Price: $275 with heart rate monitor ($225 without) The most obvious update to the Run Trainer is its smaller case, which better fits both men's and women's wrists. But, under the hood, we found a handful of other improvements that makes the Run Trainer 2.0 a serious GPS watch for beginners and advanced runners alike. Highlights: Smaller watch that fits all wrists Improved menu structure Sharp display with customizable metrics Records distance, pace, and heart rate 8-hour battery and 15-lap memory Vibration alerts Auto-lap feature, and hydration/nutrition alerts Interval timers (time or distance) Compatible with ANT+ sensors (heart rate, foot pod) Runners Will Like: The Run Trainer 2.0 has a lot of advanced functionality to suit experienced runners, but is simple to use and read, making it a sound choice for beginners as well. The menu is easily navigable, making it a breeze to change settings. The crystal-clear display can be reversed out for easier reading--the usual black text and gray background can be flip-flopped (as seen above). Up to three pages of data can be displayed during a run, with each page showing two or three lines of data that you choose to see. And an eight-hour battery provides enough juice to power you through a week's worth of workouts. The watch comes packed with a slew of "hands-free" features. Runners can program it to "auto lap" at user-selected intervals based on distance or time--such as every mile or 15 minutes--or to pause automatically if your speed drops below a pre-set mark, like when you're stopped at a traffic light. The watch can also sound a unique three-tone alert at your preferred time intervals, reminding you to eat or drink; the sound differs from other alerts so you know without looking what the beeping means. Most alerts can also be set to make the watch vibrate--a feature we've grown to love on Garmin's high-end watches like the Forerunner 610, 910XT, and Fenix . Dread running circles on the track? An interval feature allows you to set up a speed workout ahead of time, programming up to six different segments--you can repeat the whole set up to 99 times. For example, say your training plan calls for 10 quarter-mile repeats with a 90-second recovery between each hard effort. You can set this up in the watch, hit start, and the watch will alert you at the end of each interval. Well, technically, you would need to program the watch to cycle through three "quarters" and subsequent recoveries, and repeat that entire sequence four times. If you're doing the math, you'd realize this would lead you to run 12 hard efforts. Such is the limitation; you'd have to keep track of where you are and stop the watch when your own workout is complete. Another advanced feature on this watch is that you can specify "zones" (heart rate, pace, or speed) for each interval. That way, you'll be alerted if you're running too fast or slow (or easy/hard, if you're set to HR) during any interval. Post-run, the watch syncs effortlessly with a handful of online training logs, thanks to workouts being saved to the device as .FIT files. The smoothest integration is with Training Peaks, thanks to a partnership between the two companies. (Note: Training Peaks also powers the Runner's World Personal Trainer , the online training log for our website.) Via the downloadable Training Peaks Device Agent, you can bulk upload your workouts to the training log and control many of the watch's settings. We found it much easier to click through the Device Agent--especially when setting up interval workouts--rather than jumping around small screens on the watch itself. What to Watch For: Memory space is the biggest issue we've experienced. You can save only 15 workouts on the device at any time. If you hit that ceiling, the watch prompts you to download or delete workouts to free up space. If you continue, the watch will display time, distance, pace, etc., but won't record any more data at the conclusion of your run--your only option is to reset the workout. Another quirk is, if the watch battery is exhausted, the date and time will be reset to January 1. Upon establishing a GPS fix, both are set to Greenwich Mean Time, five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. This isn't a serious issue, but can be annoying. timex.com Read More ›
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BEST FOR: Running It may not be as sturdily constructed or as intuitive to use as higher-end GPS watches costing twice as much, but we’re thrilled to see GPS technology dropping to almost $200. The new Run Trainer has a much nicer readout than the 1.0 version, with hydration reminders and vibrating alerts, plus an optional heart-rate strap ($50). What really matters, though, is accuracy, and, click for click, it was as precise as any GPS watch we’ve tested. Read More ›
