Gordon Benson’s Top Ten Triathlon Training Tips

benson21) KNOW YOUR GOAL

The best thing for motivation is having a goal. Set yourself a realistic time zone and train towards that. Then you can tick that box and set yourself a new challenge. Having a training buddy or group is enjoyable and can keep you motivated even if the weather is bad. You’ll challenge each other to improve.

2) FOCUS ON YOUR WEAKNESSES

Maintain what you’re good at, but focus specifically on your weaknesses. Ideally you want to bring up your weaknesses to the same level so you’re a general all round athlete and more or less equal on all three disciplines.

3) EAT WELL

Being disciplined with your diet is very important for triathlon. Your nutrition should focus on two parts – fuel and recovery. Your fuel is what you use in the race and the recovery is after training or racing. A great snack is smooth Whole Earth natural peanut butter on toast with a sliced banana on top. It’s easy to make and gives you carbohydrate and protein. It’s easy to wash up, too, which is great for students like me!

4) TRAIN DISCIPLINES SEPARATELY

If you’re training for full distance, you don’t need to do all three distances together. Train them separately – so do the 1.5km swim, the 40 km bike and a 10 km run with rest in between. Once you’ve done all of that individually you can gauge your effort so you can finish all three in a good time on race day.

5) TOP SPEC EQUIPMENT CAN OFFER THAT EXTRA 5%

Ninety-five percent of performance comes from preparation and training. At the top level, top of the range equipment such as an aero helmet, top spec wetsuit and good time trial bike can offer that three, four or five percent extra performance that makes the difference between making the podium or not.

6) TRAIN TRANSITIONS

As well as swim, bike and running, practice transitions, because that’s the place where you can gain time and where a lot of other people lose. As well as drills, I personally do yoga which I find helps with flexibility and injury and is good for my bike position. Go in the garden, get your wet suit on, put the hose pipe down the front and practice taking it off as quickly as possible. I used to do it in the shower, but my mum got angry!

benson37) LOG YOUR PROGRESS

Training logs are a really good piece of equipment that all athletes should have. You can look back retrospectively and see what training blocks resulted in a good performance. Re-use and recycle things, put them into training again and repeat and improve your performance.

8) REST BEFORE RACING

Four or five days before the race, reduce the volume of your training, but keep the intensity there. Your body needs to be recharged and ready to go but not completely shut down and in recovery mode because then you can start to feel lethargic. A couple of days before the race, train at minimum volume and low intensity with just a few quick strides.

9) DON’T LOSE SLEEP

It is important to get a good night’s sleep the night before the race. I always aim to get at least eight hours. The night before the night before the race, try for nine or ten hours sleep.

10) PRACTICE IN THE POOL

Train for open water in the swimming pool. In race conditions, you’re in a large group trying to go to the same point, usually a buoy. It’s very congested and you can get hit in the face, lose your goggles or have your feet pulled. Once a week, we practice these conditions in the pool. You can also simulate drafting, which is a similar effect to a cycling slipstream, by swimming behind a training buddy.

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