Completing a triathlon takes a lot of training and dedication, but overcoming such a challenge can also be highly rewarding. As a former Ironman finisher, Stefan Masuhr trained for three years to get to peak fitness. Afterwards, he retained this level of fitness for some time. Nowadays, Stefan Masuhr is back to Olympic Distance Triathlon fitness, which is approximately a quarter of the gruelling Ironman distance. Proper training is key, but so is good organisation. Here you can find some of the best tips for your first triathlon event to ensure you run a good, efficient race.
Preparation is key to having a good race. Outside of training, this means ensuring that you are organised and in peak health. One top tip is to try to get a really good night’s sleep two nights before the race. It’s likely the quality of sleep you get the night before may be compromised, so this is your best chance to get rested. Make a race day checklist several days in advance, so if you miss anything you have time to remember. Make sure all of your equipment is in the best condition, doing a full bike tune-up if required. Label everything and complete any tasks required by the specific race organisers, such as putting reflective tape on your gear. Practice dry runs of your transitions. The short video attachment should help you with setting up your transition area. Make sure you know exactly how to get to the start of the race and spend some time studying the course so there won’t be any unexpected surprises.
Race day is bound to be a nerve-wracking experience but hopefully, if you have trained well and organised yourself properly, you can minimise stress on the day. In the infographic attachment you will find some of the best exercises for a dry land warm-up to get you limber and relaxed.
The first element of a triathlon is the swim and the best advice here is to relax. If you’re in a pool or wearing a wetsuit, you can either stand up or grab the lane line, or let the wetsuit hold you up if you need a moment to loosen up. A wetsuit that has been specially made for you – and for a triathlon – will make a big difference.
When transitioning from swim to bike, try to run not jog. Don’t sit down unless you are struggling to get your wetsuit off. Ride with a steady cadence, around 90rpm, setting a pace you can maintain. This is the longest part of any triathlon, so if you over-train for anything it should be the cycling. In practice, mix in short hill cycles to build stamina with longer, steady rides.
The transition from cycling to running can be hard, especially if you haven’t practiced enough. Your legs will feel heavy when you stop cycling, so practice with brick runs before the event. Keep your run cadence high, around 180 strides per minute, to shorten the time it takes for running to feel natural again. Run tall, relax your upper body and use your breathing pattern to help you find your rhythm. When training for the run, don’t push too hard too fast. Build up slowly, as this is the area where you are most likely to get an injury from pushing too hard.
Above all, relax and enjoy the experience as much as you can. Completing a triathlon is a fantastic achievement.