Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Pro Triathlete Training Log - Swim, Bike, Run Miles for 2016 Season

This is my fourth year of tallying up my training for the year and making it public. Although, I didn't do this post in 2015, here are 2012, 2013, and 2014 for those that are interested.

2015 was another solid year of racing for me that included:

- 11x 70.3 Ironman races
- 2x Aquathons
- 2x Olympics
- 1 Wisconsin State Time Trial
- I also swam, biked, and ran 9 miles at Ironman Arizona but wasn't able to finish due to some nagging injuries.,

The sheer number of races was quite impressive since I broke my foot in 2 places in the beginning of June. The breaking of the foot was an acute accidental injury that greatly affected my ability to bike/run in June and July but never brought me to a grinding halt.

Here are my yearly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 12,373 Miles / 1,054 hours

Swim: 684 miles (1,203,840 yards)  / 297 hours
Bike: 8,758 miles / 503 hours
Run: 1,816 miles /  258 hours
Walking: 21 miles / 8 hours

Those numbers come out to an average of 87.33 hours per month, and 20.26 hours per week. Weekly mileage is 13.15 miles (23,144 yards) swimming, 168 miles biking, and 35 miles running or broken down hourly as 5.7 hours swimming, 9.67 hours biking, and 4.96 hours running.
For those looking for a little more granular data of Hours Per Month then here you go:

Monthly Training Hours - Total







Monthly Training Hours - Run



Monthly Training Hours - Swim
Monthly Training Hours - Bike

































Lastly if you are triathlete or endurance athlete, I am setting up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then myths become lore. Hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Best Food Scales for Weight and Measuring - Cheap and Expensive

MyWeigh KD-8000 Scale - My personal favorite
We are approaching the New Year and that means plenty of people will embark on a New Year's resolutions to exercise more and eat better. They are both part of a strategy focused on the goal of losing weight.

As a professional triathlete I have to be very meticulous about what I eat and how much I eat. A common mistake that triathletes face, whether amateur or professional, is that we think we can simply eat whatever we want. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Triathletes are notorious for over-indulging, and when I mean indulging, I mean eating too much junk food, and then going one step further and not understanding portions. One of my favorite quotes is: "What gets measured, gets managed", and while triathletes might be great at recording and measuring workouts, we often stink at doing this for nutrition.

If you already track your nutrition great. Keep it up!!! For the rest of us, know that it is not easy. It is also not convenient, however I challenge you to track your food for 1 week!! By committing just 7 days, I can promise that you will learn SO much more about your habits. If you quit after 7 days, fine, you will still have a better conscious awareness about your eating in the New Year.

Here is a 7 day food log I did back in 2012 for reference. I still use the program "Lose It" to track all my calories. And no, I don't keep a journal all year, just at certain times. However, I am really big in to weighing food. This is especially important for high-caloric foods like nuts, but is also really easy for me in say counting up the calories in a self-made smoothie. I just toss items one-by-one in the blender, and I record the weight, then I re-tare the scale, add the next item, and records its weight.

Which brings me to scales. What food scale do I use. It is crazy to say this as I am minimalist who can fit everything I own in my car, but food scales are so important that I actually have two. I use one as a primary scale and a second for when I travel or as backup.

WH-B05 "No-Name" Food Scale
Backup Scale - No-Name Scale - WH-B05 (~$6)
- Super cheap, it is a "no-name" scale, but you will see some sellers rebrand it with their own logo name and increase the price.
- It is super small, light, and extremely accurate.
- It has a tare button and can measure up to 5kg in 1g increments.
- Outputs include grams, ounces, and lbs.
- Batteries last forever and has auto shut-off feature. Takes 2xAAA.
- I have actually had a couple of these scales as I tend to leave them places. Each one I have had has been dead-on accurate against my primary scale and has been reliable.
- Negatives, it is smaller, it is harder to read the scale with large bowls, plastic containers


