Category Archives: Technology

The New Alleva-Wave (Versus the Old Alleva-Wave and Somapulse): Healing via Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields

In my previous post Somapulse/Alleva-Wave: Healing and Recovery via Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields, I talked about my success in using Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) to heal a bunch of physical problems like a strained elbow and removing DOMS. It’s pretty awesome technology and I am still amazed the PEMF treatments with either the Somapulse or Alleva-Wave actually works when other things don’t.
Last week I got my hands on the new Alleva-Wave. Here is a pic of it:

Note that this version is half the size of the original Alleva-Wave, which used the same form factor as the Somapulse:

I’m glad they changed the design. I had just damaged the coil jack on one of my old model Alleva-Waves. I think with the plug in the jack so exposed like that, I must have wrenched it in my pocket. Notice on the new Alleva-Wave that there is a collar which supports the plug while in the jack. This should make it much more durable. (In any case, I was able to send my old Alleva-Wave back for repair for $120).
Somapulses come with a case which protects it somewhat. Unfortunately, there is not one included with either Alleva-Wave although this is part of the reason for its lower price. I would recommend one in any case. Visiting the local camera store, I found that the Lowepro Santiago 20 case is awesome for it. The case is stiff so it gives some hard protection for it. There is belt loop so that you can hang it on your belt; much more useful than shoulder strap loops.
It’s got a battery cover now, although with the lithium 9Vs I got off Amazon, they are a VERY snug fit. They fit better now, because I’ve rubbed off a layer of label which made them thicker than the normal 9V battery out there.
Another nice feature is the on/off switch. The Somapulse had an off position, but lost it with the old Alleva-Wave to insert a more powerful X setting which is 35% more powerful than the H position.
Still, all this power isn’t really required – they recommend using lower settings for more effectiveness. I’ve also tested this and found this to be true.
Most recently, I’ve been having problems with my left biceps tendon. I was using the H setting on my Alleva-Wave but it didn’t seem to lessen the soreness any. Two days back I flipped it down to M and then the soreness lessened greatly. Go figure.
They do recommend starting at a lower setting and moving up from there. X has never shown as much improvement as H, and now I’m finding that for my biceps tendon M is setting to use. I guess each of us responds uniquely to the PEMF, and it depends on where on the body we’re talking about. Remember also that the Alleva-Wave is for veterinarian use, and so the higher power setting may be required for large animals in order to penetrate tissues deep enough.
Some other interesting things I’m trying out:
1. Thyroid stimulation – 30 minutes a day, in the morning so that it is optimal for time of day. Stacked coils, level H.
2. Testosterone stimulation – 30 minutes a day, usually in the morning – no particular reason except that I put the coils between in my legs “down there” while I’m driving in the morning. Convenient time to be using it there without others wondering what the hell you’re doing!
All in all, I am still happy to have discovered PEMF for treating these issues. Otherwise, it seems like it takes forever for things to heal now and am very glad that I can cut that time down a considerable amount, and get back to the training I love.

UPDATED: Somapulse/Alleva-Wave: Healing and Recovery via Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields

