Hot & Bothered Triathletes: Getting Steamed About “Cooling Gear”

hand cooling, hand coolers,

Does carrying ice in your hands actually cool you off enough to improve performance in hot weather?

Hot & Bothered Triathletes: Heat’s Toll on the Athlete’s Body

lava, lava fields, hawaii, hot conditions, heat

Now we're going to take a closer look at how much heat you naturally produce and expel during exercise. That will serve as our basis of comparison when determining if particular types of cooling garments actually live up to expectations.

Hot & Bothered Triathletes: Beat that Heat!

infrared, radiation, thermodynamics

All other forces being equal, nothing slows an athlete down more than the gradual buildup of heat in the body. To avoid overheating (and death!), the body has a variety of ways to dissipate heat during exercise. And here they are.

Hot & Bothered Triathletes: An Introduction to Heat Transfer

ice cube, cooling off, conduction

How does the body deal with heat during a race?

Ask the Scientist: To Glide or Not to Glide, That Is the Question

swimming, swimming stroke rate, swim cadence, triathlon, triathlete

I know there are many different schools of thought on “the best way” to swim. I just have a technical question about one portion of the swim stroke--the glide. Or more precisely, “to glide or not to glide” is the question.

Evil Twins, Triathlon’s Draft Box, and Race Day Interval Workouts

Faster Jim Gourley USA Triathlon draft box

Physicist Jim Gourley examines triathlon's drafting rules - and finds that they could use improvement.

Thinking Inside a Smaller Box: How Current No-Draft Rules Penalize Honest Triathletes

Faster Jim Gourley USA Triathlon draft box

Physicist Jim Gourley examines triathlon's drafting rules - and finds that they could use improvement.

Cheating the Wind: The Physics of Draft-Legal Racing

cyclists, pace line, cycling, drafting

How much of a difference does drafting make in draft-legal triathlons?

How Running Is Like Angry Birds

FASTER: science of triathlon, science of running, running forces

Explaining running efficiency to someone without getting lost in horizontal and vertical forces is tough. Then it occurred to me that there's already an almost universally understood example of how changing the magnitude of our vertical and horizontal force components changes efficiency of movement. It's everyone's favorite smartphone game, Angry Birds.

Ask the Scientist: How much slower are clip-on aerobars?

how to buy your next triathlon bike

How much slower are clip-on aerobars for triathlon bikes?

Good art can illustrate complicated concepts.

FASTER science of triathlon weight loss

The illustrations you see in the book will help you visualize some of the more sophisticated topics and clarify what they mean to you as an athlete. Ironically, as simple as those illustrations make things for you, actually creating them was a challenging process that required several iterations.

Ask the Scientist: Am I a hopeless swimmer?

swimming, coach, professional swimmer, image

A reader asks, "I've spent 6 years trying to swim faster and I can't get below 2:00 100s. Am I hopeless?" Jim Gourley replies, "Best. Question. EVER." See why.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched: Strategy, Superstition and Theory in Triathlon

cyclist, triathlete, triathlete cycling, traithlon

A race strategy that includes predictions about what the elements are going to do has a better chance of surviving that first punch. It's certainly more helpful than a gremlin bell.

Certainty, or: Why Science Informs But Proves Nothing

FASTER by Jim Gourley

Their importance and prevalence in the book is best highlighted by a phrase that never appears—"scientifically proven." There is a very good reason for this, and for why you should always be wary any time you see them in a product advertisement. There is no such thing as "scientifically proven."

Breaking the Law of Averages, Part 3: Let it ride or let ‘er rip?

When riding your bike, your finish time will improve if you push harder into the wind and relax when you go with it. The trick is knowing just how much harder you can push and how much to relax...

Breaking the Law of Averages, Part 2: Wherever the wind may blow, you probably lose

We all like to think that we can buy gear or come up with a strategy to "cheat the wind." But the math shows that you cannot make up time lost riding into the wind by riding faster with the wind at your back. See why.

Breaking the Law of Averages, Part 1: Why it’s so difficult to “even out” your speed

FASTER science of triathlon weight loss

Riding your bike down a hill really fast does not make up for the time you lost while pedaling slowly up the other side. Here's why.

Why a book on the science of triathlon?

FASTER by Jim Gourley

FASTER by Jim GourleyThere are plenty of books out there about triathlon training plans, nutrition, skills and mental toughness, but nothing about the science and physics that go into the sport of triathlon. To my knowledge, FASTER is the first book on the physics of triathlon.

Bike Weight and the Myth of Fast Bikes

the myth of bike weight

Here, I’ll bust the myth of weight savings and reveal the truth about so-called “fast” bikes. To keep it quick, I’ll skip over some of the details that make FASTER a really interesting book.

Swimming: Hard for Triathletes, Even Worse for Scientists

So even after 116 years of Olympic swimming, we're still refining our scientific understanding of the best way to move through the water.

The Tortoise, the Hare, and the Kilocalorie: You Burn the Same Number of Calories Running Fast or Slow

FASTER: science of triathlon, science of running, running forces

One of the more interesting, and perhaps unbelievable, scientific principles brought up in FASTER is the fact that a human uses the same amount of energy to run a given distance no matter how fast he or she runs. Seriously!

The Myth of Aero Bike Frames: A Case Study in Engineering Jargon and Marketing

Cycling Power Output and Wind Resistance

One of the things I discuss in FASTER is how engineering jargon has made its way into advertising.

How to Choose Your Next Tri Bike: An Engineer’s Guide (Step 3)

how to buy your next triathlon bike

Here's a scientifically rigorous way to select the next triathlon bike you are shopping for.

How to Choose Your Next Tri Bike: An Engineer’s Guide (Step 2)

Here's a scientifically rigorous way to select the next triathlon bike you are shopping for.

How to Choose Your Next Tri Bike: An Engineer’s Guide (Step 1)

Here's a scientifically rigorous way to select the next triathlon bike you are shopping for.

Ask the Tri Scientist: I’m already skinny. Will losing more weight make me faster?

Racing Weight runner's body composition body fat

Paul A. asks, "If I am 5' 10", 148 lbs, and about 10% body fat, will losing more weight help me get faster or am I already at the limit?"

How Accurate Is Strava? Is Strava as Accurate as a Power Meter?

Is Strava as accurate as a power meter?

All in all, Strava performed fairly well.

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