My Weigh KD8000 Food Scale
Primary Scale - My Weigh KD8000 (~$35)
- Awesome scale with removable measuring top plate that can be tossed in the dishwasher
- Batteries last forever with auto shut-off. Takes 3xAA.
- Large LCD display with big numbers and is illuminated.
- Outputs include grams, kilograms, lbs + ounces, just ounces
- Display can be read with big bowls on it because of large, tall base + angled screen.
- Nice big & stable platform.
- 8kg capacity (~17.63lbs) and has a tare button - I am a huge watermelon fan and I often weigh half a watermelon at a time, eat the half, and then reweigh the leftover and subtract the difference. Others scale usually can't handle this task.
- Can buy a AC Adapter if you need it plugged in. I don't use it that way.
 - Negatives: This scale is definitely a bit bulky and takes up counter space.

Either one of these scales will work great. If you are shopping for other scales, be weary of the ones that take 9v batteries, that measure in 2g increments, or only measure in metric or lbs.

I will be writing a lot of good stuff in the next year. If you haven't followed me please do so. Links on the right side of the page include: Follow by Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube



Links:

My Weigh KD8000 on Amazon, eBay
"No-Name" WH-B05 on Amazon, eBay

Lastly if you are triathlete or endurance athlete, I am setting up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then myths become lore. Hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wind Tunnel Testing Ironman Pro Thomas Gerlach - Triathlon Aerodynamic Bike Drag

Testing @ A2 Windtunnel 
This past spring I spent $1,000 for 2 hours of wind tunnel time at the A2 Wind Tunnel
in Mooresville, NC. Although costly, I knew this was something I had to do to continue to improve as a professional triathlete. Unlike physical training, which focuses on building a bigger engine to go faster, this trip focused on making me more efficient by helping my cut thru the air like a knife.

While I had been familiar with the wind tunnel based on the reports of others, actually going to a wind tunnel gave me an entirely different perspective. This perspective will not only make future trips more efficient in my own planning, goals, and expectations, but it also gives me better insight to ask better questions of others. While aerodynamics seems like something of a dark art, it represents an opportunity for improvement for those that are willing to spend the time, money, and effort.

Given the complicated nature of aerodynamics I will be displaying numbers in two different formats. The geeks prefer to see results in CdA. I will also present the numbers in a simple 'watts' format. In this format, I will show the number of watts needed to go 26.0 mph. 26.0 mph is my typical Ironman 70.3 speed which equates to a 2:09:13 bike split.

For those people who are not experts at aerodynamics, please note the watts showed only include aerodynamic drag, it does not take into account the energy it takes to overcome rolling resistance nor does it take into account drivetrain losses. In addition, I tested at different wind angles referred as yaw. I don't want to get overly complex and discuss yaw. The important thing to know is that the real-world wind angles a rider experiences while cycling vary moment to moment. I chose to test at 0° and 10° degrees. This represents the majority of wind angles that I am going to experience in my races.

1. Baseline - the first thing I did was establish my baseline numbers. This represent the starting point which I hope to improve thru further refinement.

0°  = .246 .CdA
0°  = 238.1 Watts (Watts to go 26.0 mph)

10°  = .215 .CdA
10°  = 207.8 Watts




2. Position Changes - I then moved to making various position changes. I narrowed elbows, moved the saddle back and forth, the aero bar up and down. The data and pictures below represent the final position changes that I accepted. The changes were raising my front end up 1cm and along with narrowing my elbow pads by 2cm (1 cm each side) .

0°  = .240 .CdA
0° = 231.8 Watts

10°  = .211 .CdA
10°  = 203.6 Watts




3. Helmet Changes - I then moved to testing helmets. I had already been using a helmet that had proven to be fast on a high number of riders - that helmet was the LG P9 Helmet. I also tested a Kask Bambino, Catlike, Specialized S-Works TT, POC Cerebel, and Wasp Air. Often times some big changes can be found with helmets but for me the LG P9 was already the fastest. Pictures below show the second fastest helmet choice for me - the Kask Bambino.

Please note that I went to the tunnel before the Giro Aerohead MIPS came out. I now use the Aerohead MIPS and I did a short write-up on why that is here.

