Tri Tip of the Day- Triathlon Running Aid Stations: How to use them correctly and fast!
- There are 12 running aid stations in a half ironman. Save a few seconds at each one and its 4 minutes off your race time!
- No they are not cocktail parties nor nap spots.
- No we can’t skip them (except maybe the last one if you are sprinting)
- but how do we get through them fast?
Key things to keep in mind:
- Keep moving! If you stop moving you lose time and your legs get cramps. At least walk, prefer to jog through it
- Develop a routine and stick to it- this way as you get dumb towards the end you don’t forget something
- The key thing to keep in mind is to do as little as possible in the aid station itself and to move on and do as much as you can while running.
- Practice your routine until it becomes automatic
How to use a running aid station properly: (this assumes it is a HOT race)
- If you have personal nutrition (which I recommend) such as gu you are carrying, eat it BEFORE you get to the aid station. Then toss the wrapper as you approach the aid station (in a can!)
- As you approach call out what you want to try to figure out where everything is (each aid station is different)
- I make 3 calls- “gatorade, water, ice”
- The next steps are done in whatever order the aid station presents what you may want:
- Gatorade- when handed it, drink it immediately, drop cup
- Water- grab one with each hand. Pour one over your head, and the other all over your clothing, drop cups.
- Ice- stuff the ice cup in the front of your shorts or in your bra to deal with later
- Get out of the aid station!
- Having exited the aid station and resumed running, now deal with the ice- I put one cube in my mouth, a few cubes in my left hand, and the rest in my hat- all this part can be done while running.
- The keys to doing this successfully are:
- do as much as you can before the aid station
- have a clear plan of what you need before you get there
- get out quick and do as much fiddling as you can once you are running again
As always you can: