Medical advice

Dr Low Wye Mun

Essential tips for your best MetaMan Bintan

Advice from Dr. Low Wye Mun (aka Doc)
Medical Director – MetaMan Bintan 2014
Sports Medicine physician at Pacific Healthcare Specialist Centre

This could also easily be called ‘five ways to stay out of the medical tent in Bintan’. As you reach the final stages of your preparation for the long, long day in Bintan, here are some tips I hope will make this your best ever MetaMan Bintan race.

1. Training & conditioning for Metaman

Whichever event you are taking part in, I’m sure that you have trained hard and consistently for it. One of your key training challenges is to emulate the physical conditions of Bintan Island, and I am referring specifically to the very hot and humid weather conditions. There is always a chance of sudden rain too, so have a think about this;

Bring your very best physical conditioning and nutrition strategy to Bintan. Don’t make any changes at the last moment. Do what you are accustomed to.

Make allowance for the higher heat and humidity when you are actually in Bintan. That means respecting the conditions and altering your race pace if you are feeling greater physical stress than usual as you swim, bike and run.

Many triathletes don’t ride their bikes when it’s raining, but you have to expect to encounter rain on Bintan Island. So it may be good to carefully do some rides in the rain to get a feeling for how your bike, brakes and handling are affected by it.

2. The downside of over-heating

Apart from a bike crash or an unexpected other injury, your greatest injury concern could be something called a heat injury. This goes by many other names, but what it boils down to (no pun intended) is that your hard-working body starts to produce more heat than it is able to safely get rid of. What this results in is;

Reduced race or event performance as you will not be racing at your optimal level.

An increased risk of developing a heat injury, and yes, a trip to the medical tent.

This can affect everyone from the recreational triathlete up to the professional. So the next tip is meant to help you in handling over-heating in a safe way.

3. Race strategy for optimal hydration

You will have heard that a key strategy to preventing a heat injury is adequate hydration. Even the professional triathletes you will meet on Bintan practice this very carefully. Basic tips include;

You should be well hydrated before the event, following your planned program developed during your training and preparation.

During the event be mindful to start hydrating when you are on your bike, especially if it rains. Triathletes may not drink as effectively as they try to manage the wet road conditions.

Your hydration fluids should comprise both water and electrolytes. The latter is assisted by those energy gels and bars in keeping your heat-management systems working at their best.

Make use of the cold sponges, ice, and offers of water and electrolytes during the run phase.

4. Managing muscle cramps

Muscle cramps are the bane of any triathlete. In the MetaMan Bintan event, these often only emerge during the run at a point when your body is fatigued, and your blood electrolyte levels may be a little wanting. Some advice about cramping includes:

  •  Race within your physical conditioning limits as you did during your training. Excessive effort beyond that in Bintan Island’s conditions may cause you to tire excessively and to lose more sweat than usual.
  • If you do experience a cramp, slow down and stop to stretch the cramped muscles out. If you near a drink station, try to get ice or a cold sponge to apply to the cramping muscle.
  • If you are cramping more, give your muscles a break and consider walking for a while or at least slow down your running effort.

5. Health issues to keep in mind.

Finally, there has to be a medical word added. There are some medical conditions that you may have experienced in the week or so before the event which may pose a risk to you in the race. These include;

  • Flu with fever and muscle aches.
  • Gastric or other gut illness that has caused vomiting or diarrhoea,
  • An injury to a muscle, bone or joint.

If you have had one of these, do ensure that you hydrate well and then start the event with a slower physical exertion level. See how your body feels. If you are unwell, then you should consider being checked out at the medical tent. Also, you could catch up with me before the race at the Race Briefing, and I can help you make a decision about how to take part.

Wishing you your best ever MetaMan Bintan event ever!

Dr. Low Wye Mun (aka Doc)


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