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Tips to keep you out of the triathlon medical tent
Latest news | August 7, 2015
It’s looking like it will be a warm weekend for the London Triathlon taking place at Excel in London’s Docklands tomorrow and Sunday.

Every year about 13000 people take part in the world’s largest triathlon and it’s inevitable therefore that some people will require medical assistance along the route. The London Triathlon medical team includes doctors, nurses, physios and the British Red Cross first-aiders ready to deal with the common medical emergencies that occur in a triathlon, but there are things that you can do to avoid needing to go anywhere near them (no offence taken) and have a safe, successful triathlon.

If you haven’t done an open water swim before or you are less confident in the swim leg, start at the back of the wave. The start can get quite hairy and many elbows/feet will collide with unsuspecting faces.

If it’s a warm day don’t try and push for a personal best: heatstroke usually happens when athletes push themselves hard on a hot day, especially when they haven’t trained in similar weather (“acclimatised”). If you can’t lose enough heat your body will slowly overheat and in these circumstances exercise can be dangerous.

Don’t drink too much before, during, or after the event. Overdrinking, whether you’re drinking water or sports drinks, is dangerous. The risks of dehydration are far, far less serious. (How much is too much? Drink according to what your body tells you: use your thirst as a guide. If you’re thirsty, drink what you feel you need to drink, and don’t drink to “keep ahead of your thirst”. )

Don’t try anything new on race-day, including your kit, your goggles and your bike. If you have never used aero-bars or clip-in pedals before, don’t try them for the first time during a race. Don’t try a new anti-fog for the first time, and please, please┬ádon’t use washing up liquid in your goggles!

Finally, enjoy the event. I wish you good luck for a successful (and safe) triathlon!


Dr Courtney Kipps
Consultant Sports Physician
Medical Director, London Triathlon
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