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RACE YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON GET READY FOR YOUR FIRST SPRINT-DISTANCE RACE WITH THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO TRIATHLON FOR BEGINNERS IN ASSOCIATION WITH

INSIDE ● GET READY TO RACE IN 8 WEEKS

SPEED UP YOUR SWIM, BIKE & RUN ● BEAT YOUR FIRST-RACE FEARS ●

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02

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RACE YOUR FIRST TRI...

CONTENTS

FREE WITH ISSUE 54

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

We’re lucky here at Triathlon Plus in that almost every one of the team enjoys the sport. It’s a bit like having a friendly tri club around your desk at all times. So while compiling this guide to racing your first tri, we decided to tell you what made us love the sport (see p5) and that made me think about my first triathlon. A friend had told me about the low-key SPW Triathlon in Hyde Park, with a swim in the laned Lido, and it seemed perfect. Years of competitive running and bike commuting couldn’t make up for the fact that I’d done the bare minimum in the pool. I weaved all over the place in the swim and emerged disorientated and dazed. Getting through the transitions, bike and run kept me switched on so even my stronger disciplines were challenging – but I finished feeling charged up and ready to race again. I hope your journey into tri will be just as thrilling – and that, if you don’t end up working almost exclusively with triathletes as I’ve done, you find some other very understanding colleagues who will let you ramble on about cutting down your time in T1… Elizabeth Hufton editor elizabeth.hufton@futurenet.com

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04

WHAT IS TRIATHLON?

06

THE SWIM

10

THE BIKE

14

THE RUN

18

YOUR 8-WEEK RACE PLAN

22

FIRST-TIME FIXES

27

BEAT MUSCLE SORENESS NOW

30

BANISH RACE NERVES

33

BE YOUR OWN NUTRITIONIST

37

ALL THE GEAR

42

RACE WEEK

Learn the basics about this fine sport with our at-a-glance guide

Brush up on your swimming skills ready to get your first triathlon off to a great start

Learn how to relax and be confident on two wheels so you can push yourself on race day

Get to grips with the speed-work and long runs you need to finish your race on a high

Prepare for your first sprint triathlon with our 8-week plan with optional fault-fixing sessions

Nine common conundrums for first-timers, answered by our team of experts

Feeling the effects of your new-found fitness training? Here’s how to stay on top form

Conquer your pre-race fears with this expert guide to emotional intelligence

Learn the foundations of fuelling your triathlon with nutritionist Sally Pinnegar

The only shopping list you need to make sure you’ve got the right kit for triathlon

Nail your race-day routine with our guide to transition, plus your race-day checklist

4/10/13 9:22 PM


RACE YOUR FIRST TRI... TRI

WHAT IS TRIATHLON WANT TO GET INTO TRI? HERE’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

elcome to the most exciting, enthralling and compelling sport in the world. But what exactly is a triathlon, where is T1 and which distances are which? Here’s what you need to know to get going in the sport. At it’s simplest, triathlon is the combination of swimming, cycling and running, in that order. Competitors usually receive split times for each of the constituent sports, but it’s the overall time – when you cross the finish line at the end of the run – that really counts. In between each discipline you’ll go through transition, commonly known as T1 for the change from swim to bike and T2 when moving

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from bike to run. This area is where your bike, cycling gear and running kit await you – see page 37 for a list of everything you’ll need. Triathlon is more than just racing though: it’s about training in all three disciplines so that when you do take on an event, you have a great time enjoying the competition as well as all the fitness you’ll gain through training. Not all triathlons are created equal; courses vary from pancake-flat routes to earn you a new personal best (PB) at one end of the spectrum to monstrously hilly courses to really challenge your legs and mental resolve. Likewise, distances also vary, so be sure to research races to find one suitable for you.

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04

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

— 05

SUPER SPRINT

SPRINT

STANDARD / OLYMPIC

IRONMAN 70.3 / MIDDLE DISTANCE

Ironman Wales

Ironman 70.3 UK

Dorney Super Sprint

Nokia Windsor Triathlon

Virgin Active London Triathlon

TRIATHLON DISTANCES

IRONMAN / LONG DISTANCE

Swim 400m Bike 10km Run 2.5m

Swim 750m Bike 20km Run 5km

Swim 1.5km Bike 40km Run 10km

Swim 1.9km Bike 90km Run 21km

Swim 3.8km Bike 180km Run 42km

Super sprint is fast and furious, with transition speed sometimes the difference between the first- and secondplace contenders.

The entry point for many people when starting triathlon, but still an endurance event not to be underestimated.

Best for: Athletes with a background in high-intensity sports.

Best for: Beginners starting out in the sport of triathlon.

The benchmarkdistance for the likes of the Brownlees, standard-distance races require both physical and mental endurance.

Ironman 70.3 or middle-distance races, sometimes called a half-Ironman, require dedicated training and well-developed endurance strength.

Best for: Experienced athletes who are moving into triathlon.

Best for: Halfmarathon runners and regular cyclists looking for a real challenge.

The ultimate goal for many triathletes, Ironman also attracts a huge number of first-time triathletes. We don’t recommend it to those without a serious endurance sports background. Best for: Seasoned endurance athletes.

WE LOVE TRI ELIZABETH HUFTON EDITOR, TRIATHLON PLUS Nothing makes you feel whole-body exhaustion like triathlon, and that’s what I love about it. I still remember the feeling at the end of my first triathlon in 2008. My friend said, “That’s it – you’re a triathlete!” I was really proud, because I could feel that I’d earned it with every muscle in my body.

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JESSICA BRADLEY STAFF WRITER, TRIATHLON PLUS TOM BALLARD SENIOR WRITER, TRIATHLON PLUS Triathlon is a brilliant addiction to have – you know with each bit of training that you’re getting fitter and stronger. I love challenging myself with new races, even if I’m not sure I can do them. Some people love suffering in races, but I prefer the post-finish line euphoria!

I have the attention span of a goldfish and so the variety of triathlon keeps me interested. It allows me to push my body to its absolute limit without ever getting stale or boring: there’s always a bigger or tougher event to tackle, or another PB to be smashed.

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Race youR fiRst tRi...

the swim

ROTATING THE body with every stroke helps lengthen your stroke and lets you breathe without breaking your rhythm. Hold your core in (don’t hold your breath though!) and think about turning from the hips rather than the shoulders or head.

the FIrst trIAthLon DIsCIPLIne CAn Be the trICKIest – here’s hoW to mAKe It FeeL As eAsy As BreAthIng WORDS TOM BALLARD & ELIZABETH HUFTON IMAGE HUMAN RACE

he swim can be the most daunting aspect of a triathlon, if you aren’t a natural swimmer who spent hours in the pool as a child. But fear not – with a bit of knowledge and a common sense approach, you’ll be back on dry land in no time. Triathlon swims can take place in swimming pools, lidos or the open water. Pool-based triathlons are a great way to ease into the sport, as you’re in a controlled, safe environment. More adventurous swimmers can go straight to a lake or the sea for an open-water race. Pool swims are usually seeded based on predicted times and you’re allowed to draft – so being conservative with your time can be an advantage as you’ll use less energy drafting the swimmer in front. You may be responsible for counting your own lengths in the pool, so make sure you develop a good method for this, such as counting blocks of 10. Don’t panic if someone taps your feet – it just means they’re ready to overtake. Finish your length and allow them past at the end of the pool. In open-water races, wetsuits are compulsory in water under 14°C though many hot, foreign events are non-wetsuit. Competitors start either in waves – usually five-year

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age bands – or all together in a mass start. It’s a good idea to ask other racers around you what their predicted time is, so you can place yourself in the pack and avoid being bashed as much as possible. Drafting has a great benefit in open-water races, so consider sitting behind a group and letting them do the work. In either type of race, it’s important to remember it’s only the start of the event and you need to leave enough energy in the tank to bike and run afterwards.

