Double-Olympic silver medalist, Commonwealth and European swimming champion and Speedo ambassador Jazz Carlin has now retired from competition but isn't slowing down any time soon. Her new multi-sport calendar since retiring from professional swimming has so far included the Prudential Ride London and the Volcano Triathlon in Lanzarote. Here, Jazz shares her top tips for triathlon race day.
I am still very new to the triathlon world and I feel like I’m learning new things every day. Since retiring from competitive swimming I’ve really enjoyed the new challenge of triathlon. I felt a bit lost not having a physical goal to train for, so I found it really hard to motivate myself to do much activity. Signing up for a tri really gave me that drive to push my body again. I always feel so much better after going out and training.
I did my first triathlon in Lanzarote at the Volcano Tri in May, which was Olympic Distance. It was a great event and I really enjoyed my first race.
If you're thinking of trying a tri, here's what I've learnt about getting the most out of race day.
1. Know your kit
Get familiar with all the kit you will be using on the day before the event. This includes your swimming cap, goggles, wetsuit and tri suit. Wear them for training so that you are confident that they will be comfortable and you don't get any nasty surprises!
2. Make a checklist
Make a checklist of all the things you will need for the event. From your kit to your nutrition, get everything written down. You can check things off as you go so that you don’t forget anything. Also, making a checklist will flag up any last-minute bits you may need to buy. I’ve been amazed at how much equipment you need for triathlons!
3. Pack the night before
Always pack your bag the night before. There is nothing worse than frantically running around the morning of your event and trying to find everything. Tick the checklist off as you go!
4. Get your kit ready to race
Attach your numbers to any kit you need and make sure you have your timing chip!
5. Don't forget that early alarm
Allow plenty of time to get up to prepare before your event. If your race is in the morning, give yourself plenty of time to have a decent meal and get some hydration on board.
6. Stick to foods you know
Eat familiar foods the day before and on race day. My stomach always feels like its doing backflips when I race an event. Make sure that you have foods that are fairly plain and that you know sit well on your stomach. You don’t want to feel too bloated on race day.
7. Warm up
Before an open water swim or triathlon, it can sometimes be hard to do a warm-up before as the racecourse is normally closed. Find a Spot and do some land exercises to warm up your body before you go. Target the muscles that you’ll be using the most in the race!
8. Stay warm
Make sure that you keep your body temperature up before your race. Research shows that your performance can be affected if your body temperature is low. I use hand and feet warmers before I race, as I always struggle to keep my hands and feet warm.
9. Oil up
Oil up your legs before putting on your wetsuit. I tried this on my first triathlon and it just allowed the wetsuit to slide off in transition! Be Careful not to get any oil on any other equipment, so it doesn’t become greasy.
10. Talc your shoes
Sprinkle some talc in your bike shoes and trainers. I found this really helpful when I did my first triathlon - it makes it so much easier to get shoes on when your feet are wet.
11. Mark your territory
Put something bright or eye-catching in your transition area, so you know which one is yours. It makes it a lot easier than chasing your number!
12. Race at your pace
The most efficient way to race is to stick to your own swimming tempo or stroke rate. Starting too fast will cause you to hurt too much by the end of the swim and starting too slow will leave you with too much energy left over. Knowing your tempo allows you to lock in to it and hold it for the whole swim.