A hilly race can bring significant challenges in a triathlon whether on the bike or run, or sometimes, the joy of both. Pacing is the key to successfully tackling the hills on the course and leaving enough
energy for the remainder of the race ahead. As with anything in the sport, practice will prepare the athlete both mentally and physically for big challenges on race day. Here are some tips to build confidence and strength:
- – Learn the course. Read the race website and study the course profile.
- – Incorporate a hilly ride and/or run into training at least once a week with the other workouts focusing on endurance, skill, and speed (generally speaking, this also depends on the level of athlete and goals).
- – Hill repeats on the bike and run pack a punch in a shorter workout, paying dividends on race day.
- – Strength training will build a better climber. Focus on functional strength, such as single leg exercises and squats, to promote flexibility and power.
ON RACE DAY:
- – Know the course. This will allow proper pacing on each challenging climb, conserving and staying seated to avoid fatigue too early.
- – When possible on the bike, stay seated on the climbs. Standing is helpful in passing or keeping momentum on the steeper hills, but an athlete can burn many matches on standing climbs.
- – Use the wonderful momentum on downhills to save energy on the next hill. When possible, add a gear on a downhill for free power. This can also help to gain momentum and can add to overall speed and efficiency on a rolling course.
- – Stay within yourself. Settle in to a pace that will get you to the top with something left in the tank. Continue to pedal over the top of the hill. Although others may be stopping to coast, this is not necessary.
- – On the run, pacing will be key again. Take one hill at a time with the goal of running up the entire thing. If walking is necessary, remind yourself to train on more hills next time!
These strategies can apply to athletes of all levels when training for or conquering a hilly race. Again, the key is to be prepared and train for the terrain. If it’s too late, use the race day tips above for a smart and successful performance.
For questions on this topic and any others, contact Sally Drake: firstname.lastname@example.org