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					                                    THE OSM GUIDE


                                    TRI, TRI AND
                                    TRI AGAIN
                                    It was once the preserve of the super-fit
                                    and masochists. But now triathlon – the
                                    endurance race in which competitors swim,
                                    cycle and run – is the UK’s fastest-growing
                                    participation sport. Whatever your fitness
                                    level, over the next six pages James Witts
                                    will help ease you into the water…




                  Last year’s
                  Ironman World
EPA/THOMAS FREY




                  Championships
                  in Kailua-Kona,
                  Hawaii.


                                                                             May 2008 OSM 51
The race
How far can you go?
A triathlon comprises a swim, a bike and
a run, usually in that order. The swim
often takes place in a lake, sea, or other
open water; the bike and run will generally
be on road and pavement.

Super sprint A 400m swim, 10km cycle
and 2.5km run. The most accessible
race for novices.
Sprint 750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km
run. An increasingly popular distance
for amateur triathletes.
Olympic distance 1.5km swim, 40km
cycle, 10km run. Also known as ‘short
course’, and the format raced in
World Cups, too.
Middle 1.9km swim, 90km cycle,
21.1km run. This distance, also known
as ‘Half Ironman’, now has a pro
circuit and world championships.
Full distance or Ironman 3.8km swim,
180km cycle, 42.2km run. For
those fond of hallucinations and
uncontrollable tears.
Deca Triathlon Ten times the Ironman
distance. Allow a fortnight for the
whole thing. Masochists only need
apply: Cornishman Bob Brown
ingested 95 painkillers in the final
days of the 1997 race and took nearly
two years to recover.



Tri lingo                                     Swim
The jargon explained                          What you need to survive stage one


                                              T                                             THE GEAR
Aerobars A set of bicycle handlebars                      he front crawl may be the
that get you low and aerodynamic.                         quickest,’ says triathlon coach
Age-grouper Anyone who races                              Mark Kleanthous, ‘but there’s     The kit you need and the price to pay
triathlon but doesn’t train                               no problems at all with doing     (excluding blood, sweat and tears)
professionally. Most events break             breaststroke. Some athletes have even
down into five-year categories.                completed the Ironman swim doing              WETSUIT
Biking Never ‘cycling’.                       backstroke.’ (Backstroke is banned at some    A good wetsuit will be
Bonking When your body runs out of            triathlons, including London, to avoid        comfortable, flexible,
energy (avoided by taking on glucose).        confusion between an athlete backstroking     and provide insulation
Brick training Combining two of the           and one who is on the verge of drowning.)     and buoyancy.
three disciplines in training, usually           The swim takes up only 15-18 per cent of
biking followed by running.                   the race. And because you’ll gain such high   TOP END
T1 and T2 The transition areas where          fitness levels through cycling and running,    Orca Apex 2 £350
you change from swim to bike and              you can focus on technique. Each swim         (right) orca.com
bike to run respectively. Normally on         session should include drills that break      Uniquely, it has little
the same square plot of grass.                down the parts of the stroke – arm action,    pockets of air trapped
Tapering To maximise all that training,       leg action, breathing, body balance and       in the neoprene to help
you need to rest. In the last week or         timing – before you bring it all together.    your buoyancy. Worn
two before the big day, cut down the             How much should you swim? Elite            by Tim Don.
exercise, so your mind and body are           athlete Richard Stannard recommends
raring to go by the start.                    a little and often (three times a week for    ENTRY LEVEL
                                              30-40 minutes each time). If your event       Foor Quantum £125
                                              includes an open-water swim, practise in      triuk.com
James Witts is the editor of ‘220             your wetsuit in open water.
Triathlon’ magazine and a keen triathlete

52 OSM May 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                 OSM’S TRIATHLON GUIDE




                    Top triathlete
                    Katherine Nichols,
                                                                                                          The training schedule Part 1
                    of Honolulu, takes                                                                    It’s three months to the Mazda London Triathlon on 9-10 August and you will actually enjoy it if you follow
                    to the water.                                                                         triathlon coach Joe Beer’s 12-week training programme – you’ll find the rest on the following three pages.

                                                                                                                            WEEK 1                  WEEK 2                   WEEK 3                   WEEK 4

                                                                                                           MON         Swim 15-20mins.          Swim 30-35mins.          Swim 40mins.           Swim 20-25mins.
                                                                                                                      Single lengths with      Single lengths with      Alternate single          Build 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
                                                                                                                         rest between.        rest between. Count     and double lengths.        lengths with rest
                                                                                                                                                 your strokes per      Time yourself over       between and back
                                                                                                                                                           y
                                                                                                                                               length every 5mins     100m and count the           down again.
                                                                                                                                              and aim to decrease         total strokes.
                                                                                                                                                          mber.
                                                                                                                                                   this number.




