can also put extra tampons in your transition bags. By keeping track of your training and menstrual cycle, it can help you understand in advance how you will feel and what action plan you can form when symptoms hit during a race.

Through it all, I continue to learn new things about my body and how I can get the most out of myself in training and racing. Takeaways: Trust yourself and those close to you. Communication is key.

The post How to train during your menstrual cycle appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Top triathletes at the Zwift Canadian National Championship

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 3 days ago

On Feb. 24th, in the world of Watopia, cyclists from across Canada logged into their Zwift accounts and raced the Canadian National Championship. The event included two laps of the Watopia Figure 8 course (59.2 K) and 234m of climbing.

Related: Your indoor training menu


The men’s race was won by Warren Muir. In 2018, Muir finished eighth at the Canadian National Championships (Road – Individual Time Trial). He was followed by Eric Loiselle, a member of Cannondale Échelon p/b 4iiii in Montreal, and Zachary Guenther.

Related: How to set up Zwift – the most cost-effective way

Notable finishes from Canadian triathletes were – Frank Sorbara (eighth), Lionel Sanders (20th) and Jackson Laundry (46th). Of the 343 male participants, many multisport athletes were represented.

View this post on Instagram

Did the @gozwift Canadian National Championship today. Ended up with a 30+ man pack into a sprint finish. Safe to say I don’t have a career in sprinting. #nolimits

A post shared by Lionel Sanders (@lsanderstri) on Feb 24, 2019 at 12:58pm PST

The women’s race was won by Stephanie Ossenbrink. As a cyclist (via coaching website), Ossenbrink won seven US National Collegiate Championship titles, had multiple Canadian National podium finishes and represented Canada at the Junior World Championships. In only one year as a professional triathlete, she finished numerous Ironman and half-Ironman events. At Ironman Canada 2012, Ossenbrink finished in 10:15:48 – the sixth professional woman.

At the Zwift Canadian National Championship, Ossenbrink was followed by Janna Gillick and Chloe DesRoche. Of the 55 female participants, many multisport athletes were represented.

For a list of the full results, click here.

The post Top triathletes at the Zwift Canadian National Championship appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Nathan Killam’s Ventum NS1

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 3 days ago

This past weekend, Nathan Killam, a long course specialist, took part in the Super League Triathlon (SLT) grand finale in Sentosa, Singapore. Despite it being the final race of the 2018-19 Championship series, for many of those racing, including Killam, it was the first race of the season.

Earlier this year, Killam announced his new partnership with Ventum Racing, and SLT Singapore was his first race on the new bike.

Photo: Darren Wheeler (@thatcameraguy)

For the 2019 long course season, you can expect Killam to be riding the Ventum One. But in Singapore, Killam displayed Ventum’s new road bike – the NS1. Here’s a closer look at his new ride.

2019 Ventum NS1. Photo: Tom ShawWheels: Easton EA90SL. Photo: Tom ShawPhoto: Tom ShawWheels: Easton EA90SL. Photo: Tom ShawGroupset: Rotor UNO fully-hydraulic groupset . Photo: Tom ShawGroupset: Rotor UNO fully-hydraulic groupset . Photo: Tom ShawGroupset: Rotor UNO fully-hydraulic groupset . Photo: Tom Shaw

Model: 2019 Ventum NS1

Groupset: Rotor UNO fully-hydraulic groupset (that means the shifting too)

Wheels: Easton EA90SL

Photo: Tom Shaw

Words from Killam:

I like the concept of a fully hydraulic groupset, because I’m a Red Seal certified Heavy Duty Mechanic and have a lot of experience with hydraulic systems. So, I feel very comfortable with the hydraulics, and it speaks to my background.

I’m super excited to be racing with Ventum through the next two seasons. I’ve been really impressed with the One TT bike, and this NS1 is absolutely rocking my socks off (it’s been getting a lot of attention and comments around at Super League Singapore).

What can you expect from Killam this year?

This season, with the help of Ventum, I’m hoping to improve my bike even more. I’m still working through the race schedule. Unfortunately, Wildflower was going be my long course season opener, but as it’s been cancelled. So, I’m wide open with race options. But, I will be back at Victoria 70.3 for sure and will mostly race in North America this season. 

The post Nathan Killam’s Ventum NS1 appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Get lean for tri Does it matter what time of day you eat

220 triathlon 3 weeks 3 days ago
Want to get lean for tri and wondering if there is a best time to eat to maximise muscle gain and weight loss Sports nutritionist Stephen Smith has this advice for meal times

Do I need to adapt my front crawl swim stroke for Ironman

220 triathlon 3 weeks 3 days ago
Aiming for your first longdistance triathlon after a few seasons of short and wondering if you need to change some aspects of your front crawl swim stroke to help you cope with the 38km swim John Wood has this advice

Cycling hot foot Why do the balls of my feet get hot when cycling

220 triathlon 3 weeks 3 days ago
Do the balls of your feet get hot when cycling particularly on long rides and when climbing You are probably suffering from hot foot says Nik Cook Here he explains what it is and possible causes

Canadian nutrition company F2C becomes official ITU partner

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 6 days ago

On Feb. 21st, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced that the World Triathlon Official Store will supply nutrition from F2C Nutrition, a Canadian-based company. The two-year deal was signed between Tribe Solutions, the ITU’s Official Licensing and Merchandise Partner, and F2C Nutrition. “The World Triathlon Official Store is delighted to welcome another industry leader,” says Robert Flynn, Director of Tribe Solutions. “We welcome F2C Nutrition as our nutrition partner and look forward to sharing their products with the global triathlon community.”

