Triathlon -- I think that I might enjoy the training for triathlon than race day. You have to be very organized, at least in the beginning. Things move like clockwork once you get the hang of it. I figured I'd throw out some (errr...ten) random tips, regarding race day and training, that I learned over the past few years.
1. The swim is no joke, artichokes. You get smacked and kicked in the face, people swim over you, you swim into people, people tug on your ankles, and that's all before you reach the first buoy to change directions. The only way to combat this, on top of the anxiousness of swimming in open water, is to swim often and swim in open water several times before race day. Find an open water swimming clinic in your area, where you can swim with others, and with the aid of canoes and swim or tri coaches. My rule for open water swim (OWS) practice: NEVER GO ALONE. So if you feel like you need more practice, make swim buddies or look for clubs that swim often and accompany them when it fits into your training You'll feel better about getting into the water and rocking out your swim on race day, for sure.
(I'm somewhere in the photo below. It's from my first triathlon in 2009 -- CAP TEX TRI.)
2. You don't need a certain type of bike to tri. Does it make life (and racing) easier when you're on a tri bike in a triathlon? Yes. Does that mean you have to have one to race? No. I've seen everything from mountain bikes to single-gear hoopties dominating the bike course. This isn't something that should keep you from tri'ing! You do you, dangit.
3. Don't worry -- your legs didn't forget how to run after swimming and cycling. Promise.
4. Make life easier on yourself: Get organized well before the race. Know where your transition area is, know where swim, bike, and run in and outs are in regards to where your gear is.
5. Accept that race day weather might not be ideal. I.e. a monsoon makes an appearance the morning of your race, and doesn't let up until after you're in T1. You just gotta roll with it!
6. And just like race day, training weather might not be ideal. Spring triathlon = winter training. Bundle up and get out there.
7. Or don't. *le shrug*
8. Nutrition and hydration: YOU WILL NEED IT. No matter if it's a sprint or an Ironman distance race, you will need to eat and drink on the bike. After the swim and bike, you're already going into that *bonk* territory, so take care of yourself and nom while riding.
9. Transition is the fourth discipline, and practice makes perfect. Practice every.single.step going from the swim to the bike, from the bike to the run. Here's the list that starts going through my head when I'm about 100m from the end of the swim:
- Take off goggles and swim cap when getting out of water
- PICK UP YOUR FEET -- it's WEIRD running after you swim
- Unzip wet suit (unless assisted by happy volunteer) and start stripping while running to transition area
- Get out of wet suit (unless assisted by happy volunteer), put swim cap and goggles into suit and toss it over bar next to bike
- Dry off feet while putting on bike helmet, sunglasses.
- Put on cycling shoes
- Remove bike from stand
- Secure nutrition in pockets, water bottles on bike
- Put on race belt with bib
- *CAREFULLY* trot to BIKE OUT.
- LISTEN TO THE VOLUNTEERS --- BIKE OUT carefully.
We're lucky that at this point, the actual endurance part is mindless. You still have another transition that is equally as intense as this one before the run.
Have a great rest of your Tuesday, friends!