National Series Strategy: Belfast Olympic Triathlon (Race 5) Handbook

August 29, 2017 Leave your thoughts Posted under

The Final NS Olympic of the season is here, and it’s a good one! Belfast is a super course and is an ideal race for anyone trying out their first standard distance. It is also a great race for those in search of NS Points (Way to go Men’s and Ladies Teams!!) The swim is in a sheltered harbour, the bike is flat on decent roads and the run is a 4 loops of central Belfast past some historic buildings including City Hall. It is relatively local (2 hours’ drive), so let’s get down to business!

 This note has the following sections:

  • Who’s Racing?
  • Final Schedule and Race Briefing
  • Pre Race Advice
  • Getting There and Car Pooling

Who’s Racing?

Lorraine CarrabinMaura Ormiston
Susan Wylie
Judy Van den
Roisin Pakenham
Siobhain Duggan
Martina Duignan
Michael Barry
John MackenMartin Dunne
Dara Lawlor
Kevin Beades
David Bray
Sean Barry
Michael Dillon
John Martin
Brian Stanley
Michael BarryJorge Collado
Richie Dooley
Darragh Kitt
David Larkin
David O'Shea
Cathal O'Sullivan

Ross Condy
Megan SmithHelen DowdallAnna CallaghanPatricia Eadie
Eimear McHugh
Nicola Hickey-
Peter Mulvey
Adam GoslinKillian NolanShannon Kelly

Final Schedule and Race Briefing

As at the time of printing, the race schedule for the weekend is:


Registration will take place at Victoria Square, Belfast during the following hours:

Friday 1st September 12:00 – 20:00;

Saturday 2nd September 10:00 – 20:00;

Sunday 3rd September 06:00 – 07:30.

Location information is at Registration is on the upper ground floor near the Ann Street entrance beside Costa.

Transition Area:

The transition area in Custom House Square will open at 06:30 on race day. Entry will only be permitted to those wearing their number tattoos. Places will be allocated by race number within the transition area.

The transition area will close once the last competitors have proceeded towards the swim start, at approximately 08:10. It will then be deemed part of the course until the last competitor has started on the run.

Verbal Race Briefing:

A verbal briefing will be given by race organisers and Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials at 08:00. This will take place within the transition area. This provides an opportunity to update all competitors on any changes to the published information or issues with the course.

A link to the Race Brief is here

Details of the swim, bike and run course are highlighted below.

Swim Course:

Competitors will be paraded from the transition area, across the footbridge, to the swim start on Queen’s Quay. This is a smooth tarmac and tiled surface and is suitable for bare feet although may be cold if wet. The standard distance race will start at 08:30 and the Sprint race at 09:00. Timing chips must be worn on the ankle throughout the race. 08:30 – (White or Pink cap) – Standard distance, all competitors 09:00 – (Blue cap) – Sprint distance, all competitors

The swim course will run anti-clockwise, heading along the southern bank before crossing and returning along the northern bank. Once under the last M3 bridge support, swimmers will spot the exit ramp directly ahead. Standard distance racers will complete one large lap turning left at the second buoy while sprint distance competitors will do a smaller lap turning left after the first buoy. Kayaks will lead out the various waves.

Bike Course:

Those doing the standard distance will start a second lap by making a dead turn in the middle of the road close to the transition area. Sprint distance athletes will cycle straight on and return to T2. This point will be clearly signposted but it is the athlete’s responsibility to know the course. Returning over the bridge towards transition at the end of the cycle section, it is especially important to stay to the left side of the road. You will then be advised to dismount before crossing the timing mats. Please look to the left and familiarise yourself with the position of the dismount line as you walk from transition to the swim start. You must get off your bike before reaching the dismount line which will be marked by yellow signs and a white line on the road.

Run Course:

Standard distance athletes will do four laps (sprint distance do two laps). At the end of the first three laps, you will turn into Queen’s Square and run past the finish chute. At the end of lap four, follow the sign for Finish. Your body might try to convince you that you have done one more lap than you have………..make sure you do four!

Pre Race Advice

Race Week

In the week before the race, being well-rested is vital. Triathletes have a (good) habit of being very committed to training and often find it hard not to train! However, the week ahead of a race is one of those times when you should take that break and not feel guilty about it. The training that matters has been done already and flogging yourself a few days before a race is not wise! However, tuning up in the form of short and sharp intervals across all three disciplines is generally recommended. Eat good and nutritious food and stay hydrated.

Make sure you have everything you might need for the day! Of critical importance is your TI card or one day licence – no licence, no race! You should know yourself what items you need, but as a guide, see the sample checklist below:




Other Options

Race Day

Outlined below is a comprehensive warm-up that incorporates all three disciplines and requires a decent amount of time. What is arguably as important as the physical side of warming-up is the logistical and mental preparation. Make sure that you have everything positioned where you want it (the logistics), ideally as early as possible, so that you can then prepare (mentally) prepare. Assuming you have allowed sufficient time, this should incorporate familiarising yourself with the course, in particular, in and around transition. If you have any particular concerns, try to limit these. For example, nervous swimmers might walk to the turnaround point to get the measure of the course and note landmarks that might be reassuring during the race; if your bike handling on a TT is rusty, navigate a few corners. Make sure your bike is roadworthy and operating smoothly (faulty bikes cause anger, anger leads to hate, hate causes suffering………..and we know where that leads!).


Before you rack your bike, try to get 10-15 minutes easy cycle- this will give you a feel for you race position, changing gears and pedaling technique. Keep this cycle at easy intensity- This can be a couple of hours before the race start and the purpose is to give you a feel for the bike (Use run/swim as warm up before race).


 When racking your bikeDo a couple of jogs through the transition and visualise where you have to enter and exit for T1 & T2. Know exactly where your bike is – memorise how to get to your bike quickly. Placing a ridiculously colourful towel on the ground by your bike is sometimes useful as it can be easy to spot as you run along a row of bikes. You can place your runners, gels, visor, sunglasses etc. on the towel so you can grab them before you head out on the run. Alternatively, note a fixed landmark (not a bike!) and practice making your way to \ from the entry \ exit point.


After racking your bike and setting up your transition completely, do a run warm up next – complete 10-15 minutes jog with 5x 10 strides seconds at intensity of 7/10. Aim to finish your run warm up approximately 20-25 minutes of starting your race, then get wetsuit on for swim warm up below.


Try and get into the water to allow time for the body to acclimatize. While you don’t want to get cold, acclimatising as best you can is very important. Dynamic movements of your arms and shoulder are suggested (e.g. circling your arms and practicing the swim motion). Start with some aerobic swimming and add 4 x20 seconds at race intensity, with 1 minute easy between each.

Getting There (and Car Pooling)

Registration and race day parking details are outlined in the Race Briefing. Piranhas should be able to get to Belfast in under two hours from Dublin via the MI and A1.


Since there are a large number of us heading down to race it makes sense that we try and minimise our carbon footprint and carpool where possible! If you are interest in giving or getting a lift please post up on the forum and take it from there. The more information and flexibility you can offer, the likelier you are to get a lift! If you are taking a lift please take it as read that you should offer to contribute to the cost of the journey for petrol / diesel and tolls, if applicable!

Wishing you all a Good Race.

Any questions then please do not hesitate to contact either of us.

Good Luck!

Richie and Siobhan

Richard Doyle and Siobhan Forman,

National Series Coordinators.


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