Our resident pro triathlete, David Bishop, gives his advice on preparing yourself for the triathlon season. From planning to equipment, nutrition, and training...
Make a plan
For many people, winter is about getting in some training though nothing too specific. The main focus should be base training and easy volume, as the summer approaches it becomes more important to focus on the sessions that are going to move you forward. You don’t want to get lost in sessions and get over-excited about racing, try and set some race targets and figure out how you’re going to get to each key race in your best possible shape. Training periodisation and progression is important, test those comfort zones but remember to give your body a chance to recover and adapt.
Make sure everything is in good working order. The last thing you want, come race day, is something to break or wear out thereby putting an early end to your race. It would be a shame after months of training, early starts, miserable weather, and all the sacrifices for a mechanical or faulty bit of equipment to cause a DNF. Additionally, do some research; there is a lot of technology that can save you watts, time and energy. Be a smart racer and embrace what is on offer. Training can make you quicker but with many sports facing a technological revolution, it’s worthwhile seeing what can make you faster on race day.
Know your nutrition strategy
Nutrition is often referred to as the fourth discipline in triathlon and it becomes increasingly important the longer you are out there. The first step is to work out how much you need to take on board to get you from start to finish. Then find out what works well for you. It's best to have something you like the taste of, as you are much more likely to eat or drink it whilst racing. Typically, people find consuming nutrition on the bike easier, however when racing half and full-distance races you will need something on the run, so try some gels, drinks, or bars and see what you can stomach the best. Finally, don’t think of nutrition as just for racing, practice with it in sessions - your body needs to get used to using it as fuel.
Find your perfect 'prep' sets
The week before a race is very important, there is no point in cramming in training, you can’t get fitter; you will only tire yourself out. Try to find some sessions which get your body firing, keep some intensity in there so your body doesn’t go into shut down mode and is ready for race day. The psychological impact is possibly the most important aspect. Don’t set yourself a session that pushes what you’re capable of. Instead, find a workout that you have done before, something that makes you feel good and fills you with confidence, you want to be heading into a race looking forward to going out there, ready to deliver!
It goes without saying, but you don’t want to be carrying any illness or injury into your races. Just like looking after your equipment, look after your body. You have put the hard work in so make sure you’re ready to go come race day. The lead-up to races can be very busy, making it stressful to keep on top of your sleep, diet and hygiene. If you find something important to your race make a note of it! That goes for everything concerning racing whether it be meals you like leading into a race, the amount of sleep you need or times of the month or week you’re susceptible to illness. Keep a note of anything you believe to be worthwhile and learn from your experiences.