Sports Medicine Tips to Stay Safe in First Coast Kids Triathlon


Sunday’s big event will be the first step in creating an active and healthy lifestyle for thousands of children on the First Coast.  Making sure those smiling faces and fast little legs stay safe is priority #1 for everyone involved with this wonderful event.

The First Coast Kids Triathlon kicks off on Sunday, May 1st at 8 AM at the University of North Florida.  The First Coast Kids Triathlon is one of the largest youth triathlons in the word.  It’s focus is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in children AND their parents.

To help the children involved in this wonderful event to avoid injuries, I’ve put together my sports medicine tips to share with the racers and their parents.

The Day Before the Race

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Getting fluids in your body early is very important while getting the right kinds of fluids is the key.  Stay away from the sodas, ice tea and all sweet drinks.  Focus on water and sports drinks.

Hey Mom & Dad:  This goes for you too!  You’ll be out there cheering in the heat and no one wants to see one of you suffering from a dangerous case of heat Illness.

My motto that I use with the Jaguars players is “Keep drinking 50/50”.

  • Consistently drinking 50% water / 50% sports drink before, during and after the race.

Carbs are Your Friend – Push the carbs.  Carbohydrates are the best source of fuel to get you through any workout or race.  Toast, bagels, whole-grain cereals, non-citrus fruits and pasta are all smart options.

Time to Relax & Stay Cool – Being a kid is hard work!  Taking some extra time to get off your feel and avoid being in the heat/humidity for any extended period of time the day before the race.  This will help your body to store fluids and be properly prepared to cool itself the next day.

Race Day

Pre-Race Meal – Keep it simple:  Carbs and smart fluids.  No dairy, nothing sweet, nothing spicy and nothing that will upset your stomach.  The nervous “butterflies” will be there but don’t let them keep you from eating the needed fuel for the race.

Drink Early & Often – It’s going to be hot so you’ll need fluids early & often.  Remember my “50/50“ Rule:

  • Consistently drinking 50% water / 50% sports drink before, during and after the race.

Grease Your Dogs – Blisters are not your friend and they can quickly make your race very painful.  Putting some Vaseline or petroleum jelly in a ziplock bag to quickly wipe on your toes, heels and arches before you get on your bike will help you avoid blisters during the race.  Avoid putting it on before the swim so you don’t pick up every stick and rock with your gooey feet as you run to your bike.

Wicking Away the Heat – It will be hot on Sunday and staying cool is a vital tip to avoid heat illness.  What you wear is the key.  Wearing a light colored thin DryFit-type shirt allows your body to rid itself of excess heat and cool itself like a giant radiator.  Darker colors hold more heat so “lighten up” the color of your shirt and hat to stay cooler.

Thinking Healthy – The reason you’re in this race is because you want to be active and having fun.  Thinking that way is a helpful tip to being safe.  Being too aggressive and not being considerate of your fellow racers can lead to accidents or keep you from properly hydrating during the race.  Both are bad.  Slowing down and having a healthy attitude ensures that you and your friends will finish the race safely.

Keep smiling and enjoy the race!

I applaud all of those involved with the First Coast Kids Triathlon.  It’s one of the most organized races that I’ve been involved with during my 35 years of racing.  From the race organizers to the amazing volunteers to the brave racers themselves, everyone wins with this event.

Keeping athletes, both young and old, safe is my job and it’s what I love to do.  I hope these sports medicine tips from help to keep everyone involved with this amazing event safe & healthy!

Author: Mike Ryan

After 26 seasons as a full-time certified athletic trainer and registered physical therapist in the National Football League, Mike Ryan has outstanding first-hand experience. His unique professional and athletic background has sharpened his skills in the arts of sports injury management, elite rehabilitation, performance enhancement and injury prevention. Mike is now taking his experience to mainstream America. His mission is simple: Sports Medicine advice that is easy to use and brings fast results. Learn more about Mike Ryan

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