Always take short strides at the start of the run section of your triathlon, your legs will be tired from the cycling, taking shorter steps will aid the transition into the run, adjust your stride length as you start to get used to the run.
Learn to pace - when training, run shorter distances at the pace of your competition distance. You can set your target time for the race distance, run at that pace for shorter distances, with rest between them. Over time you will find you can lengthen the shorter distances or take less rest, until you are running the full distance at that new pace.
Think and plan how you run in your training sessions. if the focus is a hard session on a Tuesday, then doing a longer slower run on a Sunday will help the Tuesday run. You need rest. When you run on the Sunday, if you are feeling good don’t be tempted to push any harder than you planned at this session, or this will affect the run on Tuesday, keep to the plan and know what the focus is for the week.
Taking a drink on a run from a cup, isn’t easy. To help with this, pinch the lip of the cup to form a spout, this will prevent the drink going everywhere, making it easier to direct it where you want the drink to go.
Running is hard, and the longer the training run the harder it is. As it gets harder things go wrong and your focus can be lost. Take a short break every 5 – 10 minutes and walk for approx. 1 minute, at about 60 steps a minute, this will give you time to remind yourself what the aim of the session is, and will mean you will feel fresher and less fatigued
Use the cycling leg to refuel, tape some gels on to the cross bar of the bike. As you tear them off the gel will open, no more fiddling with opening them up whilst riding. Remember the gel packaging should not be discarded, store it in a pocket or up the leg of your tri-suit until you can safely dispose of it correctly.
Make sure when you train for the bike leg you don't train in a pack. Triathlon events do not allow for streamlining, so don't train this way. Triathlon is a time trial on your own so get used to it and train how you race.
Regularly practice clipping and unclipping your race helmet buckles, after the swim you will be under pressure, its surprising how easy it is to get it wrong. Alternatively try magnetic helmet clips, you might find them easier.
Goggle choice – where do you start? there are so many to choose from. There will be all shapes and sizes being used in your club, so why not ask your training buddies if you could try a few. Consider tinted goggles for those sunny open water swims. Remember they don’t last for ever so check them and replace them if there are any signs of wear.
In open water events you will be swimming close to other swimmers, there is a risk you might get kicked and your goggles knocked off. Put your swim hat over the top of the goggle straps, this will prevent you losing your goggles altogether.
Don’t spend money on an aero helmet for your bike leg. Spend the money on swim coaches, evidence has shown an aero helmet will save the top athletes approx. 1 minute over 40km. If the swim leg is your weakness a good swim coach will make improvements in your time, then when you have a fast swim time make the aero helmet investment.
Always walk you transition route, making sure you are familiar with where you have to go. Plan an alternate route just in case there is an obstacle in the way, you will be amazed how much space another athlete getting ready can take up, and they could be right on your route.
If it's your first race, choose somewhere close to home, it will reduce the stress. You can practice on parts of the course before the race day and who knows you might get some more support on the day from friends or relations.
Do long slow distance training at least once a week, Triathlon is an endurance event so you need to do either regular bike or run sessions each week.
It always helps when you see a friendly face cheering you on when you are racing. Take it one step further, print a map of the course, work out where your supporters will be, that way you have something to look forward to as you are racing.
Try and complete two training disciplines together whenever you can, one of the hardest parts of triathlon are those changes from one discipline to another, so if you can, after a bike ride, complete a short run, or the first part of the bike ride after a swim. Maybe bike home from the pool. These shorter, two discipline sessions will improve how you feel after a particular section of the Tri and help make the race more comfortable.
Paul Murray 2016 East Region Triathlon coach of the year