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Part 2: Triathlon tips and tricks for first-time competitors

Part 2: Triathlon tips and tricks for first-time competitors

In part 2 of this 4-part series, we’ll discuss a few tips and tricks relating to the Bike leg of the triathlon, leading into the second transition (T2). As a personal trainer in London of all levels of athlete. I will help you to pay attention to little details in advance of your event so that you can focus on performing at your best.

Place your helmet in a visible location, and put it on first

If you are not wearing your helmet as you leave transition you can be disqualified, so get in the habit early by placing your helmet in a visible place (see photo), and putting it on first before you do anything else.

As soon as you are on the bike and riding, refuel

Get in the habit of ingesting your gels as soon as you get on the bike, as you want to allow sufficient time for that valuable nourishment to hit your bloodstream and provide benefit.

The bike leg is usually where you can gain a significant amount of time back on the overall race, so you want to make sure you are fully energised and able to capitalise. You have just finished the swim and thus are in need of energy to complete a great bike leg, so as soon as you are on the bike and riding, get the fuel in.

Practice ingesting fuel and liquid during your training rides, and do the same things on race day

Again, please forgive me if I am overstating the obvious, but make sure that you set up your bike for efficient nutrition uptake (both liquids and gels/solids) during training (both indoor and outdoor riding), and practice this regime so that come race day it is second nature.

The main reason to do this is to ensure that when you are riding that everything you need is at your fingertips, and not in an awkward location (I use a ‘top tube bag’ that keeps everything re: nutrition in an easily accessible location, here’s a link to what it looks like: ). Whatever system you choose (be it a top tube bag, taping gels to the frame, etc.), working the kinks out during training will mean that you can concentrate on the ride and not fiddling to find things.

During the last 200-400 meters before T2, shift down to a low gear and pedal quickly

Your position (and thus muscle groups used) on the bike will be different than those used during the run, so increase the blood flow to the area generally by increasing your cadence on the bike. By doing this you will help to reduce that ‘wobbly feeling’ that you get when transitioning from the bike to the run leg

If you wear cycling shoes with clips, decide in advance how you want to get off the bike and move toward your transition area: I made the mistake when I first started using clipped cycle shoes of not practicing (or for that matter deciding how to) get off the bike toward T2; to say the least it was a mess!

Whether you decide to unclip your shoes and run in them, step out of them when on the bike and run in bare feet, or any permutation in between, practice that approach in advance so that on the day of your event you are comfortable.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Triathlon tips and tricks for first-time competitors

To learn more about healthy exercise and eating habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.


James StaringJames Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced that most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, which he runs with his partner, Ali Page – James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.

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