Meet Dan (who we’re only allowed to refer to as IRONMAN Dan these days), our Head of Digital Strategy… I started triathlons only a year ago (from being the most unfit person you can imagine…), when the ENTERTAINER decided to participate at the Roy Nasr Memorial Sprint Triathlon. I very quickly got completely hooked, and signed up for the next sprint distance the day after! Over the following 10 months, my love for training grew, and I participated in 3 x sprints, 2 x olympic distances, 3 x 10km and long distance trail runs, 1 x half marathon, and then finally challenged myself to the 70.3 IRONMAN in Casais, Portugal. What’s next on the list? The 70.3 IRONMAN in Dubai in February, of course! (And our annual ENTERTAINER triathlon on October 14!)
Top tips for triathlon rookies
#1 Don’t leave your head in the water for too long
- Every 5th stroke, lift your eyes out the water, not the entire head
- Exhale through your nose – this will avoid any brainwash
#2 Get the drafting right!
- During the swim, try to draft behind a similarly strong competitor to save energy
- On the bike, remember drafting is NOT allowed
- Keep your distance from the bike in front (about the length of 3 bikes is fine)
#3 Pacing yourself is everything
- Only give 70-80% during the first two disciplines
- Go all out only towards the end of the run, when you’re confident that you can hold the faster pace
- It’s always better to end strong, than starting fast and having to slow down
#4 Grease your neck for the swim to avoid scratches from the wetsuit
#5 Practise your transition
- Only bring what you really need during the race
- Place all items in a logical order on your towel next to your bike
- At T1, put your helmet on first
My top 4 training locations
#1 Bike: Al Qudra
Three fabulous sections you would definitely benefit from checking out include The Stick – 18km, The Main Loop – 50km and the Main Loop Extension – 20km.
Side note: If you want to work up a sweat on the bike with a short, sharp, intense session, you can also give Surge Body Indoor Cycling in Dubai a go – buy three sessions with your ENTERTAINER, and receive three more for free. In Abu Dhabi? Head to Zayed Sports City, where you can check out The Room – another great place for a Functional Training and Spinning Class (watch the video here if you don’t believe us!)
#2 Bike & Run: Meydan
Not only are you able to practise around each loop (which is around 8km long), Meydan is a great location for brick training (run after the ride). If you don’t fancy training in the day, this perfect spot is lit up 24/7, making it suitable for night rides, also.
#3 Swim: Hamdan Sports Complex
Although relatively far out of the city, Hamdan Sports Complex boasts world class swimming facilities, for only AED 25 per session (and a monthly membership is even cheaper!) Tip: check the pool schedule to know when the 25m and 50m lanes are available.
#4 Run & Swim: Black Palace Beach
No better place to practise than the sea! Swim the entire length of the beach, and you’ll have completed about 1.5km. Black Palace Beach is also ideal for Run-Swim-Run training along Al Sufouh Rd, or Abdullah Omran Taryam Rd.
Another side note: Thinking about opting for a gym membership, but don’t want to pay the earth for it? If you’re in Dubai, why not try signing up at Centro Barsha Fitness for One Month, and receive another month for free, or, if you’re in Abu Dhabi, The Beach Club, (+ your ENTERTAINER), are giving you the opportunity to get a complimentary One Year Membership free, when signing up for a year!
And last but not least, 3 golden safety rules
#1 Make sure to get an early start to avoid the heat – during the summer months this can mean starting at 4am, latest!
#2 Avoid riding on your own. It’s always more fun with a friend.
#3 Always bring a repair kit in case of a puncture, and practise fixing it before you leave the house!
Good luck for the triathlon!