When you have mastered these triathlon skills, you will be physically and mentally more prepared for your triathlon race. On race day, you will struggle less, and triathlon will become more intuitive and more enjoyable. You might even find racing more fun.
If you want to learn more about the listed skills, one way to understand them better is through Second Wind’s triathlon skills clinic.
1. Open water safety
Learn to assess whether the conditions are safe for swimming. For example, take note of any presence of lifeguards, boats, current, jellyfish, sharks, etc. and make sure you are comfortable with swimming the planned distance. Make yourself visible with a bright-coloured swim cap so that others can spot you if you need help, do not swim alone, and do not succumb to peer pressure to swim in unsafe conditions.
2. Starts and exits
Learn what to do and what not to do for the various swim start scenarios in a race: water start, run-in, one-by-one send-off. And learn what to look out for so that your swim exit is a smooth one.
Learn to see where you are going when swimming in the open waters. For example, take glimpses every few strokes of objects of references. Also, learn ways to minimise the effort in doing sighting so that you conserve your energy for the race.
Learn how to draft and who to draft when you swim. Drafting saves you energy, but only when done properly.
Learn how to corner around buoys along the swim course. Corners are the most congested, momentum-breaking parts of the swim. There are different methods of cornering, and the most efficient way to corner depends on circumstances.
Learn to breathe on both sides when swimming. This helps you avoid being blinded by the sun when you are doing sighting.
7. Bike safety
Learn how to assess the safety of your ride and equipment before you start. For example, check the fit of your helmet, whether there are brake rubs or loose brakes, and whether your gears are working, etc.
Learn how to mount your bicycle at the mount line of a race. There are different ways to mount your bike, and each way of mounting requires different pre-race preparation.
9. Accelerating and decelerating
Learn how to accelerate and decelerate quickly and efficiently. The better you are at doing both, the greater your ability at avoiding hazards.
10. Gear change
Learn how and when to change gears during a race so that you can save energy/go faster on the bike.
11. Cycling straight
Learn how to cycle straight. Cycling zigzag is both dangerous to yourself and fellow cyclists.
Learn how to take a line when cornering, and also what to look out for to ensure a safe turn. Races with crowded turning points are especially hazardous – learn how to navigating through them confidently and efficiently.
13. Drinking from bottle
Learn to balance on your bike while taking a drink so that you remain hydrated throughout your ride.
14. Looking over shoulders
Learn how to cycle straight when looking over your shoulders. It is important to check your back for oncoming cyclists before you change lanes when you cycle.
15. Bumping Shoulders
When racing, fellow cyclists may accidentally bump into you. Learn to take hits and remain balanced on your bike.
Learn what you should do before you dismount, and the different ways to dismount at the dismount line.
17. Running off the bike
Your legs might need some acclimatisation when you switch from cycling to running. Learn how to run off the bike – it sets you up for a good run.
Triathlons, especially shorter ones, have plenty of turns and u-turns. These turns can break your momentum. Learn how to save energy at every turn.
19. Swim-bike transition
Learn how to set up your transition area for a smooth swim-bike transition, what to bring, and what to look out for.
20. Bike-run transition
Learn how to set up your transition area for a smooth bike-run transition, what to bring, and what to look out for.
The list above is non-exhaustive, and there are more skills for you to pick up if you want to improve on your fundamentals. If you are interested in finding out more, feel free to join us for a session of triathlon skills clinic or contact us.