Living in a foreign country has its challenges — everything is unfamiliar and you have to throw out all assumptions about basic things. Over time, the daily struggle can overwhelm you if you don’t look at the big picture. So every now and then, I have to remind myself that living in Europe has given [...] :: Please click on the headline to read the entire story. Read More ›
This article was originally published on the TrainingPeaks blog. A training program is more than just an accumulation of volume or training miles. To create a successful program one must incorporate many complicated components, all of which must be combined in the right way in order for an athlete to be successful. In addition to training, an athlete’s work and personal life need to be factored in for long-term success. There is no one template or plan that will suit all athletes - this is why experienced coaches are necessary to be able to draw from each of these components to create a cohesive plan that works for that athlete at that moment in time. Coaches also need to be skilled in each of the components, and to know when to bring in outside assistance when necessary. The goal of this article is to make athletes and coaches aware of each of the six essential components of a successful training program and highlight the areas within each that should be addressed and mastered over time. Many of these components will overlap and supplement each other, and are not exclusive or solely independent. You will notice that I have not included nutrition as one of the components, as this is in a category all its own. The six key components are not listed in order of importance or priority as this order will change from athlete-to-athlete depending on their skillset, experience and what their own personal limiters are. In additon, emphases will be different based on time of year. Endurance Movement Economy Strength/Power Speed Mental Fitness Recovery/Regeneration Below we’ll take a look at each component and outline its importance within the training plan, as well as give ideas and insight on how to better incorporate the component into your short- and long-term goals. 1. Endurance Triathlon and cycling are endurance sports. When we think of the word "endurance" we often think solely aerobic endurance, which is in extremely important, yet not the only factor in triathlon or cycling success. Areas of endurance which must be addressed include: Muscular Endurance - The ability to generate force, power or speed over the duration of an event is just as important as aerobic endurance, as this often determines how fast an athlete can cover the race distance. Aerobic Threshold – Base level endurance work is predominantly aerobic. Often thought of as base training. Lactate or Anaerobic Threshold - These are relative terms as many scientists cannot determine a universal definition for this. This can simply be thought of as the highest intensity (watts, pace, speed or HR) that can be held for 30-60 minutes. VO2 Max- Often used in a lab, but not a good predictor of athletic success. VO2 training is hard but yields improvement in all key endurance markers (specific strength, sustainable speed, power, threshold and improved endurance). During your endurance sessions, include one or more intensity levels to increase the value of the training session. Here are a few examples: Bike workout: 15-20 minute warm up. 4x5 minute intervals at max sustainable watts or effort with 5-min easy spin recovery (this works VO2 Max). Then do 3x15 minute efforts just below your current threshold. Then a 5 minute easy spin. Rest of ride at an easy endurance level. Progressive tempo run: 30-40 minutes at an easy endurance pace/HR. Then 15 minutes of progressive tempo run, increasing pace every 3 minutes. Begin at half-marathon pace and then do the last 3 minutes at 1 mile pace (VO2 Max). 2. Movement Economy Our ability to move efficiently and with good biomechanics is a critical skill for all endurance athletes, and one which requires continual work throughout the career. Learning to move smoothly and efficiently whether it's swimming, cycling or running will allow us to put more energy into going faster. To use the analogy of a car, this is equivalent to improving your body’s MPG (miles per gallon). Improving movement economy through better mobility and running drills is a form of "free speed". Researchers have found that in runners, a quality strength training program can yield as much as a 5% increase in performance solely through an improved running economy. In addition, the ability to move smoothly and efficiently decreases the incidence of overuse injuries due to compensations. Additional tools to help you work on movement economy: Bike Rollers - Rollers force you to ride with a smooth pedal stroke and apply force evenly with both right and left feet. To stay upright you need to be smooth and relaxed. Treadmill - Tempo work and intervals on the treadmill give you the opportunity to work on smooth, quick cadence while staying locked into a specific speed. You can also feel a choppy stride, and vertical oscillations (excessive up and down movement) on a treadmill more than you will on the road or track. Indoor Trainers, with erg mode - Stationary trainers that have erg mode will allow you to get comfortable and efficient and at a given wattage. Erg mode on trainers allows you to lock in a specific wattage, therefore as you vary cadence, you will feel the pedals load and unload. You will also find your more efficient cadence for a given wattage. Video Tape Analysis- Video can be a useful tool for both athlete and coach. This is especially true with swimming where regular feedback will allow you to implement changes in your swimming economy. 