Completing and training for a triathlon is physically demanding, and as a competitor it is important that you are ready and capable of undertaking this challenge. Whether you are competing in all three disciplines or taking part in a team it is your responsibility to ensure that you are physically ready and fit for the day.
In preparation for the event a good balanced diet with plenty of variety, fruit and vegetables will provide the essential minerals and vitamins needed to maintain health and vitality. Completing a triathlon, and training for a triathlon is physically demanding. As a competitor it is important that you are physically capable of undertaking a challenge of this nature. Regular exercise should go hand and hand with a healthy diet - bingeing on a packet of biscuits and then working off the calories with a 10 mile run is not the best approach.
Below are some general tips on how to make your training enjoyable and successful.
Or click here to find a useful website with with tips for beginners' training plans.
Build up to the distance gradually, start by resting after each length (if you need it), then every 2 lengths, every 4 lengths until you can do the whole distance. Practice looking around while swimming and avoiding collisions!
Make sure you have goggles, it will do wonders for your technique (check they don’t leak and are fixed on firmly!)
When most people go swimming, before getting out of the pool they will have a rest so their body can recover. On the day of the triathlon, you will want to get out of the water and start the transition to the bike as quickly as possible. Most people will find that as they get out of the water their legs will be a bit shaky and they may even feel a bit dizzy. This is because your body has quickly gone from being supported in the water to having to support itself on the ground. You can stop this happening on the day by getting your body used to the change from being in the water to being on the land. All you have to do is rather than resting in the pool at the end of a swim, jump out and walk around the pool for a couple of minutes.
SWIMMING IN OPEN WATER
This is a very different feeling to swimming in your local pool – you can’t touch the bottom (although you probably wouldn’t want to anyway!), there is no side and there are no lines along the bottom to help you swim in a straight line. To ensure you don’t end up swimming in a zigzag across the water, every few strokes look ahead to ensure you are heading towards the next buoy/turning point in the water. This is obviously only relevant for those swimming freestyle – those who opt for breast stroke will (hopefully!) be looking ahead anyway!
It’s really good to get used to swimming in a wet suit. While the benefits of a wet suit are that it keeps you warmer and also makes you more buoyant, unfortunately it will feel tight – especially around your shoulders. You will soon get used to the feeling but as ever it is better to do this before the big day! (Note that some people have been known to try their wetsuit out in their local heated swimming pool – the general feedback is that you last about 1 minute before going very red and feeling like a “boil in the bag” meal!)
If you are able to, cycling to and from work is a great way of building exercise into your day and build up the miles.
If you are used to riding a hybrid or mountain bike but have chosen to hire a road bike for the event then it’s a good idea to practise riding one. The gears will be set up differently and you can practise riding in a low, aerodynamic position!
It is also a good idea to practise retrieving your drinks bottle from the bottle cage and drinking from it whilst riding along. It will help you keep your balance.
Get a decent pair of running shoes fitted in a shop where they know what they are doing. Build up gradually, if you can’t run the whole distance at first run for 4 minutes, walk for 1 (or something similar) and gradually reduce the walking. If you are super keen and want to improve your speed, do some interval training. Remember that it is important to stretch before and, especially afterwards, and not to eat for two hours beforehand. It’s a good idea to practice drinking water or energy drinks while you run, take small sips so you don’t feel sick! Don’t try anything (eg energy drink) on the day that you haven’t tried in training.
What you eat and drink in the weeks, days before your race and even on the day will make a big difference to your performance.
A varied and well balanced diet that meets the energy demands of your training is essential. A balanced diet should include bread, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables (at least 5 portions every day), together with moderate amounts of milk, dairy products, meat, fish and small amounts of foods containing fat and sugar.
Having a diet that's high in carbohydrate is an essential means of providing your muscles with the energy needed to exercise and recover quickly afterwards. Good sources of carbohydrates are pasta, rice, bread, cereals and potatoes. It's really important to keep your fluid levels topped up when you exercise - this will help you perform better and recover faster.