Training for a shorter Tri

For those not yet up to IM

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22/02/2013 at 09:18

ok, so I've signed up for a novice triathlon in April up here in Aberdeenshire and I've told everyone I'm doing it so that I can't drop out, (peer pressure has it's uses!).  My training is going ok, I'm never going to be the fastest, but I'm hoping I'm not the slowest.  I've read the numpty triathlon document which is brilliant, and a number of other articles and now I have some questions if I may....

1. I've never used energy drinks or gels - I want to start using them in readiness - what should I be doing/buying/eating/drinking...?

2. I was thinking of swimming in trunks and then putting shorts on over the top for the cycling and this a good idea? or should I invest in some tri-shorts?

3. Aberdeenshire is notoriously cold and windy - it's snowed in April before now - this might be a stupid question, do I need extra layers if it's really cold?

4. Do I need to add anything to my existing diet to deal with the increased physical activity of my training? (I'm a veggie and I already eat pretty well)

5. How to I keep calm before the race? I was hyper last night at swimming and I was hopeless - if I'm like that for the race I'll never get my breathing right in the pool.

6. And at the end once I've returned to a normal colour and my breathing is back to normal what do I do?  Do I just shove everying in the back of  my car and go home for tea and crumpets? Do I have to check in? Speak to the marshalls?



22/02/2013 at 17:00

Hi Pete in the hills, welcome to the madness of tri. I take it that the novice tri you have entered a supersprint or sprint distance event, please let us know what the distances are. Also what is your sporting background, are you a runner? we love the detail and it might make any answers more appropriate.
1. For a sprint you probably will not need gels, but keep up a good diet, ensure enough protein for recovery. Chocolate milkshake is good for recovery.
2 Tri shorts are good, but for your first race not essential, although you may find chafing a problem.
3 take layers to put on and leave in transition, in a small box or bag. Even down south in May it can be cold/wet and windy, my first race was in horrid conditions. 
4 Keep to the current diet, eating a snack or chocolate milkshake within 30 mins of a long session helps recovery.
5 Practice, practice, practice, concentrate on slow deep breathing beforehand and remember to breathe out whilst your head is in the water, so when your head comes up you just need to inhale.
6 Registration on the day is when you get numbers/chips. When you cross the finish line of the run your number will be written down or timing chip gets removed, that indicates you have finished. Normally you have to show your race number, which will be written on arm/leg to get bike out of transition, then yes just go home. If you have to drop out at any point then go to a marshal and get it noted that you have withdrawn.


Edited: 22/02/2013 at 17:00
22/02/2013 at 17:03

Oh forgot to say, when you register at the start tell them its your first one and hopefully they will give you the full info on the how, what, where and when, that will probably sent out a few weeks before the race, but I do find everyone in tri is friendly and helps newbies.

Cortina5    pirate
22/02/2013 at 17:15

What Steady said

Busy week with work so a few short runs during the week. Turbo yesterday morning before taking the kids to a windy seaside. Early run today, 11km in the bag. Short turbo tonight then long turbo tomorrow AM before stag do!

Rafiki    pirate
22/02/2013 at 17:17

Pete - what she said  One other thing, if they give you a 'chip' for timing, which is normally on a velcro strap you put round your ankle, make sure you hand it back at the end, or they'll sting you for a tenner. (you might not get one, depending on the size of the race).


Rafiki    pirate
22/02/2013 at 17:19

Cat - you going to the Tri show? I'm trying to arrange meeting Gas there on the Sunday, if you wanted a lift? (you don't have to associate yourself with Gas when we arrive )

22/02/2013 at 17:39

I have not decided which day to go yet, Rafiki. There is a cycle sportive on both days as well, but I do not fancy cycling if it is still this cold. Anyone else planning on going?

22/02/2013 at 19:11

This is the race 400m swim, 20K cycle, 3K run.

I started running just over 12 months ago with the aim of doing a 10k in my lunch hour which amazingly I managed by the summer.  My wife tells me that I'm having a mid life crisis.  I was running twice a week and I was stuck in a rut.  I didn't want to do much more than 10K so I thought I should do something stupid like a triathlon this year, so I plan to do a couple of the novice ones and finish with a spint at the end of the year.  I don't think I'll ever go beyond sprint triathlons.  I was sure I'd be fine for the running and cycling but it was the swimming that I worried about. My first attempts at 400m were embarrassing, I thought they'd have to start me the day before... 

