Triathlon is one of the most competitive sports, and even though the race events last for several hours, there are only fractions of a second that separate the winner from second place. The smallest differences count for a lot, and when you are in the middle of a race, you will need to take risks if you want to cross the line in the first place. You can use several tactics to improve your odds of winning and learn to master race events over time.
Nobody wins their first triathlon as there is a lot of trial and error involved before you can cross the line ahead of your rivals instead of watching their backs as they take the glory. When you roll the dice, you need to know when you should push yourself, when to take the risk and gamble. As triathlon season is just around the corner, it presents athletes with the perfect opportunity to hone their skills and practice the tactics they will use on race day.
If you want to win a triathlon, you must be willing to take risks, and we will cover exactly how you can eke out an advantage over your rivals. So, here are our top tips and tricks for getting an advantage over your rivals and winning the race.
1. Go Hard Early in the Race and Hang On
Most athletes don’t take the initiative in a race event, so they tend to lag behind other competitors. If you want to win a triathlon, you must be willing to take the lead and set the pace for the rest to follow. That is easier said than done because your endurance limits will be tested when leading the race and setting the pace for everyone.
When you lead from the front, you stand out from the rest, and the rest of the competition see you as a strong and confident competitor. That can be demoralizing for some and can dishearten them when they see you going hard at the beginning and staying ahead. The downside of setting the pace and going hard from the beginning is that your stamina will suffer, and you may end up dropping back the pack as the race nears its conclusion.
2. Watch Your Feet
To ensure that you have a quick transition, you should leave your bike shoes in the pedals so that you’re not wasting any time finding them after a grueling swim. Also, if you want to save time and get an advantage over others, don’t wear any socks. That will allow you to set the pace early, and you can easily create a substantial advantage over the rest of the competitors.
However, the negative of not wearing any socks when you are biking or running is that you run the risk of blisters forming on your feet. The cushion that socks provide ensures that your feet don’t get injured during the race, but you can run and bike faster if you don’t wear any socks. It’s a hard decision to make, but remember that you stand a better chance of winning the race if you take risks.
3. Master the Taper
Taking plenty of rest and leaving enough time to recuperate fully before the race can make all the difference. You want to be in your best shape before the race, and that means you will need to master the taper and not push yourself too hard in the weeks leading up to the race. You should ease off completely so that you leave your body enough time to rest and recuperate before the race.
That will leave you feeling completely refreshed and full of energy on race day, which will give you a head start over the rest, which may be feeling the effects of their training. However, the downside here is that if you don’t push yourself hard in your training, your body won’t remember how it feels to be pushed and what pain feels like in the middle of the race.
4. Forget the Aid Station
You can save yourself a lot of time if you choose not to replenish yourself at the aid station. What you want to do is get any advantage that you can over your competitors, and one way to do that is to get all the hydration and nutrition your body needs while cycling. Yes, you can drink fluids and eat fruit when cycling, which will give you enough energy to complete the event in time.
The other advantage you get is that you will manage to charge through the aid station and not waste time stopping to replenish your body. However, the downside is that you don’t get enough fluid and nutrition and suffer from energy depletion and dehydration during the race run.
5. The Unexpected Surge
It would be best if you planned to attack the course and increase the pace at one of the worst times on the racecourse, such as when you are nearing the crest of a hill. Your opponents may think that they have time to recover some of the time advantages you have over them and will not expect this surge in pace from you. The best part about this tactic is that it will wear down your competitors both mentally and physically as they will struggle to cope with the new pace you have set.
However, this tactic’s downside is that you can get it wrong and ultimately throw away any advantage you have held over your competitors. You may struggle to get away from them during this stage of the race, and because you have exerted so much energy, you will drop back.
Our Final Thoughts
So, there you have it, our five best strategies that you can implement to stay ahead of your competitors in the race. You need to make sure you spend time practicing these strategies in training before implementing them in a race to improve your chances of winning the triathlon.