8 Ways to be Faster just by Being an Informed Triathlete
The list have nothing to do with how fast you swim, bike, or run. These are the reminders that race officials secretly wish you follow all the time. It does not involve you training hard at swim, bike and run, but it makes you a smarter racer by having a clean, hassle-free race. Not being prepared by knowing less about the details makes you susceptible to delays in your race. Knowing more equals faster time. Read on..
- Know the drafting rules. You trained hard on the bike and put on the miles and hours gaining strength on the saddle. Come race day, you got slapped with a drafting penalty. Deliberate or not, you either get delayed with a stop and go penalty or a hold at the penalty tent. Stay focused and do not get yourself in a situation wherein you will be called with drafting. Beforehand, read up the race rules. Different races have different rules regarding drafting. Some of the races might be draft-legal. If no rules are there to be read, ask the race officials.
- Practice the basic rules in transition. In T1, secure and buckle your helmet before unracking your bike. In T2, rack your bike before unbuckling your helmet. This is a common occurrence in triathlon, a marshall stopping an athlete with an unsecured helmet. Worse, an athlete being stopped for wearing his helmet on the way out for the run. Worst, wearing the helmet the wrong way. Transition is oftentimes taken for granted in training. Avoid being stopped by a marshall. Practice transition drills and master them on the race.
- Know the Mount/Dismount Area. Yes I have seen this. A triathlete mounting the bike right inside the transition area. Some do not know the rules, and some are just so into the race, huffing and puffing, and they forget the rule. If you do not know the mount/dismount area, ask a race official beforehand.
- Mark your Bike at Transition Area. Big races, bigger transition area. Do not put yourself in a situation that you get lost and it becomes a maze. It is common occurrence wherein intense competitive racers would get frustrated just because they forget where they had racked their bike on. Mark your area with powder on the transition path if allowed. If not, practice the flow beforehand, and mark your place with a landmark. That maybe a tree, a building, or even a tower light. Some bigger races even have transition tours to explain the transition path flow. It’s wise to attend them.
- Read the athlete guide. This is common sense. It organizes your pre-race activities, from registration, bike check-in, the carbo dinner up to the race briefing. Do not waste time on your feet asking around about the pre-race events. On the guide too, is the race maps, the race rules, and hydration information. Hydration information is critical as you will know the placement of the stations as well as their intervals. It puts a strategy on how you will execute your hydration. Wouldn’t it be a downer that improper nutrition ruined your race just because you don’t know how stations are spaced apart or you don’t know what is being served to the participants.
- Know the race route. Study the maps and if you have time, recon the course. Getting misdirected is a common occurrence in races. Getting familiar with it minimizes the possibility of getting lost, and losing time. Come raceday, even though there will be lots of racers and marshalls to follow, it is still your responsibility to know the route.
- Don’t go Loop Crazy. There will be some races that will have a multi-loop course. Athletes have been disqualified for lacking loops or lose time for taking an extra loop. For a racer, sometimes it is difficult to keep tab on the number of loops. Some of the races still deploy loop bands to remind racers of their loops. I have seen athletes asking the marshalls how many loops they have done! To be prepared: know beforehand the length of the loops, and you can count your loops on your GPS watch. On the bike, I have seen athletes putting tape on their bike and removing the tape on every lap they finished. Don’t go loop-crazy. It is your responsibility to count your own loops.
- Attend the Race Briefing. Do not take this granted by missing it. Certain situations require that there would be last minute changes on the race. And the race briefing is usually the time that organizers will announce last-minute changes. There will also be questions by athletes that can also matter to you. Listen up, this is the right time to ask all the questions you have with race officials.
Share this article