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Monday, 20 May 2013

Helena's Big Adventure. Chapter 4 - Learning How To Put It All Together

On the Easter Saturday I was lucky to take part in a free triathlon training session provided by Tri Together ( This was an amazing opportunity.
As everybody was just starting I was overwhelmed by the information available, but the thing that made me the most nervous was – HOW TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER?! Slowly learning swimming, running and improving my bike, that was all clear. Just go and do. But the transition form one to another was a big mystery.
The session benefited me in three ways – swim coaching and feedback, transition coaching, race rules.
The swim session was amazing! We spent about an hour in the pool. I had a lane to myself and did all the splashing I could! My biggest success of the day was learning how to do the tumble turn (still need a lot of practice). It took me few attempts and they had some funny outcomes. For one I ended up still facing the wall after all the tumbling I'd done. I know I will not use it in my life much, but it was fun to learn. I learned few drills and got some good tips on the ones I was doing already. Learned that in my last length in the pool I should really kick my legs as much as possible. That would help me when I get out and go to my first transition. It makes blood circulate more and therefore the dizziness will not so bad after the swim. I really like the fact somebody actually looked at the way I swim. I think everybody should get a swim buddy or join a swimming group. After learning all this and practicing for a while, I am now able to do 100 meters in just over 2 minutes that is getting close to a half of what I did when I just started.
Transition coaching was fun! It started to rain and snow and we were standing there in our socks and short sleeve tops listening to instructions. I now know how to set up my transition. I would have never thought of putting a towel down on the ground to wipe my feet after the swim. We were told some funny stories about people pinning their race numbers on their tops while not wearing them. Outcome – back and front of the shirt pinned together! I have now bought a race belt to avoid this mistake.
Everybody can practice in the way we did it because it was easy and simple and you should be able to find enough space in your local park or even front of your house. Find a place to rack or just put down your bike. Next to it lay out all you need – towel, top with number or race belt, shoes, socks, helmet etc. Put some cones or other marks out further away – one to mark the “out of transition” one to mark “in the transition”. Pretend you run out of swim, run to your bike, put on helmet etc. Take your bike, run to “out of transition” then cycle for few meters to “in the transition”. Get off, rack the bike, change shoes and repeat the circle with running. This will get your familiar with the process so no stress on the day.
Lastly, but very important, is rules! We did not go through all of them, but I now know important things. No nudity! Mainly applies to guys, as they are not so shy about taking their tops off, but there should be no unnecessary flesh showing. So no changing your clothes at every point. Tri suit is a good option, as you can leave it on for the all three parts of the event and wear it under wetsuit too. Then – do not touch your bike before your helmet is buckled up and do not take your helmet off before your bike is back on the rack! And no rude language towards anyone, especially referees! There are other rules, but I remember those most of all.
Just the last tip – you might be in hurry and forget to take your helmet off. But think twice, do you really need it for the run!

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