How to Prepare for a Triathlon

Give these 5 tips a "tri"



©JohnnyLye/istockphoto

While some have amped up their workout routine with bikinis on the brain, 40-year-old Gretchen Bylow set a sprint triathlon as her summer goal — all for a good cause. On August 3, Bylow and her thirteen Power4Power teammates will be tackling the 30th Annual Betteridge Greenwich Cup Triathlon to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich (BCCG).

“Over 300 kids use the club daily,” says the tri first-timer and board member of the BCCG. “Not only do they have access to homework assistance and tutoring, they also learn to swim, play sports and have lots of fun!” The team has already raised $60,000 of their targeted $150,000 to go towards purchasing a generator for the club.

To shape up for the upcoming event, Power4Power paired with Full Throttle Endurance to strength train and work on their form once a week at Chelsea Piers. (Each team member also logged swims, rides and runs on their own. Talk about dedication!) The progression over the past few months has been slow but steady, increasing distance no more than 10 percent a week, according to head coach and Full Throttle Endurance Founder/President Scott Berlinger. Want to get in on the action? Berlinger dished the must-know secrets to tackling a triathlon:

  1. Practice makes perfect. Smooth transitions are crucial so add transition practice runs into your prep work. “If you have kids, give them the stopwatch to time you and let the fun begin!” he says. In general, double-check that you have what you need and take your time setting up. “Don’t rush—the clock is always running.”
  2. Keep calm and race on. Yes, it’s a “competition,” but speeding through the motions sparks sloppiness, increasing fatigue and injury potential. “Slow everything down, especially in your head,” Berlinger advises. “Form will keep you on track.”
  3. Go with what you know. Don’t try anything new (diet, ensemble, etc.) come race day. “Stick to what got you there — no one likes surprises,” says Berlinger.
  4. Be a semi-gear head. Train with the proper race equipment for you, Berlinger suggests. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to fit.” (A.K.A. don’t use your pal’s two sizes too big bike!) One thing you can borrow before you buy: a wetsuit. “They make everyone faster—first-timers will be [more] confident and efficient,” Berlinger says.
  5. Have fun. Heck, that’s why you’re doing it in the first place, right? “If it becomes a second job or stressful while training, you have lost the reason you started,” Berlinger says. “This is a platform to a healthy lifestyle forever.” Have realistic expectations and all will go swimmingly. (Worst case, you get a good Instagram out of it?)

For registration details, head over to Threads & Treads. Interested in training with Berlinger and his star-studded coaching roster? Sign up for newsletters, programs and more here. Dig that old swim cap out from storage and kick your fitness up a notch.

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