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The Official Blog of SwimOutlet.com!

  • Dec

    The Shoemaker Holiday Gift Guide

    By Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic triathlete

    It's holiday time and that means scrambling to find that perfect present. Unfortunately I will not be able to predict anybody’s perfect present, but I will give a few suggestions that can help you buy for your favorite athlete.

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  • Nov

    The Ins and Outs of Open Water Swim Caps

    Swim caps make perfect stocking stuffers! Easy to wrap, affordable with styles and designs for all types of swimmers. We asked our in-house triathlon expert Jarrod Shoemaker to break down the different swim cap options for open water swimmers.

    By Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic triathlete

    There are quite a few types of swim caps on the market, and quite a few different varieties. This article specifically focuses on which types of caps are good for open water swimming.

    We can rule out a few caps, such as kids fun swim caps and lycra caps (Unless you are racing lifeguard races in which case lycra caps are the norm). Lycra caps allow water to pass through them easily, they are not bad per se, but do not keep your hair dry and are not as fast as latex, silicone or neoprene caps.


    Most races use latex caps as they are cheaper for the races to produce, so if you are racing triathlons or open water swimming event, you most likely have used a latex cap. Most competitive swimmers, like those at the Olympics are using silicone caps, since they are a bit more sturdy, and more hydrodynamic. I have a couple latex caps, silicone caps and neoprene caps that I take with me to open water swims or races so I can use the correct cap depending on water temperature.

     

     

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  • Oct

    Road Cycling for Beginners

    by Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic Triathlete

    As we head into the fall season it is a great time to start road cycling! As a sport, cycling has very low impact and very low stress on the body compared to running and the two are comparable aerobically. It can be a great way to get outside and check out the changing leaves.

    Cycling also has a lower heart rate compared to running, so overall it can be easier to be outside for longer.

    ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET

    First things first, NEVER ride without a helmet. There is NO reason you should be without one. One slip or fall or car you do not see and a helmet WILL save you from head injury.

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  • Oct

    Five Tips for Tapering

    by Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic Triathlete

    Tapering, or peaking for performance, is one of the most important aspects of an athlete’s training regardless of what timed sport you compete in: swimmingrunningcycling or all three: triathlon. If you have been training for a race for months you do not want the last week leading into the race to ruin your race. That hard part about tapering is that every athlete reacts differently to drops in volume, quality or an increase in rest.
     

    When I was running in college I averaged 75 miles a week, but had friends running 110 miles a week. For my taper I would drop down to 35-40 miles a week, meanwhile my friends would barely drop down only to 70-80 miles a week. If they had dropped half their mileage or more they would not have performed as well. This leads me to a key point about tapering, you train every week and assuming you are hitting all your workouts, why change things too much?

    I had a high school cross country coach who told me “Anything you do 10 days out from a race can only hurt you.” If you are looking to have a breakthrough performance on race day, just do exactly what you are supposed to do in training. Just because you feel better does not mean you should try to set a mile PR in practice, save it for race day!

     

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  • Sep

    Michael Phelps’ Swim Brand: Q&A with Aqua Sphere Swim

    In August 2014, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, Michael Phelps, announced he was entering into a partnership with southern California-based Aqua Sphere to create a new global swim brand that will develop innovative products that are inclusive and accessible to a broader range of swimmers and non-swimmers across the full swimming lifecycle beginning in early 2015.

    Aqua Sphere was previously known best for its line of fitness swimsuits, Italian-made swim goggles, open water wetsuits and accessories, but gained instant credibility in the performance tech suit market with the new Phelps relationship.

    We spoke with Aqua Sphere Business Line Manager, Todd Mitchell, about the new deal with Phelps.

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  • Aug

    Open Water Swim Tips

    by Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympic triathlete & SwimOutlet.com expert contributor

     


    The growth in open water swimming in the past decade has been tremendous, whether for fitness, competition or multi-sport events like triathlons. Venues range from lakes to rivers to bays to oceans and each one presents different challenges. Most open water swimmers train for races exclusively in the pool and this can leave them unprepared for open water swimming. There are a few important techniques to think about when swimming open water, so I put them together with my tips: sighting, stroke efficiency, buoy turns and water entries and exits.

