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How to prepare for a triathlon like a pro
When she’s not working as a physiotherapist at Beyond Health and Harlequins rugby club, Katherine Amps loves to compete in triathlon events. She recently took part in the Ironman 70.3 world championships (coming 40th in age group and 164 out of all 2000 competitors) and loves to use this kind of top-level experience to get our clients ready for their own triathlon challenges. Here she shares her top tips for triathlon training, how beginners can get started and what the ideal preparation is in the week of a race.
What is your common approach to getting people ready for a triathlon?
Being consistent over a long period of time. A gradual increase in training load and intensity helps you to remain injury free. If you can be consistently average day in, day out, then that usually leads to successful results.
What are the most important factors when training for triathlons?
To listen to your body. Triathlon involves a high volume of training, so listening to any niggles is really important. Keeping on top of your strength training and nutrition is also key.
What are the common injuries that spring up and how can people avoid them?
Overload injuries are the most common – an Achilles tendinopathy or a bone stress injury, for example. To minimise your risk of these types of injury, progressive loading is really important, especially when it comes to your run volume. Make sure you progress your run volume slowly, avoiding back-to-back run days when possible. Appropriate carbohydrate intake throughout training is also essential to minimise the risk of a bone stress injury.
How should people prep in the week of their triathlon?
Reduced weekly training volume, while keeping a small amount of intensity in there to keep the body ticking over. Fuelling well in the lead up to an event is also important. For longer distance triathlons (half ironman and ironman distance), a carbohydrate intake of 12g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight is recommended the day before a race. That’s a lot of carbs!
How can beginners get started on triathlons?
I would advise people to just getting involved in all three disciplines as individual sports. You could join a local running or swimming club, and go out for a bike ride with friends at the weekend. If you’re more serious about triathlon and have a set goal, finding a triathlon club in your local area with structured training is a good way to start. Triathlon clubs usually also offer one-to-one individualised training programmes that can fit around your work schedule.
How did you get into triathlons?
I got into triathlon in my final year of university. I was lucky enough to go to Loughborough University, which is one of the top sporting universities in the world. During my four years there I played hockey, but decided I wanted to make the most of the facilities, so went down to the triathlon taster session and loved it. My final year of uni was spent balancing playing hockey, doing triathlon and trying to get a degree. When I left university, I decided to stick with triathlon and see how far it could take me.
What is your proudest triathlon achievement?
This is a really tough question as I’m never fully satisfied with a race! Ironman 70.3 Venice is probably my best swim/bike/run performance and also qualified me for the Ironman 70.3 world championships. So I’ll go with that one. This was the first race in which I swam 1900m in less than 30 minutes (29:52), biked my fastest 90km (2:22:56, average speed of 38km/h), and ran a 1:29:55 half marathon, for a total finish time of 4:30:41, a PB!
Training for a triathlon, or interested in doing one? Book an appointment for a physiotherapy assessment to deal with injuries, build a training programme or work towards long-terms fitness goals by clicking here