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Don’t let these common misconceptions about triathlon keep you from your next adventure

If you’re new to triathlons or can’t decide if you want to participate in one, it’s probably because you have some questions. We’re here to debunk common misconceptions about triathlons. With all the craziness of everyday life, adding triathlon training can seem nearly impossible. Whether you don’t have the time, resources, or you doubt your abilities, we are here to tell you that you can do it by breaking through these common misconceptions about triathlon.

It’s too expensive

The great thing about your first triathlon is you probably already have all the gear you would need! Let’s start with the basics. A swimsuit and goggles are all you need for the swim portion. We will provide you with a swim cap based on your age group and/or division. You may think you need an expensive racing bike, but any bike that will get you from A to B is just fine! If you don’t have a bike, that’s okay too – you can rent one or borrow one from a friend. Top it off with any bike helmet and you’re all set! For the run, you just need shoes, which you should already have. That’s it! You’re ready to tri. Pro tip: if you plan to buy a bike, make sure you follow our dos and don’ts of bike buying.

Training takes too much time

A sprint distance tri does not require as much training as you may think. Depending on your current swimming, cycling, and running abilities, you will know what areas you need to focus on. With that being said, you can train as little as 3 to 5 workouts a week (2 swims, 2 bikes, 1 run) to get you race-ready. Focus on your weakness and complete more of those workouts as needed. If your days are limited during the week, incorporate brick workouts and complete two disciplines in one day.

Must be a super athlete

Triathletes come in different ages, shapes, and sizes. If you can swim in a straight line, ride a bike, and put one foot in front of the other, you can complete a triathlon! According to USAT, the average age of triathletes is 38. The second-largest age group of participants is 40-44. It’s never too early or too late to start your tri journey. The Debra Zapata Sprint triathlon is ideal for beginner triathletes. It gives you a chance to get comfortable with the sport before attempting a long-distance race. Pro tip: learn about the different distances of triathlon.

Have to be able to swim, bike, and run

If you want to participate in a tri, but cannot complete one of the legs for any reason, you can still race! Get together a relay team of 2 to 3 people. You can divide up the work while still getting to experience a tri. We also have an Aquabike option available if you know you cannot complete the run portion.

You need a coach

There are endless options of free training plans online created by professional coaches for every distance triathlon. Once you find one, stick to the training plan and trust the process. Having a coach is great if you are trying to improve your time. But with all the resources out there, a coach is not necessary for your first tri. 

We’ve broken down common misconceptions about triathlon and now it’s time to get started. But before you do, read about other people’s first triathlons and learn about their experiences. High Five Events’ very own employees Laura, Tina, and William recount the experiences of their first triathlons, the good and the bad!

Saddle bag and essential items explained

It’s important to carry a saddle bag with you on all of your bike rides. You know this is true if you’ve ever had a flat tire or minor mechanical problem. A saddle bag is specifically designed to hang underneath your bicycle seat. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Make sure yours fits comfortably on the back of your bike. Some people even have two different saddles bags, one for training rides and one for races. Check the links below to see some recommended items. Pro tip: follow the dos and don’ts of bike buying and make sure your saddle bag has what it needs.

At a minimum, it should have an inner tube, a patch kit, tire levers, and a bicycle-specific multi-tool in it. If you don’t know the size of your inner tube, check the sidewall of your tire. You could also ask your local bike shop what’s best for your bike. Pro tip: take care of your bike before issues arise with this helpful replacement timeline.

Fix a flat tire

Some cyclists carry a hand pump on their bike. If you don’t, it’s essential to have a CO2 cartridge and inflator. A flat tire can be fixed in less than five minutes. You can get back to riding if you have the tools and spare with you to fix it. Otherwise, you’ll be calling a friend for a ride or maybe calling in late to work if you’re mid-commute when the flat tire happens.

Other mechanical problems

A loose bolt could allow your handlebar to move or your seat to slip. Those two issues are an easy fix if your saddle bag has a bicycle-specific multi-tool. A broken chain is a less common occurrence. A chain tool is included in many multi-tools. It’s a necessity if your chain breaks while you’re out on a ride. You might want to consider carrying a “missing link” for any chain issues.