The latest gadget I’ve been using is the Somapulse. It uses Pulsed Electromagnetic Field technology (PEMF) developed at NASA, and its patented signal helps humans repair and heal tissues. You can read more about the development of the Somapulse on their site.
As an athlete, I have an immediate attraction to any technology that can heal me and help me recover faster! Still, I had to admit I was skeptical on its efficacy. I had tried a number of recovery technologies and not all of them seemed to work. But if something was good enough for NASA, it must be good enough for me, right?
The Somapulse retails for $1390 but I had a discount code which reduced that to about $1000. It’s design is pretty ghetto – for $1000 you’d think they could make a battery cover for it. It runs in cycles of 40 minutes: 30 minutes of looping through 3 different types of signals, and then 10 minutes of rest.
The first day I put it on for about two cycles on my left front deltoid area, which was sore from doing pull ups (poorly!). By the time the two cycles were done, the soreness was gone! The next morning there was still no soreness.
Next I tried it on my forearms and elbows, which were completely wiped out from bad kettlebell form. The problem had moved from being muscular to inside the joint itself. In weeks past, I would take a week off from working out and the pain/soreness would not even diminish. By the end of the week, it felt pretty much the same as it did when I began the week off. Then I would go on to workout and more than likely destroy it further.
It seems that my recovery capabilities are pretty slow now as I get older. If the Somapulse doesn’t work, then my only alternative is to take a LOT of time off until my elbow and forearms heal up. That would suck!
After 3 days of Somapulse treatment for many hours each day, the pain was noticeably less! By 3 weeks time, the elbow was pretty much completely healed! Amazing!
I loved this device so much that now I have 2 of them, and then I bought two more of their “veterinarian” version called Alleva-Wave. It is only $700, or $550 in quantities of 5 or more (to get the discount you must join on their site). With 4, now I can treat all 4 limbs at once (yeah I got a lot of problems!). The Alleva-Wave also supposedly has some improvements in the PEMF is gives out. I’m testing it now.
Some usage notes:
1. Putting on the Somapulse right after an injury, or some place you think you’ll be sore, is more effective than the day after. I have this issue with electrostim training on my VMOs and they always get DOMS for many days after. If I train, and immediately put on the Somapulse coils, they will not be sore – DOMS doesn’t even show up. But if I wait even a day, the DOMS appears and stays no matter how long I put the coils on.
2. Muscular issues take a lot less time than ligaments or tendons. So my left front delt issue could be cleared up in an hour, but my elbow took 3 weeks of treatment every day for many hours.
3. I find that wearing it for many hours each day is best, for as long as you can take having wires hanging around you.
4. Stacking the coils to magnify the electromagnetic field to the max is best. I tried separating the coils and sandwiching areas but none of these seem as effective as stacking the coils on some area.
5. They sell coils with varying cable lengths. I found that the longest ones are the best 47″. The other two are way too short and inconvenient.
6. Most of the time, using a velcro wrap works well in holding the coils against a body part. But some parts are much tougher, like the shoulder area where movement can cause a wrap to shift and the coils may either move or fall out. I wear Under Armour Compression Shirts which work really well at holding the coils onto awkward parts of the body.
7. Wearing cargo pants is a must. Big pockets are necessary to hold the Somapulse or Alleva-Wave units.
8. Rechargeable lithium 9V batteries are also a must. Buy some of these off amazon.
9. There are some more interesting effects I have not tried yet, like stimulating the thymus for the immune system or solar plexus for systemic issues. The possibilities are pretty cool though.
I really was skeptical that the Somapulse would work. I was pleasantly surprised at its effectiveness. This product rates amongst the best I’ve spent money on.
Yesterday I was waiting to see how long it would take for some DOMS that showed up on my right VMO because of electrostim training. It was day 3 and it was still very sore; I was skeptical that it would disappear by the next day on its own. So I put my new Alleva-Waves on to see what would happen. Knowing what happened with the Somapulse, I was expecting that nothing would happen. After several hours of treatment, my soreness didn’t diminish and I went to sleep.
This morning I woke up and the DOMS in my right VMO was nearly gone! Wow! During breakfast, I put the Alleva-Wave on it for another 3 hours and after that, I was ready to hit it with electrostim again.
Something in Alleva-Wave’s setup makes it more effective than the Somapulse. I stacked the coils on the right VMO, and used the H setting. It may be that because there is now no rest period that and there is also higher power now. But I am ecstatic that I can get rid of DOMS overnight whereas before I could not with the Somapulse!