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  • Jul

    The Road to 70.3 - Race Day

    By Jordan Turner, SwimOutlet.com Social Media Coordinator


    “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.” I will be the first to admit that I found a lot of excuses on the road to 70.3, most of which involved avoiding my bike. However eventually, after countless hours of training, endless support, a few meltdowns and some serious soul searching, I also found my way.

    On July 26, I completed my very-first 70.3 distance triathlon, Barb’s Race in Sonoma County. Crossing the finish line after a long 70 miles— a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run—is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, it was my biggest athletic accomplishment to date.

    I know what you’re thinking, who in their right mind would sign up to race 70 miles in the first place? Well, being that I am young and fairly active (and maybe a little bit crazy), I am constantly finding new ways to challenge myself. At first, after college, it was a 5k fun run here and there—emphasis on fun (often times a tutu and paint were involved). When I got bored with the local 3-mile courses, I graduated to half-marathons. After having a handful of half-marathons under my belt, I decided it was time to test the waters in a triathlon (you see where I am going with this?). A few races later, I found myself standing on the edge of the Russian River in Guerneville, CA anxiously awaiting the 10-second countdown to my first 70.3 triathlon.

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    Tagged with: #70.3 #half-ironman #triathlon #tri #training #barbsrace #swimoutlet
  • Jul

    The Road to 70.3 - Two Weeks Out

    By Jordan Turner, SwimOutlet.com Social Media Coordinator

    Five weeks, 3615 minutes of training, hundreds of miles, bottomless water, pools of sweat, a few tears, one goal—make it through 70.3 miles.

    I walked away from my first Olympic distance triathlon on June 1 and continued on the road to 70.3 with a few things in tow; shin splints, sore hips, fear, a strategy, and a lot of determination. Unfortunately, the shin splints and sore hips are inevitable— but the fear, strategic training, and determination are what will propel me down the road to 70.3 (fingers crossed).

    At 24, I like to think of myself as bulletproof (naïve, I know). I tend to put minimal effort into my training, and expect maximum results come race day. Sometimes, this logic works (hence bulletproof). However other times—like in a triathlon, for example—this training plan does not get me very far. Contrary to my previous race strategies, or lack thereof, I knew after my first Olympic distance that I needed to dedicate myself to the sport if I expected to hit the 70.3 finish line alive. The problem? I was trying to squeeze what should have been 12 weeks of training into 5 short weeks (bulletproof, right?). 

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    Tagged with: #triathlon #training #70.3 #half-ironman #barbsrace2014 #swimoutlet
  • Jul

    Must-Have Gear for the First Time Triathlete

    by Evan Rudd, SwimOutlet.com Triathlon Category Manager

    Maybe your best friend talked you into it. Maybe you’re looking for an athletic challenge that takes you outside the confines of a gym. Maybe you lost a bet. Whatever your reason for committing to your first triathlon, your life will never be the same.

    Once you cross that finish line, you’ll be able to call yourself a triathlete, which is a pretty impressive bullet point to add to your résumé of life. But in order to cross that line in a blaze of sweaty glory, you’ll need a few pieces of essential gear to help get you there. You’ll also need to train for whatever event you’re planning to participate in, but this article is focused on the equipment you’ll need for your first triathlon. 

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    Tagged with: #triathlon #checklist #trikit #triathlonforbeginners #triforfun #swimoutlet
  • Jun

    The Expert Review: Open Water Goggles

    By Julie Stupp, Olympic Trials finalist
     

    Tell us in the comments below where you will be doing your open water swimming this summer and you could win a pair of open water swimming goggles featured in our review!

    Competing in the open water can be very intimidating for many swimmers and non-swimmers alike. The conditions in open water can often be a challenge. The water can be cold, choppy, there may be a current and most of the time it is murky so you have no idea what is lurking beneath you. Not to mention in most races there is a high probability of getting hit in the face with an arm or a leg of a competitor.

    One of the few things you do have control of is what you are wearing and how well you react to the obstacles in the race. Having a great pair of open water goggles can relieve a lot of stress by helping you clearly see where you are going and what is going on around you.

