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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "product review"

GYMBOSS Interval Timer: Product Review

Marni Sumbal

I love intervals for workouts. For anything to break up the monotony of a timed-workout keeps me motivated and excited for each and every upcoming workout. My mind never gets bored and I am forced to be mentally and physically "in the moment" for every set.

Although I see nothing wrong with swim, bike, run for x-minutes (as I rarely go by miles with my training or my athletes training), I find the best way to train for quality is to have a purpose for each workout. You warm-up and cool down as needed and the focal point is the main set....the intervals.

When athletes or fitness enthusiasts think intervals they generally think hard, leg burning, sweaty and intense. But intervals can range from steady and long to short and intense...and everything in between.

Here are a few of my favorite, recent Ironman-focused swim, bike, run workouts:

Key IM bike workout
IM focused long brick
Breakthrough IM swim
Run intervals

But in addition to using intervals for cardio workouts, intervals work great for strength training. I am a firm believer that strength training should be included in the weekly fitness routine - regardless of what type of athlete or fitness enthusiast you are. I have been strength training since I was 11 (when I started swimming competitively) and I feel it has given me strong bones (along with dietary focus) and muscles which have kept me from experiencing any stress fractures or broken bones in my life thus far. I also feel that strength training is valuable to improving power, speed, endurance and form as an athlete or fitness enthusiast and helps minimize time spent training for cardio (ex. junk miles) as the body needs little time at home or in the weight room to gain strength whereas for cardio, physiological adaptations can often come rather slowly after the initial first 3-4 weeks of training.

Although full body strength training and plyometrics are ideal for the off-season and base phase for athletes, I believe that hip and core work should be continued year round. Certainly, as athletes, any type of "strength work" should enhance cardio and not sabotage us for upcoming workouts so there must be a nice balance as to when the strength training falls and what type of exercises are performed.

Here are a few of my favorite hip and core focused exercises which you can include as intervals into your weekly workout routine. Rather than focusing on reps, go by time. Seeing that for most people one side of the body is often weaker/stronger than the other, time-based intervals are ideal for hip and core work so that you can finish an interval with good form rather than just trying to get to a certain number of reps while the body is fatiguing with poor form.

Here are some of my favorite hip/core exercises:
Perform 3-4 days a week, 10-20 minutes.
Up to 30 - 90 seconds -  on each side (if appropriate) or for each exercise.
-clams
-monster walks
-hip hikes
-lying on side, top leg lifts (straight and bent leg)
-plank, belly down
-plank w/ one leg lifted (belly down)
-side plank (optional w/ top hip thrust)
-superman
-reverse crunch (if equipment bench is available) or reverse crunch on stability ball
-bench v-ups
-mason twists (optional w/ weight)
-lying on back, leg drops

So, to help you out with your interval "strength" work at home (or any type of intervals, especially for personal trainers or aerobic instructors), I have the perfect tool for you!

Gymboss contacted me and asked if I would review their interval timer stopwatch. I said absolutely as I am always interested in new technology that can make for better, smarter and more quality-focused workout. As much as I love to exercise, I think like an athlete and therefore, I want to adapt with the least amount of training stress. I do not want to waste my time exercising and not making performance gains. Just like you, I want to put in the work to receive the benefits and be able to do it all again (but better) the next day.



To learn more about the Gymboss you can check out the Operating tips video which gives a great explanation of all the wonderful features of this product. You do not have to use all the functions as it works just fine as a stop watch but for those who want to do the work and think very little, this will really help you out. All you have to do is set up the timer for your workout and it will automatically alert you as to when you should be performing an exercise and what you should stop and rest. It's like having a trainer with you but without the fun chatting in between intervals. :)

Enjoy! Any additional questions, send me an email and I'd be happy to help you out.


110% Kick Back Quad Sleeve - product review

Marni Sumbal


Oh, do I LOVE compression. You will see me in my CEP compression socks, calf sleeves, tights or 110% Play harder gear before, during and after all my training sessions and races. I am a firm believer that it works for me but compression is not going to make you race fast if you don't put in the work in training.

A while back I wrote an article about compression when compression started to be "hot" and since then, more and more companies have come out with compression-related gear. I have used 110% Play Harder since they first came out on the market since it is a Jacksonville -based company and prior to that, I was wearing compression shorts "back in" 2010 while running as I decided to ditch the running shorts to offer my legs a bit more support while running.  I just love compression and the 110% products are perfect...... and the team is fantastic!  I just love being an ambassador for fun, energetic, sport-minded individuals.

The quad sleeves have been making my body very happy with my Ironman Lake Placid prep work. I wear them with and without ice as I just love compression on my quads. I love these quad sleeves because you can put the ice anywhere around your upper leg and my adductors, abductors, ITB and hamstrings love the cold after a hot, hard workout.

From the 110% Play Harder website:
Kick Back Quad Sleeves combine the benefits of compression and the power of an ice bath in one incredibly convenient piece of gear. With 360° pockets, reusable ice inserts, and a thermal carrying bag they transition from high performance compression gear to a simple active recovery system in one simple step.

If you have any questions about 110% Play Harder gear, just send me an email so I can help you find the right product to fit your injury/healing/compression needs.

My other favorite product is the flat out sox which I love to wear after my long workouts and when I travel.



Happy National Running Day!!


Comfort zone, trail mix and Oakley Radar Lock

Marni Sumbal


I am a big believer that we need to protect our eyes when we are training/exercising. I can't tell you how many athletes or active individuals I see not wearing sunglasses while training. But we don't want just any sunglasses, we want protection from flying objects and from the sun....not just a cheap pair of shades that "look" competitive or expensive.
The entire package of quality shades can not be found in all shades and if you are thinking of saving some money on a pair of glasses, I recommend do not think twice when it comes to protecting your eyes and investing in your eye health. Although many things with the body can be replaced or fixed, the eyes are two body parts that you do not want to mess with (trust me - my dad is an optometrist...he'd be very upset if any of my Trimarni readers were not protecting their eyes).
Here's a great video to learn more about why Oakley makes the BEST sunglasses out there (I am not paid to say this - I have been wearing Oakley's for 6 years and Karel has worn Oakley's since his days racing bikes as a young teenager in Europe): ROLLING O LAB


While at the VIP Oakley Progression Session: SAN DIEGO, I had the opportunity to try on the 
 Radar Lock Edge. A Trimarni follower emailed me regarding a sunglasses pair that was not heavy and fit around her check bones without feeling tight. I tried on several pairs at the Oakley event to find her the perfect pair and although I LOVE my commit shades because they fit my small face and feel like nothing when I am riding and running long hours, I really fell in love with the Radar Lock Edge shades. I really like the vents on them and this is something that Karel loves in his Radar Lock shades. I highly recommend these glasses if you are have a small face but are looking for protection around your eyes in a light pair of shades that doesn't slip or move. Also, they have a nice competitive look which is always important if you want to race fast :)

Has anyone ever asked you what food you could never live without? For me, that's hard. But I'd have to say that trail mix is one food (hopefully it classifies as a "food") that I could live on and still feel "healthy" and satisfied. I love the many combinations of trail mix that you can make from adding cereal and granola to dried fruit and all types of nuts.

