9 Things Every New Triathlete Needs to Know
So you want to compete in a triathlon? Great! Odds are you’re a bit nervous and don’t know exactly what to expect. We want to ease your mind, so check out these nine tips for new triathletes (or nine refreshers for veteran triathletes).
Tip 1: Pick the right race for you. It’s best to start with shorter, sprint-distance triathlons to get the hang of things. You’ll also probably want to stay close to home instead of traveling across the country for your first race.
Tip 2: Use minimal equipment. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on specialty equipment for your first race. All you need for the swim is a suit and goggles. The bike you have in your garage will work just fine for the biking portion. You’ll need basic running shoes for the run. Make sure you gather the equipment you do have, and double check your bags before you leave for your race.
Tip 3: You don’t need to train like a professional. Your first triathlon, especially if it’s a sprint-distance, won’t likely take as much training as you think. Some weeks, you might only train about 5 hours, and that’s just fine! Try to avoid overtraining, so you can avoid injury and burnout.
Tip 4: Plan to rest and follow your plan. As you get into your training routine, you might feel bored or antsy on your days off. Make sure you work these rest days into your training plan, and follow that plan. Your body does need this rest, even if your mind is itching to work out.
Tip 5: Go through the race in your head. Try to mentally prepare for what will happen on race day. For example, transition times count and might seem like a long time to switch between events. You should also plan for how you’ll compete. Try to set a reasonable goal for yourself, and plan for the first half of your race to be slower than the second half.
Tip 6: Give yourself plenty of time the morning before you compete. The last thing you need is to feel rushed on race day. Give yourself extra time to get to the site, find parking, stretch and get your transitions set up. Similarly, don’t try new things the day of your race. Stick to what you know so you can feel comfortable.
Tip 7: Ask questions. During registration, preparation, check-in, warm-up…any time you have a question, don’t be afraid to ask. There will be people working the race, and that’s their job. If you are confused about anything in the process, seek them out.
Tip 8: Focus on yourself. Know your own limits and abilities. Yes, the competitive nature of the race is great, but no, it’s not okay to judge your success off of another racer. Keep your goal in mind and focus on you while you compete.
Tip 9: Have fun! Try not to stress about race day or feel intimidated by other racers. You became a triathlete for your own reasons. Keep those in mind, and enjoy the spirit of competition while you push your body to its limits!
Running your first triathlon can be overwhelming. We get that. But, we’re also proud of you for overcoming those fears and diving in anyways. Keep these tips in mind to ease your uncertainty about your upcoming race.
Veteran triathletes, did we miss any important tips for the newbies?