I want to be a Triathlete!
Let’s try your hands at conquering 2 out of the 3 disciplines first. Aquathlons are the best way to do so; it consists of swimming and running. You will start of with swimming from 500m – 1.5km, followed by a run of 2.5km-10km depending on your race category.
Yeah we already know all that! But how can it be an easy sport to master? Well, let me give you some pointers on how you can be better prepared for your first (or nth) Aquathlon
1. Understand the Event & Course
This is easy – it is a simple swim followed by a run Event. Get to know if you’ll be swimming in a lake or river or open sea or swimming pool; all these variations are important to note so that you are mentally prepared. Will you be running on tarmac or trail or sand or track, after your swim? Again, you will need to know this. Once you already have a picture of the entire Event in your mind, it is easier to visualize your race. Trust me, that simple step will make you win half the battle already.
My personal advice is to visit the Event Venue (and Race Course if possible) at least a week before your Race Day so that your visualization matches what you actually see! Should it be possible, best to go for a trial swim & run on the actual course even.
2. Race Book / Race Briefing
Now that you’ve already won half the battle in your first or many race, the next pointer is easy. READ your Race Book and attend the Race Briefing (if any) – all essential information about the Event and Race Course will be mentioned there. Schedules are vital to remember so that you do not miss your Start Time or try to put your stuff when Transition is already closed. Also, there may be some last-minute changes so keep updated by looking through the Event website or Event social media and Race Briefing as you get closer to the event.
My personal advise is to perform a simple warm-up (be it stretching or light swim or even light jog) 45 mins – 1 hour before your Start Time, to keep yourself calm and get that engine started!
3. Setting up your Transition Area
Transition what?! Transition is the area where you will be changing into your Run attire, after completing your swim leg. Each participant will be given an individual basket with your Bib Number for you to place your necessary Run equipment/s in. That little piece of “real estate” is yours’ during the event so please do not go into your neighbour’s house. You will be required to place your Run equipment in the Transition Area at the beginning of the entire Event. So after checking in (if required), you will usually head towards your brand new “real estate”. Find your respective “house no”, and start decorating!
Here are some tips on what may be required in your
1. Running Shoes
3. Sunglasses / Cap / Visor
4. T-shirt and Shorts (maybe you’ll feel more comfy running in these rather than your tri-suit or swim attire. Do note that running bare torso is prohibited)
5. Race Belt (if you have any. Else pinning your Bib on your tshirt is completely fine)
6. Small Towel (in case you need to wipe your delicate feet)
7. Hydration and energy gels of your choice (but do you really need them? =) )
*Don’t forget to bring your goggles along when you leave the Transition Area. Btw, you are already wearing
your Swim Attire
So now that you “own” your new real estate for the day, how are you going to design it? I would recommend you to arrange it from toe to head; meaning your cap/sunglasses at the bottom and shoes/socks on top most (unless you have a small towel to wipe your feet, then that should be the icing on the cake). This is because you will be wearing your shoes/socks first followed by other equipment before ending with your cap/sunglasses. Of course there’s no need to follow such tedious arrangements but we are trying to make your Aquathlon experience an easy-peasy one.
My personal advise is to sit down whilst changing into your Run gear (if you’re a Pro, why waste time resting ya ). Reason is you have to expect to be a little disoriented when you come out of the water; no worries it is normal. So taking a little breather while enjoying the scenery of your new real estate will do you no harm.
4. “The” Swim Leg
Nothing to be scared about; remember that you already won half the battle (now that you know more tips, it should be about 70% already). If you have not tried swimming in the pool, then you should first. I do not recommend this event if you’ve never swam in your life. If you have already done your mileage and necessary training, treat this like any other training routine. The only difference is you have lots more training buddies now. Isn’t that great!
Remember being mentally prepared? If you’re being kicked, pulled or hit during your “event training session”, please do not worry as I am pretty certain it is all unintentional. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…quoted from Dory. Your own safety is always the most important so do keep a look for it. Organizers will do their level best to ensure the entire race is safe & fair for all participants.
My personal advise is not to panic, regardless of any situation in the water. Always seek for help by raising & waving your arm should you require assistance; the nearest Safety Team or even a fellow participant will usually always help you out. Once you start to panic, your heart rate increases and you’ll tend to forget your surroundings hence endangering yourself & others around you. So best is to STAY CALM always. Enjoy your race!
5. “The” Run Leg
You’re nearly there! Running is as easy as 1 2 3, everyone can do it. Sounds easy however don’t forget that you just came out of the water so take your time when you’re changing into your Run Attire at your new “real estate”. Some might even decide to perform a little stretching exercise before embarking on their run journey. I’m sure you’re aware that different muscle groups are at work when you swim and run.
If you always wear socks while running, I would suggest you continue this routine (unless you’re willing to potentially have your pretty feet filled with blisters. OUCH!). And of course if you’re aiming for your Personal Best (PB), going sockless is the answer. To avoid having blisters, a quick-fix is to use antichafe cream or petroleum jelly at certain placed on your running shoes. My personal advise is to take the first 1-3mins slow and steady so that it is easier to maintain your pace and finish strong (don’t forget you’ve already got your engine started while swimming so running will be easy at first, but don’t get too confident too quick). And lastly, don’t forget to SMILE when you see a photographer especially at the Finishing Line (you do not want to have a halfdead looking fish on your social media after all your hard work =) ). So what are you waiting for, take the plunge & register for that race you’ve been eyeing, log in your training, and with these simple tips, you’re already a champion!