From day one Team Z strives to provide athletes the knowledge they need to not just survive our sport, but to thrive… to get the most out of their training and racing, and to be happy and healthy triathletes!
While learning takes place across many different mediums, we have created a structured, formal “curriculum” to ensure that all of our athletes have access to the information they need to start, or continue, their triathlon career successfully.
Some examples of our reoccurring clinics
a. Cycling Hillz
This clinic is intended for anybody new or nervous about descending hills, or for folks who have never been properly educated on how to ride downhill in a safe fashion. As a hands-on clinic, we have a discussion and then ride to a hill to practice our technique. Especially nervous riders may choose to only go part way up the hill or not descend at all. That’s OK! Nobody is required to participate in anything that they are not comfortable with, but everyone is guaranteed to learn!
b. Cycling Skillz
If you crash a lot, well, believe it or not, we can teach you HOW to crash! This is a good clinic for anyone who is new to the sport, nervous on their bike, don’t like being clipped in to their pedals, or just wants to sharpen their skills as a rider. This is a hands-on clinic, so participants bring their bike and gear. We will be practicing turns, stopping quickly, jumping (yes, jumping), and working on balance. Even if you don’t own a “nice” road or tri bike, bring your hybrid, mountain bike, tricycle, whatever bike you have! Borrow a bike if you have to. This is a fun one with a FANCY obstacle course!
c. Swim Technique Clinic
This is our most popular clinic, so don’t miss out! We talk about the logistics of training at Team Z swim practices and what to expect when you come to our pools. We’ll teach you swimming “lingo” and how we communicate in the pool, how to read a swim workout, and how we manage lanes with groups. We’ll cover swim lane etiquette and pacing, we’ll answer any questions you have, and then, we’ll move into the pool for basic swim form and technique. All levels are welcome, but if you swam competitively in high school or college you WILL be bored! This is a BEGINNER FRIENDLY clinic. We split the group by ability, so there is NO REASON for anyone to be nervous or think that you might not be good enough! This clinic is our best opportunity to help you improve your swimming ability, so we want you there, even if swimming a lap is difficult for you.
d. Swim Equipment Clinic
The swim equipment clinic is helpful if you would like help picking out training suits, goggles, caps, or have other swim related gear issues! Have no idea what the “cool kids” are wearing these days? Come find out! Did you know that an extra $30 investment in a better suit might make it last 200-300% longer? Or that your goggles should NEVER leak, not even a little bit? Come to the swim equipment clinic and get “all geeked out” for Team Z swim practices!
e. Cold Weather Clothing Clinic
Ever ride your bike in 30 degree weather? Don’t know the difference between a balaclava and baklava? Do you want to know where to buy hand warmers in bulk for half the cost as your local Walmart? We bring a variety of winter clothes to show you examples of what is a “must have” and what is “nice to have,” but more importantly, what you may already have in your own closet that could or would work to save you a few bucks. It’s good to know where your money is best spent so that you can share your new winter clothes between running and riding. You don’t need to be rich to feel warm, look good, and get your winter training in!
f. Heart Rate Training
This is a MUST for anyone with a pulse. This clinic is well organized and presented by one of our teammates who is a PhD in Biochemistry. He will help you understand WHY Heart Rate Training works and what is happening inside your body when you follow our training plans. This lecture-based presentation explains complex scientific concepts in easy to understand everyday language (even Coach Ryan’s dog Mollie understands this one!). Fast or slow, big or small, EVERYONE learns at this clinic!
g. Women only clinic
For all the ladiez in the house! Featuring a panel of experts, this casual clinic covers anything and everything you might want to know on the topics of bicycles, physiology, products, experiences, perspectives, ANYTHING that you want to discuss. It is your opportunity to ask ANY female-specific questions that you ever wanted answered but were too embarrassed to ask, or too confused to ask! Come for the content, the company, or just come for the wine!
h. USAT Rules, Transitions, and Race Strategy Clinic
Our head coaches moonlight as USAT officials, so this clinic is right up our alley! We discuss the 10 most commonly violated rules of the sport and discuss in detail drafting/blocking/and other bike rules. We will talk about planning for your race including packing lists, building race and nutrition plans, and strategy (how hard to go, when, and for how long). We will also address transitions: what to bring, how to set your tranisitons up, and what to expect on race day. New to racing? You’ll learn a ton from this clinic! And, if your plan is to race an iron distance race (gulp), you won’t want to miss our 140.6 specific race prep clinic!
i. Wetsuit Fit and Selection Clinic
If you have never been taught how to buy, wear, or take care of a wetsuit, then this clinic is certainly worth your time. We will answer questions about expensive vs. inexpensive and whether or not you need to spend a ton of dough (no). We’ll talk long sleeve versus short sleeve and what drives price in wetsuits. We’ll show you how to put on and take off your wetsuit properly and how to take care of your suit so that it lasts for years. Are triathlon wetsuits like surf suits or scuba suits? ABSOLUTELY NOT! They are 100% different. Don’t want to buy? Let us tell you about the rental and rent-to-own options. Don’t miss this one if you are “wetsuit challenged!”
