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Coach Bev's Blog



Performance Food

Why Do We Fuel?


January 10, 2022

As coaches, we want athletes to produce optimal performance on race day. Nutrition is an essential part of the training process.


Whether you’re a short course, mid -course or long course triathlete, nutrition matters. And if long course racing is in your sights, nutrition is critical. While there are common themes in training nutrition and race day nutrition, there are a few differences especially if you’re a long course vs short course athlete.


The five nutrients considered to be important in the before, during and after exercise time frame are: fluids, carbs, protein, fat and sodium.


Your food selection may be driven by ideology or by medical advice. Whatever your preferences, be mindful of the nutrients needed to produce optimal performance as an athlete.


Attachedare several smoothie and power bowl recipes. Also included are the names of publications by subject matter experts: Denine Rogers, Jammie Hopkins and Bob Seebohar.





Make Swimsuit Shopping Painless

Tips from Styling Experts


May 30, 2021

Don’t let swimsuit shopping anxiety prevent you from swimming or learning how to swim. Make the experience easy and breezy… just like those palm trees you’re dreaming of seeing on a Caribbean island. Here are some tips from styling experts.

  • Start by taking your measurements.
  • Focus on Your Assets. What do you want to draw attention to?
  • Hide the Insecurities. What do you want to conceal? Shoulders, bustline, hips, legs?

Choose the Right Swimsuit Fabric

Selection of swimsuit fabric is very important and should reflect your goals as a swimmer. Are you looking for the best fit, durability, stretch or all of the above? Polyester swimwear fabrics blended with lycra (spandex) dominates the swimwear industry. It holds its color and is resistant to chlorine. Most important, it’s durable. 


Do You Need a Swimsuit for Swim Class?

The most important feature is durability. Polyester based swimsuits are mostly used for training swimsuits due to the duration and strength of the fabric. Athletic and swimwear brands like TYR’s Durafast and Nike’s Polyester suits are primarily polyester. It is rare to find suits that are made from only one of these materials. Also, bikinis are not the "best" choice for swim class.


Modest Swimsuits

Modest swimsuit styles include: Long sleeve swim shirts, swim shorts and swim dresses. A modest swimsuit is a bathing suit that provides a little more coverage than your usual swim look. What is considered modest varies from family to family, person to person, and religion.


Crucial Moves to Make When Trying on a Suit

Lift your arms over your head. Does the top rise up?

Bend over. Does your chest spill out the front?

Lower your arms so they’re at your sides. Are your breasts coming out of the sides of the suit?

Relax your shoulders. Do the straps fall off?

Sit cross-legged. Does the bottom pop open or creep down in the back?

Do a couple of lunges. Does the bottom ride up?


Comfort

Before making the decision, think again whether you will be comfortable enough to go out in this swimwear. Sexy or not you should be confident with the amount of skin you are showing.

Remember…above all else, keep swimming!




SWIM

  • Swimsuit or the SBR 4 Life team triathlon uniform
  • Goggles
  • Swim cap
  • Pull-buoy (Swim training)
  • Kickboard (Swim training)
  • Fins (Swim training)
  • Towels (more than 1)
  • Personal buoy (for open water swim)

BIKE

  • Helmet. (It’s regulation. No helmet. No race.)
  • Bike shorts or the SBR 4 Life tri team uniform
  • Sneakers or running shoes (Cycling shoes for longer races)
  • Clipless pedals (for longer races)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or visor
  • Spare tube and/or patch kit
  • CO2 inflator (with cartridge)
  • Water bottles (for bike frame cages)
  • Bag attached to bike seat
  • Mirror for handlebar or helmet
  • Cycling gloves (for long courses)


RUN

  • Quality running shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap or visor
  • Running socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Speed (elastic) laces


Are You Race Ready?  

Triathlon Training & Race Gear Shopping


March 31 2021

While triathlon expenses can add up quickly, you can control costs by making well informed purchases. Some items are necessary; others, are all about the optics.