Here's a yummy trail mix I enjoyed today: Goji berries, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, walnuts, granola bites. YUMMO!


I always enjoy providing content to USAT Multisport Zone. I have a great editor and friend who allows me to share some of my blogs and recipes on the website and I love connecting with triathletes from around the world. Here's a recent blog that I wrote on moving out of your comfort zone...something that I have learned to do over the past few years and believe me, it seems scary at first but it's up to you to determine your attitude and plan of action with everything you do in life. Embrace change.

Moving out of your comfort zone

Triathlete swim advice & Kiefer backpack product review

Marni Sumbal

If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.

Sporti Power Swim Paddles





I believe paddles are a must for triathletes. They help with your catch in the water and developing stronger arms in the water. I don't use fins with my training and don't own a pair but certainly I used them all throughout my competitive swimming career. I don't feel as if they are bad to have or that you are "cheating" with them on. Keep in mind that the focus of swimming is FORM. If you are using fins just to kick faster to cover more yards in a certain amount of time, hopefully the form is not on the bottom of the list for the goals for the workout. These paddles are super cheap and I have had them for a few years and they haven't broke in the straps. 

Attitude Solid Latex Cap


Every swimmer needs a fun swim cap. I do believe that men and women triathletes should be wearing caps in the pool. Not to protect the hair but to get comfortable wearing a cap WITH goggles to prepare for race day. This is my favorite swim cap that I wear all the time. It's super comfortable and the latex will not (or should not) rip apart.

Any other swim-related questions? Just send me an email. 




Product "EYE" Review - Oakley path, Oakley radar and Nootca goggles

Marni Sumbal

As a licensed and registered dietitian (RD, LD/N), I abide by a code of ethics set forth by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to provide factual and practical information to the public. Unlike many celebrities and professional athletes, it is in your best interest (as the "consumer") that you understand that I am not paid to "sell" you on something that I don't believe in or personally endorse or tell you something that is untrue, just to receive a paycheck for my words (or actions).

When it comes to product reviews, I hold myself to a similar set of standards. I do not accept money for product reviews but rather, when a company contacts me to review a product and provides me with the product for free, it is my responsibility to be truthful and honest in my review. Although what works for me may not work for you, I enjoy being a professional in the field of triathlons, health and wellness and provide the public (you) with information that may enhance your lifestyle.

Having said that, you will not see me accepting and using products that I believe don't fit within my personal philosophy or lifestyle. When I believe in something, I use it and likely, you will know it. I don't feel I need to go out of my way to talk about something that I routinely use, for I don't need to be fake just to "support" a product. I promised myself, I would never use this blog (or my business) just to receive free stuff or to give-a-way products that I don't believe in. Again, what works for me may work (or not work) for you - however, my goal is to motivate, educate and inspire you to live a more active and healthy, balanced lifestyle. When I accept a product to review, I will either write about it on my blog because I feel it can benefit you OR I will kindly communicate w/ the company to provide my feedback as I feel the product is not a good fit for my "community" of athletes and fitness enthusiasts. I have turned down many products over the last year or so, simply because I do not want you (the consumer) to be mislead, confused or overwhelmed in any way.

Dr. Rakes, my dad, is an optometrist and has worked for the VA for the past 30+ years. I don't think he will ever retire for he truely loves his job. I feel I take after him for he loves working with his residents and teaching others. We both love to learn and I suppose we both love science and medicine, a bit too much since most or phone calls are "did you read this study on....?"
I know my dad will be happy about this review since he recognizes how critically important it is to take care of your eyes. Especially as athletes, I think it is very easy to overlook how easy it is to not address eye health considering the danger in our sports as well as the time we spend outdoors.


Oakley Radarlock Path
 
 
Born and raised in Europe and riding his bike competitively since he was a very young body, I don't think anyone can talk about their love for Oakley glasses, like Karel.
 
 
Almost 19ish years ago, Karel was racing at a high level back in Europe but was not wearing Oakley shades in his hometown of Znjomo, Czech Republic....because he could not afford them. Karel wanted to look just like Greg Lemond so he got a look-a-like pair of the famous M frames from the early 90's.
 
 
At the age of 20, Karel took a quick trip to the US, with his friends, in 1996 and with money saved, he purchased his first "real" pair of Oakley sunglasses in the US. The M frames w/ blue and yellow - just like Greg Lemond.
 
Sadly, he lost them after he returned back to Czech and was really bummed. However, when he moved to the US back in 2000, he purchased his second pair of Oakleys around 2005 (when he could afford another pair) and found a vintage pair of Oakley's on Ebay. Once again, he lost them at a cycling event.
 
Ever since then, Karel has only worn only Oakley's and has been very careful as to not misplace them at cycling events. I suppose with the craziness that comes with cycling races, it's easy to lose your shades. However, Karel has never broken a bone in cycling and still has perfect eye sight.
 
Karel has been a long time Jawbone and Radar fan and recently received the radarlock path vented Oakley's (polished white w/ jade iridium w/ yellow lens). As soon as he put them on he said "oh, these are great!!" (wish I could insert accents in this blog so use your imagination to hear in Czech).
 
What we both love about Oakley sunglasses are their comfort. Many athletes avoid wearing sunglasses because they slip or feel uncomfortable on the face. A quality pair of sunglasses should protect your eyes from the sun, protect your face/eyes from flying objects (withstand force in a crash) and feel comfortable (no need for headaches). In other words, you shouldn't feel like you are wearing anything on your face.
 
As  a triathlete, it's important that your shades fit nicely under your helmet when riding and with a visor/hat when running.
 
