Although the Memorial Hermann Ironman Triathlon North American Championship is over and gone from The Woodlands until 2020, that doesn’t mean the triathlon craze is over. On Saturday, local athletes who may have been intrigued by the Ironman and who are considering doing a triathlon will have an entire morning preparation event to help.
Sandra Sutherland, who is the owner and founder of TRITX, a triathlon promotion and support company, said the the annual Open Water Swim Day and triathlon First Timer’s Clinic is designed for anyone who may want to get involved at the beginning stages of doing a triathlon.
“We have been doing this (clinic) since day 1 of the (former) CB&I Tri,” Sutherland said, referring to the popular township triathlon now called the Woodforest Bank Tri, which is set for May 11. “It is a way to learn triathlon skills with some guidance. If they have never done a triathlon, there will be information on the various stages.”
The event includes Open Water Swim Day & First Timer’s Clinic, co-hosted by The Woodlands Township, which is scheduled for 8-11 a.m., Saturday, at Northshore Park, 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands.
According to a release from township officials, the open water swim will run from 8-11 a.m., however no swimmers are allowed to enter the water after 10:30 a.m. The release states that the event allows for athletes to practice open water swimming for upcoming triathlons, however there is no instruction provided by the township.
“The township provides the lifeguards and sets up the buoys,” Sutherland added. “People can get guidance on how to cope with the open water swim.”
Walk-up registration is welcome, and participants will be able to swim the course as is needed during the allotted time period. Red Cross certified lifeguards and officials from The Woodlands Fire Department will be onsite for safety issues and if the need for medical care arises. The event is open to adults and children age 13 and older. The fees for the event are $15 for early registration and $20 day on the day of the event.
As part of the open water event, instructor Sutherland, an Ironman and USAT certified coach will be on hand from 8-10 a.m. to teach a course on preparing for triathlons. Acording to a press release, the course will “educate triathletes in the fundamentals of completing a sprint-distance triathlon.”
Sutherland said a total of about four specialized triathlon coaches will be present to help participants learn proper race and training nutrition, running skills, bicyling tactics, how to transition between the three stages of a triathlon properly and open water swimming techniques and tips. Sutherland said pacing is key for new triathletes, as when an athlete goes “all out,” it can lead to a build up of lactose in muscles which can cause fatigue.
“We call it Brick Training because your legs will feel like a ton of bricks (when done),” she said.
Participants will learn various techniques for the swim, bike, run portions of a triathlon, as well as different transition techniques. Sutherland will break down the swim and discuss sighting, pacing, and bilateral breathing. This course includes the Open Water Swim Day for a fee of $35. Pre-registration is required, and attendees can register online.
For those that may have questions about triathlon race day preparation, coaches from Finish Strong Coaching will also be on hand on May 4 and will be offering informative question and answer sessions during the Open Water at Northshore Park. The pre-race meetings will take place at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on May 4. Anyone who is doing the Woodforest Bank Tri on May 11 is encouraged to attend one of the pre-race meetings, especially first time triathletes. According to a press release, the meetings are not long, and focus on safety and allow competitors a chance to ask questions.
“We review the race and give (athletes) a tip sheet,” Sutherland added. “They leave with a full packet of how to train, what to eat..they get a list of everything to prepare for the race.”
There will also be a complimentary Flat Tire Clinic hosted by workers from Bikeland of The Woodlands. The staff is scheduled to offer the clinics during the Open Water Swim, with the first session at 8 a.m. and second at 10 a.m. Attendees, according to a press release, will be given a brief tutorial on how to properly manage flat tires while on a race course or during other cycling activities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Woodforest Bank TRI - The Woodlands
The annual Woodforest Bank TRI - The Woodlands will take place on Saturday, May 11, from 7 to 11:30 a.m. at Northshore Park. The sprint triathlon is comprised of a 500-meter open water swim in Lake Woodlands, bike course winding through The Woodlands and a 5K run along The Woodlands Waterway. Learn more and register at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/thewoodlandstriathlon.