Triathlon Hacks Used By Professional Triathletes | Racing, Nutrition & Travel Tips


– Over the years of racing I learned a bunch of useful tips and tricks from fellow friends who are in the sport. But what is it about those
professional athletes? What do they do in their
daily training routines and race preparations
that sets them aside? Well today, I’m gonna share with you some of the stories that I learned from within the world of
professional triathlon and I guarantee you’re
gonna find them interesting. (jazz music) Now then travel, this is something that plays a really large part in any professional triathletes
life and scheduling. But whether it be for a key race or a training camp, or even a holiday being able to travel sensibly and having so key systems really matter. So, by being diligent and organized you can save yourself a lot of hassle. So first up, talking about luggage. One thing that took me a
long time to be able to do and learn, was that you needed to get the weight off of yourself. So not having a heavy
backpack weighed down with all of the things you
need including the kitchen sink and the real key to this actually is to not carry anything at all and start using a small wheelie case. That took me ages to start
committing to but believe me it does make traveling that much easier through the airport and the terminals. Now then, one should talk
about the bike itself it can be expensive and
particularly in the US where airline baggage
fees can depressingly start adding up to more than
the cost of the flight itself. So a good friend of
mine, Richie Cunningham from Australia, he developed
what I would have called a fairly ingenious solution
to this costly problem. Because he realized that
he could circumnavigate the airlines fees by
using an ice hockey bag or a holdall that you
would see kids and teams going through the airport with, because then it wasn’t a bike. And he effectively,
through a lot of mechanical know-how to be fair, broke the bike down and packed it up into a much smaller case than the bike bag or bike cases that I certainly used to travel with. He did need to take the forks out, take the cranks off, make
everything a little bit smaller and it was quite an amazing
skill to see in action but believe me, I’ve
traveled with him many times and he spent far less
money then I ever did getting to and from races. And it even got better at the other end with the taxi shuttle
or an Uber, for example, because you then didn’t even need such a big vehicle, which could often be a lot more expensive too. So all in all, there was
a lot of cost to be saved. So now then, much like the luggage that I just talked about,
for traveling on the plane there was lots of good
habits I used to learn that I could implement. Firstly was, wearing long flight
socks or compression socks. Not to be confused with
calf guards mind you, because these are not the same thing. And in fact a funny story,
or not particularly for him involved, an athlete I knew he thought he was doing himself a favor by doing that for a long haul overnight flight, but he actually arrived at the other end with extremely swollen
and sore ankles and feet that the team physio had to battle with for quite some time to treat. So don’t do that but, do
please bring a water bottle. You can have it refilled
on the plane quite happily. Sip regularly and often on the flight and it just keeps hydration
really well looked after. Another thing to work
on is good nutrition. So as snacks, healthy
things like mixed fruits, dried nuts, some cereal bars, pack them into your wheelie bag or the on-board carryon
that you’re taking. Most of these good tips, in fact, were drummed into me by
my good friend Tim Don. But another couple that he
taught me as well as those were, to bring hand sanitizer because, you don’t know who is also on that flight so definitely bring that, use that little and often on the travels and also take a little tube
or packet of electrolyte tabs that you can dump into that
water bottle you’re bringing which just keeps your salt
levels nicely topped up. And finally, what actually happens if your luggage gets lost, which I know is something we don’t want to think about but, I have been there. And the last thing you want to scarper all your finely tuned race
prep for your goal race is the stress associated with having nothing when you arrive. So, what I would always try to do is just pack your essentials
into your carryon. So definitely your race kit, things like your goggles, your run trainers, a full change of clothes for the next day, so at least you can get through that. Even something like your bike shoes and pedals if you can create the space, because then if things really start to get desperate and the airline still hasn’t delivered your luggage by the time race day
comes along you can start thinking about even doing
something like renting a bike. (techno music) So, with all that talk
about race kit in mind, there’s a few things on race day that I definitely would
suggest you don’t do and that’s try things that
you haven’t worn before. So race kits themselves,
don’t try and experiment with a new one for race day because it looks nice and you
think it might be better. You could get all sorts of uncomfortable chafing problems in
potentially strange places that just definitely isn’t worth it. Same goes for wetsuits. You don’t want to try something like that, that could start rubbing and chafing. Especially in salt water, you could get really nasty rubs on your neck. And definitely don’t try some
new running trainers either, because I have seen many a lost toenail because of that and
shoes that have turned, shall I say, a nasty color of red. And on the note of race day and tips and things that help matters go smoothly, there’s lots of athletes
who I’ve trained with and raced with over the years
who’ve had different coaches and I’ve picked up things from them that I found quite interesting. And two of note come
from the Australian coach Brett Sutton, who very
well-known for coaching athletes the likes of Daniela
Ryf and Chrissie Wellington to multiple Ironman world
championship titles. And although his coaching methods are at times deemed a
little bit, shall we say, untoward, there are some
great tips that I have heard from Brett that he gives his athletes. Firstly, if they’re
competing in a major race and there’s time early in the morning, which definitely isn’t the case for things like Ironman or 70.3, but things like world championships and even Olympic games, I’ve heard that Brett will give his athletes a workout or something in the morning, even like bike hill reps. Not for any physical gains, but simply to clear their mind and take their mind off of what is coming up. Really good coping strategy I think. And secondly, he would definitely, from a practical point of view, not let athletes swim in a
