Lessons Learned 1

As a new try-athlete, there are many things I’ve learned along the way…the hard way…I’m going to keep tabs on them here so a) you can all laugh at me, b) I can laugh at myself in a few years, c) so I remember not to make these mistakes again and d) maybe some of these will be helpful to someone some day.

Disclaimer: The items below are what I’ve learned work (or don’t work) for me, please keep in mind they may not be the best idea for everyone. Also, please try not to judge me too much, I am still new to this whole training thing :)

  1. Cotton is not your friend. Unless you like chaffing and pain and hot water burning your skin.
  2. Climbing and swim training do not mix! Learn to deal with it, or be prepared to give one up. Your hands WILL peel.
  3. Don’t wear headbands that partially cover your forehead or people will laugh at you.
  4. Dairy the night before or morning of a long run can be a bad idea.
  5. Anti-fog and spit don’t work on goggles if the water is cold. At least, I haven’t found one that works yet.
  6. Short run the day before long run = not the best idea.
  7. Always bring a credit card with you on longer runs. You never know when the craving for 20-piece chicken nuggets will strike.
  8. For runs, take a sip of water after 3 miles and every 2 miles after, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t wait till you’re delirious and guzzle all the water you’re carrying.
  9. Open water <> pool environment. If your tri has an open water portion, do yourself a favor and get down to the ocean if you can to avoid race day panic attacks.
  10. If panic ensues anyway from #9, flip over on your back and do backstroke or scull till you catch your breath again.
  11. Running outdoors >>>>>>>> running indoors. However, elliptical >>>>>>> treadmill, especially if you want to avoid injuries. Especially 2 weeks before a big race.
  12. Even if the idea of being able to run 20 miles without refueling makes u feel like a badass, learn to fuel properly for a marathon to avoid unnecessary anguish. Unless you really are badass and/or get your energy from the sun.
  13. Wearing a trash bag for the duration of a running event is PERFECTLY FINE if you know it will rain the entire time. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just make sure you cut holes for arms.
  14. Hat during rain = CRUCIAL
  15. Shower cap over said hat = even better
  16. Starting in the wrong corral/with the wrong crowd is bad for everyone
  17. If you run in the rain, you will chafe. Consider Body Glide under the arm area and at the waist of shorts for girls, esp if using a Fuel Belt.
  18. Wiggling your hips back and forth slightly during longer runs will help alleviate sore lower backs.
  19. Thermal cycling pants are great for running in, as long as you don’t pull the leg zipper down to your heels (if any). Otherwise, expect chaffing and pinching/bleeding on your leg.
  20. Gripping closer to the middle of the handlebars makes it easier to free up one hand to eat/drink/reach for your phone. Bike will be more stable this way.
  21. If your water bottle has a sports cap, keep the one you’ll be reaching for open for easier hydration on the bike.
  22. Safety pin through the neoprene strap to make sure your timing chip stays on your ankle! I lost my chip a the swim once and almost again at another race but luckily it was pinned on.
  23. Open up all food packaging before the bike start. Even better if you do it while setting up your transition area.
  24. If the ocean/lake water is too cold at the swim start, pee in your wetsuit to stay warm as you enter the water. I’m serious.
  25. If you need to pee, stop and get it done! It’ll only take 5 seconds but it will make the rest of your race SO much better.
  26. Fleece-lined cycling shorts >>>> diaper-style padded ones
  27. Salt pills on a long ride or run, especially on hot days, makes a HUGE difference
  28. Get your bike fitted! It’s worth the money
  29. If you have aero-mounted bottles, bring a bucket of water and rag for quick post-ride clean up. Or a small watering can could work.
  30. Learn basic bike maintenance. Never know when you’ll need to make adjustments on a solo ride
  31. Acquire anti-chafe stick and use it EVERYWHERE. Including on the rubber grips of cycling/tri shorts, and in the under arm area.
  32. It’s ok to not wear cycling gloves, but use some darn sunscreen so you don’t end up with inverted Mickey Mouse hands
  33. Keep a spray bottle of sunblock at T2. Preferably the kind that can be applied to wet skin.
  34. Salt tablets for hot days
  35. Eat real food during a race whenever possible. Gels are very concentrated and can lead to GI issues
  36. Preloaders and recovery drinks are crucial after hard workouts. Or just all workouts.
  37. Bring a plastic bag to every race for wet/sweaty clothes.
  38. Bring flip flops for post-race relief
  39. Trim toenails the night before a marathon!
  40. Triswim body wash unless you love the smell and itch of chlorine!
  41. Earplugs are great for colder open water swims, especially if you feel disoriented.
  42. Wear a pair of old socks to the swim start to keep feet warm and rock-free. Discard before entering water
  43. If you wear a vest on the bike, make sure to zip up to avoid tons of unwanted drag.
  44. Even a 10 minute ride around the block the day before a race can be good. Make sure everything shifts correctly!
  45. Ear plugs really help with cold water swim dizziness
  46. Foggles are the best goggle antifog wipes out there. Seriously.
  47. Makeup remover wipes or natural soaps high in fats are AMAZING at removing grease stains from bike chains

One comment on “Lessons Learned

  1. Reply Sas Dec 2,2012 6:24 pm

    Good lessons we can all learn and be reminded of. Thanks!

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