Learn how to change an inner tube or use a CO2 inflator. Talk to your mechanic or ask a friend to teach you how before your next long bike ride. Finally, you should always have a cell phone, some cash, and identification with you in case of an emergency. You don’t need to store those items in your saddle bag. The cash is useful on long bikes rides when you plan to stop at a gas station to refuel.

Follow these bike buying guidelines if you’re in the market

Buying a bike can be a massive undertaking. There are so many options, accessories, fits, shops, and questions. That’s where this bike buying advice can help! Follow these bike buying dos and don’ts to make sure you get the bike that’s just right for you. Our advice can simplify the process, whether this is your first bike or you’re upgrading. Pro tip: become familiar with the cycling rules of the road.

Dos 

Take the bike for a test ride

Many bike shops will allow you to take the bike out on an extended ride. So come prepared with clothes you can ride in.

Research bike types & have a clear goal for the bike 

There are different types of bikes and bike frame materials. Bikes that are specifically made for mountain biking are very different from traditional bikes. Aluminum and carbon fiber are the two most popular bike frame materials. There is no bike that does it all. Prioritize what is most important to you. 

Know what bike brands the store carries before you go 

Bike shops carry different types of brands. The city in which you live and the number of bike shops can determine what brands you have access to. Popular brands include Felt, Giant, Scott, Specialized, Trek, and Cervelo. Pro tip: whatever brand you get, learn how to refuel at a gas station during your long rides.

Talk to the staff and ask questions

TALK TO THE STAFF! Don’t be scared to talk to the folks in the shop, they are there to help. If you find that they go off on a tangent that you don’t follow just ask them to clarify. Many times they are just excited to talk about the bikes and are happy to share all of their knowledge. Getting to know them is also good. Having a relationship with the shop will be great when you come in to shop later or get service on your bike. 

Get the bike fitted to you

Bikes don’t come fit to you just off the rack. There are many things that can be adjusted to make the bike fit more comfortably and even optimize your performance on the bike. Things that can be adjusted include the stem of the bike, the seat post, the seat, crank arms, and more. While some shops include a basic fit with purchase, many times it costs extra since they bring in a professional to help. If the bike is something you are going to be putting a lot of hours on, it is totally worth the extra investment. Pro tip: learn how much of a difference an adjustment of a few millimeters can make with your saddle height.

Ask about any package deals or closeout specials

It’s not bad to ask if they offer any package deals on accessories. Many times they will give you a small discount on anything you buy at the time of the bike. Sometimes bike brands have closeout specials for last year’s bikes, as cars do. Pro tip: this blog breaks down the different hydration methods so you know what’s best for you.

Don’ts

Don’t test a bike at a shop, then buy online

Buying from a local shop is the start of a relationship. They are giving you their time and expertise, not just at the time of purchase but for years to come. 

Don’t ride just one bike

Be the Goldilocks of bike testing. If this is your first “real bike” take the time to test out different bikes. Different bike brands have different geometries that may fit your body better. 

Don’t settle for what’s in store

If all they have is the basic components model and you really wanted something nicer, don’t settle. See what they can do about getting the bike you want. If you don’t like the way a bike looks or it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it just because you’re getting a great deal. There is not too much you can do about the color of bikes. Each year the model might be a different color. You can always see if there is an option to buy a previous or next year’s model. You can also have the bike custom painted if that is something that is important to you. 

Don’t skip on accessories

Get everything you need! Get lights, lock, bento box, water bottles, pedals, shoes, shorts, etc. Set yourself up for success so that you have everything you need to get out and ride. You don’t need the excuse of not having something to keep you from riding and enjoying your new bike. Plus, they may offer a discount on accessories at the time of purchase with your bike. 

Don’t buy and never return

Try and come back to the same bike shop for your future needs. They may even have a system that keeps track of your purchases so they are familiar with your needs. The mechanics at that shop will be most familiar with the brand and type of bike you purchased. You might just make some friends and new riding buddies.

Keep logging those miles with these motivational running tips

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer you will face a time when you’re feeling too “blah” to run. Perhaps you’re too busy, too tired, or maybe feeling under the weather. You’re not alone! This is something that all triathletes experience. Breakthrough the excuse barrier with these 6 motivational running tips. It’ll keep your offseason training on track and you’ll be ready for the upcoming season.