Quite often, new triathletes purchase training and race gear from retailers like REI, Nike or ROKA. Typically, their prices are higher. Alternative tri gear suppliers are plentiful and in most instances they carry some of the mid-priced brands like Nike and Speedo. Look for trusted online retailers that are sport-specific like swim outlet.com. Big Box stores like Sam’s and Costco usually have Speedo swimsuits at a relatively low price point.


It’s also worth your time to checkout online sellers like Ebay. New merchandise – with tags - is included in their offerings. I’ve been purchasing NEW top brand training swimsuits from Ebay for years.


Attend our Tropical Sips and Sweets May 23rd event to get tips on swimwear shopping.


See the sidebar for a list of items you will need for tri training and racing.


The alternative to wearing a swimsuit and bike shorts on race day is to wear a tri suit. The SBR 4 Life tri kit is available at our Jakroo team store until April 25th. The cost of purchasing the tri kit is slightly less than purchasing the swimsuit and bike shorts separately. The tri suit has a lightweight chamois (cushy foam pad) to keep you comfy on the bike, yet not feel too bulky while running.


If you need a sports bra, you'll want something that will be both supportive enough while running yet quick-drying since you'll be wearing it on the swim.


If you're starting your race experience with a super sprint distance, most any bike will do the job. There are different types of bikes. The most common types of bikes you’ll see on the short tri course are as follows:


Mountain bike – chunkier, thick tires for traction over rough terrain.

Hybrid bike - mixture between road bike and mountain bike. Flat handlebars and tires that are narrower than mountain bikes.

Road bike - skinny tires, light weight frame, drop handlebars.

Tri bike – designed for aerodynamics. Steeper seat tube angle than road bikes. It moves the rider further forward, allows rider to get low in front without discomfort in the hips.


Whatever type of bike you choose, you should make sure the bike is tuned up and ready to go. Sprint and Olympic distance races will be far more comfortable if you use a road bike. 


Remember, participation in triathlon does not have to set you back thousands of dollars. For example, if you develop cycling skills, you’ll race faster on an entry level to mid-level bike than you will if you have little or no cycling skills and ride a high end $10,000 bike. At the end of the day, it’s the cyclist, not the bike that makes the difference.


Shop smart.






Little Known Technique Fortifies Water Safety Skills  

Japanese Classical Swimming


February 24, 2021

In preparation for May 15th International Water Safety Day, S-BR4-Life has added several water safety topics to the program curriculum. A little-known Japanese swimming technique could be considered a secret weapon to developing strong musculature movement in water. It aids in maintaining position when treading or moving horizontally when sideways. Used by Samurai Warriors, Nihon-eiho is one of eighteen martial arts.


According to Japanese experts, the primary purpose of the Nihon-eiho is to teach people how to swim and survive in a natural environment. Unlike professional athletes, Nihon Eiho practitioners do not fight their way through water, they leverage it and gain energy from it.


Today, there are over a hundred techniques taught in Nihon-eiho schools. Japan also holds competitions for Nihon-eiho. More than being a survival technique, it has become an aesthetic display of Japanese martial arts skill.


Some of the strokes of Nihon-eiho are being used in the world today. Koshiki-eiho, or the act of swimming sideways, is used by the American Red Cross to train lifeguards. For lifeguards, swimming on only one side can keep them afloat as they hold the victim on their other side. The US Navy also uses this type of skill whenever they are in combat.


Benefits of being a Swimming Warrior

Learning one or more Nihon-eiho techniques can be an extra tool in the swimmer’s toolkit to enhance water safety skills and physical fitness. Training in water creates hydraulic resistance, which leads to greater fat loss, because the body is exerting more effort in the water than on land. Learning the techniques of the samurai in the water creates greater improvement in strength compared to training on land. There is also less stress on the joints because the water acts as a cushion that saves the muscles from wear and tear.


Given the significance of water safety skills, particularly in open water, Nihon-eiho is one of many tools the swim enthusiast benefit from.


