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Get tips on how to train for a triathlon

October 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Do you know what it takes to finish a triathlon? Here are some tips on how to build your endurance."The number one mistake is people not being prepared," said Sarah Haskins, a triathlon winner.

In town for L.A.'s Triathlon, champion Sarah Haskins runs down the most common mistakes participants make -- one of the biggest, not being familiar with transition zones. The spot you go to when you change events, like coming out of the water.

"Make sure you know where your spot is, especially when you come out of the swim. With those ocean waves you can get a little dizzy, a little disoriented," said Haskins. "Practice a couple of times running to your spot. Bring a bright colored towel."

Coach Nate Kortem says practice in the ocean when possible, as it's nothing like a pool swim.

"You never know what the surf conditions are going to be like," said Kortem. "You could have 3-foot swells, 1-foot swells, or you could have 6 to 8-foot swells you never know."

If that's not possible, you can simulate the motions in a pool.

"Get into a lane and put four people in a lane, have them push off the wall all at once and get used to feel of people hitting you," said Haskins.

Getting the wet suit on is an art form. Some put feet in plastic bags to get in faster. Others try anti-friction creme.

"You put it all over your legs and arms and it slides right on and when it gets wet it comes off even faster," said Kortem.

Fuel is the key. Stick to your usual diet because pre-race jitters and exercise overload can cause stomach issues.

"I always eat a peanut butter bagel and banana," said Haskins.

Start weeks in advance getting used to meal replacers like Gu, bars and Gatorade for the same reason. And after the race it is important to refuel.

"You really have a 30 to 60 minute window post race to refuel with a recovery drink," said Haskins.

They also recommend "Brick" training which means swimming, biking and running in one workout to prepare muscles for the combination.

"By the time you get to that run you have heavy legs and you just work to get to that finish line," said Haskins.

For those who just want a taste of the triathlon you might try a sprint that's where you swim under a half-a-mile, bike 14 miles and run for 3 miles. But perhaps the biggest challenge is finishing by noon. That's when the barricades come down and the cars come back with a vengeance.


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