They say mistakes are the best way to learn.
While this may be true, some mistakes can ruin your triathlon performance.
Or worse, you could end up seriously injured.
As a triathlete, you have a lot to remember. You must recall your training and the race rules. You must focus your mind and body without losing track. With a million to-do’s circulating in your head, it’s easy to make a mistake.
Let’s face it, we’re not perfect.
Even the most seasoned triathlete can fumble. After accepting your fate as an imperfect human, what can you do? The answer is relatively simple – learn from the mistakes of others.
The following 6 triathlon mistakes are guaranteed to slow your pace. If that’s not bad enough, some can even put your health and safety in jeopardy.
Before sliding on your swimmer’s cap and airing up your bike tires, take a few minutes to read these mistakes.
As the saying goes, “knowledge is power.”
6 Triathlon Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1 – Black Swim Cap
All triathletes pride themselves on being excellent swimmers. The notion of losing your stride and sinking to the bottom of a lake may be the last thing on your mind. However, you can’t predict the future. Wearing a black swim cap is asking for trouble. Should the unthinkable happen and you begin to drown, black swim caps are nearly impossible to see.
Swimming in dark murky water with a black swim cap makes you nearly invisible. Wear neon or bright colors. This makes you easy to spot if you’re in trouble.
Mistake #2 – Lube Your Glutes
Raw skin following a triathlon is almost unavoidable. What triathlon would be complete without searing nipple pain? However, nothing is more painful than butt-burn. This occurs as your skin is constantly rubbed. The moisture from water and sweat further aggravate your skin.
Nothing screams “Newbie!” as a raw behind. Protect your butt, and lube it up. Focus on creases. Specially where the glutes meet your hamstring. It may feel strange, but this extra lubricant prevent chaffing and raw skin.
Mistake #3 – Sluggish Transitions
Transitions are not the time for rest. Actually, there is no rest in a triathlon. A main identifying market between newbies and seasoned triathletes boils down to the transition area. Don’t spend extra time searching for belongings or taking a breather. Practice each transition hundreds of times. Create a system, and stick with it.
You’d be surprised how taking an extra minute or two can destroy your final time. As a general rule, never try a new transition technique on race day. By the time the race happens, transitions should be so ingrained you can do it on autopilot.
Mistake #4 – Secure the Wetsuit Pull Leash
Some of the biggest errors are also the easiest to prevent. Case in point, your wetsuit zipper pull leash. While this leash serves a purpose, it also poses a serious threat. Left unsecured, this leash can wrap itself around your body during the swim race.
This not only ruins your strokes, but could leave you unable to keep afloat. Before jumping in the water, double-check the leash. Is it tightly secured? If not, you’re asking for trouble.
Mistake #5 – A Pace to Kill
Nearly every triathlete starts off at too much intensity. They wish to push to the front of the race. While the joy of rushing past competitors is thrilling, without proper pacing your stride will soon fade. Never bolt out of the gate with 100% intensity.
Start off with an easy stride and progressively push yourself faster. By the time you’re at your peak, countless others will be struggling to put one foot ahead of another.
Mistake #6 – Full-Speed Ahead…With No Regard to Rules
You’ve been training for the race for months, or even years. You’re physically and mentally prepared. As you push hard on your bike, you’re tagged for following too close. Did you know you must have at least three bike lengths between you and a competitor? Did you know a race marshal can tag you if a bystander hands you a water bottle? There’s even rules regarding wearing your iPod during a race.
Ignorance may be bliss, but in triathlons, it’s a recipe for disqualification. Familiarize with race rules prior to race day. Although some rules can vary, USA Triathlon features an exhaustive rule list. Be sure to thoroughly read pre-race packets. Remember, when it doubt, ask for clarification.
What Should A Beginner Do Next?
Looking for a way to boost your race time? Want to increase your knowledge as you enhance your physical performance? Download our Free Triathlon Success Kit for in-depth tips, techniques and advice. Whether you’re fresh to the game or a seasoned pro, there’s always room for growth.