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Swim, Bike & Run Happy

January 22nd, 2015 | by Events Staff
Swim, Bike & Run Happy

One of the main motivators for sport is that it makes us feel good. But triathlon is also tough, both physically and mentally, and every triathlete can benefit from tips to help us be happier competitors. We’ve compiled psychological and practical tools from top pros and coaches, as well as our own experience, to enhance the experience of each triathlon discipline and to avoid the stressors that can spell disaster.


Swim Happy

Some of the most important tricks for a happy swim can be taken care of even before you hit the water.

1. A well-cared-for wetsuit makes for a comfortable swim, so keep your suit in pristine shape by avoiding fingernail nicks and tears that can lead to leakage. Wear gloves (thin fabric or latex) when pulling on your suit to protect the neoprene.

2. Toss an old pair of throwaway socks in your transition bag. They’ll allow you to slip your feet into your wetsuit with ease, plus they’ll provide added warmth until the moment you enter the water at a chilly morning race start.

3. PRO TIP: Guy Crawford, a pro triathlete who works for wetsuit maker BlueSeventy, stresses the importance of getting your suit on just right. Be sure to pull the sleeves high enough onto your shoulders; if they’re too low, the neoprene can form “batwings” under your arms, adding extra drag to every stroke.

4. PRO TIP: The shock of cold water can cause you to hyperventilate in the swim, so warm up properly before the gun goes off. When water temps are especially low, your best bet is to acclimate to the liquid chill in advance of the frenzied start, advises Ironman champion Mary Beth Ellis (who has firsthand experience diving into 59-degree water at the legendary Alpe d’Huez Triathlon). Get in and swim to warm up. If a pre-race swim isn’t an option, consider buying some stretch cords for
on-land warm-ups.

5. Nearly every triathlete has had a panic attack at some point during a triathlon swim, often triggered by claustrophobia in a mass start or the intense rush of going out too hard. If anxiety hits, rely on your mental strength to see you through. First, take a break and breaststroke or dog paddle to get your breathing under control. Then, talk yourself calm. Remind yourself of all the swims you’ve accomplished successfully – you have the tools and training to finish this one, too. Get moving again, swimming only as hard as you’re comfortable – a few minutes give or take out of the water is unlikely to make or break your race.

6. Avoid putting too much pressure on your split times, especially in the swim, where courses can really vary. If you exit an Ironman swim 10 minutes later than expected and feel let down, you’ll carry that disappointment all day. Instead, allow your swim to be a starting point, no matter the time elapsed, upon which you build the rest of your race.


Bike Happy

Equipment is especially critical in the bike leg of triathlon.

7. Learn basic bike maintenance; avoid the stress of not knowing how to help yourself in case of a race-day mechanical. At the very least, every triathlete should be able to confidently and quickly change a flat and make minor derailleur adjustments. Your local bike shop (or at least a simple YouTube search) can show you how.


Read more of this article on Triathlete Europe by clicking here

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