Are you Ready?
Winter is drawing to an end, which means that the race season is just around the corner. That means it's time to do some pre-season checks on the gear you need to take you to the finish line. You need to do these checks now to see if there are any problems you put away at the end of the year but have forgotten about; to prevent potential problems affecting training or racing and to provide baseline information to use if things go wrong later in the year.
No matter how good the gear you swim, bike or run in is, it's no good if you are not in good shape. Just like your gear, you need to find out how good is your condition. An annual medical never goes amiss no matter how well you feel you are. Age, gender and family history dictate how often and what needs to be checked. If in doubt, have a chat with your local GP and see what he recommends. As a minimum, a physical examination and blood tests are good places to start.
By having these checks before the season start you can identify and treat any existing conditions. If you do not have any existing conditions, these checks will help establish baselines for future reference.
Now is the time to check the gear you need for the open water. When did you last check your wetsuit? If you have any tears, rips or holes, now is the time to get them repaired. Do your goggles need replacing? How about your togs?
A bike fit does not last forever. During the off-season you may have lost weight, added muscle or changed some clothing or shoes. Before the season starts is the time to get your bike fit checked. You might need to do it again as the season progresses, but you certainly want to do it before the season start, and well before your first race. Record the vital measurements for future comparison.
When did you last service your bike or have it serviced? Replace anything that needs replacing and ensure everything is well oiled or greased. Tyres, brakes and cables are particularly important items to ensure are in the best shape possible before your first race.
Don't forget your cleats and shoes. If your cleats or shoes are worn, replace them now before you need to. You can always use the older ones for training.
Shoe wear is not a good indication of shoe serviceability. Generally speaking, shoes need replacing every 800kms to 1000kms, before they start causing injury. If you have not been tracking shoe mileage, then make it something you do this year. Worn shoes cause injuries and adversely affect running performance. It also pays to have at least 2 pairs of shoes on the go at any one time. Ideally have one pair halfway through their life as you start another pair and alternate their use. That way, a worn shoe will have less effect on your running gait.
Prevention is better than cure. Spend some time now checking you training and race gear and you will go along way to ensuring equipment failure does not affect your training or race performance.
Philip Shambrook, and his wife Louise, currently hold the world record for distance travelled around the world on a tandem bicycle. They have completed 4 Ironman events in New Zealand and overseas, numerous half ironman events, Xterra triathlons, and large number other triathlons, duathlons, and runs of all distance both on and off road, and are members of the New Zealand long distance triathlon team. Philip is a Level 1 Certified Tri Coach. He and his team at TCE Coaching understand the particular needs of the age group athlete. You can contact Philip by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.