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.





Town Hall Series Kick-off

Community Health and Athleticism in the Age of COVID-19   


October 15, 2020

African Americans face a higher probability of contracting diseases like COVID-19 due to underlying health issues. S-BR4-Life, in partnership with organizations like Diversity in Aquatics and USA Triathlon, have launched a campaign in African American communities to help get community members moving. The initiative is called the Mutola Ambassador Project.


The Project promotes lifestyle change in the African American community leading to the adoption of routine exercise: swim, bike and run/walk. A key component of the program is training community members to become multisport mission ambassadors/influencers who help plan and implement pop-up training events, participate in community service opportunities and deliver messaging to community members and opinion leaders.


As part of this effort, we have invited leading professionals and opinion leaders in health and community outreach to talk about what works. The town hall dates and times are shown below.


Learn the ABCs of Beginning and Sustaining a Healthy Lifestyle Change

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 6:30pm EST

To register, go to: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrd-qgqTspHdLpkB_kXEDwaClJTrwqiccC


What’s the Connection between Cross Training and Good Health?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 6:30pm EST

To register, go to: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEkceytrjwtHd34n_keRwbR2LJZ7-URH88X


Tapping into the Influencer in You: Recruiting Community Members

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 6:30pm EST

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


Harnessing the Power of Hi Tech & Low Tech to Get Folks Moving

Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 6:30pm EST

To register, go to: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcufuqoqD8pE9zcfTSoxSNMcoJ5zRzRSk9J





Announcing Our New Logo! 

S-BR4-Life Gets a Makeover


September 30 2020

Big news! Today, we’re releasing an updated brand identity, which includes a new logo, colors, and font. You’ll see the new look anywhere we’re out in public, like our website, Facebook, and Instagram.


We believe the new look better matches what we’ve become since we began providing multi-sport training services.


When we started, we identified as a woman athlete who balances her athleticism with her femininity. While our women athletes continue to maintain this duel identity, we’ve adopted a brand with slightly altered colors and a lot more energy.


Also, in the last year we’ve changed: we launched a new program for communities of color to help introduce residents to the sport of triathlon. This new image better matches how we look to our values and the community members we serve.

Our team worked to find something that appeared crisp, approachable, smart, friendly, and connected.


The “SBR” of the logo, quite obviously, represents the business name, but it is stylized with curves to appear friendly.


We hope you like this new look and feel for S-BR4-Life. Look out for more updates as we continue to try to better serve our clients and the larger community as trainers and advocates for multi-sports.





Build Swim Confidence 

Actions You Can Take


September 23, 2020

Do you look at high performing swim competitors’ confidence and assume – mistakenly - they were born with it? That they’ve always possessed the unique combination of courage, optimism and poise.

Not likely.

Confidence grows over time. It’s a consequence of the environment you create around yourself and the actions that you take.


Tips to Help You Build Confidence

Get adequate sleep.

Decreased sleep affects your mood, stress levels and rate of perceived effort.

Control the Voice in Your Head

When you master the self-talk, you master your actions. This can lead to levels of confidence. Look at the Big Picture. When things go wrong, you’re injured or sick, think about the gains you’ve made over time. It helps to keep a log book or journal. Record your training experiences: what you did well, lessons learned or what you plan to work on.

Create a Plan to Overcome Barriers

Instead o dwelling on a problem, chart a way forward. This does a couple of quick things: it gives you control of the situation, which will give you a quick hit of confidence, while also taking your mind off of the problem and on the solution instead.

Challenge Yourself

You may be able to fake confidence, but real confidence comes from action. It comes from pushing your personal limits.

Set training goals regularly.

Set a goal to beat your last time or if you’ve been putting off learning how to flip turn in the pool, get an instructor or coach to teach you the skill.

Be accountable to yourself.

It’s disappointing having a bad practice. Your natural inclination is to disown that performance. It’s easier to blame others when things go wrong. For example, the water was too cold. However, if you want to develop the confidence and mindset of the high performing athlete you need to take yourself to task for your swimming. This means tracking and evaluating your training and competitions.

Set Workout Goals

For some, workouts can, at times, lead to boredom making it difficult to stay focused for the duration of the practice. Having an overall goal for your swimming is crucial, and you need to remind yourself of it constantly. Write out a list of goals, and revisit them before each workout.

