How to Prepare for a Triathlon
If there’s one thing that’s crucial for a successful triathlon participation, it’s preparation. Your ability at swimming, running and cycling can vary from each discipline, so it’s important to work on your weaknesses, and perfect your strengths. At bagSOLO we are always sending bikes to different, worldwide triathlons, so we thought we’d provide some tips on getting ready for one!
A good way of balancing your training is by having a fortnight of bigger mileage, before a following week of lower mileage. This helps with recovery, and as you repeat the pattern, up the mileage.
At least half of your training should be on a bike, with the rest of the time split equally between swimming and running. The more you can do, the better. Test yourself too – time trials are well-advised, and of course joining a local triathlon club is a great option.
If one field is particularly weaker than the others, then work out a plan that allows you to build in time to improve on the poorer discipline.
Of course, having good equipment is essential for a triathlon. Depending on your budget, you can get the best and latest bikes, wetsuits and more, but there’s absolutely no need to spend a fortune.
The most important pieces of gear you’ll need are the following. Firstly, a tri-suit! It’s the all-in-one swim/cycle/run wear. It dries quickly, and most crucial it means you don’t need to change clothes during that all-important transition phase.
Another time saver is elastic laces. The main benefit of them is the elimination of wasting time typing up your laces, and they’re tight and comfy. A wetsuit is important, especially if you’re competing in a cold climate. In fact most triathlons have rules which state you must wear one.
Finally, you need a bike. Ideally a road bike, but a time trial bike is even better. Taking your own bike with you can boost your performance massively (that’s where bagSOLO come in handy!), as you’re familiar with the ride, and have spent weeks beforehand training on it.
This is where your training will help you understand how you’re best fitted to manage the actual triathlon.
Drafting is a good way of gaining free speed during swimming. By swimming alongside, or behind, a faster swimmer than yourself you can get towed along to an extent. Of course, you need to look in front of you as often as possible if doing this.
As mentioned earlier, transition phases are really important. It’s an opportunity to make up time and is a key part of the race. It’s worth practicing at home – taking of your wetsuit and helmet at the same time, jumping on your bike while running and pulling on your trainers are all skills to be mastered.
Finally, and probably most importantly – pace yourself. It helps in the long run. After the second transition, go at a realistic pace for you. This way you can look to improve it, and as a result the second half of your race will be as strong, or stronger, than your first.
If you feel the need to refresh with fluids too, then do it. However, a sprint triathlon isn’t long enough for dehydration or nutrition to cause any trouble.
Remember, triathlons are supposed to be fun, and there’s a wide range of abilities in every race. Get the gear, prepare for and then manage your race, and you won’t go wrong. Possibly the best piece of advice is to relax, and simply enjoy the race!