For decades now, every October a legion of pro and age-group triathletes descend into the previously sleepy Kona village of the Big Island and turn it into a festival of stress, anxiety and cortisol. Tapering competitors can easily blow their best possible race through the sheer stress of slogging through the week.
Technology can save us from ourselves. Here are five items that can make a huge difference in how you feel and perform at whatever your championship race may be.
Emfit QS. Emfit gives you about the hardest information you can obtain when it comes to measuring heart-rate variability making use of the most valuable recovery time of your day: Sleep. Chronically poor sleep means that you’re short-circuiting any level of optimal hormonal regulation. Performance is left on the table if you’re sleep is off. The Emfit allows you to conduct a personal science project when it comes to quality of sleep. It’s also non-contact. The monitor is placed below your mattress, not stuck to your face or something like that. Easy to set-up, easy to use, and data geeks will love the metrics in the daily report. $299.
Masimo Pulse Oximeter. Masimo puts out the highest quality pulse oximeter for the athletic crowd, and it’s another no-brainer tech that is simple and easy to use out of the box. Wake up, stick your finger in the oximeter, and get your readings: oxygen saturation, pulse, respiration rate and more. You know instantly if you are under-recovered and should just stay in bed or not. From $249.
Thync. Thync is a technology that—without pills or martinis or chemicals of any kind—you can induce a relaxation response with 10 minutes of use. Thync came on my radar when it was endorsed by Dr. Eric Potterat, who as sports psychologists go had what may have been the toughest job in the world—working directly with Navy SEALs to control stress and elevate performance.  From Potterat’s viewpoint, there is no achieving a best performance without the deep recovery that controlling stress can enable. Race morning is one thing—you want to be charging up with cortisol and other hormones that unleash power output—but in a place like Kona, where everyone is walking around bumping into walls stressed out days before the starting cannon, you want to temper the anxiety, fear and stress in the days before (if not weeks, months and years). Potterat says that the Thync is a wearable tech that is based on exactly the right research. $199 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Compex. Electrical muscle stimulation is becoming a whole new category of training. Accelerating recovery is a primary reason to have a Compex. So it’s a good thing to be using on a low-intensity setting in the days before the race. But perhaps most importantly, if you’re flying from Florida or Germany or Australia, using a Compex on the plane can mitigate the biochemical disaster that flying douses your muscles with. From $249 and up.

2XU Recovery Compression. Wear them on the plane. Sleep in them. Wander around in them. The science behind compression for preparing muscles for race day is solid. And along with EMS, a great way to buffer plane travel. $119.95.

T.J. Murphy is the editor of LAVA Magazine. Contact him here and follow him on Twitter @burning_runner.
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