Question: I’m racing in a triathlon that has several steep hills about 500 yards long. Should I attack them aggressively even if I lose speed on the descents?
Also, are there pros or cons to getting a massage several days before a triathlon? — Dan H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You can gain more time climbing this type of hill than you can lose on the descent — if you know how to apportion your energy. The trick is to go slightly above your lactate threshold on the climbs. Go a bit anaerobic, then recover on the descent while still keeping speed high.
It takes experience to do this well. If you hammer a climb too hard, you’ll be blown on the descent and have to coast or soft pedal instead of keeping your cadence up and speed high. It’s a fine line. You need to find it and practice riding at it in training and in races of lesser importance.
As for massage, the only downside close to an event is the possibility of muscle soreness, especially if you don’t regularly receive massages.
The general rule for competition is: Don’t do anything just before or during the event that you haven’t tested thoroughly in training. This goes for massage too.