MANY NEW swimmers labour their kick, bending their knees and creating drag. Think about kicking gently from the hip and relaxing your ankles. Turn your legs slightly in from the hip and aim to feel your toes brushing each other on each kick, to keep your legs close together.

start YOUr sWiM traininG Swimming is a technical discipline and you’ll do best at it if you get coaching help before you start putting in the yards in the pool. Don’t battle through on your own – you’ll just get frustrated. Our training plan (p18) features a minimum of two swim sessions per week. If you can’t manage the sets we’ve given, just start by getting time in the pool and making sure you can cover your race distance, even if you have to stop along the way. If you need extra help with your swim, we’d advise swimming more often – even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes each time. Turn over to find your key sessions.

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02 06

——07 07 KEEPING YOUR elbow above your wrist and wrist above your fingertips is a good way to increase your propulsion in the water. Imagine you are reaching over a barrel with every stroke you take. GOOD BODY position is the first thing to get right for front crawl. A horizontal body position with your feet breaking the surface as you kick is ideal. Think about pushing your chest down and experiment with your head position to see how it affects your legs.

FRONT CRAWL, or freestyle, is the most commonly used stroke in triathlon swims, but you can take a breather with breast stroke if you need to. Rest assured, you won’t be the only person doing so.

MOST SWIMMERS aim to breathe to both sides. This takes practice, which you can do by swimming with a kick float (alternately letting go with each arm and breathing to that side) and then with a pullbuoy. Breathe out fully underwater so you’re ready to take a breath in when your head turns out of the water.

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Race your first Tri...

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Your key swim sessions

Use our plan on p18 to get ready for your first sprint race, using these key swim sessions to get you off to a good start

Long swims Build your endurance in the water with long, easy swims. Forget about counting lengths – just swim for your allotted session time. If you can, use an underwater MP3 player to help while away the time and stop you panicking about your stroke. At first, take breaks when you need to, but gradually try to cut these down. Take breaststroke breaks rather than pausing if you’re still really struggling after a few weeks of these sessions. Max speed swims In these sessions, focus on pulling your arm through the water as hard as you can, keeping your shoulder blades rolled back, your elbow high, and trying to brush your hip with your hand as it exits the water. These sessions will help sharpen your race pace if you’re a more experienced swimmer.

Optional extras Add these sessions where indicated on our plan if you need a little extra help in the water.

Easy swim Do one extra short, easy swim per week. The aim of this session is to help you enjoy swimming and stop you from dreading your sessions. If your target race is in open water, move this session outside as soon as you can to help overcome your worries – make sure you have someone to swim with though. Swim drills Ideally you’ll start every swim you do with 10 minutes of drills as a warm-up, to help develop the neuromuscular pathways you need to swim better (in other words, to help your body learn the movements of efficient swimming). Get some swim coaching as soon as you can. A coach will be able to ensure you’re performing drills properly and give you drills to focus on for your own particular weak spots. There are dozens of swim drills you can use – we’d suggest easy 25m lengths of the following, with rest or easy breast stroke in between: 1. Kick on side: Stretch one arm in front and keep the other relaxed on your

side (as if your hand was in your jeans pocket). Look down towards your armpit, breathing when you need to, and kick gently down the pool. You’ll need to adjust your front arm and the position of your body to avoid going off course – a great help for learning to swim straight and for learning good rotation. 2. Catch up: Slow down a frantic stroke and focus on your arm action with the catch-up drill. Using a float if it’s easier, start face down with both arms flat out in front of you, hands tilted slightly down. One arm at a time, pull through a front crawl stroke, keeping your elbows high. As each hand reaches the front, begin the next stroke with the other arm (one arm always stays out in front). 3. Fingertip drill: Learn good arm recovery with this drill. Swim relaxed front crawl, and as your arm exits the water, drag your fingertips along the surface to the front of the stroke, keeping your elbow high. 4. Fist drill: Learn to use your forearms in your stroke by swimming front crawl with your hands in fists.

your strength move > push-up Need to boost your swim power? Take five minutes once or twice each week to do some push-ups in front of the TV. Do four sets of five, keeping them slow and controlled, and switching from having your hands wide (just wider than your shoulders) to narrow (directly underneath your shoulders). This will work your core, the muscles in your back and chest, and your triceps, to help you push through the water.

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Race youR fiRst tRi...

tHe bike

LEARNING TO handle your bike well could save a couple of minutes. Lean into corners, keep your weight over the back wheel and learn to ‘feather’ the brakes when you descend hills. If you’re nervous, find a more experienced cyclist to ride with to get some tips.

the FAstest seCtIon oF Any trIAthLon, the BIKe Is A ChAnCe to mAKe uP tIme or Push your sPeeD WORDS TOM BALLARD & ELIZABETH HUFTON IMAGE RUSSELL BURTON

ycling comes more naturally to some than others and confidence while riding is important when the race pressure is on. Here’s how to keep your cool on two wheels. With the exception of major events such as the Virgin Active London Triathlon, roads are usually open to other traffic during races, so be wary of other vehicles. Marshals and signage will help you get around the course, but driving the route and studying a map in advance can avoid the frustration of getting lost during your race. Triathlon cycling is a nondrafting discipline (unless you’re a professional on the ITU circuit – find out more at triathlon.org). That means you could be given a penalty if you’re closer than seven metres behind another participant or three metres to the side when not overtaking – a manoeuvre that should be completed within 15 seconds of entering the draft zone. When overtaken, it’s your responsibility to drop back. Remember that no cyclist has priority, so ride confidently and don’t stick to the roadside gutter, where you’re likely to pick up punctures. Being relaxed will help avoid upper body tension which could later hamper your run.

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Depending on the race distance, the bike can be a good opportunity to take on energy gels and drink. Practice riding onehanded to get comfortable feeding in the saddle.

start YOUr BiKe traininG Most of us have done some cycling in our lives, but don’t take the middle discipline for granted. At this stage it doesn’t matter if you can’t afford the latest carbon fibre racing machine – just get your set-up as good as it can be on your current bike. Consider asking a fellow cyclist to have a look at your position or book yourself in for a bike fit to make sure you’re getting the most from your body and avoiding injury through incorrect set-up. Once you’re ready to start training in earnest, you’ll need to learn how to push yourself on the bike. Consider swapping your flat pedals for clipless ones so that you can pull up as well as pushing down – this will increase the power of your riding and help you speed up. Our training plan features two bike sessions each week, as well as a brick (bike to run) workout (see p16). You can build these into a commute to work, but make sure you know the rules of the road and stay safe.

MECHANICAL PROBLEMS can end a good race and flat tyres are the most common. Make sure you know how to change one in a hurry and always carry a spare inner tube, mini pump and tyre levers – even when racing.

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— 11 — 011

YOU MAY have seen elite triathletes riding specialist triathlon bikes, with straight aerobars to reduce wind resistance. These save time, but you can save drag just by using the drops of your road bike handlebars, or narrowing your grip and lowering your upper body on a flatbar bike.

THE BIKE poses the highest risk of penalties in a race, so make sure you know the rules before you start. You’ll need a helmet (which must be on before you touch your bike), the right race numbers in the right places, to know where you can get on and get off your bike, and to know the race rules about drafting.

IF YOU intend to drink during your race, make sure you’ve practised in training – the trick is to get a feel for where your bottle is so you don’t have to look down.

USE A smooth pedal stroke to maximise your effort – if you can, swap your pedals for clipless ones to help. Don’t be tempted to change into your biggest gear and stomp on the pedals – use the gears to respond to terrain, changing to keep your cadence consistent.

