Tiago Costa


Internet entrepreneur, kitesurfer and triathlete (Ironman Finisher). Founder of WayNext – digital agency and other companies. Blogging for myself, this is not the agency voice. Welcome!

19 June 2014
by Tiago Costa
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Everything needs to go mobile on the web, really

Yesterday I came across this fabulous post by Avinash, which I added to my Readability list to go through in the quiet night at home, in my iPad, of course (yes, mobile). So there a couple of very good pieces of advice on his post that one can not stress enough:

1. The famous excuse that no one will be buying it from their phones because it’s still a PITA to fill out an order form on it. Yes, that might be true (even on the such great ecommerce experiences as the one Abercrombie has to offer), yet, people might just take a spare minute on the subway to browse for shopping items hoping to buy them later on a desktop computer or at the store:

 

Now, I was not looking to buy on my phone. I had a few minutes, I wanted to research the inventory and go buy it at a local store. Guess what store I did not go to buy my camera? I call it the silent death from not having an acceptable mobile strategy – you don’t even know you are getting killed. And you are guessing why store sales are down (and because of such a simple fix!).

(…)

It used to be silly to not have a smart phone and tablet friendly experiences of your digital existence. It is now profoundly harmful to your bottom-line. Silent death.

2. You need to make sure where your customer stands. If I know nothing about the product or service don’t start by making me fill out a tedious form because first I need to make sure that what you are offering matches my needs. If I would like a sales rep talk on the phone, I would have called in. I want to learn by myself first and then maybe I’ll get in touch. Or else your site is like:

(…) the person that comes to a first date completely naked. If you are not interested in jumping into bed right away, they are happy to walk around the bar and look for someone else. They care that deeply about you. On. The. First. Date!

3. Personalization and reviews do matter. I should be able to filter out what I don’t want and your website can focus on my needs. If I’m shopping for some brand new tennis shoes, let me state my needs upfront (maybe I’m a pronator or I want some really light competition shoes) and make the whole experience more worth-some. Also, if  I can related to other buyers I will be more at ease to commit with buying so reviews are as good as they came.

4. Make it easy and straight forward. Again, just try Abercrombie european ecommerce site and you’ll find a really great online shopping experience.

 

If you care for ecommerce user experience make sure you take 10 minutes to read the full article here.

8 June 2014
by Tiago Costa
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Training races – half ironman distance triathlon

Last weekend I’ve ran my last preparation race for the Ironman. This time it was the first edition of Sevilla’s half ironman distance triathlon. I have also ran Iberman at Ayamonte Spain and of course, Lisbon Triathlon. This were the three major events on my preparation plan leading up to the Ironman.

Below you can find a recap of the results.

Iberman Ayamonte – Spain – 22-Mar-2014
Overall position 106
Age group position 24/46 (35/39yo)

Time splits
Swim 39m36s
Bike 2h28m51s (the course was 80km long)
Run 1h42m25s
Total 4h48m53s

IbermanFor this race we could only get about 3 hours sleep because of traveling and time difference. Then when got to the start the day was cold and rainy, I remember we had to setup the bikes under some rain. We then went on a boat that took us to the start of the swim but the starting gun went off even before we had the chance to swim from the boat to the start line. During the first half of the bike we faced strong head winds so the average speed was slow, but we managed to improve on the way back to the T2. The run was also a bit windy and I had some stomach pain for the last 8 km or so.

Lisbon Triathlon – Portugal – 03-May-2014

Overall position 227 (in 565 atheletes)
Age group position 69/138 (35/39yo)

Time splits
Swim – 34m09
T1 – 3m35
Bike – 2h51m35
T2 – 2m12
Run – 1h32m35s
Total – 5h04m24s

Lisbon TriathlonThis is a race course I know very well and it was my first half ironman distance triathlon! The day was again a bit windy putting some pressure on the bike and run. I felt slower than I really was on the bike and I was still going strong in the end and managed to run a good half marathon. This stands as a PB for now (not considering Iberman because the bike was shorter than 90km).