Pro tip: always take time off from running to recover if you’re injured or sick. Most importantly, you should always listen to your body! Here are more helpful tips if you’ve started training for a triathlon.

  1. Call Your Running Partner

Having a running partner gives you the accountability factor. Running with another person is always fun because you can challenge each other. On days when you need a nudge, they can “talk” you into at least putting your running gear on and joining them for a few easy miles.

  1. Set a Shorter Running Goal

If you run 5K every day, reduce it to 2K on days where you’re not feeling it. You will trick your mind into believing that the run will be over soon. Chances are though, once you’re out there running, you’ll likely hit the 5K mark.

  1. Update Your Tunes

If you like to run while listening to music, maybe changing up the tunes will help. Sometimes we get bored listening to the same tunes, which can affect your passion for running. Choose “feel good” songs that inspire you, especially on gloomy days.

  1. Slow Down

Walking is an excellent alternative for getting fit. It’s okay if you’re not in the mood to run. Go for a brisk walk. This will get your heart pumping. It’s possible you might start jogging once you’re there!

  1. Revisit Your Goals

This is another form of self-accountability. If you are truly feeling a lack of inspiration towards running, take some time out and examine your fitness goals. What is it you want to achieve? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness? Remind yourself about these goals and how meeting them will benefit you. Pro tip: these 10 mood-boosting quotes can help too!

  1. Change Your Route

Do you run the same route every day? Perhaps changing the course will stimulate your curiosity and inspire you to run. You’ll learn new routes, work muscles differently, and explore new sections of your city or neighborhood.

Keep in mind, it’s perfectly normal to not feel like running on a daily basis. Proper rest and recovery is just as important for your body as a short run. Give one of these 6 motivational running tips a try the next time you don’t feel like running. You’ll be glad you got out there when you finish!

Learn why every training plan should include brick workouts

Triathlon is an extensive physical competition that tests versatility in swimming, biking and running. Making brick workouts a part of your training can help you significantly improve your performance. A brick workout involves consecutive sessions of two triathlon activities, usually biking and running, in any order. This workout helps you develop the ability to complete one physical activity after another. It is an integral part of training for all training distances. Brick workouts help you prepare for swim-to-bike and bike-to-run transitions. Pro tip: test your nutrition and hydration plans during brick workouts and discover what works best for you.

Swim-to-bike

This is usually the first transition you make in a triathlon. When you pedal the bike after a period of swimming, the labor shifts from your arms to your legs, causing some discomfort. This discomfort is down to abruptly switching from a horizontal position while swimming to an upright position for cycling. So, for reducing the transition impact during the event, it is reasonable to do this brick.

If you are preparing for a Sprint or Super Sprint event, you can try a 200-300 m swim followed by cycling for 10- to 25-minutes. For Olympic distance, a swim session between 300 and 600 m with a 20-40 minute cycling period is ideal. Those prepping for Half Distance (70.3 mi) should aim to swim between 1000 m and 1500 m, along with 60 to 80 minutes of cycling. A brick session including 2000-2500 m of swimming and 145-210 minutes on the bike is suitable for Full Distance (140.6 mi) training. Make sure you have swim goggles that are just right for you.

Bike-to-run

It is probably the most common brick workout. It is also arguably the toughest because, after a period of biking, your legs feel heavy and are difficult to move. However, after getting a few brick sessions under your belt, your leg muscles shall start recovering well from the wear and tear of biking, letting you run easier.

For short distances like Super Sprint and Sprint, a 30- to 20-minute cycling session, followed by a 15-minute run is a good place to start. For Half and Full Distance triathlons, you can either cycle 60-80 mile & run for 20-30 minutes or cycle 30-60 mile & run for 45-90 minutes.

Run-to-bike

Although you are not likely to face a run-to-bike transition in a triathlon, this brick certainly helps you build endurance and stamina. This is especially useful for duathlons which include a run-to-bike transition followed by a final run.

A 10- to 20-minute run, in build-up to a 30- to 120-minute cycling session, is preferable for Olympic distance and less. In case you are training for anything beyond Olympic distance, a 20-minute run followed by cycling for 75 to 120 minutes is fairly competitive. Learn how you can refuel at gas stations for your longer bike rides.