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Your key bike sessions

Use our training plan, starting on p18, to get ready for your first race with these straightforward bike sessions

Long rides The bike leg of a sprint triathlon is usually 20km, or 12 miles. That might not sound much but if you haven’t been on a bike since you were a child, it’ll take a bit of getting used to. Since cycling is low impact, you can safely increase your mileage quite quickly. For the purposes of your sprint race, building up to an hour or an hour-and-a-half in the saddle is all you need. Use these long, relaxed rides to work out how to tweak your bike fit and learn how to drink on the bike.

threshold is essential. Once you reach your lactate threshold, lactic acid begins to build up in your muscles, producing that burning feeling you get when you ride hard. For most people, this happens at around 85 per cent of their maximum heart rate or a perceived effort rating of seven to eight out of 10. In these sessions, you’ll ride long intervals at this pace to help you get a feel for it and to learn to hold this hard pace for long periods.

Threshold/race pace rides Unless you’ve been a competitive cyclist before, one of the hardest aspects of triathlon racing is learning to push yourself on the bike. The secret of triathlon cycling is to ride fast enough to make a good time, without stressing your legs so much that you find it impossible to run well afterwards. For your first sprint race, practising riding just below your lactate

New to riding or need a bit more strength in the second discipline? Add these sessions where marked on our training plan.

Optional extras

Short sprints These rides should feel easy overall, but you’ll add in short sprints of a minute or two riding as fast as you can. The idea is to help you build top-end speed and work on a smooth pedalling technique.

You don’t have to be too structured with these sessions – just wait till you’re on a quiet stretch of road, perhaps with a slight incline, and go for it. Don’t be tempted to add in more sprints than planned, even if you’re feeling good, as that could have an impact on the quality of your harder sessions. Hilly rides Again, these sessions shouldn’t feel too difficult – don’t sprint up all the hills or choose a course peppered with 1:4 gradients. Find yourself a rolling course with a few longer climbs (which take you five minutes or more to get up) and try to ride it at a consistent effort level. This will help build strength and conditioning in your working muscles, improve your fitness and perhaps most importantly, gain confidence in your riding technique. It’s a good idea to try some of these rides with more experienced cyclists so you can see how they pace the climbs and tackle the descents.

your strength move > Glute bridge This move will work your hamstrings, glutes and core so that you can get maximum power out of your pedal stroke. It also helps stabilise your pelvis, which should help prevent injuries as you build up your cycling and running. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms straight and relaxed by your side. Push your hips up off the floor so your body forms a straight line from knee to shoulder. Make sure you’re engaging your core muscles and holding your pelvis straight. Try holding for five to 10 seconds and, if you want to make it harder, raise one foot off the floor, making sure you keep your hips straight.

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tHe Run

THE RUN section of a sprint tri is usually 5km, or 3.1 miles. For a new triathlete, it can feel twice as long. Practise mental strategies that you can call on: mantras like “I can do this” or even counting your footsteps can help. MP3 players are not allowed in tri races so don’t rely on them.

In A trIAthLon run, you’re tIreD From the other DIsCIPLInes, But WIth the rIght trAInIng you CAn stILL FInIsh on A hIgh WORDS TOM BALLARD & ELIZABETH HUFTON IMAGE JAMES LAMPARD

unning after cycling is completely different to going for a run when fresh. Your legs are likely to be tired, your shoulders tight and your back could be stiff too, making the triathlon run an alien xperience. After the fast ride, your perception remains attuned to a higher speed, meaning it’s easy to blast out onto the running course to find your heart thumping and muscles overwhelmed after a few hundred metres. To avoid this, take your time at the start of the run, using it as a warm-up to get your body in check after the bike. If you’re a stronger runner, having a stream of competitors ahead of you is the perfect motivator to keep pushing and overtake as many as you can. Most events have aid stations offering sustenance to keep you topped up with energy. By this stage in the race, it’s normal to feel a bit sick and depleted, so try alternating plain water with energy drink. If you can find out what type of drinks will be on offer in advance, buying some and testing how they sit on your stomach before the race can save you getting stomach cramps from an unsuitable drink. In a sprint race, you may find you hardly need to drink after the first aid station.

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The run can be tough mentally as your body is already fatigued. If you hit a low patch, remember that you’re in the last third of the race that you’ve nearly achieved your goal. Imagine how great it’s going to feel to finish your first triathlon.

start YOUr rUn traininG Many people come to triathlon from a running background and if you’re one of them, you’re in for a shock. You’ll need to cut down on your usual volume to accommodate swimming and cycling, so every run you do needs to be higher quality. If you’re new to running, the key to your success is building up gradually. Running is a high-impact sport and the most likely of the three triathlon disciplines to leave you injured, so take it steady and focus on building your endurance. To begin with, use walking breaks on your runs while your body gets conditioned for the impact. Don’t take them at random – use a watch to alternate one minute walking/ one minute running and gradually increase the run time. Our training plan also includes brick sessions. These bike-to-run sessions prepare you for the jelly-legged feeling you’ll go through at the start of a tri run.

A GOOD knee drive should encourage a more efficient gait, helping you to avoid over-striding and heel striking, which can lead to more running injuries. You can practise using an exaggerated high knee drive in training so the motion is more natural – it’s also a good way to warm up out of transition.

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AFTER A hard bike section, many people naturally slump their upper body on the run. Think about drawing your shoulders back and down and looking straight ahead, opening up your chest and pulling your posture straight.

YOU’LL BE relieved to move your arms after leaning on the handlebars for so long. Drive your arms back and forth to help pick up the rhythm of your feet. Keep them relaxed – try resting your thumb and forefinger against each other to help – and keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees.

LANDING ON the midfoot is considered by many coaches to be the best way to run, reducing impact and speeding up your cadence. However, if you’re a natural heel-striker this isn’t something you’ll be able to change overnight. Whatever you do, visit a running shop to ensure you have the right footwear.

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Your key run sessions

Our training plan on p18 will help you finish your first triathlon in good shape. You’ll find these key sessions on the plan

Long runs When you’re racing your first triathlon, focus on endurance before you build in speed, especially if you’ve never run before. Your longest run of the week is best done at the weekend when you can relax and take walk breaks. The purpose of this session is to build your aerobic fitness. For new runners it’s also the best way to condition your muscles, tendons and joints to cope with the rigours of running. Keep your effort level easy, so you could hold a conversation if you wanted to. Brick sessions Running off the bike is essential for triathletes. The run of your brick session doesn’t need to be long; the first 10 to 15 minutes of your race run will be the toughest, as the blood shifts from the muscles you used most on the bike to those working hardest on the run. If you use clipless pedals on the bike, you might also experience numbness in your feet when you hit the run – use these sessions to work out how to counter this by increasing the float on your cleats, or keeping your feet warm. Brick sessions are a great opportunity to get your transition right – set one up at home and change from bike to run as fast as you possibly can.

Optional extras Add these sessions if you need to give your run speed a boost. Short run intervals If you’re new to running or find you’re still struggling with

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post-bike legs after a few weeks of training, add an extra short, fast run every week after the long bike ride. Your long ride should be at a relaxed, easy pace so this will be less taxing than it sounds. As you get fitter, you can even ramp up the pace (try riding in a higher gear) towards the end of the ride to mimic race conditions more closely. Keep your total run time to 15 minutes max, and the intervals to 30-60 seconds; but the effort on your intervals should be as high as you can manage – an effort rating eight or nine out of 10.

Off-road hills Give your legs a break from the impact of run training on hard ground, while conditioning your muscles and feet. The effort level on these runs shouldn’t be too high – just relax and have fun with the landscape, pushing harder up hills if you feel able to and using downhill sections for recovery. You can also use hilly runs to fine-tune your technique: practise pumping your arms back and forth to help you drive up hills, and use the downhill sections to improve your leg turnover.

your strength move > squat

Because the run is a bigger risk area for injury than the other two disciplines, it’s important to add stability exercises. Squats are a great starting point, helping to strengthen the muscles in your core and around

your pelvis that will help you run more efficiently and with greater stability. Make sure you engage your core muscles before you start; lower yourself slowly into the squat, making sure your knee isn’t further forward than

your toes (when viewed side-on in a mirror) and that your knees don’t fall inwards as you lower yourself. Start with double-leg squats then progress to alternating single-leg squats as you become stronger.