Triatlón de Sevilla – Spain – 31-May-2014

Overall position 210 (in 388 atheletes)
Age group position 144/247 (35/39yo)

Time splits (including transitions)
Swim – 35m47
T1 – 3m35
Bike – 3h11m20
T2 – 2m12
Run – 1h47m17s
Total – 5h34m24s

Sevilla TriatlónFirst I must say I really enjoyed this race, the venue is really good and everything was well planned. Of course Sevilla by the end of May is always a very warm place and the temperature reached 38C by mid-afternoon. The race started at 3.30pm and wetsuits were not allowed since the water temp was around 24C. The swim went pretty well even if I believe I was beaten several times but this is because I’m getting a bit faster on the water (I didn’t had this problem when I was a completely back of the pack swimmer). The bike split was good, an interesting one lap course with some 2 or 3 tough hills and almost no flat terrain – there was always a little up or down grade. Then the race was the hard part to manage, it was very hot and I could not hydrate well because of some stomach pain so the last 5km were hard to go through in all the heat and dehydration. Overall it was a hard race, but a good training towards the Ironman.

8 May 2014
by Tiago Costa
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Ironman training in progress here

It has been a while since I last wrote here. Things have been pretty hectic between work, family and training – well I might as well say life is being pretty hectic!

Anyway I’m enjoying all of this, I feel like I’m living at the fullest and all this positive energy keeps the blood flowing in my veins even when the muscles feel tired from all the workouts.

I feel I’m a bit sleep deprived, but, who isn’t? The weird thing is that I’m logging anywhere between 5 to 7 hours per night, yet I manage to wake up easily sometimes even before the alarm clock starts buzzing.

I believe this is the second post I’m writing aboard of an airplane, this time we are flying to Stockholm for a short weekend break. It will be nice to change the routine for a few days even if there are some workouts already planned and sports gear in my luggage!

The Ironman is about 10 weeks out and I still feel I have a lot to do to be ready for it. I still believe I can do better on the bike and I feel the need to go faster. Of course it’s easier said than done, when you go up in the saddle logging 3 to 5 hours everything seems harder.

For the last weeks the training plan is being fairly steady, putting in 2 swim sessions a week (with the swim masters), 3 indoor bike sessions (2 sessions on the trainer and 1 group class), 3 running sessions (including 1 long run per week), 1 long bike ride (going up to 120k until now) and 2 core and strength workouts. Considering only training time (no logistics, proper eating or commuting) it adds up to 14/18 hours per week meaning before you are an Ironman you get to be what I like to call a master time juggler 🙂 with no time to waste.

Although I train at night 3 times a week I’m all into waking really early and getting things done. It’s the best way to make sure no random event during the day will force you to skip any session.

Coming from a running background I was used to log the distance without any additional workout (besides some kitesurfing) and I had not set foot in the gym for quite some years. Now preparing for the Ironman I quickly understood that it would not be feasible to skip the gym specially because of the core and strength workouts which I think are the reason why my body is not falling apart with all the volume. I now better understand the impact of the strength workout on the other sports – legs and knees feel stronger for the run and bike and abs help you support your body weight with a better posture.

Even if I’m logging fewer km per week than what I’m used to prepare for a marathon, my overall pace seems to be increasing so I guess I’m reaping the benefits of this cross training structure.

Regarding the Ironman I still have to push a bit more on the bike since I would like to be able to sustain the 30km/h for the whole 180km and I have to figure out some things on the nutrition side, because there is still room for improvement to make sure my stomach just won’t shut down after 6 or 8 hours into the race. On the swimming part I recently broke the 43s barrier for the 50m (which is still pretty slow compared to the guys on the masters class, but it was a nice improvement for me). I must do some more long open water sessions to make sure I’m at ease with the 3.8km but I don’t expect a significant pace improvement on the water. Regarding the running part I would be happy to log the 42k anywhere under 4 hours, so a under 12 hours Ironman is what I would be looking for, let’s hope everything goes according to the plan.