0°  = .240 .CdA
0°  = 231.8 Watts

10°  = .211 .CdA
10°  = 203.6 Watts



3. Race Kit Changes - I then moved to testing clothing. I started in a 2XU one-piece sleeveless kit that I raced in for years and was a size small. I also tested the 2XU sleeved kit that I had that was size small, a Cuore small sleeved suit, and a Cuore extra small sleeve suited. The Cuore extra small kit tested fastest and the results and pictures below reflect that.

0°  = .235 .CdA
0°  = 226.9 Watts

10°  = .207 .CdA
10°  = 200.4 Watts




4. Compression Sleeves
 - Given my large calves, I thought that adding some compression sleeves might help reduce drag. In the end, I had some 2XU MCS Compression Leg Sleeves (Amazon) (eBay) (Trisports). They were faster and the results and pictures reflect the change.

0°  = .232 .CdA
0°  = 224.3 Watts

10°  = .208 .CdA
10°  = 200.5 Watts




5. Shoe Change - One last change was shoes. I moved from some Pearl Izumi Octanes to Giro Empire SLX. The end results was the Giro Empire SLX were faster. The below reflects the final accepted change. For those interested, I did a full write-up of my Giro Empire SLX shoes with elastic laces.

0°  = .229 .CdA
0°  = 221.5 Watts

10°  = .200 .CdA
10°  = 192.8 Watts





Final Analysis - Looking at where I started and where I finished you can see that I made some considerable improvements in reducing aerodynamic drag despite already having the optimal helmet.

0° .246 => .229 .CdA
0° 238.1 => 221.5 Watts (16.6 watts decrease)

10°  .211 => .200 .CdA
10°  203.6 => 192.8 Watts (10.8 watts decrease)

What this means in the real world is that it would take less watts to go 26.0 mph. Or I could keep putting out the same watts and go even faster. Overall I was satisfied with my experience and certainly recommend the process for anyone that really cares about their race time.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments section below. Also, I will be writing a lot of good stuff in the next year. If you haven't followed me please do so. Links on the right side of the page include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, RSS, and Google+. You can also follow the blog by email as well.

My Links:
- Spreadsheet with all data
- Post: Fastest Ironman Bike Shoes - Aerodynamics + Weight - Cycling
- Post: Giro Aerohead MIPS Triathlon Aero Helmet Review

Product Links
- 2XU Elite MCS Compression Sleeves (Amazon) (eBay) (Trisports)
- Giro Empire SLX Review (Amazon) (eBay)

Lastly if you are triathlete or endurance athlete, I am setting up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then myths become lore. Hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Garmin 920xt Christmas Holiday Deals

Garmin is running various deals which you should see on various retailers that run from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the way thru Christmas Eve. There are no Edge 520, 820, or Forerunner 735xt discounts. If you are an Discover IT card holder you can get 5% additional back this quarter with your quarterly rewards at Amazon.

Garmin FR230 $179 ($249) (28%)

Garmin Forerunner 230















Garmin FR235 $249 ($329) (27%)

Garmin Forerunner 235















Garmin FR630 $229 ($399) (43%)

Garmin Forerunner 630















Garmin FR920XT $199 ($229) (56%)

Garmin Forerunner 920xt














Garmin FR920XT W/HR $249 ($499) (50%)

Garmin Forerunner 920xt
with Heart Rate Monitor

















Garmin Fenix 3 $374 ($449) (25%)

Garmin Fenix 3
















Garmin VivoSmart HR $69 ($149) (53%)

Garmin Vivosmart HR













Garmin Vivoactive HR $169 ($249) (32%)

Garmin Vivoactive HR



Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ironman Triathlon - Better to DNF (Did Not Finish) or DNS (Did Not Start)

My last actual IMAZ finish in 2013
Is It Better to DNS or DNF an Ironman Triathlon???

It is an honest question. Truthfully, I hadn't really given it much thought until someone raised it in Ironman Arizona group this week. It struck me personally as I was in a similar predicament in regards to my own race, do I become a Did Not Start (DNS) or a Did Not Finish (DNF)???

