Triathlon season will come around quicker than you can imagine and the last thing you need ahead of race day is to feel mentally and physically unprepared. This guide covers four crucial elements of triathlon preparation, so you are focused and confident for when the season kicks off.
In the lead up to triathlon season there are a few guidelines to follow, as part of your nutrition plan, to ensure you are physically prepared for the races ahead.
Three months before the season kicks off, ditch the processed foods and keep a balanced diet of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These are a great source of carbs to guarantee your body is getting enough glycogen – the secret to energy.
Go easy on the protein to begin with, then increase the amount of protein included in your diet as you move through your training. This means you’ll be building muscle from amino acids in a gradual, yet healthy, process.
One month before your first race, up the amount of carbohydrates and antioxidants in your diet so your body is fuelled, and your immune system is strong, before the race.
One week before, start drinking at least 2.5litres of water a day and increase your carb take once more. But with your first race just around the corner, only include easily digestible carbs like white bread and white rice to avoid digestive distress.
Training and technique
While there is no compulsory swimming technique that is required in a triathlon there are some ways you can prepare for the open water swim.
It is crucial to remember that open water swimming is different to swimming in a pool. So, if you have an opportunity to occasionally train in open water this will help to familiarise yourself for future races.
For instance, if the water is choppy you’ll need to raise your arms higher. Also train to breathe on both sides in case you are swimming closely to a competitor, and want to avoid getting an arm in your face.
On race day, don’t burst out of the start and burn out too soon, remember this is the first event out of three. Instead, find a balance where you can move away from the group, then find another swimmer of a similar pace and swim right at their feet – this will help you to reserve energy.
As cycling is the longest event within a triathlon, your training schedule should reflect this too. It may sound simple, but the more time you spend on the bike the quicker you’ll gain confidence and see improvements in your stamina and technique. If you’re looking to become a regular triathlete it is advised to invest in some clipless pedals which give you more power, and therefore speed.
On race day, check – then double check – that your bike is set up correctly. Make sure that you are not reaching over the handrails and that your leg is not completely straight at the bottom of each pedal stroke.
So, this is it, the final leg. Where the race will be won or lost, you’ve got a target and this is the event that will decide if you hit it.
Physical training is obviously key, but by this point in the triathlon you’re battling exhaustion too.
Training is an ally when it comes to battling muscle exhaustion during the running phase of your competition. First, it’s time to nail a comfortable pace that you know you can complete the distance in. Next concentrate on technique and speed, this means incorporating short runs, long runs, sprints, and interval training into your training routine. Variation is key to ensure your body doesn’t get used to one pace.
Finally, don’t overlook the obvious fact that a triathlon is a three-phase event. Develop some sessions where you train two disciplines in one go, this way you can get comfortable with the transitions before race day.
Come race day you need triathlon gear that you can count on. Some of the higher-end brands have developed tri-suits that can actually boost your performance, but as a basic necessity your tri kit should keep you cool and comfortable throughout your race.
Tri wet-suits are specifically designed for flexibility, speed, nano-coating, and buoyancy meaning you’ll be gliding through the water and gaining an advantage on your competitors. Huub’s scientific and innovation led triathlon collection is designed to maximise performance and comfort. They have models suited to every body shape, and every triathlete level, so you can find the right fit for your season.
Dryrobes are a simple product that allows you to quickly get warm and dry after a race all while being in a public place. This product is an innovative idea that is also a lifesaver after a triathlon or a heavy training session.
Shop triathlon gear.
With your day-to-day life, training schedule and race day nerves kicking in it is easy to overlook the specific registration details ahead of your race. To avoid this, read the triathlon details, then read them again. Highlight the key details and stick them to your fridge, or somewhere in your car. Making your race details as a visible as possible will reduce the chance of experiencing any mishaps on the day.
While you are queueing to register on the day, have a bottle of water with you and take in your surroundings, this will help to keep you calm and focused amongst the other triathletes.
Fill up your bike with a couple of your favourite energy bars, as well as water, then set your watch reminders at 20 minute intervals so you remember to eat and drink throughout your cycle.
This will ensure that you have a steady energy intake throughout the race, so you won’t burn out during the last leg.
You should be prepared well in advance for each transition stage to avoid confusion on the day. A brightly coloured towel will help you to quickly identify your bike, lay your helmet on the bike so it is easy to get on, and ensure your shoes are safely laid out for easy access.
While these tips are simple, they will save you precious minutes during your race and allow you to get a smooth start to the next leg.
Triathlons are demanding events. The challenge will push you to the limits, however with thorough preparation for the season ahead you’ll be ready to give it your all. If you’re competing in an Ironman this season, check out our top preparation tips for this extreme event.