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7 Myths When It Comes to Training for a Sprint Triathlon

Looking to take on a sprint triathlon? Great news! You’re about to embark on an exciting journey that will take your body through a variety of physical challenges, but also one that will require mental discipline and commitment. 

When it comes to training for any tough physical event, there are a huge range of articles, trainers, videos and programmes proclaiming to have the magic formula.  

This can make it really difficult to understand what you actually need to do, and can often get confusing and discouraging if you think you’re on the wrong track. 

Here’s the good news: training for a sprint triathlon doesn’t have to be a process that makes you second-guess yourself or feel unsure if you’re ready for the big day.  

We’re going to take you through some of the top myths you might have heard, before debunking them and adding a little dose of reality into the mix.  


Myth # 1 – You Have to Train All Disciplines Equally 

This makes little sense if you have clear strengths and weaknesses. It is best to train your weaknesses and work on polishing your strengths.  

As an example, you might come from a running background and have worked on technique and speed in training. In this instance, consider working on sprints for the triathlon to help enhance your stronger points, and avoid feeling burned out and unable to perform at your best level.  

You should still integrate more endurance based runs regularly, but they won’t be a key focus.  

Paying attention to specific areas that need improvement will help drive your performance on race day.  


Myth # 2 – Run with Faster Runners to Increase Your Pace 

The reality is that when you always run faster than your capabilities, you are overdoing your hard running and are not recovering the way you should be.  

It is okay to train with faster athletes sometimes, but try to bring variations to your pace or distances, so you are able to optimise your running and figure out your own pace.  

When you try to run with faster runners all the time, you can exhaust yourself and cause injury. Listen to your body, maintain variation, and gage your own pace for race day.  


Myth # 3 – Practice a Fully-fledged Triathlon  

It could take weeks to recover from completing a full triathlon. This will obviously impact your triathlon training. You should slowly build your training volume, and then start to taper down in the two weeks or so prior to your event.  

Your body will have been through a tough training schedule so you want to let it recover a little before race day. This will allow you to feel refreshed and buoyed by adrenaline on the day, and ready to complete the full distance.  


Myth # 4 – You Need to Get into Ketosis for a Fast Run  

While losing fat mass is important for runners, a keto diet is not the best way to do it. Your body needs carbs in good amounts when it is running as your muscles need it for optimum function. Ketosis can cause an imbalance in your energy metabolisms, which can affect your overall performance.  


Myth # 5 – You Need to Consume Maximum Carbs in the Race Week 

Wrong. This is an old concept to follow. Now, people are more educated about consuming carbohydrates before their big race.  

It is important to note that fuelling yourself with enough glycogen at least a day or two before the big event is good for muscle energy reserves, but it doesn’t mean that you have to load yourself with carbs all week.  

Doing the latter might get your glucose stored in the form of fat in your body, which is not a great thing for your performance.  


Myth # 6 – Nutrition isn’t a big deal 

For optimum performance throughout your training and on the big day, the amounts of carbs and proteins you consume are of huge importance. Proteins and carbs are integral to ensuring your body has the energy it needs to keep up your training schedule, see your muscles strong and healthy, and help you recover faster.  

In most cases, athletes who are going for long or sprint races have a relatively higher requirement of energy and protein, which is hard to get from diet alone. This is why nutritional supplements are used by athletes taking on triathlons; the SiS beta fuel range is a favourite of athletes looking to fuel their training or race day.  


Myth # 7 – You Need to Drink Water as Much as You Can 

Wrong. Doing so can lead to states like over-hydration, which consequently lead to hyponatremia. This means your body loses sodium, which can lead to unhealthy consequences. On the other side of the spectrum, restricting your intake to an extreme extent can lead to dehydration, which is also harmful.  

The simple rule is to consume an ounce or two every ten minutes as you are performing the activity. For more strenuous activities like cycling, where you sweat a lot, it is recommended you consume four ounces on an average of ten minutes. You can also make sure you’re adequately hydrated by using hydro tablets. 


How many hours a week do athletes train for sprint triathlons? 

Training for around 4-5 hours per week should be fine for a sprint triathlon. You can of course upweight this based on your current fitness levels or race day goals.  


Do I need special equipment? 

You will require some basic equipment for safety purposes. For example, a bike helmet for a triathlon is important for all athletes. Knee pads and specialised tri suits are additions that speed up your transitions, and make you feel safer and more comfortable as you go. Taking a water bottle to stay hydrated is a good idea.  


Are sprint triathlons okay for ordinary people? 

Anyone with the right training, resources, and nutrition can perform a sprint triathlon. You need to take special care of your dietary requirements and the training exercises that go with the competition. With discipline, commitment, and a lot of practice, you too can take part in a sprint triathlon, and you won’t require experience.  

Written By

The Performance Solutions Team