But first a little bit of a backstory. For those who are not familiar, I have been racing Ironmans for a number of years. I was fortunate enough to finish 3rd at Ironman Louisville in both 2012 and 2013. In 2014, I went one better and finished 2nd to Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald, losing by only 16 seconds.

In 2015, Ironman Louisville was eliminated as pro race and I instead focused on training for Ironman Mont Tremblant. Unfortunately, in the lead up to the race I got an over-use injury, and although I did start, I ultimately had to DNF.

After that race I took some time off to let the body heal. Fortunately I live one block from the start/finish of Ironman Wisconsin, and as the Ironman parade came to town, I could not help but get nostalgic. Although, I hadn't done the training and I had no idea if I could even finish the race, I decided that there was little to lose by at least starting. After all, I could always pull out after the swim, or stop on the ride if the issue I was dealing with reared its nasty head. Fortunately it never did, and I ended up going 8:59:59 and took the overall win. Now I think back to that day and what if I had never even started?

Fast forward to 2016 and I have raced a ton of Ironman 70.3s, sprints, aquathons, even my first bike race. It has been a long season, and my body has showed signs that it needs some extended rest, but I wanted to close it out at Ironman Arizona, a race that is also near and dear to my heart. A race that was so wonderful in 2013, but then overshadowed by some despair in 2014 and 2015.

All smiles at the start of 2015
IMAZ but I wasn't able to finish
To say the the lead-up to the race was anything but perfect would be an understatement. It started with a strained piriformis. As a result, I took some time off running, got in very little running, and what I did do was all on the treadmill. I knew Ironman Arizona wasn't going to be a top-performance, but I felt like I did enough to make it to the start line. As a result I booked my travel and put my bike on a TribikeTransport truck, and then naturally it happened. Last Sunday, while putting on my wetsuit for a practice swim, I felt a sudden tightening in my back. My heart sunk. I know right away it was going to be a problem, and was likely already a compensation issue from my piriformis as the pain was on the opposite side.

I took Monday and Tuesday off, and Wednesday I went to the Chiropractor for some x-rays and an adjustment. The recommendation from the Triathlete Chiropractor, was don't race. By Thursday, I was not only ready to throw in the towel, I DID throw in the towel. I cancelled my flight, treated myself to a pity party, and then actually gave it some thought. Is it really better to DNS than to DNF?

The answer is certainly complex and is very individual and depends on unique circumstances. I won't go into all things one should consider, but I think a few things stand out. First is that you never know what will happen on race day. You can be in the best shape of your life, feel like you are going to win, and then have everything go completely wrong. There will be people tomorrow who were in the best shape of their life and they will fail miserably. That is the reality.
Big thanks to the Base crew in 2015 for keeping me hydrated
but it wasn't meant to be.

On the flip side, you can go in with plenty of fear and doubt. Believe me, it is easily to get paralyzed by it, but I also have the confidence in knowing that some of my best days have come on the backs of those filled with the greatest fear and doubt. As cliche as it sounds, "You do miss a 100% of the shots you don't take". I realize that there is very a likely a DNF in my future, but I know if I don't start the race, that I will look back and regret it. I'll see you on the start line tomorrow. Giddy up!!!

For those first-timers doing Ironman Arizona. Hopefully, you had a chance to read my article, first time Ironman tips from age-grouper turned professional,. In addition, you should skim over the following article I have written, recovery tips for your first Ironman

Friday, October 21, 2016

Best Desk for Bike Trainer - Indoor Cycling Bike Stand for Wahoo Kickr, Swift, Trainer Road and more

Medical overbeds are the perfect
portable desks / stands for indoor cycling
(Updated 9/29/2017) More and more people are cycling indoors regardless of the weather outside. Cycling indoors can be a safe, effective, and time-efficient way to improve your cycling. New software tools, like Trainer Road and Zwift, help keep boredom away, while newer trainers, like Cyclops' Hammer and Wahoo's Kickr, provide a realistic ride and feel.
Regardless of your hardware and software choices, everyone needs a stand to place water bottles, food and gels, towels, computers, tablets, phones and more. My favorite cheap solution ($50) is the Vaunn Medical Adjustable Overbed.