We had  an exhausting training weekend (thanks to the wind from Hurricane Issac) and Karel mentioned that his glasses were really light on his face, didn't fog up in the humidity/heat w/ sweating and he really liked that he could see to the side without the edge of the glasses affecting his vision. He also likes the vents on the top of ths shades. Karel highly recommends these shades if you are interested in a great pair of sunglasses to fit your active lifestyle.
 
 
For the females, Oakley Women makes a fierce looking pair of glasses that is not too sporty. I really love the radar edge for the wide lens and I love the look when I am racing. I will admit, however, that with my longer distance training for Branson 70.3 on Sept 23rd, I have been gravitating toward my Commit SQ (I have white and brown but LOVE the breast cancer and team USA editions) for they are much lighter (although the radar edge are much lighter than my old radar pink shades) on my face and much more comfortable over time when I am training. I've noticed that after around 2 hours of training, the edge don't seem to feel as good on my face compared to the Commit, so I will likely wear the Commit at my longer races (and during training) and use the Edge for the shorter races (and training). It's always nice to have options and I love that with Oakley Women for they have a great collection of active and style sunglasses.
 
By now, we all know nothing beats Oakley when it comes to quality, innovation and passion. Here's more about their optic line
 
 
If there is one area in triathlons that I feel gets overlooked, it is the swim and the type of goggles you are wearing. I think athletes will notice right away if a pair of sunglasses is not the right fit for they fog up, fall off your face or give you a headache. But many triathletes/swimmers settle for a cheap pair of goggles and considering that the swim sets the stage of a triathlon event, the right pair of goggles is extremely important to fit your face. Additionally, for swimmers who are not comfortable in the water, your goggles may be preventing you from having good sight in the water or causing you to feel constricted.
I've been a long time fan of Speedo Vanquisher Women's Goggle (post sweedish goggle days from college) however, after a few years of using them, I constantly find myself having to renew my goggles because of foggy lenses. I've tried the baby shampoo trick and it works only short-term but the comfort is worth renewing, at least once a year.
 
When Nootca contacted me to review their 207, eleven and 5 goggles, I communicated w/ my contact a few times letting him know what I was looking for in a goggle: ANTI FOG and COMFORT!
I need nothing more than a goggle that will withstand the water at the YMCA and will feel comfortable in the pool, in a lake  and in the ocean- for up to 2.4 miles at a time.
 
At home, I tried on each pair of goggles and I feel the 5 are perfect for the competitive swimmer, looking for a more comfortable style of "sweeds". The lenses are not firm and feel nice around the eyes.
 
First off, I love supporting local and small businesses. Nootca is based in Florida - which is the perfect location for all things swimming (on the East Coast).
Each of the styles have comfortable straps and come w/ different nose pieces (207 and eleven) based on your face. This is something that I think is necessary for swimmers - there's no reason why your goggles should fill with water if you have adjustable nose pieces. I had to change mine in the eleven and 207 to better fit my eyes around my nose.
 
The eleven and 207 are similar in comfort, however, the eleven is likely best suited for a smaller face. Although I have a small face, perhaps someone who needs smaller lenses, perhaps a child or teenager. I don't feel the eleven's will work well with me in a triathlon because I need a wider range of vision for spotting.....especially for a 1.2 or 2.4 mile open water swim.
 
The 207 are amazing. A little pic from post swim on Fri (one of the toughest swims, thanks to challenging myself to swim in the boys' lane)
 
I had several comments on my swim cap on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition Facebook page, it can be found here: Smiley swim cap
A little weird looking through them the first time because I could tell the lenses were not "normal". I could see some ripples on the lenses which made me believe there is a layer of an anti-fog material to preventing fogging. I guess in time I will find out but after I swam with them in the pool last week, I found them extremely comfortable and clear. I also like that they come with instructions as to how to keep the lenses in good shape over time, as well as a case to protect them.


I also swam with them in the ocean (well not sure if I would call it swimming for the waves were wild on Saturday morning) and aside from not getting salt water in my eyes, I forgot I was even wearing goggles. I plan on wearing the 207's in Branson 70.3 to test out the durability in a half ironman lake swim.

In reference to the Nootca website, "Equipment best works when you don't know it's there. A paradox? Maybe, but when equipment fails is when it’s most noticeable. Our vision is to create unique swim equipment that works with you, integrating into your training and most of all when competing. It is the details we sit up nights thinking about. We focus on the details so you can focus on your swim."


Any questions, comments or concerns: Send me an email and I'd be happy to help you out.

Product review: Garmin 910XT

Marni Sumbal

Training vs Exercise




Both place stress on the body and both come with gains in fitness. But when you dedicate every "training" session to a key race, your body is primed to perform optimally......that is, if you trained it properly.

As someone who is married to the GM of the Trek Bicycle Store of Jacksonville, I am always up-to-date with the latest in technology and gear, thanks to Karel. He knows the inside scoop before most of the triathlon, cycling and running world and he is often the first to test products and gear before providing his feedback to consumers. This is a great thing for me as a coach because for athletes, it's easy to get caught up with the "latest" when it seems like every company is trying to one-up the competitors.

Just like finding the "perfect" bike, it is easy to question expensive purchases, regardless of your fitness status. Whereas some individuals will not look at the price tag just to have the latest and greatest, others will hesitate, feeling as if they aren't worthy of having an expensive product/gear because of fitness level or inexperience.

One topic that I receive a lot of questions about is race wheels. Well, your race wheels are only as good as your training. Want to train smarter? Invest in a power meter.
BTW - several people have asked me about the new PowerCal "power meter strap". I don't feel that this should even compare to having a power meter hub, quark or power pedal. Power is a function of work/time. You have to apply force to move something, in order to give you power. I feel this is a good investment for someone who is riding indoors like a spin class or needs something to be more consistent with riding but just can't invest the money in a power meter. However, there is no question that nothing compares to training w/ power (not a function of power based on HR). Also, from what I can tell from the site, the PowerCal needs to be calibrated with a powermeter hub or a ANT+ enabled hub.


Another question - sport nutrition on race day. Again, your sport nutrition on race day is based on your pacing strategy, weather and terrain on race day as well as your training and nutrition leading up to the race.

As you can see, training is an essential component to successful race day efforts and I think we all know that. It's hard to fake fitness when it comes to multisport events - especially if you are competitive.

