Now that winter's (finally!) over and the Polar Vortex is a becoming a cold and distant memory, it's time to hit the roads—literally. But before you head for the hills, consider these tips to get your run, bike and swim ready for outdoor training.
Your bike is the big thing you need to prep for the transition. Unless you're savvy with tuning tools, take it to a local bike shop for a quick once-over. "I always recommend getting a tune-up and a bike fit before heading outside," says Alan Kipping-Ruane, founder of TriGuy Multisport Coaching in West Lawn, Pennsylvania.
Once your bike's in order, run through a quick clothing checklist to make sure you're ready for any bumps in the road.
"I make it mandatory that my athletes wear gloves, and cover their shoulders with a bike jersey instead of either going shirtless or wearing a cutoff jersey," says Kipping-Ruane.
Other must-haves? An air pump, extra water, and a saddle bag stashed with extra CO2 cartridges, cash, tire tubes, your cell phone, safety pins, super glue and a small first aid kit.
Handling the Roads
As monotonous as it is to pedal on your trainer, there are pros to indoor workouts. Namely: Not having to deal with the stress induced by unexpected potholes, speeding cars or aggressive fellow cyclists. While your first couple rides may be hairy, know that the more you ride, the better you'll feel on the bike.
"Don't be overly aggressive in the beginning," says Carly Fauth, a longtime triathlete from Milford, Massachusetts. "Maintain a slightly slower pace or cadence and keep your safety in mind at all times."
Kipping-Ruane recommends riding in a group and avoiding populated routes. And, if you're a cycling newbie, practice off the roads at first. "If you're worried about clip-in pedals, have a coach or friend help you with it on turf or grass. Working on technical skills, like switching gears and turning in a parking lot can be a huge help," he says.