For those unfamiliar, medical overbeds are designed to have a telescoping table platform, slide underneath the bed of a patient, and are for tasks like eating & tv watching. However, they make excellent indoor cycling desks, media carts, and laptop stands.

In lowest and highest positions
The Eva Medical Overbed has the following benefits:
  • Adjusts from 28 inches to 40 inches.
  • Has wheels and can be moved easily both for storage or in case you need to adjust the position while cycling. 
  • The height of the table can be adjusted easily with one hand.
  • Stable base with large platform for all your  computer, water, and food needs
  • Easy to put together
  • Inexpensive
In addition to using the medical overbed as a cycling stand, I have learned to use it in other ways including:
Putting the bike back together on a
nice & sunny Wisconsin summer day

Bike Maintenance 
- I will set a towel on top and place all the tools I will need for the job. The telescoping up/down platform is easy to do one-handed and the table moves smoothly.

Laying in the bed with the boots - using the recovery boots and a laptop, although doable, sometimes I prefer to use the overbed as a more stable platform that isn't going up and down with the expansion and contraction of the boots. As a true TV Tray - I will admit, I have never actually used this as a TV tray, but I would presume many people could.

Recommended Product Links:

- Amazon: Vaunn Eva Medical Overbed (~$50)
- CompetitveCyclist: Wahoo Kickr ($~1200)
- Amazon: Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer (~$350)
- Amazon: Generic Cycling Mat (6 feet x 2.5 feet) (~$30)
- Amazon: Cyclops Cycling Mat (5.5 feet x 3 feet) (~$65)

Comparison Product Links:

- Amazon: Wahoo Kickr Desk (~$229)
- CompetitiveCyclist: Wahoo Kickr Desk (~$229)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Normatec Recovery vs Air Relax Review - Compression Boots

Relaxing in Air Relax (top left)
Normatec (top right)
As an aging professional triathlete I no longer recover like I used to. As a result, I keep seeking out new and better ways to expedite the recovery process. Recently I discovered Normatec recovery compression boots and I absolutely fell in love.

Not only did I discover that the Normatec recovery boots are truly effective in helping my legs recover faster, but I also found them to be incredibly relaxing. I found myself looking forward to winding down at night and sitting in the boots as they massage away at my legs and I did work on the computer.

In addition to recovery, I also discovered that they were great for jump-starting the body. I may be 35, but I have more than a lifetime of pounding on the body and it can be quite stiff and achy some mornings. Using the recovery boots first thing is a great way to warm up the body and ease aches and pains. Using them after travel, both plane and car, has also been extremely effective. Just 20 minutes in the boots and the fluid build up, edema, and swelling in my legs is visibly reduced and the sausage look is eliminated. To say I am now addicted to my boots would be an understatement, they simply go everywhere with me.
Boots squeeze blood from legs helping it
back to the heart, lungs, and kidneys

The rest of this review will focus on two different sets of boots I currently own and use. Air Relax compression boots costs $370 and the Normatec Pulse recovery boots system are $1495. Both systems are AMAZING and you can't go wrong with either system!!! Both systems have add-on attachments like arm sleeves and hip attachments.

There are a few other recovery boot systems out there that I won't cover. Those include: Recovery Pump, Unix, Rapid Reboot, Normatec MVP, Normatec Pulse Pro, Normatec Pro, Podium Legs and Doctor Life LX7. I have experience with these systems and they either miss the mark based on price, quality, or features or are no longer sold.

Air Relax ($370 with coupon)

- Class II medical device designed to treat patients with edema / swelling of the legs. As a result they can go much higher in pressure. All the way to 230mmHg with 4 pressure levels

- Small, portable, compression unit, smaller than the Normatec MVP system but bigger than the Normatec Pulse.

