Triathlon Preparation – Issue #153

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Triathlon Preparation

Dear friend,

This past weekend, I watched an all-women’s triathlon in Spicewood, TX (just outside of Austin). It was a very positive race, sprint distance and not super-hard core. It was also a fundraiser for cancer research. The swim was interesting. It was a 1/2 mile swim around 3 buoys in a lake. I witnessed one of the faster swimmers MISS the 3rd buoy, and turned for the finish after the 2nd. One of the race officials had to politely tell her she needed to go back and complete the swim course (adding on probably another 1/2 mile to her swim!)

I felt bad for her, but there was nothing anyone could do.

I think this is a good lesson in really studying the course before the start. It’s not hard to see doing that if you don’t know what’s coming. If you at least know the number of buoys, you can be sure you aren’t missing anything.

I also heard others talking about how they didn’t feel prepared for the swim. Here are a few common reasons for having a difficult time in the swim, and how to overcome them:

Triathlon Preparation

1. Not enough time to train. Yes, of course you have the right to do duathlons instead of triathlons, and often this is just a matter of preference. But if you’re feeling squeezed on time to fit in swimming to your training routine, remember that in triathlon, focus the most time on your weakest link. So if that means swimming, just cut out a run and bike workout. Also, economize your workouts. Only have 30 minutes? Simple, 5 minutes warmup, 10 minutes drills, 10 minutes main set, 5 minutes warm down.

2. Not practicing in the open water. Even for a 300 meter race, practicing in the open water is a MUST if you’re going to do an open water triathlon! At minimum you should be getting in the open water every other week and getting used to conditions and how it feels to swim without walls.

3. Cold water. This can partly be overcome by training in cold water. However, if your race is in really cold water, like the pacific ocean in California, it still may be a bit of a shock when you first dive in. The best thing to do is to stay calm, and keep your breathing as normal as you can. Mentally be prepared for what it feels like to get into ice cold water and you will not be thrown off in your race.

4. Overall preparation. How bad does it suck to have to repair or replace a tire? Interviewee #4 overcame this apparently with ease! Just make sure you have everything in working order before your race. That includes goggles, caps, and wetsuits!

For the women, these women’s sprint races are a perfect way to get started in the race. You will experience a ton of support, and the distances are not too overwhelming even for the true beginner.


“I’m glad I did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again.”
-Mark Twain

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Workout of the Month

Think about your head position throughout this workout! Your head should be sitting on your spine just as if you were standing at attention, looking down at the pool bottom as you rotate your hips.

Cruise= an interval you can comfortably make 100 yard or meter swims on consecutively with about 5-10 seconds rest. For 200’s just double the interval.

Warm Up: 300, every 3rd length kick (no board, head down, breathe in front- fins ok)

Drill: 4 x 100: Use snorkel (if available), focus on looking at the pool bottom as you rotate your hips. If snorkel is not available, use fins and breathe every 3-5 strokes. Rest= :15

Main: 4 x 75
4 x 200
4 x 75
75’s: Descend (faster) 1-4. Rest :10 between 75’s
200’s: On Cruise +:05 interval. Maintain pace and form. Think about head position.

Warm Down: 200, Breathe weaker side on odd lengths

Total: 2300

(To order a swimmer’s snorkel and get 20% off just go to and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!


Kevin Koskella
Tri Swim Coach