    Open water goggles are quite different from pool goggles and unfortunately I learned this the hard way during my first triathlon. I realized there are four main components I need to have in a great open water goggle. 

     

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    Tagged with: #expertreview #openwatergoggles #juliestupp #swimoutlet
  • Jun

    The Road to 70.3 - My First Olympic Triathlon

    By Jordan Turner, SwimOutlet.com Social Media Coordinator


    If you're anything like me, you have thought about "tri-ing" a triathlon because, well, why not? You can swim, you can bike and you can run-- so how hard can it be, right?! 

    A year ago, I registered for my very first triathlon. It was a sprint, which consisted of a 400 yard swim, a 12 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. Being a swimmer, and having a few half-marathons under my belt, I went into this race with a mountain bike, minimal training and oodles of confidence. The race was tougher than I anticipated (especially as I watched everyone zoom past me on the bike course), but fun nonetheless. So naturally, I was already looking for my next race (and a road bike).

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    Tagged with: #triathlon #training #progress #70.3 #barbsrace #swimoutlet
  • Jun

    Preparing for a Race - Traveling Stress Free

    By Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Beijing Olympian


    A lot of you out there might be traveling to your first triathlons this summer. Traveling to races can be quite stressful; in my last review, I made a list of things to bring while traveling to a local race; however, traveling via plane, domestically or internationally, can be quite different. Here, I have put together some tips and thoughts about how to approach traveling longer distances to races, as you get ready for summer race season.


    Over my years as a pro triathlete, I have flown over 1 million miles and could tell you all sorts of stories from airports from Beijing to Sydney to Frankfurt to Chicago, but there are quite a few tips that I have learned that can make triathlon travel a lot less stressful.

    This year my first big trip was to New Zealand for the New Plymouth World Cup and Auckland World Series Race. I started looking at tickets in December and booked my flight in early January, ensuring that I got the connections that I wanted, and the dates I wanted. As my departure date got closer, I started to go over my list and begin to pre-pack. 

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  • Apr

    3-Month Triathlon Training Plan

    Preparing for your first triathlon

    by Jarrod Shoemaker

    So, you’ve decided to give triathlons a shot? Or maybe thinking about “tri”ing it out? Well, let me tell you that triathlons are not as crazy of an event as some people make them out to be. Whether you are coming from a single sport background in swimming, biking or running, or coming from another sport entirely, the key is becoming comfortable enough in all three sports.

    The first step towards getting ready for your first triathlon is to pick a race! I would suggest starting with a small local sprint distance race, instead of a larger or longer race. By starting small you will be able to focus on enjoying the experience. I have seen many people pick longer distance races as their first races, not realizing the commitment they need to just complete an event like that. I would suggest a sprint distance race with legs under 750 meter swim, 13 mile bike and 4 mile run.

     

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    Tagged with: #shoemakerreview #triathlontrainingplan #triathletes #3monthplan #swim #swimoutlet
  • Apr

    Triathlon Race Day Preparation: What to Bring on Race Day!

    By Jarrod Shoemaker, 2008 Olympian

    As the weather slowly turns warmer in much of the country, the summer triathlon season is quickly approaching! For those of you still new to triathlons, it’s best to start planning out some of the gear that you may need on race day. 

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    Tagged with: #shoemakerreview #triathlons #triathletes #raceready #preparation #jarrodshoemaker #swimoutlet
  • Mar

    The Shoemaker Review: Compression Socks

     

    by Jarrod Shoemaker

    Until just a few years ago compression socks were confined to hospitals and rehab units for use in post-surgery, diabetes and people who needed to stimulate blood flow. The few athletes who used compression socks used them to combat dreaded “cankles” (pooling of blood in the feet and ankles during prolonged periods of sitting) on long-haul flights. Then suddenly, athletes were wearing compression socks in racing, from 5Ks to marathons to triathlons. 

    Since the increase in popularity of compression garments began, there have been numerous studies to determine how effective compression socks and sleeves are. Generally, the majority of the studies have come to the conclusion that they do not increase performance. But just because they don’t directly impact performance, doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of other good reasons to use or try compression clothing.