ARPWave and EVOUltrafit: Rehab and Training via Electrostim

In my journey to find the ultimate and most efficient training methods, I came across the next stop in my quest at Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Conference back in January. There I met Dr. Justin Marchegiani of Just In Health and Jay Schroeder and Charles Maka of EVOultrafit.
Both of them specialize in using electrostim devices made by ARPWave to enhance treatment of muscle and movement issues and results in training. Yes, think Rocky IV where they had shots of Dolph Lundgren training with electrostim pads stuck to his chest! This is, of course, the real thing. Apparently, the Russians had pioneered the use of electrostim in training many years back. Now here with ARPWave, they have brought this to the public here in the US and it works great. Rather than attempting the long explanation of how it works, see the ARPWave How It Works description.
Dr. Justin is a chiropractor and nutritionist and he trained under Dr. Jay Pietila in his In-Balance system which uses the ARP devices to first determine where muscle imbalances are, and, then, to treat them. The In-Balance Technique can evaluate “neurological signaling from the brain to the body” and determine if they are balanced via strategic placement of the electrodes and moving them around the body. Injuries and rehabilitation can both also be done with similar methods.
I went to Dr. Justin for several treatments and it was fascinating to see him probe my body with the electrodes, sometimes seeing myself jump in reaction. These were areas of concern and showed dysfunction and imbalances. He then stuck electrodes on those areas, turned up the power, and then had me do movements. With the power cranked, compensation patterns appear and I was forced to do the movements correctly, without compensation patterns and fighting through the intensity of the electrostimulation (see more info on ARP Therapy). The sessions were so intense that I had delayed onset muscle soreness for days after! Not sleeping enough, nor eating enough didn’t help my recovery. But after about the 3rd visit, I started seeing some great results.
For example, I had a nagging problem with my TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae) muscle, a small muscle on my hip. It always seemed to be firing and was taut all day long, which is pretty annoying. I tried everything to get it to calm down but nothing really worked. With Dr. Justin’s probing, we figured out that it was not the TFL but my Sartorius muscle, which attaches in the same place as the TFL. He hooked that muscle up, stimmed the hell out of it while forcing me to walk in place and do squats. Soon after (well, after the soreness went away!) I didn’t feel my TFL/Sartorius any more!
Around the same time, I began a training program with Jay and Charles at EVOUltrafit. And of course I had to own one of these electrostim bad boys myself – so I plunked down some cash to get one and wanted to see if training the EVO way would help rid myself of some nagging problems I’ve had, like cramping out in the last half of marathons. But also, according to Jay and Charles, the use of the electrostim machine not only prepares me physically for athletic pursuits, it also stimulates my CNS (central nervous system) and all sorts of other things start to work better, like my glands, hormones, digestion, cognition, and thinking. I didn’t care about the cost – this sounded like the answer to all my problems all at once! I bought one of their POVsport devices, which is the consumer version of the electrostim devices.

Jay Schroeder

A table full of POVs!

Charles Maka hooking me up

Compensatory action!

I submitted a thorough evaluation. I ran set distances, and did some physical tests. I also submitted videos of me doing some typical workouts. It wasn’t pretty. They wanted to see me hop on one leg, on two legs, sprint some distances – pretty bad since I hadn’t done anything for months!
They came back with a program that uses what they call “isoextremes” which are isometric hold type exercises. The four I started with are:
1. Standing Push Up
2. Wall Squat
3. Scapular Pull Up
4. Lunge