                                                                                                           TUE           Do a favourite              REST                Your favourite                REST
                                                                                                                      session in either of                                 session.
                                                                                                                        the disciplines.


                                                                                                           WED        Run 20-25mins on          Run 25-35mins.         Run 40-45mins.            Run 20-25mins.
                                                                                                                      a soft surface. Start      Start easy with       Aim to be relaxed,
                                                                                                                      easy with walking,       walk, jog then run.      not exhausted.
                                                                                                                          jogging then           Do this as your
                                                                                                                            running.             warm-up in all
                                                                                                                                                future sessions.


                                                                                                           THUR       Pick your weakest         Extra session in       Pick your weakest         Extra session in
                                                                                                                      sport and focus on      your least favoured      sport and focus on      your least favoured
                                                                                                                       good technique.               sport.             good technique.               sport.


                                                                                                           FRI               REST                    REST                     REST                     REST


                                                                                                           SAT        Cycle 40-60mins         Cycle 60-75mins on      Cycle 80-90mins on         Cycle 50mins on
                                                                                                                      on flat terrain or in        flat terrain.            flat terrain.           flat terrain. Add
                                                                                                                          the gym.                                                               a 10-minute run
The neoprene is coated with a                                                                                                                                                                     after the bike.
100 per cent smooth skin finish, to
help you slip through the water.
                                                                                                           SUN         Do a session you       Another session in        Do a session you       Another session in
                                                                                                                      missed in the week      your weakest sport.      missed in the week      your weakest sport.
GOGGLES                                                                                                                or have a day off.                                or have a day off.
TOP END
Zoggs Predator Mask £16.99 (below)
zoggs.com
The scuba-style mask comes into its                                                                       GREAT TRIATHLONS OF THE WORLD
                                         ACTION IMAGES/REUTERS, AP. ALL PRODUCT SHOTS BY KATHERINE ROSE




own in open water, as they won’t get
knocked off or leak.
                                                                                                          No1 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, San Francisco, USA
                                                                                                                                                                            A non-standard 1.5-mile swim,
                                                                                                                                                                            18-mile bike and 8-mile run
                                                                                                                                                                            8 June
                                                                                                                                                                            escapefromalcatraztriathlon.com
ENTRY LEVEL
Aqua Sphere Mako £6.99                                                                                                                                                      Freezing-cold waters, dangerous
swimshop4u.co.uk                                                                                                                                                            currents, 18 miles of hilly biking
Easy-adjust buckles, cosy fit and                                                                                                                                            and a run that includes the
excellent UV protection.                                                                                                                                                    infamous Sand Ladder – 400 steps
                                                                                                                                                                            up a cliff – mean that the event is as
                                                                                                                                                                            tough as the prison.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     May 2008 OSM 53
Common errors                                  Bike
And how to avoid them                          The secret to a great ride
                 Last October, 30-year-old
                 Chrissie Wellington (left),   The bike leg isn’t only the longest of      shaped like teardrops or special
                 from Suffolk, became the       the three disciplines (taking up about      lightweight bike frames. The rule is: the
                 first Briton to win Ironman    50 per cent of your race time), it’s also   lighter the bike, the more it will cost.
                 Hawaii – in only her second   the one where you must integrate your          Make sure you have a helmet
Ironman. She had been a pro for just 10        body with a machine. So it’s important      that adheres to the necessary safety
months. Here is her advice for how to beat     your bike is right for you – and that you   standards – you can’t race without
the five typical triathlon problems.            are positioned correctly on it.             one. It’s also worth buying a pair of
                                                  The key to a good set-up, says           cycling shorts or by the end of the bike
1 Losing motivation                            Phil Cavell – a specialist in cycling       your backside can feel like it has been
The main reason we wander from                 ergonomics and the founder of the           through a cheese grater. Don’t worry
our goals is relying on only ourselves         London bike centre CycleFit – is getting    about clipless pedals unless you’re
for motivation. Joining a club is well         the correct saddle height (which is the     already a confident cyclist.
worth it: there are more than 100 up           distance from the pedal axle to the top        As for physical training, one long
and down the country and it’s a great          of the seat). Cavell says: ‘Your saddle     ride a week (at least an hour) is vital
way to make friends, find training              height should be set so your legs are       to improve fitness and endurance. You
partners and pick up tips. Don’t be            almost fully extended – about a 30          can supplement this by commuting.
nervous if you’ve never swum, biked            degree kink in the knee – at the bottom     ‘And if it’s a long way to work, you can
or run before: most cater for novices.         of the pedal stroke.’                       always cycle in and get a lift home,’
                                                  Either a mountain bike or a cheap        says triathlete Mark Kleanthous. Keep
2 Wasting money                                road bike will be fine for triathlon.        your bike clean; check tyre pressure
Buy or borrow the essentials: you              Regular triathletes will probably want      regularly; and it’s worth learning how
don’t need fancy gadgets or kit. I won         to upgrade to carbon wheels, helmets        to mend a puncture, too.
the World Age Group Triathlon
Champs in 2006 using a borrowed
wetsuit and third-hand bike!                                                                                             Competitors in the
                                                                                                                         men’s triathlon at
3 Running out of juice                                                                                                   the 2004 Athens
If a training session or race is longer                                                                                  Olympics.
than an hour, you’ll need to take in
simple sugars, via an energy drink,
a gel or my choice – malt loaf and jelly
babies. Don’t risk an upset stomach by
trying new products on race day.