4/11/13 9:34 AM


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Race your first Tri...

RACE YOUR FIRST TRI IN 8 WEEKS essential

Day

Week 1

Mon

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

20mins WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 10x25m sprint with 1min recovery WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

20mins easy with 3x1min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 15mins into 5mins run

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 12x25m alternating CU, FIST, KICK, FTIP WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

Swim 20mins easy

hilly bike

WU 5mins flat and easy MAIN 20mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

WU 10mins easy MAIN 2x4mins at 8/10 effort with 2mins recovery WD 5mins easy

hilly run

15-20mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

Run 30-35mins easy

easy swim

15-20mins easy

Sun

long bike

40-45mins easy

short run ints

10mins off bike, building speed

Week 2

Mon

KEY

optional

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 10x25m sprint with 1min recovery or 5x50m PULL with 1min rec WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

20mins easy with 3x1min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 20mins into 5mins run

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 12x25m alternating CU, FIST, KICK, FTIP WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

25mins easy

hilly bike

WU 10mins flat and easy MAIN 20mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

WU 10mins easy MAIN 2x5mins at 8/10 effort with 2mins rec WD 5mins easy

hilly run

15-20mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

35-45mins easy

easy swim

15-20mins easy

Sun

long bike

40-45mins easy

short run ints

10mins off bike, building speed

WU Warm up, WD Warm down, MAIN Main set, FC Front crawl, KICK Legs only, FTIP Drag your fingers along the surface during the arm-recovery, CU Catch up touching hands at front of stroke, FISTS Swim front crawl with clenched fists

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0218

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This plan will take you to your first sprint triathlon in eight weeks, but you’ll need some fitness first. Try our absolute beginner’s plan (4 weeks) if you’ve never done any of the disciplines before (see the Training Plans section at triradar.com). Add in the optional sessions just for your weakest discipline – don’t be tempted to jump in and train twice a day, every day.

essential

Day

Week 3

Mon

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 25m, 50m, 100m, 50m, 25m hard, plus 30-45secs rec WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

25mins easy with 3x1min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 20mins into 10mins run

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 16x25m alternating CU, FIST, KICK, FTIP WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

25mins easy

hilly bike

30mins WU 10mins flat and easy MAIN 20mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

25mins WU 10mins easy MAIN 3x3mins at 8/10 effort with 90secs rec WD 5mins easy

hilly run

20-25mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

35-45mins easy

easy swim

20mins easy

Sun

long bike

1 hour easy

short run ints

10mins off bike, alternating 1min easy, 1min hard

Week 4

Mon

KEY

optional

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 5x25m sprint with 1min rec; 2x100m hard with 1min rec WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

25mins easy with 3x2min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 25mins into 10mins run

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 16x25m alternating CU, FIST, KICK, FTIP WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

30mins easy

hilly bike

WU 10mins flat and easy MAIN 25mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

WU 10mins easy MAIN 2x6mins at 8/10 effort with 2mins rec WD 5mins easy

hilly run

20-25mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

45mins easy

easy swim

20mins easy

Sun

long bike

1hr 15mins easy

short run ints

10mins off bike, alternating 1min easy, 1min hard

WU Warm up, WD Warm down, MAIN Main set, FC Front crawl, KICK Legs only, FTIP Drag your fingers along the surface during the arm-recovery, CU Catch up touching hands at front of stroke, FISTS Swim front crawl with clenched fists

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Race your first Tri...

RACE YOUR FIRST TRI WEEKS 5 -8 detail

Day

Week 5

Mon

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 2x (25m, 50m, 75m, 50m, 25m hard +30secs recovery) WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

30mins easy with 5x1min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 25mins into 10mins run

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 400m drills of choice, focusing on one you find hardest WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

30mins easy

hilly bike

WU 10mins flat and easy MAIN 40mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

WU 10mins easy MAIN 10mins at 8/10 effort WD 10mins easy

hilly run

20-25mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

50mins easy

easy swim

30mins easy

Sun

long bike

1hr 30mins easy

short run ints

10mins off bike: 3mins easy then 5mins hard, 2mins easy

Week 6

Mon

KEY

optional

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

25mins WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 15x25m sprint with 1min rec OR 4x 100m hard PULL +30secs recovery WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

20mins easy with 3x2min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 25mins into 15mins run

swim drills

25mins WU 5mins easy MAIN 400m drills of choice, focusing on one you find hardest 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

35mins easy

hilly bike

WU 10mins flat and easy MAIN 20mins rolling course

Fri

threshold bike

30mins WU 10mins easy MAIN 15mins at 7-8/10 effort WD 5mins easy

hilly run

15-20mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

45mins easy

easy swim

20mins easy

Sun

long bike

1hr 10mins easy

short run ints

15mins off bike: 3mins easy, 3x2mins hard, with 2-3mins easy recovery

WU Warm up, WD Warm down, MAIN Main set, FC Front crawl, KICK Legs only, FTIP Drag your fingers along the surface during the arm-recovery, CU Catch up touching hands at front of stroke, FISTS Swim front crawl with clenched fists

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detail

Day

Week 7

Mon

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 10x25m sprint with 1min recovery or 5x50m with pullbuoy with 1min rec WD 5mins easy

bike sprints

20mins easy with 3x1min sprints

Wed

Brick

Bike 20mins into 10mins run, with 30sec sprints in both

swim drills

WU 5mins easy MAIN 12x25m alternating CU, FIST, KICK, FTIP WD 5mins easy

Thur

long swim

40mins - for middle 20mins, try not to push off the ends of the pool

hilly bike

20mins rolling course – keep effort easy

Fri

threshold bike

WU 10mins easy MAIN 2x4mins at 8/10 effort with 2mins rec WD 5mins easy

hilly run

15-20mins on soft, hilly ground

Sat

long run

45mins easy

easy swim

20mins easy

Sun

long bike

1 hour easy

short run ints

10mins alternating 1min easy, 1min hard

Week 8

Mon

KEY

optional

Rest day

Tue

speed swim

WU 5mins easy with drills of choice MAIN 10x25m sprint with 1min rec WD 5mins easy

Wed

Brick

Bike 15mins into 5mins run

Thur

long swim

30mins easy

Fri

threshold bike

25mins easy into 10mins easy run, with a few short sprints

Sat

race check

Check kit, check course if poss

Sun

sprint triathlon

RACE DAY

WU Warm up, WD Warm down, MAIN Main set, FC Front crawl, KICK Legs only, FTIP Drag your fingers along the surface during the arm-recovery, CU Catch up touching hands at front of stroke, FISTS Swim front crawl with clenched fists

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RACE YOUR FIRST TRI... TRI

FIRST TIME FIXES TRAINING FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON RAISES HUNDREDS OF QUESTIONS – NOT LEAST ‘WHY AM I DOING THIS?’ – BUT WE HAVE THE ANSWERS WORDS ASHLEY QUINLAN

HOW CAN I DEVELOP DIFFERENT SWIMMING SPEEDS IN TRAINING? IN ORDER TO improve, we need to overload our bodies above their habitual level. With swimming, things can soon get a little tricky as the motor skills involved in the action are so complex. Plus, it’s an unstable environment and humans aren’t naturally built for the water so often it means technique falls apart when you try harder. The swimming equation that all swimmers (including triathletes) should live by is: swimming speed = stroke frequency x stroke length. Swimmers looking to go faster must increase one or both of these multiples. In order to do this, the technique must be good so that you maintain form and efficiency. Think about these three areas:

