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Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning

Get a good night’s rest before your upcoming tri with this as your guide to avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning!

Even after all the training and metal preparation you’ve put in for the day of the race, there are still things that can go wrong on race morning. We all know how chaotic race morning of a triathlon can be, but have no fear! Follow these few simple strategies to help your race day go much smoother when you avoid making these rookie mistakes on race morning.

1. Getting to Race Site Late

Get to the race site early so you have time to familiarize yourself with the transition areas and layout of the course. Arriving late will increase your pre-race jitters and take away the fun of race morning with your fellow athletes.

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make on Race Morning. Group yoga with fellow athletes at Rookie Tri

Warming up, overlooking Decker Lake!

2. Not Warming Up

At Rookie Tri, we have a group warm-up led by professional trainers to help make sure your body is properly warmed up for the race. This is important, so be sure to plan to have some time to get a warm-up in and get that blooding pumping before your tri!

3. Bringing More Than you Have to

Brining more items means to keep track of and more chance of losing an item. Avoid this common mistake and keep it simple by only bringing what you absolutely need.

Good looking gear set up on race morning

Tri gear set up in T1!

4. Forgetting Gear

You’d be surprised at how often folks forget their running shoes or helmet on race morning. This will cause you unnecessary stress, so have a checklist, or use ours!

5. Starting in the Wrong Gear

Being familiar with the course will help you determine which gear you should start the bike leg in. Starting in the right gear will help maximize your power right away and set you up for success throughout the bike portion.

Athlete drinking water from one of the aid stations on course

Quick stop tp hydrate at one of the aid stations!

6. Over Hydrating

We know it can be tempting to drink a bunch of water when you see an aid station on course. Determine how much fluids your body requires during training, so you don’t drink too much or too little on the day or your race.

7. Forgetting Sunscreen

You can’t avoid the Texas heat, but you can avoid the mistake of getting sun damage to your skin during a triathlon. Apply sunscreen on race morning before you get to the site. (This should also be done during your training!!)

8. Forgetting the FUN

Celebrating at the finish line party

After all, you signed up to have a great experience with friends and family around you. This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri who are always willing to help a fellow athlete if needed.

Use this as your guide for your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes on race morning and set yourself up for a fun-filled, hassle-free race morning!

Rookie Mistakes Triathletes Make During Training

Get more bang for your buck during your upcoming tri by addressing these rookie mistakes triathletes make during training

This year we celebrate 17 years of swim-bike-run fun at the 17th Annual Rookie Tri on May 3, 2020. We have seen just about everything you can think of in those 17 years, but we still see athletes make the same mistakes time and time again. Don’t let these mistakes get in your way of making progress on your training journey. Use this list to avoid the most common training mistakes made by triathletes to help your future race mornings go off without a hitch!

1. Selecting the Wrong Race

Go short before you go long. Your first triathlon is a learning experience, so ease yourself into the sport by completing a short distance tri like Rookie Tri. Once you’ve found your race, train for the distance you signed up for. The training leading up to the race will give you an idea of what to expect during the tri and help you determine which areas require more training.

2. Failing to Have a Training Plan

Training hard and logging those miles!

Now what? Find a training plan! We know it’s tough to find time to train for three different sports, so make it easier on yourself by finding a free online training plan. There are tons of free training plans created by professional coaches to guide you during your training. Using a training plan will ensure you divide up the training as needed to have you race-day ready.

3. Not Learning to Pace

Overexerting yourself at the start of the race will hurt you during the rest of the race. Pacing yourself throughout training is the best way to know your pace for each discipline. Practicing pacing is key to a strong finish and successful race.

4. Not Training Your Weakness

Ignoring your least favorite portion during your training will only hurt you on race day. It’s natural to avoid training your least favorite discipline and spend the majority of your time on your strongest. Improve your performance on race day by preparing for your least favorite discipline to eliminate any uncertainties you have.

Getting into bike gear in transition

Getting into gear in transition

5. Not Practicing for Transitions

Practicing transitions during training will give you the best idea of how long it takes you to execute transitions on race day. Some athletes leave their shoes clipped into their bike for a quicker transition. Practicing will help you figure out what works best for you in the least amount of time.

6. Not Knowing the Rules

Is your race wetsuit legal? Can you wear headphones? Don’t get disqualified by not knowing the basic rules of triathlon. Look over the USAT rules before starting your training so there are no surprises to throw you off your A-game on race day.

7. Not Doing an Open Water Swim Before Race Morning

Open water is vastly different than pool training. How you do on the swim sets the tone for the rest of your race. Plan some open-water swims into your training so you know exactly what to expect on race day. Go an extra step and get a group of other athletes who are training to do a mock swim with you!

