by Kristen Marchant
I have had many conversations with people who have trouble swimming open water in race situations, for various reasons, so I thought I would compile a list of tips to help you get through the first leg of the race.
Dealing with the sun
Because races start early, it is quite often that you will be facing a blinding sun at some point in the swim, making it difficult if not impossible to see the buoys up ahead. It is important to take note of this before you start, and count how many buoys you need to pass before you hit the turn buoy. Then you need to trust that you are swimming in a straight line (if there are a lot of people ahead of you it’s easier, but that’s not always the case). By counting how many buoys you have passed you will know if you need to keep swimming straight or if you are supposed to turn (the sun can make it hard to distinguish colours too).
Dealing with SO MANY PEOPLE
This is the most often heard issue. 2000+ athletes in the water means it’s going to be crowded. There are a couple of ways to minimize the stress. If you are a slower swimmer, wait 10 seconds after the gun goes off to start swimming. This will put you behind the chaos and you will be more relaxed, making for an easier, more enjoyable, and faster swim. If you are a mid-pack swimmer you can choose to swim to the sides. Staying way to the outside will inevitably lead to a longer swim, so it is better to go on the inside of the buoys. The only buoys you need to pass on the outside are the turn buoys, so by swimming on the inside during the straight sections, there will be far fewer people and sighting will be easier. If you are a front-pack swimmer and don’t like swimming with people, swim faster ;)
Not being able to see
There are times when the lake you are swimming in is dark, and you can’t see much around you. This can be very unnerving for some people. There is really no substitute here for practice. The more you swim outside, the more comfortable you will become with it. You need to trust your stroke even if you can’t see your arms, and trust that where you are swimming is safe to do so (if it’s a triathlon venue, you can be certain they’ve already verified the safety).
Tips to be comfortable on race day
- PRACTICE!!! Of course, the obvious, the more you swim in open water, the more comfortable you will become with it
- practice sighting- there is an art if you will, to incorporating sighting into a smooth swim stroke. Think of crocodile eyes to sight, then breathe to the side
- be comfortable with bilateral breathing- you never know which way the waves will be coming from, so it is important to be able to breathe to both sides
- swim in the water before race day- if possible, check out the swim the day before the race. This will allow you to test the temperature of the water, see if there is a current, and if there are things in the water to be aware of (weeds, logs, fish). Then there will be no surprises on race day
-warm-up properly- especially important if the water is cold. Getting your body used to the temperature of the water before the race starts will help to keep your heart rate relaxed when you start
by Taylor Reid
Triathlon is a very physically demanding sport but there is so much more to it than just going out there and training. There is a whole mental side to it. I would like to touch on this a little bit and talk about some tools I have used to mentally prepare myself for races so I can dig just that little bit deeper.
These strategies have worked for me but it really is a trial and error kind of process. No one can tell you exactly what will work since every one is a little different. I have worked with sport psychologists in the past and have taken ideas from all sorts of people to build my own mental strategies to help get more out of my body.
The most important points for me is to go into every workout with a purpose. You already are spending the time to go and get better why not make the most of it. We all have limitations on the amount of training we can do. Make sure every workout is there for a reason. This does not always mean that the workout is meant to for you to go hard and stay very focused. Some workouts are built for you to relax and recover. I find that going easy for easy workouts is very important to do. It really helps me remember why I love the sport. It is very important to know what the purpose of your workout is and follow that. Go easy on the easy days so you can go hard on the hard days.
Once I have determined that, a workout or a race is one that I must execute to its fullest. I have a few things I go about doing to make sure that happens. First check all of your equipment to make sure it is ready for the hard work. Second make sure your body is as prepared as it can be. Have you eaten well before hand? Have you recovered as best as you can from the last workout? Do you have the food and tools you need to recover quickly after the hard effort?
Once all of that is taken care of the next part is to get the most out of the workout on hand. I like to really focus on form and tempo. I try to keep a high turn over in all three sports. Swimming I think about holding the water but never pausing in my stroke, on the bike it is all about RPM I try to aim for 100rpm but still staying relaxed, on the run I really think about turn over, stride length and staying relaxed. When it really gets hard I think about my body position, staying relaxed and remember that I am doing this for a reason.
Some things that I have been working on is writing down how I can improve on the workout that I just did. But trying not to focus on the time or effort that I put out. I try to find the small things I can do better, possibly a longer warm up or staying properly hydrated on a long ride. How could I have better executed that workout by being more consistent and not letting the last rep fall apart? If I can improve just a little bit every time it will really help when I get to my big races in the season.
These are just a few tools that I use to help improve my workouts and mentally prepare myself for the big race days. Remember a race is no different than training.
