When you're training for your first triathlon it's easy to focus on putting in hours of running, swimming and cycling.
But being successful in triathlon is about more than that.
Here are a few training tips which should help you to train smarter.
1. Include 'brick’ sessions in your training
A brick workout is one that combines at least two triathlon disciplines in one training session, for example a bike and run. Although brick sessions can be difficult to organise, the benefit they offer makes them worth it. Brick sessions condition and prepare your body specifically for challenges in the race, for example the possible dizziness you might feel going from a swim to bike and the jelly legs going from the bike to the run. They also offer an opportunity for you to practise your transitions.
2. Get some feedback on your technique
It is worth focusing on your technique right from the start. Ask a swim coach at the pool to take a look at your style, or pay for a professional service. If you get expert advice on how to improve, you won't end up reinforcing bad habits and you'll improve a lot faster. Knowing what you need to work on will also mean you have something to focus on in training.
3. Learn about your bike
You need to know the basics of how to look after and repair your bike. For example, learn to fix a puncture and clean your bike. If you are unsure of where to start see if your local bike shop runs any courses.
4. Build up your training gradually and incorporate recovery
Begin your training well out from the event date, and increase the time and intensity of your sessions gradually. Include recovery time in your week. You can also include injury prevention sessions which might involve using a foam roller, core strength and stretching.
5. Do some open water training sessions
If you are racing in open water it is important to be confident swimming in it. Training in a lake, river or the sea can help you get used to the temperature and the different conditions. It also gives you an chance to train in a wetsuit, which is valuable because they can affect your body position and stroke.
6. Sign up for an event early on and pick your event carefully
This will keep you motivated and give you something to work towards. Competing in a small local event first off is ideal, and you can sleep in your own bed the night before. This also means you can go over the course before race day. Small events will be less stressful. especially in the swim as it will be less crowded. Starting with a short event like a sprint triathlon is good conditioning and will help develop your speed and transitions so you are ready for the longer races.
7. Balance your training for all three disciplines
Make sure you train in all three disciplines. It's easy to favour the one you like and avoid your weakest discipline or vice versa.
8. Make your training fun
Triathletes spend many hours of training alone. Including some social training sessions in your weekly training can help to make things fun. Joining a local triathlon club can connect you with like-minded people, and bring a social component to this individual sport.
9. Practise your transitions
It is important to practise your transitions so they are not stressful on the day. Become familiar with the actions you need to take in transition and the order in which you will do them. Practise the tricky parts of transition, like taking your wetsuit off and mounting/dismounting your bike. As well as keeping you relaxed on the day, practising your transitions should mean a faster time.
10. Pay attention to your nutrition
When you start training for a triathlon you will be using more energy, and so you will need to take on more calories and water. Plan ahead to make sure you have plenty of healthy food to fuel your sessions and recovery.