What are the different triathlon distances? We cover the basics to help you choose the right one for you

A triathlon is a sports event that rewards your grit, stamina, and endurance. It is a comprehensive competition which includes swimming, cycling, and running. A triathlon is obviously challenging, but you can do well with proper training and a positive mentality.

When you hear triathlon, you might think of mass swims and endurance professionals racing in a full distance triathlon – Ironman – which involves a 2.4 mile swim and 112-mile bike ride before culminating in a 26.2 marathon run. It is a common misconception that is all triathlons can be.

In fact, there are many different triathlon distances, with most of them being very beginner-friendly.

An important factor that determines its difficulty is the distance to be covered. Knowing the distance implications of various triathlons helps you choose the right one for yourself and prepare for it accordingly. Let us look at different triathlon distances.

Super sprint

Super sprint triathlon is a shorter distance sprint triathlon. This distance event usually covers a total distance usually of about 8 miles (3 km). It is perfect for those who want a taste of what triathlon is all about.  The distance breakup can vary greatly in this distance but is usually is 300 to 500 m of swimming, 10 km (6.2 miles) of cycling, and 2-3 miles of running. Despite being considered a beginner’s triathlon because of the short distance, it can be just as tough for veterans that want to see their max speed. 

Sprint

For beginners who have some previous experience and want to take it up a notch, a sprint triathlon is a logical progression after a super sprint. This is one of the most popular distances for triathlons. This distance can vary greatly as well. So be sure to check the specifics when researching triathlons in your area. A sprint triathlon is usually about a total of 15-25 miles. An example of a sprint triathlon distance is a 500m Swim, 14.5 mile Bike, 5 Km Run.

Taking part in a sprint triathlon is a great way to check how your training is going when you are training for a longer distance. Participating in a sprint 6-4 months before an Olympic or Half Distance is a great way to practice and test your race tactics.

Standard/International/Quarter/ Olympic

The name gives away the increased difficulty that comes with this triathlon. This event distance took on the name Olympic after triathlon joined the Olympic Games in 2000. With an overall distance of around 32 miles (51.5 km), this triathlon requires you to exhibit a higher endurance level. It comprises 1500 m (0.9 mile) of swimming, 40 km (24.8 miles) of cycling, followed by 10 km (6.2 miles) of running. 

Training for an Olympic takes significantly more time and planning. There are usually race cut off times at these events, meaning knowing your pace is very important.

Half Distance/ 70.3

Half distance triathlons have become increasingly popular over the years. This 70.3 mile-long strenuous physical course involves covering 1930 m (1.2 miles) in water, 90 km (56 miles) on the bike, and 21 km (13.1 miles) on foot.

Racing a half distance is very obtainable with a structured training program. Half distances can take up to 8.5 hours to complete. Athletes racing in these longer distance events should also pay attention to on-course support and have a nutrition plan. A 70.3 distance is great for athletes that want to focus on endurance over speed. Just like with moving up from a sprint to Olympic, racing a half distance as part of your full distance training is a great idea.

Full Distance

If half distance is not enough for you, you can double the distance by participating in a full distance triathlon. This is commonly associated with the Ironman brand but there are tons of awesome events that offer a full distance triathlon. Covering 140.6 miles (a little over 226 km), a full iron triathlon is extremely tough, even for veterans. It requires you to swim for 3900 m (2.4 miles), cycle for 180 km (112 miles), and run for 42.2 km (26.2 miles).

Athletes racing the 140.6 distance should invest in more specialized equipment like a triathlon bike and potentially a wetsuit. The training regimen for a full distance is much longer and requires a dedicated schedule.

Ultra

From double triathlon to decuple triathlon, every version that exceeds full distance triathlon falls in the ultra category. These triathlons can stretch over a number of days. The most-demanding forms of triathlon fall in this group.

These distances can be seen as milestones for you to reach over your triathlon career. Choosing the most suitable distance, as per your ability and experience, can prove crucial to how you perform in the competition. Make sure to pick a distance that doesn’t push you too much and that you can enjoy it.

