5 Critical Race Tips For The Grand Columbian Olympic Distance

Welcome to the third episode of Grand Columbian Race Course Tips, from triathlon coach Ben Greenfield! Here’s what you’re going to get in this three-part series that will be released over the next few weeks:

Part 1: 7 Tips To Execute A Perfect Grand Columbian Race Week

Part 2: 5 Critical Race Tips For The Grand Columbian Half-Ironman 

Part 3: 5 Critical Race Tips For The Grand Columbian Olympic Distance

So let’s jump right in (and be sure to check out the end of this article, where you’ll learn how to get a free video entitled “6 Grand Columbian Race Day Domination Secrets”).

1. Don’t Eat Lots Of Fat or Protein For Breakfast. Compared to a Half-Ironman, where you’re going slower and may be able to handle fats and proteins digesting in your stomach, an Olympic distance triathlon involves higher intensities, more blood flow to working muscles, and less blood flow to the stomach. Go for 400-600 calories of an easily digested carb, like a couple baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams with honey and salt, 2-3 hours prior to the race.

2. Cadence Counts. To swim a fast 1500 meters you need to have a fast turnover. A pretty glide isn’t going to get you much speed. Instead, try counting to 5, 10 or 20 as you swim to keep your stroke count high. Be sure to still reach and stretch with each stroke, but don’t focus on “holding” a glide – instead, focus on forward momentum and force.

Ben Greenfield Cycling at the Grand Columbian
Ben Greenfield Cycling at the Grand Columbian

3. Eat More During the First Half Of The Bike. You don’t want to be running your 10K with a belly full of fuel, so halfway through the 40K bike distance, you should have finished more than half of your calories and water. For most guys, it should be around 250 calories going out and 100 calories coming back, and for girls, closer to 175 calories going out and 75 calories coming back. Also, try to choose a fuel that includes electrolytes, or add salt capsules into the equation. And yes, that means you may need to practice eating and drinking while you climb.

4. Don’t Dilly Dally in Transition. If you’re aiming for a fast race split, don’t waste time in transition. You don’t really need to bring anything to eat, as you can simply grab a gel and sip of water as you pass by aid stations. So all you need are: shoes, hat, race belt. Socks are optional, and the hat and race belt you can put on while you’re running. Transitioning is one thing that you should be able to do as fast as the pros – no “superior” fitness required!

5. No Need To Look Pretty Running Downhill. You’ve got a downhill descent to finish this race. Forget about “form” and “90 degree arm bend”. Instead, let your legs stride out and go as fast as you feel safely possible. It’s going to hurt (running downhill almost always does), but heck, you don’t plan on running the day after the race anyways, do you? For another tip on running those hills, check out the video I reference below.

If you found this article helpful, then you must check out Grand Columbian on Facebook, where I will be releasing a video to Grand Columbian Facebook fans only, entitled “6 Grand Columbian Race Day Domination Secrets”. The video will be released in those last crucial weeks leading up to the race, so be sure to get over to Grand Columbian on Facebook now!

Image: Ben Greenfield
Ben Greenfield

About The Author: Ben Greenfield (pictured right) is a sports nutritionist and triathlon coach. Check out his helpful websites below, and look for Ben at the Grand Columbian event to get any last minute race tips!