In the past 20 over years, I have participated and watched many races: long distance run, Ultra run, Ultra trail, Semi and Full IRONMAN triathlon and interestingly enough these race formats which in a way are long and can be hard have become more and more popular. It seems that the longer the better. It also attracts more and more newbies with little to no experience in shorter distances.
We can notice the same when we observe training patterns, on my occasional training runs on our local trails, I am always bumping into fully geared ready to run for the next 24h individuals, let alone the weekend rides populated by expensive TT bikes with full disk wheels cruising on the flats at 20-25km/h.
I thought it could be helpful to remind athletes and coaches of a few obvious facts in our 3 main disciplines.
Swim is the most technical discipline of the 3, there is no doubt about it. Mastering swim and feeling comfortable in the water in various conditions requires a lot of practice. It is also about safety as 90% of the severe casualties in multisport do happen during the swim leg.
What I usually observe, is athletes doing the least efforts in training their swimming and then being frightened by the swim conditions or struggling so much that at the point of coming out of the swim the race is already “finished”.
Swimming requires time and practice of the components which are particular to multisport events: swimming in a group, in open water, sighting and turning around crowded buoy. With a bit of imagination, this can be perfectly practice in the pool.
Bike fitting, bike fitting and bike fitting! So many athletes will spend a fortune in the next tech magic bullet: new aero wheels, lighter and more aggressive bike frame, super bike computer, aero helmet and power meter but most won’t spend a few hundreds to be properly fitted.
For most of the age groupers, comfort and the ability to fulfill the run to come is paramount. So, get in a position where you can ride a few hours comfortably and hop off the bike to run for a few more hours because this is what the job is going to be in race day.
Yes, yes, yes…after this smashing session on the bike you still need to run!
Ouch…legs feeling jelly, quads hurting, lower back hurting…your running posture is hunched, and your center of gravity become lower and it is harder to move…well, you are simply not yet strong enough.
Strength is also very underrated in multisport, but to be able to keep form in the 3 disciplines for a few consecutive hours your need to be strong and your core strength is paramount to it.
This off season combined with the slow reopening/de-confinement is a good time to address some of these weaknesses to prepare for the next opportunities to come!
Have a great training :)