Infographic showing the different triathlon distance that are explained within the blog

Nutrition Guide for Every Tri Distance

Besides the difference of length, short and long-distance triathlons are also different in the impact they have on athletes’ nutritional needs. Learning how to fuel appropriately can make a massive difference in the experience you will have during your training journey and on race day. Keep reading our nutrition guide with tips for every triathlon distance you can use while you train and compete for your next triathlon. With nutrition, it is super important to not try anything new on race day since you don’t know how your body will react to it.

Sprint and Quarter

These are shorter distances where, in many cases, athletes can race without having to consume additional fueling, besides water.

Carbohydrates are Your Friend

ROCTANE Energy Gels.GU Energy

GU is our go-to when it comes to energy gels

However, if you are consuming calories during these events where you are performing at a higher intensity, it is helpful if those calories come from carbohydrates, as they will be easier for your body to utilize. Recommendations range between 30 to 45 grams of simple carbohydrates per each hour you are racing. Here is where gels, chews, and sports drinks come in handy. For example, energy gels usually have about 23g of carbohydrates, while chews contain around 25g per 6 pieces. With sports drinks, it is essential to choose drinks that are not low in sugar, to get over 20g of carbohydrates per 12 oz. These recommendations also apply during high-intensity training sessions.

Pre-Race Nutrition

Another factor to take into consideration is what you eat before the race. With this, there is no single formula or a recommendation that fits everyone. It’s best to find what works for you. A general rule to follow is to eat things that are easy to digest, such as plain waffles or toast. We recommend avoiding more complex foods like oatmeal, as they might be harder for your body to process. However, what matters is that you are eating something that makes you feel good.

Half Distance

The half distance is an event where you will undoubtedly be consuming additional fuel. Longer distances focus more on endurance rather than speed, so your nutritional needs are going to be different.

Nutrition During the Race

Some people have no problem consuming only gels or chews during longer events. But it’s common for athletes racing for longer periods to eat more complex foods. While you should still aim for 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour, it’s beneficial to get those from other sources besides just simple sugars. Things like granola bars can be very helpful for providing sustained energy without the sugar rush. They allow a steady utilization of fuel since they contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This can also help reduce stomach discomfort.

It is crucial to pay attention to your electrolyte intake. Especially when racing in the heat, because high amounts of electrolytes are lost with of sweat. Consuming electrolyte drinks, such as Nuun, is the easiest way to prevent dehydration.

Training Nutrition Plan

Your Nutrition Guide for Every Triathlon Distance

The main nutritional difference between short and long-distance triathlon training is the number of calories needed per day. Regardless of what you’re training for, it is essential for you to focus on recovery. Especially if you are used to having multiple workouts within a 24-hour time frame. Make sure to have meals of snacks that contain carbohydrates and protein after your workouts. This will ensure that your body can replenish the nutrients lost during training. Examples for recovery meals can be as simple as chocolate milk, a PB&J or a turkey sandwich or some cheese and crackers. Fruit with your favorite nut butter is also a good alternative. This will help you recover better for your next training session, and help you avoid burnout or injuries in the long-term.

With the help of this triathlon nutrition guide, you’ll be ready to rock whatever distance you choose to complete on the Kerrville Tri course.

Sighting Tips for Open Water Swimming

Swimming in the correct direction during open water can be a challenge for most athletes. This is why learning the proper technique for sighting in open water is crucial during training. Here are a few tips for sighting that can help when you line up for your next event.

Plan Ahead

Look for buoys or landmarks to help you sight while on the swim course

Print out the swim course map and go to the swim start to look for landmarks to use while sighting. Ideally, you want to survey the area at the same time when the swim will occur. This will give you an idea of where the sun is hitting the swim course and if the glare will be an issue. 

Look for landmarks in the distance that are distinctive and easy to spot. Things like buildings, peaks of trees, or dips in the tree lines are great for spotting. Buoys can be hard to spot during the swim, and especially if you are slightly turned in the wrong direction, the significant landmarks provide an excellent alternative for sighting.

Come Up With a Game Plan

If the swim course runs parallel to the shores, use the shores to gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. Look back towards the shore when you are taking a breath on your side while you are swimming. Also, use other swimmers to help you gauge if you are swimming in the correct direction. If you were swimming with a pack and suddenly found yourself swimming alone, popup and sight for landmarks or buoys to check if you are swimming in the right direction. 