- Newly updated from older orange boots with distinctive dark grey boots that are higher quality, don't show dirt, and have hidden air hoses that don't get in your way. System + pair of boots weighs 7lb 14oz for Size 2.

- Available in both 110V (USA) and 220 (EU Asia).

Normatec Regular (left), Air Relax Size 4 (middle),
Air Relax Size 2 (right)
- Comes in three sizes.
  • Size 2 (5' 3" to 5'7") 
  • Size 3 (5'8" to 6'1") (introduced June 2017) 
  • Size 4 (6' 2"+) (introduced January 2017)

- Highly affordable from Air Relax USA. Use coupon code: HFL854S (Valid OCT 2017)  to save $20 or more.  

Air Relax pricing is based on a boot size. Larger boots are a few dollars more than smaller boots.


Normatec Pulse (~$1395 with $100 off coupon code)
 


- Has a battery. The battery is designed to remain plugged in and charging. When ready for use, move the Pulse system to a more convenient location and use on battery. While you can use it for traveling, be aware that the unit always stays on in the background and uses some battery. This decreases available battery life when traveling and not plugged in. Stated battery life is ~3 hours.

Normatec Pulse System
- Comes in three sizes:
  • Short for under 5' 3"
  • Regular 5'4" to 6'3"
  • Tall for people over 6' 4"  
- Pressure can go up to 100mmHg with 7 pressure levels.

- Can set timer in 5 minute increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- Priced at $1395 when you use coupon code RecoverFaster17 to save $100 at Normatec's website.

Many endurance athletes have become familiar with Normatec Compression Boots thru Ironman. Based on the feedback I have received, I know that many people want boots but can't justify $1395. Air Relax is the perfect option for these people. The feedback I have received from people who have gone Air Relax has been extremely positive. Both systems are amazing and you can't wrong with either one.


Links:

Air Relax.com - $370 w/ coupon code HFL854S (Valid October 2017)
Air Relax on Amazon - Only Size 2 is available on Amazon ($410)
Air Relax on eBay ($410)

Normatec Website - $1395 with coupon code RecoverFaster17
Normatec Amazon (Not available)
Normatec Units on eBay - Used and New (Various prices)


Lastly if you are a triathlete or endurance athlete, I am setting up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. Feel free to ask any question you might have about Air Relax or Normatec Compression Recovery Boots or anything else.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blue Seventy Wetsuits Coupon Code Promo

Save 25% at BlueSeventy.com
with Coupon Code:  b70ThomasGerlach17
Save 25% at BlueSeventy.com with coupon code b70ThomasGerlach17

The code is good on everything BlueSeventy carries including wetsuits, skinsuits, goggles, and core shorts.

No restrictions, you can save 25% on the top of the line Helix wetsuit along with their Fusion and Reaction lines. Coupon expires Dec 31, 2017.

For those not familiar with BlueSeventy. BlueSeventy has been making suits for over 10 years and previously had the partnership with Ironman for the M-Dot branded suits. There are a lot of other suits out there from Roka, TYR, Xterra, Aquasphere, Nineteen, and Orca. The most important consideration in my experience is a suit that fits properly. A suit that doesn't fit properly will be uncomfortable or let in too much water. In either case you will be slower. Buy a suit that fits first, features should come second.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Base Salt Coupon Code Promotion Rocket Fuel Aminio Hyrdo

Use Coupon Code Base15 at checkout 
For anyone interested in saving a few dollars on their Base Salt, Amino, Hydro or any other Base Performance product, please use Base Coupon code Base15 at BasePerformance.com.

Base products are also available via Amazon Prime and available at Trisports.com

As for my own personal usage, well I have been using Base "Rocket Fuel" since September 2015. It started with my victory at Ironman Wisconsin and has led to Ironman finishes of 8:20 and Ironman 70.3 finish of 3:55. For me, I use 3-4 scoops of Hydro, a scoop of Amino, and depending on how hot it is, I will use 3-5 scoops of salt per bottle. 2 bottles for 70.3s.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

13 Ironman Recovery Tips to Help You RECOVER FASTER From Your Race

Learned a few recovery tricks
over my 10 years of doing Ironman
Finishing an Ironman is a huge accomplishment but it is also extremely taxing on the body. There are so many things internally that are happening to your body that you can't see or feel. It is important to not let soreness be the barometer for whether or not you are recovered. Your soreness will likely be gone in days, but it could take weeks or months before you are fully recovered from your Ironman.