For more on the art form, go to:

https://pop-japan.com/culture/swimming-the-way-of-the-samurai/




Do You Need Tri Coach Intervention?    

Weighting the Advantages of Hiring a Coach


January 26, 2021

  • Has it been getting harder to follow through and go for a swim?
  • Is your bike collecting dust from lack of use?
  • Are you experiencing aches and pains when you finally return to the walking/running trail?

Identifying a Training Strategy that Works for You

Having a coach is not the same as following a training plan you download from the Internet. A coach sees you frequently. She or he knows your likes and dislikes, your background, your work hours, the number of people in your immediate family and they know when you’re not yourself.


When you download a training plan, nobody knows who you are and they don't know if the plan is best for you. All they know is your self-identified category: beginner, intermediate, advanced or elite. You receive a calendar of workouts weekly, biweekly or monthly and you follow it. If injury, illness, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, fatigue, mood-swings or anything else shows up, you figure out how to get it all in any way you can.


When you have a coach, you are in communication regularly on everything related to your plan and they review how you showed up for your training sessions. A coach knows what you are capable of and they have created a customized plan to help you progress. Some of us progress quickly, some slowly. Some training plans that coaches put together are spot on, and some need tweaking as they get to know the athlete they are coaching and what they can manage.


Whether you select a virtual coach or someone local, that person is with you through the thick of your training. Coaches celebrate when they see a workout uploaded and successfully completed, they measure and evaluate your progress, and they keep your big picture goals in mind when you think you need to get your workout in with a fever.


Sometimes our coaches see what we cannot see – they see fatigue and they give us extra rest, and they see potential and they challenge us more. If you have ever felt either of those two things when training for an event, a coach might be just what you need to kick it up a notch to reach your goals.


How Do You Know if You Need a Coach?

To start with, ask yourself “Why do I want a coach?” Do you need someone else to do the heavy lifting: zeroing in on your specific training needs; helping you achieve your major goals, and cross checking your progress?


The Pros of Working with a Coach

  • Help you to see the big picture
  • Push you when you’ve given up
  • Drive you to continue.
  • Remind you of your progress
  • Identify the positive parts of training sessions and races when you only remember what wasn’t completed or where you feel you failed
  • Know how to take a step back so that you can take several steps forward
  • Hold you accountable when you don’t show up for training
  • Give you direct and honest feedback

If you’re considering hiring a coach, here’s where to start.

  • Consider the importance of triathlon in your life, your fitness and the progress you’ve made thus far.
  • Speak with your fellow triathletes about a coach. What are their likes and dislikes?
  • Speak to perspective coaches and ask them about their coaching style.
  • Ask yourself if you’re willing to be coached.
  • Finally, give it time. You need at least 3 months, if not a year to work through the new relationship. 





Jacqueline Gooch

Phyllis Graves

Jackie Sears

Natasha Thomas

Triathletes Inspire Community Members

S-BR4-Life Recognizes Standout Athletes


January 1, 2021

S-BR4-Life Mutola Ambassadors contribute valuable community service by motivating family, friends and neighbors to consider swimming, biking and running/walking. Throughout much of 2020, while the country was gripped by a pandemic these determined athletes persevered and found a way to safely engage in multisport activities. Several of the Mutola Ambassadors went the extra mile. They challenged themselves. Adding significant distance and/or speed to their swim, bike or run workouts, they pushed their personal limits. To that end, S-BR4-Life recognizes their contribution to the sport of triathlon in 2020. 


Jacqueline Gooch

Outstanding Athlete Award – An athlete who has demonstrated exceptional multi-sport ability. In addition to athletic ability, they show leadership, and dependability.


Phyllis Graves

Spirit of the Team Award – An athlete who models the behavior consistent with the expectations of the coaching team and the sport: enthusiasm, consistency, teamwork, compassion, empathy, motivation, commitment, and confidence.


Jackie Sears

Fastest Time Award – Overall performance in the S-BR4-Life 2020 Practice Tri.