race venue prior to race day, because you just don’t know what that water quality is gonna be like. You’re gonna have to
swim in it on race day, but don’t take the risk beforehand, especially if it’s a river, that’s in fact the only time I’ve ever gotten ill in a race environment
is from a river swim. Because if you think about it, there’s been bad weather the day before, all that water has to
runoff from somewhere and it could potentially
end up in your race venue. So talking about racing and being able to set ourselves up for
that successful race, is something that got me thinking about chats I would have with my fellow Scott and good buddy, David McNamee. Now, David is definitely an advocate of making sure that if you get ill, which unfortunately happens to all of us, but we do think we’re superhuman, is to just back off the accelerator and just take some time
to recover and get better. It’s much better to take a day, two, three off of your training, rather then just muddle through average weeks of training for the sake of doing it. And in terms of the training, when you’re doing it
well, that’s another thing that David really hammered home was that the hard sessions
should be really hard so you get the most out
of those quality sessions. But then similarly, the
easy recovery sessions have to be easy too, so
that you could absorb all of the work that you’re getting from those hard sessions. And then that rolls us back into racing and a really good point that David made was last year at Kona
2018, when he really felt significantly average
for most of the bike ride and it wasn’t ’til he was getting into the back half of the marathon that he really realized he
was starting to come good and running himself into the podium. And the point here being
that marathon running and definitely Ironmans are
really, really long days and you just don’t know
what’s gonna happen, so you have to stay
positive and back yourself with all that good training. (upbeat music) – So talking about racing
and the intricacies of that, one thing that athletes really pay attention to is their race day nutrition and one thing that
athletes often like to do, and they might not
necessarily shout about it from the rooftops, is really
get used to the on-brand nutrition that will be available at an event, like say an Ironman. Now whether an athlete’s
got their own sponsor or not there’s a likelihood that
they will have decided to make sure they’re used to
what they’re gonna pick up at the aid stations during
an event like an Ironman and have that inside their own branded water bottles regardless. Because, you don’t really know what’s in a water bottle anyway. And the reason that they’re gonna do this is because, you can actually usually know the exact flavor that an Ironman is gonna be giving out
at their aid stations in advance reading the race materials. And by getting used to that
and going out and getting that and training on it and getting used to it your stomach’s not
gonna get nearly as much of a shock when you’re racing on it. So it just makes good sense. So talking about race
nutrition and specifics. This reminded me of a conversation I had with Heather, fairly recently, about when she did Kona two years ago and a conversation she
had with none other then Sydney Olympic silver medalist and 2006 Kona champion. Michellie Jones. Now Michellie, very sensibly,
suggested to Heather that she freeze her water bottles the night before race day, so that once she got out of the swim and onto the bike she’s gonna have really nice
cold liquid to sip from. Now don’t worry, they will
defrost, I promise you as long as it is a really hot race venue like somewhere like Hawaii. But another good tip as well,
that Michellie gave to Heather was, think about what you
put in your special need bags and what she was saying was, things like sweets or gummy bears or
basically something tasty that you’re gonna look forward
to that isn’t race nutrition, because I guarantee by the time you get deep into the run course, when you’ve got access
to special needs bags, you’re not really gonna be
fancying the race nutrition. And your special needs bags
can give you the chance to get much needed calories. (upbeat music) So now for something that
is a little bit more serious and that’s the subject of road safety. And it impacts an awful lot of us because well, we go out on the
roads and train all the time. And something that I am
really passionate about is, just don’t aggravate drivers. It really isn’t worth it. And I guess I’ll finish
with a couple of examples of two friends who I trained
with a lot over the years. First up was Andreas
Wheeler, who many years ago was training with the
German team in South Africa and they were passed far
too closely by a truck and they gave a bit of abuse
and shouted at the driver. Only for a few minutes
later further down the road to be confronted by the driver standing in the road
pointing a shotgun at them. Which, obviously was
a little bit worrying. And secondly, my good
friend Richie Cunningham who I spoke about a little while ago with his ingenious hockey bag. He was training at home in Australia and again, was passed
far to close by a truck and gave some abuse that he
probably shouldn’t have done. Only for him to be attacked by said driver with an ax handle as that driver ran down his driveway, which he had now parked up in, unbeknown to Richie. And needless to say, Richie didn’t fair too well in that battle. So the moral of this story
is, you just don’t know who is behind the wheel of a car and it really isn’t worth giving them any sort of abuse because,
well you just don’t know what they’re capable of. Now it’s clear that professional athletes are able to distill that into
the most important of lessons and that’s simply a
case of trial and error because after all, they are living the life of triathlon
on a day-to-day basis. But most of these stories, if not all, are entirely transferrable
and not solely linked to professional athletes. So maybe you’re already
employing some of these tactics or you’ve got some of your own stories. Please share them with me in
the comments section below, we’d love to read them. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please hit that thumb up like button, click on the globe to subscribe and get all our other content. And if you want to see a video about pros to watch in
2019, you can get that here. And if you want to see one of our asks about what do pros do on
race morning, that’s here.

