Lessons learnt from my last triathlon

After every race it’s important to take stock. What went well? What didn’t? What do I need to work on? The wonderful, wonderful Ann Trason (I previously raved about her here) says that after every race you should write down three things that went well, three things that went badly, and three takeaways for the next race. So here goes!

Three things that went well:

(1) The first three quarters of the swim. I got out of the melee ahead at the start, found somleee feet, swam relatively quickly. I think I got the first buoy pretty quickly and if I had been able to keep swimming throughout and not start swallowing water and worrying about where to go, I would have had a bit better swim time!

(2) Getting on the bike. When I first started triathlon, I found it really hard to start off cycling well as I was still really out of breath from the swim and I would end up slightly hyperventilating and then panicking and therefore not pushing myself very hard! This time I was of course still breathing really quickly and heavily but I knew that it passed and so I didn’t dwell on it, just focussed on the course ahead of me and it soon passed.

(3) The whole bike! I pushed myself hard on the downhills, zooming past lots of people and loving every minute. I think I paced myself relatively well on the uphills, not pushing too hard when the road got very steep but, as soon as the gradient lessened slightly, really pushing. I think it worked well.

Three things that went badly:

(1) the run

(2) the run

(3) the run


(In seriousness –  number 3 should have been the end of the swim – feeling lost, swallowing water and retching is all not ideal in a race!)

Three things to work on for the next race:

I am actually going to cheat here as I have more than 3 things to work on for next time!

(1) don’t swallow so much water in the swim. For this I need more open water swim practice I think! I need to practice swimming constantly in the lake, in my wetsuit, and get more comfortable with it. I didn’t actually enjoy the open water swim in this race. I got to the point a few years ago where I felt really comfortable in the open water, genuinely really enjoyed it. I seem to have lost that and it is just from a lack of practice.

(2) keep working on my cycling. I was really pleased with my cycling speed and my time, but I was exhausted by the end. More time on the bike will mean I can keep up those speeds and not feel so exhausted by the time I start running!

(3) more bricks. I did no brick training whatsoever in this training cycle and I should have done. I need to do some long, hard brick sessions to mimic race day. It wasn’t a wobbly legs issue, but an “I’m going to be sick” nausea issue. That’s why I don’t just want to get practice at running off the bike, I want to practice running when I am exhausted!

(4) The extra one – work out why on earth I am feeling so sick on the run. Is it nutrition? I am not sure. I felt really sick on the half ironman run but I hadn’t eaten any gels or anything like that on the bike, just bananas and flapjacks. Then in this triathlon I stuck to my marathon nutrition routine (one gel on the hour, a shot bloc on the half hour). I have no problem whatsoever with this in marathon-ing but it didn’t work for me last Sunday. Or is it just that I swallow too much water when swimming? Or is it just that I am exhausted from the bike? It is annoying, as I felt like my legs actually had energy left in them, but I just felt so sick. And I didn’t feel like that at all in any of the triathlons I did prior to the half ironman last year.

So that last one is the main one! Really need to get that figured out for next time!


One comment

  1. Congrats on your race! And I’m so glad I saw this post b/c I have the exact same issue with nausea in the run! I raced last weekend (only a sprint tri) and felt like I was going to throw up for the first half of the run. And I did train some bricks…and ran for 5 min after every bike training session. This has happened during all 3 triathlons I’ve done and one was a Super Sprint (with only a 1 mile run). I did a little Googling and here’s what I found:

    Specific to triathlons, I found that triathletes are far more likely to experience mid-race nausea than runners or cyclers….so it probably does have something to do with the transitions.

    For my next race, I’m going to switch out my bike fluid from electrolyte solution to plain water and see if that helps. I’ll still drink electrolytes pre-race.

    Let me know if you get any good tips!

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