This whole triathlon thing has a lot more moving parts than running. Logistics is much more complex, a lot more gear is needed (the bike is something that requires much attention – saddle, tires and flat tires, bike fit, bike shoes, CO2, trainer wheels, cadence sensor…), nutrition goes to a whole different level, so I just hope in the end I’m able to manage all things like it is needed and reach the finish line in a decent shape.

In the end I feel like consistency is very important, you need to put in the training, day in, day out. It is very easy to find an excuse for skipping some training (work, social activities with family and friends, plain bad days, sore muscles, overall fatigue). Yet you need to keep on pushing with “mind over body” control, because it is also going to be hard when you reach 20km into the marathon after more than 10 hours of race, right? 🙂

26 February 2014
by Tiago Costa
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Sevilla Marathon

Sevilla Marathon

Sevilla Marathon Bib

Last Sunday me and a bunch of Portuguese runners have raced Sevilla’s Marathon. I now understand why people talk about it so much, because the course is really great and flat, the weather was fantastic (for February), even if a bit chilly when we started (7/8C) and having the finish line inside the olympic stadium is a really nice experience. The race finished  with almost a full lap on the track inside the stadium with people roaring all around and that is a really a nice feeling.

Having been a bit sick twice in the same week, first with a little fever and then with a cold I didn’t had high hopes for the race, wondering if my lungs would hold it or make me retire. Anyway I have managed to keep going at an average speed of 5m/km during all the race and have passed the half marathon mark at 1h45m exactly. The last half was a bit slower because legs started feeling tired, I did need a WC pitstop and also because I had to walk through 2 aid stations because they were handing out water on cups instead of bottles and that was the only way I could drink (and boy, I was thirsty).

Olympic Stadium Sevilla

Finish line for Sevilla Marathon inside the Olympic Stadium

All things combined I finished with 3h33m14s, which is about 13m more than my marathon PB, but I still consider it a good result, since I have not been focusing only on running on the past few months. I felt stronger and with less back issues throughout the course meaning the core exercises are working.

To finish this post I must write about what happened after the race, because the race was really really awesome, surely one of the best I have ran but the parking logistics put the organization to shame. When we got back to the car, that was parked inside the olympic stadium parking (where the volunteers pointed us to), we got stuck for about 2 hours until we could leave. I am not sure whether the organization had that planned or if something went south, but it was a shame and a real show stopper when everything had been so smooth. It might not seem like such a great deal, but I had relatives waiting for me in the city center for lunch, the apartment keys had to be returned, I was left with nowhere to bath (saved by a friend…) and lost most of the afternoon just trying to fix things because of this time waste. Everything was so great, with the stadium being both the sweet and sour of the day…

2 February 2014
by Tiago Costa
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Ironman Frankfurt 2014 – Training in progress

It’s been a while since I last wrote on this blog. First it was the holiday season and then the training season for the IM has picked up and is now on full steam.

A lot of very interesting things have been happening in the last few weeks related to this triathlon. First on the 6th January real focused IM training has began

Don Fink - Be Iron FitAfter reading Don Fink‘s book and a lot of other training literature I have decided to follow his plan. This will be my first time trying to follow a real training plan (for all the races I have entered before I didn’t had a strict written down plan, but this time is different). The good thing about Don Fink’s plan is that it was designed to match busy agendas of people who put in above average hours at work and then also have families to take care of. So the plan is “less” (I have to use quotes on less…) demanding during the week and allows you to fit the long training sessions on the weekends. I sense it is a program very focused on achieving your goal, which in my case (and for now) is only about finishing the race in decent shape – it’s probably not the program if your goal is to race a sub-10h IM, but if you would be into that you would probably need a specific coach and a book plan would not be an option.