3. Strength/Power Many endurance athletes and coaches use strength training only in the off-season when cycling volume is often diminished due to cold weather or lack of daylight. It is especially important for athletes over the age of 30 to maintain a high quality strength training plan. Research has shown that after the age of about 30, there is a loss of muscle mass of approximately .5 pounds per year, or 5 lbs. per decade regardless of how much aerobic training you do. A properly designed plan will help reduce muscle imbalances which are often the cause of overuse injuries. Off-season workouts should last about 30 to 40 minutes and be performed 2-3 times per week, with in-season plans lasting as little as 15 to 20 minutes 2 times per week. A well-designed strength training plan should include the following: Movement Skills - These include dynamic warm-up drills, running drills, and corrective exercises that may be unique to each athlete. They also help movement economy. Core Stabilization - This includes stabilization strength as well as stabilization endurance and all planes of movement. Stabilization strength is the ability to eliminate unwanted movement, while stabilization endurance requires an athlete to stabilize over a specific length of time, or the duration of an event. Most full-body multi-joint movements also include a stabilization component (see next). Multi Joint Movements - These should make up the bulk of the strength segment. ○ Pushing - Barbell and dumbbell pressing, both horizontal and vertical ○ Pulling - Vertical pulling such as pull-ups, and horizontal pulling such as TRX inverted rows, help offset the stresses set up by freestyle swimming and riding aero bars. ○ Single Leg Pressing - Single leg strength variations such as one-legged squats or rear foot elevated split squats put less stress on the back, are specific to cycling and running, and involve the hip stabilizers which is critical for injury reduction. ○ Glute Dominant Exercises - Such as mini band walks, single leg hip-lifts and single leg deadlifts, will strengthen the glutes and take stress off the abductors and hamstrings which are common sites of overuse injuries. Flexibility/Soft Tissue Work- Strength training sessions should end with flexibility exercises and foam rolling exercises to reestablish muscle length and facilitate recovery. This only takes a few minutes but is important to include. It is advisable to work with a qualified strength and conditioning coach to help designate an appropriate program that suits the athlete's needs and time restraints. Many programs for endurance athletes advocate high (15 reps and higher) repetition sets. Is important to develop strength and power by using low rep ranges (3 to 10 reps per set) this will not only develop and maintain proper strength levels, but will also create stronger tendons and connective tissues which is often the site of many overuse injuries. Many athletes have home gyms where they have treadmills and indoor bike setups. This is the perfect place to create your own training center. With little space and minimal cost you can create a very effective home training facility. Some great tools to include would be: TRX or suspension trainer Pull-up bar and large stretch bands Dumbbells or power blocks Mini slide or Val slides Mini bands Stability ball Barbell or hex bar 4. Speed To go fast, it is essential to include some sort of speed training (in all three disciplines if you're a triathlete), throughout the year. This can be as easy as including weekly strides, short hill downs, or half pool sprints. For Masters athletes it is especially important since, once speed is lost, it is much harder to regain. As your training year progresses closer toward your key races you want your speed sessions to more closely model the demands of your race. This will differ depending on the distance of your races and your current race paces. Short-course athletes will do speed work in and around their current 5k-pace, while long course athletes will do “fast sessions “ at 10k to half marathon pace. During cold winter months, stationary trainers and treadmills are great devices to work on speed since you can control all the variables. The treadmill can be used throughout the year to do speed work which will allow you to run slightly faster than you would on the track, thereby training your body’s turnover in a controlled environment. In the pool short sprints, with plenty of rest or accelerations, within longer sets will help maintain your swim-specific power and speed. You can also use paddles, fins, or ankle bands in any combination to create variations in speed sets. These sets do not need to be long, and should not leave you exhausted. Small doses of speed throughout the year will help maintain the speed you have worked hard to acquire. 