TRI54.SUPP_Solved.indd 22

1. Catch Shrugging your shoulders engages the larger muscle groups across your shoulders, back and chest. It also keeps the elbow high allowing the catch to happen earlier. 2. Body position Experiment with how you position your head as it acts as a counter weight for your legs. If they sink, then drop your chin lower to your chest. 3. Rotation Matching a long stroke to good rotation further increases the length of the stroke. Aim for up to 45 degrees, keeping your hips and shoulders turning together as if they were on a spit. Doug Hall, coach and triathlete

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SHOULD I WARM UP BEFORE A RACE? IT’S ALWAYS A good idea to complete a warm-up before racing. A warm-up that is appropriate and specific certainly won’t wear you out, but done properly will see you pitch up at the start line physically and mentally ready to race your triathlon. A warm-up should do a number of things: increase your heart rate; get blood pumping to your working muscles; raise your body temperature; kick start neural messages from your brain; reduce risk of injury and post-exercise muscle soreness; and get you psyched up, focused and motivated to race. Your warm-up should be appropriate to your event, your fitness levels and your ability, and last 20-30 minutes. To get your warm-up right for race day, practise it in training. Developing a great warm-up routine means that when race day arrives you know exactly what works for you. Dr Martin Yelling, coach and athlete

WHY SHOULD I INVEST IN CLIP-IN PEDALS AND SHOES? CLIP-IN PEDALS bind your foot to the pedal body. While attaching your feet to your bike might seem a bit unnerving, the advantages over flat pedals far outweigh a few bumps and bruises you might incur when learning to use them. These are their three most important benefits. 1. Static position. Slipping between the sole of your shoe and the pedal results in wasted energy, known as “dropping a pedal”. Also, because your foot is always positioned in the same place, your muscles develop in the same way every time you ride your bike. 2. Increased control. Attaching your feet to the pedals means you increase your control over the bike. For example,

TRI54.SUPP_Solved.indd 23

by pulling up on your inside foot and pushing down with your outside you increase the traction between Tarmac and rubber. 3. Increased power transfer. Pedals rotate continuously, and with flat pedals you can only apply force through the pedals from around 1 o’ clock to 6 o’ clock. With your feet attached to the pedals, you can effectively apply pressure on the pedals the entire way around the clock. Doug Hall, coach and triathlete

DO I ALWAYS NEED ELECTROLYTES? IT’S A COMMON mistake to think you don’t need to replace electrolytes when the weather’s not so hot. You still sweat, although not quite as much as if you were exercising in the height of summer. It’s also quite likely that you’ll put on an extra layer or two when the temperature’s low, so you’ll sweat more than you think. Electrolytes in sports drinks not only replace salts, but stimulate your thirst, making you drink more and therefore stay hydrated during exercise. The amount of electrolytes you lose during exercise is highly variable from person to person. The most important electrolyte to look out for is sodium, which is found in most sports drinks. Dr Kevin Currell, sports nutritionist

WHAT KIND OF BIKE SHOULD I BUY? IF A BIKE is good enough to get you to the finish then it’s good enough to race on. If you’re on a tight budget, the great news is that lower-cost bikes are better than ever. Bikes around £500 now have decent alloy frames that feel light and lively and weigh only a few pounds more than bikes up to £2,000. Some even have carbon-fibre legged forks for a bit more comfort and a bit less weight. Lots of bike shops often offer free servicing, limited warranties and deals on any upgrades or accessories you want too with their second-hand range. It’s also worth bearing in mind that unless you know how to set up, sit on and steer an aero bike safely and efficiently in all weathers, then you’ll get to T2 quicker and fresher mentally and physically on a conventional bike. Guy Kesteven, bike expert

4/11/13 8:42 AM


RACE YOUR FIRST TRI

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HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE WHICH RACES I DO?

HOW CAN I BOOST MY CONFIDENCE WHEN CORNERING AT SPEED? THE MORE YOU worry about an issue such as cornering, the worse it gets. However, the good news is that becoming a far more confident bike handler is very quick, and surprisingly easy if you dedicate some specific time to it. Firstly, make a short lap of fixed points that you can do over and over again in a quiet area. Concentrate on relaxing and letting the bike roll round smoothly. Press your weight onto the outside foot, point your inside knee into the turn, and learn to drop your inside shoulder too. Your bike will always go where you look, so as you come into the corner, stare at the turning point (apex). Once you’ve passed that point, immediately flick your vision as far past the exit as possible, and your bike will follow. Never brake as you’re actually turning, as this reduces body relaxation and increases the chance of skidding. As your confidence increases, try using different lines and see what difference that makes to your overall speed and workload around the lap. Guy Kesteven, bike expert

HOW CAN I GET MYSELF TO SWIM IN A STRAIGHT LINE? YOUR BODY FOLLOWS your head, so your first intervention should be to keep your head in line with your body. A common reason for zigzagging is excessive head movement when you breathe. Secondly, remember Newton: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you push straight back you’ll go straight forwards; push sideways, you’ll go sideways. Often, if someone snakes down the pool, their hand is entering across their centre line and they pull back across their body. Focus on one arm at a time with a single arm drill. Finally, your body is like a rudder, if it’s bent one way you’ll go the other. Swimmers who don’t hold their bodies straight will drift off course. Getting a swim coach to watch you in the water makes it easy for them to identify and correct an imbalance in your stroke. Harry Wiltshire, pro triathlete

TRI54.SUPP_Solved.indd 24

BEGIN BY LOOKING for races that sound like fun. You want to enjoy every race you enter and should walk away raring to train for the next one. If you can do this you will have a great season and times will look after themselves. Try doing a sprint race initially. Then, if you have a good endurance base and want a challenge, you could give a standard-distance event a try. Once you’ve got some races under your belt you will see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Give yourself a minimum of three weeks’ gap between races. This will give your body and mind time to recover. Races are more stressful on your body than training sessions, so treat them with respect, especially as you are new to the sport. Harry Wiltshire, pro triathlete

SHOULD I BE MONITORING MY WEIGHT? BODY WEIGHT MAY not be the best thing to measure when starting training. Body weight is made up of many components, which can be affected by endurance training. It’s possible you’ll maintain your weight when endurance training because of increases in muscle mass, fuel storage, fat storage, water storage and bone density. So, it’s possible that you’ve lost fat mass, but the adaptations to training mean your weight stays the same. It would be better to get your body composition monitored and aim for fat loss rather than weight. Dr Kevin Currell, sports nutritionist

4/11/13 8:42 AM


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Body

Beat Muscle Soreness Now Getting sore muscles is inevitable when you’re training for your first triathlon. Here’s how to avoid and treat it Words Phil Mosley images corbis

etting yourself in shape for your first triathlon requires a good training regime and careful nutrition plan, but however careful you are, sore muscles are inevitable. However, there’s a big difference between normal aches and pains, and intense pain or soreness that’s still painful to the touch two days later. Training in this state can lead to changes in your running gait, reductions in muscle strength and power, altered muscle recruitment patterns and increased risk of injury. Sports scientists refer to it as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS for short. As a triathlete you’re most likely to experience it after high-intensity workouts and races, although you can get it after long slow runs too. It’s important not to ‘push through’ this state, though: most professional athletes go out of their way to avoid pain. Olympic triathlete and former world champion Tim Don runs on grass as it enables him to complete regular workouts with less soreness. Other athletes supplement their training with underwater treadmill running. The mantra here is: the less time you

g

TRI54.SUPP_Body.indd 27

massage Some studies show a reduction in soreness and certain blood markers linked to muscle damage after massage, but there are no clear guidelines showing which methods are best. If you find a masseur who can improve your symptoms, stick with them.

spend being sore, the more training you can do.

Avoid muscle soreness The 10% rule The rule is that you should only increase the length of your run or duration of high-intensity reps sessions by 10% month on month.

