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5 "Don'ts" for the Santa Cruz 70.3 and Santa Cruz Triathlon

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

I've coached many of my athletes to success at the 70.3 Santa Cruz and at the Santa Cruz Triathlon over the years (finishing 4th and 6th overall in this race myself). Here are some tips to have your best race.

1. Don't use the wharf to navigate.

The wharf is a funny L shape and you'll end up swimming further and more crooked if you use it for sighting in the swim. Follow the buoys on the way out and use the right side of the dream inn (or the palm trees) to navigate the shortest path on the way back in.

2. Don't put shoes on to run to T1.

It's a waste of time and it's an extra thing to think about. You'll not only have to get them on wet feet, but after half a mile you will have to take them off again to get into cycling shoes. As an alternative, I've recently softened my opinion on wearing swim socks. Unlike shoes, you won't waste time stopping to put them on, they provide some extra warmth and floatation in the water and will give you some (not the same as shoes) protection on the half mile+ hike to T1 (now as far as the soccer fields). They do take some time to take off (especially if you get them caught on your timing chip!) but it's pretty quick if all goes to plan.

3. Don't try to wash your feet.

Sometimes they give you little pools to wash your feet in. This is a waste of time and counterproductive. You want your feet to be as dry as possible so making them wet again (so sand and stones stick on them) does not make any sense. For the Santa Cruz Triathlon, you don't need to wear socks... use some baby powder in your shoes instead. That's a different story for the 70.3 because you don't want to get blisters.

4. Don't attack at the start of the hills.

This bike course is NOT FLAT. It has some significant rollers that are longer than they look. Build into the hill so you're not exhausted and sitting up panting at the top. You want to work the end of the hill so that you're coming over the crest, back in your aero position, with good momentum.

5. Don't blow up on the run.

There is a hill right out of T2 and there are a lot of spectators cheering, so your adrenaline might be rushing. Don't be a hero here! This is a course where you must negative split to have a good day. Relax up that hill with short steps and build into the first half. Start applying the hurt after the turnaround. This applies to the 70.3 and Santa Cruz Triathlon. Westcliff is the easy bit with sea breeze keeping the temperature down, but prepare for your pace to drop around the Wilder bluffs near half way and the hill back onto the bike track.

Looking for guidance? Schedule a coaching consultation with head coach Martin.

Join our supportive squad from anywhere in the world! We have a big squad presence at the Santa Cruz Triathlon and 70.3 Santa Cruz as many of our athletes are based in the Bay Area or fly in from elsewhere in the US. Racing with a team makes everything better.

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