Me doing a wall squat hooked up with electrodes

The way these exercises are done aren’t probably the way most people think they are done. For example, the lunge is not an exercise which works the quads; instead, you are supposed to pull the lead leg into a leg curl via the hamstrings, and the rear leg is supposed to have tension pulling it back and upwards. Many of these isoextremes seek to teach the body how to lengthen muscles which may normally think we’d want to tense up in order to do the isometric exercises. It also seems that these isoextremes also train the nervous system to react in the proper way to movements and absorbing force – somehow they have found that holding static positions can train the nervous system to act while moving. Pretty cool stuff!
They gave me specific electrode placements based on issues they saw in the videos. Being experienced coaches/trainers/therapists, they didn’t need to see me live; they could pick out all my problems just by looking at my doing some movements. While the isoextremes can train me by doing them alone, they are more effective when combined with a POVsport unit and proper electrostimulation of the right muscles.
I then proceeded to train on their protocols. Before each workout, I would “loosen” using the POVsport. Depending on the settings, the POVsport can cause muscles to be conditioned or loosened – the waveform it generates is patented and is not like other electrostim units. I was skeptical at first but loosening works pretty well. The stim magnifies your normal loosening movements and helps warm up the body while causing muscles to release their tightness.
Each movement is about 8 minutes in duration, doing 1 minute of work with a minute of rest. At first, they were pretty unfamiliar and difficult. Adding the electrostim coursing through various muscles didn’t help as my muscles were thrumming at many many times per second. In the power output of the POVsport, level 100 is the level at which the body, it it can tolerate it, will experience no compensatory patterns at all. So a goal is to get to power level 100 at some point.
I also joined up with their monthly webinar series. The first one was interesting – it’s an hour of discussion and teaching through personal experiences with the POV via protocols that Jay/Charles give us, and then we observe the results after about a month. Fascinating stuff and I think necessary to really learn how to get the most out of my POV. Hooking electrodes up yourself without direction is a pretty dangerous thing – there are stories of people overloading their CNS accidentally and throwing them into a state of “restoration” which means they are mimicking a state of severe sickness and weakness! Bad news. Think I’ll walk slowly and with lots of direction….
What results after about a month of EVO training?
Some tightness – my body has a “fear” reaction to this foreign stimulus of electrostim and seems to cause some tightness in their overnight protocols while sleeping. But I switched to another one they gave us during the webinar and the tightness went away!
Some of the results were masked by me getting conjunctivitis and a spring time allergy attack. Also lack of sleep from new young kids in the house doesn’t help. But on days when I do get a good sleep, I can see a marked increase in ability – I think my resources get too tied up with managing the lack of sleep mostly and also the occasional malady that has hit over the last few weeks.
Interestingly enough, my deadlift movement has a new feeling. Before EVO workouts, I would deadlift my kids off the ground for practice, or my kettlebells or barbells and have to clench my glutes or “close off my sphincter” to make sure I am getting proper posterior chain activation. But after I started EVO training, all of a sudden I was feeling both glutes AND hamstring activation, which is better and exactly what I want! This is an awesome result.
Some of the lengthening aspects of the isoextremes have also worked well. On the standing push up, I can nearly relax my pecs so much and get them to lengthen upon contraction of my lats so much that I can nearly pull myself through a doorway. The wall squat seems to have gotten easier but it’s still a willpower challenge. Hanging from the scapular pull up, I can lengthen my lats quite a bit, but my grip suffers a ton. Charles tells me this is natural although I wish my grip were better. The lunge seems to be working on one side better. I can really flex my glutes/hams on my left side (left leg back, right leg forward) to lengthen my hip flexor and quads, but not so well with my right leg back.
The whole thing is fascinating as an experiment in using an external device to help with my training and improving aspects of my physical condition. I am looking forward to further training with the POV unit to accelerate training and fitness, and to run a marathon without cramping!

FINIS Swimsense Review (and Comparison with the Swimovate) [UPDATED]

