1 – Swim in Open Water
Many people are great in the pool, but when it comes to a race situation are not as strong. This is usually due to swimming further than they need to due to poor sighting and then swimming off course or in a zig-zag pattern. Obviously the straighter you can swim, the quicker your time will be without any extra km’s training in the pool. A perfect way to practice this is to swim in open water regularly and being very particular with sighting and also with people around you and trying to swim on their feet to get a tow along.
2 – Transitions
Another area where people waste valuable time is in transition. It is a key element for all triathletes, whether your goal is to finish the race or to win it. Make sure you practice getting on and off your bike – perhaps in the drive way or a quiet street. If you are going to start with your bike shoes on the bike, make sure it is something you have done in training so you are very used to it. Then when you get to the race, make sure you are very familiar with how the transition is laid out, ie. Where the swim, bike and run exit and entry points are. Then make sure you are very clear on the location of your bike. Often finding something that can direct you to it, especially in large transitions, can be a great help when you are running and flustered following the swim!
3 – Bike Fit
Triathletes are suckers for new gear that looks great and will make them go faster. I know I am biased, as Bike Fitting is part of my profession, but if you really want to make your dollars transfer into quicker times, get your bike fitted by a professional bike fitter. When you look at someone on a bike from the front, 80-85% is made up by the person. Thus if you can get yourself more aerodynamic, whilst improving comfort, it will GREATLY outweigh any gadget you can buy to put on the bike.
If done correctly, this process should also involve looking at how you can improve your biomechanics to really get the most out of yourself and your machine!
4 – Running is not running
Most triathletes are aware there is a lot of technique to swimming (that said, many don’t work on it!), but less realise the huge element of technique involved in running. The less effort you need to use while running, the more efficient you will be and the less likely you will be to get injured! Practice running ‘tall’, with a high cadence (smaller steps). This will minimise the pressure put through your legs and back and will help you increase your ability to run for long periods.