Train Consistently

Inconsistent training is a confidence killer. It’s impossible to build any momentum or fill up our reservoir of confidence when you are constantly in a state of rebuilding a skill and/or endurance. Make consistency an overriding priority.





Returning to the Pool 

Get Accurate Information


September 14, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, swimmers face significant challenges to resume and/or sustain a training program. Fears about COVID-19 have scared many people off because of the risk of exposure to the virus in the water plus fears of crowded facilities, lakes and beaches. Based on a May 2021 survey conducted by My Swim Pro, 500 swimmers voiced great uncertainty about resuming swim training during the summer months. This uncertainty and the pandemic have continued into the fall.


What do Experts Say?

Infectious disease experts say swimming, in itself, is low risk. People need to be cautious about activities outside of the water; socializing with friends, sharing of personal items and using locker rooms. When outside of the water and near others it’s important to wear a mask.


Read Is it Safe to Swim During the Coronavirus Pandemic to find out what you need to know.





One, But Not Done!

Maintaining Your Training Program After the Big Event

September 2, 2020

August 22, 2020 at Dallas Landing Park in Acworth, a new cohort of SBR4Life triathletes emerged from grueling months of swim, bike and run training to complete a mock triathlon. The athletes deserve praise, admiration and encouragement to continue their journey as triathletes. Now, it's time to refocus their effort and elevate their performance. This requires sustained effort and more sacrifice.


What’s Next?

Having your coach design your training plan based on your individual needs is key to enhancing your performance. In the months ahead set new goals, commit to training consistency and where possible invite family and friends to join you when you’re training. Encourage them to learn how to swim. Invite them to bike ride or walk and/or run with you. As a triathlete you now know the benefits of this sport. Share it with others to increase the number of people in your support circle while at the same time helping community members adopt an active lifestyle.


We all need encouragement when we challenge ourselves to do what seems impossible. Having a sister, friend or colleague cheer you on can often mean the difference between continuing through the discomfort and completely giving up.

Kyle Pease, an athlete so many of us admire and respect shared a moving account of his experience as a triathlete. He shows us how beneficial it is to have a training partner who believes in you. Please read “Learning How to be an Athlete: 5 Steps to Achieving the Impossible.” After reading the blog post, ask yourself, am I doing enough to enhance my performance.





Triathlon Prep for Beginners

Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before My First Race


August 17, 2020

Kit Tips

Shoes

You may do a good job of drying your feet, but they will still be damp, which makes putting socks and shoes on difficult. To help get your feet into your shoes, sprinkle talcum powder into your socks and shoes the night before the race and you’ll save time struggling in the triathlon transitions.

Glasses

Invest in some running — or cycling-specific — sunglasses. They can keep flies out of your eyes, sharpen your vision in low light conditions and block road glare.


Cycling Tips

Low Gear, High Cadence Biking

The bike-to-run transition typically plays havoc with your legs as you adjust to the different demands on your body. To make the change-over easier, in the last mile of the bike course you should select a lower gear and spin your legs at a higher cadence (number of revolutions per minute). Lessening the load in the last stretch of the cycle section will help your legs adjust to the new demands of the running section of the triathlon.

Avoid Over-Fatigue When Cycling

At the beginning of the cycling leg, avoid pushing too high a gear, as this would over-fatigue your legs in the latter stages of the cycle course. Instead, choose a slightly lower gear and maintain a high cadence while you settle into your natural rhythm.

Do Not Draft

‘Drafting’ refers to riding with your front wheel a few inches from the rear wheel of the competitor in front. It can significantly cut down wind resistance and the energy that you expend — but is unfortunately against the rules in most events and can lead to your disqualification. The last thing you want after all your preparation is to be disqualified, so always avoid drafting. You should also make sure overtaking maneuvers are completed within 15 seconds.


Running Tip

Strides Matter

At the start of the run section, your legs can often feel heavy after cycling — so begin with a shorter stride than usual, then gradually adjust as your body gets used to the new discipline.