Celebrating at the finish line party!

Whether you started your journey to get in shape or challenge yourself the most important thing to remember during training is to have FUN. Trust your training and enjoy the experience! This should be easy with the infectious energy the athletes bring to The Rookie Tri.

Use this as your guide leading up to your next tri to avoid these common rookie mistakes triathletes make during training. That way you can focus on having a great time and hopefully be inspired to continue your triathlon journey!

‘Tis The Season For New Running Shoes

Out with the old, in with the new. Separating with your trusty pair of running shoes can be traumatic. You have covered lots of ground together and they have always been there for you. Sadly there is a time when you will need to retire them and bring in the new guy. Below are some tips on when you know it is time to retire, and how to break in your new shoes for many more miles of running bliss.

How to Test Your Old Running Shoes

Count Your Miles

Typical running shoes have a lifespan of around 300-500 miles, while some lightweight shoes have as little as 250-300 miles.

Keep track of when you start putting miles on a pair of shoes so you can be on the lookout for changes in foot strike and any pains that may be associated with worn-out shoes.

Visual Checks

When shoes are wearing out sometimes, the insoles will become loose. This can cause rubbing and blisters and is also a sign that your foot is slipping around inside the shoe.

The tread on the bottom. Look at the bottom of your shoe for a wear pattern. See spots that are wearing down? While this is not a for sure sign to replace it is a good gauge of life left in the shoe. Obviously, if there is a hole in the bottom – it is time to replace.

The top. A hole here or there is fine but if your big toe is sticking out feeling the breeze, consider that pair a goner.

Tired Legs

This one can be hard, because whose legs are not tired after a long run? But having your legs feel more tired than usual maybe more on your shoes than on you. Take this as a sign to buy new running shoes and start breaking them in so that you do not find your self with time in between.

Breaking In New ShoesCheck your running shoes to make sure your pair is still in good shape

Give Them Time

Plan some time to break in your new shoes. They are not going to be ready to go out of the box.

Date Them

In a place where it will not rub off, write with a permanent marker the date you start running in your shoes.

Wear Thick Socks

Wearing an extra pair or thicker socks can help break in the shoe from being stiff.

Short and Sweet

Keep your first runs under 6 miles. Remember, if you feel any discomfort shut down the run. It’s not worth risking a long-term injury by running in shoes that are not ready.

Have a Race Day Pair Ready

Buy a new pair of shoes 3 or 4 long runs out from race day. Break them in and then box them up. You will rest easy knowing that you have a pair of shoes that will be run-ready on race day of Rookie Tri!

Don’t let old running shoes be the cause of your pain during your tri training, use this guide next time you give your running shoes a check-up to know when it’s time for a new pair!

5 Most Common Misconceptions About Triathlons

If you’re new to triathlons or can’t decide if you want to participate in one, it’s probably because you have some questions. We’re here to debunk the 5 most common misconceptions about triathlons.

With all the craziness of everyday life, adding training for a triathlon can seem nearly impossible. Whether you don’t have the time, resources, or you doubt your abilities to complete a triathlon, we are here to show you that you can do it by telling you the 5 most common misconceptions about triathlons!

It’s Too Expensive

The great thing about your first triathlon is you probably already have all the gear you would need! Let’s start with the basics. A swimsuit and goggles are all you need for the swim portion. We will provide you with a swim cap based on your age group and/or division. You may think you need an expensive racing bike, but any bike that will get you from A to B is just fine! If you don’t have a bike, that’s okay too – you can rent one or borrow one from a friend. Top it off with any bike helmet and you’re all set! For the run, all you’ll need a pair of tennis shoes, which hopefully you already have. And that’s it! You’re ready to tri. Pro tip: get yourself an affordable tri suit to wear from start to finish, to skip any clothing or gear changes during the race.

Running along the Rookie Tri run courseTraining Takes too Much Time

A sprint distance tri does not require as much training as you may think. Depending on your current swimming, cycling, and running abilities, you will know what areas you need to focus more time training on. With that being said, you can train as little as 3 to 5 workouts a week (2 swims, 2 bikes, 1 run) to get you race-ready. Focus on your weakness and complete more of those workouts where needed.

You have to be a Super Athlete

Triathletes come in all different ages, shapes, and sizes. If you can swim in a straight line, ride a bike and put one foot in front of the other, you can complete a triathlon! According to USAT, the average age of triathletes is 38, with the second-largest age group of participants being 40-44, so it’s never too early or too late to start your tri journey. The Rookie was designed with beginner triathletes in mind, to give you a chance to get comfortable with the sport before attempting a long-distance race.