j. Run Technique Clinic
Do you hate running because it’s uncomfortable, you get tired quickly or you are prone to injury? Are you frustrated because you’re running times have plateaued? Do you just want to take your running to the next level? This clinic is taught by pro triathlete and Potomac River Running Store Owner, Margie Shapiro. It begins with an overview of gate analysis and proper shoe selection. It will then move into a high level analysis of running form, most common mistakes made by runners, and how to fix those mistakes. We’ll move outside for a session to turn theory into practice! This is a hands-on clinic, so bring your running gear, your willingness to get “out of your box,” and get ready to learn!
k. Strength Training and Injury Prevention
If you have muscles or a skeletal system this clinic is for you!
This clinic is another of the “DON’T MISS” variety. Kerri Kramer, Ironman finisher and owner of Fast Track Physical Therapy, and Iwan Balcet, personal trainer and ultra marathon runner, put on the “greatest show on earth” for you. This is not a workout, but Kerri and Iwan put you through a series of physical tests to help identify injury risk, imbalances, and opportunities for improved performance.
This clinic is not a stringent test. You will not even break a sweat, but you will receive a score, which is an eye-opening experience for everyone! After the test is complete, they will teach you the exercises to correct your weaknesses and imbalances. You will not want to miss this very cool clinic! And, don’t miss our youtube videos and live boot camp workouts! (link to bootcamp page and youtube)
l. Track Etiquette Clinic
Do speed-heavy workouts and drills look like a foreign language to you? Come learn how to read workouts and how to do drills Team Z style! And learn why EVERYONE, regardless of ability, will gain fitness at the track. Also included are the “ins and outs” of track etiquette (for example, do you know which way you’re supposed to run on a track?). With track practice immediately following the clinic, and boot camp immediately after that, kill THREE birds with one stone!
m. Cycling Technique Clinic
In this clinic, Coach Ed shows off his MAD powerpoint skills, and you’ll get a live example. We will talk about the pedal stroke, and generally how to “use” your bike. We’ll address posture, bike fit, climbing, and descending. We’ll also address gear selection, dropped chains, and panic stops. We will teach you about the common drills that we do during our bike workouts.
n. Cycling Safety and Etiquette Clinic
It’s a boring title, but this clinic is extremely important if you have never been taught the “rules of the road” with regards to road cycling. We will teach you about hand and voice communication that cyclists use. We will talk about the etiquette and expectations of how to operate your bike in a group environment or while riding alone in traffic. You will walk away with TONS of new information, making you and the people around you safer and more confident!
o. Bike Fit and Selection Clinic
Hate your bike? Don’t own one? Think you can’t afford one? Or MUST have a sexy tri bike because you are a triathlete? At this clinic we will talk about the differences in bikes (Tri vs. Road) including how they are designed, what they are designed for, and which type you might want to buy. We’ll talk about what drives cost in terms of frame material and components and about what you should expect for a given budget. We’ll introduce you to other factors such as women’s specific geometry, the importance of proper fit, fit-related pain, and other issues you should be aware of. We’ll address shoes, pedals, where to buy, and where not to buy. We’ll give you our opinions on the local shops and the staff that work there. This is a great clinic for everyone in the market for a bike or bike knowledge!
p. Bike Maintenance Clinic
The Bike Maintenance Clinic is an entry-level clinic intended for you to learn basic safety checks, how to clean and maintain your bike, how to remove and replace wheels, and how to properly change a flat tire. We will talk about what you should carry with you on bike rides and where to carry it. We will also address what you need to buy to maintain your bike (or what substitutes you have at home that will work just fine for now!). We will teach you some basic adjustments for gears and breaks, how to fix ghost shifting, and give you an essential pep talk to make sure you are confident, self-sufficient cyclists!
q. Nutrition Clinic
This clinic features guest speaker Rebecca Mohning. Rebecca teaches for GW University and consults for corporations as well as NCAA Division 1 athletic programs. The clinic lasts one hour and always receives rave reviews from attendees! Rebecca has helped hundreds of Z’ers, from first timers to Ironman finishers, achieve their fitness goals through proper nutrition on and in between race days!
r. Beerz and Gearz Clinic
How cool is this one?! This clinic is a much more detailed explanation of the ins-and-outs of bike maintenance, bike fit, bike zen, pretty much everything bike.
Have a brew or two (or wine, or soda, or whatever) and nerd out on bike questions! We’ll start from scratch and work through an understanding of gearing ratios, compact cranks, cassette terminology and choices, and all sorts to bike things that you’re interested in, even if you don’t know it yet. Want to talk about wheel selection and technology? Tires? Power meters? Bike fit issues? Aerobar types? Anything at all that you have questions about, bring them and we’ll chat. No question is too basic!