Taylor's Race Report:
Mt. Tremblant 70.3 was the last of my three races month. I really enjoy this event. Mt. Tremblant was my first podium in a 70.3 race and the race that showed me that I could thrive at the 70.3 distance. My pre race week was a little different going into this race, with TV interviews and sponsorship appearances. I think it is very important to give back to my fans as much I can, it makes Triathlon more exciting for everyone.
The build up to the race was phenomenal- about 5min from the start an F-16 did a fly by over the start. Setting the stage for the race!
The swim was fast with a few new swimmers in the mix. I was able to make my way out of the craziness of the start and moved into the lead of the chase group. The lead group slowly got a gap of about 90 seconds by the end of the swim but I was pleased with keeping it at that with some very strong swimmers like John Rasmussen, Jarrod Shoemaker and Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches leading the charge. I exited the water with Trevor Wurtele, Chris Leiferman and Cody Beals on my feet. I was ready to give it all on the bike.
As the bike started it was clear that Trevor Wurtele, Cody Beals, Chris Leiferman and myself were going to be the main chase group. The race was playing out as I started to chew into the top swimmers lead. Lionel went by us at about 20km and I rolled the disc, trying to go with him. I found that his pace was to hot for me and I had to let him go. I led the group as an official gave us splits to the other athletes up the road. We where brining them back slowly. At the 50km mark Trevor Wurtele made a move and I just could not react. For the next 20km I work very hard to bridge the little gap that had formed between the group and myself. I was able to reconnect at 70km but I was spent. I dropped back into my own pace to prepare for a solid run. I got off the bike in 7th place.
I worked my way through the run. I caught TJ Tollaksonn in the first 5km. I split the run up into 7km sections breaking the run in to thirds. I new that the run was going to be a war of hydration in the heat and I paced myself for it. By the 11km I had moved into 5th position. I dug deep to hold of 6th place while I tried to reach 4th. I was able to stay in 5th from the rest for the race and I am pleased with this result.
I will be taking a lot away from this race and applying it to my future events. Next up will be Ironman 70.3 Racine on July 17.
Thank you too:
Kristen's Race Report:
The race started at 8am in Lac Tremblant- it is a massive lake and quite cool, so I allowed extra time for a swim warm-up to adjust to the temperature. With such a quality field of women and some great swimmers, I had no idea if I would end up swimming with anyone. The gun went off and we ran in to the water, and I was almost immediately gapped by a handful of women. I focused on settling in to my own rhythm and eventually found myself swimming on my own. The lake is pretty calm so the only challenge was to not be blinded by the sun. In the last couple hundred meters I caught up to a group of 3 women ahead of me and we began the long run to transition. While the swim time itself looks pretty decent, no swim course is the same, and if they are short (or long) it can have a pretty dramatic effect on the swim time. I was 4 minutes down on the leader, 3.5 minutes down on the eventual race winner, and 2 minutes down on the chase pack- in other words, I still have a lot of work to do on my swimming.
My plan for the bike was to ride at a lower effort level than I typically do. Having been using a power meter occasionally in training I became aware that my perceived “90km race effort” was bringing me in at about 93-94% of my FTP, potentially even higher in an actual race situation. That is, by all research that I can find, too high, so my goal was to be closer to about 90% and see if that had any effect on my run time. I never looked at my watch (since with a stages power meter my watch has to be placed near the seat post in order for it to be close enough to pick up the data from the power meter), so I was still going by effort level. Starting out a group of 4 of us were riding close to each other with a bit of back and forth happening as we tackled the hills going out to the first out and back section. Once it flattened out I was at the front and only one of them stayed with me. As we came back to town and had the last 30km of hilly terrain she went ahead, but I was willing to bet money that she was going to suffer from that effort on the run (fyi, I was right). I potentially executed my best ever 90km ride as my power was pretty even throughout the race, with the end result being an average power a couple watts less than 90% of my FTP and normalized power a couple watts higher.
The run course is fairly challenging with the first 5km and last 6km being “rolling” hills (they seem pretty big when you’re running them). However, the crowds are amazing so with all the cheering it made things seem a lot easier. I had no idea what place I was in so I just concentrated on running the best 21km I could. I passed the woman who had taken off on the bike for the last 30km about 3km into the run and heading into the rail trail for the middle 10km I started to feel really good. I do 99% of my running on the rail trail in Hamilton, so it was familiar terrain and felt like I was just doing what I do every Sunday morning. A few more kilometers in I passed another athlete who said I was in 6th- I was shocked, I had thought maybe I was getting in to top 8 at that point. Because it is an out and back course I could see where the other athletes were, and 5th place was a long way ahead (at that point probably 1.5km ahead), but there were some quick moving athletes behind me too. I just focused on keeping the turnover high and the last 7km or so really hurt, but I did not want to get caught. The crowds were incredible as were the other racers out there cheering me on as I headed back in to town, and I finished strong, only 90 seconds back from 5th place.