You Have to be able to Swim, Bike and Run

Get a group of friends together to complete a triathlon with you

If you want to participate in a tri, but cannot complete one of the legs for any reason, you can still race in one! Get together a relay team of 2 to 3 people so you can divide up the work while still getting to experience a tri. We also have an Aquabike option available if you know you cannot complete the run portion.

You Need to Get a Coach

There are endless options of free training plans created by professional coaches online for every distance triathlon. Once you find one, stick to the training plan and trust the process. Having a coach is great if you are trying to improve your time but with all the resources out there, a coach is not necessary for your first tri. Try this free sprint distance training plan from professional triathlete and Coach, Paul ‘Barny’ Matthews.

Nothing beats the feeling of taking your final steps across the finish line!

Whatever your reason for starting your triathlon journey, your main goal when participating in the Rookie Tri, as a first-time triathlete, should be to cross the finish line. Along with an unbeatable sense of accomplishment, the health benefits you’ll get from all your hard work and training will be far more gratifying than your race time. Hopefully, this feeling will encourage you to participate in other triathlons in the future, but in the meantime, make Rookie Tri your first tri!

Tips to Make Sure You Have The Correct Fit for Your Helmet

For a bike helmet to protect you correctly, you need to purchase one that fits you properly. Keep reading for tips to make sure you have the correct fit for your helmet. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your helmet, you need to find one that fits you best in all the following ways. Use these tips on how to make sure you have the right fit for your bike helmet. 

Size

tips to get the perfect fit for your bike helmet

A great example of how a helmet should sit on your head with the proper fit!

The first thing you should adjust when choosing a helmet is the fit pads or adjuster ring. The helmet needs to be snug around your head to effectively protect you. It should not be too tight where you feel pressure, and not too loose that there is any wiggle room. If needed, add more fit pads to get a secure fit. If your helmet has an adjuster ring, modify the circumference until the helmet is fitted properly for your head. 

Height

The next thing to determine is how high the helmet should sit on your head to protect your head on all sides, in case of a fall. It should sit somewhat low on your head, leaving only one to two finger-widths visible on your forehead. You can also decide if your helmet fits properly by looking up. You should be able to see them rim or front edge of the helmet when you do so without interfering with your vision. Pro tip: you should always wear protective lenses with your helmet, so make sure there is enough room to wear them both comfortably.

Straps

The straps of this bike helmet fit perfectly

A perfect view of how your helmet’s chin straps should fit

To keep the helmet in place, the next step is ensuring the chin straps are long enough to reach under your chin and can be tightened securely. This part is especially important because you do not want to be dealing with an ill-fitting helmet during your next tri. The “Y” shaped strap needs to fit under your ears comfortably and buckle under your chin without being too tight. Your helmet should not be able to move more than an inch in any direction. After you buckle the chin strap, it should be secured in the correct position. 

Remember: bicycle helmets only work if you wear them correctly. If you’re riding alone or going on a group ride, use these tips when shopping around for your next helmet to make sure you are as safe as possible on your future rides.

A Few Reasons To Love The Rookie Tri

If you’re interested in getting into triathlons, here are 4 reasons why you’ll love Rookie Tri, and why you should give it a try!

The triathlon community is an exciting place that brings all kinds of people together to share their love of swimming, cycling and running. To make our participants feel more comfortable easing into this world, we created The Rookie Tri. Taking on a sprint distance triathlon as your first tri is a great way to build your self-confidence and hopefully spark your desire to continue your tri journey!  If you don’t already, keep reading for a couple of reasons you will love The Rookie Tri.

Location

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park has great running, biking, and hiking trails!

The home of Rookie Tri is one of Austin’s known hot spots, Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park aka Decker Lake.  The park is located at 6614 Blue Bluff Road.  On race morning, we always kick-off The Rooke Tri with a group stretch as the sun rises, looking out over Decker Lake. This is a great opportunity for you to get a look at the swim course if you aren’t familiar with the area. Pro tip: If you live around the area and are nervous about the swim portion, get out there and do a mock swim beforehand. For the spectators, there are great spots along the course for friends and family to join you on race day while getting a great view of you throughout the tri!

Different Options

We offer different distances and divisions to make sure all our participants get the most out of their individual race experience. There is an aquabike option for all of our non-runners out there. There is also a relay option, so you have the choice to divide up the tri and have your friends or family complete it with you! Along with these different distances, The Rookie Tri is special because of its separated Rookie (beginners) and Veterans (experienced triathletes) groups.

Everyone’s a Rookie Here

We know how intimidating your first triathlon can be. The Rookie Tri was created to help beginner triathletes dip a toe in before diving straight into a full distance triathlon. As soon as the race begins, everyone’s a Rookie. However, knowing you are completing your first tri along with others who may be new to the sport is not only comforting, but a great opportunity to meet other athletes at your current skill level. Our biggest goal is for the participants to have the most fun possible. That’s easy because we always have the best participants who cheer one another on and help each other out throughout the course, so you’ll feel right at home. 

Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Finish Line Party

Rookie Tri Participants having a blast at the Finish Line Party

Where else would be better than to celebrate your victory on completing The Rookie Tri than with fellow Rookies? Participants get complimentary hot food and cold drinks waiting for them at the finish line. Also, you’ll receive some other great treats from various vendors. There’s also a beer garden for our 21 and up participants to enjoy! Last but not least, everyone loves the swag toss we do to wrap up the finish line party, although you won’t want it to end!

There are many more reasons to love The Rookie Tri, but here are a few of our favorites we wanted to highlight. Whether it is your first triathlon or your tenth, get ready to have an incredible time at The Rookie Tri.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 8: Rookie Nerves

My Rookie nerves finally kicked in at packet pickup

I knew Rookie nerves would kick in, I just didn’t know when. There’s something about a new endeavor that riles up your insides. Throw in the fact that my coach, Paul “Barny” Matthews, is a world-class triathlete and the nerves become amplified. Don’t forget that I might be the only swimmer with a nose plug! Top that off with a friendly wager with my triathlon arch nemesis, Paras Shah, and the butterflies grow larger.

Rookie nerves can come from anywhere, including competition.

My triathlon arch nemesis, Paras Shah.

What if I forget something that I need for Sunday? Can I apply the required stickers incorrectly? How do I keep from checking my checking list 16 times? What do I need to do to not leave too early and stand around, but not leave too late and miss a good spot in transition? How do I kill time between when the race starts and when my wave begins? Whatifmynoseplugcomesoffduringtheswim?! All of these thoughts are racing through my head on a continuous loop. It’s how my brain is wired. I need to have every possible angle covered and all boxes on my list checked, highlighted, marked through, and initialed. Then reviewed by a quality control supervisor.

BUT… Nerves are just that, nerves. There are tactics you can use to manage and even eliminate them. I have months of training and advice from Barny. He even helped make this video that’s useful for Rookie and Veterans. I have years of experience in other races that I can transfer to this Sunday’s Rookie Triathlon. While they can’t help me on race day, I’ve tapped into the never-ending triathlon knowledge bank that my co-workers at High Five Events have offered. I strongly recommend reading this Pre-Race Tips post on the Rookie Tri blog.

What I’m doing

Below are some specific things I’m doing to reduce my overall Rookie nerves:

  • visit Decker Lake today (Saturday) for a quick, easy swim to get accustomed to the water
  • scope out the run course, perhaps go for a relaxed run on the course
  • HYDRATE
  • layout everything I’ll need for race day on my bed
  • go through the race in my head and think about what I’ll need
  • layout and practice transition
  • HYDRATE
  • as I go through the race in my head, place all those items in my bag
  • watch the Kentucky Derby and attend Schrader 1600 (aka do something to take your mind off your race)
  • HYDRATE
  • trust my training
  • load everything by the front door
  • check my bike, especially tire pressure
  • HYDRATE
  • get up earlier than normal to ensure nature won’t call during the race
  • eat/drink my normal breakfast (Clif Bar + nuun performance)
  • support and cheer for Barny (and all athletes) in the Open and Veteran waves
  • HAVE FUN! (Barny has a few tricks up his sleeve to make this happen)

4 Ways to Reduce Your Rookie Tri Stress

Use these tips from a pro to handle pre-race stress

Rookie or Veteran, Rookie Triathlon stress, nerves, anxiety, jitters, whatever you want to call it, it’s real. Perhaps the butterflies kicked in when race week arrived. Maybe a co-worker asked about your confidence on Hump Day and your stomach turned upside down. You could be like William, who’s training for his first triathlon. Reality set in when he arrived at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop for Rookie Tri packet pickup. William met Paul “Barny” Matthews, his coach, for some advice and tips. These tips to reduce stress can be used by anyone. So if you know someone worried about final preparations for this Sunday, share this video with them!

Implement these additional tips to take your Rookie Tri pre-race preparation one step further.

Professional Swim Advice for Rookie Triathletes

Complete at least one open water swim before Rookie Triathlon

Hundreds of Rookies will complete their first triathlon at Rookie Triathlon on Sunday, May 6th. If you’re training for your first triathlon like William, then you’ve probably never completed an open water swim. Perhaps all of your training has taken place in the pool. Until Tuesday, April 24th, all of William’s swim training has taken place in the pool. Check in with his training and see how his open water swims went. Paul “Barny” Williams, William’s coach and professional triathlete, provides some advice and talks about the importance of completing at least one open water swim before race day. Watch the video below and feel free to share the advice with your Rookie friends!