A Triathlete’s Diary Blog

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Enjoy the autumn season!

NY TRI EXPO Huge Success!

NY TRI EXPO Huge Success!

DSC_0479Thousands of tri-state area runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes attended the NY TRI EXPO at Citi Field on Saturday, March 19th, to hear more than 40 experts talking about all three disciplines as well as nutrition, strength training and mental race preparation for the upcoming season. Athletes also had an opportunity to meet with 70 vendors.

“It was an amazing day of learning,” said Hilary JM Topper, Show Producer, and CEO of HJMT Media LLC. “Attendees had the opportunity to chat with nutritionists, coaches, race directors, cycling companies and other leading experts and vendors to help them reach their goals for the 2016 season.” 

At the NY TRI EXPO,  attendees heard the Queens Chamber of Commerce Keynote Speaker, Matt Dixon, former pro-triathlete, elite coach, and author of “Well-Built Triathlete: Turning Potential into Performance,” discuss effective training methods to improve their performance. He talked about 7 effective habits for triathletes, which included:

1. Go easy on the easy days

2. Fuel after every workout

3. Get your sleep

4. Be present during every training session

5. Be willing to adjust the plan – be flexible

6. Have an understanding of the training week

7. And, Keep it fun

Matt Long, author of “The Long Run,” former New York City Firefighter and elite athlete received the first “I WILL” Award for his dedication and passion for the sport. Athletes also heard from various other running, cycling and swimming experts in the field.DSC_0648

 “It was very emotional for me to present the award to Matt because his story really touched me,” said Topper. “When I feel like the training is tough, I think of Matt and say to myself, if Matt could do it, I could do it too! His presentation was motivational and inspirational.  He is so deserving of this honor and we look forward to honoring Matt in the future by presenting others with the I WILL AWARD.”


Attendees also had the opportunity to win raffle prizes including a free entry to the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, coaching sessions, and other items. A portion of the proceeds from the raffles was donated to the American Lung Association of the Northeast.

DSC_0385Elijah Lam, winner of the NY TRI EXPO Scavenger Hunt won two Ironman Timex Watches and two training peaks premium memberships. “Although Elijah is a little young to enjoy the training peaks, both his parents are triathletes, and I’m sure it will go to good use,” said Topper.

Athletes also went home with a swag bag worth more than $100, lots of knowledge and a day of fun, trying out lots of samples and the opportunity to buy some great products.


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Strength Training for Triathletes: The Model for Injury Prevention

Strength Training for Triathletes: The Model for Injury Prevention

Strength Training for Triathletes: The Model for Injury Prevention by Dr. Craig Smith

When I read online or discuss the concept of injury prevention, I feel there is a common misunderstanding in athletes and coaches about the concept. Injury prevention is not a series of exercises.  Nor is it a massage after a particularly hard week of training. It may include both but it fails to look at the big picture.  Injury prevention is a system meant to first look at the most common injuries in the triathlon community, the biggest risk factors that contribute to injury, the most common mechanisms of injury, and finally the methods and initiatives to address each of these issues with reassessment to see how it worked.*  Take a look at the Figure 1 to see the basic concept.



Figure 1

Now, the first step is never complete because sport is always evolving.  There is new tech, new shoe types, different bike design, changing strategy, etc which modify the epidemiology of injury in triathlon.  Our best available evidence in triathlons is quite limited.**  Step 2 is being grown, especially by a group in Australia.***

However, there is still not enough information to make a fully evidence based program for injury prevention in triathletes through a strength program coupled with the specific triathlon training.  In my opinion and the goal today, is to use the information available and meld it with the experience of the triathlete and coach.

Here is a case study:

A triathlete comes into camp looking to increase her speed on the bike.  An injury history form is filled out, which indicates that the athlete had an anterior cruciate ligament injury 5 years ago.  The athlete has been fully cleared for activity and has no current pain, but will normally experience pain with a volume increase in running.  She has competed successfully in multiple ironman races over the last 4 years.

Based on this information alone, we can say that this athlete is predisposed to injury (Figure 2).  These are known as intrinsic risk factors.  Now, she wants to use her new tri bike that puts the body in the typical flexed and aerodynamic position. This is an extrinsic risk factor that needs to be included in our thought process because it will increase risk for her having an injury especially at the hip and low back.

20160312_093443_resizedFigure 2

From this basic profile we can complete our injury prevention model by screening movements.****

Now according to the best available evidence and my experience in running, swimming, and biking, a triathlete needs to have basic amounts motion in the neck, thoracic spine, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and big toes. Showing all of these would take too long for the blog post today, so instead I will touch one screen that should definitely be included based on the information above.

