The following article was recently written for two teams Coach Bees works with – the Minnesota Chapter of Team in Training and the Target Corporate Tri Team
When you think about your first race, what stresses you out the most? Likely it is the swim or the idea of doing all three events or maybe even the total distance between the start and finish lines. The reality is you’ll be able to get through those aspects of the race with zero issues. What will stress you out on race day are all the little things like packing your bag, parking, and transitions between the sports. This article addresses those transitions:
Transition 1: Swim to Bike
– T1 begins on the last 100 to 300 meters of the swim. Increase your kick speed to get the blood moving back to your legs.
– As soon as possible, begin dolphin diving. You may only gain a second or two of time, but most importantly it will get your legs used to bearing weight again.
– When you hit the beach, ignore the roar of the crowd and take it slow as you exit the water. Many athletes experience orthostatic hypotension, which is a fancy way of saying your heart rate rises, your blood pressure is low, and you get light headed. These first three tips help avoid that.
– If you are using a wetsuit, make sure that from the tops of your ankles to the middle of you shins are lubed with Body Glide. Don’t go below your ankle line because sand might stick and cause blistering once you put your shoes on. Also use Body Glide on the outside of the bottom 6 inches of the wetsuit to help it come off easier.
– Keep an extra water bottle with your gear. Use it to wash the sand off your feet and the lake water off your face.
– Use a little lube around the edge of your bike shoes if you don’t plan on wearing socks. If you do plan on wearing socks, put a bunch of baby powder in them and roll them up so they roll on your feet easy (think: condom).
– Have your gear arranged in T1 so that you 1) won’t forget anything, and 2) can do more on the bike and less standing around. That means your gear should be in a nice neat stack in the reverse order you’ll put things on. You won’t ride your bike without shoes, so as long as they are on the bottom of the stack, you won’t forget anything on the top of the pile. Keep food, sunglasses, and gloves tied or tape to the bike. They can be dealt with once you are moving.
Transition 2: Bike to Run
– T2 begins on the last mile of the bike. Shift to a tougher gear and stand up out of the saddle for a minute to get your legs and knees ready for the impact of running. Then, shift in to an easy gear and get you cadence up north of 90 rpm for the final stretch.
– Use a race belt to attach your number. It’s $10 and saves a little time and a lot of hassle.
– Again, stack your run gear with shoes on the bottom so you don’t forget anything. Include a hat or visor in the pile. You don’t need to wear a hat, but your friends will point and laugh at you if you run with your bike helmet on. Wearing a hat assures that you will take your helmet off.
Transition 3: Run to relaxation
– Be sure to have good post-race food and drink and ice and clothing and more sunblock and anything you need to begin your recovery. Assume that that race will provide nothing even if it is advertised that they will.
Article contributed by Scott Beesley of Soles Inspired: Beyond Multi-Sport, a Minneapolis based coaching company. More free tips at www.facebook.com/SolesInspired , www.youtube.com/SolesInspired, and www.solesinspired.com.