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Strategies for Triathlon Success

Spring is a time to reset, renew, and maybe step up your fitness game. Are you up for a challenge? How about a triathlon? Whether you’re signed up for the Gold Nugget, Eagle River Tri, or you just want to train for all the running, biking, and swimming you’re planning to do this summer, the time to start training is now. The Alaska Club Executive Director of Group Fitness, Janet Warner has some strategies to help you prepare.


First, assess your current fitness routine. How many times per week do you move your body and what do you do in that time? The best plan is to have a plan that fits your schedule and needs. Depending on where you are now, layout a plan that is a slow build up and provides recovery times. Avoid doing too much too soon which can lead to sore muscles and detour your training plan. Things might come up and get in your way and that’s ok! Have a backup option or accept that even though the training didn’t happen as planned today, tomorrow is a new opportunity.


Find 2 or 3 cycle classes or times to train on the bike per week. If you haven’t been on the bike much, start with 10 to 15 minutes per session. I hear from so many triathletes that the cycle classes were a huge asset in their triathlon performance.


Find 1 or 2 times per week to run or run or walk. The general rule is to add no more than 10% to the duration each week. A slow build will get you there safely and without injury or excessively tired muscles.


Swimming is often either the strongest part of your tri ability or your biggest struggle. If you are a regular swimmer, keep it up and consider how you will make the quick transition out of the pool – into dry clothes – and hopping on a bike to work through the sensations from swimming to biking. If swimming is your struggle, the only way to get better is to get in the pool and work on it. Join the master swim classes which are included with Gold/Platinum memberships. It’s a great way to have community and coaching specific to swimming.


In addition to your tri–specific activities, general strength training, core stability, and yoga can play a major role in your ability to get more out of training and improve your triathlon experience.


Motivation is key to success and can be found in many options:

o Group Fitness classes provide huge motivation from the instructor, the participants, the music, and the overall experience. We are stronger together!

o Training buddies – you’ll show up for your buddy on days you wouldn’t show up for yourself – plus it makes the training time friend time as well.

o There’s an app for that – so many apps record your nutrition and training. When you see it, there’s value. Write down your plan and record your training sessions.

o Set goals – and check in with those goals weekly and monthly.

o Reward yourself – 10-minute sauna, 1 hour massage, new shoes, new workout clothes and fun socks – whatever makes you smile.

o Accountability - tell people what you signed up for. If no one knows, you’re more likely to fade away from training, but when you put it out there, you’re motivated to follow through and people will support you. Find your cheerleaders and be cheerleaders for others.

o Daydream about the event. What are you wearing, how are you feeling, the energy of the participants, the energy of the spectators, the nervous energy before you get started and the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line.




Finally, don’t forget nutrition. Aim for fewer items from a box and more items from the produce and refrigerated sections of the grocery store. Try any new foods in small amounts, especially before a training session. To avoid event day surprises, stay away from protein bars or supplements that you haven’t had before.


Most of all, remember to embrace the challenge, have fun, and be proud of yourself for participating in and hopefully finishing a triathlon. You got this!


Need more inspiration? Join Coach Stacey for Tri Training at West, Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 7th. Details and registration at www.thealaskaclub.com/events-and-challenges.

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