This post is rated Olympians.
Yesterday I posted for Sprint distance triathlon racing, today is for the Olympic distance race. Your race will cover .9 miles of swimming, 25 miles of cycling and 6.2 miles of running. So here we go..
An olympic distance race is a bit more complex than a sprint. You will most likely be racing for anywhere between 2 and 5 hours. With this is mind, you want to make sure that you are properly fueled before you hit the course. You must remember that you will not be able to take in calories for the first portion of the race. (Unless you have figured out how to swallow and swim at the same time!) I would recommend that you wake at least 2 hours before your race begins and eat a breakfast consisting of bread, peanut butter, sport drink and water. I would also encourage you to take in a sports gel 15 to 30 minutes before you enter the water.
You will start the swim in 1 of 2 ways: time-trial start with each swimmer starting individually every 2 seconds or wave start with your age group. If you are a strong swimmer, try to position yourself to the front of your wave and in the area that will allow you to swim closest to the buoys. Obviously if you starting in time trial fashion, this will not be a factor. The swim in an Olympic distance race will give you more of an opportunity to work into a rhythm so don’t freak out if you don’t have the perfect start!
Nutrition on the bike become more important in an Olympic distance race. You will be covering roughly twice the distance you would in a Sprint distance race so water will not be enough. You want to ride hard but remember that you still have a 10K run to complete when you get off the bike. It is in the Olympic distance race that you will learn how important the run is to your overall finish. You need to think of the bike as a rolling restaurant and a setup to your run. It is better to start the run with fresh legs than to hammer the bike and have nothing left. The Olympic distance bike is all about conserving energy without giving up ground.
You are now ready to start the race. YES, YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY…THE RUN IS WHERE THE RACE BEGINS! If you cannot run, you will never have the results you seek. If you have fueled properly throughout the race and managed not to kill yourself on the bike, you should be set up for the perfect finish. You may still feel that brick-like sensation in your legs, but here you have a bit more time to adjust. If your legs feel tight and heavy right out of transition, take a few hundred yards to perfect your pacing and concentrate on forward progress. Take the first mile to adjust but resist the temptation to walk. Remember, you are racing and you need to get to the finish line. The faster you hit your stride, the faster you will get to the finish line. Take in water and gels as needed but don’t stop unless you need to.
Just a little practical advice, BUT I know you’re gonna rock!