I've thought of another much bike repair kit do I carry with me on the bike?





Rafiki    pirate
22/02/2013 at 19:31

Pete - my first swin in a tri was a disaster - believe me!! Nine months later, I now swim 4km twice a week!

On the bike, for training you need to carry a couple of spare tubes, tyre levers, a multi-tool and a pump (or CO2 canister). During the race, if you get a puncture, your times will be out the window, but if you have the puncture kit with you, it'll save a long walk back!

Cortina5    pirate
22/02/2013 at 19:39
Rafiki wrote (see)

Cat - you going to the Tri show? I'm trying to arrange meeting Gas there on the Sunday, if you wanted a lift? (you don't have to associate yourself with Gas when we arrive )

Doesn't look like I am. I have a du qualifier on the Sat followed by a wedding. Sunday will be a day of reflection and pramatism. . Thanks anyhow. Shame to miss all the gizzits.

23/02/2013 at 21:08

Hi Pete great to have you join us.

I take it the swim is in a pool? Just practice and you will do great. You will soon work up to 400m and it's unlikely they will have any cut offs for a novice tri.

The first tri is all about making learning what to do and what not to do. I chose an off-road ( bike and run around the lake) for my first because I wasn't sure I would be able to concentrate on navigating the bike around villages for my first attempt!

Half-term is over so hopefully I'll be able to get back to training on monday. But we did Parkrun in the snow this morning and I did my first (and only) Jhoom! class. It's like zumba but bollywood. Unbelievably complicated... I'd rather run 10 miles...


24/02/2013 at 17:41

I have run/walked and 2 hour turboed. After 1 hour on the bike I was wanting to stop but toughed it out, alas the speed dropped so average was 9.4mph. Been in the compression tights since and now need to summon up the engery to finish cooking a roast chicken dinner.

Razor51    pirate
24/02/2013 at 20:26
Ran the Blackpool HM today, went through half way in just under the hour and was on on for sub 2hrs first 7 miles all sub 9.30 m/m then I got to mile 9 then my legs decided to give up so I struggled through the last 4 miles, I had to walk to ease the legs a couple of times but managed to finish in 2hrs 10mins, a bit dissapionted because I've run that distances many times in training without any problems, a big thanks goes out to Horse who wouldn't go on without me and stayed with me to the finish.
24/02/2013 at 20:39

Well done Razor! And good for Horse. What a great mate he is. Give him a kiss from me for sticking with you

Well done Steady. Hope you enjoyed the chicken dinner.

Is there any warmer weather on the way? Really need to get back out on my bike this week.

24/02/2013 at 22:06

well done razor and horse. 

well done steady too, I really wasn't feeling like the turbo today so I didn't. I think maybe I needed a little rest anyway. Have been to tri club swim though, and felt it was more of a gentle splash than a training set, but never mind, I think it is because the masters sessions are so much harder in comparison. Saturday morning was 800 warmup, then 10 x 100m then some kick before swim-down. Now that was a good session!

Dustboy    pirate
25/02/2013 at 00:22

Top pirating Horse. Sounds like it was a good meat! Oh dear...

Cortina5    pirate
25/02/2013 at 09:12

Well done Razor and Horse.


25/02/2013 at 16:49

Well done Razor and Horse, great to hear that buddies stay around when you are having a tough time.

MC I took Friday as a rest day as I was so tired and think it did me more good than struggling through a session.

The roast chicken dinner with roast potatoes, stuffing etc followed by homemade apple crumble was voted by Mr Steady as exceedingly scrummy. Trouble was I got on the bathroom scales this morning and have put 2lb on, whoops.


25/02/2013 at 17:11

well done on the cooking steady! you can't beat an apple crumble for pudding

feeling a bit rotten and full of cold so not swimming tonight and tomorrow may well be a rest day too exam week at school as well so loads of revision sessions to get through..

25/02/2013 at 17:40

Oh no, MC, prescription food for a cold is chicken soup I believe.

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