A week ago, I was excited to receive my new FINIS Swimsense watch in the mail. Originally, I was excited about the Swimovate watch, which would record my swim workouts and give me some ability to remember the intervals that I swam and how they performed.
However, in using the Swimovate, I was disappointed in a few things and delighted about others:
1. The watch doesn’t need any calibration to my stroke thankfully. Some of the older models required you to swim certain strokes with it to calibrate it.
2. The watch loses count of laps on occasion. This is very annoying when it somehow doesn’t register a turn at a wall.
3. The watch cannot be used for distance per stroke training and doesn’t like it when you swim under 6 (one arm) strokes; it sometimes thinks you never got to the end of a lap.
4. The watch’s user interface is a bit convoluted and for some reason difficult to navigate the menu system. I have often made mistakes trying to get into the menu to see a previous workout. I have also sometimes erased its memory by accident.
5. All in all, I usually just use the watch to get a sense for my laps when I workout so that I know approximately how many sets and laps I’ve swam.
6. The newer Swimovate allows you to save workouts on your PC. This is great. However, I’m on a Mac so I can’t comment on whether the new version of the watch has improved on its interface because that’s about when I heard about the Swimsense and decided to order that.
7. Annoyingly, you have to actively tell the watch that you’ve finished a workout and then it will save it. If you let the watch time out and go back to clock mode, it will NOT save a workout. So you have to press the Swim button and hold it for 2 seconds in order for it to come out of Swim mode and save your workout. I hate this – there have been a few times where I got out of the pool and forgot to hold the Swim button for 2 seconds in order to end the workout and it did not save it.
Upon playing with the Swimsense, I’ve found it to be a much better product than the Swimovate. Some comments:
1. Even though both the Swimsense and Swimovate both have 4 buttons, the Swimsense’s menu navigation is much more intuitive than the Swimovate.
2. Like the Swimovate, it is annoying when you have to actively tell the Swimsense that the workout is over. Exitting out will NOT save a workout. But in the case of the Swimsense, you have to Stop and then Reset to save the workout. In both cases, I think this is really bad. The Garmin 305 GPS watch, for example, saves the workout no matter what you do; if you turn the watch off, it just saves everything that you did and assumes that was a workout. This is a much better interface behavior than defaulting to not saving.
3. The upload of data is via an Adobe AIR application, which works both on the Mac and PC, to the FINIS Swimsense website. Originally, you could only upload for free but then it would delete your workout after a few minutes. In order to save workouts, you have to pay $9.99/month. Then it would save your uploads forever (or at least until you stopped paying). After some feedback, this has changed now to giving everyone the ability to save every workout. I think FINIS is smart to have made this change.
4. The graph analysis of the workouts is excellent. If you swim a set with multiple laps, you can see the data for the entire set, PLUS you see the data for each individual lap as well, with time and distance. Other graphs you get are Stroke Count breakdown for the entire workout, Pace in time for each interval, Stroke Count Over Time for each interval, SWOLF Score, Stroke Rate and Distance/Stroke.
Each interval is color coded for the type of stroke: free, breast, fly, back and mixed. When you mouseover the graph, there is additional data that pops up on the data points.
5. Some weirdness appears when the time is shown with a decimal point, but I think it should be a colon, ie. so 1.40 is not really 1 and 4/10 of a minute, which is really 1 minute and 24 seconds, but rather 1 minute and 40 seconds. I’ve mentioned this to the FINIS people and they are looking into it.
6. A calendar interface is also presented there so you can go back and view a workout on a given day. Very nicely done here.
7. So far, the Swimsense has NEVER lost a lap like the Swimovate. It’s ability to determine when I turn at a wall has not failed yet.
8. Also, unlike the Swimovate, the Swimsense doesn’t lose a lap when I go under 6 strokes for distance per stroke training. It records it correctly. However, it is not recognizing my stroke correctly since I was swimming free but it thinks I swam breast. This may be that my stroke rate was so slow that it got confused. I’ve also mentioned this to the FINIS people.
9. They also display the stroke rate on the site which is really cool. However, we TI swimmers use a tempo trainer which shows our tempo per arm; the data display is for a single arm’s stroke, which is the arm on which the Swimsense is sitting on. Thus, you have to divide that stroke rate by 2 to get a tempo trainer rate for a single arm.
All in all, I am very impressed with the FINIS Swimsense. I would highly recommend this product over that of the Swimovate. It’s more expensive but it seems to be of better technology and the analysis tools on the website are superb. It is a welcome addition to my collection of high tech training tools!