Your total running mileage for the month also shouldn’t be more than 10% higher than the previous month. The 10% rule is useful for avoiding soreness, and an effective way to steer clear of injuries too. Mix it up Rather than doing all your running on roads and pavements, try to

4/11/13 8:54 AM


Race your first Tri...

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Running on a treadmill or grass recruits different muscles to running on roads

include some runs on soft ground or on a treadmill. This will stress your muscles in a different way to running on roads and should reduce the likelihood of soreness – as long as you also stick to the 10% rule. Know when to stop If your legs are particularly sore during a run, stop and walk home or call for a lift; there is no training benefit beyond this point, and you will only compound the problem by carrying on. Even if you’re in a group training situation and don’t want to look like a quitter, be strong and listen to your body. You’ll come back faster and fitter if you do. Eat now We say this a lot, because it’s important: eat a meal as soon as possible after training as it’ll help you recover better and faster. If you don’t want a meal, have a recovery snack or drink, then eat later.

4

things that don’t work

Stretching We’re not saying don’t do it, just don’t expect it to alleviate your DOMS. Homeopathy Arnica is known for its antiinflammatory properties, but studies show that it won’t cure your postexercise soreness. Ultrasound and electrotherapy Physiotherapists use these methods to treat injuries, but there is little research showing a DOMS benefit. Beer It may alter your perception of outdoor temperature and the time it takes to walk home from a night out, but even beer won’t cure your aching limbs!

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“Eat a meal as soon as possible After training, as it’ll help you To recover better and faster” Treat muscle soreness The best way to beat soreness is to avoid getting it in the first place. There is no clear-cut way of treating it, and many popular treatment methods are still debatable. The ones detailed below have shown benefits in some studies, however. Exercise During the Tour de France, Team Sky cyclists warm down on a static trainer, which they believe gives them ‘good legs’ for the next day. Research shows that light exercise can be an effective way to treat muscle soreness but the effects may be short-lived. In other words, you’ll feel great while you’re training, but your symptoms will probably return after you stop. Drugs There is some research to show that anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce symptoms of muscle soreness, but there are potential

downsides too: their long-term use has been related to stomach, kidney and liver problems. Don’t take them after a race on an empty stomach either – wait until after you’ve eaten. Compression Several research studies indicate that compression garments reduce the symptoms of muscle soreness. Standard compression garments reduce the build-up of fluids in your tissues, reducing pain and boosting recovery. Graduated compression garments do this too, as well as improving blood flow. Ice bath There isn’t much evidence that ice baths work, but if you’re going to try one, start with 10 minutes in 15°C water – this should be enough to get the benefit and avoid the risks. Contrast therapy is where you alternate hot and cold baths: try one minute in a cold bath, and two minutes in a hot tub (around 37°C), repeated three times.

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RACE YOUR FIRST TRI... TRI

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BANISH YOUR RACE NERVES FOREVER Mind

OPTIMISE YOUR PERFORMANCE WITH OUR ARMOURY OF MENTAL TRICKS TO HELP YOU HANDLE THE PRESSURE OF A RACE

WORDS HEATHER GOLLNICK & DR IZZY JUSTICE IMAGE JAMES LAMPARD

e’ve all had times when nerves have affected our performance. So what makes the difference between a personal best and second best? Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is that elusive factor that allows you to perform at your best in a stressful situation, and here we’ll look at what happens to our bodies under pressure, and how to manage the variables that cause that pressure. To do so, we need to look at the relationship between the brain and body. Instructions from the brain are sent to various parts of the body through the spinal cord. Your brain also takes its cues from the amygdala, a gland that secretes hormones. Microseconds after sensing a potential threat, it releases hormones that partially or entirely disable your brain, allowing your body to respond instinctively. Learning how to manage the response of the amygdala is key to optimising sports performance. Cognitive functions are disabled when we get into situations that we perceive as dangerous, such as getting pushed at a mass swim start.

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The response in the body after that push is virtually identical to that of someone pointing a gun at us – the amygdala does not make a distinction between the two ‘threats’. In triathlons the chances of something going wrong are high, which means that our bodies will be in this state at some point, and fatigue and hydration issues all lead to a ‘high alert state’, which in turn leads to decreased cognitive performance and less oxygen available for critical brain functions. This state leads to negative monologues, in which we doubt our training, question our will and recall negative situations unintentionally. At that point, access to our rational ability and skill memory has been disabled and we are in the instinctive fight-or-flight mode. BEAT ANXIETY The biggest challenge before a race is anxiety. To help combat this, draw two circles, an inner and an outer circle. Within the inner circle write down all the things that you have control over: gear, hydration, nutrition, and heart rate to name a

few. In the outer circle, list the circumstances beyond your control – the weather, other athletes, a flat tyre or various other random acts. Take the outer circle away from the inner, and you have significantly narrowed down the potential for anxiety. Why worry about what you cannot control? This teaches the brain to redefine instinctive danger. MAKE A PLAN Make a list of the things that might go wrong in your race and then make a plan to deal with them. If something does go wrong during the race, be mentally armed with previous thoughts of affirmation. Evoking positive experiences to help dilute the negative ones is the best way to influence your amygdala. All triathletes should practise recalling their best swim, T1, bike, T2, and run, and an example of overcoming a negative situation successfully, either in training or previous competition. You could even write these down on your arms or gear on race day. TAKE YOUR TEMPERATURE Keep your emotions in check with an Emotional Thermometer. This imaginary tool measures only three ‘temperatures’, similar to that of a traffic light. Green indicates that you are happy, stress free, and can think clearly. Yellow indicates that you’re a little stressed and anxious. Red is when you are out of control, filled with anger and rage, or disappointment and frustration. Take your emotional temperature every 15-30 minutes in training and during a race, and have a specific positive memory or predetermined thought or action that can take you back to green. Have different, specific reactions for when your reading is green, and when it’s yellow. Now that you understand what is happening to your body and brain, allow yourself access to your training memories so you can perform at your best.

4/11/13 8:59 AM


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Nutrition

Be your own nutritionist PLANNING YOUR WEEKLY MEAL SCHEDULE AND TRI TRAINING IN TANDEM WILL HELP YOU GET LEANER AND FITTER QUICKER WORDS SALLY PINNEGAR IMAGE CORBIS

etting ready for your first triathlon isn’t just about your training regime; nutrition plays a big part in getting into race shape and staying there. You need to be eating the right foods so that you can optimise your body weight, and also to take in all

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the essential nutrients so you have the energy to train hard and to maximise your recovery. With a bit of nutritional know-how, there’s no reason why you can’t take full control of your diet and create your own personalised nutrition plan.

The skinny on carbohydrates Endurance athletes’ diets should contain a fair proportion of carbohydrate, depending on training load. For someone in fairly heavy training, I use a diet of around 60% carbohydrate. If your daily calorie requirement is 2,000, your carbohydrate calories should be 1,200. There are around four calories per gram of carbohydrate, so that gives us a daily allowance of 300g. Pasta and rice contain about 70-75g of carbs per 100g, potatoes contain fewer than 20g per 100g – an average baking potato weighs 300g, which would give you 60g. Complex carbs release energy slower, and tend to come from unrefined starchy foods (whole grains, legumes, most vegetables and some fruits), whereas simple carbs release their energy more quickly, and tend to be found in refined or sweet foods (sugar is a simple carb). Try to limit your

essential nutritional tiPs Try to cover a good range of foods across the week, including fish twice, red meat once or twice, chicken and shellfish along with a couple of vegetarian meals and a range of starches such as wholewheat pasta, rice and noodles. Also include a wide range of vegetables and fruits of all colours, preferably seasonal produce. You need to eat and drink within an hour of finishing your workout, and preferably within 30 minutes. Just remember this training mantra: finish, eat, shower!