Prepare for Transitions

Time Management

T1 and T2 (swim-to-bike and bike-to-run changeovers) are where valuable time can be won and lost. Lay a clean towel next to your bike and carefully lay out your kit in the order that you’ll put it on, so that changing is easy when you’re rushing between disciplines.

Transition Training

Your transition technique, clothing changes, strategy and speed are all areas that you can improve upon with practice. Include transition training as part of your overall training program until your personal system is firmly embedded and a completely automatic process. A little practice can bring a three-and-a-half-minute changeover down to just 60 seconds — which is much simpler than making up that time on the bike or running.


Logistics

Know Your Triathlon Route

Forewarned is forearmed. Before the race, take a look at the transition entrance and exit from the directions you will be approaching and leaving them. Knowing your route can save you wrong turns and wasted time — so make sure you check everything out beforehand.





Food Equals Fuel

The ABCs of Nutrition


August 7, 2020

Nutrition is a critical component of triathlon. A car performs when you fuel it; an athlete performs when she consumes needed nutrients. The following guide to nutrition is an excerpt from a USA Triathlon publication.


Food provides six essential nutrients for optimal triathlon performance - carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates, protein and fats are known as macronutrients. They are the only nutrients that provide the body energy, which is measured in calories. Water, also a macronutrient, does not supply energy but is needed for proper metabolic function, joint and muscle lubrication and core body temperature regulation. Vitamins and minerals are referred to as micronutrients since they are only required in small amounts. They are found in all foods and play a critical role in the breakdown and utilization of macronutrients into energy.


The triathlete’s body requires over 40 different essential nutrients every day to maintain general health and support the demands of training. Since each food differs in its contribution of macronutrients and micronutrients, athletes should be encouraged to maintain a diet that provides:


• A variety of foods from all food groups - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, beans and legumes, and meats that are low in fat.

• Sufficient energy/calories to maintain a healthy body weight and body composition.

• General health recommendations, such as low saturated fat, low salt and high fiber - 


In some cases, such as with the morning of a race or hard training session, cutting back on fiber may be advised. Some athletes may need to increase sodium in their diets when preparing for hot and humid training or racing conditions.


For more on nutrition requirements go to https://www.livestrong.com/article/374141-what-to-eat-before-a-first-sprint-triathlon/





Triathlon Transition Matters

Don't Forget to Train


July 31, 2020

You’ve trained for swimming, trained for cycling, and gotten all of your running/walking miles in. What are you forgetting? If you haven’t trained for transition, you’ve missed an important component. Transitions are the links between everything else. A good transition can save you time and energy, a bad one can cause you stress and even ruin your race. So what makes a good transition?


A good transition equals a fast transition, but a fast transition does not always equal a good transition. To move quickly and effectively through transition, organization is key. First, it’s important that you haven’t forgotten anything you need. A good way to ensure this is to have a race day checklist.


Next, make sure you arrive to your race in plenty of time to set up your transition. At most races, you’ll register (get race pack, numbers, etc.) then head straight into transition, where you will have a space allocated to your race number. You can mark your space with a small towel, laying things out in the order that you need them. (Cycling items in front, running towards the back.) Make sure that your helmet strap is open, if you wear sunglasses, have them inside the helmet, ready to put on, shoes are loose and ready to slip your feet in. Another helpful item is a race belt for your race number, allowing you to switch your number from back (for the bike leg) to front (for the run leg) without pinning and re-pinning.


Leave extraneous items elsewhere. You need to see exactly what you need and be able to grab it quickly in what could feel like a high-pressure situation. Extra items will just add to the pressure and you often won’t be allotted enough space for anything extra anyway.


Once you’ve set up your transition, be sure to familiarize yourself with exactly where your space is located, perhaps by using a stationary landmark that will be easy to spot after your swim (i.e., opposite a parking lot, two rows in). Don’t use another bike to do this – they may have left by the time you get out of the swim. Also, familiarize yourself with where you’ll be entering after the swim, where you’ll leave on the bike, and where you’ll go out to begin your run. This saves a lot of confusion during the race.


Even if your goal is to complete, not compete, it’s worth practicing your transition. Set up your transition area at home. If you are doing a brick (swim/cycle or cycle/run) training session, work on changing from one discipline to another as quickly as possible.  





