Get your best result at the Metasport Aquathlon

Many of us are racing the Metasport Aquathlon this weekend, so now is the time for some last minute tips and race strategy to make sure you have the best result possible.

The swim:
The Metasport Aquathlon is held at Sentosa.  As this bay is enclosed from the open sea there is less effect from tidal factors, such as strong currents and certainly no rips.  Added to this, Singapore tends to have very light to almost no wind, thus the swims tend to be in much calmer waters. 

Tactics:
If you are new to the sport, first timer or a non confident swimmer, we always advise you to start the race to the side, or behind the other competitors.  It is a terrible feeling to be in a 'washing machine' of other athletes, and if this is one of your first events you want clean open space with few people around so you can enjoy the race at your own pace.

For those who are more competent swimmers, or have done the Aquathlon for a few years now, you should know a few other competitors around your level.  The ideal place to be on the start line is between 2 other swimmers who are likely to swim 30sec to 1min quicker than you over 750m.  As you should know, drafting in swimming is critical as it will save you 15-30% of energy.  This means by aiming to simply sit on the feet of those faster than you is an excellent plan - maximizing your swim time.  

For all competitors, as this is a sprint race take any fluids and perhaps 1 gel prior to race start, because when the gun goes there simply will be no more time.   Also, put your swim goggles underneath your swim cap, this prevents it from ripping off when you enter the water also, it prevents swimmers arms from accidentally swiping it off during the swim.

To Pack Checklist:
  1. 2 pairs of goggles - to cover if one pair break.  Also I prefer to have one tinted lens encase you are swimming into a sunrise, and one lighter pair for when the sun is up and you want a clearer visibility.
  2. Race kit. Remember your torso needs to be covered on the run, so either swim with a tri suit/ two piece or have a tee shirt in transition
  3. Vaseline - Ideally you want to put some Vaseline on your feet prior to the swim.  It helps you to slide your feet into the shoes later, as well as makes it harder for another athlete to grab your feet

Transition:
The transition is the only place on the course where an athlete is completely stationary.  Ideally we want to limit this time to be as short as possible.   At the Metasport Aquathlon, the run from the swim to transition is quite long, so pace yourself out of the water.  Take off your swim cap and goggles (do not put them in your mouth as you need all the air your can get!)

Tactics:
Prior to the start of the race - do 3  x jogging from the swim exit to where your shoes and race number are placed within the transition area.  Sometimes when we swim, we get a little disorientated, so having practiced this short segment is key.

DO NOT WARE SOCKS - make sure your shoes have quick tie laces, so you can simply slip them on

In order, have your equipment stacked as follows:
  • Shoes on top
  • Next your tee-shirt (if your do not already have your torso covered)
  • Race number on a number belt.  You will simply pick this up and put it on as you are running (do not stand still)
  • Finally 1 brightly colored towel so your transition area is highly visible

To Pack Checklist:
  • 2 pairs of running shoes.  Once your have placed your race pair in transition you may still want to do a run warmup - so this is why we need the second set
  • Race number belt
  • Timing chip
  • A hat (if you want to race in a hat)

The RUN:

The final segment of the race.   The goal in any distance running is to pace yourself and ideally gradually get faster over the duration of the race.   How fast your can start is dependent on your ability, experience and current fitness level.   Remember you do not want to be one of those who are 'cooked' with 2km to go!

Tactics:
  • Ideally you should already know your 5km or 10km race pace.  An ideal pace to start at is approximately 5-15secends per km, slower than this pace.  I.e. if you can hold 5min/km pace for 10km (50min - 10km) you should am to run the first 1-2km at 5.10km pace
  • Passing by the water stations you should only use the fresh water to dump over your head to stay cool, or to swish around your mouth to remove the salty sea water
  • Only after the 2.5km mark should you have a small drink (if necessary)
  • After 2km you want to start to increase your speed by 10sec per km.  This is descending the run.  The benefit of this is that you will get motivation as you start passing lots of athletes who went out too hard and 'blew up!'
  • Should you get stitch in the run, it could be, because of your breathing - so try to relax with long deep inhales and exhales.  It could be because of too much water in your system - so do a body check and stop drinking.  Finally it could be not enough water - once again do a body check and start taking small amounts of water at each drink station

To pack checklist:
  • All of our run items where covered in the transition to pack checklist

POST RACE:

CONGRATULATIONS - if you have made it this far your have completed the most important aspect of any race and that is to finish!  Hopefully you have used some of the tips as outlined above and managed to do a great personal best (PB).

Things to remember to do:
  • Drink plenty of fluid - it is key to now rehydrate as it will affect next weeks training
  • Warm down with a gentle swim.  This will help your body flush the lactic acid buildup
  • Use recovery strategies (we put an article to this on our Facebook group page last week, so please feel free to have a look at this)
  • Take a protein shake.  Ideal within 15-30min of finishing

To pack:
  • Have a space full set of clothing for post race.  It may get hot so include sunscreen, and hat
  • 2 drink bottles - at least 1liter of water

Word of caution on your results - many athletes like to compare course times year on year.  In a fixed environment like a swimming pool or a velodrome for cycling this is a good concept, however in Triathlon or Aquathlon, when there are so many external variables we do not advise this method.  Rather, once you have done the sport for some time, you will get to know other athletes of around your ability.  You can measure your personal improvement against an average of your competitors.  Of course if you are all getting better this method may also not be ideal, however it is far more reliable than course to course / year to year on a particular course comparisons.

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All he best for the Metasport Aquathlon this weekend!



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