Natasha Thomas

Most Improved Triathlete Award – A triathlete who has shown the most progress during the training season.


Congratulations ladies!





Welcome New Year with Purpose

Preparation is Key


December 18, 2020

On New Year’s Day 2020, we were excited about our planned training and racing events. Then, the world stopped. For some, the unexpected stillness allowed us to self-reflect and look at the wrinkles in our training and racing life. Let’s take what we learned from this self-examination and re-purpose. Be bold in 2021. Train consistently. Challenge yourself. And claim victory like you own it.


Remember…


The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win!


Happy New Year!





Ambassador's Campaign Gains Traction

Town Hall Update


December 11, 2020

The Mutola Ambassador Town Hall series is an effort to help educate the African American community about the benefits of physical activity – swim, bike and run. Program participants recruit members of their community to join S-BR4-Life athletes in group activities.


The November 4th town hall proved to be a lively discussion on What’s the Connection between Cross Training and Good Health? Questions presented by participants led to a fairly in depth look at the barriers community members face when attempting to change their lifestyle and food choices. After an audience member stated there is a false assumption that mid to upper income African Americans are not in need of education about the importance of physical activity, several panelists recommended methods we can use to direct messaging to this segment of the African American community.


Tapping into the Influencer in You: Recruiting Community Members was the November 18th event. The panelists represented a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience in mobilizing African Americans to take action. Past disease prevention campaigns launched by local organizations can be used as a roadmap for practices Mutola Project Ambassadors can use when targeting specific groups of community members. Audience members were particularly responsive when panelists shared their personal stories about efforts to recruit their own family members. Here again, the resources shared by panelists was helpful.


“I think this type of information is really important for the community,” says Bridgett Mason, an audience member. The last event, focusing on mobilization and social media strategies, takes place on December 2, 2020.





Gut Health for the Athlete 

The Inside Story


December 4, 2020

What better time than the holiday season to think about gut health? Much has been written about the effects of gut bacteria on our general health and wellbeing, mood, and athletic performance.


According to experts, our gut bacteria produce metabolites from the food that we eat and—in turn—go on to impact many of the hormonal responses that happen within our bodies. The variation of the bacteria that comprise our gut can modulate what’s happening to our central nervous system, our immune system, how we respond and adapt to training, and of course, our mood.


Read sports nutritionist Dr. Stacy Sims' article on gut health published in triathlete.com.





Invitation to an Active Lifestyle

How Do You Make the Ask?


November 20, 2020

Would you like to see your friends and family adopt a lifestyle which includes physical activity - swim, bike and run? On November 18, at the S-BR4-Life Community Health and Athleticism in the Age of COVID-19 town hall series, panelists discussed messaging techniques used to tactfully persuade others to consider making incremental changes to their lifestyle. Their recommendations were consistent with  recently published findings by Harvard Business Review. For example, when trying to convince family and friends to start and continue a training programming, ask for less.


Ask for Less

Quite often, when I ask someone to train with me, their immediate reaction is, “I can’t do a triathlon”. That’s okay. I say to them, let’s do a one-mile walk. I give them lots of encouragement, offering to train with them, and be their accountability partner. In my experience, the shorter the distance, the more likely you are to get more people to join you.


Here are additional strategies to convince reluctant family members and friends to get moving.


Swim-Bike-Run for a Cause

Training and racing for a cause is so much bigger than the miles you accumulate. It’s what those miles stand for. It brings complete strangers together over a common goal, be it raising money or awareness. Giving your family member or friend a reason behind the miles can make it that much more important and significant. Instead of just walking for 30 minutes with you, they are a part of a community trying to make a difference in the world. And, you may succeed in convincing more people to join you both.


What’s In it for Them?

Finding a real, personal benefit for your family member or friend is going to be a lot more convincing than begging over and over. You know your loved one best, so ask yourself: what motivates them? What have they been wanting?


