Whether you're a seasoned triathlete or a complete newbie, the start of the triathlon season is an exciting, busy and sometimes confusing time. With lots of information bouncing around about training and racing, here are some of my top tri tips to get your season started on the right path.
1) Set smart goals
It's much easier to focus your time and effort towards a target. Think about what you are looking to achieve from the season and work backwards from your main goal. Try to have interim goals/ races to keep you motivated and to monitor your progress as the season moves forward. Be prepared to reevaluate and adjust as necessary. If you are being coached, this should be completed in collaboration with them.
2) Have Purpose
Training without purpose is a bit like paying a barista $4 for an instant coffee, you get ripped off! Whether you are coached, train with a club or are flexible in your training approach, have a bit of a plan, and shoot for consistency. Look to make enough progress across all disciplines of triathlon, work on your weaknesses and remember to pay particular attention to adequate RECOVERY!
3) Dial in your race equipment
You spend all your time training to prepare for races so make sure you are giving yourself every advantage by choosing the appropriate equipment for your racing level and keep it in good working order. This doesn't mean that the most expensive items are always what you need, speak to people who have the expertise and understand your needs.
Key tri items: bike, cycling shoes, running shoes, wetsuit, race suit.
For example, if it's time to get your first bike, a new bike, or dust off the old one, go and see someone you trust early in the season to get you set up and ready to roll. Giant Sydney have looked after my set up for the past couple of years, they know my bike, my bike set up, service history and race goals. It's reassuring to be in good hands.
4) Avoid tedium
It's easy to get stuck in a routine. Improvement stems from consistency of training, but keep things varied too. Make sure that you are challenging yourself, don't get stuck in your comfortable training zone, allow opportunities for your body to adapt by changing training variables. This can be a mix of group or solo training, differing locations of workouts or making sure you change the intensity of workouts to coincide as fitness improves and in line with your training and racing goals.
Below I'm having a bit of a go at body surfing with the guys from Titan Performance Group/ Xtrerra Australia, on the Sunshine Coast (post swim).
5) Do a race
Nothing gets you set quicker or gives you as much immediate feedback as a race. When you have to put the three disciplines together in this structured environment, you can really highlight strengths and areas for improvement. Reflect on your fitness, your triathlon specific skills and enjoy the challenge of an early season test.
6) Stay Healthy
Too many times I see seasons cut short, or athletes trying to hold themselves together through races. With progression and overload comes a risk of injury. To get the best out of the season make sure you have a good base level of fitness before stressing the body with large amounts of intensity. Program adequate recovery, even if you feel good. Don't be afraid to REST, ask seek support if injuries persist.
7)Don't take things too seriously
You're choosing to spend a lot of time and a fair amount of money on a great sport. Take time to enjoy the training, hanging out with friends and continue challenging yourself in a fun environment.