Preparing for the Age Group World Championships
What’s coming up on the triathlon circuit? Maybe not the 2018 Commonwealth Games for you, but there are numerous overseas races or World Championship events in 2017 that you can aim for, including:
(18-28 August 2017) will host the Age Group World Championship in duathlon (run/bike/run), long distance (swim/bike/run), cross triathlon (swim/mountain bike/trail run) and aquabike (swim/bike).
(14-18 September 2017) will host the Age Group World Championship in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon and paratriathlon.
The above events are great opportunities to represent your country. While most of the qualification races will have been done at the time this edition of the magazine goes to print, there may still be a few races remaining.
Ideally, when you are keen on qualifying for the Age Group World Championships make sure you are aware of the qualifying events at least 6-12 months out and the procedure involved in qualifying. This information is usually available on the Triathlon Australia website.
The ability to qualify for a World Championship is dependent on the demand for that event, which is often determined by its location. For Australian representation in a World Championship in the Northern hemisphere, i.e., like this year – Canada or Europe, the demand is not so high, and as long as you do the qualifying races, you should be able to make the team. However, if the World Championship event is in Australia or New Zealand, then it is an entirely different scenario.
In 2018, Gold Coast, Queensland, will host the Age Group World Championship in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon and paratriathlon. Given the World Championships will be on home soil, you can expect that many of the very best Australian age groupers, across all age groups, will aim to qualify. As such, it’s strongly advised that you do as many of the qualifying events as you can if you want to qualify – especially if you’re not at the pointy end of your age group.
If you have qualified for a Sprint/Standard or even a Long Course triathlon event this year, what can you be doing to get yourself in the best condition in what would normally be your offseason or down time?
Firstly, it is important to have some time off – this may only need to be two to four weeks, and up to six weeks. Use this time to catch up on other things in your life, along with planning your assault on the event.
Don’t necessarily jump back into the triathlon routine that you have followed over the summer. Look at your weaker leg or what limits your performance, and focus on that for around six to eight weeks. For example: if you find running has been your weakness, jump into a running group and enter some cross-country events during this period. Also, aim to get two higher intensity run sessions, every week. However, make sure you don’t try to ride or swim hard during this time – focus on one thing at a time. Also, don’t forget the need to look at your running technique and efficiency. Check-in on how you run and how you are using your energy – you want it to help propel you forward.
For many females, or male/female newbies coming into the sport, it is generally a lack of bike miles that limits your performance over any distance in triathlon. The strategy here is that this type of athlete needs to ride more. In some of the southern states, this is a lot harder than it sounds but a few smart, efficient ways to get the miles under the belt over the colder, wetter months include:
Ride to work: Get a cross bike or hybrid bike and try to ride to work and back. This can take a bit of planning but once organised, very quickly an additional 100km are being ridden every week. Plus, you’ll save on petrol and won’t get stuck in traffic – win!
Mountain bike: Get together with your fellow athletes and do some mountain bike riding or racing over winter. The weather in these races does not change anything other than you get wet and dirty.
Bike races: If you have a World Championship event at the start of August/September, once you have had a few weeks to rejuvenate the mind and body, choose bike training, road racing or TT events to develop your bike leg. A coach will give you guidance on how to execute the bike races to reap the most rewards.
The above are things you can do to work on a weaker discipline before you launch into a more traditional lead-up to the World Championships.
Finally, give yourself a good 12-18 weeks to focus on peaking for the World Championships. Obviously, how long you have been involved in the sport, how long the season before was for you and, of course, the distance of your chosen event will all impact on exactly how long your triathlon focused preparation/build needs to be.