There are so many elements to triathlon and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The key is to bring it back to basics, simplify, and to enjoy the journey of training to race day. After all, we are paying for the enjoyment of entering a triathlon!
So to help you get to your first triathlon, Liv ambassador Alice Clare Thomas has listed her top 10 tips of making your first Triathlon an amazing experience:
1. Focus on Your Weakness
We all love to do what we are good at, but the sense of achievement when you work hard at a weakness and see it improve is second to none. My rule of thumb is to do 2 x swim’s, 2 x rides and 2 x runs each week. I would swap a session for my weakest (for instance, replace a swim with an extra run session, which is my weakest). Getting a coach will help you to focus on things such as technique, strength, cadence, when to rest etc. to help your weakness become a strength.
2. Vary Intensity
To get faster and stronger, vary the speeds in your training sessions such as interval, threshold and tempo training sessions.
3. Train By Heart Rate
A heart rate monitor/watch helps to measure your training intensity by training in different heart rate zones. There are some heart rate monitors which show pace on the run and speed on the bike too. Find out our max heart rate, then you’ll work to a percentage of that which is your heart rate zones 1 - 5. By a rule of thumb, the fitter you are the lower your resting heart rate.
4. Strength Training
To avoid injury, implement strength training to your weekly sessions. Get involved with lunges, Romanian deadlifts, Bulgarian squats, bridges and core strength sessions. The stronger you are the more efficient you will become and muscles will tire less quickly.
5. Join A Tri Club
Joining a club gives you access to training tips from coaches and other athletes and can really help to keep motivation up through training. You’ll get some sound advice from coaches and you’ll have friends to train and discuss triathlons with.
6. Practice Brick Training
Brick training is following one session with another, such as swimming then cycling straight after, or cycling then running straight after. The most common is cycling followed by running to get your legs used to that ‘lead’ feeling after the ride. Try to keep the changeover under 3 minutes to get the real effects from the session. A top tip - when ending your bike session, change to a lighter gear and spin your legs around before coming into Transition 2. The more practice at this the more your body will adapt and get used to that feeling straight after the bike.
7. Familiarise Yourself With Rules of Triathlon
Even if you are doing a more local triathlon it’s always worth checking the rules of triathlon so you don’t get a DNF or disqualification. There are a couple of key rules to note, such as putting on your helmet on before unracking your bike or no music/electrical equipment allowed.
8. Lay Out Your Transition Area
Practise laying out your transition area for each brick training so you replicate race day. For race day layout a bright coloured towel (so you can remember where you bike is racked up) and pop all of your kit on top. Little things such as pulling the tongue out of the trainers and socks in an easy way to slip on can really help faffing during the transition.
9. Triathlon Belts
A triathlon belt avoids having to pin your number onto your clothes and the faff of safety pins. Some triathlon belts also have places to pop your race gels in.
10. Elastic Laces
Swap your trainer laces with elastic ones. This will save a lot of time fiddling with your laces during transition and makes the transition from bike to run a lot smoother.