Team EXCEL is very familiar to the local triathlon scene. As triathletes themselves, the founders of the company wanted to organize a group of like-minded triathletes while they each were training for their own Ironman races. It’s been 20 years since its inception, and yet you’ll still find many athletes proudly wearing their EXCEL gear during the season.

EXCEL physical therapists Jeff Ziegler, PT, MSPT and Bryan Del Rio, PT, MSPT continue the team tradition with their own training and are here to offer advice in response to the frequently asked questions that they’ve fielded from many triathletes over the course of their professional and racing careers. According to Jeff and Bryan, “We’d rather see you at the starting line than in our office!”

Should I kick when I swim?
Yes! There is some prevailing thought to “save your legs” during the swim because you’ll need them for your bike and run. However, by utilizing a steady kick, you will maintain better body alignment, keep your hips high in the water, and actually help your shoulders and neck. Some triathletes will rely on their wetsuit for additional buoyancy but will panic without it if a swim is non-wetsuit legal. By consistently kicking during your workouts, your swim time and efficiency will improve tremendously. 

My main race is flat, should I bother training on hills?
First of all, in north Jersey, it’s nearly impossible to avoid hills. Second, there is always a benefit to training on varying terrain. Hill training will help build overall leg strength, challenge lung capacity, and increase endurance. If your race is flat, definitely spend some time in the aero position working on your handling and overall comfort being in one spot for extended period of time. The hills will provide variety and benefit your top end speed while staying in the saddle.

Do I need separate racing flats from my regular training sneakers for a race?
It depends on what your goals are. Are you trying to win your age group? Have you raced in flats before? Are you more of a seasoned racer? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you can probably benefit from using racing flats, which are typically a few ounces lighter. If you answered no, then it’s likely a better idea to stick with your regular training sneakers. There is no right or wrong answer, but if you plan to wear them to race, you need to wear them while training! The answer can also be related to the distance yo’re racing¾for an Ironman, you may want more support from your shoe, whereas, in a 5k you can get by with something more minimalist.

Do you have more swimming, cycling, or running questions (or maybe just a concern about a nagging ailment you’ve been dealing with)?  Email us or message us on social (@excelptnj) so we can guide you to a resolution.

Bryan Del Rio, PT, MSPT

Bryan Del Rio, PT, MSPT

Regional Clinic Director

10-time Wyckoff Triathlon finisher
3-time Ironman finisher
4-time Half-Ironman finisher
Completed over 30 triathlons overall

Jeff Ziegler, PT, MSPT

Jeff Ziegler, PT, MSPT

Oakland Clinic Director

Finisher of over 50 multi-sport races of varying distances
Multiple time age group winner
High-school and Master’s swim coach
Collegiate swimmer

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