Anyway, when I write “less” demanding this is not to be taken lightly because it still needs you to commit 10-14 hours per week and that will most likely mean putting 2 training sessions in a couple of days per week. Anyway Don Fink does the math, your week has 168 hours, so we are talking about 8% of your week being committed to training for which, if you have a reasonably demanding career and family will mean that before you manage to be an IM you will be a master time juggler 😉

Another interesting premise on Don Fink’s plan is that you should not train miles, but time. He believes the best training results come from training for a certain time at a certain heart rate zone. So this are your basic units: time and heart rate; you don’t go out for a 50km bike ride, you go out for a 90m bike ride at Z1-Z2. You can calculate your approximate heart rate zones but I advise you to get tested at some medical facility, because this are average zones that may not apply to you. You should also run a medical check-up before starting all this, but if you are considering an IM you probably have been there already. Just for the sake of example, my running HR zones would be something like this:

Zone 4 – 167/177 – Anaerobic training
Zone 3 – 160/166 – Middle zone, no man’s land (don’t waste time at)
Zone 2 – 140/158 – High end aerobic training
Zone 1 – 121 / 138 – Low end aerobic training

I still have a bit more to write about training with an Ultraman (oh yeah!) and the new TT bike (and its challenges) but I will have to leave it to another post. My time juggler skills require me to quit writing now!

 

9 December 2013
by Tiago Costa
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WayTrends is your source for digital marketing trends from WayNext

WayTrends Digital Marketing at WayNext

WayTrends Digital Marketing at WayNext

Back in September 2012 we decided to create a digital trends blog at WayNext. We have done so because each week the whole team reads and shares a lot of content about all the good (and some bad) things that are trending on digital marketing.

We decided we should curate that content and pick and make the best pieces available to anyone interested. Since then, first on a monthly basis and now recently on a weekly basis you will be able to find a new post, bringing together the best things we have learned during the past 7 days. We also try to add our own insight on the most relevant issues, since most of them are very related on our daily work experience.

On WayTrends we try to cover a variety of themes, going from social media (where every week seems like a whole year in terms of new shining things – most of the times somewhat irrelevant, but not always), mobile, search, advertising, digital economy, usability and accessibility, design, coding, etc.

Personally I have written or reviewed some of the posts and I think they are valuable for anyone who is on a short schedule but still wants to know what is going on on digital marketing. Have a look!

8 December 2013
by Tiago Costa
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Another good training weekend: biking + running

Things keep going road to IM. Yesterday after some equipment trouble we managed to complete 100km on the bike, going at 35/38km/h a good part of the ride (which is waaaaay above my regular speed average) – I was drafting behind a couple of friends.

Today I was at Meia Maratona dos Descobrimentos (half marathon) completed in 1h32m25s. The day was chilling (for Lisbon weather 😉 at about 5C at the time of the race start, but overall it was a nice day to run.

On a professional note I must say this race’s website is pretty bad.

Meia Maratona dos Descobrimentos 2013

Meia Maratona dos Descobrimentos 2013

24 November 2013
by Tiago Costa
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Pre-season for IM Frankfurt

While the real deal will only start in January I have been trying to gain some endurance, specially on the bike and in the water.

Yesterday I had a really nice brick putting together 90m on the swimming pool, 60m on the turbo and topping up with another 60m run.

Today there was a ride with some friends. I went out for a 2 hour ride but things got interesting and it took us about 5 hours to complete 110km going through some tough uphills. It was an excellent ride since I really need to put in the hours on the bike. More to come, soon.

12 November 2013
by Tiago Costa
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Lisbon Marathon 2013

On the 6th October of 2013 I ran my 4th marathon. Even tough I was not as excited as on the previous races, a marathon is a marathon and those 42.195m should always be respected.

This is the first time in many years that Lisbon marathon offers runners the most amazing course, departing from the center of Cascais and then running mostly along the sea and the river until the finish line at Parque das Nações in Lisboa.

