John Fotheringham GB age group triathlete gives us his insights on how to get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of performance gain…
– Intervals will be the key in all three disciplines. Everybody hates them because they are so hard. That’s why they work.
– Get a CTT (Cycle Time Trial) number and do some cycling time trials. Prepare to get a serious beating from wiry 60 year olds who are as hard as nails. The experience will be humiliating but your bike splits will improve.
Master the Transitions
– Practice your transitions weekly; you can improve by a minute simply by doing a few simple things. It could take you a season to run a minute faster:
– Orientation, location, location is the key to transition. Walk through the entry from the swim and the bike and the exit on the bike and the run. Find identifying landmarks along the way. Remember them. You don’t want to be the Billy no mates running up and down in a panic looking for their spot. Believe me there are half a dozen in every race including age group world champs.
– Have a small bright coloured towel that is individual to you. In T1 most people use their bike as the final identifier. In T2 you are running with your bike so follow your landmarks and look for your towel
– DON’T cover said towel with wetsuit when you take it off in T1!
– Buy tri specific bike shoes that open outwards and have a heel loop and use elastic bands or clips to hold them on the bike. Much safer and faster to run barefoot than in road cleats exiting T1.
– Practice your speedy wetsuit removal every time you go for an open water swim. Then practice it some more. Use baby oil on the lower legs or cut the wetsuit legs slightly up at the back if you are struggling. Then practice it again.
– In terms of equipment upgrade you get the most bang for your buck with an aero helmet (even though you look like a d***) and a set of decent wheels.
– However be careful of the really deep rim wheels racing here in the UK. They are only faster in a straight line and their maximum effect is above speeds of 25 miles an hour. This fact they DON’T tell you in the shop or in the mags. So unless you are doing the few pan flat courses (there are in the UK you) are better off going for lightweight all purpose wheels or 50mm rimmed sections.
– Don’t even think about tubular’s. If Tony Martin can win the World Time Trial championship on clinchers then they are good enough for you.
I hope these are some useful tips, get out there and enjoy the sport.