Maybe they don’t see you enough. Training together can be a great time to catch up. Or maybe they’ve been talking about how they hate the gym but need to get in shape. They could be driven by “bucket list” experiences or the excuse for a shopping spree (cute workout clothes?) Find out what they would get out of it and hone in on it.


What’s Holding Them Back?

Find out and help them fix it! Chances are, their excuses are the same ones you’ve told yourself: you don’t have time, the right equipment, the money to register. Usually, these are just a cover-up for the real reason: they don’t know where to begin. Help them develop a training plan and remember how you felt when you first started; share your story and remind them how every athlete once started where they are today.


Go at Their Pace

This will help with the last point. If you want to train together, you’re going to have to be flexible. Don’t expect them to be able to jump right into your schedule. Plan in advance to find times that work for the both of you. If you’re ahead in your training, plan some workouts without them so you can continue to increase your pace and/or distance, and make the days you train together your “easy” days. If they’re completely new to exercising in general, they might need to start as walkers. That’s okay! This will help them warm up to the idea of training as they learn that each mile isn’t as long as it sounds.


Bribe and Bet

If you have to sweeten the deal for a particularly obstinate friend (and you probably will), offer to pay for their race entry or a yoga class if they finish the race. Appeal to their competitive side and bet on who can stick to their training plan or finish first. Or agree to do something they want to do in exchange, even if it means going to that silent retreat they’ve always talked about.


Hold Each Other Accountable

This will help you, too. Find ways to serve as each other’s motivational coaches. Text each other inspirational quotes and photos (or sarcastic jabs, if that’s more your style); send a photo when you finish a workout to show off and guilt-trip them; make a chart to track each other’s progress with stickers or checkmarks… because no matter how old you are, you don’t want someone to have more gold stars than you. 





Women of Color Advancing in Triathlon

Outspoken Women in Triathlon Summit


November 13, 2020

Women are rarely acknowledged for the contributions they make to sport and to our lives. Often, they are often taken for granted, working in the background without much recognition. The Outspoken Summit is makes an effort to change that by annually recognizing women in triathlon for their contributions to our sport.


The 2020 Women in Triathlon Awards Committee selected Award recipients from nominations submitted by the triathlon community. Nominee finalists included several women of color including some of our own local athletes like Janelle Alexander, Julie Walker and Khadijah Diggs. They make us proud!


The award winners are as follows:

  • Athlete of the Year: Sika Henry
  • Outspoken Woman of the Year: Khadijah Diggs
  • Pandemic Community Service Award: Lisa Kay Davis
  • *Social Media Impact Award: Colonel Yvonne Spencer

Their accomplishments inspire us to persevere in the sport and to reach for excellence.


*Note: Colonel Yvonne Spencer is a featured panelist at the the Mutola Ambassador Virtual Town Hall on November 18, 2020, 6:30pm


To register, go to: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcoceCpqDgrHNyYMrofc8Eb62Ky7PeYS92n 





Rhythmic Aquatic Moves for All

Water ballet beginning to take shape in communities of Color 


November 6, 2020

Who says black people don’t dance in the water? Certainly not the Harlem Honeys & Bears Synchronize Swimming Team nor the Island Aquatics Synchro Team in Jamaica. Rhythmic movement in water comes easy to them.


Synchronized swimming or artistic swimming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music.


Harlem Honeys & Bears Synchronize Swimming Team

In Harlem, New York, senior citizens, members of Harlem Honeys & Bears Synchronize Swimming Teamare taught water survival skills and water therapy for chronic illnesses. This unique program, the first of its kind, originated out of the John Rozier Hansborough Recreation Center in Harlem. Gaining popularity, the program has expanded to include additional locations around New York.


Most of the members did not learn how to swim until they joined the team at the ages of 64-67. They were afraid of the water. Participants must learn to swim within a year. Many of the members have experienced health challenges (osteoporosis, heart conditions, respiratory. etc.). Some were advised by their physicians to learn how to swim.