Measurability and Repeatability in Training

In recent months, I’ve come to realize how much I love the tempo trainer for swimming. It also sparked the realization that I have finally found a method for to ensure measurability and repeatability for swimming.
What’s so important about measurability and repeatability?
Repeatability is the ability to come back day after day and train with a certain level of effort, intensity, etc. and ensure that you’re creating the same conditions as you had the last time you trained. Measurability allows you to measure those conditions to ensure repeatability.
For example, weight training has both easy measurability and repeatability. That 30 lbs. dumbbell is still going to weigh 30 lbs. the next time you pick it up. Thus, you’ll know if you are getting stronger or weaker, depending on how many reps you can curl that dumbbell.
The problem with us triathletes is that it’s not so easy to have measurability and repeatability with our three sports. Of the three running is probably the most measurable and repeatable. With cycling and swimming it’s not so easy.
If you don’t have an accurate way to measure effort and the ability to create conditions to ensure repeatability, you won’t know for sure if you’re improving over time. For example, you may have increasing effort, but you may be actually performing worse if you’re overtraining.
So it’s important to be able to measure your training conditions and to recreate them so that you know with some level of certainty that you’re improving, or how your body is performing so that you know when to back off or increase effort.
I thought I’d list my favorite training tools to maximize measurability and repeatability:
Treadmill – The treadmill allows you to recreate running conditions with great accuracy, in both speed, duration, and grade. Its relentless nature doesn’t allow you to fall behind; if you do, you either fly off the back of the treadmill or have to keep up. Thus, I can generally know if I’m either improving over time or not, or if I’m just a bit tired and can’t repeat a workout on a particular day.
Track or measured distance running – Running a measured distance and recording the time allows you to know if you’re improving over that distance and path.
Power meter – Riding outside with my Powertap allows me to see what my instantaneous power is, as well as for the entire ride. I can compare that over a given path, or even just against other rides, and see how my power output compares to previous rides. With power measurement, I don’t necessarily need to ride the same path; I can compare power outputs and see if I was able to increase overall power output or not.
Computrainer – The Computrainer is the best way to repeat workout conditions. After the calibration step, it will give you the same workout conditions as you had last time.
Tempo Trainer + Counting Strokes – You would think that swimming intervals was good enough for repeatability. However, swimming is a complex activity that is dependent not only on raw endurance and strength, but also on your technique. If your goal is not simply to just work harder (which I would argue it shouldn’t be because you can only go so much faster by more effort and you can do much better by refining and reinforcing technique), then you need to not only measure your interval time but also how well you swam the interval. If you think about it, you can go faster by increasing your stroke rate. But if your technique gets messy, you might swim an interval at the same time as if you had swam it before with better technique but lower stroke rate. Thus, the tempo trainer ensures you are not changing your stroke rate, and counting strokes gives you a measure of how good your technique is.
With these training tools and methods, I can ensure measurability and repeatability of training conditions, giving me a nice picture of how I’m improving (or not!).

Giving up on Amphipod

I started using Amphipod bottles and belt on the recommendation of a friend. They do seem to have some advantages over FuelBelts: wider mouths on the bottles, belts seem to fit better.
BUT THE ONE THING THAT REALLY SUCKS is that the bottles don’t consistently clip in. Sometimes they go in quick, and sometimes I have to stop running and fiddle with it to get it to clip in. And sometimes, I can’t get the bottle to clip in at all and I just end up running with it for a while and try again later.
This is really bad. I could not imagine the frustration I would feel if a bottle didn’t clip in during a race, let alone a long training run.
Sorry Amphipod. I’m going back to Fuelbelt. No way am I risking a race on bottles that don’t consistently clip back into the belt.

More Free Speed

Some more speed that is “free”. Stuff I haven’t tried though. Seems like it’s all about golf ball dimples:
Zipp Tangente Clincher Tires
Clincher tires developed in a wind tunnel, featuring golf ball dimples!
Rocket Science Sports Dimpled Water Bottles
Dimples on your water bottles reduce drag!
Nike Swift Spin Time Trial Suit
Nike’s Project Swift incorporates dimpled surfaces on time trial bike suits to reduce drag. Lance Armstrong and the USPS team wore this suit at the Tour de France. Where can I get one?!?!?! Don’t think you can get one anywhere! Read way too much about the science of drag from Bike Tech Review.