5. Mental Fitness I have included this is a major component since it is often a limiting factor for many athletes. “You are what you think, most of the time.” The willingness to push through adversity, harsh training conditions and race stress is often what determines success in endurance sports. Competition is the opportunity to put into play all the things that you worked on in your training. It should not be a source of stress, but an opportunity to reach new levels. Too often athletes base their training or self-worth on these races, group workouts or the last interval that they have done, when it is more important to look at the entire body of work. You owe it to your competition to bring your best every time you step on the start line. Never convince yourself you are “training through a race”, as this becomes a slippery slope when things get difficult in the race. Athletes cannot be afraid to push the limits in training and competition, and be willing to fail, as this is part of the process. Just as swimming, cycling and running are skills, athletes need to develop the mindset and mental skills to be competitive, face adversity and learn from sub-par performances to become better. You should learn something new every time you race. This is what makes triathlon or bike racing so special. After 27 years of competitive racing, I continue to learn. 6. Recovery/Regeneration Training is not merely putting in as many miles as possible. It is the ability to stress the body and recover so that it adapts to a higher level. The area of recovery/regeneration has been widely embraced by the multisport community. It is easy to see people training and racing with compression garments, and using all kinds of supplements and recovery drinks. Other areas of recovery which may be as important, but are often overlooked, are sleep, blood chemistry, and heart rate variability. Sleep- This is the single best recovery method, but since it cannot be patented and marketed, it is often overlooked. The use of devices such as Zeo sleep monitors allow you to measure the quality and quantity of sleep. It also allows for the tracking of deep sleep and REM sleep, which is vital for both physical and mental recovery. Think of it as a power meter for sleeping. If you measure it, you can manage it. Blood Chemistry- Several times a year, it’s important to track major markers in the blood. When certain key markers are low, it will have a significant effect on training and health. The ability to track key blood markers will allow you to optimize training and maximize race performance. It is good to get initial markers done during the off-season and then periodically monitor them throughout the year to make sure there are no abnormalities. Companies like InsideTracker use 20 key markers specific to athletes, including iron, testosterone and potassium Heart Rate Variability- Also known as HRV, this measures your body's parasympathetic nervous stress, which in short is your total stress package. This includes training stress and all other life stresses. Tracking HRV will allow you to better understand when to train hard and when to back off in an objective manner. This is a new and emerging technology which will guide the way we individualize our training plans in the future.HRV has become very affordable due to apps you can use with your smartphone. Check out Ithlete, Bio-force or Omega wave for HRV tools. It is hard to narrow all training down to just 6 components, but my goal for this article was to give you some thoughts and insights as to things that might be missing from general training programs. It is important to customize training approaches and plans to the individual and their specific demands, in order to create a healthy functioning athlete who will be in the sport for long time. I hope this article lead you to explore some new areas of your training which may open the doors for improved performance. Good luck in your 2013 training and racing season! Looking for a targeted training plan? TrainingPeaks has web-based training plans for all levels of athlete - and our software is compatible with your Timex device. Browse our training plans now.Tim Crowley is a USA T level III triathlon coach. He was a member of the 2008 Olympic coaching staff, was 2009 USAT Elite coach of the year. Tim is the owner of TC2coaching, is Head Strength and Conditioning coach at Montverde Academy, and cofounder of TriathleteWorkshop.com. Tim is based out of Clermont Florida and can be reached at TC2coaching@gmail.comRead More ›
