5 Tips on Getting the Best Result at Noosa Triathlon from 2-time winner Aaron Royle
The Noosa Triathlon Multisport Festival kicks off on 30 October, so Trizone chatted to event champion Aaron Royle who offered some key suggestions on how you could make Noosa your best race day yet.
“It’s the most iconic race in Australia, definitely,” says triathlete Aaron Royle, as he chats about the upcoming Noosa triathlon. “It’s iconic, but it has a relaxed feel too.” This unique combination is why the Noosa triathlon is one of the world’s favourite races.
While most triathlon events require you to get accreditation in order to gain access to all the different areas, Noosa is different. “Everyone jokes together, the age-groupers are mixed in with the pros around the venue,” Royle says happily. “A middle aged age-grouper will be stretching and warming up at the same time as I am. I love it. Coming from ITU you don’t get that mix, so I really look forward to this race.”
Joking around together at the start creates a fun, laid back atmosphere at Noosa, yet the competition is as fierce as any other race. Sadly though, the inescapable heat of the race prevents a number of people from finishing every year.
Prepare For The Heat
For those living and training in a cooler climate, arriving a week early can mean the difference between a solid race and a DNF. “There’s tons to see if you arrive early too,” says Royle. “It’s worth getting there and watching Australia’s best athletes in the 5km and other events. Kai Hurst has won the open water swimming race, and Cathy Freeman ran in one of the races in the past. It’s great to watch.”
With world class athletes on show though, you can easily become distracted from taking care of your body. “It’s really hot up at Noosa, so you have to stay hydrated,” warns Royle. “I’ve made that mistake before. I was watching events all day so by the end of the day and I was so dehydrated.”
Aaron’s top tip is to enjoy watching some of the other events, but to make sure you use sun protection, drink plenty of water and don’t forget to go inside, out of the sun throughout the day. The days leading up to the event are crucial for getting your body prepared for the event.
Get Your Nutrition Sorted Before The Race – Hydration Is Key
Hydration is Aaron’s top tip. “The last wave doesn’t start till 9-9:30am, so they finish around lunch time,” he says. “It can be extremely hot for these guys so it’s really important to be hydrated on the bike.”
Unlike other races, you will need more water in Noosa due to the heat. “Do one for one,” Royle advises. “Try 200mls of sports drink to every 200mls of water, or a mouthful of one, then a mouthful of the other. You’ll need to hydrate more than you think, not just carbs from sports drinks.”
As a champion of this race, we asked Aaron to share his mid-race nutrition plan: “I have one gel, 400mls of sports drink and 400mls of water,” he says. “That’s enough for me on the bike. But everyone’s different.”
Plan Your Entry Into the Surf on the Swim
Heading into the Queensland ocean can be a challenge for those without experience in the surf. “Watch the waves in front of you and watch how the pack reacts to them,” advises Royle. “See which side of the waves the swimmers went out the quickest and take the path they took.”
When running from the beach to the transition for the bike, remember you’re on uneven ground. “Be aware of what’s under your feet, like potholes,” Royle adds.
Should You Eat and Drink on the Run?
“I don’t take any nutrition on a 10km run [as] you should be topped up from what you had during the bike” says Royle. “I just wet my mouth. There are plenty of water stations at Noosa, and if you’re not feeling like drinking it, you can chuck it on your head to keep cool.”
Prepare for the Run Course
Aaron Royle hasn’t competed on the new course, which starts on the beach and weaves around the foreshore, rather than wrapping through the canals as it did until 2015. However, he knows the run course well.
“You start out on the road, then turn around and come back on the footpath,” he says. “Remember though, when you turn around, you’re not quite halfway yet. It’s only around 4.5kms. The footpath is more meandering than the road so it’s further.” This is a great tip for those who manage their power output and pace during runs.
For age groupers heading to Noosa from cooler climates – even Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide as it’s been a late winter – it’s handy to realise your body will respond differently in the heat. “Your heart rate is going to be higher,” says Royle. “Your perceived effort will be higher than normal. You’ll also see a difference in your data if you carry a device with you.” Essentially, the heat makes the race feel harder and you’ll notice your heart pounds a little more, so don’t forget that water!
Be Aware Weather Can Evolve During Your Event
As some people don’t start until 9:30am they won’t finish until midday, allowing for evolution of weather and heat. “When morning turns into mid-morning, conditions can change, so it’s important to look at what the weather is doing the night before,” recommends Royle.
Noosa’s Top Hangouts
Like the other competitors from the pros to the age-groupers, Aaron Royle loves the atmosphere of Noosa. “Anything on Hastings street is good for food,” says Royle, “There’s plenty of good pizza. Triathletes tend to be into their coffee, so if you’re after a good coffee just go where it’s busy. Follow the crowd.”
“For a mid-afternoon or evening hangout, head to the Noosa Surf Club but remember don’t overdo the beers until after the race,” says Royle. ‘With alcohol being a diuretic, it’s a guaranteed to dehydrate you so skip the beers the day before.
Aaron Royle’s Top 5 Tips to Prepare for the Noosa Triathlon
Come up a few days or a week early to get acclimatised to the heat
Stay hydrated in the days leading up to the race
Avoid alcohol the day before the race
Solidify your mid-race nutrition and hydration prior to the race