“It’s GO Time!”

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“It’s GO Time!”

The multisport season is upon us. The horn will be blasting soon, and you’ll be hitting the water or pounding the pavement (duathlon). So, here are a few reminders that you MUST keep in mind. Understand that the application of each of these points can vary greatly depending on the race distance. Growing in popularity is the Super-Sprint distance, now giving us five primary distances to consider, and you can race that distance at the Ethan A. Rhodig Memorial Triathlon at Burke High School!

So, here are some KEY reminders:


  • Know the course. If possible, do some workouts on it. If not, try to drive the bike course (or ride it) the day before if you’ve traveled from out of town to the race. Know exactly how the swim route will unfold. Is the run a loop? An out-and-back? I’ve made a few wrong turns in races, and it stinks.
  • Keep your transition area simple and clean.
  • Walk the route from the water exit to your bike. Twice. It’ll look different coming out of the water so be prepared.
  • Have two pair of goggles, one clear pair and one tinted so that you’re ready for sun or clouds.
  • Be very aware of the weather forecast – rain/no rain. Windy/calm. 
  • Have nutrition ready ahead of time and tested, tested, tested in practice.


  • Position yourself carefully. Stay to the outside or the back if inexperienced or unsure of swimming in a crowd.
  • Do not…do NOT go out too fast. Start slower than what you think you’re capable of. Build into the swim.
  • Sight a lot at the beginning of the swim so that you can stay on track. With a lot of arms and legs splashing around you, it’s easy to swim off course. Practice sighting a lot in training.
  • Concentrate on your technique. It’s easy to not do that under race conditions with other stuff to think about. Think about what you’re doing.
  • For the last 50 meters of the swim, rehearse in your mind what the next one to four minutes will hold as you exit the water. Picture getting from the water on to your bike. Have a system. Know it. Practice it.

Transition One

  • Know where you bike is. I’ve done races where I thought I knew where my bike was but, I’d forgotten during the swim. Find some kind of natural marker. Count how many bike racks you need to run by to get to yours before the race. Don’t bring a helium balloon to mark it. It might impede other competitors.
  • Work top down or bottom up, meaning, helmet on, then glasses, then race belt (maybe) then socks, then shoes or the opposite order.


  • Mount safely. Seriously, be careful. Run your bike out a bit further than most to mount it. Be good at getting your feet in your shoes if you’ve secured them onto the pedals ahead of time. I’ve seen a lot of wipeouts at the very start of the bike. Be very aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Know the bike course. Know the climbs and downhills. Know the condition of the roads. Ride the downhills as fast as possible but not surpassing your bike handling skills. Descents are free speed. Get it!
  • Pace yourself remembering the obvious (but is easy to forget) that you have a run coming! Ride just slightly below what you think you can and you’ll thank yourself during the run
  • You’ll be eating for two during the bike – the bike AND the run, so don’t forget to get in the nutrition that you’ll need. Practice it exactly during training rides.
  • Be very careful dismounting. Practice (are you seeing a theme here?) Feet out and on top of shoes, or, not? Either way slow down and be a bit cautious. I had a classic wipeout last season doing a flying dismount. My wrist still hurts. No joke.
  • Just like with the swim, during the last part of the bike…THINK! Think about T-2 and the job ahead. Be quick but not rushed. Steady quickness.


  • Many principles are the same as what we’ve previously mentioned. Top down or bottom up with your gear. Another thought is to have your belt, number, hat, glasses, etc. in your belt and/or hat so that you can grab all that at once and put it on while running out of T-2 vs. standing still doing all that. 
  • Be sure to rack your bike correctly using only your space. Be considerate to those slower people behind you who will rack after you’re out on the run. 😊


  • Start easy. Even for a Sprint or Olympic. Take the first few hundred yards to ease into the run. I’ve seen and experienced some calf cramping if I take off too quickly.
  • It gets mental here, so stay strong, run steady, and concentrate on good running form. Try hard for negative splits, meaning each mile is faster than the previous. This doesn’t apply to 70.3 or Ironman, but it does apply to anything shorter. For duathlons, you definitely want the second run to be faster than the first, which almost NO ONE does. If YOU do, you’ll have a faster overall finishing time.
  • Save just a little something for the last quarter or even half mile. You just might be duking it out with someone and it sure is nice to pull away in your final surge.

Post Race

  • Congrats! Keep moving. Do some gentle stretching. Thank the volunteers. Get in some protein and healthy carbs. Deal with anything tight or slightly strained. Next three workouts – Swim, bike, then run. That’ll allow your body to come back with lower stress and load.

There you go! These are just a few reminders out of many. Maybe pull this out and re-read it two days before your first race this season. Now, let’s go!

Lincoln Murdoch
Lincoln Murdoch
As an accomplished endurance athlete, Lincoln has been competing in running events for 40 years and racing in triathlons for 25 years. He is a 3x USAT National Champion, 14x USAT All-American and 3x ITU World Championships Top-Ten finisher. Lincoln is passionate about helping athletes meet their goals through books, online resources, coaching and motivational speaking. You can learn more at www.lincolnmurdoch.com.
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