General Discussion Triathlon Talk » What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport? Rss Feed  
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2019-10-24 1:51 PM


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Subject: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
I asked five triathlon coaches "What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?" and got some interesting answers. Coaches mentioned athletes tending to go too hard and not recover but a number of coaches also mentioned how so many new triathletes were way too focussed on doing an Ironman and nothing else. "Get into the sport fast and get out"

What mistakes do you guys see new triathletes making?

(link to youtube video: https://youtu.be/ZJJ4RyL9dWo)


2019-10-24 4:59 PM
in reply to: mlegrand

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?

1. Running too hard too often.  Speed work is the icing on the cake.  Easy and, most importantly, consistent running will get you faster.  Unless you're running 4+ times a week with a base weekly mileage of at least 20 miles, you don't really need to add in much speed work.  At less than 20 miles a week you simply haven't built enough of a base.

2. Thinking long course is the be all end all of triathlon.  Unless you've been in the sport a number of years, you really don't have an appreciation of the time and energy commitment necessary to complete a 140.6 event.  I've done some 70.3's but I've done a lot of sprints.  Sprints are fun, easy to train for, and the recovery cost is pretty low.

3. Not giving the swim adequate attention.  I'm an adult onset swimmer so I know the struggle, but if you want to set yourself up for an enjoyable race you need to devote a decent amount of time to swim training.  Get lessons, swim frequently and vary your speeds and interval distances in training.  If a wetsuit swim is a requirement for you to complete the distance you haven't trained enough.  

2019-10-24 9:04 PM
in reply to: #5263579


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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
Let’s see, I’m still a relative newbie so here’s some of my errors:

1. Over biking: it feels so fun to go fast on a bike, especially when you’re passing folks. Then you get to the run and it’s not fun anymore because all those folks you passed on the bike pass you on the run.

2. Dilly dallying in transition. I missed my time goal by 5 minutes in my first 70.3. I had around 17 minutes of transition time between T1 and T2. I cut that down to 9 this year at the same event. Be focused in transition so you don’t wander aimlessly.

3. Trying to buy speed instead of investing in the engine. The lure of triathlon is the shiny, new gear. All the promises of PRs if you just get this new helmet, wheels, shoes, etc. Unless you are on the pointy end of the spear, this stuff won’t make a huge difference in your time. Save the money for more races, which will help your performance by encouraging you to train more. Also, you learn something at every race that helps you at the next one.

4. Neglecting the swim. The swim makes up the smallest percent of the race, but it makes a huge impact on how you progress through the race. Lots of folks end up bonking on the run because their swim fitness was awful. I’ve made this mistake in 4/4 of my triathlons. Guess I’m a slow learner.

5. Bike fit is king. You can have the coolest bike, but if it’s a poor fit you’re missing out. You can go the same speed on less watts with a good bike fit. This allows you to hit the run in better shape.

6. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. And yes, that includes hydration! You have to get a plan set and follow it. Failure to do so will have you in the hurt locker early on into the race. A lot of folks get caught up in race day excitement and forgot to drink on the bike or decide to try something new on the course. Make a plan and stick to it. The bike leg is where your nutrition needs to be spot on. You don’t want to start the run leg behind, trust me.

7. Forgetting to have fun! Hopefully we all do this sport because we enjoy it. The bad thing is we can get so caught up in the pressure of performing they we forget to smile along the way. It’s a journey, enjoy the trip and have fun!

I’m sure I could think of a lot more if I wanted to. Some of this is unavoidable. You’re going to mess up here and there. The biggest mistake is not learning from our errors.


2019-10-25 9:45 AM
in reply to: Parkland

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
This is a good list. I will say focusing on gear more than training - but that is not only newbies' problem
2019-10-25 10:35 AM
in reply to: marysia83


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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
Ha! I am also guilty of focusing on all the triathlon gear. I worry about my youtube channel having too many gear review videos and not enough practical training info.
2019-10-25 10:38 AM
in reply to: JoelO


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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
Originally posted by JoelO

2. Thinking long course is the be all end all of triathlon.  Unless you've been in the sport a number of years, you really don't have an appreciation of the time and energy commitment necessary to complete a 140.6 event.  I've done some 70.3's but I've done a lot of sprints.  Sprints are fun, easy to train for, and the recovery cost is pretty low.




So it's interesting that you mentioned this. Do you coach? When I asked about new triathlon mistakes to 5 coaches, 4 of them mentioned the same thing from the video interview.



2019-10-25 12:40 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?

1) Showing up at a race without completing a training plan.  Yes, they finish the race.  Yes, they have fun, but I have heard people telling their friends late in the run when things get tough or at the finish that they want to do the race again the following year but actually train for it the next time.  

2) Not doing a run-through of their race/transitions before race day.  I see people on race day asking if they should wear their bike shorts over their swim shorts, or if they should change shorts in T1, and other things that make it obvious they didn't practice for their Triathlons debute.

3) Nutrition.   Some people will show up for their first Sprint Triathlon with the nutrition plan for an Ironman.  Others will show up for their first 70.3 race after doing a few Sprint Triathlons with their Sprint Triathlon fuel plan. 

4) Nutrition.  Some people show up for a 35-mile group ride and can't start the ride until they take their pre-workouts carbs, then they hit the carbs every 10 miles of the ride to keep their energy up.  

5) Nutrition.  I went on a 100-mile ride with a lady whose coach told her not to take any carbs until she was 2 hours into her ride to reduce her dependency on carbs (see #4).  She told me she was on the Keto diet so I was wondering why she was taking carbs after two hours instead of some type of avocado drink.  I asked her more about her diet because the guy that got me into the sport was on the LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet and I wanted to learn more about it.  She told me how she ate white rice every Wednesday and a few other things that I knew from the guy that got me into the sport were NOT Keto.  I also knew people that said on their KETO diet they had to substitute their carbs out for fruit and whole grains.  Hmmm???

