Training blog number three for the SportPursuit Slateman is going to talk to you about kit that can save you time throughout the race.
Whether you are a front of the pack racer eyeing the podium or towards the back of the field aiming for the goal of finishing a triathlon then this article can help you. What do I mean by time saving kit? Any piece of equipment that will allow you to go faster for the same amount of effort. For those who are trying to win the race or achieve a new PB you can take that extra speed as free time and allow you closer to your goal. For those looking to make it to the finish line in one piece or just have a good day out, you can adjust your effort level to make it through the race more comfortably still within a target time. Let’s work our way through the race picking up on the key things you can do to get some free time!
As I mentioned in my previous article (link) a good wetsuit is one that's suitable for you. But thicker neoprene in the legs will make your legs float up onto the surface allowing you to swim faster for the same effort - free time! Another benefit of a good wetsuit is for T1. How quickly can you get your wetsuit off? A reverse-pull zipper with leash such as the Aqua Sphere 2.0 will make it a lot easier to get off. If the wetsuit has shorter legs also, it means it is less likely to get stuck on your calves and should come off a lot easier. One final point to mention on the swim is some good goggles to stop leaking / protect your eyes from the sun / give you great visibility. Try the Aqua Sphere Kaiman goggles pictured at the bottom of this article or if you like bigger goggles try out the Vista for ultimate visibility in open water.
On a flat section of road 70-90% of the aerodynamic drag that you experience on the bike comes from your body. So smaller people naturally have less drag but it's still possible for them to get even more aerodynamic and more importantly bigger people (like myself) can also do this. One of the best ways to increase how aerodynamic you are is to get low. A triathlon bike, clip on aerobars or getting down on the drops are great ways to get low and reduce your drag. It's important to make sure you practice being in this position so that come race day you are comfortable. Another quick win on the bike is to avoid wearing any ‘flappy’ clothing that is likely to get caught in the wind. Tight trisuits are worn for a good reason!
Two things come to mind when considering time saving kit for the run. One is elastic laces and the other is nutrition. Elastic laces are important for the transition as they'll allow you to get your shoes on quicker. But they're also ‘pre-tied’ at the correct level, there's nothing worse than having to stop and retie a lace!
In our bodies we have roughly 1.5-2 hours worth of carbohydrate energy so you can get through a sprint or almost a standard distance race without the need for nutrition. But carbohydrate supplementation can actually benefit your performance even if you've got plenty still left in your body! So grab a gel or sports drink on the bike or before you start running to benefit your running performance.
Get some of these simple pieces of kit and aim for a better race! My one final piece of kit to get is a watch. It doesn’t need to be the flashiest new gadget just something that keeps track of your time. Some people like to race without one but I think that having the timer there shows me that every second counts and whether you’re aiming for the podium or wanting to get through the race it helps you keep track to have the best race you can.
My name is Scott Findlay and I am a coach with the Hartree JETS Triathlon Team. I studied a Bachelors in Sport & Exercise Science, a Masters in Sports Performance Enhancement and I hold UKCC Level 2 Triathlon Coaching and Swim Teaching certificates. I have raced around the world including ITU Long Distance World Champs, ETU Sprint Champs, The Challenge Family - The Championship and this year am focusing on some of the finest races in the UK. I am proud to be an Aqua Sphere ambassador for open water and triathlon and an MP Michael Phelps ambassador in the pool. Follow me on Social Media; Twitter / Instagram: @SNFindlay