These tips will help your entire body recovery faster. There isn't a magic recovery, pill, treat recovery like you treat training and take it seriously and you will benefit. You may not be able to see or feel a difference by following one single tip but do many of the tips over and over again will lead to a faster recovery.

Night of race


A must post race for DIY protein drinks
#1 - Drink a protein shake as soon as possible after the race. This will start the recovery process as soon as possible. You will get plenty of carbs at the food tent, but there are usually no easily digestible protein options so have a family member bring one of these to you shortly after the race. You can stop at the local drug store and get a six pack of Ensure or bars as well. I prefer to put some whey protein isolate in a Blender Bottle as I drink protein shakes everyday. It doesn't really matter as long as there are some quick absorbing proteins in it. Whey is quick absorbing.

#2 - Keep moving - the night of the Ironman you might have a trouble sleeping either because of pain and discomfort, or because you took a whole lot of caffeine. If need be go for a 30 minute walk before bed if you finished in the 9-14 hour range. Light movement is the best thing you can do for your body post race to flush the legs.

#3 - Sit in recovery boots. If you are fortunate enough to own a pair of recovery boots then sit in them for 30 minutes before going to bed. No doubt you saw Normatec at the Ironman expo. Although expensive, they are a very pleasurable and relaxing way to move waste out of the legs. For those who can't afford Normatec there are great options that are much less expensive like the Air Relax system. I did a short comparison of the two units here: Normatec vs Air Relax and include discount codes for $100 off Normatec or 5% of Air Relax in the review.
Recovery Boots - A must for flushing all the edema post Ironman
#4 - Drink another protein shake right before bed


Post Race - Day 1 

I prefer pure Whey Isolate from reputable brands like ON
#1 - Drink a protein shake for breakfast and a glass of water. Your body needs fuel and protein to continue the recovery process. Have this before your normal breakfast. Real food takes too long to break-down and you want to keep the recovery process going.

#2 - Keep moving - if there are morning festivities for the race, attend them and try to go for a light walk before and after.

#3 - Avoid caffeine - caffeine is going to add further stress to the system. Avoid it if you can as it will speed up recovery. I understand there may be situations where you need caffeine, like you have a long drive home and you need to stay awake.

#4 - Drink lots of water - your body could easily be 10lbs heavier than before the race. Ironmans are incredibly tough on the body and cankles and fluid build up (edema) is quite common. Your body is holding on to a ton of fluid for a variety of reasons, but it is important to keep drinking water to help clear waste.

For my body at my usual effort it can take days to get back to a normal weight. Depending on how fit you are, your body and body type, and how deep you had to dig in relationship to your fitness, your retention period will vary. Regardless this is not a 70.3. Ironmans really tax the body and you may not be used to this kind of swelling.

#5 - Take a nap. If you have the time take a nap. The more naps the better. Don't think of naps as being lazy, think of them as aiding the recovery process.


Bromelain ie Pineapple Enzyme -
 Natural anti-inflammatory + Breaks down proteins
#6 - Avoid NSAIDs and other painkillers. Anti-inflammatories are going to be hard on your system. If you need something for pain look to natural anti-inflammatories like Bromelain, the enzyme in Pineapple that is an anti-inflammatory. You can buy Bromelain itself which is extracted from Pineapple and is very affordable. It also aids in the breakdown of proteins which will also help the recovery process. My recommendation is this Source Naturals 2-pack. 240 tablets in total.

#7 - Drink a protein shake for lunch and dinner along with normal food.

#8 - Take short frequent walks - this really helps promote blood flow and flushes the legs.

