As we roll into the hottest days of the year, it’s not only more difficult to train for triathlon season—it’s more dangerous.
Don’t make the mistakes that could sideline you from your next big race, or worse yet, put you in the hospital. Follow these easy-to-remember but easy-to-overlook tips that will help you finish at the top of the leaderboard no matter what temperatures you’re fighting.
Don’t Work Hard; Work Smart
This axiom of efficiency is aimed right at your workout machines: your shoes, wetsuits, goggles and triathlon bikes. If you’re using dated equipment that adds unnecessary resistance or pushes you away from your natural form, you’ll exert more wasted energy. The more work you’re doing, the more overheated you’ll become, and the closer you’ll get to the red zone.
Swap out that old or inefficient gear for something new, and perhaps the biggest piece of equipment you should check is that road bike. Over time, your gears can become rusted, worn down and slow; your tires slowly bend out of true; the frame gets beaten up and scratched. Besides, if you’ve never experienced a true road bike fitting, your current bike might be wrong for you anyway.
Sun Up, Sun Down
Beat the summer heat by getting out of the house earlier than you’re used to. Whether you’re hitting the pool, lacing up the sneaks or jumping on your bicycle, San Diego athletes will be out in droves to join you.
It’s important to note, however, that you must not shy away from the heat entirely. If you’re planning a triathlon in July or August, it’s a necessity that you can handle the higher temperatures. The trick is to work your way up the thermometer little by little. Instead of plowing through an 80-mile ride in the sun after spending a few weeks training at sun-up, start small and grow from there. You can take your body’s readings as well to see how you perform in increasingly more difficult climes.
Obviously, nothing is better than drinking a lot of water. Some athletes find success with Gatorade or Powerade, and others dilute these sugary drinks with water. Using a CamelBak or other hydration system in addition to the water bottles attached to your bike is a great way to ensure you’ll always have enough to drink.
Listen to your body; if you feel your head throbbing more than usual and you’re vision is getting blurry, it’s time to rest. Remember, if you don’t make it past your training schedule, you don’t make it to the race.