The countdown is on! ARTIEM Half Menorca is just around the corner. Feeling nerves, intrigue, excitement? Of course! You´ve probably been training for weeks already and wondering how to prepare a triathlon, but don´t worry! The most important weeks begin now. The last weeks where you´ll polish your technique, increase your stamina and gain strength.
Training is basic when getting ready for a triathlon, and there are different ways to do it depending on the chosen modality. However, no matter the specific scenario, preparing the body for the 3 or 4 weeks is essential for good performance. It´s what we know as the set-up... But what is it exactly?
This process, also called tapering, is aimed to prepare the body to overcome the great challenge that lies ahead. The general advice is that, as days pass, we must progressively reduce the pace of training and increase the intensity until reaching the level you expect to be required at the triathlon itself. Nonetheless, we have prepared a plan you can follow during the last weeks of preparation:
Between 4 and 3 weeks before the triathlon
These weeks are essential to try and get our body in perfect shape. This time is when the intensity of training must reach its peak. Discipline, in this case, is mandatory. Even if you have been exercising for months, excuses and exceptions are now prohibited. That´s rule number 1 on how to prepare a triathlon.
Training, though, must be adapted to each modality. For cycling, in this period practices should be long, like in the race. Regarding swimming, focus on improving speed and forget swimming pools, the sea is your field!
Mathieu Nieuwland, from our Sports & Nature team of ARTIEM Audax and amateur participant with seven years of experience in this type of races, recommends prioritizing cycling and swimming training as, in his own words, "running hurts the joints much more". During his months of training before a race, he runs twice a week for about 45 minutes; on the other hand, he practices cycling three times in periods of different duration.
2 weeks before the triathlon
Keep the intensity at the beginning, but start to reduce it in the last days of the week. Try and simulate the test, thinking not only about the circuit, but also transitions, material and hydration, among others. Breaking it down by modalities, this is the time to slow down regarding running. Meanwhile, for cycling and swimming, your goal must be to reach the speed that, in both cases, you intend to reach on the big day.
The week before the test
At this point, resting is as important as training and should be your priority during the last days. Try to control your nerves, and try to sleep, at least, eight hours a day. This week's training should be focused on keeping your body active, but not putting it through any intense efforts. The sessions, in any of the three modalities, should be shorter. From this moment on, it´s also when you have to take special care of nutrition, consume a lot of carbohydrates and, above all, watch the consumption of water to avoid cramping during the race.
According to Mathieu, it is very important to face the day of the race with a "fresh body", so resting should be an absolute priority in the previous days. In the end, from his point of view, the most important thing is "to enjoy the challenge and to reach the finish line, without thinking too much about how long it´s taken us to do so". Keep in mind that by pushing the limits of training the last days you will not achieve great advances. At that moment, the die is already cast.
Tips for the last month of training
This four-week plan is what you need for your body to be prepared and face the ARTIEM Half Menorca 2018 successfully. By following it, you will improve your stamina, technique and strength. The set-up will be a true success. In addition to all of the previously mentioned, we have some other triathlon tips for the last month of preparation:
1- Review all the materials that you will use in the competition. This includes everything related with your bicycle, suit, swimming goggles ... Doing so, you will avoid any setback and you will be able to fix any pieces that are in poor condition, if necessary.
2- Take care of your diet. You´ll need carbohydrates and proteins. In the last days, the first will be reduced as proteins gain prominence. In any case, avoid binge eating. The key is to eat normal amounts and, above all, to stay well-hydrated in order to metabolize nutrients. It´s also recommended to include some isotonic drinks to recover the salts lost while training.
3- Make resting your priority. It´s obvious that, as hard as you train, you will not be exercising all the time. Therefore, make sure to use your free time to rest. Stretch, lie down, put your feet up.
Take note of all these triathlon tips as you head to ARTIEM Half Menorca 2018. Still not registered in the race? Did you know that if you book at ARTIEM Audax you can get a unique sports pack for next September 23rd? Check all the information you need and decide to enjoy your dream. We´ll wait for you at the Fornells triathlon!