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Rough Track champ's tips

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How can I reduce my swim time?
'The key to a fast swim is a fast start. Getting through the swim scrum is hectic but it’s worth it because clearer water helps you see where you’re going and keeps you in contact with fast swimmers so that you can slipstream them and save energy.'
What’s the fastest line to take around the buoys during the swim?
'The Rough Track Triathlon course has 90° turns around the buoys so you can head straight for them, but leave a little gap so that you don’t get pushed into the buoy. Practise turns in the middle of a pool until you can get around the buoy with a couple of strokes.'
How can I get around slower packs of swimmers?
'It’s best to swim off to one side into clear water rather than trying to sprint through them because you will end up in oxygen debt and have to slow down again. Nothing will sap your energy faster than getting kicked and knocked around in a group.'

Should I use the start of the bike leg to catch up with faster swimmers?
'No. All your blood is in the wrong place after swimming so start just below race pace to get your legs moving and shake off the dizzy feeling that can follow the swim. It’s far better to take on electrolyte drink and then build up your speed.'
Is it better to ride in a group or go at my own pace?
'There’s not much aerodynamic advantage to riding in a group on an off-road race. Ride on your own because it pays to see the track, pick the right line and avoid the muddy, bumpy bits. Stay in the saddle and use a high cadence to maintain momentum over the bumps.'
How can I avoid running out of energy on the run?
'Make sure that you take most of your energy on during the bike stage because there are no drink stations on the run. I leave a couple of energy gels by my running shoes to stuff into a pocket just in case I need a boost.'

When is it safe to open up on the run and go for a fast finish?
'Once I’m into the last kilometre I can usually throw caution to the wind and start pushing it for a fast finish, so long as I’m not cramping up. Target a competitor ahead of you and tell yourself that you’re going to catch him before the finish.'

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