I had no particular goal for this race because it is now larger of a bigger plan to conquer the world… well, maybe not. Maybe it was just part of a bigger plan which is getting in shape to make it through Ironman Frankfurt 2014.

I finished with 3h26 which means I was above my PR by 6 minutes, but I was expecting that because my training is now split across biking and swimming as well. I knew I hadn’t logged so many km while preparing for the race because the training hours were being split and also because I felt confident that I could still make it with less training km even if I had to let go the goal of breaking my PR.

And I happy I didn’t put a lot more effort because race day came to be a very hot day with the temperatures around 26/28C meaning that breaking a PR would be really hard. Besides I clearly felt my batteries running out about 8km before the finish line (meaning those last km were made in pain, but I guess that comes with the territory when you decide to run any marathon).

For future reference here are the time splits and overall ranking.

Chip 3:26:31
 K10 0:51:25
 K21 1:44:18
 K30 2:27:19
 K32 2:36:36
 K33 2:45:19
 K36 2:57:03
 K40 3:20:11

 

Age Group Ranking: 53 (Seniors Males)
Gender Ranking: 223 (M)
Overall Ranking: 234

7 October 2013
by Tiago Costa
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Exercise, cardiac health and lifespan

Just a bit more than a week before my 4th marathon and at a time when I am increasing my training volume after the summer I came across this interesting yet scary TEDx video:

Dr. James O’Keefe Jr. is a cardiology researcher and (was) an exercise junkie until he followed some previous studies and also conducted his own research that show no positive correlation between exercise junkies (as in long endurance races) and overall cardiac health. To be even more clear he comes to the conclusion (and I guess it doesn’t take a genious for this insight) that just like in every other thing, overdoing something is never good.

If you take the time to watch the video you will find some hard evidence showing that while there are cardiac health benefits from exercising regularly like 3/5 times a week with moderate effort and duration (ie, less than 1 hour per session) but when you go above that threshold you get on other end of the curve meaning that no only the marginal increase in terms of health benefits become smaller but you can go all the way to seriously hurt your health.

His video and presentation is supported by several different studies and they all point to the same not so so good conclusion, at least for people that like me think that running 42km might be fun. Because when you are training to run a marathon you will most likely be logging more then 50km per week. Even if this distance would mean something like 5 hours spread on 5 different sessions you will also need to go out on the long runs for 20/30/35km, meaning that if you are an average runner you will be out there running for more than 3 hours, way above the “recommended” threshold considering cardiac health benefits. And I will not even go to describe the long bike sessions for Ironman triathlon training

But Dr. James O’Keefe Jr. brings even more terrifying evidence showing that not only will your heart present muscular tissue damage after such a long effort (which will self heal within some days just like all the other muscles on your legs) but it seems that permanent damage is also done with the heart tissue becoming rigid and leading to severe conditions after years of abuse.

Most people would think that runners and other athletes should be very healthy people but when you are on the inside you know that that is not always the case. For instance I don’t seem to be able to find any runner that takes it seriously and runs a couple of races every season that can claim that he or she has never had any trouble (yes, I’m looking at you knee, feet and ankle).

So just like my better half is always joking, we runners are all healthy until we are not. Most likely we have all had some pain here and there and that has probably lead us to some time off (weeks or even months) to recover; meaning that the “healthy” athletes after all might not be so true. And this is only the most visible part of it, because these are the kind of injuries you can just go through and heal within a short time frame, even if we don’t know what consequences they will bring later in life. Adding to these we now have this proved concern about heart health, which at least for me is much more of a concern than some joint pain (at least for now!).

All this makes me wonder, with all this knowledge, why do I and lots of other conscientious (?) people still keep going all in on endurance events that last 3 to 10+ hours and imply heavy weekly training plans that will (very) frequently put you over the 1 hour daily exercise threshold?

Well, I don’t know about other people, but for me it is all about making the most out of our finite time on the face of the planet. But there is a lot more to it… I will leave that for a future post.