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If you have your first triathlon coming up, and you want to focus and finish your first race successfully, then here are ten tips to starting the day before your first race and getting you through the finish line without any mess.
We are going to start by thinking that you are starting your first race with Sprint or Olympic distance race. It’s no that you can’t do Ironman for your first race, it’s just that, you shouldn’t.
Ten tips you need to do before your first race:
Eat a lot
It does not mean that you need to overeat before the race. But start fueling your stomach by eating a lot more the day before the race so that you are topped up during the race.
You don’t have to go crazy on this. All you need to do is to begin adding about ten to twenty percent more carbs in the morning, afternoon, and evening. You need to eat a lot before your race, just a little bit more.
Morning meal should be 4 hours before the race
The second tip is that, in the morning of the race, you should take your meal at least 4 hours before the start of the race. If you are going off at 8 am, then you should start eating your last meal at 4 am.
Make that meal light not fatty and greasy. No fiber if you catch my drift, nothing new, nothing substantial. You want to get your stomach settled a little bit with a light carb meal.
Don’t drink just because you’re nervous
You are probably going to be pretty nervous on your first race. So, do not drink just because you are worried and you got energy with your hands, and you want to sip on something.
You want to sip on maybe at max twelve ounces of very light electrolyte fluid. Because you should have done the majority of your salt loading and your carb loading the day before.
It is not the morning of or just before the race.
You want to keep your stomach very light in the few hours leading up to your race, so sip on water and almost pulled back
Map out the transition
Once you set your bike up map out the transition area, make a note of where the entry and the exit are in the transition area and make a note of how many rows in your bike is, how far down in that row it is.
So, you got a good sense of where you need to go and even walk it before the competition so that you are not lost and looking for your bike.
You can lose minutes doing that. A bit of a pro tip is to set up your bike next to a noticeable bike.
For instance, it may be a bright bike, a costly bike, or any bike that will catch your attention so that your mind will remember then it will be easy for you to look for your bike. It will give you more time in the race than looking for your bike.
Rehearse the order of T1 and T2
Then you think through that order of what you need to do. Because, when you get into that transition, your mind is going to be racing.
You got a lot of things going on. People are yelling at you telling you to do well and doing great.
All that stuff, but you want to get that plan of how the order is going to be when you get to your bike before you get into that transition.
You want to warm up after you’ve got your transition area all laid out ideally.
It’s in reverse order so go for a run with a few Sprints to get your heart rate up and then hop on to the bike.
Same sort of thing, very short bike with just a couple short Sprints and then get into your swim gear.
Go down to the water and ideally, in the few minutes leading up to your race, you are making a couple of short Sprints in the water and getting your heart rate pretty close to what it’s going to be.
For a good barometer would be like a comfortable run type of heart rate.
Swim smart unless you are a former pro water polo player.
You are going to get knocked around a hell of a lot in the swim. You are better off to go faster by going off to the side or even letting people swim out way ahead of you and not worrying about getting into that washing machine and getting knocked around especially if you are nervous before the swim.
Your heart rate is going to be through the roof, and as soon as you get dunked, there’s going to be trouble to stay out of that churn and make sure that you can swim your race.
It will probably make you faster. You will have a more enjoyable experience.
Don’t eat the transition
You got a lot to worry about the transition. Don’t take time with your development. Just hop onto the bike, wait for about ten minutes until your heart rate settles in.
Then start eating a little bit, slowly do it, gradually throughout the bike and then stop eating in the last ten minutes of the bike.
Do the same thing when you get onto the run. Let your stomach settle in, in the ten minutes after you get off the race and then start eating slowly. You don’t have to rush it a long day.
Be smart on the bike
Be smart on the bike just like in the swim, going slower almost makes you faster, because a slow bike and a fast-bike are probably different by about 5 minutes.
But if you kill yourself on that bike and you have a tough run, the difference between a slow run and a fast run is probably half an hour.
So save your legs. Make yourself a favor and go lightly on that bike.
Go easy with your run
The tenth and final tip is to go easy with your run. You don’t want to go crazy when you hop off the bike. It will not be going to be pleasant.
If you go hard in the first five to ten minutes because everyone is cheering on you, then when you do transition two, your legs are going to lock up, and you are going to walk in a lot instead of running.
You do not want to make a very unpleasant first experience in Triathlon. So, take it easy on the first couple of kilometers until your legs settle in and your stomach settles beyond that.
It is going to be the first time in the race that there’s blood that has to go into your legs to hold up your body. There is a lot for your body to settle in, so take it easy and don’t be a hero because you are not going to look very tough if you are limping over the Finish line.
There you have it. The ten quick tips for your very first Triathlon. If this is the year of your first triathlon season, good luck! It is a fantastic sport. Once you get into the whole culture of it, something good will happen to your entire life.
So, make sure that the first race was an enjoyable one. You want to keep going for years to come. Have a great race and happy training! Kill that next a-race of yours.