Learning to Tri (and Du) Clinic!


Last Wednesday, I attended the Esprit de She Triathlon/Duathlon clinic at the LifeTime Fitness in Tempe. Lifetime Triathlon Coach Cathy Yndestad shared her triathlon experience and gave some great tips for the upcoming triathlon/duathlon.

From case224 on Instagram

During Coach Cathy’s talk, I was struck by a number of details that will be very helpful for training before and what to expect during race day.

Before Race Day

1.  Save time and be comfortable: wear trishorts for the race.  Practice in race day apparel, get used to swimming and running with the extra padding.

2.  Keep those hot spots in check.  Prevent chafing with body glide/Vaseline and don’t wear undies under  trishorts. Go commando!

3.  No one swims in a straight line, practice sighting landmarks to the sides and especially ahead!

4.  Get a race belt for wearing race number on bike and run.  Save time and clothing (no pin holes!).  Rotate the number to the back for the bike and towards the front for the swim.

5.  Practice the transitions. There’s no drying off and things go on different when wet!  Lay out gear on a towel in the order of event:  bike helmet, sunglasses and shoes are towards the front; followed by running shoes, hat; and extras like sunscreen glide.  Practice putting it on.  Step on your mat/towel and pat feet dry.  Have shoes opened with quick laces (Yankz, Lock Laces, etc.).


6.  Some people don’t wear socks during the bike ride. And some have separate bike and running shoes. (I’m not in this category.)  Some duathletes even have two pairs of running shoes to bookend their bike ride.

7.  Practice running beside the bike.  Hold bike by the seat and guide bike out of the transition areas.

8.  Practice going from swimming to biking and biking to running (brick workouts) to experience the changes between events.

Saturday and Race Day

8.  There are 750-800 people signed up for all the events on May 4th, which means about 140 people per wave.

9.  Packet pickup and bike staging will occur on Saturday afternoon.  There is mandatory bike check in  on Saturday.  Pay attention to rack numbers to help navigate transition.

10.  The cutoff for wet suits is 78 degrees.  The race will make a decision about wetsuits the morning of the race.  I’m constantly checking the Tempe Town Lake temperature:  http://wx.tempe.gov/townlake.aspx  If it is “wet suit legal” there will be suit strippers to help remove wetsuits after the swim.  Since I’m doing the Super Sprint distance, I don’t think that I’ll be using a wetsuit on race day.

11.  Get there early race day for transition set up and to scope out the lay of the water.  Be aware of the buoy locations and turn arounds in relation to fixed landmarks.

12.  Use the bike seat to position and hang bike on the transition racks.

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13.  Use a towel/mat to arrange gear.  Don’t take up too much space.  There will be about 8 people per rack.



14.  The swim has a deep water start, meaning there’s no running start into the water or jump in to start the swim. Each wave will start  the race by treading water.  Newbies should stay towards the back of the pack.

15.  Don’t kick vigorously at the start of the swim.  Conserve energy, use arms to help prevent heart rate from increasing too quickly.  Don’t panic.

16.   Use back float and back stroke to rest. There will be helpers along the swim course and these kayaks can be used for rest breaks.   They won’t move forward, but will be available to help catch a breath if needed.

Transition 1

17.  Buckle helmet first!  Disqualifications can occur if seen out of transition areas with helmet unbuckled.

18.  Mind the Mount!  Be aware of dismount and mount lines.  Don’t ride the bike in the transition areas.


19.  Make sure bike is in easy gear at the start and have a quick turnover when finishing.  “Spin out” legs before the dismount and run.  This will help legs with the transition to run.

Transition 2

20.  Wearing a race belt?  If not, run while putting it on to save time.  Grab visor and glasses while running out of transition.


21.  Stick to the nutrition (drinks and fuel) used in training.

Post Race Celebration

22.  Last but not least, smile!  Don’t forget there will be cameras to capture the big finish.

23.  Enjoy the post race celebration (bubbly!).  Transition will open up again around 10:30 to collect all race gear.

It’s all so exciting!  I agree with Coach Cathy, I’m planning to get there pretty early on race morning.  I have the most anxiety en route to a race.  Just like getting to the airport, I’d rather get there early and chill, than be worked up trying to get to the start. This is especially true since there’s a transition area to set up!  Note to self:  Transition will open at 4:45 and the Triathlon will start around 6:30.

Once again, I’m reminded that all these notes will ensure that May 4th will be a celebration of all the training!  The countdown is on!  Countdown Timer

What tips do you have for a first time triathlete?

*I am an Esprit de She Ambassador.  Come tri with me on May 4th!  I have a fancy referral code (EDS85) you can use if you sign up for any of the upcoming races.  You can also save 15% with SS15.

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