Whether you are an experienced triathlete or someone who is just getting started, there are a myriad of sources for great information on how to get the most out of your workouts as well as plenty of advice from those who have been there. But, what you don’t find is a list of commonly committed mistakes that may be hampering your ability to do better in your events. So, we’ve put together a list of the Critical 6 so that you can eliminate them from your triathlon event training and routine.
Eating A big pre-race dinner
Everyone knows that getting adequate, balanced nutrition before, during and after an event is vital to your performance as well as for natural healing. And many veteran triathletes will try to convince you that carb loading the night before an event is the best way to ensure that your muscles have plenty of stored energy without having to have a large pre-event meal on your stomach. However eating a large carb laden supper isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.
The truth is that overeating, no matter what the main dish consists of nutritionally, is detrimental to your performance. Eating too much before an event can cause you to feel sluggish rather than energized and can actually prevent you from getting a great night’s sleep. Of course, it can also cause GI upset, which is one way of saying that you will spend the majority of the run in the porta-toilet rather than running.
Don’t dress in tons of layers. While you don’t want to waste precious energy shivering at the start, you also don’t want to have anything tied around your waist mid-race. Dress in a few comfortable layers that can be easily peeled away and dropped along the sidelines for quick and effortless donation. You’ll want to have an inexpensive pair of gloves and a lightweight long sleeved shirt. You can also choose to wear a garbage bag as they tend to retain heat and are inexpensive to throw away when you don’t need it anymore. It also doesn’t hurt that they are waterproof.
Take steps to prevent chafing before the event. Wear clothing that wicks moisture including socks and make sure that you apply thin (not thick) layers of moisturizing lotion or anti-chafe skin lube. Make sure you hit the inner thighs, the upper arms, the heels, toes, and heels. You’ll also want to apply it to the waistband of your pants and where your shirt rubs the nipple line for men. For friction prone areas, slap on a few strategically placed bandaids.
Skipping the electrolytes
Hydration can not be stressed enough. And yet, while plain water is great, having extra electrolytes onboard is a huge boon. Your performance will decline as hydration levels drop off. It becomes exponential when you deplete certain electrolyte levels. As a matter of fact, you can experience major neurologic and cardiac complications when your potassium and magnesium levels drop off. Make sure you get hydrated and keep your electrolytes balanced before, during and after your event.
Pre and Post Race Fuel
It is important for performance to make sure that you eat breakfast several hours before your event. It not only provides plenty of energy for the race, it can help calm a nervous stomach. Post race meals replace calories lost during the event and promote cell repair and healing.
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