Last Minute Triathlon Tips: By SEA Games Bronze Medallist Wille Loo

National triathlete Wille Loo Chuan Rong, 32, has come a long way since he picked up the sport ten years ago. That was just after completing his National Service when he was inspired by a triathlete friend. And he’s enjoying the sport.

Wille Loo.

Wille Loo.

Said Loo, “I’ve been racing triathlons for quite a few years now and I still look forward to every opportunity that I get to race.  Whether its your first or 37th triathlon, the excitement never fades! Triathlons are challenging and force you out of your comfort zone, but they are also one of the most rewarding experiences you will go through.  Good luck as you put the finishing touches on your preparation leading into the Singapore Triathlon and be sure to say’ hi’ if you see me in transition!”

The recent South East Asian Games was this triathlete’s first time representing Singapore in a major regional event, but on his first try, he managed to pick up the bronze medal for Singapore.

In this article, Loo is a guest writer for PrisChew.com and he shares some last minute triathlon tips on how to conquer the upcoming Singapore International Triathlon, taking place this weekend.

1) Open Water is your friend

Photo: www.race-me-events.com

Photo: www.race-me-events.com

For many triathletes, swimming remains the biggest challenge, especially if you didn’t grow up with a background in swimming.  You would have done the bulk of your swim training in the pool where the water is clear, lane ropes are nicely tied and there is that well painted black line to follow.  Unfortunately, the sea where you will swim in at East Coast Park is unlikely to have any of those things.  If you are feeling extra anxious about the swim leg of your coming race, grab some of your training buddies and head out for an open water swim.  Get used to the limited visibility and currents and treat the sea as just a really big swimming pool. But remember not to drink the sea water.

2) Practise some bike handling

Photo: triathlon.competitor.com

Photo: triathlon.competitor.com

You would have spent countless hours racking up the mileage on your bike rides, but you probably haven’t spent much time on the more technical aspects of cycling.  The Singapore Triathlon bike course features a combination of road and park connectors, highlighted by several technical (tight) corners.  Practise things like cornering, slowing down to make a u-turn and even something as basic as picking up your bottle to drink.  Watch out for other cyclists and stay left unless overtaking.

3) Consider wearing socks

Most triathletes would scoff at this suggestion, but your feet might thank you for doing so.  One of the hallmarks of triathlon is the sockless run that many of us will do in the interest of saving time.  However, many of the shoes that are sold in stores are not ‘triathlon friendly’.  Unless your shoes feature a seamless toe box and other no-sew areas, running without socks can lead to some nasty blisters.  If you plan to leave the socks at home, make sure you have practised running without socks during training.  Otherwise, it’s alright to spend another 30 seconds in T2 putting your socks on – happy feet will gladly help you make up that time during the run.

4) Plan your nutrition

Photo: i-love-bananas.tumblr.com

Photo: i-love-bananas.tumblr.com

Depending on the distance you have chosen, you might be spending up to three or four hours out there during your race.  The human body can only store about 90mins worth of fuel so you are going to have to make sure your body doesn’t end up running on empty.  Gels, sports drinks and regular foods like bananas are going to be the most common sources of energy.  Some athletes tend to go overboard, you don’t need 10 gels for the sprint distance race you signed up for.  Keep it simple and listen to your body, it will tell you how much food you need.  Sports nutrition can taste pretty bad some times, so make sure you have tried a few different brands and used them during your training sessions.  You don’t want any bad tasting surprises on race day.

5) Study the course maps

Things can get a little hectic on race day, directional markers can fall off and volunteers may be overwhelmed.  Don’t leave your race in the hands of some one else.  Spend a few minutes the night before the race having a look at the maps provided.  Remember how many laps the swim, bike and run legs cover and write the information down on your hand if you have to.  Another useful thing to do is to pay attention to the flow of traffic inside the transition area.  You can save a lot of time knowing the smoothest way to get from “bike in” to “run out”.

6) Remember to enjoy yourself

The race is probably the culmination of many weeks of training and naturally,  you will want to go out there and have a great performance.  However, many athletes forget to take a moment to actually enjoy the fruits of their labour.  The beauty of triathlon is that it brings together athletes from all walks of life.  Setting up your bike in transition is a great time to get to know some of your fellow competitors.  These are the same people that will be toughing it out and sharing the race experience with you.  All the hard work has been done during training and the race is your reward!

All the best for this weekend!

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