26 Apr 2016


If you’re looking to partake in a sprint-distance triathlon (750m swim/20km bike/5km run), these tips will get you through.

All the gear

Triathletes can spend thousands on gear but you don’t have to. From mountain bikes to hybrids, you’ll see all sorts at triathlon races, so whatever bike you currently have is fine. Just make sure that it’s in working order, and there are easy ways to improve your bike to help your technique and times – here’s lots of advice across the Vision site on the best and most effective upgrades.

A helmet is a must and run shoes from your local run shop are the ideal, but don’t feel obliged to buy the most expensive pair. You’ll also need goggles, while a trisuit’s also a good idea in the race, so you won’t have to change outfits from one discipline to the next. These start at around €50. Unless you’re racing in warmer climes, you’ll also need a triathlon wetsuit. But make sure you practise in it.

Open-water swim practice

If you’ve never swum in a wetsuit before, this is a must – never leave your virgin outdoor swim experience to race day. No matter how flexible and loaded with cutting-edge technologies a wetsuit is, it’s still a different physical experience than swimming in trunks or a swimsuit, especially as it can feel strange when water rushes into your suit. But don’t worry – it’s meant to. You’ll body will then heat up the water, keeping you warm as you swim to T1.

It’s also a unique experience swimming in dark water, not guided by a line at the bottom (as you’re used to in the pool), so try to open-water swim at least once a week in the six weeks up to race day. It’ll prevent one of the most common anxieties in triathlon.

Brick training

Many triathletes fall into the trap of solely training the swim, bike and run individually but you must remember this is multisport – not single sport! That’s why it’s imperative to brick train. Essentially this is training two disciplines at once, whether it’s the swim to bike or bike to run. Once a week is ideal and, before you think you haven’t time to start combining sessions, don’t worry.

They can be ticked off in well under an hour. You could swim for 15 minutes and then cycle for 30 minutes or cycle for 30 minutes and run for 15 minutes. Key is that you’re teaching your mind to become more resilient while acclimatising you to the feeling of the change in bloodflow from one discipline to the other.

Fuel the best

Triathletes training for an hour a day should aim for 5-7g carbohydrate per kilogramme of bodyweight per day. That should rise to 6-10g/kg for those exercising one to three hours a day. This may represent up to 60% of the total energy intake with protein contributing 15-20% (1-1.25g protein per kilogramme bodyweight) and fat the remainder. This should optimize muscle repair and refueling and you’ll be leaner come your sprint-distance triathlon.

Elastic laces

Triathlon’s image may be one of svelte carbon bikes and pricey wetsuits but for a minimal outlay, you can potentially save more time than those two combined. Triathlon laces dispense with the traditional second-sapping knotted affair; instead, look for laces with locking systems that ensure a swift T2 and a stable stride.

For more information and advice about triathlon training and technique, visit our favorite tips here , see some of our favorite events here, and check out our most popular bike accessories and upgrades here.