Posts Tagged ‘racing’

5 things you should know before your first triathlon

April 29, 2019 at 6:46
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Have entered your first triathlon and don’t know what to expect on race day? Here’s our tips for ensuring your event runs smoothly

Keep calm and carry on swimming

I’ve been doing triathlons now for over five years, and I’ve never spoken to a single person who has said, ‘Ohh, I can’t wait to swim, I love it.’ So, try not to stress about the swim because everyone is pretty much feeling the same way.

Best advice for a swimming pool event: keep calm, swim at your own pace, breaststroke if you need to in order to get your breath back but try to keep going rather than stopping because this will help calm you down and  as you maintain some rhythm.

If someone wants to pass you, you’ll feel their hand on your feet. This is NOT them saying,’Oi hurry up get out of my way.’ Most of the time, you hit someone’s feet without realising. Etiquette and expected behaviour is to keep swimming until the end of the lane, and then let them go in front. That’s what they’ll be expecting so DON’T panic about being in their way if you feel their hand.

Likewise, if you’re faster than someone in front, tap their heels and then swim in their wake until they move out of the way at the end of the lane.

Best advice for open water: same thing, keep calm, take deep breaths and start near the back or, better, out to the side but further to the front. This means you won’t have faster swimmers going over the top (and contrary to belief, mostly it’s not done deliberately), but nor will you find yourself waylaid by someone breaststroking which can be equally frustrating.

Get a race belt

If you are used to running, then you may think safety pins are the only way to put a race number on. Purchase a triathlon race belt, which you then safety pin your number to or thread elasticated cords attached to the belt through the race number (you may need a pair of scissors or sharp key to puncture the race number – some event organisers provide hole punchers but not always).

This way, you can spin it around to your back when you’re cycling, and then when you get off, you can spin it back to the front. This is essential to ensure you are not disqualified.

As for the swim, don’t wear your race belt on the swim (you might think, ‘Duh, as if you would,’ but I used to wear mine under my wetsuit until I learned you didn’t have to!). Leave it over your handlebars ready to put on for the bike ride. You will be marked with a permanent marker on your arm so that you are recognised in the pool.

Don’t take lots of things into transition

I’m the queen of taking loads of clothing ‘just in case.’ What this means is that you are stuck by indecision. It’s baking hot but you have arm sleeves? ‘Ooh, I better put them on just I incase it’s cold on the bike.’

Keep it simple, because you generally are totally fine on the bike. If it’s going to be warm, suncream will suffice. If it is going to be cold and wet, arm sleeves that you can pull up or down if you get hot/cold and a cycle jacket (or thin run jacket) will work just fine. And if you do get cold? Cycle harder.

The more you take into transition, the more you panic. I’m the queen of it. Take a look at my looooong transition times.


Triathlon events are always super early, leaving it difficult to know what to eat. But you should eat. All that nervous energy can burn through calories. And also short events such as sprint or olympic triathlon where you think, ‘Oh, I don’t need anything,’ are generally raced faster, because they’re shorter which means that you use more glycogen.

Eat your usual race breakfast and then take a simple carbohydrate form of snack for just before the start – a banana, or my current favourite, a Zenzero stem ginger Veloforte bar.

When you’re on the bike, you should eat too depending on how long the triathlon is. If you’re doing a sprint, think about having a gel just before you get off the bike ready for your run. Or you can also try Tailwind in your water bottle, a carbohydrate the drink that prevents any GI upset. You shouldn’t need anything more than this for this distance.

Go elastic

Change your laces on the trainers to elasticated ones but check them first by running in them to ensure they’re not too tight or too lose. Even if you’re just doing the event for fun, having to stop and tie your shoe laces on before your run when your hands are shaking and everyone’s running around you can leave you feeling like a two year old who can’t do up their shoe laces! Try these Zone 3 Elastic Lock Laces in Fitbitch purple, £7.12


Wishing a fun and inspiring triathlon for our team of 10 women who are undertaking the Steyning Sprint Triathlon on May 5th 2019. If you want to join us, there are still spaces and we have discounts for any FB members.

No Comments »

Race Review: Beat the Tide 10km

August 12, 2016 at 5:18
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Fancy a race that uses nature to give the event a clever twist? Fitbitch runner, Andrea Childs reports on a 10km where you battle the incoming tide for the finish line…

Sandy sprints

Sandy sprints


A total of six Fitbitches travelled to Worthing for this year’s Beat the Tide, an annual 10k race organised by Sussex Trail Events ( It’s a one-of-a-kind event for anyone who knows the pebbly beaches of the South Coast. At this time of the year, the tide goes out far enough to reveal some rarely seen sand, a wide enough strip to run along and indulge your wildest Baywatch Babe fantasies. Unfortunately, having arrived late for the 7pm start, the Fitbitch crew were less Pamela Anderson, looking California tanned in an orange swimsuit; more sweaty, stressed Brightonians in our trademark purple running tops.

It had all started so well. Facebook race page posted in the Fitbitch runners group (we have these for all events, to help keep track of which Fitbitches are taking part which helps motivate you to get involved too – you can join HERE). Lifts organised (that’s the beauty of running as part of a community; there’s always someone to share a ride with). Sun shining (okay, we didn’t organise that bit, but it’s always a good omen for a race). And then we set out for the roughly 14-mile drive along the coast from Brighton to Worthing.

The journey usually takes around 35 minutes. On that evening, a combination of rush-hour congestion and a traffic accident meant that despite setting off before 6pm, one car arrived at 7.05pm and the other at 7.25pm. Fortunately for the first car, the organisers had realised the traffic was a problem and had delayed the start by a few minutes, meaning that at least two of us began the race on time. When they finally arrived, the remaining four Fitbitches were warmly welcomed and allowed to start the race half an hour late, following the footprints in the sand left by the other Beat the Tide runners. The organisers even called the marshalls along the course to let them know they were coming. Fortunately, they managed to catch up with the tail-enders before too long.

The race itself couldn’t have been better – a straight dash along the beach and then coastal path from Worthing to Widewater Lagoon in Shoreham, and back again, with only a short sandy beach sprint to join the two sections. Along the way, children cheered from the groynes, kite surfers skitted along the surf and marshalls handed out drinks (there were two stations) and jelly sweets. The atmosphere was fun and friendly, with lots of local club runners taking part, plus a couple dressed (I think) as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. And because, as the race marketing says, we were ‘racing against nature’ – the incoming tide – there was a cutoff of two and a half hours for participants, although none of us found ourselves paddling to the finish. One of the Fitbitches placed third woman. And as our last runner approached the line, the sun setting behind her, the rest of the crew ran down to support her over the last few metres as she finished her first 10k race and was handed her medal (there was one for every finisher). We’ll definitely be back next year. We’ll just leave longer to get there next time.

Being part of a running community helps keep you motivated and inspired - plus there's always someone to share a post race celebratory cocktail

Being part of a running community helps keep you motivated and inspired – plus there’s always someone to share a post race celebratory cocktail


Review in Brief: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good

A chance to shun the pebbles and run along a sandy beach. Fantastic welcome from the race organisers, despite our late arrival.

The bad

The headwind was great for kitesurfers but not so much for runners. And be aware that there are no toilets provided.

The ugly

The traffic. Maybe we can cycle to the start next year?

If you would like to join our running community, sign up for our newsletter for details of all our Autumn Winter courses, as well as community races and Girls Run the World trips to races around the world.



No Comments »