6) Not taking rest days.

7) going too fast at the beginning of the race. 

Not that any of those things are wrong from the get-go (except #5) just that they are things that they will change as they figure things out and find better ways to do stuff.   

    



Edited by BlueBoy26 2019-10-25 12:46 PM
2019-10-25 2:38 PM
in reply to: #5263579


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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
“5) Nutrition. I went on a 100-mile ride with a lady whose coach told her not to take any carbs until she was 2 hours into her ride to reduce her dependency on carbs (see #4).“

Interestingly enough, I saw a podcast where Patrick Lange said he does not take any calories until 3 hours into his long ride. This was in order to force his body to burn fat better. Most of the research I’ve read indicates that your ability to burn fat is genetically predetermined and not that alterable. I don’t know, I agree that your example is doubly strange in that this lady was fueling with things that weren’t keto friendly.
2019-10-25 3:26 PM
in reply to: mlegrand

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?

Ha! No, I don't coach.  My comments are just personal opinion.  I've been training and racing since 2013.  I like to race.  Sprints afford me the opportunity to race fairly often.  I have several training friends that have completed 140.6 races so I know the time and financial commitment they require.   I train enough that I'm confident I could complete a full; however,  I have too many other hobbies that would have to be shelved to adequately prepare to "race" a 140.6.  

2019-10-25 6:11 PM
in reply to: mlegrand

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
I don't know if this is a newbie type mistake, but I am amazed at how many people are riding bikes far more expensive than mine that only leave the trainer on race day. So they don't know how to handle very well.

Learning to sight in open water sure would help a lot of people as well. I guide swimmers in a local race and there is always a few faster swimmers in the next wave or two that will run us over. I gotta believe if they sighted and swam around us instead of going over us, their swim times would be a bit quicker. That's to say nothing about the people that swim an extra 100m or so by going so off course.

One thing that I am working on right now as a relative newbie (four years of completing races) is that most of my training sessions are roughly an hour long. So about an hour into a race I start to bonk. Part of it is because of nutrition (most of s eat like pigs after a workout right?), and part is because I'm used to being done exercising at that time.

This is the best thread I've seen here in quite some time; I hope there's more responses

J White
2019-10-25 9:14 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
I am guilty of the race bike almost solely on the trainer thing (or have been in the past when I lived in Vietnam). But that was due to lack of a safe place to ride. We don't all have an ideal situation, or even a possible one, for regular outdoor training. This is particularly true for women and people in large cities. If nothing else, I do try to take the bike out on the course for a day or two before to get a better feel for handling, and I am probably less aggressive on the more difficult parts (downhills, tight curves, crowded sections) of the race than I would be if I did more outdoor riding. I don't trust my handling skills that much, either!

Would agree, probably the #1 mistake I see is people getting caught up in the Ironman thing and trying to do too much too soon. I have been an endurance athlete pretty much all my life; spent five years in tri before trying a HIM and almost another five until I tried a full. I probably wouldn't have attempted the latter except that I was in a "gap year" and not working outside the home. Even then, the training felt like almost a full-time job. It was a job I really enjoyed most of the time, but still, the training was similar to working at a physically demanding half-time position, plus the extra time needed for recovery, often having to do training when still fatigued from other workouts, needing to adjust other commitments around times I could do various workouts, etc.

In the end I was glad I did the IM and am proud that I podiumed in my age group, but honestly, the race itself was not the worst I have ever suffered in a triathlon. That in fact would have been a sprint! So the shorter distances are nothing to belittle. Doing well at sprint and Olympic distances requires fewer hours of training and is generally easier on the body, but is still very challenging!

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-10-25 9:16 PM


2019-10-27 9:50 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
Another big mistake (not so much in postings I see here but athletes I know, and beginners I see in races) is nutrition-related. Many beginners overestimate how much sports "nutrition" they need to train for and compete in a shorter event like a sprint, when in reality many people would do just fine with nothing but water/electrolyte drinks, or maybe some sweetened sports drink, for most workouts and races at the beginner level.

On the other hand, I think a lot of people (not just beginners; this would include some top age-groupers) underestimate the importance of good day-to-day nutrition in supporting training and recovery. Far too many people (especially women), perhaps because they got into triathlon partly because of weight concerns, excessively restrict calories, carbs, protein, and/or fat, to the detriment of their health and performance. Another subset seems to ignore nutrition altogether and assumes that training will cancel out the ills of an unhealthy diet. Neither is really an approach that optimizes general health and performance.

2019-10-30 12:49 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
These are such a great responses, some of them not only for newbs.
2019-11-05 10:08 AM
in reply to: mlegrand

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Subject: RE: What mistakes do you see new triathletes making in our sport?
There's a few, but I think these are the ones I see most often:

1. Triathlon has 6 parts to it. S/B/R, transition, nutrition, recovery. Most spend way too much time on the first 3 and completely ignore the last 3. Especially recovery is never looked upon.

2. Going too far too fast. Start with sprints and olympics and do those for a few years at least. You will learn how your body will respond under stress which is an absolute necessity if you decide to move on to HIM and IM.

3. Spending a minor fortune on the bike without getting a bike fit first. The biggest benefit of a tri bike is the position if allows the rider to be in as the rider accounts for the vast majority of the drag. Knowing this, why would you start with the bike and not the rider? Get fitted FIRST and only after that start shopping for a bike.
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