While training is critical, it is your triathlon kit that will make or break your performance on the big day. Therefore, you want to make sure you are preparing in all the necessary ways so that you can perform at your peak.
To help you out, read on to learn how you can prepare for a triathlon in four steps.
1. Make a training plan.
To successfully prepare for a triathlon, you need to ensure you are designing a training plan that focuses on your performance in all three areas (running, cycling and swimming) while also ensuring that you maintain your health and fitness levels as you train.
Generally, for people aiming to compete in their first sprint triathlon (16 miles), the average amount of time you want to aim for is at least 12 weeks of training before the official event.
The first step in creating your training plan is to establish your swimming, biking, and running schedule. Usually, it is recommended that you do at least two sessions of each activity (swimming, biking and running) during the week.
In addition, you want to do at least one brick session, which is where you do two activities (e.g. run-bike, swim-bike, run-bike) back-to-back. Throughout your training plan, endeavour to increase your distances by around 10 per cent each week.
In addition to doing your triathlon activities, you also want to be incorporating resistance training into your weekly program. This part of your training plan can occur after your main endurance work and include exercises strengthening your primary muscles and creating mobility and stability.
Therefore, for swimming, look to strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms. For cycling, concentrate on strengthening your quads, glutes and hamstrings. And, for running, prioritise strengthening your legs and building stability through your trunk and shoulders.
That being said, remember your training plan should also incorporate rest, so make sure you are scheduling one or two days off each week. Rest days are crucial for your recovery and are most beneficial when taken either before or right after your long brick workout.
2. Prepare your gear.
Even the best-trained triathlete isn’t going to perform at their best without the right gear. For this reason, you want to ensure you are using equipment that works for you. Your triathlon kit includes your clothing, shoes, goggles and helmet.
When looking for a triathlon running shoe, you want to take into consideration the weight as you may benefit from having a heavier shoe that offers more support and protection for the many miles of pavement pounding. The best running shoes comprise breathable fabric. This makes a significant difference because even if your feet get wet, your shoes won’t feel heavy and soggy.
In most cases, triathletes prefer shoes with a drawstring-style lacing system to keep transitions speedy. Your running shoes should be purchased from a specialist store where the experts can advise you on the appropriate pair for you. There, they can perform an analysis to determine whether you need a shoe that provides additional support for your ankles.
Your goggles need to fit correctly; otherwise, they will quickly be filled with water, causing issues for your triathlon performance. Therefore, your triathlon goggles must be a good fit and comfortable on your face. Generally, it is also suggested that you select a pair of goggles with tinted lenses so that you can continue swimming if and when the sun is reflecting off the water.
In terms of a helmet, you also want to ensure that it is the right size. It needs to be snug but not too tight, and it must protect your forehead. Always purchase your triathlon helmet from a specialized online sports shop, as your competition helmet has to meet specific criteria to be eligible.
3. Select your bike.
You will need a bike for a triathlon, so you must spend some time considering which bike would be best for you. If you are at the beginning of your cycling career and are doing shorter sprint races, you may want to select a beach cruiser or a mountain bike. Alternatively, a 10-speed can often be an optimal choice.
However, once you start doing triathlons more seriously, you will want to get a bike that offers clip-on aero bars. BMC bikes in Dubai are a good option for everyone looking to succeed in triathlons as these are tailor made with excellent tube shaping, full component integration, and a high-quality rider positioning system.
Whether you choose the Timemachine Two or the Blast 27, you can be assured that these BMC bikes will help you go far. Just make sure before every ride that the parts are tight, the tires have air in them, and the chain is lubed.
Speaking of your bike, always opt to wear bike shorts as the material is specially designed to help make your bike-riding experience much more enjoyable. A flat kit bag should be installed underneath your saddle and stocked with what you would need if you were to experience a flat tire. The kit should have a mini-pump, a tube and tire levers.
4. Upgrade your accessories.
Committing to doing a triathlon is no small feat, which is why you certainly deserve to have high-quality accessories that will make your experience much more enjoyable.
The essential accessory is a multi-sport watch that features a dedicated triathlon mode – making it easy for you to switch between activities. Furthermore, you want your multi-sport watch to have the capabilities to monitor your pace, heart rate, and position throughout the triathlon.
Additionally, many triathletes find they benefit from wearing a race belt that is not only able to hold their essentials, but that also displays their race number. When considering a potential race belt, make sure you select one that offers a safe and secure design that is fully adjustable and waterproof.
Other crucial accessories include a wetsuit, sunglasses, a tri suit, running hat, transition towel, water bottle, and wetsuit lubricant.
Are you considering doing a triathlon this year? Why or why not? What do you foresee are the biggest challenges to completing one? What are you excited about?
Let us know your thoughts and any additional questions you may have in the comments below!