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July 14, 2008

5 Olympic Athletes Share Their Workout Secrets

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Julie Swail Ertel, Triathlon

Photo Credit: E. Wright/Getty Images

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JULIE SWAIL ERTEL, TRIATHLON
Working out is a full-time job when you're juggling three sports. Nobody knows this better than Julie Swail Ertel, a 35-year-old SoCal native and 2000 Olympic silver medalist in water polo who puts in 20 hours of cycling, swimming, and running a week.

SECRET WEAPON:
When Ertel incorporated a balancing exercise—standing on one leg for a minute on each side—into her DIY yoga routine a year ago, her running times dropped almost immediately. "Running is just balancing on one leg and then another," she says. Now she does the pose twice a week.

KEEPING IT FRESH:
To stave off boredom, Ertel constantly tries new things: In April, she ran a 3000-meter race at a local community college—and won.

SNEAKER SMARTS:
Running without socks is a recipe for disaster, especially when you have size 12 feet. Ertel combats blisters by plastering them with Band-Aids or coating her feet in a thin layer of Vaseline in humid climates.

WORD TO THE WISE:
Ertel suggests clipping your cycling cleats into your bike pedals at the transition zone before the race. "That way, all you have to do is slide your feet into your shoes, and you're off. It can shave 30 to 45 seconds off your time."

Next Page: Kristin Armstrong: Cycling


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