Prep Your Gear

Keep your goggles clean and apply your favorite anti-fog spray inside the goggles before the event. A good, clean pair of tri goggles will allow you to see better and further down the swim course to spot the swim buoys and landmarks.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Tips for Sighting in Open Water

Here are some tips from seasoned triathlete and High Five Events‘ Operations Manager, John Chung. “Practice swimming with your head up in the pool. Use the cool down set for practice, and establish a rhythm for when to take a stroke for sighting. I like to swim two normal stokes and a sight stroke, pull, pull, sight. To get your head elevated slightly above water, push down instead of pulling through during the catch. 

On your next open water swim practice, figure out which way you naturally curve to when you swim. For example, I tend to swim to my right, so if the buoys are on my left on a counter-clockwise swim course, I tend to swim away from the course. So for me, I need to look for buoys to my left when I sight during the swim. Sight 2 to 3 times to correct the direction in which you are swimming. First, locate the buoy or landmark you’ll use. Second, adjust your swimming direction to get back on course. Third, continue to sight as often as needed to make sure you are swimming towards the buoy or landmark.” 

Make it a point to practice sighting during the cool-down portion of your swim sessions to have this skill mastered for your next event! Happy swimming!

Why Creating a Relay Team is The Best Way to Tri

Just when you thought Kerrville Tri couldn’t get any more fun, now you can make it a team effort! Recruit friends, family, or co-workers and create your relay team for Kerrville Triathlon’s 10th-anniversary celebration this September 26-27! The 10th annual tri takes place in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Kerrville, Texas, with scenic views guaranteed. Relay teams can consist of two or three individuals to help you divide and conquer your upcoming tri while having a blast in the process!  Check out a few reasons why relay teams are a great way to get into triathlon and why you should create a team for this year’s Smokin’ Good Tri. 

Try something new

Maybe you know about triathlon, maybe you’re new to the scene. Perhaps you’ve cheered and supported friends at their triathlons, but you’ve never participated in one. Creating a relay team is the best way to get introduced to the sport! Everyone experiences pre-race nerves, especially if it is your first time ever completing a tri! That’s why building a relay team of two or three will help take some of the pressure off so you can focus on the fun. Split the tri three ways, or if your team has two members, one person does the swim, while the other person does the bike and the run. Depending on your individual skill levels, this can be accomplished in any combination. Train with your team, experience the highs and the lows, and get a taste of your new favorite sport.

The more the merrierThe more the merrier when you create a relay team

You can always get one friend to tri along with you, but why do that when you can triple the fun?! A three-person relay team is triple the action so, get two friends or co-workers to create your relay team.  Here are a few ways to take your team spirit to the next level during your training!

  • Create a sweet team name
  • Make custom gear to show your team spirit during training
  • Start thinking about what your team will wear on race day
  • Come up with a team motto
  • Have fun with it!

What feel is your team going for? Will your team opt for funny costumes for laughs out on the course? Or some matching outfits to show your fellow triathletes your team means business! With so many choices, your team will love this. And it’s a great way to really get you excited to keep working towards your goal.

You could use the help

Injuries happen. No matter what lengths you go to to stay safe during training, sometimes they just happen. But are you going to let that stop you from achieving your fitness goals? Not so fast! An injury that may prevent you from swimming might not stop you from cycling or running. creating a relay team for Kerrville Tri to test your boundaries during your team training sessions is a great way to stay active while continuing to strengthen your muscles! Just be sure you’re comfortable and aren’t in pain when training.  You never know, cross-training might just help speed up your recovery!

Making memories at Kerrville Tri with your relay team membersMaking memories

Create a relay team that brings your buddies back together to make some unbeatable memories. Get the old high school/college crew together. Make it a family affair and create an all-sibling team, or give the ‘rents a challenge you know they won’t be able to refuse! Take on a new challenge with your run group and create a relay team as a way to expand your fitness routine. Whatever direction you go, make this something you won’t soon forget. Participating with loved ones by your side and cheering you on, creating a relay team will make your Kerrville Tri experience unlike any other. 

