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Five common pre-race mistakes triathletes should avoid

By John Mora


Mora offers tips for beginning triathletes

The days preceding a first triathlon can be nerve-wracking for first time triathletes. In Triathlon 101, triathlon expert John Mora addresses five pre-race mistakes triathletes should avoid:

  • Overreacting to new race course information. It’s important to be familiar with the race course on race day, but don’t squeeze in some last-minute training based on new information you learn about the race the day before the event. For example, perhaps you discover that the bike course is hillier than you thought-now is not the time to get in some last-minute hill training. You’ll risk injury or burnout, plus it won’t do you much good, anyway.
  • Losing sleep. Chances are you’ll be a little anxious the days before your first triathlon. While it’s not a big deal to get less sleep the night before, long-term sleep deprivation over three or more days can cause you to lose your edge and diminish your enjoyment on race day. Make a special effort to catch up on your sleep the week before an event. This will also help your body recover from training.
  • Becoming too preoccupied with details. Triathlon racing, like life, is a balancing act. We’ve talked about the importance of covering all those details, but there is such a thing as obsessing over insignificant particulars. Examples include fussing over the lack of detail on the swim course map, fretting over which flavor Gatorade to drink, and checking the race Web site every 15 minutes.
  • Not accounting for race-day conditions. Keep an eye on the weather forecast in the days before the race. If there’s even a slight chance of rain, pack a poncho for prerace transition area setup and comfort. If conditions will be hot and humid, pack extra fluids and your best moisture-wicking racing apparel. Of course, don’t forget your sunblock and sunglasses.
  • Not preparing for a flat. We’ve talked about the importance of having the essential flat repair equipment on your bicycle-tube, frame air pump, tire levers. Yet, you’ll almost always see a novice triathlete walking his or her bicycle back to the transition area or waiting for a rescue wagon during a big race. Don’t let that be you. You should have done it long ago, but if you haven’t, visit your bike shop for the gear and a flat-tire changing lesson the week before the race.

This is an excerpt from Triathlon 101, 2nd Edition.




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