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From Pickles to Fickle Weather -- Triathletes Endure Marketing Onslaught


Houston, Texas – Triathletes endure heat, rain, bone-chilling water, horrendous cramps, crashes and worse during competition. And when they’re not competing, they’re barraged with advice on everything from supplements to headgear, footwear, outerwear and underwear. Some tips are good (like those at, some are bad… and some are thinly veiled attempts to separate a triathlete from his or her money. As competitors hunker down for the off-season, here are a few tips from 2010 worth a second look.

Did you know that pickle juice might be beneficial for leg cramps? This notion hasn’t been lost on some high school and college athletic departments that believe the salt, calcium chloride and vinegar found in pickle juice may help to prevent, or at least lessen the severity and duration of leg cramps. Of course, check with a doctor before saying “down the hatch” to this briny beverage.

Some triathletes carbo-load right before an event. However, any sudden change in diet could lead to tummy issues during an event. According to the Mayo Clinic, athletes interested in loading up on carbs should do so about a week before the event, cranking up their carbohydrate intake to about 50 to 55 percent of their daily diet. And then, three to four days before the event increase carb consumption to about 70 percent. They say employing a two-step carb-loading strategy better prepares the body for storing energy for race day.

Here’s a tip that many triathletes already subscribe to, but it’s worth repeating. When at all possible, run on dirt or gravel trails. Not only are those surfaces easier on the joints, but also a greater number of ankle and foot muscles are engaged, which helps to maximize training.

Finally, practice those brick building skills. As everybody knows, precious seconds can be lost during the transition period in a triathlon as a competitor jumps off the bike. So, practice bike-to-run bricks a couple of times before any event.


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