A quick note from Amy: I’m still traipsing around Boulder recovering from Ironman Boulder. That race report is coming soon. In the meantime please enjoy this post from my friend Lucy at www.paddlepedalpace.co.uk.
Over the years I’ve been involved with triathlon, I’ve received plenty of advice particularly when I was just starting out. There is a lot to learn when you are new to the world of endurance sports, but I’ve found my clubmates and coaches an invaluable source of tips and support. I wanted to pass on some of the best advice I’ve been given…
Drink flat coke on the run
I wouldn’t recommend daily consumption of Coke, but on the run portion of a triathlon it can give a much-needed energy boost. It’s a quick and easily absorbed hit of caffeine and sugar which can help to settle your stomach during an endurance event. Coke is also said to neutralise harmful bacteria ingested during the open-water swim.
Visualise your favourite pro athlete
Mental preparation is a powerful tool for athletes and I find visualisation techniques particularly helpful. A friend suggested I visualise my favourite female pro triathlete (Chrissie Wellington) when I’m racing. Emulating her strong and powerful technique helps keep my form in check when I’m starting to struggle.
Lay out a bright towel in transition
One of the first tips I picked up when I came into triathlon is a trick to help you locate your place in transition. I lay out my kit on a bright, patterned and easily distinguishable towel which I can easily spot when I’m coming in from the swim.
Wear throwaway flip-flops to the swim start
It’s worth taking a pair of cheap or old flip-flops to wear to the swim start which can be left behind. Sometimes you have to walk across rough ground down to the lake so this avoids the discomfort of going barefoot.
Dunk your head under the water
Here in the UK, I’ve experienced some pretty cold open-water swims. It can be a shock to the system to jump in and starting swimming without acclimatising to the temperature which can effect your breathing. Dunk your head under the water and splash your face to really get used to the feeling before starting to swim.
Swim all the way in
When you are approaching the swim exit, it is tempting to start up as soon as you can see the bottom of the lake. It’s more efficient to swim in as far as you can then once your fingertips hit the bottom place both hands on the floor and push yourself upright. Standing up too soon means having to wade through water which can be tiring for the bike leg.
Mastering clipless pedals
Switching to clipless pedals can be quite daunting when you are starting out in triathlon. Most of us have experienced an embarrassing fall when coming to a stop and forgetting your feet are locked to the pedals. When I first began clipping in, I was advised to practice with one foot at a time in a grassy area like a park to soften the fall. I wore a normal running shoe on one foot then when I was confident, I switched to the other foot before trying both together.
Know the course
If you live locally to your race, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the course before the day, either by cycling or driving the route. Knowing what to expect on race day can help in your preparation and training. If it’s not possible to physically recce the course, then be sure to check the course profile on the race website. Forewarned is forearmed as they say!
What are your favorite (or as Lucy says favourite because she’s adorably British) tips for triathlon? Put them in the comments.
Thank you Lucy for these great tips. I’m working up my thoughts on Ironman Boulder. I’ll have that ready to go shortly but first I’m going to brave white water rafting. EEEK. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit Lucy’s site www.paddlepedalpace.co.uk