Mario Mola, Jacob Birtwhistle, Richard Murray and Tyler Mislawchuk at WTS Montreal.

F2C Nutrition supplies endurance athletes with nutritional products made from clean, naturally sourced ingredients supported by scientific research. Their ingredients meet IOC and ITU standards and are free from WADA banned substances. F2C’s products will also be at the World Triathlon Series events.

Joanna Brown after a fourth-place finish at WTS Montreal. Photo: Cam Mitchell

“As the official on-course nutrition partner for the 2017 ITU Multisport Championships in Canada, and again in 2018 for the ITU Multisport Championships in Denmark, it is a natural extension to be appointed as exclusive nutrition supplier to the World Triathlon Official Store,” says Greg Cowan, F2C Nutrition’s CEO and President. “We are excited to partner with the ITU World Triathlon Official Store at these world-class events.”

The post Canadian nutrition company F2C becomes official ITU partner appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

5 reasons why World Triathlon Bermuda is the perfect season opener

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 6 days ago

By the time you get to February, you need a break from the Canadian winter. It still reads minus-whatever on the thermometer and the snow is piling up. After months of hammering out the hours on the trainer, enduring dull efforts on the treadmill and having your hair freeze between the pool and the parking lot, you deserve better.

The solution? An early season race-cation. It’s something to look forward to throughout the winter that will keep you inspired and training hard as you gear up for your 2019 season.

Triathletes racing at WTS Bermuda. Photo: Wagner Araújo/ITU

Just a short flight from Toronto, Bermuda is a tiny Carribean island that offers the perfect early season race-cation.

On April 27th, the world’s best short course triathletes will compete at the World Triathlon Series (WTS) race in Bermuda, and you can join them. WTS Bermuda offers both a sprint and Olympic-distance race that will give you a chance to shake off the rust and kick off your race season in tropical bliss.

Beautiful Bermuda in April. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

The swim is in the beautiful waters of the Atlantic, followed by a challenging bike course and a scenic run along Hamilton’s Front Street.

In case the escape from winter isn’t enticing enough, here are five reasons why you should head to WTS Bermuda in April.

Easy travel

For triathletes that make anywhere east of Toronto home, getting to Bermuda is an easy one-way trip from most major airports. Direct from Toronto, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour flight that gets you from white snowy sidewalks to white sandy beaches.

Get your speed in early

Come April, most of us aren’t ready for an early season Ironman. WTS Bermuda offers you the chance to test your winter training with a sprint or Olympic-distance triathlon. Especially if you have big plans to go longer in 2019, a ‘quick’ sprint in paradise isn’t a bad start to the season.

Racing in Bermuda. Photo: Wagner Araújo/ITU

The course makes it worth it – fun, but challenging

The Bermuda course is not easy. Starting and ending in Hamilton, triathletes swim in the clear waters of the harbour and then bike through hilly island terrain. One of the highlights of the bike course will be climbing Corkscrew Hill. The signature challenge of the course, Corkscrew Hill is a steep effort with multiple hairpin turns. After all that, you finish it off with a run past the candy-coloured buildings on Hamilton’s city streets.

The candy-coloured buildings in Hamilton, Bermuda. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Make it a trip

What’s better than racing in a tropical destination and being able to relax after? WTS Bermuda gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that. Plan your stay a few extra days longer (or earlier) and enjoy all that this tropical island has to offer. From their sandy beaches to crystal clear waters and world-renowned Crystal Caves, Bermuda has plenty of activities to unwind, relax and explore.

Watch world-class talent live

Flora Duffy won WTS Bermuda in 2018. Photo: Wagner Araújo/ITU

In 2019, Javier Gomez will be making his return to short course racing with the objective of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Once unbeatable on the ITU circuit, Gomez will be going up the likes of Mario Mola, Richard Murray, Jake Birtwhistle, Henri Schoeman and a bunch of young 20 somethings eager to prove themselves against the best. Don’t forget Flora Duffy. In 2018, Duffy ran away from everyone at WTS Bermuda. Expected to return from a year of injuries, Duffy will go up against the likes of Katie Zaferes and Vicky Holland.

The post 5 reasons why World Triathlon Bermuda is the perfect season opener appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.

Training tips from the pros

Triathlon Magazine Canada 3 weeks 6 days ago

Winter can be a difficult time for triathletes. When it comes to winter triathlon training, variety is as vital as consistency. There’s little need to log endless hours of training in dark, cold and/or wet conditions. Instead, focus on a few areas you’d like to improve upon, touch up your strengths and enjoy some time doing different activities.

