USA Triathlon News Blogs Multisport Lab Training Tip: Risk I...

Training Tip: Risk It to Win It

By | Nov. 09, 2009, 12 a.m. (ET)

Triathlon is one of the most competitive sports and despite events lasting for several hours, time and time again the difference between the winner and second place is a fraction of a second. It's not just elite racing where the smallest of differences can separate the victor and the first loser and in age group racing there are a number of different tactics and techniques which can make all the difference between crossing the line ahead of your rival or watching their back as they take the honors.

Knowing when to roll the dice, when to take the risk and to gamble is an art form, and with the off-season now starting in the northern hemisphere there is time for triathletes of all abilities to practice their race day tactics and master the skills that can make all the difference come the biggest race of the upcoming season.

Here are our top five tips and tricks for outfoxing your rivals:

1. Go Hard and Hang On

Heading out onto the run alongside your main competition lay down the pace and stick in there for as long as possible.
Positive: make yourself out to be strong, confident and full of energy to dishearten the opposition
Negative: suffering later on the run and dropping back into their clutches

2. Watch the Feet
Leave your bike shoes in the pedals for transition and don't wear socks for the run to save time and eke out an advantage.
Positive: shave off valuable seconds and take an early lead out onto the run
Negative: run the risk of blistering without the cushion of wearing socks

3. Master the Taper
Resting up before a big race can make all the difference to performance. Try easing right off to allow your body to recover fully.
Positive: feel totally refreshed and fully recovered before a race
Negative: the body forgetting what it's like to hurt

4. Forget the Aid Station
Get the nutrition and hydration in your body on the cycle stage of the race and charge through the aid stations to save time on the run.
Positive: save valuable seconds by not slowing down
Negative: getting it wrong and suffering from dehydration and energy depletion

5. The Unexpected Surge
Attack out on the course by increasing the pace at one of the worst moments, such as the crest of a hill. Just when your opponents think they can recover you don't let them.
Positive: this wears the opposition down both mentally and physically
Negative: if you don't get away they can gain confidence so be prepared to keep attacking

So there you have it, five ways to help get you to the line ahead of your rivals. Make sure you put these to practice in training or within a lesser race before risking them on the big occasion; the offseason is a great time to rehearse your tactics so put it to good use.