As winter wanes and days begin to get longer and warmer, it won’t be long until triathletes across the world begin stretching their legs for triathlon glory. After the long break, taking part in an early season race can give you that extra edge for the coming season. Triathlon events are challenging and a head start can help you assess your fitness levels and help you practice smoother transitions. You will be able to draw up an efficient plan and set realistic goals to stay motivated, confident and ready for the main events. You may want to consider an early season race for its many advantages.
- You’ll be able to assess your fitness levels:
A long break doesn’t allow you to gauge your fitness levels and you don’t want a rude awakening in case you’re not quite there at the start of the season. Training for an early race can give you a good idea of how much you’re capable of and how much practice you need to put in before the races begin full throttle. This will help you assess your weaknesses and improve your skillset. So if you need to spend more time in the pool than on the track, you’ll have sorted your priorities out right at the start.
- You’ll be able to practice smoother transitions:
Transitions can make or break a race, especially when it comes to sprint triathlons. The more seamless your transitions are, the more you are at an advantage over your competitors. Training alone won’t help you familiarize yourself with the Triathlon gear you need and with the way you’ll need to equip yourself during each leg of the race. Putting on and taking off a triathlon wetsuit takes time and needs to be factored into the race. An early race will help you rehearse this critical aspect of the race.
- You won’t have much to lose:
Unlike the time, energy and expenses spent on half or full-ironman triathlon races, early season races are shorter and require less commitment. So even if you have to pull out last minute, it won’t make a huge dent. Just the fact that you trained for it makes it worth your while.
- You’ll be able to set your goals and plan your strategy better:
Nobody can deny that planning is key. Being organized and having a detailed plan can make things a lot easier. Taking part in an early season race helps you identify key goals and think of the best strategy to achieve them. It also helps you put your plan to the test and make the necessary changes before you have a go at the real deal.
- You’ll be confident and ready for the challenge:
Having an actual race to prepare for and taking part in one can keep your motivation levels high at all times. The thought that a race is imminent will keep you on your toes and give you no reason to cut corners. This will have you ready and confident at the start of the season and have you ready for the bigger challenges.
Now that you’re open to the idea of an early season triathlon race, there are a few things you can do to prepare for them and deal with challenges along the way. As the first race of the season, it will set the tone for the rest of the events you’ll take part in the year. The following checklist will help you prepare for a good season.
- Gear Up:
It’s vital that you check all your old racing apparel and equipment. If you haven’t used your bicycle in a while, have it serviced and in good working condition. Don’t hesitate to buy new apparel if you think you’ve gained or lost a few pounds. If you don’t think you’ve got the right wetsuit in the first place, both men’s wetsuits and women’s wetsuits are available online to suit your exact needs. An early season start may even help you get your hands on triathlon wetsuits on sale. Most triathletes make gear upgrades every season and you may want to keep up to even the playing field.
- Pace yourself:
You don’t want to burn out and peak too early into the season, so although this might be an early season race, don’t over-train for it. Set small, realistic goals which are achievable and don’t worry if it all seems too easy. The point is to just warm up and get those gears shifting.
- Have a plan and stick to it:
A good way to make sure you don’t peak too early is to have a plan with incremental goals. Set reasonable markers you aim to hit during your training period and stay focused on achieving them one at a time.
- Identify problem areas:
It’s a good idea to identify some of your rustier areas. Many triathletes use this time working on their weaknesses. It can also be a time to add to your skillset and maybe work on more efficient stroke mechanics or honing various other aspects of your form.
- Taper your training:
Most athletes gradually back off training a week or two before the main event. This helps the body recover and bring itself back to peak form just before the race begins.
- Have a nutrition plan:
It’s a good idea to forget about your diet plan in the off-season. Don’t be worried that you put on a few pounds either. However, it helps to draw up a nutrition plan once training begins. Talk to a nutritionist, if this isn’t something you’re good at. You’ll begin to see your body’s needs changing as you train and you will want to feed it the best way possible.