Calling Triathlete Ambassadors

Encourage Healthy Living in the African American Community


July 23, 2020

All statistics point to the fact that African Americans are more likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than the general population, according to Shelby Wilkes, an ophthalmologist and president of the Georgia State Medical Association. Underlying health conditions is cited as one of the social conditions causing the increased risk. According to Black Health Now, “The African American community struggles with higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and other preexisting conditions that can make it harder to fight off Covid-19”.


Positive Impact on Health

According to professional triathlete and USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach, Jon Fecik, health consists of multiple factors like genetics, nutrition, and physical fitness background, physical fitness ability, lifestyle choices, environment and even relationships. Triathlon impacts one’s physical health through physical exercise. Over time, one becomes stronger and more resilient. Consequently, one gets healthy side effects such as a stronger heart or more efficient lungs. Triathlon cross training’s positive impact on cardiovascular, brain and bone health are sorely needed for members of the African American community.


The good news is faith based, civic and social organizations in metro Atlanta’s African American community have become advocates for healthy living. Consequently, a growing number of men and women have begun to incorporate walking into their daily or weekly activities.


As a triathlete, you can build upon this heightened interest in fitness by messaging the benefits of cross training. Studies show that cross training is not as hard on the body, because it distributes the stress more evenly to bones and muscles and develops more balanced fitness. This results in fewer injuries, and a stronger body.


Another benefit which may appeal to our family and friends is that cross training shapes the body in complimentary ways. Athletes not only feel younger, they look better, too. The benefits are numerous.

  • Improves your fitness
  • Helps prevent injury
  • Improves posture
  • Boasts mental strength
  • Helps you recover faster
  • Reduces exercise boredom
  • Conditions entire body, not just specific muscle groups

Make Healthy Living Infectious

Adopting a healthy lifestyle begins with conversation. Invite family, friends and colleagues to try cross-training. As African Americans who swim, bike and run, let’s lead by example. Show others what we do and tell them why we do it. 





Treading Water 101

Essential Skill for Water Safety


July 13, 2020

Three things are missing in the open water: the walls, the lane ropes, and the bottom of the pool. In open water, you are not guaranteed a solid object to hold onto for rest, so you need to feel calm and comfortable without those things if you need to take a break. Treading water can have a calming effect.


Treading is the ability to keep your head above water while swimming in an upright position. This skill is not only essential for more advanced athletes, but it is key for basic water safety.


Treading enables you to swim in place without expending too much energy. In an emergency, this would be an ideal skill to utilize until help arrives.


Treading uses your arms and legs under the water, keeping your body in a vertical position, with your head above the surface. Use a breaststroke or “eggbeater” kick with your legs and use a sculling motion with your arms in the water. It’s important to stay calm and slow your breathing since this will increase your energy efficiency and slow exhaustion.


You’re doing it right if your body is barely bobbing up and down. Your torso should remain motionless as your arms and legs work to keep you afloat.


When learning the skill, you can start by treading 30 seconds, then 1 minute, and then 2 minutes. Ideally, all swimmers should be able to tread at least 1 minute.


If treading 2 minutes sounds too ambitious, consider this. One of the training tests Navy SEALS had to pass to be considered a Navy SEAL is treading water five minutes, hands out, with 12 pounds of lead weight on a dive belt and twin 80 tanks, neutrally filled, with fins. That makes a 2-minute tread sound easy.


Remember to include treading as part of your training routine.




What is a Brick Workout and Why do Them?

Training Technique to Get Stronger, Leaner and Faster


July 6, 2020

Brick and workout in the same sentence may not sound too inviting to the novice triathlete. However, if you include brick workouts in your training program, you’ll be glad you did on race day.


Generally, a brick workout consists of a bike/run combination, but a brick could also be a swim/bike or a run/bike combination. Brick refers to the stacking of any two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with little to no interruption in between. This means any athlete can accomplish a brick workout, not just triathletes. As the athlete switches modes of exercise, the body needs to effectively and efficiently prepare for the next part while recovering from the previous part. The heart rate increases significantly as the body tries to shift the blood flow from the muscles of the first exercise to the muscles of the next. Typically, it can take between 10-20 minutes to get your “running” legs back after biking. Once you do these a few times, you can condition your muscles and your brain to become very efficient at changing from bike to run.