I can’t give enough thanks to the town of Mont Tremblant and the incredible race they put on, to the volunteers, and to my incredible homestay who not only put up with me all weekend but came to the race and took pictures and cheered me on. And thanks to all those supporting me: C3 Canadian Cross Training Club, Skechers, Rudy Project, Alto Cycling, Kristen Pawlick at Wishbone Athletics, Riplaces, and Neworld Cycle.
C3'S ANDREW YORKE SELECTED FOR THE RIO OLYMPIC TRIATHLON TEAM
By Barrie Shepley
It all stared 16 years ago, when a young teenage Andrew Yorke watched the Sydney Olympics with his family in Caledon East. On the second day of the Olympics, an un-known, Simon Whitfield won the Olympic Gold Medal and stunned the world with the first ever Olympic medal for the sport. Several months later, C3's head coach Barrie Shepley did a free motivational behind the scenes talk at the Bolton arena about the Olympic experience. As luck would have it, Andrew Yorke and his sister and father (Ward) Yorke would come to that talk. Andrew had been a bike rider, soccer player and was looking for a new way to express his talents. He soon joined the C3 Canadian Cross Training Club and became one of the hardest working juniors in the program. As a late developing swimmer, Andrew had to really work to develop his swim skills. He swam as often as he could at the Mayfield Pool and balanced triathlon, Humberview High School Track & Cross Country, academics and part-time jobs.
As he graduated from High School, rather than directly into McMaster University, he worked a semester at Royal Containers in Brampton while he continued to improve. Andrew represented Canada at the World Junior Championships and then continued his running and swimming at McMaster University with Paula Schnurr and Andrew Cole. Big brother-mentor Sean Bechtel played a very important role in Andrew's development. He had a big-strong, older mentor to push him in all workouts and Andrew became one of Canada's top under 23 year old athletes, racing at World Champs a number of times. Andrew was a big part of McMaster's resurgence in cross country running, along with C3 triathletes Connor Darlington, Taylor Reid, John Rasmussen and Lionel Sanders.
Andrew moved out of university and into full time triathlon racing with summers in Germany, Spain and other parts of Europe. He had a chance to race on the biggest stages and world championships and in 2012 was selected as the first alternate for the London Olympic Games. As Simon Whitfield's daily sparring partner leading up to London, Andrew got to see what SImon did every single day for 3 months. Andrew was in London and saw the entire race, the size of the media and got to understand everything he would need to know for Rio. In the last 4 years, Andrew was top Canadian at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Andrew was the top Canadian at last year's Pan American Games in Toronto. Andrew was the 2015 National Champion and the 4th place in New Zealand. Andrew finished the two year Olympic qualifying block as the top Canadian and on June 29th, was officially selected with four others to represent Canada at the Rio Olympic Games. See link to the team announcement: http://www.triathloncanada.com/en/news/latest/?id=3884 and Barrie Shepley's note on the team: https://www.facebook.com/barrie.shepley/posts/1246646062025837?pnref=story
Andrew's journey to the Olympics could not have happened without the massive support of the C3 board, coaches, sponsors, team-mates, Triathlon Ontario, Triathlon Canada, RTC Guelph, McMaster University and of course Andrew's personal sacrifices to do the work. Andrew and Tyler Mislawchuck will be racing Aug 18th and the three women will be racing on Aug 20th). Barrie Shepley and Brenda Irving from CBC will be in Rio doing the live TV commentary. Before Rio however, Andrew will be racing this weekend in Stockholm Sweden and in two weeks July 16-17th in Hamburg Germany, before focusing exclusively on Rio Olympic Games.
Victoria was the second race of my three-race series in June. After a disappointing flat in Raleigh one week before, I was very fired up to get back out there and prove myself.
I hopped a flight straight from Raleigh and arrived in Victoria one week before the race. This was the first time I had tried racing on back-to-back weekends. It seemed to work well, thanks to a very helpful homestay.
In the week leading up to the race, I was able to learn a new skill. I learned how to drive a standard vehicle. It made for a very interesting week. But as I have learned over the year, part of being a professional triathlete is being able to go with the flow and get the job done no matter what happens. I was invited to sit on the pro panel and to be part of the kids’ run again with my good friends Trevor and Heather Wurtele.
