Step by step Triathlon Works
In the tent before the race you need to focus on what you are doing. Of course, it’s much better to be in a structure such at the piece of fabric architecture in which you find yourself as this means you can concentrate better due to their being more fresh air and your body temperature is matched to that of the race conditions (the swim aside).
Imagine yourself in the water with up four hundred other people about to swim 1500m in a lake or river or docking area. It’s a bit chilly in your wetsuit but otherwise there’s a lot of anticipation as you prepare to chase death or glory. Death is pretty rare, in fairness.
Because of the sheer volume of people in the water you can spend a lot of the swim being kicked in the face or swum over, and this can often mean that your time will suffer and you may become dispirited. However, if you focus on your technique you’ll often find that you’ll be out of the water much quicker than you expected, particularly as you don’t have to turn round as you would in a pool when training.
Coming out of the water and getting out of your wetsuit while puffing and panting away is hard work. You need to locate your bike, get your cycling shoes and helmet on and prepare to do battle with 40km of road.
Most triathlons don’t allow any drafting, which means that you can’t cycle close to someone behind you and take advantage of the hole they are cutting in the air. It’s a very dangerous thing to do, however it means that you can cycle quickly for less effort which is why it is outlawed.
By the time you get off the bike you’ll very likely be pretty tired. By this point in the race even the world’s best have been racing for well over an hour and most first-timers will be around the two hour mark.
If you have any gels for the run now is a good time to take them, as they will give you an energy boost for the second half of the run when you need it most. Although you’re very tired it’s important to realise that you’re only one discipline away from finishing so focus on your style and try not to worry about going too fast. If you’re overtaking people that’s great, but really this race is about beating yourself.