Push Your Limits

Triathlon is a fun way to push your body’s limits, but we know making time to train for three sports can be difficult on top of everything else life throws your way. If you have a tight schedule and know you won’t be able to properly train for multiple disciplines, focus on one or two disciplines to push your limits! Find someone who swims like a fish in the water. Add a member who gets speeding tickets on their bike for going too fast. Pick a runner whose feet seem to never touch the ground because of their speed. Assemble this super team and hold each other accountable to keep up with training! Before you know it, you’ll be ready to show up on race day ready to set some new records or even take home 1st place!

Whatever your reason for creating a relay team, there are two things left to do: build your team to divide and conquer Kerrville Tri and register!

Avoid Bonking & Keep From Blowing Up

What is bonking? Bonking is when you run out of energy to complete your event. Like a car running out of gas 10 miles into a 20-mile trip. You have no fuel to continue. What is blowing up? Blowing up is starting way too fast or maintaining too high of a pace at different points of your event, which can lead to surpassing your lactate threshold & cramping causing you to stop or slow down. Like if you just put the pedal to the floor in your car and blow your gaskets or transmission. You still have plenty of fuel, but you broke other parts of your car. If you struggle with this, keep reading to learn how to avoid the bonk and prevent from blowing up. 

To keep it simple, here are the top tips to Avoid Bonking and Keep from Blowing Up

  1. Know Your Pace. Know what pace you are capable of holding for any period of time to avoid bonking. The idea is at the start of the event for the effort level to feel controlled and relatively easy. As you progress through the event, your effort level will increase to hold your pace. At the end of your event, the effort level will be extremely high to maintain your initial start pace. Even splits or negative splits are how you PR. 
  2. Know How to Fuel Properly. Know the calorie needs for the distance you are doing. If you are doing a short event (less than 45 minutes) you will not need anything more than water during your event. Your body will have enough energy from your previous night’s meal and your morning breakfast to get you through. Chances are on the shorter events you will be moving faster and having a bunch of food in your stomach is counterproductive to going fast.
  3. Know When to Refuel. If your event is longer than 45 minutes, this is when you need to start thinking about fueling for success. In general, depending on your height, weight, sport, and effort level, you will burn between 10 to 25 calories per minute. The goal is to time your calorie intake throughout your event so that you are just keeping the tank full enough to avoid bonking and running out of energy. Another rule is that you want to consume the calories before you need them. My rule of thumb is that I take in a few calories every 15 minutes starting at the 30-minute mark for any event over 1 hour. Remember you are balancing your intake with what was in your tank when you started. 

Things to consider per sport

  • Swimming. Swimming is not the ideal sport for taking in calories during a triathlon.  When you are completing a tri, you need to consider calorie-intake into account and be prepared to start fueling early on the bike to avoid bonking.
  • Avoid BonkingCycling. Cycling is built for fueling. You have bottle cages on your bike, the right choice in your race clothing will have pockets for holding gels and other forms of nutrition. There are also tons of other equipment you can add to your bike to pretty much carry as much as you want. One key is to use the aid stations on course so that you are not carrying too much. Why spend a ton of money on an 18-pound bike when you are going to carry 3 to 6 pounds of nutrition? Learning how to take a bottle hand up or even stop quickly at an aid station to make sure you have what you need is important and worth every second that you might think you are losing by just blowing by the aid station without refueling. Items we recommend consuming on the bike: water, fluids with calories, gels, chews, and bars.
  • Running. A good pocket in your run shorts, shirt, or a SpiBelt is perfect for holding a couple of gels for your run. A small handheld water bottle can also come in handy if you are needing a little water to wash down your gel or stay hydrated. Aid stations are also the key for runners. Knowing the frequency of the aid stations and what they will be supplied with before the event will help you come up with the proper nutrition plan on the run. Items I recommend consuming while running: water, fluids with calories, gels, and chews.

Tips To Avoid Bonking

To sum it up, what you need to do to avoid bonking is, know your body (pace),  know the event (what nutrition do they offer on course), have a plan to carry additional fuel, and then practice with different amounts and mixtures of nutrition at different paces until you have the perfect plan. This will all vary based on the type and length of your event, so be sure to use these tips during your Kerrville Tri training. After all, practice makes perfect!