Good swimming tips from USA- Triathlon

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Be more green on your bike!

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CTS training’s tips for stressless triathlon transitions.

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Coach McMillan on Surviving the pre-race freak out.

Yesterday, we launched the online version of Greg’s best-selling book, Surviving the Marathon Freak-Out and the response has been amazing!

Even athletes who have the paperback version are excited for this online version because they can now read their most popular section – Greg’s Pre-Race Pep Talk – right on their phones as they wait for the race to start.

As Gail says, “This book has been a lifesaver. It calms me and helps me get and remain focused on my plan for the race. I used to be so nervous before races but now, I feel really positive, excited and ready.”

We wanted to share a quick excerpt from the book so you get a feel for all of the wisdom Coach Greg provides you:

Chapter 4
Pre-Race Rules

Now that you are peaked and ready for the race, here are my rules to use as you head to the race site and get settled in. These foolproof strategies will make your pre-race more enjoyable and less stressful. You’ll have all your bases covered and if something comes up, it’ll be easy to address because you’ve done such a great job of planning ahead for everything else.

Rule #1: Be Selfish

As a whole, runners tend to not be selfish. In fact, the marathon has become one of the greatest ways charities raise funds. Marathoners are conscientious and giving. The peaking phase, however, is a time when you need to be a little selfish. You have a big race coming up so use the few days before the race as your days. Do what is best for YOU. It’ll feel weird but trust me, you deserve a few days of self focus to ensure you perform your best.

Rule #2: Pack your race gear in your carry-on baggage.

You can always buy new casual clothes but you don’t want to have to buy new shoes and race clothes for the race. Lay all your gear out on the bed (I once heard it called “Dressing the invisible man”) and make sure you pack everything you need in your carry-on bag. Don’t forget Band-Aids, chafing prevention, nutrition, etc. And remember, new TSA security requirements can sometimes limit gels, rehab tools like The Stick and foam rollers in carry-on baggage, so you may have to put those items in your checked baggage or buy them at the race site.

Rule #3: Carry food with you at all times.

In the peaking phase, you never want to get hungry (especially the last 3 days before the race). Again, don’t overeat but just be prepared in case a meeting goes long or you’re late for a meal. Always have a nutritious snack available. In addition to your race gear, pack some good food in your carry-on bag. You may want something to eat on the plane/train/car. The final week before the race is also a good week to have fluids with you at all times as well. Don’t over drink but just be prepared. Variety in beverages is good as well – water, sparkling water, smoothies/juices, etc.

Rule # 4: Book your pre-race dinner BEFORE leaving home.

You will not be alone in wanting a proven pre-race meal the night before the race. Plan ahead by making a reservation before you even leave home. The concierge at your hotel can recommend restaurants near your hotel or you can do some research online to check menus, etc. Nothing is worse than arriving at the race site and all of the desired restaurants are booked so don’t leave your meal to chance.

Find a relaxing place and enjoy a nice, quiet dinner. I usually try to eat close to my hotel so I can take a leisurely 10-15 minute walk after dinner. Don’t eat too early or too late. And, of course, don’t try a meal that you haven’t already tried in training. Nothing is worse than an upset stomach the night before and certainly during the marathon!

Side note on Carbo-loading: You’ve probably heard that you need to “carbo-load” before your marathon. The reason is that your body stores carbohydrate in your muscles (in a form called glycogen). These glycogen stores are limited however, and when the stores begin to run low, your pace will likely slow. The training you’ve been doing helps increase the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles but you can also increase your stores by eating more carbohydrates in your meals, especially in the last 3 days before a long race like a marathon.

I’m a fan of adjusting the proportion of calories coming from carbohydrates in the last 2-3 days before your race but caution runners to not go overboard. You don’t eat more. Let me say this again, you don’t eat more calories but you simply include a bit more carbohydrates in your meals than you might otherwise. Remember, your training volume has reduced so your stores are already less compromised than usual and I’ve found just a slight increase in carbohydrate intake works well (i.e., you don’t need to pig out on the carbo dinner the night before; just be reasonable.). Most importantly, eat what has worked for you in training and you’ll be fine.

Rule #5: The first thing you should do after settling into your hotel is find a grocery store.

Ask the front desk for the nearest one or call/research ahead to expedite the process. Go immediately to the grocery store and stock up. Buy the foods you like and you know will prepare you for successful running. I buy bananas, trail mix, water, sports drink, yogurt, instant oat meal (though usually brought from home), boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocados, bagels and spread, peanut butter and jelly, energy bars, etc. Again, you never want to get thirsty or hungry prior to the race. Being stocked will help avoid this. Don’t just eat out of nervousness (another no-no) but have food available if you need a snack. I typically overbuy but I’d rather have what I want available than to want something and not have it.

Rule #6: Enjoy the expo but don’t spend all day there.

You’ll likely need to visit the expo to pick up your race number, chip, etc. Enjoy it but don’t become an expo adventurer. It’s too much time on your feet. Browse through it, pick up what you need and get out. The expo is where many runners get dehydrated and hungry, so carry fluids and fuel with you to keep this from happening. Again, the expo is part of the marathon ritual so you should enjoy it but if other runners think you are working at one of the expo booths, you’ve been there too long!

