The Straddie Salute Triathlon Festival is on the horizon, here’s how to get into tip top shape.

The Straddie Salute Triathlon is held on North Stradebroke Island, and features one of the most stunning triathlon courses in Queensland.

First, competitors swim 750 metres through the crystal clear waters of Home Beach, followed by a 20km cycle through beautiful native forest from Point Lookout to Amity and back. Next is the 8.5km run, which takes you on a spectacular all-terrain tour of Point Lookout.

Sounds like a breeze. A holiday, even. It’s anything but.

You’ve got to remember, this isn’t a leisurely stroll or one of those fun runs you don’t have to train for (well, you should train for those, too, but if you’re like me you just never get around to it). This is serious stuff! To finish the course in good time, you need a lot of training and it’s very important you don’t leave it to the last minute.

That’s why we asked for some advice from a champion in the field, Sarah Crowley.

Sarah Crowley is the current Oceania ITU Duathlon Champion, a former Australian ITU World Championship series representative and multiple long course triathlon champion, so she knows exactly what it talks to get yourself into shape.

Ms Crowley started competing in Triathlons after watching an Aquathlon in Adelaide.

She “enjoyed the excitement and speed of the event” so much that she signed up for a club the next day. When she’s in training her day usually consists of a 4:30am start, running or riding before work.

After work, she heads to the pool for a swim. Her weekends? Let’s just say they’re busy.

“On the weekends I do my longer training sessions, aerobic running and riding,” Sarah says. “Saturday is usually a long ride up to 5 hours and a 3km swim. Sunday is usually a long run.”

Sarah’s favourite part of a triathlon is the run and the satisfaction of the finish.

“It’s great when all your friends have crossed the line and you can go to the recovery area and start sharing experiences and then kick back afterwards at the beach.”

Ms Crowley will be competing in this year’s Straddie Salute, and she has some great training tips for triathlon beginners.

Start gradually

Start training 8 to 12 weeks out from the event, practicing at least two of the three disciplines each week. As you get closer to the race it is a good idea to add an extra session in. At about week 6, add an extra training set in of
your weakest leg to spark some improvement. Cardio and interval training It’s best to start with aerobic training, like going for long rides and runs, and start to build in effort. But do make sure you do some sessions that mix aerobic (cardio) and interval training (quick bursts).  Intervals are great for pushing your pace.

Bike exercises and dismount

A good session on the bike would be an hour ride. Ride 15 minutes on the flat ground, including a 10 minute warm up, making sure you do four bursts of 10 minutes every now and again at race pace with 5 minute cool downs in between. The hardest part of any triathlon is the ‘run off the bike’. Practice this a few times before the event.

Running exercises

For running, a good set would be a 30 minute run with a 5 minute warm up and then five bursts of 3 minute efforts at 80 per cent, with 1 minute recovery and a 5 minute cool down.

Breakfast

Make sure you ‘practice’ what you will eat for breakfast the morning of the event, to be sure your stomach will cope with it. So bacon and eggs is out of the question, then?

The Straddie Salute Triathlon Festival runs from 22 to 23 August with various events to compete in, including a fun run and ocean swim. Entries are open now. For more information or to enter visit www.iconevents.com.au