On race day, I was ready to go, acclimatized to the time zone and area. The race was insanely early even for Ironman: a 6:00 am start. But luckily the time zone change was in my favour. After a 3 am wake-up and my morning routine, I was race ready. It looked like it was going to be a cool day, starting at 10°C and getting up to 14°C. I chose to put a plastic bag under my race suit to stay warm on the bike. The swim had been shorted to about 1500m. The swim went of as usual. I chose to start on the right side is the sallower water and jockeyed for position early on. By about 400m the race had strung out with a group of two-three people up a head and myself in a small three man group following. I exited the water about 1min down from the leader and was ready for some redemption on the bike after last weeks flat tire.
As I was taking my bike off the rack Trevor Wurtele arrived at his bike. I knew I had about 10 seconds on my main competition of the day. At the start of the bike there was a little jockeying as we settled into our own race paces. I quickly moved myself in the lead of the race by 10km. I then started to settle into a grove preparing myself for when Trevor would arrive. By 20km Trevor arrived as he went by I new that I had to stay with him if I wanted any chance of winning. For the next 40km not much changed. Trevor led and tried a few surges but he could not get away. I stayed in second responding to Trevor’s moves and Nathan Killam sat in third. At 60km I chose to take control of the race and put in my own attack. Trevor could not respond and gap started to form. The hunter soon became the hunted! At 70km I put in another big pushed up the largest hill on the course about 2km. I entered into T2 with in first place. I had never had this happen--it was very interesting to be following the lead car.
As I dismounted my bike, I slipped on my shoe and hit the deck. Luckily I was only going 10-5kph so I was able to bounce back quickly and continue the race unharmed. (The bike is fine too.)
I headed out onto the two loop run around the lake on the gravel trails with a 90 sec on second place. I pushed the first loop and as I ran through the woods all I could think was Trevor is out there don’t you dare slow down. By the half way mark I had extended my lead to 2min but then Trevor start to chew into that nice lead of mine. At the 19km I got a glimpse of how close Trevor really was at a short out and back section and that really did scare me. All I could think is you have come this far don’t you dare let it go, fight for it. In those last 2km I really had to dig deep. In the end that is really what makes a win worth it, having a serious competitor that pushes you to new levels and Trevor did that. I crossed the line in 1st place. It was such an amazing feeling with the crowds there watching.
I am heading back to Caledon the for the next two weeks to prepare for Mt. Tremblant 70.3.
My first 70.3 of the year was Eagleman 70.3, located in Cambridge, Maryland. The day provided for some hot and sunny weather and while i fell short of my goals, a 4th is my highest placing at a 70.3 event to-date, so it is encouraging to see some progress being made. You can read my race report here.
JOIN LIONEL SANDERS - ANDREW YORKE- TAYLOR REID - SEAN BECHTEL JUNE 22ND FOR THE ONE DAY CELEBRATION-FUND RAISER
Andrew would have never gotten to this level in his career, if it wasn't for the financial support that C3 and many great supporters have provided over his brilliant young career. For 21 years, C3 has been fund raising to help current and future stars. Lionel Sander's is now the top ranked long distance athlete in the world, but would not likely even be racing without the help of C3 parents, sponsors, and supporters. Currently Taylor Reid and Kristen Marchant are two of the next generation athletes who C3's support is making a huge difference. The team and coach Barrie are asking you to dig deep and help keep this amazing program going. We need your help in one of a number of ways.
SUPPER & MEET THE TOP PROS JUNE 22nd
This very likely will be the only day this year that all of the biggest names in the sport will be together in one building and property. The supper is from 6-8:30pm on Wed June 22nd at the Caledon Golf and Country Club. Many Olympians will be in the room that night. Women's soccer superstar Ashley Lawrence will be celebrating. Jason Wilson, Olympic bound triathlete will be at the supper. Olympic coaches and Paralympic athletes will be celebrating on June 22nd as well. Come celebrate with the top triathletes, soccer players, swimmers and more. Don't miss this amazing night. Bring some friends and meet, greet and hear their behind the scene stories.Register at: https://app.eventcaddy.com/events/c3-kinetico-golf-bike-ride-for-future-olympic-champions
RIDE WITH THE PROS IN THE MORNING JUNE 22ND
We are hoping for 50-75 bike loving age groupers to join Lionel, Andrew, Sean, Taylor, Kristen, Andrew Beardsall and the team. Starting at 8:30am from the Caledon Golf and Country Club, there will be 4 different distance rides from 25km on the flat rail trail (where a mt bike or cross bike will do) to 40k, 60k an 75km on the road bikes with the C3 team. When else can you ride with the top pros and get a chance to take pictures and talk to them in a low stress day.Register at: https://app.eventcaddy.com/events/c3-kinetico-golf-bike-ride-for-future-olympic-champions