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Race your first Tri... consumption of simple carbs to the times when your body will readily use them, or it will ferret them away as fat! When to eat carbohydrates ● Eat sugary carbs (sugar, honey, sweets etc) during and directly after exercise, as they enter the bloodstream very quickly and give you ‘fast’ energy. ● Eat complex carbs (wholewheat pasta, brown rice, potatoes, wholewheat bread) before exercise to stock the muscles with fuel (glycogen). The skinny on protein Protein is needed for muscle repair and is found in every cell and tissue in the body. It is made up of 20 amino acids – ‘complete proteins’, which have a full set of amino acids, include meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, soya, Quorn and quinoa. You will need 0.5-0.8g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight. So if you weigh 140lb and train fairly lightly, the formula is 140x0.5, which equals 70g of protein.

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Protein is also around four calories per gram, so that’s 280 calories of protein per day. On a diet of 2,000 calories per day, that would equal 15% of your intake. That means you would need 1,200 calories of carbohydrates and 280 calories of protein, totalling 1,480 calories. We can now work out how much fat we need by calculating the calorie deficit. When to eat protein ● After a long or strenuous exercise session. ● On a rest day. ● Added to simple carbs to lower their glycaemic index and keep you full for longer. The skinny on fats Fat has many functions in the human body, including the storage and production of hormones, insulation, and metabolising and transporting the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. We’ve already established that 1,480 of our average athlete’s daily 2,000calorie requirement will be in the form of carbs and protein, so that leaves us with 520 calories. Fat contains around nine calories per gram. Therefore to calculate our fat requirement we divide 520 by nine, which translates to 58g of fat per day. One tablespoon of olive oil has about 13g of fat, while 50g of nuts has about 25g of fat. When to eat fat Fat makes food more palatable, so it’ll be there at most meals without you needing to plan for it.

Use bars, gels and drinks to keep you fuelled for training between meals

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Plan your own diet Now that you know about fat, protein and carbohydrates, you can start creating your weekly nutrition plans

1

SUPPERS The first step is to write down your planned training for each day. Start by deciding on the meal you’ll have the night before your biggest training session, then work backwards by planning all your evening meals so that they complement the following day’s training session.

2

BREAKFASTS Plan your week’s breakfasts by deciding whether you need fuel before training. Then decide whether you need drinks, gels and bars during training, depending on the intensity and duration of the exercise. Your post-training breakfast needs to replace carbs and add some protein if it will be a hard session.

3

LUNCHES Your lunches should complement your evening meals. If you’re having a lot of starch in the evening, base your lunch on protein and vegetables. If you’re training in the afternoon, you may need to top up your carbs.

4

SNACKS If it’s going to be more than four hours between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, you should have something small like a banana, a yoghurt or a handful of nuts. Don’t have snacks purely out of habit, though – there’s nothing wrong with being hungry occasionally.

5

REST DAY DIET On rest days, you can go easy on carbs. Have a filling breakfast, such as eggs, and then salad or soup with protein for lunch. For dinner, stock up on protein and veg – grilled fish or lean meat with vegetables or a colourful salad would be ideal.

“Save simple carbs for the times When your body will use them, or It will ferret them away as fat!”

4/11/13 9:02 AM


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ALL THE

GEAR

MAKE SURE YOU’RE SET FOR YOUR RACE WITH OUR BUYER’S GUIDE TO TRIATHLON WE’RE THE first to admit that being made up of three sports, triathlon requires a fair amount of gear to get going, but what’s really essential to have a good race?

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BIKE £600-£10,000 BIKE PRICES vary greatly, so once you’ve set your budget, head over to triradar.com’s bike reviews archive to find your perfect ride. If you’re just getting into cycling, a road bike is probably the best choice as a versatile training and race-day bike. As you become more experienced you could splash out on an aerodynamic time trial/triathlon bike (below), which start around £1,500. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the lighter and better performing the bike will be.

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

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FOOD BAG £8-£20 FOOD BAGS aren’t strictly necessary for shorter distances, but if you’re planning on eating during the bike ride, they make life a whole lot easier. Secured with Velcro straps around the top tube, they ensure any treats you’re carrying are within easy reach while cycling.

TRI SUIT £50-£150 TRI SUITS ARE available in either one- or two-piece options, which is a choice to make based purely on comfort. The shorts of tri suits have a small amount of padding for the bike leg, but not so much to impeded you on the run. Most suits are made from fast-wicking material that helps move moisture away from the body and are typically slim-fitting to be as aerodynamic as possible. Some suits have pockets for storing energy gels.

SUNGLASSES £30-£200 SUNGLASSES ARE for UV protection and prevent dust and debris getting in your eyes when cycling. The ideal pair is comfortable for both cycling and running with wide lens coverage for un-obscured vision. If you need prescription lenses, Adidas provide inserts for the majority of their range of sunglasses.

HELMET £50-£200

GOGGLES £10-£50

BIKE HELMETS have practical considerations as well as safety ones. To be comfortable, it’s good to have as many vents as possible to keep you cool. A long front peak can obscure vision when riding low on the drops so try on a few before buying. Getting it on fast in T2 is crucial, so make sure the fitting system is easy to use. If you’ve got long hair you’ll need to take this into account, as not all models work with ponytails.

THE BEST goggles for open-water swimming have large lenses with a wide range of vision to help with sighting and to avoid disorientation. Most manufacturers offer their open-water goggles in a variety of lens choices from clear to darkly-tinted for all weather conditions. If you need of prescription goggles, they can be found online.

LUBE AND CHAMOIS CREAM £10-£20

BIKE SHOES AND PEDALS SHOES £50-£250, PEDALS £40-£300 BIKE SHOES and clipless pedals allow your feet to be connected to the pedals at all times meaning you can drive the bike forward even on upward strokes of the legs. Although clipless pedals release easily with a twist of the heel, it’s a system that needs practice and should be implemented at the start of your training rather than near to your race.

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BODY LUBRICANT and chamois cream are important to avoid chafing during your race. Lubricating your wrists, ankles and neck before the swim can help stop rubbing and make it easier to get out of your wetsuit. Chamois cream should be applied to the inside of your thighs, groin and buttocks and will help save you from saddle sores in training and racing.

PUNCTURE KIT £5-£15 PUNCTURE KITS are essential should the worse happen and carrying one offers peace of mind. A spare inner tube, tyre levers, patches and hand pump will ensure you can at least finish your race in the event of a puncture. Storing them in an under-saddle bag keeps things tidy.

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RACE YOUR FIRST TRI...

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

WETSUIT £50-£700 SWIMMING WETSUITS are different from watersports suits. A good triathlon wetsuit has plenty of buoyancy to keep you high in the water and flexible shoulders to help reduce arm fatigue while swimming. Fit should be tight, but not too constrictive over the chest. Try on a few different brands before settling on one that fits your body type. Be careful of long finger or toe nails, which can tear the neoprene. If you’re not ready to buy, you can rent wetsuits from as little as £50 online.

RACE BELT £10-£20 A RACE belt is a simple piece of elastic that clips around your waist and from which you can attach your race number – negating the need to have separate numbers for biking (on the back) and running (on the front). Some even have loops to hold energy gels during the race.

POOL TOYS £10-£15 POOL TOYS are designed to help you improve your swimming technique by isolating parts of your body or emphasising certain movements. Pullbuoys sit between your thighs so you can focus on your arm technique. Fins accentuate your kick and can help build flexibility. Paddles increase your catch on the water – but if your shoulders aren’t strong enough you could give yourself an injury.

RUNNING SHOES AND ELASTIC LACES £70-£120 RUNNING SHOES are as individual as you are, so we recommend visiting a good running shop and having your gait analysed. This will let you know what type of runner you are and help prescribe the best shoes to help you build your fitness without picking up injuries. Adding some elastic laces to your shoes can save time in transition.