Island Aquatics Synchro Club

When people think of Olympic sports in Jamaica, they likely have track and field in mind. But synchronized swimming is now a story on the island, thanks in part to a group of young swimmers, and Beyonce. The work Island Aquatics Synchro Club put in in the pool wound up leading to an appearance in Beyonce’s latest project, Black is King.


The producers say they believe this spotlight on black artistic swimmers on such a big platform and with such an iconic performer will not only inspire children to take up the sport, but will also bring changes and new opportunities.





Make Safety A Priority When Cycling

Hazard Avoidance Maneuver Skills Come in Handy  


October 27, 2020

The pandemic’s shelter in place mandates led to a surge in demand for outdoor equipment, including bikes. Based on a poll done by the New York Times, bike sales are up 121 percent. But bike shops aren’t the only place seeing unprecedented crowds. When riding on a bike trail these days, it seems as if everyone has decided to become a cyclist. Cycling on a congested trail requires solid safety skills.


Even when you ride predictably situations may arise that require maneuvering to avoid hazards or collisions. The ability to execute an evasive maneuver could mean the difference between a close call and a crash. Practicing these skills often can help to establish a natural response. Our friends from the American League of Cyclists provide several useful tips on how to maneuver.


Quick Stop

If you are like many people, you instinctively grab both brakes in an emergency and apply them equally until the bike begins to skid. You have no control and a wheel that is skidding offers you virtually no stopping power. So the logic for effective braking is:


• Braking with the rear brake alone will help prevent pitch-over, but it is not very effective. In theory, you can stop fastest with the front brake, but an error will pitch you over.


• For a fast, safe stop, use both brakes. This produces the optimum deceleration. If the rear wheel starts to skid, ease up slightly on the front brake. With practice, you will use the front brake harder (up to three times harder) and the rear brake more lightly to decrease your stopping distance.


• When braking hard, slide your body back on the saddle as far as possible. You can transfer even more weight to the rear wheel by moving your rear end straight back and placing your stomach on the seat.

• When carrying a heavy load on the rear of your bike, you will be able to brake harder with less danger.


Rock Dodge

Rock Dodge is a maneuver to avoid any small object in the road. It is an essential skill for any cyclist to master.


To execute a Rock Dodge, keep riding straight until you are very close to the object. Just before you reach the object, turn the handlebars suddenly to the left — without leaning — so the front wheel goes around the object. Immediately straighten out and keep riding. When you steer to the left of the rock, you automatically lean right. When you straighten up, you bring the bike back under you. Your front wheel snakes around the rock, your back wheel passes on the other side, but your body and handlebars have barely moved. The motion is subtle and the entire action happens in a split second. 


This technique will feel unnatural at first and will take practice before you can do it smoothly. Once you master the Rock Dodge, practice it regularly.


Avoidance Weave

The Avoidance Weave is used when you suddenly encounter a series of hazards like potholes or rocks that could cause a crash. The Avoidance Weave is a set of swooping turns. To avoid a series of hazards successfully, look ahead past the hazards and begin a turn before you reach each hazard. Continue to look ahead and turn sharply until you are through the hazards. It’s important to lean your bicycle and get into a rhythm.


Instant Turn

The Instant Turn is used to avoid an unexpected vehicle passing directly in front of you. In these instances, you won’t have the time or space to do a Quick Stop. An Instant Turn allows you to avoid the crash and go in the direction of the vehicle. Even if you do crash, it will be at an angle and the consequences will be less than crashing head on.


Many people think that a turn is produced simply by turning the front wheel, but you actually lean first and turn second. Because they happen so fast, the two moves appear simultaneous. To force the lean quickly you have to perform a maneuver that feels unnatural and sounds even more unlikely. Turn your front wheel left — the wrong way, toward the car. By doing this you’re forcing a right lean. The moment you have a lean started, turn your front wheel sharply right and you’ll find yourself in a tight right turn. 


This doesn’t ever feel natural, and you must train yourself to do it. The quick twitch in the wrong direction at the start of the instant turn is the most important and least intuitive part of the turn. You are deliberately unbalancing yourself by steering the whole bike out from under you.