Brick workouts provide some of the best returns on investment for triathletes. They’re sessions that offer endurance and strength all in one intense and slightly gratifying package. Brick workouts help the body handle the aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular demands of a triathlon event.


According to veteran tri coach MJ Gasik,  brick workouts make you stronger, leaner and faster and they should be included in every triathlete’s training plan.




SBR4Life Introduces Triathlon Ambassador Project

Boot Camp Trains Triathlon Ambassadors to Promote Sport in Under-Represented Communities


June 22, 2020

SBR4 has launched the Mutola Ambassador Project, a new program promoting triathlon in under-represented communities. The project is named after Maria Mutola, a track and field athlete who competed in six Olympic Games.


According to Black Health Now, “The African American community with higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and other preexisting conditions that can make it harder to fight off Covid-19. SBR4Life’s Mutola Ambassador Project is a coordinated effort to help combat the underlying medical conditions in African American communities by introducing an alternative lifestyle choice, cross training for triathletes. The Project will train individuals to become triathlon mission ambassadors/influencers who participate in planning and implementing pop-up training events, coordinating community service opportunities and delivering messaging to community members and opinion leaders.


The program, supported by the USA Triathlon Foundation, will host a series of training activities in the summer and fall of 2020.


For more information about the project, contact Coach Beverly Iseghohi 

at [email protected]




Dryland Train During Swimming Pool Closures

Core Strength Matters

April 18, 2020

No access to a pool during the COVID-19 pandemic? Use the time to improve your swimming performance by building core and leg muscle strength.


Long interruptions in your swim routine denies you the opportunity to get a total body workout. Taking a splash can boost your cardio and strength training. When freestyle swimming or walking through water, you get built-in resistance as your muscles fight to keep moving. You can customize your workout to your endurance or strength goals.


You also can use dryland workouts to set endurance and strength goals. Return to the pool stronger and better prepared to knockout lap after lap.


More Core Equals Less Drag 

Start with core stability to practice for your pool performance, says Cameron Martinez, personal trainer and swim instructor at New York Health and Racquet Club. You need a strong core to hold your body up in the water and maintain that straight line from shoulders to ankles. If your core is weak, your hips will sag, making it hard to stay afloat.


To increase strength, aim to hold forearm and side planks, as well as hollow holds, for 30 to 60 seconds. Squats and deadlifts will also help you to build the strength you need in your legs to kick through each stroke, he adds.


When you feel like you've adequately strengthened your core and the pools re-open, go to the pool and swim for as long as you can, and rest for as long as you need. It’s all about taking it at your own pace. As soon as you can swim for 20 minutes without stopping, you’re ready for a full workout.


Maintain Form

If you’re still fairly new to swimming, keep in mind that maintaining good form is essential to improving your performance.


Breaking form is a common mistake people make as soon as they hit the water. If the middle of the body (or the core) sags or the feet start to ride low, you’re going to increase resistance or drag, which will slow you down and waste energy. You want to be as straight and streamlined in the water as possible.


Breathe & Rotate

Proper breathing technique also makes big waves in how well you swim. Practice breathing by holding onto a kickboard and doing flutter kicks with the feet. As you move the legs, turn your head to the side to inhale through your nose, then exhale with your face in the water.


Finally, note that you should rotate your entire body with each stroke. “A lot of people think you need to stay flat on your stomach, but you should be rotating as you move,” Martinez says. “The entire body—shoulders and hips—should be connected and roll to the side as one arm extends, and then roll to the other. Meanwhile, the head stays put and you look toward the bottom of the pool.”


When you’re ready to splash, these drills will help you ease back into your workout routine.

                                  

The Get Used to the Water Workout

You won’t spend a lot of time on your stroke, but rather get used to what it feels like to push through approachable distances. Let this help you get comfortable moving in water before you turn it up a notch.

• 8 x 25 yards flutter kick with board with 15 seconds rest

• 4 x 50 yards alternate laps of freestyle (odds) and backstroke (evens) with 20 seconds rest

• 8 x 25 yard freestyle with 15 seconds rest in between laps

• 4 x 50 yards freestyle with 20 seconds rest in between laps