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29 thoughts on “Triathlon Hacks Used By Professional Triathletes | Racing, Nutrition & Travel Tips

  1. Another great video. I’m always struck by the comradely amongst pro triathletes. They compete hard but seem genuinely willing to share tips and tricks to help each other. Thanks so much for some great tips!

  2. Great video and great tips. The best triathlon channel on youtube 👌💪 I like how you make things sound easy and related to reality of triathletes ✌

  3. Tip: there is no amount of training you can do in the final week of taper to make you race better. There is, however, training you can do to make your race worse.

  4. Dealing with drivers is an everyday trouble when u travel through the city on the bike. Earplugs and music (as long as you're capable of controlling ur safety).

  5. Thanks Fraser and GTN for another interesting video. I like the tip about dismantling your bike to make it fit into a smaller bag, but sadly don’t have the mechanical nous to attempt such a thing!
    In response to the tip about not swimming in a freshwater race venue prior to the race … we did London World Champs in 2013 and did a test swim in the Serpentine a day or two before the race. To make sure we didn’t have any gastro issues from ingesting the lake water, we had a nip of whisky after the swim just to kill off anything icky. Obviously not helpful if you’re a teetotaller, but I reckon it helped us – we didn’t get gastro, and as a bonus it did warm us up nicely post-swim!

  6. I don't trust that my frozen bottle will melt. So I half fill it, lay it on its side at and angle so it doesn't freeze the nozzle. That way on race morning it can be filled the rest of the way with water, and a half ice bottle will melt right.

  7. Since you asked for our own tips… Triathlon Aero Hack… Buy a $350 pair of lace-up, immediately cut out the tongue, and install elastic laces. I believe the British term would be "bloody fast" setup. Aero results, what laces to use, and pictures of this setup here. http://www.thomasgerlach.com/2016/05/fastest-ironman-bike-shoes-aerodynamics.html

  8. The day before a race I like to fully visualise my transitions, if I miss something or mix up the order of actions I start again. Felt it gave me tons of confidence in transition on race day.

  9. Disagree with first advice, rather paying extra for my full-hard Bike case than risking my bike to get destroyed between flights , airlines never responsabilize for all the damage your bike could get

  10. wonder if hex-keys can go in carry-on. knifes usually can't and hex-keys are the more dangerous weapons.

  11. “…and it really isn’t worth giving them any abuse. You just don’t know who’s behind the wheel of the car”

    Agreed, especially since people here in the states can be armed to the teeth. My riding buddies are a tad more cavalier though…

  12. I always do a walk-through of transition on race morning from swim in to my bike and bike in to my spot. Even if I checked my bike in the day before, things will look different. Also, look for landmarks to help guide you to your rack.

  13. Sorry I misunderstood the way you explained compression socks during a flight: this is a bad thing to do?

  14. I’m doing my first ever triathlon event, a Sprint Triathlon (300m-19km-5km) in June. Luckily it’s local and I have cycled and ran the routes at around 80% effort to get a feel for the elevation, terrain, etc, in advance because it’s short enough. Also helpful to set expectations on a finish time. Not sure that’s practical for longer events, Olympic, 70.3, Ironmans etc.

  15. Tip: Presta valves are a great way of punching a hole in your race number if they are not supplied with pre cut holes.

  16. I like the tip from David Macnamee. It is a long day and you should never let your head dictate your race. A bad bike does not mean you give up….the race is over at the finish line and not before!

  17. Where to leave all the gels on the bike for a full distance? I've heard to put it in an bidon, but is it not to thick to get out? Of mix it with electrolyte drink? Thanks!

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