Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK.
Last year, I joined this growing trend by signing up to do 2 triathlons. A sprint distance (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) at Blenheim, and the Olympic distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) in London. So now just a week from my first outdoor tri, here are 5 tips that I've picked up in 5 months of pretty intense training.
1. For Running, Cycling and Swimming - Improve core strength
Core strength is key in all 3 disciplines, I picked up workouts with Liz Yelling on a triathlon training camp earlier this year, and I wish I had started on doing regular core work earlier.
Get hold of a gym ball.Try to lie flat on it, right in the center in balance, you should know when you are in the right spot as (in theory) you could life your legs up a touch and you'd be perfectly in balance.
- Crunches - from a horizontal position and with your hands flat on your thighs, crunch up - only about 100mm, and do sets of 5, 10, 20 or more.
- Side - from the same starting position, but with your hands on your side, reach with left hand towards the left knee then reach on the opposite side.
- Transverse - put both hands together one on top of the other, on top of the left thigh, then reach left. do sets of 5, 10, 20 or more, then swap sides.
2. SWIM - Improve stroke pull
An ex para and Ironman taught me this one - Use a workout elastic resistance band, and attach it to a wall low down. Put both hands in both loops then do front crawl pull. I have gained considerable strength in triceps and back muscles, these being the ones that are active in the most powerful part of the stroke cycle, the pull phase.
3. BIKE - Take the right fuel
For longer bike training sessions over an hour and a half say, you'll need to keep your electrolytes (salts) and carbs topped up. Every half hour or so drink or munch on a drink or food that works for you.
I like Nuun for electrolytes (zero calories, just pop a tablet in 0.5l of water) and a banana, or carb drink (I like SIS PSP22). It's important to keep hydrated when you swim too... especially wearing a wetsuit in an indoor pool!
4. RUN - Lunarglide 2's
I've been running in these for 6 months - and I have got 2 PBs wearing them in a 10k and a half marathon... they are light and fast, enough said.
5. SWIM - Bodyglide - Get your wetsuit on (without tearing it) and off (fast)
As a novice to swimming 6 months ago, I'm amazed at how much easier it is to swim in a tight fitting wetsuit that has been made for swimming.
I wish I'd bought mine earlier, not only does it really help balance by keeping my middle more buoyant, it is noticeably faster. My Zone 3 Aspire, is a mid price suit, but it is tight.
Hence the tip on applying Bodyglide to the inside of the legs, arms and zip to help get iit on and off with out feeling like I'm wrestling.
I bought most of this kit from the online retailer Simply Sweat. They have a great selection of active wear, and equipment, and I have to put out a cheer for them, their customer service was excellent.
The only online retailer I have ever experienced who emailed me with a delivery time the day before, with an option to adjust it if I was not in. Thee guys understand the transaction is not complete until the goods arrive.
Unlike many. I'd say sign up to do a triathlon. For me its bought sport right into the core of my life, and its now a daily habit, I'm not going to set any records this year, but I am quite a bit fitter than 6 months ago.