Tips for Your Second Triathlon

author : TeamMPI
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Have you finished your first triathlon and are about to do your second? This article will give you several tips to improve.

This article came out of our forums, where a member asked about these areas for improvement.  
By Coach Mark Sortino 
#1 Tri vest/shirt?
"My first transition (T1) was about 45 seconds long because I could not get my shirt on (I was still damp). I'd love something that gives me a bit of warmth (water was 67 degrees) and that I can just keep on as I hit the bike."
If the water and air are warm enough, I would recommend you put a tri-shirt on with your tri shorts (or a one-piece tri suit) under your wetsuit. Although you may be a bit cool starting out on the bike, you'll warm up quickly and save a ton of time in T1 by NOT having to put on dry clothing on a wet body.
#2 Bike computer?
"What I thought would be my best sport ended up being the worst (compared to others around me). I honestly thought I was moving pretty well but I guess I wasn't.  My thought is a bike computer would be a worthy purchase so I have an idea of what MPH I'm going and it will help in training and racing. Suggestions? "
I do like some form of feedback on the bike for new athletes. While a bike computer would fill this need, a more economical choice would be a GPS wrist watch that you could wear for the bike and run (or even the swim, bike and run - depending on the make and model). The best out there now is the Garmin 910. While you have lots of options on customizing the view, the most important information is current speed and average speed. For experienced athletes competing at a higher level, I don't recommend any device on the bike or run for a sprint or olympic distance triathlon - you just need to go as hard as possible!
#3 Recovery after your first race?
"I am signed up to do my second triathlon in about three weeks.  As far as jumping back into training I went headfirst right back in today. Do I need a week to recover (it was a sprint triathlon) or can I resume just like normal?"
This all depends on many individual factors: were you in shape before the race? Did you have any nagging injuries? Was there a great amount of travel involved? In most beginner scenarios, just a few days of lighter training is all you need to recover for a Sprint. At Team MPI, we believe strongly in active recovery, so a light 45 minute to 1 hour spin the next day is a great choice. Continue with your regular swimming. But if you're very fatigued, take a day off completely and truly rest. As you gain experience and conditioning, you'll be able to continue normal training within a day or two.
#4 Aerobars?
"I saw a ton of people with these and after awhile when my hands started hurting I began to think those would have been nice, but are they worth it? Second question, I also saw people with a grip that reminded me of good grips on a nice golf club, would that be just as good?"
If you are using a road bike with the standard road bike bars, I would recommend you consider purchasing "clip-on" aerobars. These can be found for around $100 and you can install them yourself. While it will take a few rides to get used to, it will be well worth it for the tremendous advantage of being more aerodynamic. Certainly, as you gain more experience you may opt to purchase a triathlon bike, but until then, this is a great economical choice. If you could see a triathlon bike fitter, he/she would be able to adjust those clip-on aerobars for maximum comfort.
#5 Open water swimming?
"My second triathlon is in open water. I know you should get out and do it a few times prior, and this might sound funny, but how? Do you just go find a pond and hop in?"
At Team MPI, we recommend you try and swim a minimum of three times a week in a pool. If you could add an open water swim to that, you'll begin to see great improvement. However, not everyone can get to open water, so I recommend you talk to local triathlon clubs or state/national parks to learn what areas are available in and around you. When you do go swim, determine what you will "sight" off of to navigate and create a point-to-point or triangle course that you can repeat for as many times as you'd like. Our focus in practicing open water is not speed, but rather learning to swim straight, breath correctly, gain comfort in the water, sight and navigate and becoming more proficient at swimming with a wetsuit (if the water isn't too hot). When you do go swim, for safety I recommend you swim with an additional person or have a friend paddle with you in a kayak, SUP or canoe/raft. Additionally, always wear a bright colored swim cap so that boaters can see you in the water. 
#6 Water bottle on bike?
"Drinking water on the bike and trying to not ride into oncoming traffic and not wear the vast majority of the water proved to be a bit tricky. Are there any tips on water bottles made for a bike where I am not fighting to stay hydrated?"
The easiest and often most aerodynamic bike water bottles are called aero bottles. These are typically attached between your aero bars or to your frame and have a straw protruding from the top - thus not requiring any grabbing of bottles. You just lower your head and drink through the straw. I would also recommend that you simply practice drinking from your bottle on every ride. 
Profile Design Aerodrink between aerobars

Coach Mark Sortino is a USA Triathlon Level II Coach and Head Coach for Team USA Paratriathlon in 2012 and 2013. Mark is also co-founder and owner of Team MPI (Multisport Performance Institute) that provides a diverse spectrum of services uniquely structured for both novice and experienced multisport athletes. For more information, check out

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date: June 23, 2014


MPI services include coaching, single & multi-day tri camps, clinics, swim video analysis, tri swim programs, bike fitting & more!


MPI services include coaching, single & multi-day tri camps, clinics, swim video analysis, tri swim programs, bike fitting & more!

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