I'm all about quality training when we put our body under stress. I'm a firm believer in sport nutrition during training (when necessary - fluids, electrolytes and carbs), I'm also a firm believer in technology. Although I don't consider myself super tech savvy, I like to utilize my gadgets to their max capability in order to train smarter and harder.

What's the point of a pricey gadget if you don't use it or don't know how to use it?

Two great websites for analyzing your data are
Garmin Connect
and
Training Peaks

Both are free and w/ easy downloading from your device, make it super easy to use and to see what your body is doing during a workout. If you train w/ a coach, be sure your coach takes advantage of these websites for there is no reason why you should be paying for "professional" to help you with your training if he/she is not making sure your body is adapting to training, consistently. Also, your coach can not only "see" what you are doing during training but also read the athletes' comments to hear what is going on - to better plan upcoming weeks of training.
Both are great sites and have features that will help you. If you have the 910XT, take advantage of the swim data page on Garmin Connect for great details as to what you are doing while you swim (stroke rate, laps, etc.).


GARMIN 910XT



I had the opportunity to speak with a Garmin rep at the Oakley Women Napa Fitness retreat earlier this summer and I really enjoyed trying out the 210 forerunner. A simple watch w/ basic functions that will help any new runner or fitness enthusiast learn to pace smarter and to train w/ heart rate (HR).

But I need more than pace and HR in order to train efficiently.

For the past 2 years I have been training with the forerunner 405 which has been a great watch for running but not being waterproof, it hasn't served me well in races when I putting my training to the test.

As a lover of effective and quality gear, I was so thrilled to have received a free Garmin 910XT. Karel has been enjoying his gift as well - especially with his new triathlon lifestyle.

I can't describe how much I LOVE this garmin. Already, my swimming has improved because I am able to analyze my swimming after each workout. That is worth the price of this watch!

I used this watch in my last triathlon on Saturday and the multisport function was fantastic! Although I wasn't perfect w/ hitting the lap button for every transition, the watch performed great for all three sports, w/ different screens for each discipline.
I currently use the Edge 500 as my bike computer as I find it easier to see a screen on my aerobars, rather than looking at my watch for power, speed, HR, time, etc.

Although I love to train w/ gadgets, I understand that gadgets are not perfect and will fail. Therefore, it is important to not rely on gadgets 100%, recognizing that often times you have to go by perceived exertion or by wearing an "old fashion" Timex Ironman stopwatch.

Here's a video on the 910XT


If you aren't a triathlete or feel you aren't ready for the 910XT, my recommendations would be the forerunner 410 or 610. The 310XT is great as well.
No matter what device you are thinking of purchasing, always review the specs to see what functions you want. For example, for a triathlete, make sure it is waterproof and you may want a multisport function if you don't use a bike computer. Another great feature of the newer garmins is the ANT+ wireless technology for automatic transferring to your computer after your workouts.
The newer garmin's come w/ super comfy elastic heart rate monitor straps (you can remove the "monitor" part for easy washing) so if you are still training w/ a firm, hard strap, it's time to update your strap.

Lastly, on the topic of knowing how to use your gadgets, it's one thing to know how to turn it on and to download data. One of the many benefits of Garmin is having multiple screens to see different data as you are training.

For example, when you are doing intervals, you may want to see lap heart rate, lap pace and if on the bike, lap power and lap cadence.
You may want one screen for race day, to be overall time and overall pace.
One thing I have learned with pacing your own race, is to NOT rely on average speed or power of the duration of a race. Instead, have a page for average bike speed and power or average pace for the run but another page where you can see what you are doing at that moment in time to prevent overcooking yourself. Far too many athletes get caught up with speed and pace and this can lead to a poorly planned effort especially if it is windy, hot/cold, hilly/flat or if you go out too hard or too fast.
Take some time to sit down and scroll through your screens on your garmin to make sure your screen shows info that will help you train and race smart. I find the auto roll screen function to be super handy in training to see different screens without pushing a button.

Any questions? Feel free to email.
trimarnicoaching@gmail.com

Don't miss this special before 8/31/12 - buy a new garmin and sell back your old one for $50
Special mail-in offer


I was not paid to write this review or asked to write a blog after receiving my free Garmin 910XT. I love reviewing products on my blog since I receive countless emails from athletes, asking for my suggestions. Hope this review is helpful :)

Product Review - sunscreen and garmin

Marni Sumbal


It goes without saying that I am out in the sun A LOT. I live in Florida, Campy takes me on a walk at least three times a day, I'm a triathlete and well, I just love the outdoors. When I moved to Florida (from Lexington, KY)  I was all about getting a tan. Well, now I keep my tan year-round and I don't strive to be any tanner. The teenager years of wanting to be dark are gone for now I care about the health of my skin...as we all should.
One of the struggles with finding the perfect sunscreen as a triathlete/runner is finding something that is tolerable for sweating, isn't sticky and actually lasts throughout a workout. I've tried a lot and I tend to lean toward sprays for they are easy to use and they avoid the cakey feeling I get from rub-on sunscreens. Since most of my sunscreen use is for training (I don't have much free time to "lay out" at the pool or beach) I'm always on the hunt for a great sunscreen that I can use before a bike or run workout - or anytime I am in the sun.
Thanks to Oakley, I found one! And thank you to COOLA!
Coola has been at several of the Oakley Women events and after receiving a free bottle at the Napa retreat, Karel and myself have been religious about using this sunscreen before every training session.
The suncreen does not smell strong and you don't even feel like you are wearing it. The water-resistance lasts for only 40 minutes but in terms of a long bike and run workout (tested 7/7 with a 3.5 hr bike + 30 min run), it does a great job of keeping the skin safe - even in the hot summer heat.
Here's a great guide from Consumer Report (June 2012) on Sunscreen features.
According to Consumer Reports, "experts say it's best to check the ingredient list to make sure that your sunscreen contains avobenzone, Mexoryl SX, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (these last two are more natural sunscreen ingredients), each of which is a key protective ingredient against UVA rays. Furthermore, only sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum protection with an SPF of 15 or higher will be allowed to claim a reduced risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Those that do not meet the aforementioned guidelines must warn consumers that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer and early skin aging."

Do you have a favorite sunsceen recommendation?