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BUY SOME SPEED This expert kit isn’t essential, but could shave time off your event

CLIP-ON AEROBARS

Made of light-weight aluminium or carbon, aerobars allow a more aerodynamic position. However, they can impede handling, braking and gear changing.

DEEP SECTION WHEELS

Wheels with a deeper rim are more aerodynamic and allow you maintain a higher speed more easily. The disadvantage of them is that they can make a bike feel unstable in crosswinds.

AERO HELMET

A long-tailed aero helmet can be a time saver, but you’ll need to have a finely tuned bike position and keep your head static for the whole ride to get the benefits.

COMPRESSION GEAR

Recovery tights are best worn straight after training and are designed to encourage the body to flush out lactic acid and other waste products of exercising more quickly.

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Race your first Tri...

in association with

race week Race

You’ve smashed your swim, beefed up your bike leg and are ready to run. now it’s time to focus on the big day Writer tom ballard images james lampard

THE TAPER In the week leading up to your event, you’ve already done all you can. The time for fitness gains is over, giving you an opportunity to relax a little and get ready for the big day. This final period is called the taper – get it right and you’ll feel better than ever during your triathlon, do too much and you could feel flat and sluggish. The idea behind the taper is to allow your body to recover so that you feel fresh and full of energy on race day. This doesn’t mean you should stop entirely though.

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It’s important to maintain your usual swim, bike and run routine throughout the week. But either lower the intensity of your sessions (to keep you ticking over) or up the intensity while drastically reducing session length (to prepare your body for the speed you’ll need). It’s normal to feel bad during your taper – this is an indication that your body is recovering, so don’t let this heighten your pre-race nerves. Aim for a short swim, bike and run session two days before your race – you’ll have plenty to do on the day before without worrying about training. In each of these

sessions, try to use the same kit and nutrition as you will during your race. Think about maintaining good form in the swim, run through your gears on the bike to iron out any problems, and visualise yourself crossing the line – and how good that will feel – during your last pre-race running session.

RACE-DAY EVE The day before the race can be hectic so staying calm and in control is key. Take charge of your kit packing and make sure you have everything you’ll need – see our checklist opposite. Depending on the transition and weather, you might want to pack a plastic bag or lidded box to keep your kit dry. If you have a chance to drive the bike course, take it – getting an idea of the terrain can help inform your race. Devour all the information you can find on the organiser’s website to familiarise yourself with transition procedure and locations of aid stations. Prepare your energy drinks the night before and lay out your kit for the morning – the more you do now,

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Train

upload

Train using one of our plans, create your own or hit the road or pool on the spur of the moment to get closer to race goals, personal bests or burn calories. Create routes or search for other users’ nearby to allow easy logging later.

Upload to your free Training Zone account via your Garmin and polar devices, nike+ or log your sessions using the easy-to-use online system, adding as much or little detail as you want. Your sessions are stored in your personal diary.

analyse analYse your totals by a range of parameters including activity, session type and time to see changes in body composition, track improvements and spot trends. You can even see how you compare to the rest of the Training Zone Community.

OTHER FEATURES INCLUDE Easily find race event by search or map system Login with Facebook Specifically tailored for triathletes Log body metrics and sleep patterns Set goals to work towards

Tally equipment distance Update your community profile Download exclusive plans from Triathlon Plus View Training Zone all-time records and leaderboards

SIGN ME UP! Getting started is easy. simply visit training.triradar.com to register for free or sign in using your existing Triradar account or Facebook. our Get started guide and FaQs will help direct you in the world of online training logging.

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Photo: Triathlon.org/ITU

GET FITTER STRONGER FASTER FOR FREE!

4/10/13 10:31 AM


Race your first Tri...

the easier it’ll be to switch off. Take time to visualise your whole race from start to finish, including what order you’ll put your gear on in transition and how you’ll handle any situations that might arise. If you’re sleeping fretfully, don’t worry: your body will still be resting and recuperating by just lying still.

RACE MORNING Ensure you’ve got everything you need, put some warm clothes on over your kit and head to transition with plenty of time in hand. You may have a place marked to rack your bike or it could be a firstcome, first-served system. Either way, try to locate a landmark beyond transition – a tree, flag or timing tent – that will help you navigate to your spot after the swim. Shift into the big chainring before racking your bike to stop the chain bouncing off over rough ground. Add nutrition to your

in association with

feedbag and put your bottles in their cages. Lay your bike and run kit out in the order you’ll need it, dusting your socks and shoes with talcum powder to avoid rubbing. After popping to the loo, it’ll be time to get your wetsuit on – unless it’s a pool tri, where a wetsuit won’t be needed. Lather your wrists, ankles and the back of your neck with lubricant, and pull your wetsuit on, making sure it fits properly. Put your timing chip on your left ankle – to avoid it fouling the bike’s chainrings – and flick your wetsuit over the top if you can. Keep drinking and take on some nutrition such as a gel about 20 minutes before the race starts. Listen closely to the briefing – it’ll give you up-to-the-minute information about the race and will also help to keep you safe. If you have any questions, ask a member of the race staff. Look out over the swim course to get an idea of which buoys you’ll be sighting towards. If you have a chance to warm up before your wave, ease yourself into the water slowly, breathe calmly and deeply, and do a few 10-15m swims back and forth. Finally, talk to other athletes and place yourself sensibly in the pack to avoid being caught in a tussle with the fastest swimmers. If you’re nervous, go right at the back – it’s easier to overtake slower swimmers and you’ll be able to draft them. As the seconds count down towards the start, embrace the challenge you’re about to undertake and reflect on the path that’s brought you here – you’ve trained hard and now it’s time to enjoy your first triathlon.

RACE KIT check list Essentials Tri suit Wetsuit Swim hat Goggles Bike Bike shoes Helmet Spare inner tube Pump Race belt Socks Sunglasses Running shoes Towel Cold/hot weather kit Wetsuit lube Chamois cream Talcum powder Sun cream

nutrition Food bag Gels/bars Drinks

“It’s normal to feel bad during your taper – this is an indication that your body is recovering”

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YOUR COMPLETE ONLINE TRIATHLON RESOURCE

ALL THE NEWS

Keep up to date on developments in the world of triathlon from Ironman to super sprint, world champions to grassroots. Find out about new events and search for races in your area – then find out what your fellow triathletes think of them on our busy forum.

ALL THE TRAINING

Plan and log your training for free, connect with other triathletes and share your successes in Training Zone. Download a host of training plans for all levels and race distances as well as sport specific training articles to help you run, bike and swim faster next season.

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ALL THE GEAR

Whether it’s a new dream bike, wetsuit, set of wheels or shoes you’re after, we’ve got an ever-increasing archive of reviews, all independently tested to help you make the best kit buying decisions to boost your performance next season.

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Race your first Tri...

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TRANSITION PRACTICE

Race week is a great time to practise transition, which can easily be done in the garden

TRANSITION 1 SWIM TO BIKE

1 2 3 4

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As you run from the water to your bike, undo your wetsuit to your waist. Remove your hat and goggles, and carry them as you run.

When you’re at your bike, remove your wetsuit quickly using your feet and hands. Prelubed calves and forearms will help it slip off more easily. Put your helmet on first and then your cycling shoes. You should have left your shoes undone beforehand to help your feet slip in more easily. Run carefully with your bike to the ‘Bike Out’ area and climb on at the designated mount line.

TRANSITION 2 bike TO run

1 2 3 4

Climb off your bike at the designated dismount line.

Carefully run to your place in the transition area and rack your bike again.

Only after you’ve racked your bike should you remove your helmet.

Take your cycling shoes off, slip your running shoes on and grab anything you need (gels, GPS watch, etc). Head out quickly through the ‘Run Out’ zone.

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GET READY FOR YOUR FIRST SPRINT-DISTANCE RACE WITH THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO TRIATHLON FOR BEGINNERS

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