The AJ Bell London Triathlon is back again this year in August, but where do you start if you’ve never participated in a Triathlon before? Healthy Living London’s Hannah Cox headed to an event in London that shared practical tips and insightful advice for triathlon training.
Preparation – Nutrition and Exercise
Lindsay Holden shares her seven commandments for maintaining a healthy body. These tips can be used everyday, but are invaluable whilst training for a triathlon.
1.) Keep hydrated and drink at least 2 litres of water every day. If you’re dehydrated, your body can mistakenly think it’s hungry when in fact you just need water!
2.) Go to bed before 10pm. A regular sleeping pattern is important to rest your body so that it can, “repair, recover and come back stronger”. (Lindsay Holden)
3.) Move more to keep your circulation going. Man was not made to sit down all day, so try to incorporate movement as much as possible, even if you have a desk job. Attend exercise classes regularly such as Pilates or hit the gym.
4.) Use single ingredient foods to make your meals – Shop in the fruit, veg, dairy, meat and fish aisles. Ignore packaged food that has lots of unhealthy added ingredients.
5.) Switch off, calm down and have 20 minutes of you time. Stress has a huge negative impact on your health, so create a healthy internal environment. No distraction, so put your phone down! Meditate, breathe.
6.) Avoid fizzy drinks, juice and alcohol. All of these contain high levels of sugar, which will prove useless to your training. “Alcohol prevents your body from metabolizing any other fuel until you clear the ethanol from your system therefore completely switching off your body’s ability to burn fat.” (Lindsay Holden)
7.) Kitchen Maintenance – Preparation is key. Stock your cupboards with healthy foods and snacks.
Don’t mow your lawn when your house is on fire. Lindsay Holden
It is essential that you take time to prepare for open water swimming. Ray Gibbs from Swim Canary Wharf, shares his advice and training techniques in his five essential things to think about when triathlon training.
1.) Sighting – There are no lanes and no helpful lines to keep you heading in the correct direction when swimming in open water. Swim in open water as much as possible whilst training. You can also practice in a pool by closing your eyes and seeing how straight you can swim without sighting. Start building up your sighting training. Lift your head up and look where you are going, before turning your head to breathe. Find your focus point. You should aim to sight about every six strokes, but maintain your breathing to the side. This keeps you streamline.
2.) Mass swimming – Practice with a group of friends to see what it feels like to be immersed amongst a group of people. The benefits can save energy if you learn to draft and swim together, but you may get a few knocks on the head!
3.) The race start – You will have to jump off the pontoon and wait in the water for the klaxon to sound. Learn to feel comfortable in open water, ideally in a wet suit. The best way to prepare is to get your body into a horizontal position and scull with your palms facing forward. This means that when the whistle blows, you are already in the correct position and no wasting energy trying to contort your body to get going.
4.) Wetsuits – These are compulsory, so you might as well get used to them! Wear one and practice with it on as the movements will feel different and may be more restrictive. You’ll also need to practice taking it off when wet, so you don’t lose any precious time!
5.) Cold temperatures – Your breathing may become more rapid when met with cold water, so take time to prepare and make sure you get a little water into your suit, to help keep you warm. Work on breath control.
Learn to swim well, then learn to swim fast. Ray Gibbs
Practicing cycling outdoors is advisable whilst training, but what if you are short on time? The Wattbike is an indoor training bike that accurately measures over forty parameters to help train each rider and inform them about their technique. The user can then focus on what they can do to improve. Wattbike shares their simple six step beginners’ guide to triathlon training.
1.) Set goals and identify your challenges – Don’t focus on ranking or results, but set an achievable goal for you. Familiarise yourself with the course so that there are no surprises.
2.) Know your current fitness level – Know your baseline so you can improve. By using the Wattbike, you can complete a test to see your key metrics.
3.) Identify areas of weakness – Once you know what you need to work on, you can set attainable and realistic goals to improve your speed and performance.
4.) Training Plan – Follow or create your own training plan. Stick to a structure and then you can monitor your progress!
5.) Keep It Balanced – Train equally on all three aspects of the triathlon. Don’t overcompensate on one, as you’ll neglect another.
6.) Don’t overdo it – Follow a plan, but make sure you schedule in some rest time! Your body needs time to rest and recuperate.
Running coach, PT and author, Laura Fountain, shares her top tips to training.
- Head to the track – keeps you off the road, especially at night
- Join a running club – helps motivation
- Have a running buddy – helps accountability
- Warm-up – helps prevent injury
Laura uses the Oregon Circuit Training technique as she believes it is a great way to replicate the ‘heavy legs’ feeling you get whilst participating in a triathlon.
Warm up – warm the body up with exercises such as…
- 10 minutes of light aerobic activity: easy running, rowing, cycling or cross trainer
- Mobility exercise – foot circles, leg swings, hip circles, arm circles, stretching.
Each exercise that follows, do for 20 seconds, then run/ fast stride for 80 to 100 meters in-between.
- Leg clams
- Step ups
- Medicine Ball push throws
- Bridge exercises
- Pull ups
- Caterpillar walks (walk on all fours)
- High knees on the spot run (soft surface)
- Tricep dips
- Superman walks (on all fours, low to the ground, walk opposite arm and leg forward together)
- Push ups
- Squirmies (lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Touch alternate heels with your fingers)
- Walking lunges
Cool Down – Five minutes of slow running or walking, followed by stretches.
Ten Health and Fitness believe that every triathlete should make a sports massage part of your routine, but don’t think this will be relaxing! A sports massage is targeted at your muscles and can be a little painful if your muscles are stiff!
The long term benefits…
- It reduces muscle stiffness
- Aids muscle recovery
- Improves posture
- Faster rehabilitation after injury
- Pain relief
Find Out More: AJ Bell London Triathlon
When: 6th – 7th August, 2016
How Much: From £79.05
*Health Advice: It is advisable to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.