Monthly Archives

May 2015

Meet the Athlete: Karen

By | Fitness, Fuel, Meet the Athlete, Triathlon | No Comments

Meet the Athlete: Karen O’Neill, newly engaged Irish triathlete!

Current place of residence: Ventura, CA

Hometown/place of birth: Dublin, Ireland

Day job: Controller

Favorite sports or hobbies (besides triathlon): Reading, Wine tasting

Current (2015) triathlon goal: To beat my last time at the SB Long Course Triathlon

Best triathlon race leg (swim, bike, run, T1, T2, beer garden): Beer Garden!

Dream race: Warm water swim, downhill bike, and 3 mile run 😉

Race mantra: “There’s a cold beer at the finish line. You just have to get there.”

When/how/why did you start triathlon? Three years ago my friend Mariel convinced me to register with Team in Training for a triathlon. It’s all her fault.

Hardest race you’ve ever completed: Ironman AZ 2013 due to the length of the race. I was ready to be done after the bike leg. But I got a hug from Pat in T2 and he told me I could finish it. So I did.

Most memorable training and/or race moment(s): It’s always wonderful to see friends along the way and at the finish line. It’s what makes it every time for me.

Words of wisdom to someone considering training for their first triathlon/endurance event: You can do anything you put your mind to. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And don’t forget to have some rest days too.

Something you’ve learned about yourself through triathlon/endurance sport: That I can actually keep going even though I feel like stopping. And I’m not afraid of open water anymore, well maybe just waves.

Pre-race ritual or superstition: A checklist with all items needed

Training/racing “secrets”: Tri-slide- it’s so useful

Training/racing pet peeve: Sometimes there are not enough days in the week to fit it all in

Why do you keep Tri-ing? It’s fun! I’ve met a lot of great people, and triathletes are a social and friendly bunch.

What does “Fuel” mean to you? Fuel to me means the gas in the tank

What does being “Fit” mean to you? Being able to do things without being out of breath

Pick one:

Long swim, long ride or long run? Long ride, even though I’m slow
Open water or pool? Pool- sometimes the dark depths in open water scare me
Trail or track? Track
Solo or group training? A bit of both
Chocolate or cheese? Cheese
Watch on your left wrist or right? Left
Morning or evening workout? Morning
Hat or visor? Visor
Swim cap or no cap? Cap
Cheerios or Wheaties? Neither
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Tea!

Want to see yourself featured in a future edition of M.T.A.? All BrittFit Athletes are eligible. You could be next!

Iron Legs

By | Coaching, Fitness, Triathlon | No Comments

Nearly 5 years ago, my parents and I embarked on a journey across the world- to New Zealand.  It was an unforgettable time…

For two weeks, we drove the entire length of the north and south islands, explored, tasted, and admired the landscape, foods, and local culture.  We stayed in many-a hotel, and were in the car for 10+ hours most days.  The lack of routine exercise was a huge challenge for me, after having spent nearly every day since age 13 training for swimming, running, and/or triathlon!  So, I decided that every morning before breakfast I would complete a very short, very intense, exercise routine without even leaving the hotel room.  While the number of sets and repetitions varied from day to day, and some exercises came and went, the following leg set has been a staple of mine ever since.  I am a firm believer that it played a huge role in allowing me to maintain leg strength and muscular endurance with zero running, and heaps of sitting, throughout my 2-week excursion.  It has also been my go-to for leg injury prevention ever since!

This short routine, performed correctly and consistently, will target your core, improve your balance, and strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and adductors–all desirable functions for runners, cyclists, and triathletes hoping to avoid injury and improve performance!!

Britt’s “Iron Leg” Routine (1-3 sets of 5-15 of each exercise per leg)

1-leg squats
1-leg power hops (aka. “tuck jumps”)
1-leg calf raises

Words of Caution

1-leg squats can cause more harm then good if not done correctly!  Please do not attempt more than you can complete with proper form.  Perform squats in a slow, controlled, balanced, motion.  Use a mirror to check that your alignment is correct (hip not sticking out to the side; hip, knee & foot in-line).  Also be sure to emphasize “sitting back” vs. leaning forward.  Knee should not move forward beyond front toe position during squat.

1-leg power hops should only be attempted by athletes with healthy knees and plenty of double-leg jumping/hopping practice. Be sure to land each hop on the ball of your foot and not on your heel.  Additionally, 1-leg calf raises should only be performed to the extent that calf strength is sufficient to support bodyweight during the exercise.  Otherwise, the calf and/or achilles tendon may be over-stressed.  Listen to your body–don’t over-do it!

Finally, proper run/gym shoes are allowed (and even recommended)!


  • Use a chair for the 1-leg squats, or use 2-legs
  • Mini hops before (or instead of) power hops
  • Perform each exercise in isolation vs. in succession
  • Use 2-legs for everything