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    Tagged with: #compressionsocks #shoemaker #shoemakerreview #triathlete #triathlons #socks
  • Jan

    The Shoemaker Review: What to Look for in a Triathlon Wetsuit

    By Jarrod Shoemaker

    For most triathletes buying a wetsuit is an afterthought, coming up in the list of priorities after bikes, shoes, nutrition, race suit and goggles. Depending on where you live, you could use a wetsuit once a season or use one every single race. Thus, deciding on what wetsuit to buy is a choice that should take some time.

     

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    Tagged with: #jarrodshoemaker #review #expertadvice #olympian #triathlete #tri #wetsuits
  • Jan

    Top Triathlon Shoes Compared: The Shoemaker Review

    The first thing to know about running shoes: picking running shoes is a very personal decision! What your friend or brother likes, does not mean it will work for you.

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    Tagged with: #triathlon #shoemaker #olympian #shoereview
  • Jan

    2014 New Year's Swimolutions

    Happy New Years to all and hopefully everyone rang in the New Year with good times! Now that it’s 2014, it’s time to set your sights on the upcoming year and set some goals for yourself – no matter how small, large, personal or professional they might be.

    Here’s our 10 New Year’s Swimolutions for 2014!

     

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    Tagged with: #swim #resolutions #swimsolutions #2014 #newyear
  • Sep

    Open Water Preparations: One-week countdown to the Tiburon Mile!

    In preparation for the RCP Tiburon Mile on September 29th, our SwimOutlet team headed up to San Francisco this past weekend to test the waters. We met up with the Water World Swim group to do a short open water course around Aquatic Park in the San Francisco Bay. On the drive up we were a little nervous about how cold the water was going to be, since we would be swimming without wetsuits. Sure enough, upon our arrival we were greeted by several dozen swimmers pulling on their full-sleeve triathlon wetsuits. Thankfully, there were a few others skipping the neoprene. We breathed a sigh of relief…

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    Tagged with: #Tiburon Mile # open water swim # RCP Tiburon Mile # swim
  • Apr

    Final Training Weekend before Wildflower

    Less than a week to go to Wildflower, I spent this past weekend getting race ready. Saturday morning I slipped into my On Cloudracers and linked my Garmin Forerunner 210 to the satellite. Heading out on the trails I started at an easy pace and charged the hills like I was racing up San Antonio Drive. I spent the last mile of my run focusing on my form and pacing to dial in the right speed and comfort for race day.

    Sunday I was eager to get on my bike and test out my new Giro Air Attack Aero Helmet. I headed out on a flatter course so I could stay in the aerobars as much as possible. The helmet was incredibly comfortable and felt fairly lightweight. My test on a local Strava segment proved it would help my speed on race day. The remainder of the week my workouts will taper down as my excitement grows for Sunday’s race.

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    Tagged with: #Wildflower #Triathlon #Trianing
  • Apr

    31st Wildflower Triathlon - Training Weekend

    Editor’s Note: Along with the broadest inventory of swim gear, SwimOutlet.com has a full selection of gear for all your Triathlon needs (except the bikes!), so we asked if the SwimOutlet.com blog could follow along with our triathlon category manager, Polly Feyereisn, as she prepares for the legendary Wildflower Triathlon in May.

    Lake San Antonio… it’s considered hallowed ground in triathlon circles. Maybe it’s the clear sunny sky or the crystal cold water. Maybe it’s 30 years of triathlon history, or my personal history with the race. Maybe it’s the 30-foot triathlete billboards. Whatever it is, this place is special. Where else can you get up at the crack of dawn, roll in for a training day and be treated with the sight of more triathletes than most local races.

    As we pull up to the entrance gate, we are greeted by the massive cut out of a runner baking in the sun, a reminder of what is to come. Rolling down to the parking lot – which in four weeks will be one of the largest transition zones I've ever witnessed – I see a stage of swimmers stretching out their wetsuits from a winter of neglect, runners lathering pale winter skin with sunscreen and cyclists pumping up the tires of mountain bikes, road bikes and carbon master pieces. All attracted to this location for their own preparatory reasons, but also for the same reason I'm here: this place is awesome.

    Photo: One of Wildflower's famous billboards posted in the park. 

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    Tagged with: #Wildflower #Triathlon #Trianing