The Training Block
Top Tips For Triathlon
At Bicycle World, we know what it takes to complete your first tri or to improve your spot on the podium. We believe in having fun while you train, and we've put together a collection of our favorite tips to help you succeed in your preparation efforts and at your next event. We also have the tri bikes and gear you need to get started - visit us today to learn more.
Tip #1 - Gear!
Time to gear up, train up. Get your gear race-ready with these pro tips from Natasha Van Der Merwe, professional athlete and Director of Team Programs at Bicycle World.
Swim - Goggles, swim cap and membership at your local pool (additional but not necessary - buoy, kickboard, fins, paddles)
Bike - Bicycle, helmet, cycling shoes, clip-in pedals, toolkit with extra tire, bicycle pump, cycling shirt and shorts, sunglasses, water bottle and cage
Run - Running shoes, running shorts and shirt, Garmin watch (optional but recommended)
Tip #2 - Scheduling
An effective Triathlon plan is one that you can consistently follow week in and out. Sit down with your family and decide how many hours you can dedicate to training without it affecting your family, work and personal life. Then divide those hours between swimming, biking and running, with the focus being your weakness.
– Natasha van der Merwe
Tip #3 - Patience
Take your time to build fitness correctly. A maintainable training load will get you to the start line faster and fresher than if you had to rush the process of gaining fitness.
– Todd Sapio, BW Austin Racing Team Member
Tip #4 - Consistency
"Consistency is KEY! Doing something every day, even if it's something easy, is better than two or three hard workouts a week."
Tip #5 - Focus
"Stay calm, cool and collected prior to starting your race. Do what you need to do to get focused, even if it means stepping away from your teammates or family."
– Haley Koop
Tip #6 - Every Second Counts
"Make sure to have Quick laces on your running shoes, especially for short races (as every second counts in transition) and you will save valuable time not having to fumble with or tie your shoelaces before starting the run."
– Chris Reynolds
Tip #7 - Nutrition on the go
If you are planning on taking any nutrition that requires opening a package, put a small tear in the package prior the race, which makes it easier to open when you need to get to it during the bike and the run.
– Brandi Grissom
Tip #8 - The Swim
"Watch the waves in front of you as you start the swim and plan out your line for the first couple hundred yards to avoid the pack, especially if you have any fear of open water. Most people jockeying for those front spots overestimate their swim speed by a long shot -- not worth getting caught up in all that."
Tip #9 - Goggles
"Rinse your goggle lenses with baby shampoo the morning of the race to avoid any fogging during the swim."
– Doreen Redenius
Tip #10 - Nutrition
"Practice nutrition! This is as important as swim, bike and run workouts, and varies from short course to full distance. Start figuring out how many calories you need to consume to finish the race. For short course, you're responsible for your nutrition. For 1/2 and full distance, if you know what is going to be on the course (Gatorade Endurance, Clif bars/gels/blocks), pick some up at your local tri-store and practice with it. If your body doesn't respond well to those products then it is even more important to figure out what your body can handle and how to take enough on the course with you."
– Padre Mora
Tip #11 - Lube Up
"Lube everything that is in contact with a piece of clothing. Twice."
– Aaron Shapley
Tip #12 - Goggles
"Make sure to put your goggles under your swim cap for the swim portion; that way, if they do come loose, you won't lose them."
– Brandi Swicegood
Tip #13 - Your Timing Chip
"Safety pin your timing chip band around your ankle -- that way, there's no risk of it getting knocked off during the swim."
– Kate Baybrook
Tip #14 - Study the Race
"Take time to review the race maps. Drive the bike and run course prior to the race (if possible). Know where you'll be entering and exiting the water, as well as transition areas. Knowing these little details will give you a leg up during the race, but will also help calm the pre-race jitters."
– CP Ross
Tip #15 - Better Yourself
This week's tip is a good reminder about WHY we compete in triathlons and other races -- for ourselves, not everyone else!
"Don't race anyone. You are there to find your own best potential. You'll always win if you're honest with yourself and give everything you have on that day."
– Todd Sapio
Tip #16 - Pack Extras
"Always take two pairs of goggles on race day. If one pair breaks, you'll have a backup. It's also good etiquette to lend a fellow racer a hand if they forget theirs, which always happens. I saw this happen at a race before, and it was awesome that so many people want to and are prepared to help!"
– Chris Reynolds
Tip #17 - Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate.
Know how much to drink on race day based on your sweat loss. This is vitally important if you want to race well in the Texas heat. Simply weigh yourself before an hour bike or run then weigh yourself after. If you drink any water during the hour, add that to the final total. Once you weigh yourself after the workout, per pound lost = 16 oz. of water per hour that you should drink on race day.
Tip #18 - The Brick Workout
For a lot of people, the hardest part about a triathlon is getting off the bike portion and then running. That's why it's important to add brick sessions (a bike ride immediately followed by a short run) to your training plan so that your legs know what to do come race day.
Tip #19 - Water Bottles
Make sure you know how to grab water bottles off your bike frame so that you can drink during the race while cycling. It's going to be a HOT day, which means you really need to stay on top of hydration in order to feel good and have a great race.
Tip #20 - Race Day Mantra
Come up with a race day mantra. When things get tough, mentally prepare yourself to get through those times by reminding yourself why you are out there racing, be it a mantra, thinking of your reasons as to why you're racing, or something as simple as recalling your best training workouts.
Tip #21 - Leading into Race Day
During the final few weeks, do plenty of workouts at your goal race intensity and pacing. You want your body to be prepared and used to what you'll be asking it to do come race day. You can only race as hard as you've trained! #TriWaco
Tip #22 - Open Water
If you've never swum in open water, try to do so before race day to overcome swim anxiety. If you have friends to swim with, practice race starts so you can get used to swimming with many people all around you.
Tip #23 - Bike Ready
Make sure your bike is tuned up for race day. Take your bike into your local bike store the week prior to the race and have them do a race day tuneup, along with checking that the tires and brakes are in good order. A clean, tuned up bike is a fast bike!