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.