Top 20 Triathlon Tips

Must-read triathlon advice

This week I’ve put together a hit list of 20 of my top triathlon tips to help you get through any race distance. Good luck!

Written by Will Clarke

Will is a British triathlete. He's a former U23 World and European Champion, competed at Beijing 2008 and has twice been British national champion.  He now competes on the World Ironman 70:3 circuit.


Before the race

- Don't overdo it in the week leading up to the race. You can't really get any fitter at this stage, only more tired! 

- Have an early morning jog to wake up the body a few hours before the race. You'll feel more awake come race time and feel looser and more relaxed on the run. 

- The night before the race remember to go all the way through the race in your head. Focus on the parts you're worried about in more depth. Use imagery and visualization techniques to feel more positive about it. 

- For most people, caffeine will increase performance. I find that taking up to 300mg before a race is usually enough to get the race buzz and pill form is best. I use Etixx Energy Boosters. 

- Have a practice run through transition, so you know where to find your bike and you're aware of the flow of the race (and also where the exits are).

Tips for the swim

- Swim buoys can be hard to see, so pick a landmark like a building or a tree and head for that. This will ensure you're always heading in the right direction and don’t lose valuable time swimming off course. 

- Go full gas at the start and slipstream behind someone faster than you. They'll tow you along at a faster pace. 

- Before you exit the water, grab the neck and scoop up some water, this will help your wetsuit to flop off a bit easier. 

- If the race allows it, take your wetsuit off at the swim exit. Sometimes if you wait until you're at your bike it's harder to take it off. 

Tips for the bike

- Have your bike shoes clipped into your pedals and put them on once you've jumped on to your bike.

- Stay as low as you can throughout the bike section, ideally on your aero bars or drops to reduce drag. 

- Use elastic bands to hold your bike shoes up so they are not scraping on the floor. One around the rear screwed and one around the front mech. 

- Check the tyre pressure that’s best for your wheels. However if you go too hard then you are at greater risk of puncturing, so you need to make a decision on it. 

- Double check every bolt on your bike is tight and double check it again!

- In drafting races use it to your advantage, if someone rides past you, hold the 10m gap to them and feel the draft. 

- Back off the pace in the last 5km of the bike. Believe me you'll thank yourself come the run because you’ll be able to start a bit fresher. 

- Take an energy gel for every 30 minutes of cycling to keep your energy levels up. You can a use a plastic band to stick them to your bike. 

Tips for the run

- Have the last 200m and 400m mapped out so you know when to time your sprint. This is a great way of guaranteeing you don’t attack too early.

- When you finish a race remember that you’ve just done the best training session possible, so make sure you recover by cooling down, eating well soon after and stretching etc. This will all help you be stronger next time as your body recovers and adapts. 

- Celebrate every time you achieve your goals! Life is for living! 

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