tips for triathlons
GENERAL TRAINING TIPS
Never go up
in minutes/miles by more than 10% per week. This decreases your chance for
injuries. On a personal note, one day I decided to do the whole trail -
8miles instead of the normal 6miles. I did it alright and felt good
immediately afterwards. The following two weeks I felt so run-down and
beat-up. It was horrible. Instead of increasing from 6 to 6.6 miles,
I went from 6 to 8 miles! That is 33% more! Way too much of a shock.
stretching when appropriate.
Get lots of sleep, this is the only part
of your 24 hour day for real recuperation. Take advantage. It will
also keep you mentally sharp.
If you feel run-down at the beginning of your
routine, don't push yourself. You don't need to do all of your minutes
every time. Your body is just telling you 'whoa! I'm gonna need a little
more rest today - an unscheduled light workout will suit me just fine.' If you
feel rundown and push yourself to do your minutes or miles, you will only feel worse in
the following days and this can lead to injuries and or sickness.
BEFORE YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON
When training for your swim, make sure you
go a little farther then your needed distance. You will definitely have
confidence then. Swimming can be scary - especially if one can't touch or
see the ground.
Remember, you can resort to your 'easy'
swim stroke if need be such as the side or the breast stroke.
Do some open-water training if possible.
At least 1-2 times prior to racing. Open water swimming will be more challenging. Just
make sure you have somebody looking out for you if you get into trouble.
Like the swim, do a few bike or runs over
the distance needed. Confidence again. Try racing a duathlon (even
though it is a lesser challenge...I know I know...haha!!!) OR race a 5 or 10K
Make sure to do a few 'brick'
workouts several weeks before your first tri. These will help you
immensely for the bike to run (T2) transition. For more on 'bricks', see
Try to get familiarized with the course.
If you can, obtain a map of the course days beforehand. Optimally, train
on the different parts of the course before the event. Don't do all the
events on the same day, but separately. If you can't train on the course
before the tri, then at least drive and walk most of it. Just being
familiar with the course will rid you of a lot of butterflies.
Either at home or at the course, try to
mentally visualize your set-up at the transition areas and how your sequence of
doing things in each transition area. This is key or you will blunder
through the transitions losing unnecessary minutes. Write your transition
steps down on paper will help you.
Don't train hard the last two weeks
before the race. It's too late for improvement. You can see this
during the last few weeks of my
Sprint Training Program
and the Olympic
Get plenty of sleep several nights
before. (You should always be doing this though)
Do not change your diet before your
first triathlon. Keep things exactly the way they were during training.
Some people ask me if they should carbo-load a few days before. NO!
Eat like you always do. Do not try to pull a change-up to your system.
You are doing a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. You should have
plenty of energy reserves so long as you haven't been starving yourself.
When you move up to Half or Full Ironman, then you might consider a pre-race
Check out the
USAT Triathlon Rule Book.
Very detailed, probably a lot won't pertain to the beginner BUT has some good
ideas. Probably would be a good idea to get a rule book for your
particular triathlon (if not a USAT sanctioned event)
Above all, REMEMBER: If it is not
broke, do not try to fix it.
The following is taken from Dr. George Sheehan's book
entitled Running and Being: The Total Experience (Second Wind, Il 1978).
"…each day I take to the roads as a
beginner, a child, a poet. Seeking the innocence of the beginner, the wonder
of the child and the vision of the poet. Hoping for new appreciation of the
landscape, a new perspective of my inner world , some new insights on life, a
new response to existence and myself.
There are times, more often than the good times, when I fail. I never do
pierce the shield. I return with a shopping list of things to do tomorrow. The
miraculous has gone unseen. The message has gone unheard. I have had one of
those loveless days on a lovely day for love.
Still, there is always the chance I'll have beginner's luck. And this run,
this hour, this day may begin in delight and end in wisdom." (p. 121)