4 Being taken by surprise
Recce the course beforehand, even if
it is just involves analysing the course
profile on the web. You don’t want
to hit the bike come race day and be
faced with a mountain when you’ve
only cycled on the flat.

5 Tough transitions
Transitions are important, particularly
in the shorter races, so practise them:
including getting your wetsuit on and
off at speed. I use a non-petroleum-
based lubricant around the ankles
– not Vaseline, which eats the rubber
– and put the lube on with a rubber
glove to stop my hands getting greasy
(it does attract a few weird glances).
54 OSM May 2008
                                                                                                                                                     OSM’S TRIATHLON GUIDE




                                                                                   The training schedule Part 2
THE GEAR

                                                                                                WEEK 5                  WEEK 6                  WEEK 7                    WEEK 8

                                                                                   MON       Swim 25-35mins.      Swim 35-45 mins.         Swim 45mins. Pick        Swim 25-30mins.
                                                                                           Alternate 1, 2 then     Alternate 1, 2, 4       drills that help you    Swim longer reps of
                                                                                             3 lengths. Ask         then 8 lengths.         swim smoother          4, 8 or 10 lengths at
                                                                                           a better swimmer       Keep count of total       or faster. Ensure             a time.
BIKE                                                                                       or swim coach to       strokes per length       you do 25% of the
Speed and weight are vital.                                                                 suggest drills to       on the longest        session breathing to
                                                                                                work on.                swims.                  both sides.
TOP END
Cervelo P3C £4,435 (above)
ultimatepursuits.co.uk                                                             TUE       Your favourite              REST             Exceed your longest             REST
The carbon-framed P3C has 19                                                                session or route.                             train in a discipline.
Ironman victories to its credit.

ENTRY LEVEL                                                                        WED    Run 25mins. Start         Run 35-45mins.        On a soft surface, do      Run 20-30mins
Claud Butler San Remo £299.99                                                             easy with walk, jog                             your longest run yet     where you stride out
falconcycles.co.uk                                                                            then run.                                    by at least 10mins.      but without over-
Ideal for novices.                                                                                                                                                  exerting yourself.


                                                                                   THUR   Extra session in your     Extra session in      Extra session in your    Extra session in the
                                                                                             weakest sport.       your least-favoured        weakest sport.         sport done least
                                                                                                                         sport.                                     in the past three
                                                                                                                                                                         weeks.


HELMET                                                                             FRI                   s
                                                                                             Have a sports               REST                     REST              Any non-triathlon
No helmet, no race. Make sure its                                                             massage.                                                                  activity.
comfort matches its strength.

TOP END                                                                            SAT      Cycle 60mins on       Cycle 60mins on flat     Cycle 80-90mins on       Cycle 50mins on flat
Met PAC VII £124.99                                                                          flat terrain (or      terrain. Ride relaxed     rolling terrain.       terrain, spinning an
fisheroutdoor.co.uk                                                                        indoors). Make note      and sip on a sports                              easy gear to make
Ultra hi-tech design.                                                                     of elements to work       drink as you ride.                              the legs feel light
                                                                                           on (eg, out-of-the-      Add a 10-minute                                 afterwards. Then
ENTRY LEVEL                                                                                  saddle riding).       run after the bike.                               a 10-minute run.
Giro Stylus £39.99 (above)
ultimatepursuits.co.uk
A lightweight, comfortable lid.                                                    SUN           REST                    REST                     REST                Swim 200m,
                                                                                                                                                                      change, bike
                                                                                                                                                                     outdoors for
                                                                                                                                                                   30mins, run 15mins.