For this hypothetical athlete, we really need to assess for the presence of a hip impingement or she will likely experience a break down with the new tri bike.


Now if this test is positive, the tri bike makes no sense.  Another easy impingement test to do on your own is a deep squat.  If you feel pain or discomfort in the front of the thigh, you may have an impingement as well.

This is a long winded approach to help you see why basic principles on injury prevention show multiple areas that can be approached to reduce injury while improving performance.  In this example, we could target the long lasting complications of ACL injury (gluteal amnesia, gait abnormality, poor power generation in single leg tasks, etc), the recurrent pain with running, or what bike is best.  Failure to look comprehensively at the big picture is a huge problem in the triathlon community because a performance only view can lead to no performance.  A tri bike may make you faster and save time, but if it aggravates an underlying impingement, then you may have surgery in your future.

Each decision you make during the off season and during training, should support this overall view of injury prevention, including how long you take to ramp up, the volume during a week, how to schedule recovery into your week, if multiple triathlons are smart (races increase the rate of injury compared to just training), and equipment selection.


* As a researcher in this area, there is one paper I constantly reference on injury prevention methodology. van Mechelen W, Hlobil H, Kemper HC. Incidence, severity, aetiology and prevention of sports injuries. A review of concepts. Sports Med 1992;14(2):82–99.

** This type of research is not easy -which is why it’s so limited.

*** Vicenzino, Chapman, Bonacci

****Screening is a term used in medicine.  When a screening test is used, we want it to be highly sensitive. A sensitive test will have low rates of false negatives (people who are found to not have the problem by the test, but really do!), meaning that while false positives (people found to have the problem, who really don’t) may also be found, we won’t miss people that are at risk because the harm of false negative is much higher than false positives.


Dr. Craig Smith PT DPT is the Owner and director of Smith Performance Center.  He is a physical therapist, strength coach, researcher, and adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University.  He is a researcher and has authored many papers that have appeared in clinical trade publications.  He focuses on movement impairments, dysfunctional gait, and running analysis along with long term athletic development with a focus on injury risk reduction and screening. His specialties include strength and conditioning programming, return to play evaluations, running and foot biomechanical analysis, and physical therapy.

Are You a Well-Built Triathlete?

Are You a Well-Built Triathlete?

9781937715113_p0_v5_s192x300Book Review: The Well-Built Triathlete by Matt Dixon

I recently purchased and read Matt Dixon’s book, The Well-Built Triathlete – Turning Potential into Performance, and wow, what an eye opener!

First off, I have to say that Dixon is an excellent writer.  I’ve read a ton of these triathlon books and they aren’t always well-written but this book, I wasn’t able to put down.  I read the 300+ page book in just over a week.  And, I took notes along the way!

The book starts with all the stresses in your life including training.  The only way to really recover is through good nutrition and sleep and recovery.  This section drew me into the book quickly because it spoke to me and I’m sure it will speak to you too.  We all have way too much stress in our lives and it’s important to find a healthy balance.

Matt Dixon
Matt Dixon

Dixon has a chapter on nutrition, strength training (where he provides some great training examples), and then has a chapter on swimming, cycling and running.  In these chapters, he talks about form and provides sample workouts.

I had so many great takeaways from this book including:

  • Recovery = high value training
  • Don’t minimize sleep because it’s an integral part of recovery.  (For me, I have broken sleep throughout the night so I’ve been forcing myself to go back to sleep instead of reading Dixon’s book!)
  • Recovery blocks are imperative to getting stronger
  • Focus on your weaknesses during off season
  • Don’t do deep tissue massage
  • Always provide your coach with how you feel after the workout

In part three, he delves into setting up your training plan for maximum performance.

This is a hands on book that shows you various strength workouts for each discipline, how to use a foam roller for your entire body and what to focus on to get stronger and perform better during races.

This was one of the best books I have read on triathlons. It put everything into perspective and was extremely motivational. After reading this book, I want to focus on three things in the off season — getting stronger, losing weight and getting faster.

Matt Dixon, MSc, is an exercise physiologist, a former pro triathlete, an elite triathlon coach, founder of purplepatch fitness and is the expert in triathlons.

I’m so excited that Matt Dixon will be the keynote speaker at the NY TRI EXPO ’16 on Saturday, March 19 from 10 – 6 pm at Citi Field. After reading his book, I know he will be informative, motivating and will offer a ton of additional takeaways to get you stronger and faster for your next swim bike run!

We are Excited!

We are so excited to bring you the NY Tri Expo ’16!  There is so much going on and we will update you as soon as everything is firmed up but just to let you know, we have some amazing speakers, workshops and exhibitors joining us on March 19 from 10 – 6 pm.  Please spread the word to your friends and teammates.  We would love for you to join us!

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