Make Small Changes, See Big Gains In Your Triathlon Training

  • By Julia Polloreno
  • Published Sep 26, 2013
  • Updated Jan 15, 2016 at 1:38 PM UTC
Photo: Rocky Arroyo

Meredith Kessler
Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Champion

I used to swim like a hamster on a wheel for hours—back and forth, some fast, lots of slow. It allowed me to maintain my conditioning, but I did not have any significant improvements in my time. This led my coach, Matt Dixon, to suggest I join the group swim two times a week at 5 a.m. I was now in a situation of being pushed by other top age-groupers and pros. These were individuals who were faster than me, and it taught my body what it feels like to go faster than I did before—it taught muscle memory. I would suggest every triathlete have some workouts with faster individuals in the pool; it can absolutely test your body to adjust to a higher level!

My body requires more hydration than a lot of individuals, and I need to drink in excess on the bike. When you are out on the road during a triathlon, your mind may drift and you forget to drink. This will inevitably lead to problems on the run. I found out that I need a straw dangling right in front of my face in order to drink the proper liquids during the bike portion. If I do not have easy access to liquids, I will forget to drink and sabotage the back half of my race. This may seem simplistic, but it is all about efficiency in triathlon racing—and easy access to hydration is a must.

It is so crucial to practice running off the bike to improve your running in a triathlon. If you are not doing running sets off a bike workout, your body will not “remember” or nourish that vital muscle memory during the run portion of the event. These bricks do not have to be long and draining—even a quick 20-minute run off the bike can drastically help with this process.

RELATED: The Journey Of Meredith Kessler

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FILED UNDER: Race Tips / Training

Julia Polloreno

Julia Polloreno

Julia Polloreno is the editor at large of Triathlete magazine. A Stanford University graduate with an award-winning track record in publishing, Polloreno is a two-time Ironman finisher and has been a competitive triathlete for more than a decade.

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