SHOES                                                                              GREAT TRIATHLONS OF THE WORLD
The so-called ‘clipless shoes’
actually lock on to the bike pedals.
                                                                                   No 2 Ironman Hawaii, Kona, Hawaii
TOP END
Shimano TR50 £109.95 (above)                                                                                                                   Full distance Ironman
                                        ACTION IMAGES/RICHARD HEATHCOTE, AP, EPA




ultimatepursuits.co.uk                                                                                                                         11 October
The single strap saves time in                                                                                                                 ironmanlive.com
transition; ventilation is good, so
your feet shouldn’t smell like death.                                                                                                          The first event in 1978 attracted 15
                                                                                                                                               athletes. Thirty years later, to secure
ENTRY LEVEL                                                                                                                                    a place among the starting 1,800, you
Exustar SR900 £49.99                                                                                                                           must qualify at one of the 21 global
rsi-cycles.com                                                                                                                                 events or strike lucky in a lottery.
Light and won’t break the bank.                                                                                                                Lava fields and the Pacific provide
                                                                                                                                               a mystical backdrop.
                                                                                                                                                                        May 2008 OSM 55
OSM’S TRIATHLON GUIDE




                                               The training schedule Part 3

                                                             WEEK 9                 WEEK 10                  WEEK 11              RACE WEEK

                                                MON      Swim 25-35mins.        Swim 35-45mins.          Run 20-30mins.        Swim 25-30 mins.
                                                       Alternate 1, 2 then 3   Alternate 2 lengths                              Swim faster reps
                                                       lengths. Have drills    fast, 4 breathing to                             of 4 lengths with
                                                           to work on.          both sides then 8                                30-60secs rest
                                                                                 lengths steady.                                    between.




                                                TUE    Favourite session or           REST               Go longer in one             REST
                                                             route.                                     event than before.
  Run
  Get into your stride                                     Run 35mins.           Run 45mins at a        Run your longest        Run 20-30mins.
                                                WED                                easy pace.           run yet by at least
  ‘Good-fitting shoes are essential,’                                                                         10mins.
  says Britain’s 2006 world champion
  Tim Don (above). ‘You should get
  your running style analysed by a              THUR     Extra session in        Extra session in          Swim 45mins          Get your race kit
  professional, who can then prescribe                 your weakest sport,     your least-favoured     against the clock on    ready and eat well.
  the right ones for you.’ Brick                        doing at least 75%            sport.           at least 50% of your
  training – training in two disciplines                 of race distance.                                 race distance.
  consecutively, for example a bike
  ride followed by a run – is vital, says
  Don. ‘You have to run after jumping           FRI       Have a sports               REST                     REST            Cycle 10-20mins to
  off a bike in triathlon, so mimic that                    massage.                                                            check your bike out.
  sensation in practice.’ Regular cycling                                                                                         Run 10mins.
  followed by a period of running
  should lessen the jelly-leg feeling.
                                                SAT      Check the race          Cycle 45mins on         Cycle 90mins on         The day of the
  THE GEAR                                             venue, ride the cycle     flat terrain. Do a      rolling terrain. The    London Triathlon
                                                         and run routes.       quick transition into    race will feel short   sprint races. Good
  TRI-SUIT                                             Make sure you know       a 20-minute run at        by comparison.  .            luck
                           ece;
  Comes in one- or two-piece;                          any ‘surprises’ such        a brisk pace.
                           ce
  can be worn for entire race.                           as steep hills or
                                                          rough trails.
  TOP END




                                                                                                                                                      NIGEL FARROW, NEWSPIX
  Skinfit Speedsuit II £110
  (right) skinfit.uk.com
  Very close-fitting suit.                       SUN           REST                    REST                     REST                RECOVER!
  Especially good for
  pool-based triathlons.

  ENTRY LEVEL
  Craft Women’s Tri Race £59.99                GREAT TRIATHLONS OF THE WORLD
  craft.se
  Breathable and ultra-light.
                       light
                                               No 3 Noosa Festival, Queensland, Australia
  SHOES
                                                                                                   Various distances
  TOP END                                                                                          29 October to 2 November
  Brooks Trance 7 £110                                                                             usmevents.com.au
  (above) brooksrunning.co.uk
  A balance of control, cushioning and feel.                                                       Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast two hours’ drive
                                                                                                   from Brisbane, stages a five-day celebration
  ENTRY LEVEL                                                                                      of endurance sport that has thousands of
  New Balance M755SR £60                                                                           everyday Aussies rubbing shoulders with
  newbalance.co.uk                                                                                 famous international athletes such as Grant
  Good value and still very respectable.                                                           Hackett, Kieren Perkins and Robbie McEwen.
                                                                                                   The main event is the triathlon. OSM
56 OSM May 2008

				
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