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While in Napa for the Oakley Women event, Garmin provided all 100 women with a new Garmin 210 to use during the 5K...and to keep! Thank you Garmin!
I am all about technology when it comes to exercise and training but most importantly - you have to be able to know how to use it properly.
Garmin provides FREE Garmin connect which allows you to be the coach of your own body by downloading and analyzing your training data. You don't have to be an Exercise Physiologist to see a summary of your workouts and to track progress of distance, pace, mileage and your notes of perceived exertion.
I am a big fan of multiple screens on watches and computers. For example, on my bike computer is the Garmin Edge 500 and I have 4 "pages" (or screens) set up with various specs for me to look at when I am training. My running watch is the Garmin 405 (not water resistant) which is now the Garmin 410 (water resistant) and I have 3 pages set up.
On the Garmin 210, there is not an auto scroll option so I would suggest this watch for individuals needing a great quality watch, with many functions, but not complicated to use. I often hear of many athletes with expensive technology but only using the basic functions - HR and pace...or many times, just distance and time. If you are going to spend the money, use the technology to its full capacity. If you are wanting something simple, this watch is the way to go as you will still find yourself training smarter.
 This watch is water resistant and includes GPS, Heart rate, auto-lap, interval training and calorie consumption. So for a "basic" garmin, this is the one I would recommend. Certainly, if you wantto see your time, your distance, your pace and your HR - this is the watch for you. If you are looking for something more advanced for running, I suggest the 410, 610 or the macdaddy of them all - the 910xt to take your triathlon training to the next level.
Although I love technology, I like to keep things simple. I address what I need, what will I use and what will help me have a quality workout.
Thus, if I can achieve quality within my workout, I am not training harder but rather smarter. Legs are still burning, heart is still beating fast and some days my body screams "I can't" but with technology (like Garmin), I can get in-tune with my body and ultimately, take my training to the next level alongside respect my body with quality training.
I require all my athletes to have a Garmin prior to working with me for I am a firm believer of tracking progress and analyzing data (I do this for my athletes). If you have any questions about Garmin, GPS or bike computers, just send me an email.

What's your favorite piece of technology for your exercise routine?

Oakley spotted and good LAVA magazine reads

Marni Sumbal

The July 2012 (issue 14) LAVA magazine was filled with fantastic info.....no surprise - it is one quality magazine with amazing photo's and brightly colored ads.

The issue featuring Lance Armstrong was wonderful and I am sure I'm not alone when I report how sad I am about the recent USADA allegations, which is now causing Lance to be banned from triathlons. I think Lance has done wonders for his own sporting career as well as helping the lives of so many cancer survivors and families of those who fought a hard fight. But most importantly, in relevance to the current media frenzy of banning Lance from triathlons, this makes me incredibly upset because I think Lance is doing amazing things for the sport of triathlons - not only for the professional and sponsors but also for inspiring people around the world to take part in this amazing lifestyle of swim-bike-run. I'm trying to not to spend too much energy on this issue but it really does make me sad as the human body is an amazing piece of work...and I love watching Lance's body go to work. He is purely a gift to science and above all, he loves to race and we all love that as well.


I remember when I was a young swimmer and I couldn't wait to watch Janet Evans and other notable swimmers take the blocks at the Olympics. At the age of 30 - I still get excited...counting down the days for the Olympics. I feel many people understand my enthusiasm for competitive sports as it isn't just about watching gifted athletes go for the gold or cross a finish line in first but rather empathizing with the sacrifices that were made in order to pursue goals and to defy the odds. In our house, triathlons, cycling, running, swimming, boxing...these are the sports we love to watch and the DVR has not shortage of recordings to keep us entertained on a daily basis.


Back on topic now...
There was a lot of great info in the July issue of Lava and if you don't subscribe to the magazine, I highly recommend doing so. But of course, you can always keep up with my
Plate not Pills Colum ONLINE - for FREE! There's lots of great info about some amazing nutrients that will help you reach your health and performance goals.

On page 32, there was an awesome picture of Mirinda Carfrae (looking like the strong woman she is!) and a great article about triathlon-related companies offering casual clothing lines.

Although I don't consider myself much of a fashionista, I didn't have to think twice as an Oakley Women ambassador to dress head to toe (well more like tank, shorts, headband and Drizzle sunglasses) in Oakley Women when I was checking in my bike at the 2011 Ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii.



On Pg 34:
"Oakley has long offered an extensive line of casual clothing and glasses, in addition to the sporty shades we al know. While not always for the faint of wallet, they have great quality and great style to meet the needs of nearly any conceivable social event. From ski pants and jackets to T shirts and sweaters, they've got you covered. They even have backpacks, duffel bags, golf bags, luggage and shoes. And while you're wearing these clothes, why not ditch your Oakley Radar glasses for something a bit more subtle in its declaration of your bib short collection? Their lifestyle collection could serve you well if you want to make a trip to the store without looking like you're from the future. "
-Greg Kopecky

And on pg 36. you can take a look at the Oakley Jupiter Squared and Overtime shades (I am a BIG fan of the overtime!)

Skipping ahead.......
-Matt Dixon's article on pg 56. "A fresh approach for the great dane" was awesome. I don't think I have ever read an article by Coach Matt Dixon of Purple patch fitness that I didn't love (I agree with his philosophy of training and enjoy keeping up with his athletes as well) and I think of him as a mentor I have never met but long to say "thank you" to one day.

-Jesse Kropelnicki wrote an article on body composition evaluation on pg 64. and although I don't agree with every word (which is fine - I'm sure people don't agree with all my writings as well), I do like how he explained the purpose of breaking down the training plan from a periodized training standpoint as well as not being strict on the changes of body composition and repeatedly instructing athletes to contact a Registered Dietitian to help in this process. Overall, a good read to get you thinking about your body composition from an athletic standpoint...but as you know from my philosophy - health first, performance second. There's not point of having a lean body if you can't do anything with it.

-Mark Allen (no introduction is needed here) wrote a great article on pg 73, emphasizing the importance of going short and hard first as you train for endurance events. Something that I 100% believe in is intervals and a structured training plan that is balanced to allow for proper recovery between intense/long training sessions. At Trimarni Coaching, I do not emphasize miles but rather time and what we can accomplish within that time frame...every athlete has his/her own struggles with time management and life getting in the way of training and because of that, you have to make it all work and the easiest way to do that is through interval training.

