The time has finally come! The My Daily Collagen Triathlon is upon us and it’s definitely something worth the wait. Most people are coming from a rather long off-season during the holidays and probably haven’t raced at all this year. Well, if there’s ever a race to kick start the engine, this will be it! Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, make sure you read up to learn more about what to expect on race day with PREP (Practical Race Execution and Preview) presented by Sante Barley!
I always treat the swim as a good warm up and a means to calm the nerves and settle down into your rhythm. Swim?! Calm the nerves?! Crazy right? Well, with the right approach it won’t be so far-fetched. My advice to all athletes is to finish setting up transition early so they have a chance to warm-up before gun start. This plays a huge role as it revs our engine for what’s to come. A 10-15min warm is recommended with some short hard efforts squeezed in. This does several things: It warms you up by pumping more blood into your extremities and it primes your cardiovascular system as well. This prevents shock when you dive in during the first few minutes of the race. It also helps you find your timing, rhythm, and technique and this is important when you start swimming alongside dozens of people. Finally, it helps your mind calm down and relax. Focusing on a good warm up is a great way of managing all the “what ifs” that go through your head. Concentrate on the task at hand. Don’t stress and be positive. These are the keys to having a great start!
The swim course is very simple and newbie-friendly. It consists of two out-and-back loops for the standard distance race and one for the sprint. The water here is very calm but the thing that gets a lot of people freaked out is the pitch-black darkness. Several hundred meters out, the surroundings suddenly turn scary as you swim over a very deep trench. Remember these three words “Just keep swimming.” Nothing will change even if you can’t see the bottom of the ocean. You won’t sink if you stay relaxed and focused. Sight as often as necessary to keep your mind on the horizon and not the bottom.
Start your first loop rather moderately and you can pick up the pace on the second loop. Remember, this is just 20% of the race, you don’t want to wipe yourself out too early.
The bike is where the fight happens. Managing it properly will determine whether you’ll breeze through the run or struggle through it. The standard distance participants will make their way towards the infamous hills of Ocean Adventure. The total ascent isn’t the problem; the way the hills are laid out is. The gradients are rather steep and there’s little or no recovery between them. My tip here is simple, choose the right gearing and don’t mash. It’s tempting to just hammer the early parts of the course but trust me, you’ve got a long morning ahead of you. Saving your legs for the trip back will pay dividends. Remember that the course isn’t closed to traffic. Always err on the side of caution. This means take caution while overtaking, don’t be reckless, and keep riding on the right side of the road.
The second part of the course (the bike course for sprint participants) is not exactly flat but it’s as good as it gets. Riding down from the airport road towards Puregold feels like heaven after the killer hills but managing your effort here is just as crucial. The wind is usually strong on this part of the race so making sure you’re tucked and aero, pedaling continuously, and keeping a solid and steady effort is what you need to focus on. Pace yourself properly as the run is no walk in the park.
While running alongside the water may seem like a good idea, it definitely has its challenges. First, the course has very little shade; make sure you wear a cap or visor if you’re prone to heat stress. Second, the pavement isn’t perfect; there are lots of patches that need to be repaired. Make sure you don’t trip or fall as this can send your race into a downward spiral. Finally, it can get pretty humid despite the wind. You’ll notice you sweat a lot, easily get dehydrated, and feel like you’re overheating. Hopefully, we’ll have favorable weather conditions on Sunday.
The run course is both fast and furious. It consists of four flat loops and this makes it perfect for pacing. Start the first loop conservatively and increase your effort as you do your laps. During the second and third laps, settle down into your rhythm. A good way to get into your stride is to aim for a cadence between 80-90. The final lap should be the hardest and give it your 100%!
After you’re done with your fourth and final loop, raise your arms in victory and enjoy the finish line arch. You’ve conquered the My Daily Collagen Triathlon and you deserve to recover from a hard-earned finish. Make your way to the recovery tent, ice your legs, stretch, and take a chug of My Daily Collagen which consists of structural protein to help rebuild those joints, ligaments, and muscles. Better yet, take home a box or two and enjoy it for the next few days. Remember, a hard race or workout is needs serious recovery. Make sure you take have enough collagen/protein in your diet!