Although most age group races, like Chicago, are deep water starts, most athletes do not take the time to practice them before race day. The best way to get better at deep water starts is to integrate them into your normal swim sessions.
The first thing to focus on is your body position. Just like a beach start, you want to be ready to go when the horn blows. The first mistake most people make is to tread water in a vertical position, with their feet below them. Instead, try sculling with your arms in front and gently flutter kicking behind you so that your body is already in a horizontal position ready to swim.
Not everyone has access to open water, so simply add your deep water start practice into your pool swim session. You can do this by starting your sets, especially short sprint sets (25's/50's), away from the wall. A few seconds before the interval start treading water in the horizontal position described above and then proceed with your interval from that position. This will get you used to initiating the forward movement with your arms and legs and not with the wall.
One of the most important, but often, most overlooked aspect of racing
is proper hydration. It is really important to take care of yourself on
the bike leg of the event because it sets you up for the run portion.
If you fail to hydrate and consume an adequate number of calories on
the bike, you will struggle much more on the run leg, especially if it
is hot. However, if you don't train with proper hydration you will find
it hard to race with it.
If you find that you have trouble remembering
to drink during training rides try setting an alarm on your watch or
timing device. Have it beep every 10-15 minutes. This is your reminder
to drink and/or eat. Eventually, it will become habit to eat and drink
regularly. Then if you follow the oldest and most important lesson in
racing, "race the way you train", you will remember to hydrate and will
have a much more pleasant end to your race!
Most importantly, enjoy your training. Training, although hard, should
always be enjoyable. Race day, is simply a celebration of all of the
hard work that you have done up to that point, so relax, take in the
atmosphere and celebrate with a few thousand of your closest friends!
Come meet Jenna, Saturday, August 29th from 1-2pm at the Garmin store (663 N. Michigan Ave).
To keep up with Jenna, check out her blog, by clicking here.