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by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.)
Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach

Successfully competing in endurance sports such as triathlon – which is mostly completed in hot environments requires close attention to adequately fuelling and refuelling your body with appropriate fluids and foods consistently.

Rod Cedaro

Fluids: Stay Adequately Hydrated

As an endurance athlete, especially a triathlete who trains and competes in hot and humid weather conditions, your biggest potential problem is the constant risk of dehydration. This risk becomes greater the longer you train or compete and/or when you train more than once a day – which for most triathletes is commonplace.

Some points to consider:
• If you lose too much fluid in sweat without replacing what’s been lost (in both fluids and electrolytes like sodium and potassium), you risk becoming dehydrated, plain and simple. Research has shown that even partial dehydration (2% loss of body weight) can decrease performance significantly (e.g. By 2% even at this marginal rate of dehydration).

• The best way of battling this fluid loss is by using a “sports drink” (e.g. Gatorade) which will help by replacing both fluid and electrolytes. “Energy drinks” on the other hand (e.g. Red Bull) have the potential to do more harm than good.

• When you consider (even at an age-group level) that the difference between top finishers is often less than a minute, you can’t afford to lose time due to dehydration.

There’s a right and wrong way to hydrate:

You can “over-hydrate” so have a hydration plan in place before training and competing.

• Remain hydrated throughout the day, be sure to turn up to training/competitions well hydrated. If you start even partially dehydrated you’re already behind the 8 ball. Make sure you’re urinating clearly throughout the day BEFORE you start training/competing. To achieve this start the day by grabbing a sports drink, then using water bubblers, drinking fountains, office coolers, and other beverages/dispensers regularly throughout the day.

• Hydrate 2 to 3 hours before training and competitions. Aim for 2 cups (500ml) of fluid at this time and an additional 250ml 10 to 20 minutes before you start training/competing.

• Drink to replace sweat; don’t over-drink. In-experienced triathletes, particularly those who are a little slower in competition can have a tendency to drink too much and run the risk over-hydrating, which can lead to “hyponatremia” – particularly if they are drinking low sodium beverages like water or flat Coke. The easiest way to offset the chance of suffering from hyponatremia is by knowing how much fluid your body requires (see sweat rate chart below).

Knowing your sweat rate is pretty simple. To determine your fluid requirements simply monitor your sweat rates. These can vary for each person and for the same person depending on weather, exercise intensity of exercise, acclimatization status, etc.

So be sure to measure:

How much weight you lose during exercise (in mg) + How much fluid you consume during exercise (in ml) = The amount they SHOULD drink to replace sweat losses

Altitude Services sponsored boxer Randy “Ultratune” Petalcorin win the world title!

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Rod Cedaro altitude servicesWatch Altitude Services sponsored boxer – Randy “Ultratune” Petalcorin claim his World Title vs Walter Tello in Shanghai, China.

We’re hoping it is the first of many for Altitude Services sponsored athletes. As a young altitude simulation company our systems have produced Group 1 winning race horses and now a boxing world title holder – not bad in less than 12 months! We have worked with Randy in areas of his training and  as he said after the fight:

My training going into this event was perfect. The altitude training gave me the edge. I finished the fight in the seventh round and felt strong throughout”



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Rod Cedaro knee painText by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Sports Physiologist

ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach

The three disciplines of triathlon place different demands on triathletes: Technically speaking, swimming is the most demanding, from a time efficiency perspective cycling is the most costly, while running, physically, is the most demanding on the body. With this in mind I thought we’d focus on the duress the running places through probably the most susceptible joint in the body – the knee.

First up, you need to identify what “sort” of knee pain your experiencing before you can hope to remedy it.

Here following is a quick checklist of problems and some suggested ways of alleviating them.


a. Your knee “aches.” Q: Does your knee feel stiff through the front and/or medial (inner) side of your kneecap? Is it worse after sitting or kneeling? Does it hurt more walking down steps? Does the pain go away after you warm up? If you’ve answered “yes” to most of these questions chances are your suffering “Patellofemoral pain”, see 1 below for suggested cure.

b. The outside section of your knee aches.

Q: Are you doing track sessions and or putting in some big training volume – during your long training sessions the knee aches and then the pain dissipates shortly thereafter.

You’re probably suffering from “Iliotibial band syndrome” (ITBS), see 2 below.

c. The front of your knee aches and it seems to get worse the more you run Q: Is the pain in the front of the knee just below patella (kneecap)? Have you recently added more training volume in on the run? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you’re probably suffering from “Patellar tendinitis”, see 3 below.

d. You’ve been running a lot of late and you’ve got knee pain that seems to be “under” knee cap. Q: Is your knee swollen? Have you run a lot of kms in the same shoes?

If this is the case, you may have Osteoarthritis, see 4 below.