-Ben Greenfield touched on short-course racing and fueling on pg 82 which I think is a great topic for athletes of all fitness levels to better comprehend. Again, I don't agree with everything in the article but he did do a great job of explaining the physiology of the body and keeping things really simple. Also, I was brought back to my exercise physiology days of graduate school and doing resting metabolic tests and VO2 tests on subjects in the laboratory.

If you get a chance to read the magazine and have any questions for me, send them my way via email and I'd be glad to answer them in a future blog (or answer your individual questions via email).

Happy Friday!

Anti-gravity treadmill and running advice from an Olympian

Marni Sumbal

Anti-gravity treadmill

I briefly learned about the Anti Gravity Treadmill from Paul McRae, with Personal Running Solutions a few months ago. With great feedback from previously injured runners, I was looking forward to the Hammerhead Triathlon club  last night to see this treadmill in action.

According to Wikipedia:
"An Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a rehabilitation device that utilizes adjustable weight-bearing technology on a standard treadmill used primarily for rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries and athletic training. The machine functions by controlling air pressure in a chamber to gently lift the user. Current models allow for precise unweighting from 100% - 20% body weight in 1% increments. The Anti-Gravity Treadmill can accommodate users weighing 85 lbs-400 lbs and heights 4'6-6'8. In addition, the treadmill can be used by people of all ages."

I haven't had the chance to try the treadmill yet but I am super excited because as of last night, I heard the news that the treadmills will be moving in the same shopping center as the Trek Store (on San Jose), just a few doors down! I will be sure to provide a full review after I try them out but I wanted to give my observational feedback...

-Many athletes struggle with injuries either from poor biomechanics, weak muscles, overtraining or genetics. For whatever reason, I find so many athletes struggling with consistency, specifically with fitness, when an injury (or extreme pain) comes about. For this treadmill may help with reducing risk for injury when it is included in a balanced training plan but I find it most beneficial for the athlete that refuses to focus on the other things he/she CAN do to rehab from injury.
I firmly believe in the elliptical, strength training, swimming, water jogging, walking and biking, particularly for the runner/triathlete who can't run - pending the injury and how extreme it may be. You may have an injury in your lower body but your heart is still working.
Many athletes would rather take an all-or nothing approach to training and if they can't run, they just throw in the towel and stop all activity to "rest".... sadly, I see way too many athletes constantly getting out of shape because of too much time off from all activity in order to "recover". Additionally, there are the athletes who constantly try to "test" the injury every other day because they fear losing fitness or gaining weight.
 One thing I have learned is that the heart and brain can be strong when something is "off". Therefore, in addition to focusing on strength training (often the simple answer for preventing injuries), this treadmill can be utilized by both the runner who needs a break from pounding on the hard surfaces or is rehabing from injury.

-I think this treadmill is great for keeping the cadence and working on running form. There is a video behind the treadmill that you can see in the screne in front of you so it is great for working on your stride and cadence, no matter what stage of training you are in. I'm all about working on the little things such as running form, rather than just expecting to be a "better" runner by running more.

-I think this treadmill is a great idea for the individual who would like to run but is just getting into a running program. Whether there is too much body weight on a person or a person is not of optimal fitness, I believe this treadmill is ideal for the person who needs assistance with running in order reduce the pressure on the body (ex. joints). Running can be a very stress-free experience to release endorphins and to raise HR to reduce body weight but if you are in pain and trying to "get through" a workout, I would highly recommend this treadmill.


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After a brief talk on the treadmill, the main speaker was introduced. I briefly heard Keith Brantly speak earlier this year when I was asked to be part of "Ask the Expert Coaching" night at my favorite running store - Jacksonville Running Company. Keith's resume is exceptional, as a talented athlete who has broken the 4-minute mile AND has qualified for the Olympics (1996) in the marathon. Keith certainly knows a thing or two about running particularly since he has worked with a span of coaches and professional athletes to truely understand the sport...plus, his wife Kim is an exceptional runner herself!!

Keith gave a very motivational talk about being a runner as triathlete and I took away a few key points that I wanted to share with everyone on this blog about how to better improve their run training and racing.

1) Pacing - certainly a topic I have learned to appreciate in my racing career. Last night I had a few people come up to me and congratulate me on my past few races. I suppose I have had a great season but I have to be frank and say it is nice to train and race injury free. The first year I dove into endurance sports, I qualified for the IM world Championships (2007) and Boston Marathon (2006), after my first IM and marathon attempts) and despite having 4 years of obstacles in my racing carrer, I still have the competitive drive to race and to see what I am capable of doing when I set a goal.
Now, I am not without an ache here or there so I have to keep up with my stretching, rolling, massages, epson salt baths, strength training and cross training in order to maintain a body in good health.
However, on paper, I am not that fast compared to some of the girls that are out there in our sport. I strive to get faster and stronger and that is what training is all about, to me. I don't see a deadline in my triathlon and running career and my driving force is to set goals to see what I can accomplish. But with my races, I pick races that I can pace myself efficently and be smart with my race day effort. Keith really stressed the importance of pacing and gave a few stories of how he has failed (ex. Boston Marathon) with pacing, particularly when running downhills or in windy conditions. My take away from this topic was that we should not only know what our pace should be on race day (in addition to HR) but we should also be training our body and mind with every training session so that even without gadgets, you know exactly what the body is capable of, how to adjust on race day depending on the conditions and/or course and what is most practical for maintaining that effort.

2. Intervals and tempo - Another topic that I believe in no matter what distance you are training for in running or triathlons - intervals. There was a recent article in Competitor Magazine that talked about intervals as well. Keith brought up the example of doing an interval within an interval such as doing 6 x 1 mile repeaters on the track (he believes in track workouts)  and doing 1/2 mile @ race pace, 1/4 mile at slighter faster race pace, then 1/4 mile recovery...then stop to officially recover by walking 2-3 minutes. This reminds me of the over/under intervals that I have learned to love/hate thanks to Karel.
You pick a power number (watts) and then do a long-ish repeating set with recovery (such as 8-20 minutes for the set) where you are going above and below that power so you aren't really recovering when you drop below but you aren't holding that above wattage for too long when you push hard. For example, let's say your threshold was 150 watts, you could do 1 min @ 155-160 watts and 2 minutes at 140-145 watts and keep repeating that for 9 minutes and then recover. I really believe in intervals and they also make for great quality training. As for tempo, that is simply picking a pace around 75-85% max HR and holding it for a certain amount of time. Even for tempo, I do believe in "recovery" and not trying to go "race pace" for more than 20 minutes if training for a long distance event, without adequate recovery.