Rule 7: Re-Live Awesome

Remember before where you wrote down your best runs from the last few weeks? It’s time to pull out your memoirs of awesomeness. Once per day for the last three days, spend some time reading about your most successful workouts. Live in your own awesomeness. I guarantee that you’ll be inundated with doubt and negative thoughts during the last few days before the race. It’s perfectly natural. Reminding yourself of your capabilities can help reduce the negative and put the spotlight on the positive.



Surviving the Marathon Freak-Out is just $9.95.

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Pre-race or workout nutrition, by Carrie Mccusker.

Deciding what to eat before a workout can be tricky. If the session follows a night of sleep with your body in a fasted state, it seems like common sense to eat something. If you are doing a pre-lunch workout, it may have been hours since you ate breakfast. How do you decide what to consume? Without going into depth about the pros and cons of fasted workouts or intentional carbohydrate depletion, let’s just look at some simple truths and some ideas to consider for yourself as you navigate fueling for optimal function.

First, consider that carbohydrates are necessary for skeletal muscle contraction and brain function. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates, and is found mostly in the liver and the muscles. If glycogen stores are very low, an athlete may experience fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and a loss of energy. In long events, this is often referred to as bonking. It’s actually a state of hypoglycemia, when blood sugar decreases below normal levels.

You may have experienced this by simply missing a meal and having a busy day. At some point weakness sets in, and you have the realization that you need to eat. For the athlete, carbohydrates consumed three to five hours before exercise helps replenish muscle glycogen, while carbohydrate intake one to three hours before and up to a workout optimizes liver glycogen.

Fortunately, when carbohydrates are consumed during exercise within sports nutrition guidelines, any effects of pre-exercise carbohydrate intake on either metabolism or performance are negligible or at least diminished (Burke, Clinical Sports Nutrition). This means that if all else fails and you not only missed a meal but don’t have time for proper pre-fueling, consuming carbohydrates in the form of gels, sports drinks, or bars can provide the same benefit to the working body.

Some athletes experience a reactive or rebound hypoglycemia when ingesting carbohydrates in the hour before exercise, as a large rise in plasma glucose and insulin occurs and then a rapid fall with the onset of exercise. An interesting series of studies (Jentjens and Jeukendrup 2003, Moseley, Lancaset, and Jeukendrup 2003) demonstrated that “certain individuals may develop hypoglycemia when carbohydrates are ingested in the hour before exercise, although this was not a predictor of performance” (Jeukendrup, Gleeson Sport Nutrition, Third Edition). This was most prevalent at 75 minutes before exercise compared to 45 minutes, and very few developed hypoglycemia at 15 minutes before exercise. At five minutes before or during a warm-up, no negative effects were noted.

Science in practice


overnight oats

bagel sandwich with PBJ

hummus and vegetable sandwich on whole grain bread

rice and tofu

vegetable soup

pasta with vegetables


banana and peanut butter

smoothie with soy or oat milk, fruit, spinach

toast with jelly

chia pudding

Five to 15 minutes out: opt for an easily-digestible fuel source


packaged gels, bars, sports drinks


Remember that fueling for a workout is like putting gas in your car — at some point, you will run out. Think about what you’ve eaten in the hours before your workout, and make choices accordingly. Since each person is different, note that you’ll need to test your own fueling approach.

Your needs will vary based on the type of workout as well, so if you’re going to run 800 repeats on a track, don’t consider going without proper fueling! If you’re taking a 30-minute light spin on your bike, it’s a different story. Your fueling plan should be fluid — your goal is to maintain some sort of homeostasis, limit stress response, have positive workout gains, and stay healthy overall.

Carrie McCusker specializes in athlete performance at all levels. While she has spent the majority of her life as a competitive elite athlete she is also an experienced educator and coach with an MS in education and extensive training in the implementation of science based coaching with a focus on meeting the needs of each individual athlete. She can be reached at or see details at or

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My recent fave articles

Fix your nutritional challenges during an Ultra.

Improve your mental game so your physical goals can be accomplished.

OMG: Dr Susan Kleiner on why Ketosis is not the ideal state for setting yourself up to win.

What to eat and drink on rides of any length:

Good advice for achieving your goals:

7 tips for beating pre-race nerves.

And here is a good article on regaining fitness in case you have recently had some time off.

Train smart, race hard, and have fun!
Happy reading!


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Great video for exercises for hip strength and stability

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Recent interesting articles- Enjoy!

9 Rules for athletic success.

How to set goals for your season:

Baking Soda as a performance enhancer: 

A great 55 minute workout:

Fix the fade at the end of your marathon:

CBD- is it right for you?

How to make the transition from runner to triathlete:

Reduce stress to avoid injury- we all need this one!

and lastly, 7 traits of mentally tough runners:

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My recent favorite articles from the web

What are you doing for mental recovery?:

Info on Critical Power (CP): Watch “CP Model Fitting – an explainer” on Vimeo:
Watch “Critical Power – an explainer” on Vimeo:

How to deal with cold water/fill in your worst nightmare on race day:

Add a little protein to your post workout mix:
Protein added to carbohydrate administered w/in 2 hours after exhaustive effort (vs. only carbohydrate) improved elite cyclists’ next day performances.

What should my longest long run be in preparation for a marathon? It depends…

Becoming a triathlete- don’t just run more!

Whats this watts per Kg business?


Happy reading!

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Pay attention to changes in your HR- we are not invincible!

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