Weekends like this remind me not only how lucky I am to be able to do this sport, but who I can share it with. It was back in January when I saw that the HITS Triathlon Series was going to make an early season stop in Grand Junction, CO and I could not think of [...] :: Please click on the headline to read the entire story. Read More ›
It’s been a long time since I’ve actually raced hence it’s been a long time since my last race report. Last season ended on a sour note with an injury the day before Buffalo Springs Half Ironman (yep, I said the day before the race) and then losing my job in late September. Not exactly [...] Read More ›
This is my first year on Team Timex and this is my first post. And already I am talking about “bigger fish”. To make this clear: Team Timex is the biggest fish of triathlon teams out there and I am very glad and proud to be on board for 2013. So: Hail to the fish! Read More ›
Today was the Inaugural Horsetooth Marathon. 18 miles of trail, ending with 8 miles on the paved Horsetooth Half Marathon course. We did not know until it was confirmed Friday if the marathon would be started. A month ago with the fires in Lory State Park, Steve Cathcart, the race director was going to cancel the event due [...] Read More ›
As you probably already know, the wildly popular Wildflower triathlon festival kicks off in just 2 weeks – on May 3-5, 2013. And a special feature new to this year is Wildflower Squared (WF 2 ) – the ultimate, slightly insane challenge of completing the Long Distance triathlon (1.2 m Swim, 56 m Bike, 13.1 m Run ) followed by the Olympic distance triathlon (1.5k Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run( on Sunday, May 5. From an exercise science standpoint, it’s well-known that stand-alone events such as a marathon or an Ironman triathlon can create an metabolic firestorm in the body that results in long term oxidative stress, inflammation, immune system deficits and joint damage that persists for up to several weeks after a extreme endurance effort (check out studies like this and this to see just how much stress these events can create). In other words, these type of sufferfests aren’t exactly healthy, but they sure as heck can be fun, challenging and a great way to get extreme bragging rights. But what about taking it to the next level and not just settling for one hard event, but doing back-to-back tough triathlons like WF 2 ? Are you curious what happens to the human body when put through such a rigorous one-two-punch protocol? Even though research has never before looked into exactly what happens to the human body during these kind of consecutive day triathlon challenges, Tri-California coach Ben Greenfield has decided to turn himself into a human guinea pig and find out exactly what happens to the body when placed under this type of endurance stress. So Ben is partnering with San Francisco based biomarker testing company WellnessFX to do a comprehensive test of his body both before and after completing the WF 2 challenge. Using just one single visit by Greenfield to his local lab two days before and one visit one day after the triathlons, WellnessFX will test the following: Advanced Cholesterol (Tests include: Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, Lp(a), ApoBBasic Inﬂammation (Test includes: hs-CRP)Thyroid & Blood Sugar (Tests include: TSH, Glucose, HbA1c)Liver & Kidney Health (Tests include: BUN, Creatinine, AST, ALT, Total Bilirubin, Albumin, Total Protein)Basic Nutrients (Tests include: Vitamin D, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Carbon Dioxide)Complete Blood Count & Advanced Nutrients (Tests include: Complete Blood Count w/ diﬀerential Ferritin (serum), TIBC, Folate, Vitamin B12, RBC Magnesium)Performance Hormones (Tests include: Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA), Free Testosterone, Testosterone, Estradiol, SHBG)Metabolic Hormones (Tests include: Cortisol (blood), IGFY1 (Growth hormone surrogate), Insulin This WellnessFX Performance test is one of the most comprehensive performance panels on the face of the planet, and will allow us to keep you posted on exactly what kind of interesting things happen inside the human body after doing an event like the WF 2 challenge. Of course, Ben Greenfield isn’t simply going sit back and let his body sit around passively in between the two races. He’s instead going to pull out all the stops when it comes to mitigating the damage and helping his body to bounce back as fast as possible in between the two races, including all the techniques he discusses in his Lightning Speed Recovery article and his Recovery Pack and Recovery Add-Ons . So what do you think? Are you curious to see what happens to the human body when exposed to back-to-back triathlons like a Half-Ironman followed by an Olympic distance triathlon less than 24 hours later? Leave your questions, comments and feedback below, and we’ll keep you posted with the before and after results.Read More ›