3. Drafting - "You don't owe anything to the person you are running with. The only time you should be in the lead is at the finish line." Well said Keith. Keith talked about the importance of drafting on the run which is something that isn't talked about a lot, especially compared to biking. Even for swimming, if you have ever swam behind someone or slightly to the right or left of them in open water (depending on where the current is going) you can instantly feel that reduction in effort to make your swim more efficient. Certainly, there is a reason why drafting is illegal in triathlons on the bike but it will make you faster in training if you are being pushed when drafting (once again, a love/hate workout when riding with Karel and trying to stay on his wheel).
Keith explained that in a race, do not run side-by-side with someone if they are keeping the same pace as you or if you are holding the pace of someone else. Find where the wind is coming from and draft to reduce your effort. Then when you are nearing the line, do your thing to put that reduction in effort to the test. Some may say this is unsportmanlike but hey, it's sports and certainly considering this unethical would be silly compared to some of the other things that people have done in sports to gain the competitive edge. On the flip side, I can't tell you how many people I have thanked at the finish line (or have thanked me) for being pushed.  Karel has always told me to try to get behind someone and stay with them during the run but...that is really hard when they are running faster than you...but if you are being pushed within your limits, the person ahead of you  may beat you to the line but you may find yourself with a PR or an age group ranking all because you had that other person to kindly show you what you are made of.

4. Long runs - I really like Keith's approach to long-runs but as someone who does encourage intervals within long runs, I can see a lot of flexibility in his approach and I am very interested in trying this out with me and my athletes. Keith explains a stair step approach to long runs, similar to what we are all use to with building up in long run mileage. However, Keith explains that he likes to back down every other week as someone is increase mileage, from what they consider their "long" run. For example....
Week 1: Longest run is 10 miles.
Week 2: Next week is 8 miles but last 2 miles are harder (certainly, I don't believe a person can be running race pace so early in training but this pace should be harder than the first 6 miles).
Week 3: Long run bumps to 12 miles.
Week 4: Long run goes down to 10 miles but last 2 miles are harder.
Etc.

Keith didn't mention anything about a "recovery" week, which I believe should come ever 2-3 weeks, depending on the time of the year and the fitness of the athlete. But, I'm sure he does one for his athletes, but every coach is different.
What Keith mentioned was that once a person can comfortably run 16 miles, he doesn't back down in mileage for those off weeks but rather, stretches out the harder efforts every other week. For example, once a person hits 16 weeks, the next workout may be 18 miles for the long run and then the following week, 16 miles are run but with the last 4 miles hard.

I really like this approach for the person who is trying to build a base but I find it important to always work back in miles from your race day so that you aren't trying to do too much too soon. I recommend 3-4 months of "race" prep gearing up for a race, with 1-2 months of building a base with an emphasis on strength and form prior to that build. I also recommend no more than 16 weeks of "training" without a 1-2 week break from structured exercise for we all need a physical and emotional break (whether you think you do or not - you do).


5. The 4 year plan - I really, really REALLY liked this part. Keith talked about his coach developing a 4 (or perhaps a 16 year) plan for him to reach his goals. If you think of an Olympian, certainly they have trials to qualify for the Olympics but they also have up to 3 years to train for that big day. Could you imagine if you had 3 years to train for an Ironman or marathon??? I believe there would be much less stress to "fit it all in" for many athletes try to bump up miles too quickly and often overlook the little things that help put the pieces together for a great consistent training plan and a great racing experience. I believe everyone who is committed to a healthy lifestyle should do this...for we all like to live in the now (as we should) but wrongfully, want quick results.
Breaks, off-season training, strength training, sleep, diet, vacations, peak training....there are so many components that make up a successful racing season yet athletes put so much pressure in the 16 weeks before race day to accomplish everything - mostly with an over-emphasis on miles.
If you have kept up with my blog for the past few years, you may know that I don't spend more than 12 weeks training specifically for an IM with the rest of the season devoted to getting me to where I need to be to Start my IM specific training. For my half IM, my long rides were 2.5-3.5 hours with no ride over 4 hours. Not sure of my miles...never looked at them because I was always doing intervals within the workout. As for my runs, my longest run was 12 miles (which included 6 x 1 mile repeaters faster than race pace) which I did 3 weekends before race day but I can only count a total of 4 runs between 9-12 miles that I did since April (including the Iron Girl half marathon race) in gearing up for the half Ironman. In an Ironman, I only do 2 long rides over 100 miles (100 miles and 112 miles) and the rest of my rides are around 5 - 5.5 hours (not worrying about distance) and I don't believe in running more than 2.5 hours or more than 18-20 miles before an IM for a long run.
  Of course, I also have a lot of fun with my training and it is also exercise for me so I really don't find myself getting burnt out from what I love to do. It is a hard balance to find and to keep but it is worth developing the mental strength to be ok with having both short and long term goals and not trying to rush the process.
 At the same time, with a 4-year plan, it is also important that you don't procrastinate. Especially for individuals who have weight to lose in order to be at a healthier weight, want to get stronger or need to get faster (who doesn't want to get faster??), it is better to devote a few months to your overall health goals while maintaining a healthy exercise routine, rather than trying to multi-task in an already busy and overwhelming lifestyle. For anyone who is new to the sport or has short and long term goals from being a veteran in the sport, I ask you to think about where you are now, where you want to be at the end of 4 years and then, work your way backward with the steps you will take to get you to where you want to be in a few years.

For with this long-term planning, you should see yourself always progressing and with that, comes a fire that keeps you excited to maintain a lifestyle that keeps you waking up everyday, wondering what you are capable of accomplishing for that day.

Product Review - konkura and aquagear

Marni Sumbal

A common trend for bloggers is to review products and to do give-a-ways. As you have noticed, I don't do give-a-ways on my blog. Whenever there is an opportunity for a discount, it's likely I will post on my Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition facebook page (Be sure to LIKE it to keep yourself updated!).
 I like to use my blog for education, motivation and inspiration. I have great relationships with a lot of amazing companies and as an ambassador (not "sponsored") athlete, I really enjoy sharing some of my favorite things with you all - my dedicated blog readers.

