PHUKET: We are now approaching the final weeks before the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and these next 8 weeks are vital to help you prepare for the race ahead, but it’s also a perfect time to challenge yourself.
Here are some top tips compiled by Thanyapura’s Head Triathlon Coach Sergio Borges.
HEAT AND HUMIDITY
If you’re coming from overseas, I believe the first challenge you will face here is the heat and humidity. Temperatures can be as high as 40c and humidity close to 100 per cent, so if you don’t like these conditions, be prepared for a tough day.
But wait, don’t freak out just yet. There’s a way to minimize the effects of the heat and humidity, and it can be easily done anywhere, all you need is a steam room or a sauna.
About three to four weeks out from the race, go to a steam room two to three times per week and just sit there for 10 to 15 min. By doing that you’re making your body more efficient in dealing with heat and humidity so that when you get to Phuket, you will feel a bit better.
The swim course at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon is incredible. Your first part of the swim is in the ocean followed by a roped course, then after a quick run you dive in the lagoon for the last 600m. At the lagoon, you might feel like you’re swimming in the mud as you don’t have the buoyancy of the salt ocean water, so be prepared for slower pace.
My best advice is to swim more before the race. Most athletes overlook the swim training as they think it’s just a small part of the race but the truth is that the swim is the foundation of the triathlon. The fitter you are swimming, the better you will feel on the bike, especially on the run.
The next challenge you will encounter at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon are the hills. There are a few very steep hills, up to 22 per cent grade, on the course and I often see athletes pushing their bikes up the hill due to improper gear.
If you are a strong cyclist and are used to climbing hills, I still recommend the use of a 39 (small chain ring on the front) and a 28 (cassette on the back wheel). If you are a beginner or not used to climbing hills, you should be using what we call ‘compact cranks’ that have smaller chain rings on the front, a total of 36 or even 34 teeth, making it easier to spin up the hills.
Also make sure you practice your descending skills as some of the hills at the course can be tricky. Always start braking before you start the turn and make sure when descending that you shift your body weight to the back of the bike to achieve better control.
RUNNING IN THE HEAT
As we talked about previously, the weather will be challenging so pay attention to hydration, especially during the cycling part. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids on the bike, around one to two bottles per hour, and preferably electrolyte drinks.
When you get to the run, control your pace and do not start too fast, take your time at the aid stations to cool yourself off and get in enough fluids. I also advise athletes to consume calories during the bike and run as you need to replace the glycogen when exercising over 90 min. I recommend between 200-250Kcals/hour for women and 300-350Kcals/hour for men, through sports drink, gels or bars.
It will be an amazing event and the after party never disappoints us either. Good luck on your training and I will see you at the race.
— Sergio Borges
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