Mark your calendars! The MAC (Madras Aquatic Center) Dash Sprint Triathlon is set for September 6, 2014. Registration is currently open. APEX Physical Therapy is happy to be one of the sponsors supporting the event. It is easily one of the most organized sprint triathlons in the Northwest and owns amazing views while competing at a top notch facility.
Participation in the event can be done as a team or individually. There is more information that can be found at: www.macdash.org/mac-dash
Another great event that follows on the same day is the Mini MAC Dash. It is a FREE event for kids 10 or younger. It is fun for all and a great way to encourage kids to learn the joy of friendly event participation. More information can be found at: www.macdash.org/mini-mac-dash
Between now and the competition date, Apex Physical Therapy will plan on offering an additional functional Foam Roller workshop that will come in handy for those training for this event or any event. Proper use of a foam roll allows the athlete to improve performance, increase flexibility/mobility, reduce pain, and reduce risk of overuse injury. Stay tuned for announcement of time and date of the workshop!
Below are some pointers that were included in a newsletter last year that are still applicable for those considering the MAC Dash or any first effort into a sprint triathlon.
Tips and considerations
I do not claim to be an expert USA Triathlon coach but here is some advice that I’ve received from experts or learned the hard way:
- Assess your fitness. Do you need a check up? Are you in good shape for one of the events, if so, focus on the other two. Should you consider a team the first time and make it enjoyable?
- Make sure your bike is safe. If in doubt, have it checked at a local bike shop. Helmets are mandatory. If borrowing a bike, make sure it fits properly, ride a borrowed bike multiple times.
- Shoes. Make sure your shoes are high quality and fit properly. Consider a running specific shoe store to select the correct shoe.
- Start training at low intensity and work up from there. Build success with success. It is most optimal to train months in advance and build an aerobic base. Avoid increasing a training distance more than 10% per week. This will help prevent overuse injuries. There are many resources online.
- Learn how swimming in the pool feels. Is 500 yards easy or difficult? For me personally, I have the most difficult time with pacing that distance whereas a trained swimmer will use this distance as a “warm-up”. Each year I find something I need to focus on for the swim. If you need help with technique, ask. There are many experts willing to help; consider checking with the MAC. Remember, this is for fun, you can always resort to your “safe stroke” such as side or breast stroke if fatigue sets in.
- Don’t change up your meals or sports drinks leading up to the race. I learned this one the hard way and had one awful race in which my arms felt like 2 x 4s and my stomach cramped up on the run after trying a ‘High-Tech Sports Performance Drink’ without training with the product properly.
- Consider training with some sort of extra energy source to learn how you react. Much research shows that in an event that lasts 1 to 2 hours, your energy stores are often adequate. I have found that things like gels, or blocks do indeed help with avoiding a ‘mental energy bonk’. There are gels/blocks available with extra electrolytes and caffeine. Yet proceed with caution.
- Consider training two of the events together on a longer training day when you are rested. These are often called “Brick Workouts” for the combination of Bike and Run for the “BR” in Brick. Brick workouts help you determine how you respond from one discipline to another. Brick workouts can also combine a swim to a bike transition which is extremely helpful to learn how your body reacts.
- Rest is part of training. Make sure you get ample sleep to compensate for the extra work you are doing with your body. Also realize that you can’t cram training in the last 2 weeks before the event. Cramming may work in college courses but it doesn’t work with multisport events.
- Transitions. Your transition between your swim to bike and bike to run (T1 and T2) count for your total race time. You can speed up transitions by practicing the set up and actually putting the gear on; there is ample footage on YouTube. I like to use the following: Tri Shorts to wear the whole event (7 years ago, I wouldn’t be caught in public in these, but they are truly worth it), one jersey for the bike and run, elastic shoe laces that can be quickly tightened, bike and run sockless if able by using a friction reduction powder such as Shield Powder (this requires practice and training sessions), friction reducing products such as Glide applied to high friction areas.
- Ride the bike course at least once before the race.
- Again, do not try anything new on the day of the event. Gear, food, hydration strategy need to all be personally proven in training.
Above all else, have fun. Very few human on earth earn a living participating in triathlons. Yet there is much to be learned about one’s self in training and the actual event. The events are great for setting fitness goals and a great way to demonstrate to yourself what can be accomplished with training, exercise, and an open mind.
If you happen to have any questions regarding the MAC DASH or sprint distance triathlons, please feel free to contact Brock at Apex.