Some suggested cures:

1. Patellofemoral pain is often caused by alignment problems which in turn can damage the articulating surface of the kneecap (what is slides on), cause excessive pronation and/or muscle/tendon weakness or tightness. Often times you can “run through” this sort of pain, but you’re going to need to back off volume, hills and intensity. Some strength training, wearing a knee brace, taping your arches or wearing an orthotic, and replacing worn shoes or wearing motion-control shoes can help to realign your knee and alleviate this problem.

2. (ITBS) occurs when the IT band, which runs from the hip down and across the knee becomes tight and inflamed. Athletes that over-pronation and/or are bow-legged often suffer from this problem. If you get on to it quickly you can recover in one to four weeks. Take anti-inflammatories one to two hours before you run, stretch your ITB’s pre and post run and ice the distal part of your ITB post-run. In the short term you may need to decrease of your training volume and intensity and stay out of the hills. If you’re doing track sessions mix them up – do half the session clockwise and the other half anti-clockwise. If the problem persists you may need taping or or orthotics.

3. Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of one patella tendon. Tendinitis occurs when tissue breakdown outpaces re-growth. It is often caused by a sudden increase in training volume, adding in more hill work and/or quality work. If you try to “run through” this sort of an injury it’ll only get worse. It is an “overuse” injury in the true sense of the term. You need to give you knee time to recover. If treated early, it can heal in a few weeks. Focus on your swimming and cycling while the knee is healing, take some anti-inflammatories (under doctor’s direction), ice the knee, try wearing a patella strap to lift the knee cap, stretch and strengthen your quads – straight leg lifts with the leg fully extended and the foot weighted can be helpful here.

Rod Cedaro osteoarthritus4 Osteoarthritis occurs from wear and tear of cartilage. It can flare up on a run or even when you’re out for a leisurely walk depending on how bad it is and how old you are. The good news is, if you keep your run training to a moderate level you should be okay. Simply manipulate your training volume/intensity around the symptoms. Change your running shoes over regularly – you’ll generally get about 400-700km out of a pair of shoes max – if you’re suffering from osteoarthritis turn your shoes over after 400km max. Make sure you’ve got a good strength training program that focuses on the supportive muscles of the knee joint to lessen the load on it (i.e. Hamstrings, quads, shins, and gluteals). You might also consider a knee brace and taking nutritional supplements of chondroitin and glucosamine.

Speaking of chondroitin and glucosamine – normally I don’t recommend supplements, but I must say from having read the research and personal experience glucosamine and chondroitin appear to be the real deal. A recent internet poll on the popular Runner’s World website found that 79.8 percent of those that have used this supplement reported that their symptoms had either “somewhat improved” or “greatly improved” after taking glucosamine and/or chondroitin. Less than one percent reported that “things got worse” after taking the supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin both occur naturally in the body. Most commercial glucosamine comes from the exo-skeleton of shellfish, and most commercial chondroitin from cow or shark cartilage. Both have relatively low rates of absorption from the intestines, and yet both are said to promote healing of the articular cartilage in joints. It’s the wearing away of this cartilage that causes the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. It is the trauma of running over extended periods of time that wears away on these articulating surfaces and the knees and hips of older athletes are particularly at risk simply because of the volume of training that has been done. Having said that, there are no actual studies that conclusively show that running “causes” (or for that matter, doesn’t cause) osteoarthritis.

The problem: All existing studies are cross-sectional in nature. As such they can only provide a snapshot of a given group of runners at a given time. They don’t account for injured runners who might have stopped running before the study was conducted and why they stopped. What is needed is a comprehensive prospective study – looking at the same athletes over extended periods of time – such research is more likely to prove/disprove the running-osteoarthritis connection.

The medical literature in support of glucosamine/chondroitin is however cautiously positive. Although some scepticism persists as many of these studies have been funded by supplement manufacturers with vested interests. A recent meta-analysis of studies (i.e. Where the results of a number of studies are tallied and reviewed) demonstrated on the whole positive outcomes. The paper concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin were “effective” treating several outcomes measures of osteoarthritis. While several other meta-analyses studies have reached similar conclusions, most in the scientific community believe that the jury is still out.

Personal experience on both myself and some of the older runners and triathletes I work with, would suggest it is money well spent!




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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach (DUNCAN)

The human foot is a remarkable piece of engineering design. It is a shock-absorber like no other. When you consider, even running at a moderate pace a 70 kilogram athlete will put something in the vicinity of 126,000 kilograms through each foot every kilometre they run, it really puts things into perspective as to why the foot is vulnerable to injury if something goes astray.

