Nerves, excitement and 4am bowls of porridge. Triathlon race season has arrived and we can’t wait to get back on a start line.

Got a few triathlons under your belt and looking to up your game this race season? Check out our five top tips to help you smash your goals and nail your new personal best…

Five Ways to Up Your Game This Tri Season

Practice transitions

We’ve all been there. Rolling around on the floor like a fish out of water desperately trying to get your wetsuit off. Fumbling with bike shoes. Almost heading off on the run with your bike helmet on. When the pace is on and adrenaline is high, it’s easy to make silly mistakes or get flustered – costing you vital time in transition. While it’s not as fun or as exciting as smashing out a training session and raking in the kudos on Strava. Taking time to run through your transitions in training gets the process in to your muscle memory so that, come race day, you don’t even have to think about it.

It might only be a couple of minutes, but speeding up your transitions is a simple way to move up the results list. Practice getting your wetsuit off as fast as possible after your next lake swim. Treat your bike-run brick sessions as an opportunity to rehearse going smoothly from bike shoes to run shoes. And don’t neglect your mounts/dismounts! Practice running with your bike to a pretend mount line and getting clipped in and on your way as fast as possible. It’s amazing how much time you can lose just getting out of transition and over the bike mount line.

Nail your race day nutrition

Don’t let annoying stomach issues or running out of fuel ruin your race. Practice using the nutrition you intend to use during your race in your training sessions, so you know what works and what’s likely to leave you diving into the porta-potties.

Planning in a ‘race simulation’ training day is a great way to really put your nutrition (and the rest of your race kit) to the test. Take note of how you felt during the session. If you were lacking in energy, feeling dehydrated or experiencing any GI issues – it’s time to refine your fuelling strategy.

It’s also important to remember that your race nutrition actually starts a few days before the event itself. Barbara Cox-Lovesy gave some great tips in her recent article 10 Ways to Improve Your Performance when it comes to pre-race nutrition. Having a dress rehearsal of what you’ll eat in the run up to your race will help you to work out exactly which pre-race meals will help you to feel your best on race day. When that early morning race day alarm goes off, you want to be confident that you’re fuelled up and ready to go.

Wear a tri suit

Getting changed between each discipline? Save yourself the time (and the effort) by wearing a tri suit. Designed for speed and tailored for comfort, our tri suits will have you flying between the three disciplines without missing a bleat. Voted women’s ‘Best on Test’ by 220 Triathlon magazine, the Stolen Goat tri suits are lightweight, breathable and fast-drying. Not only will they save you valuable time in transition, the ultra-aerodynamic design will help to reduce drag on the bike and the handy rear pockets give you somewhere to store your nutrition.

Want to nab that new personal best, and do it in style? Get a Stolen Goat tri suit.

Perfect your pacing

Triathlon is an endurance event. It’s all about being able to pace yourself to put together your best combination of swim, bike and run that gets you to the finish line fastest. Riding super fast on the bike might feel awesome. But if it means you end up overcooked and having to walk the run course, you’ll lose valuable time and those competitors you overtook will soon be showing you a clean pair of heels. Ultimately, it’s a balancing act: “how hard can I get away with pushing on the swim and the bike without blowing up on the run?” It takes race experience to get this balance nailed, but it’s definitely something you can practice in training by executing back-to-back bike-run sessions. If you use measures such as power and heart rate, you can  also use these to set an intensity to work at (for example a percentage of your Functional Threshold Power, or max heart rate) so you can ride with confidence that you’re leaving yourself enough energy for the run.

Come race day, it’s all about staying calm and sticking to your race plan. When the adrenaline flows, it’s easy to get carried away and put yourself into the red without meaning to. Keep controlled and then when you get to those last few miles you’ll have enough left in the tank to leave it all out there and let it rip.

Get your head in the game

There will inevitably come a point in the race when that little voice in your head head says: “Hey, you know we could just… sit down, maybe have a cup of tea and leave this triathlon nonsense for another day?”
When you’re pushing hard, it’s often your brain that wants to give up before your body actually needs to. Being able to dig deep and find a way to keep pushing when you’d really like to stop is the key to being able to move past your perceived limits and take your performance to the next level.

How you do this is very much an individual thing. It might be having a mantra to repeat, or reflecting on the hard training sessions where you proved to yourself that you’re strong and capable. It might be shifting your focus to something other than how hard the effort is. For example by taking in the crowds or reciting your favourite song lyrics.

Sports psychologist Dr Josephine Perry has some great tips for this in her book, Performing Under Pressure. Being able to get a handle on your pre-race nerves, and find the mental reserves to dig deep and test your limits on race day can be a game changer when it comes to truly racing to your potential. We invest so much time and energy into training our bodies, so it’s important that we don’t forget to work on our minds while we’re at it!

Here’s to a fantastic race season, Herd! What races have you goats got planned? We love seeing you out there smashing it on the race course in your SG tri suits so don’t forget to tag us in your photos.