Triathlon ….. The Refresher Course

While most triathletes picked an early season sprint race as their “rust buster”, I kept training.  I haven’t done a sprint since my very first TRI, in 2005, on my Wal-Mart mountain bike.  To be honest, getting all my gear together for a sprint AND paying the fee for something “short”, just isn’t appealing to me.   If I have to gather the gear, pay a ridiculous fee & leave my family behind, I want it to be big.  At least big to me.  So my first triathlon of the season is a 70.3 event, the Cutting Edge Half Classic in Effingham, IL.  A 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike & a 13.1 mile run.  Now that’s a triathlon. 


Since I haven’t busted any rust, I’ve gone over a few of my old posts as a refresher course.  I want to show up with the proper gear. I want to feel calm about the swim.  I want my transition area to be on point.  And I’d REALLY like the weather to cooperate (forecast is for a “feels like” temp of 98 degrees!) but I can’t control that.  Here are a few of the posts that I’ve reviewed in case you too need a refresher.

Overall, I’m excited to get my TRI season started.  I’ve put in a decent amount of training since January.  I’ve already ridden over 800 miles.  I’ve been swimming 2x a week.  We all know that I’ve already ran a few miles too.  I know this won’t be an amazing race but I’m hoping it will be a solid start to my season.  So until Sunday, I’m just going to focus on being calm.  I know I can cover the distance, I’m just anxious to see how the splits turn out.  My overall TRI goal for the year is to go under 6 hours for the half iron distance.  Big goal.  I have to cut my swim time and put my run back on the map.  I haven’t busted out a decent half marathon for the 70.3 distance in a long time.  I need to fix that.

Any tri tips that will help me fly with the wind on Sunday?   How are your 2016 goals coming along?

Whooha Gear Giveaway is still live til June 15th.  Enter HERE.

** Happy TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

TriSmart Transition Clinic

Our run club received an amazing offer from MJ, the coach and founder of TriSmart Coaching, to host a FREE Transition Clinic for those of us partaking or interested in triathlon.  Although the focus of the clinic was to help newbie triathletes, those of us who have been TRIing for a while still showed up to hang on her every word in hopes of learning something, anything, to speed us up. 


Realistically, I have done a lot of triathlons over the years but that doesn’t mean I know anything.  I like triathlon because it keeps me moving in ways that I don’t move when I’m not TRIing.  I’m not cutthroat serious about it but do have hopes of improving my skills.  Since my time to train in the three disciples is very limited, I try to make the most of every aspect of the race, even transition.  And let’s just say that transition can get a little hectic at small and big races alike.  Photo below of the 2012 transition area for IM Muncie 70.3.  Race report from the 2012 race HERE.


MJ’s secrets:

  • If you get to pick your own spot in transition, rather than it being assigned, get there early and get as close to the “bike out” spot as possible.  You can move thru transition the fastest on foot, solo, when you aren’t trying to push your bike.  Plus, there will be people everywhere in transition, sitting on the ground putting on shoes, washing their feet, throwing around their wetsuit, eating/drinking, panicking, changing clothes.  Consider transition a warzone (my words, not MJ’s) and move thru as fast as possible.
  • Set up your transition towel (pick a bright, obnoxious, UNIQUE towel to help you spot your area) in front of your bike, under the back tire of bike racked next to you.  Bikes get racked front to back (opposite) all the way down the rack.  This way when you drop your bike to roll out, you will be in front of the rack (with your bike) and won’t have to duck under the rack to try to catch up with your bike while simultaneously attempting to keep it from bouncing off all the other bikes on the rack.
  • Be a minimalist in transition.  Take & put out as little as possible.  Then haul that monster of a transition pack back to the car and get it out of the way.
  • Don’t waste time with a bin of water to wash those feet, just GO, GO, GO!
  • Set up your transition towel being mindful of what you need first.  At the front of your towel is your bike stuff.  Helmet on top, upside down, facing the direction you need to put it directly onto your head, straps out and ready to fasten, sunglasses in the helmet and OPEN to be put immediately on your face.  Shoes on bottom, with the velcro open and ready to go.  Socks if you use them bunched up in your shoes so you can just grab them, lean down to your foot (keep that foot on the ground so you don’t topple over), stuff your toe in, then lift the heel and finish it.  Stuff the foot in the shoe and go!
  • Run stuff at the back.  Shoes on top with speed laces (Lock Laces are my favorite & easiest to use), hat/visor & race belt (with number attached) underneath so they don’t blow away.  Put your shoes on and grab both your visor/race belt and GO.  Put your visor and race belt on while you run out of transition.  Race Belt – Cost $8-$13 – Speed acquired in transition = Invaluable.

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  • When getting your bike in and out of transition, roll it by the seat.  You know you’ve seen people do it and they look so smooth!  Well, I always thought that my bike was too loose to roll like that.  Well, it’s not.  I just didn’t know what I was doing.  Hold onto the bike by the seat and push!  Run at the same time, you can steer the bike by tilting it (by the seat) in the direction you want to travel.  The faster you go the easier it will be to steer so move it, Move It, MOVE IT!!
  • Fueling.  Where do you put your gels?  I have a Nathan SpeedFeed Box on my bike for long rides but MJ gave us an awesome tip.  If you tape your gel/gels to your bike stem really well by the little tab, then you can just grab and rip when you need it and it will be open, ready to go, your tab will be contained under the tape so you won’t need to worry about the garbage and then you can just push your empty gel wrap into the leg of your TRI shorts or into the back of your TRI tank.  Done.  Easy.

If you are hardcore, you can body glide up and put your race belt with your bib folded up like an accordion, into the waistband of your tri shorts.  This will enable you to swim & bike with it and it will be “on” and ready for the run without needing to add it in T2.  Expect chafing.

That’s about as much as my brain soaked up.  If I think of anything else, I’ll add it in later or put it in the comments below.  Can you think of anything I missed?  Tell me!

Thanks to MJ for this amazing opportunity to learn a few of her secrets.  If you need a bit of assistance, you can contact her HERE.  She also helped me earlier in the year with a swim analysis but I fear my lack of pool time will not properly showcase the skills that I was taught.  I’ll keep trying though!  Bottom line, I know triathlon can be intimidating but there are people willing to help.  Don’t be scared to contact MJ or someone in your area to give you a few tips!  It will be fun and super beneficial!  TRI it!!

** Speed UP Your Transition  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **