Triathlon Hacks Used By Professional Triathletes | Racing, Nutrition & Travel Tips

November 8, 2019 0 By William Morgan

– Over the years of racing I learned
a bunch of useful tips and tricks
from fellow friends who are in the sport.
But what is it about those
professional athletes?
What do they do in their
daily training routines
and race preparations
that sets them aside?
Well today, I’m gonna share with you
some of the stories that I learned
from within the world of
professional triathlon
and I guarantee you’re
gonna find them interesting.
(jazz music)
Now then travel, this is something
that plays a really large part
in any professional triathletes
life and scheduling.
But whether it be for a key race
or a training camp, or even a holiday
being able to travel sensibly
and having so key systems really matter.
So, by being diligent and organized
you can save yourself a lot of hassle.
So first up, talking about luggage.
One thing that took me a
long time to be able to do
and learn, was that you needed to get
the weight off of yourself.
So not having a heavy
backpack weighed down
with all of the things you
need including the kitchen sink
and the real key to this actually
is to not carry anything at all
and start using a small wheelie case.
That took me ages to start
committing to but believe me
it does make traveling that much easier
through the airport and the terminals.
Now then, one should talk
about the bike itself
it can be expensive and
particularly in the US
where airline baggage
fees can depressingly
start adding up to more than
the cost of the flight itself.
So a good friend of
mine, Richie Cunningham
from Australia, he developed
what I would have called
a fairly ingenious solution
to this costly problem.
Because he realized that
he could circumnavigate
the airlines fees by
using an ice hockey bag
or a holdall that you
would see kids and teams
going through the airport with,
because then it wasn’t a bike.
And he effectively,
through a lot of mechanical
know-how to be fair, broke the bike down
and packed it up into a much smaller case
than the bike bag or bike cases
that I certainly used to travel with.
He did need to take the forks out,
take the cranks off, make
everything a little bit smaller
and it was quite an amazing
skill to see in action
but believe me, I’ve
traveled with him many times
and he spent far less
money then I ever did
getting to and from races.
And it even got better at the other end
with the taxi shuttle
or an Uber, for example,
because you then didn’t even need
such a big vehicle, which could often be
a lot more expensive too.
So all in all, there was
a lot of cost to be saved.
So now then, much like the luggage
that I just talked about,
for traveling on the plane
there was lots of good
habits I used to learn
that I could implement.
Firstly was, wearing long flight
socks or compression socks.
Not to be confused with
calf guards mind you,
because these are not the same thing.
And in fact a funny story,
or not particularly for him
involved, an athlete I knew he thought
he was doing himself a favor by doing that
for a long haul overnight flight,
but he actually arrived at the other end
with extremely swollen
and sore ankles and feet
that the team physio had to battle with
for quite some time to treat.
So don’t do that but, do
please bring a water bottle.
You can have it refilled
on the plane quite happily.
Sip regularly and often on the flight
and it just keeps hydration
really well looked after.
Another thing to work
on is good nutrition.
So as snacks, healthy
things like mixed fruits,
dried nuts, some cereal bars,
pack them into your wheelie bag
or the on-board carryon
that you’re taking.
Most of these good tips, in fact,
were drummed into me by
my good friend Tim Don.
But another couple that he
taught me as well as those
were, to bring hand sanitizer because,
you don’t know who is also on that flight
so definitely bring that, use that
little and often on the travels
and also take a little tube
or packet of electrolyte tabs
that you can dump into that
water bottle you’re bringing
which just keeps your salt
levels nicely topped up.
And finally, what actually happens
if your luggage gets lost, which I know
is something we don’t want to think about
but, I have been there.
And the last thing you want to scarper
all your finely tuned race
prep for your goal race
is the stress associated with
having nothing when you arrive.
So, what I would always try to do
is just pack your essentials
into your carryon.
So definitely your race kit, things like
your goggles, your run trainers,
a full change of clothes for the next day,
so at least you can get through that.
Even something like your bike shoes
and pedals if you can create the space,
because then if things really
start to get desperate and the airline
still hasn’t delivered your luggage
by the time race day
comes along you can start
thinking about even doing
something like renting a bike.
(techno music)
So, with all that talk
about race kit in mind,
there’s a few things on race day
that I definitely would
suggest you don’t do
and that’s try things that
you haven’t worn before.
So race kits themselves,
don’t try and experiment
with a new one for race day because
it looks nice and you
think it might be better.
You could get all sorts of uncomfortable
chafing problems in
potentially strange places
that just definitely isn’t worth it.
Same goes for wetsuits.
You don’t want to try something like that,
that could start rubbing and chafing.
Especially in salt water, you could get
really nasty rubs on your neck.
And definitely don’t try some
new running trainers either,
because I have seen many a lost toenail
because of that and
shoes that have turned,
shall I say, a nasty color of red.
And on the note of race day and tips
and things that help matters go smoothly,
there’s lots of athletes
who I’ve trained with
and raced with over the years
who’ve had different coaches
and I’ve picked up things from them
that I found quite interesting.
And two of note come
from the Australian coach
Brett Sutton, who very
well-known for coaching
athletes the likes of Daniela
Ryf and Chrissie Wellington
to multiple Ironman world
championship titles.
And although his coaching methods
are at times deemed a
little bit, shall we say,
untoward, there are some
great tips that I have heard
from Brett that he gives his athletes.
Firstly, if they’re
competing in a major race
and there’s time early in the morning,
which definitely isn’t the case
for things like Ironman or 70.3,
but things like world championships
and even Olympic games, I’ve heard
that Brett will give his athletes
a workout or something in the morning,
even like bike hill reps.
