One of South Africa’s top multi-sport events, the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE will take place during the highly anticipated annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. This multi-sport challenge has gained massive popularity over the past few years as it offers some of South Africa’s most spectacular natural scenery while mountain biking and running in and around Knysna’s famed forests and hills, and swimming its estuary with a view of the Knysna Heads.
If you’re participating in the BIG5 SPORT CHALLENGE and looking for inspiration and advice to help you perform at your best, STeve Attwell, Head Triathlon Coach at Embark Training shares a few strategies to help get you through the challenge:
The BIG5 Sport Challenge encompasses a mountain bike, a trail run, an open water swim, a running race and a duathlon. It attracts the top South African multisport athletes but also accommodates multisport weekend warriors – those with a spirit of adventure during the day and a thirst for Knysna’s festivities in the evening.
Providing you are already a multisport athlete, with a few triathlons or endurance races under your race belt, your training will not differ much. But take a look at the distances of the races. Compare your current fitness levels with the required distance for each challenge and adjust your training distances accordingly.
It is winter in South Africa and this means cold winter mornings. The races all start early, when its cold, and you need to work out how to dress for these cold mornings versus the actual racing when you warm up. Invest in some winter gloves, arm warmers, a buff (you will get one in the BIG5 race pack), and a gillet (a sleeveless wind breaker).
The races are all early in morning, once you finish the race you have the rest of the day and the following day to recover. The best afternoon technique for recovery is to head down to the race village, grab a hearty meal and a glass of wine, and watch the Tour de France on the big screen. Just stick to a few rules: Keep your feet slightly higher than your hips when you are sitting, limit yourself to one glass of wine, and balance your carbs, protein and vegies.
It’s a crucial role and if you run out of fuel you will limp home, frustrated, and Knysna is too beautiful for that. The longer races have brilliant aid stations with happy and helpful marshals, tables of energy drinks, water, coke and snacks. You need to fuel yourself before the race, eat your breakfast in good time before you start racing, and take a snack with you if the start time is still a while from when you leave the house.
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