Often, I receive emails from companies asking me to try their product or promote their product. Sometimes it is shoes, sometimes it is clothing, sometimes it is something very random. I believe in staying true to my blog and to my words. Although I am always open to trying knew things, I don't ever want to come across as misleading and try to win a popularity contest for blog hits. I am proud to have a blog where the readers are passionate about enhancing their active lifestyle, one bite at a time.

I don't want to receive free products from a company and then tell you how great they are, just because I get things for free. I really take my time to research companies, try things out and make sure I provide an honest product review. However, I am not the one who will bad-mouth a company's produce and say it is horrible..it may just not work for me but it may be the perfect fit for you.

A few months ago, two companies had contacted me to review their companies. As a lover of the water and finding my inner-nemo and for healthy mind/body challenges, I couldn't wait to check out the websites that were introduced to me via email. I was not paid anything to endorse products or write a review and have not received anything from these companies but friendly words and passion. Aquagear offers an affiliate program (which anyone can sign up for) so I invite you to spread the word just like with Hammer Nutrition. I always love to support local businesses but sometimes you have to order online when you can't find what you are local for locally.
I have a growing list for Aquagear in order to write reviews on a few products but other than that, I am enjoying learning about companies who are dedicated and passionate about what they offer to the consumer. I would love for you to check out the websites that I am about to review below, and feel free to give your feedback either via my blog (comment section) or via email.


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AquaGear.com

As an on-line retailer of swimming and water exercise products (based in Florida), aqua gear is a family-run company that's been around since 1992. They offer same-day shipping and very competitive friendly prices.

I asked aquagear to give their recommendations for a few goggles as I think many triathletes and fitness enthusiasts struggle with finding the right pair. I love my speedo women vanquisher goggles and for de-fogging, just drop a tiny drop of baby shampoo in the lenses and rinse.


As far as goggles go, the new models that are big this season are AquaSphere's K180 and Speedo's Polarized Speed Socket.
The  K180's are AquaSphere's first google designed for competitive swimmers. They are extremely light-weight and low-profile. The  K180's plus  also new this year, goes a step futher and actually sits inside the rim of your eye-socket for an even lower profile.
For a trialthelete, the K180 Plus might be too low of a profile to be comfortable for any length of swim. The Plus fits and feels like a sweedish goggle. If you like a lower profile, you might like the regular K180. If you prefer a wider field of vision and a bit more comfort, you might consider the Kayenne or the Kayenne Small Fit.   

Speedo's newest addition is the Speed Socket with a Polarized lens. This is another low profile goggle meant for competitive swimmers, but is notable due to its polarized lenses, which very few goggles have. If you like the feel of a low profile goggles, you might like the enhanced vision that polarized lenses provide when swimming in the open water.
Speedo's Air Seal Tri is also a popular choice for Triathletes. It fits more like a goggle than a swim mask, but still allows for a wider field of vision than competition swim goggles.


Many triathletes ask me about paddles which I find effective for swim drills and for working on the form (specifically the pull through) in the water. I also believe in water jogging when necessary for injury or just to change up the routine. I highly recommend checking out the paddle section as well as the aqua jogger belts.

From the email I received from my contact person at Aquagear (family owned business):
"I think what our company has that our competitors  don't have is the people working here. We try out almost every product that we carry. We might try all of the exercise bells in the pool to see which has the most resistance or try on each model of goggle to see how they fit. We use this knowledge to train the rest of our employees on all the subtle differences between different brands and models to help the customer find the right product for their needs.
We also take the time to talk to our customers to figure out who they are and what their goals are so we can recommend a product that they'll love. We believe that good customer service is more than sounding friendly on the phone. Its about knowing the products and the customer and finding the right match.
We throughly check incomming and outgoing merchdise to spot and weed out manufacturing errors before the merchandise gets to the customer. So while other companies may sell the same model of kickboard or goggle, you'll know that each product coming from us has been looked over thouroughly for any missing parts, defects or cosmetic blemishes. Unfortunately, many of the factories that make swimming products tend to toss in a few defective products in each batch as part of their business model. We're rather picky about the appearance of the product and aren't shy about sending defective or blemished merchandise back to the manufacturer when needed. If the customer is paying for something that's "new", it shouldn't have scuffs on it or indentations in the foam. Ultimatly all of these things create a better experience for the customer, since the purpose of a retailer is to help the customer get the right product, in brand new condition, on-time, with as little difficulty as possible."


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Now a day, "challenges" are the rave. Whether it is a 30-day "diet" challenge or a fitness challenge, it seems like people are looking for ways to be dedicated to changing up the routine....for a short amount of time....only hoping that those changes stay.

As a triathlete, I have a routine and a schedule in order to be as consistent as possible to receive the most prominent physiological adaptations to the body with the least amount of training stress. As a coach, all my athletes use Training Peaks to upload data and to review their weekly workouts. I use it myself to see what torture..I mean fun workouts, Karel has me do for swim-bike-run.

But sometimes you need to change up the routine. I don't believe in keeping the same routine month after month. As a triathlete, I like to dedicate no more than 3 months training for one event, with the last 8-10 weeks being the "heaviest" of training load (duration or intensity depending on what I am training for). Despite having a "season" for triathlons (typically lasting March - Oct for most triathletes), I still like to put in a few "breaks" of unstructured activity to keep my fitness going but to not burn out my mind and body.

As for the few months that follow triathlon "season", I LOVE to change things up. I still exercise but "training" is not as necessary. I find that many athletes become burnt out by the end of their season and this turns in to a lot of doing nothing. I find nothing wrong with doing nothing but certainly, there should be a healthy balance between season and off-season. Too much or little of any one thing is never a good thing.

I am excited to introduce you to Konkura which is the FREE fitness challenge site. All you have to do is create a username (it took me less than 2 minutes) and you can browse the site to get inspired by challenges, exercises and even meet other like-minded individuals.

'Konkura is the free sport, fitness and workout site where you can join, share or create challenges for every sport or fitness activity imaginable.
Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer, rower, football player, paddler, strength athlete or just interested in getting more fit or changing body composition,  you’ll find a challenge just for you. Because many people don't have access to gyms and lack motivation to train on their own, this is a great website to give you a community of like-minded people to train against and enjoy friendly competition.

And if you can’t find a sport or exercise challenge that suits you, you can quickly and easily create your own, then invite your friends (or the whole world) to compete with you for mutual motivation.

Let me know what you think of the site...if you are a runner or triathlete, this is a great place to track your own progress and be inspired by others.