#9 - No running - If you are an exercise junky please refrain from running. If you feel really really good you could go for a short spin at the easiest possible effort for 15 mins. Swimming is your friend - a 1k swim is also acceptable. Absolutely no running.

#10 - Take a Epsom Salt Bath - Epsom salt can help relieve general soreness with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) - this is what you are feeling.

Epsom salt baths can promote bloodflow and helps with DOMS


#11 - Spend more time in the recovery compression boots - if you have them, keep using them Ideally spend 3x30 minute sessions a day, morning, breakfast, and before bed. 3x20, or 3x15 if you don't have the time.

#12 - Take off work - hopefully you took a few days off work for your Ironman. If not consider it.

#13 - Be cognizant of germs - post-Ironman you have little to no immune system and it is very easy to get sick. I am not a stickler in general about germs but post-Ironman it is a good thing to think about and be a little more preventative. Often times post race you can't find any hand sanitizer but it is a great thing for your family to pack.


Post Race - Day 2

Post race day 2 is very similar to post race day 1. I won't re-write the tips, but you want to continue to do everything from Day 1.

If you are traveling via air and you have a long flight you want to make sure you get up mid flight and walk around a bit. You could very easily be even more sore on day 2. In addition, you might feel an overwhelming sense of lethargy. Believe me, although you can't feel or hear it, your heart is telling you that it is very tired.

If you are up to it, and have the energy, swimming is the best rehabilitation. Keep it very short and very easy. You can do up to 3x 1k a day spaced out morning, lunch and dinner. If you did a hot race, swimming helps bring down your core temp. You can also walk or do a very light spin to promote recovery.


Post Race - Day 3

Re-read day 1 and day 2. The only real change on Day 3 is I add in some foam rolling to help facilitate recovery of the muscles and tissue. You can also get a massage as a replacement for foam rolling. You can stop the Epsom salt baths or you can continue as well for relaxation purposes.

If you don't already foam roll then it is a good thing to get in habit of doing. Unfortunately, my favorite foam roller is a little tough on people who don't already foam roll. If you do foam roll, you will never go back to your old foam roller once you get used to the Rumble Roller. My preference is the firm black version for home and I have the blue (softer) in the smaller version that I take with me in my carry-on.

Rumble Roller - The best 'torture device' / foam roller in the world.


Post Race - Day 4

Again re-read the prior days. There is no additions and subtractions on day 4. Day 4 is the last day of what I call the "acute recovery phase".


Post Race - Day 5-7

There is less of need for hydration and protein shakes. You can resume your normal diet and your daily coffee. Your body may or may not be back in equilibrium - if you are someone who frequently weighs themselves, you may weigh yourself but keep in mind you may still be holding on to a lot of water.

Personally I do a lot of swimming after an Ironman but I do this for a living so I need to keep working towards my next event. I will usually see a lot of fluid come out of my body during my swims on Day 3 and Day 4.

When it comes to eating, I suggest people be mindful of what they are eating. Likely your immediate soreness is gone but your body may still have weeks and months ahead of it to fully recovery.  It is perfectly acceptable to gain a few pounds, but remember your body doesn't necessarily need the same amount of fuel as it did during training.

I would keep any exercise to really easy swimming and biking to continue to promote bloodflow and recovery of the tissues. Walking is always good too. Your own feel is your best barometer.


Post Race - Week 2 

The focus of week 2 should be dictated by a variety of factors including your future goals. Some people will never do another triathlon or Ironman again, while others were itching to get back to training the day after the race. What is important is to be mindful of what you need personally.

Regardless of your future plans, know that you spent a lot of time training for your Ironman race. You probably spent so much time that the training may have defined who you are and gave you a real sense of purpose. It might be difficult to fill your day without the training.

Be aware that there is such a thing as the post-Ironman blues and it is a common feeling. That sense of purpose plus all the endorphins from exercise is great for mental health. My suggestion is to make fitness a life long process even if you never do another Ironman again. However if you don't feel like it then take this time and spend it on family, friends, work and other hobbies you may have neglected in your training. If you want to continue your journey start planning the next one.