Olympian Andy Potts is one of the most successful American triathletes, but he started as a former swimmer with much to learn. Here he offers beginners his top six tips for triathlon racing success. Look for Potts and other top pros to compete at Sunday’s TriRock Philadelphia.
Take the first five, 10, 15 minutes—whatever it may take—of each leg and build into it. It’s much better to finish strong Olympian than it is to fade to the finish. Build each leg so you’re finishing each leg strong.
When swimming, try to keep your fingertips down through the entire stroke. So fingertips need to stay below your wrist, your wrist needs to stay below your elbow. And keep your fingertips pointed down.
For cycling, specifically on a course with hills, try to ride with momentum. Anticipate the ups and downs and lefts and rights of the course. The better you anticipate what’s coming ahead, the more you’ll be able to ride with momentum.
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Because you spend a lot of time on your bike, you’re going to get off and you’ll feel like you’re bent over, so try to run tall as soon as you can. Stand tall, run with your hips underneath you. Your head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should all align in a forward-leaning plane. Try not to break at the hips—imagine someone pulling you forward by a string tied to your bellybutton.
In transition, you just want to think clean. Clean and simple is fast.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Eat like a kid—eat what you like when you like.
Looking for a triathlon to sign up for this year? Check out our partner, the TriRock Series. Their events feature a fun atmosphere for triathletes of all levels.