As we wandered around Cairns today, chatting with nervous yet excited triathletes, we could not help but notice that the point of concern and conversation for most was the likelihood of windy and rainy conditions for tomorrow’s Cairns Ironman and Cairns Ironman 70.3. And while the current weather forecast is looking in favour of competing athletes – partly cloudy, light winds and a medium chance of showers, most likely in the evening – here, we cover some quick tips on how to handle unexpectedly wet and windy conditions for triathlon racing.
Adjust your expectations
Riding and running in wind and rain will most certainly slow you down and add to your fatigue. Not only does this make the tip below even more important but you should also accept the likelihood of a slower race time. If you are heading into the race with expectations of a certain time or PB, throw those expectations out the window and race to the conditions.
Stick to your nutrition plan
Rainy and windy conditions can often be a distraction meaning you forget to concentrate on the important things, like your sensible and well thought out race nutrition plan. In addition, rain may also bring drop in temperature, which makes it difficult to remember to stay hydrated. No matter what the conditions, make sure you keep refuelling and hydrating according to your nutrition plan.
Just like distraction can make you forget about nutrition, lapses in concentration can also increase the chance of mistakes from you and other competitors. Allow extra space between you and other rider, brake before you turn a corner, not during. Take it easy around the corners.
Adjust your expectations
Riding and running in wind and rain will most certainly slow you down and add to your fatigue. Not only does this make the tip above even more important but you should also accept the likelihood of a slower race time. If you are heading into the race with expectations of a certain time or PB, throw those expectations out the window and race to the conditions.
You are not alone
Every competitor is in the same boat, facing the same weather conditions. You can’t control the elements, but you can control the way you react and deal with the situation. Don’t drag your energy levels down with negative thoughts. And spare a thought for your loved ones watching on – running in the rain trumps standing in the rain!
Many cyclists, especially those with less experience, become tense when they sense that the risk of falling off on wet roads in increased. This will drain your energy and actually increase your chances of a fall. Although no risk of a fall, the same can be said for running. Relax your upper body, arms and face, and don’t for get to breathe.
Tackle the headwind… head on!
It goes without saying that a headwind is going to slow you down. Minimise the impact of the wind on the bike by dropping into an easier gear and maintaining an aero position. Make the most of any downhill sections. Similarly, lean into the wind on the run, shorten your stride and run in a pack (drafting is allowed on the run)!
Put a smile of your dial, and laugh and joke with your fellow competitors. Chances are that the lady next to you is as nervous, if not more, as you are. If nothing else, chatting with those around you will take your mind of your worries. Enjoy the experience, no matter what the conditions!