Not for any physical gains, but simply
to clear their mind and take their mind
off of what is coming up.
Really good coping strategy I think.
And secondly, he would definitely,
from a practical point of view,
not let athletes swim in a
race venue prior to race day,
because you just don’t know what
that water quality is gonna be like.
You’re gonna have to
swim in it on race day,
but don’t take the risk beforehand,
especially if it’s a river, that’s in fact
the only time I’ve ever gotten ill
in a race environment
is from a river swim.
Because if you think about it,
there’s been bad weather the day before,
all that water has to
runoff from somewhere
and it could potentially
end up in your race venue.
So talking about racing and being able
to set ourselves up for
that successful race,
is something that got me thinking about
chats I would have with my fellow Scott
and good buddy, David McNamee.
Now, David is definitely an advocate
of making sure that if you get ill,
which unfortunately happens to all of us,
but we do think we’re superhuman,
is to just back off the accelerator
and just take some time
to recover and get better.
It’s much better to take a day, two, three
off of your training, rather then just
muddle through average weeks of training
for the sake of doing it.
And in terms of the training,
when you’re doing it
well, that’s another thing
that David really hammered home
was that the hard sessions
should be really hard
so you get the most out
of those quality sessions.
But then similarly, the
easy recovery sessions
have to be easy too, so
that you could absorb
all of the work that you’re getting
from those hard sessions.
And then that rolls us back into racing
and a really good point that David made
was last year at Kona
2018, when he really felt
significantly average
for most of the bike ride
and it wasn’t ’til he was getting
into the back half of the marathon
that he really realized he
was starting to come good
and running himself into the podium.
And the point here being
that marathon running
and definitely Ironmans are
really, really long days
and you just don’t know
what’s gonna happen,
so you have to stay
positive and back yourself
with all that good training.
(upbeat music)
– So talking about racing
and the intricacies of that,
one thing that athletes really pay
attention to is their race day nutrition
and one thing that
athletes often like to do,
and they might not
necessarily shout about it
from the rooftops, is really
get used to the on-brand
nutrition that will be available
at an event, like say an Ironman.
Now whether an athlete’s
got their own sponsor or not
there’s a likelihood that
they will have decided
to make sure they’re used to
what they’re gonna pick up
at the aid stations during
an event like an Ironman
and have that inside their own
branded water bottles regardless.
Because, you don’t really know
what’s in a water bottle anyway.
And the reason that they’re gonna do this
is because, you can actually usually know
the exact flavor that an Ironman
is gonna be giving out
at their aid stations
in advance reading the race materials.
And by getting used to that
and going out and getting that
and training on it and getting used to it
your stomach’s not
gonna get nearly as much
of a shock when you’re racing on it.
So it just makes good sense.
So talking about race
nutrition and specifics.
This reminded me of a conversation I had
with Heather, fairly recently, about
when she did Kona two years ago
and a conversation she
had with none other then
Sydney Olympic silver medalist
and 2006 Kona champion. Michellie Jones.
Now Michellie, very sensibly,
suggested to Heather
that she freeze her water bottles
the night before race day, so that once
she got out of the swim and onto the bike
she’s gonna have really nice
cold liquid to sip from.
Now don’t worry, they will
defrost, I promise you
as long as it is a really hot
race venue like somewhere like Hawaii.
But another good tip as well,
that Michellie gave to Heather
was, think about what you
put in your special need bags
and what she was saying was, things like
sweets or gummy bears or
basically something tasty
that you’re gonna look forward
to that isn’t race nutrition,
because I guarantee by the time
you get deep into the run course,
when you’ve got access
to special needs bags,
you’re not really gonna be
fancying the race nutrition.
And your special needs bags
can give you the chance
to get much needed calories.
(upbeat music)
So now for something that
is a little bit more serious
and that’s the subject of road safety.
And it impacts an awful lot of us
because well, we go out on the
roads and train all the time.
And something that I am
really passionate about
is, just don’t aggravate drivers.
It really isn’t worth it.
And I guess I’ll finish
with a couple of examples
of two friends who I trained
with a lot over the years.
First up was Andreas
Wheeler, who many years ago
was training with the
German team in South Africa
and they were passed far
too closely by a truck
and they gave a bit of abuse
and shouted at the driver.
Only for a few minutes
later further down the road
to be confronted by the driver
standing in the road
pointing a shotgun at them.
Which, obviously was
a little bit worrying.
And secondly, my good
friend Richie Cunningham
who I spoke about a little while ago
with his ingenious hockey bag.
He was training at home in Australia
and again, was passed
far to close by a truck
and gave some abuse that he
probably shouldn’t have done.
Only for him to be attacked by said driver
with an ax handle as that driver
ran down his driveway, which he had
now parked up in, unbeknown to Richie.
And needless to say, Richie didn’t
fair too well in that battle.
So the moral of this story
is, you just don’t know
who is behind the wheel of a car
and it really isn’t worth giving them
any sort of abuse because,
well you just don’t know
what they’re capable of.
Now it’s clear that professional athletes
are able to distill that into
the most important of lessons
and that’s simply a
case of trial and error
because after all, they are living
the life of triathlon
on a day-to-day basis.
But most of these stories, if not all,
are entirely transferrable
and not solely linked
to professional athletes.
So maybe you’re already
employing some of these tactics
or you’ve got some of your own stories.
Please share them with me in
the comments section below,
we’d love to read them.
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2019, you can get that here.
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