Free Speed

A buddy of mine once remarked that you should get free speed whenever you can get it.
What’s free speed? Well, it’s not really free. It’s just speed you gain from means other than physically improving for it. That means paying cash for it mostly. But at least you don’t have to sweat for it!
Racing technology has improved greatly. Everything gets tested in wind tunnels to eeke out that last bit of efficiency. The basic idea is to slice through the air more cleanly and to reduce turbulence exiting out the back side.
Here are some ways to get free speed, and also empty your wallet in the process!
Aerobars help you be more aerodynamic simply because you’re not upright against the wind. You can relax in a more aerodynamic position and revel in your arms not getting tired holding yourself up and just pedal! Some aerobars are also flattened like wings and are theoretically more aerodynamic than those made of round tubes.
Aero wheels
Deep dish wheels and disc wheels are more aerodynamic than those with thinner rims. One disadvantage is that against crosswinds they can whip you around the road or even blow you over. On the other hand, disc wheels have been shown to have a “sail” effect against some angles of crosswind, giving you an actual speed boost. Cool!
Aero bike frame
Round bike tubes have been the standard on bike frames. Then somebody put flattened wing like tubes on bike frames and found out that made bikes more aerodynamic. Recent wind tunnel tests have shown other types of aggressive frame shapes can be more aero than others. Spring for that cool Trek Madone that Lance Armstrong rode or Specialized Transition TT Bike. Wow! Or “settle” for a Cervelo P3C.
Aero helmet
Guess what: your head is a big wind drag! Buy an aero helmet and feel the air peel around your head in aerodynamic glory! Normal bike helmets can’t compare.
Less weight
The less poundage you drag along with you, the less energy you waste dragging your butt up hills or accelerating. This includes your weight and whatever you carry with you on your bike. Carbon fiber everything!
Tight clothes
Loose, flappy clothes just hold you back. Buy clothes that hug your body. Get muscle compression benefits too! But watch out for cutting off your circulation – racing on numb limbs is not fun!
Bento box
That little bento box sitting behind your handlebars has a slight aerodynamic increasing effect. It smooths out airflow off the stem area.
Water bottles
Some folks are making aero water bottles. Good for shorter races, but not that great when you’re finishing bottles and tossing them on longer races. MIT cyclists have found that if you put a water bottle on the seat tube cage, it increases aerodynamics for those with non-aero seat tubes.
Definitely wear one on the swim. It makes you float higher, and your body more slippery. I wish they would make the new Speedo Fastskin Pro easier to take off – great for swim only races but terrible for triathlon transitions! Don’t wanna rip a bodysuit that costs $400!
Have fun getting faster without working out harder, and feel your bank account drop like a rock!

Racing Photogenically

Friday, I picked up my official DVD for the NYC Marathon. It was the first one I’ve ever bought and thought that it would be cool to see how I ran on video.
It was really well done. It covered the pros and saw Paula Radcliffe’s amazing acceleration at the finish, and the men’s finishes.
And then, there was me.
ACK! I ran like a dork! The great form I thought I had was an actual bouncing, half limp. When running, you strive to keep your head at the same level and reduce the up and down motion of your body. Obviously I did none of that. My head bounced up and down quite a bit. Also, I was reminded of my growing blister on my right foot and could see me limping slightly to favor it. It made my stride much stiffer and didn’t help the up and down motion of my body as I ran.
The first time I raced, I saw pictures taken of me at various stages. I thought I looked kind of lame and wanted my race pictures to show me looking like I was racing well. On the bike, I would be upright but I thought that didn’t look as good as being in aero position. So now, when I see a camera man, I go into aero position whenever possible, even if I’m going uphill to make myself look better in the picture. Sometimes I smile, but sometimes I try putting on a Lance Armstrong-esque grimace. On the run, I have a similar strategy. Generally, if you are running with the compact step that is typical of most of an Ironman marathon, you’ll look like you’re walking in pictures and not running. I discovered that if you just simply lift your heel a bit more as your foot goes back, almost like you’re going to kick your butt, the pictures look like what is the popular perception of running versus walking.
Also, there are finish line pictures where I do not raise my hands all the way up, but only partway. Ugh! That might be a great way to show your enthusiasm at the finish to do a bent arm fist pump with both hands, but it looks real dorky in a picture. Raising your hands all the way up looks much better! In fact, pausing under the finisher’s arch and raising your hands/fists all the way extended upward looks great and gives the photographers a chance to snap the shot!
It sounds silly, but I have learned to race not only to finish, but photogenically as I want my official pictures to look good. Sometimes they have great photographers to help take great pictures, but most of the time you have to do a bit of posing yourself.
Now, upon receipt of this NYC Marathon DVD, I have another thing to worry about and that is to race for video and not just still pictures. I need to figure out how to pose a bit to make sure I look great on video !
With video, I think there is also a method to the madness; after watching the DVD, I am now thinking that I should use video more often as a check on my form. This gives me ideas on bringing my video camera to the track and videotaping myself as I run my intervals.