With each stride, the five long bones that run from your arch to your toes, your metatarsals, act as shock-absorbers. As you toe off when running, your body weight is transferred directly onto your metatarsals. If that resultant weight distribution is uneven when it hits the road for whatever reason (e.g. Poor shoe mechanics, tight calves, etc.), the metatarsals can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in the dreaded “metatarsalgia”.

Rod Cedaro metatarsalgia

Many people describe this irritation as feeling like a burning, stabbing, or aching pain at the “head” of the bone, just beneath the toes. Some describe it like feeling that they have a stone stuck in their shoe. It is generally worse on standing, walking and especially running and subsides when you sit or lie and take the load off the region. While the ailment can come on abruptly after working on hard surfaces and running hard in poorly cushioned shoes, it tends to develop over time and effects all foot types equally.

How do you go about preventing metatarsalgia? The answer is often as simple as appropriate shoe choice. Athletes with neutral to flat feet should look for shoes with a wide toe-box and a dome-shaped metatarsal pad, these will protect the metatarsal heads from pounding. If on the other hand you have high arches – which is a foot type known for poor shoe absorption, you may benefit from a shoe that provides extra cushioning that deflects pressure from the bones. While shoes play a considerable roll in lowering the incidence of this ailment, improving your own foot mechanics won’t go astray either! Strengthening the sole of the foot helps to prevent it from flattening, which protects the metatarsals from impact. Strengthening through the plantar muscles will help to control excessive over-pronation which is one of the major causes of metatarsalgia. Try some of the following exercises:

[i] Pick up a marble with your toes, hold for a count of five, and release. Start at the big toe and repeat, working your way down to the little toe. Repeat three times.

[ii] Screw up sheets of newspaper with your toes, hold the movement at the end of the paper screwing for 10 seconds and repeat 10-15 times. If you do develop metatarsalgia, initially give your feet a break – it is an “overuse” injury – so stop the use, comeback to training initially with lowered volume and run on softer surfaces like a golf course to lessen the impact shock. If you do experience pain in the front part of the ball of your foot, get on to it early! Treat such symptoms aggressively with the “RICE” principal (rest, elevation, ice and compression) during the first 24 hours and take anti-inflammatories if need be.

Then see a sports physician if need be and/or a podiatrist if your symptoms persist. At that point you may need to have a callus shaved, a metatarsal pad inserted or appropriate orthotics designed. Untreated this syndrome can become chronic and debilitating leading to joint swelling, bone bruising, chronic stiffness and loss of joint range which can create a vicious cycle. As per any ailment, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of treatment.

 Rod Cedaro

What is a Triathlon?

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triathlon_rod cedaroTriathlon is a competition that is run in multiple stages and which requires the completion of three different endurance disciplines. There are multiple types of sports which can be included in a triathlon event, but most of the time it includes running, swimming and cycling.

The first triathlon event was held back in 1920 in France, and it quickly became a very popular. Swimming, running and biking alone are sports that require a lot of effort to be practiced, but the fact that triathlon combines them and you need to perform them one after another does test the limits of your body. It definitely tests the endurance of the participants!

The first modern triathlon that included swimming, biking and running events was held in San Diego on 25 September 1974. Since then, numerous other similar events were held, and most of them follow the same organizational and rule pattern. The sport debuted as an Olympic program at Sydney back in 2000, and it has been included in each edition that ran from that day.

Triathlon divides its participants based on sex and age, but experience is also very important during the selection process. What’s more, it comes with its own set of rules that apply to all three competitions, while others are only application to each competition by itself. Most of the time, the violations come in the form of time penalties that can span between 1 and 12 minutes, depending on the gravity of the violation, but also on the duration of the overall race.

There is a set of rules that comes as applicable to all these disciplines.  For example, if anyone leaves the marked course, he needs to re-enter the course in the exact place. On top of that, participants aren’t allowed to do anything that places other persons in danger. Also, no personal audio devices can be used during a race, not to mention the fact that no outside assistance is allowed, other than the race official.

What’s more, this sport became so popular that we now have numerous non-standard variations, such as aquabike, aquatlon, duathlon, equilateral triathlon, formula one triathlon, indoor triathlon, ultraman triathlon or winter triathlon. The defining elements of these variations is that they still include three events, but they are different to the normal ones. For example, the winter triathlon includes skiing, mountain biking and speed skating.

Most triathletes compete in special suits that were specifically bought or created for this event. In addition, triathlon events are widely known for their transparency, with results being posted on official websites.

What encourages more and more people towards this sport is that it test the endurance and strength of all competitors. The long distances surely help people see how resistant and well trained they are. There are numerous people that don’t get to finish the race, yet it’s still one of the most competitive sports out there. Winning such an event requires you to have good timing and pacing. Triathlon is a testament of endurance and strength, and it’s just a pleasure to watch, let alone compete.

Rod Cedaro