Triathlon Tips from the Pro: Tri Week Has Arrived

Who's the big weiner, er winner?

Alas, our summer travel is winding down. The weekend at the beach was relaxing and beautiful. Thanks for all the sweet well wishes for our trip. I have my head down this week to stay focused, there is a lot going on. Still maintaining my “to do lists,” and Morgan from HLS was kind enough to give me a supportive shout-out — but I owe her the thanks:)

Sunset from the crow's nest.

I stuck to my half marathon training plan and managed a long run on Saturday. I don’t know how I mustered the energy as we were drinking and playing on the beach all of Friday. A new pre-race ritual? Kidding. Running in Florida is a whole other type of hot. Water, water, water. Lucky for me, I ran “Team Renegade” and ended up running with participants in the Sandestin Triathlon, woops. Strangers cheering me on for a long run? Yes, please! It was an early reminder to what lies ahead this week.

It’s Tri to Beat Cancer triathlon race week. Nervous? Mmhmm. I am still freaking out a bit about the swim, but no turning back now.

With my nerves knocking I’m tri-ing to keep calm. I’ve asked our in-house pro Meghan to answer a few questions I have for the race:
What do you fuel up on before and during races? Since the sprint is short, do you need fuel during?
The most important thing is to not make any huge dietary/nutritional changes on race day. Eat as a means of fuel the morning of, but don’t feel like you need to completely change your usual breakfast routine. If you drink coffee every morning, drink a small cup if you want to on race day. I usually eat a bagel and some type of Powerbar. Bananas always are a good option too. As for fluids, I try to take in water and some type of sports drink like Gatorade. In a sprint I don’t usually take any nutrition on the bike (maybe not the best advice – can’t hurt to have a bottle on your bike), but I do snag water from the volunteers on the run. I always take two: one to drink and one to pour on me. Gotta keep that body temp cool!

Um, she's kind of a BFD.

How do you set up all the crazy stages?
This seriously might require a visual. Bottom line: practice before you get there, or get there early enough on race day to play around with it. Your bike goes in a specific area on the racks according to your race number. Next to your bike lay out a towel with your bike shoes closest to you, running shoes further back on the towel. I lay my race belt with number over my running shoes so I can grab this as I run out of transition (your number is going to be on your bike, so you don’t need the race belt until the run). I put my helmet laying on my aero bars with my sunglasses laying inside my helmet. Always keep a water bottle at transition and take a swig in between legs.

What happens if your goggles fog up or leak during the swim?
You can invest in some anti-fog spray for your goggles to try to prevent fogging. Personally, I use good old fashioned spit in the goggles right before the start. However, my Dad loves the anti-fog spray. As for leaky goggles, that’s your call on whether to try to fix them. You can roll over on your back once you get out of the mass start and try to fix them, this way you can still be kicking on your back and not lose all your momentum.

Tips for swimming if you aren’t in it to win it, just don’t want to down?
If it’s a mass start, stay towards the back of the pack. The people in front are in it to win and will take you down. Let the mass run into the water and just hang back a bit for a more relaxed entry. Plus, if you’re feeling good in the swim it’s always more fun to pass people than to be passed!

Socks? How many pairs do I need?
Judgment call. I don’t wear socks because I’m not willing to sacrifice the few seconds it takes to put them on. But, I always leave every race with some nasty cuts. Just like with the swim, if you aren’t in it to win it take the time to put the socks on after your swim before the bike. One pair is all you need 🙂

What do you think is the hardest transition?

The swim to bike is a difficult transition -you’re wet, depending on the water you have lake/river/ocean crap all over you, etc. I’m a swimmer and I still find myself more out of breath on the swim/bike transition than I do bike/run transition. Especially if you have to peel a wet suit off your body! The little things become slightly more difficult when you’re out of breath and trying to move fast – my Aunt laughed at me during my last race, apparently I made clipping my helmet look like the hardest task ever. Practice practice practice is all I can say for transitions. The bike to run transition in my opinion is a bit easier, but the first mile of the run is difficult while your legs try to make the switch.

Run with headphones?
Negative! Takes too much time to put them on and you want to hear the excitement of the crowd! (OK, this makes me sad.)

Any tips for post recovery race?
The great thing about a sprint is I don’t think you’ll find yourself very sore later that day or even the next day. The recovery is usually pretty quick – proper nutrition is obviously key, especially if it was sunny and hot. I always like to swim the next day as a stretch out.

I am anxious to get my first tri under my belt and out of the way.

Any tips or advice you have on triathlons are welcomed! How do you prepare for something big like a race or other personal event?

25 responses to “Triathlon Tips from the Pro: Tri Week Has Arrived

  1. Awesome tips, BFD Meghan! Although, reading this just assures me that I have no “tri” itch in me – so, you go ahead and rock em’ for the both of us!! 😉

  2. Hey girl – I don’t really have any tips as I don’t do tris. I will say that my hubby has practiced transitions like a mad fool and he also uses body glide on his feet and runs sans socks. Wish I could be there to cheer you on!

  3. Good luck!! I’m getting nervous just reading all these tips. So much to think about before/during a triathlon. Geez. I think that would be the part I’d get most anxious about. Just trying to get myself quickly through the transitions.

    So, since I’ve never done one before the only advice I have is to have fun and enjoy it!! If you want to swim slow and wear headphones on the run, just do it. 🙂

  4. What awesome tips from guru Meghan – she really is a BFD. I know you are going to do great! I just know it. I only wish I could be there to cheer you on. 🙂

    Glad y’all had fun in Florida. Next time, I want to drink with you and play on the beach, k?

  5. I’ve never been a race goer so I have no tips! My only advice is not to go overboard! Sometimes athletes are so extreme that they end up hurting themselves! OH and proper nourishment to meet your needs AFTER you workout!

  6. Since I have never “tri”ed to tri, I think you are pretty much a rockstar for getting out there! After meeting you, I know you will eat that race for breakfast!

    Before any big race, I try to get fueled and hydrated the day before and then stick with my toast and PB breakfast. Wear your favorite outfit – I love it when people yell, “Cute shorts!” during a race. Haha…sadly, I’m not kidding! Have fun!!

  7. girl, you are going to be a rockstar!! I am not a swimmer, so sadly I’ll never do a tri… unless they have “pinch swimmer” rules. wish I could be there to CHEER you on – no headphones! 😉

    can’t wait to hear all about it!

  8. I’m so excited for this weekend! Transition opens at 5 a.m. which gives us two full hours to calm your nerves and get through transition and the last minute checklist. You are going to be hooked 🙂 Can’t wait to watch you beat your hubs!

  9. You seriously rock and are going to be amazing. Regardless of what happens, just stay calm and keep swimming. Channel Dory… “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” I cried on a 15 mile bike ride this weekend, so you, my friend, are going to kick it! Can’t wait to hear how it goest! 🙂

  10. I’ve been interested in trying a triathalon before but I think I’ve always been scared before and the biggest reason is because I didn’t know the answers to many of the same questions you asked in this article. How to set up the stages, what to wear? All these unknowns has made me just stick to running. Thanks for the good info and I may have to consider giving a tri a try in the near future!

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