Get Triathlon Ready in 2018
With the Ironman 70.3 around the corner, those of you that competing in this years event on 2nd February 2018, will be well into your training. However, for those of us with FOMO, and having made the decision on the 1st on January 2018 to compete in triathlons in the 2018 season and to tackle the 2018 Ironman 70.3, here are some guidelines as to how to “crush” your first triathlon.
A Tri-specific bike is not necessary:
Although N+1 is always an option, it is not necessary to purchase a time-trial or aero bike for your first triathlon. The cost of a aero and/or time-trial bike is rather high, and when you are not yet 100% sold on doing triathlons for a long term basis, is a cost that is not necessary when you will be spending quite a bit on other triathlon equipment. For your first 2 or 3 triathlons, your road bike will suffice, and you can then look at adding tri-bars to your bike at a bit of a later stage. Only once you have become a full fledged triathlete, making triathlons your chosen discipline, then looking at a more tri-friendly bicycle would make sense.
You need to know how to swim
It would seem quite obvious that knowing how to swim would be important to compete in triathlons; however knowing just how to swim is not enough. Swimming in open water, with several bodies around you flaying around is a daunting thought, and if not a strong enough swimmer, with the correct technique, could be the line between completing your swim leg or being pulled out by the race volunteers. It is advisable to at least get 3 swimming sessions in per week to have you swim ready for your first triathlon.
Don’t swim in your Chamois
As convenient as it may seem to swim in cycling shorts / bib-shorts, it will be quite unpleasant trying to cycling in a water soaked chamois, which is bound to feel like a wet diaper. Best option is to purchase a tri-specific suit or shorts, where the chamois is ultra-thin, so will not bog down from getting wet.
Brick Workouts are a Must
Brick workouts are the back-to-back efforts of 2 or 3 of the triathlon disciplines. This will give you the chance to practice your transitioning; but also gives you the conditioning and mental preparation for going from one discipline to the next.
Keep your Transition Area simple
Being your first triathlon, there will be quite a bit on your mind on event day, and the last thing you need to worry about is having too much laying around your transition area. All you really require to be in your transition area is your cycling and running clothes (if you are not making use of tri-specific kit), helmet, running shoes, sunglasses, food and running cap. Anything more than this is just taking up unnecessary space and making unnecessary clutter.
Running requires training
Your cycling fitness is different to your running fitness, where running works different muscle groups and is a higher intensity training than cycling. If you are not already supplementing your normal training with runs in between, you should ease into your running training buy starting with slow and steady runs, 2 to 3 times a week. As your fitness increases, you can increase your pace, and then your distance, until you are prepared for your race distance.
Keep Restrained on the Bike
Most cyclists that start doing triathlons make the mistake of going all out on the cycle to try make up time lost in the swim, or just to push through the cycle leg as quickly as possible. Rather use the bike leg as a chance to recover and a chance to refuel on food, which will help you to prep for the run. Giving it all or nothing on the bike, will leave your engine empty for the run, so rather pace yourself moderately and will see you going into the run with enough energy.
These guidelines used in conjunction with a proper training program, and level head on event day, should see your first triathlon go by without a hitch.