Related: 10 tips to help you nail the upcoming season

Training hard, and training hard too early is a common battle for any endurance athlete, especially triathletes. By falling into the trap of hitting hard training too soon, the winter will seem to drag on forever and there’s a very real danger that you’ll be past your peak fitness by the time you race. As athletes, the risk of physical and motivational burnout is real. Here are a few tips from the pros to get you ready for the upcoming season:

Training hard, and training hard too early is a common occurrence for any endurance athlete, especially triathletes.

THE SWIM: Lesley Patterson won the Xterra World Championships again in 2018 and is a five-time off-road world champion. Known as a tenacious competitor, here are her swim tips:

“Swimming is so much about your proprioceptive awareness in order to nail your technique,” she explains. “Slight movements of your wrists, hands, hips, can have massive changes on your stroke. In the offseason, I will often do dance classes or martial arts classes to get fluidity of movement and a sense of my body in lots of planes of motion. As triathletes we pretty much move in the forward planes, so we often become uncoordinated doing anything else.”

Lesley Patterson wins 2018 Xterra World Championship. Photo: Jesse Peters

In terms of equipment, Patterson uses various tools to help her form and endurance.

1) The VASA ergometer: “I simply cannot say enough good things about it. It’s strength oriented, you can put mirrors all around you so you can address issues of stroke technique. You can do full-on swim sets at different resistances.” It is an expensive piece of equipment, however. Some clubs have invested in them. If not, suggests Patterson, “Try getting three or four of your friends to all chip in a few hundred bucks and just share it around.”

2) Indoor rowing machine: “You can focus on major strength and aerobic training here that actually transfers quite well to swimming. Although its slightly different muscle groups, there is a lot of crossover. You can set sessions and have competitions with friends.”

FINIS Tempo Trainer

3) Tempo swimming: By wearing a device placed inside your cap, you set it to beep and set a stroke tempo specifically for you. “This way you can focus on stroked count and pacing. Add in the snorkel, too, and you can really focus on front end mechanics.”

Related: The tempo trainer 101

Patterson also recommends incorporating swim chords and getting a video analysis of your swim stroke.

THE BIKE: Off the back of a stellar 2018 season, Karsten Madsen improved his biking substantially, culminating in a seventh-place finish in Maui at the Xterra World Championships. Here’s his biking advice:

Karsten Madsen racing at Xterra Quebec 2018. Photo: @karstenmad

1) Get a bike Fit: “Getting a good fit is a must. It can add power to your set up and save power thanks to better aerodynamics. This is a great place to start, but this should also be done from time to time as we age due to the fact that our bodies change and our most efficient bike position may need to be reassessed and altered accordingly.”

Related: Making small adjustments are part of the bike fit process

2) Power meter: “This is a great tool to track and quantify what you have done or are doing. The prices keep dropping, too, with many good options for hub, crank, crank arm and pedals. It really is a no brainer to invest in one. I have a power meter on every bike I ride.”

Related: Review: Garmin Vector 3 pedals

3) Hill repeats: Climbing used to be a weakness for Madsen. “As courses got really steep and my RPMs dropped, my power would drop off so I wanted to become better at delivering functional power.” Enter hill repeats. Choose a short and relatively steep section of road. “It can get tedious spending 45 to 90 mins going up and down the same section of road, but you can use markers to gauge every rep in every session. It will greatly improve your functional power and make you enjoy the days you can just explore more scenic routes on your bike.”

THE RUN: Jasper Blake is a former Ironman Canada Champion and recognized as a superb runner. Here are his run tips:

1) Cross train: Says Blake, “Cross-country skiing is great cross-training for triathletes. It is also a low to no impact sport and therefore can be performed for several hours without much risk helping add valuable endurance mileage. Classic skiing is a great substitute for running, too, because it uses similar muscle groups.”

Related: Mix it up with cross-country skiing

2) Plyometrics: Plyometrics are exercises that involve repeated rapid stretching and contracting of the muscles (jumping/explosive movements). “Plyometrics can be included in gym/weight room sessions that you might already include in your program as well as during your regular running sessions after a suitable warm-up,” says Blake. “It’s important to exercise caution when performing explosive movements though. Your warm-up needs to be robust and you need to be technically proficient.”

3) Manage peripheral fatigue: Peripheral fatigue is the inability to maintain a desired pace over long distances. “Long distance running, especially during a triathlon, is less about speed and more about your ability to maintain form and rhythm under increasing peripheral fatigue. It’s not uncommon to see pace times drop dramatically in the latter stages of the marathon in an Ironman. Your heart and lungs are usually fine; it’s your ability to handle the ongoing impact load on increasingly tired muscles that will hold you back.” The answer? “Hills are a great way to work on your peripheral fitness. And that includes the downhill portion of the hill.”

The post Training tips from the pros appeared first on Triathlon Magazine Canada.