Swimming at the start of the beautiful Alpe d’Huez Triathlon (image copyright: Laurent Salino / Alpe d’Huez Tourisme)
Swimming is the most technique-heavy discipline of the three so it’s wise to buy some swim coaching, at least to begin with. A coach will maximize your time and help you practise good technique rather than what you think is good technique.
There are many drills you can follow to improve technique but you can’t beat consistency of training, especially when it comes to training your neurological system to execute the new movement patterns. That’s why it’s much better to swim two or three times each week for a total of no more than an hour rather than just the one session of one hour or longer. Keeping balanced, learning to breathe efficiently and building upper-body strength are three key areas to work on.
Michelle Vesterby demonstrates a perfectly balanced position in the bar extensions
Handling a triathlon bike
Handling a triathlon bike is a very different proposition than a road bike. Those bar extensions might steer you into a streamlined position but they make handling a more complex affair – which is one reason you’re not allowed them in non-drafting events.
The most practical advice, to start with anyway, is to use them on flat sections and descents that aren’t winding. These provide safe environments to ease yourself into your new aero position. Do this by pedaling at a steady cadence, removing one hand from the handlebar and placing your elbow on the aerobar pad, clenching the aerobar near the front (where the bar-end shifters will be if you use these). Do the same with your other arm. Check out our guide to clip-on bars.
Maintain a nice, relaxed neck and shoulders – do this by tensing and then relaxing so you feel what ‘relaxed’ is – and tilt your eyes so that you’re not craning your neck. When looking to sit upright, remove one arm at a time, just so you have stability in case you hit a pothole or are struck by a sidewind.
Check back here next week when we’ll bring you a set of Tri Bike Fit Tips.
Pedro Gomes lengthens his stride – lots of practise goes into getting your cadence right approaching T2, to optimise your run. Lots more transition tips here
As cyclists, you’ve built huge engines and quadriceps that resemble Hercules’. Sadly, your joints, muscles and bones just aren’t used to the impact of running so are susceptible to breaking down, especially when starting off.
Go to a respected running or triathlon store so they can analyze your run gait and help you choose the right shoes for you. Then build up run distance and duration slowly, even starting with a run/walk scenario. So your first session could be 15min long, split between 2min walking, 1min running and repeated five times. You can then slowly change this ratio until you’re running for the full 15min.
You should also run off-road as much as you can because it not only reduces the forces firing through your body, but also engages core muscles that simply aren’t used on the road.
There are lots more tips throughout the Vision website for triathlons, to help you improve your technique and enjoy yourself more. Good luck – and don’t forget to let us know how you get one, via the social media links below.