10 Tips for your First Triathlon
By Ben McIntosh
10 tips for your first triathlon
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The relatively young sport is developing each year, with the level of athletes rising, sponsorship deals increasing and the science behind the sport becoming more important. If you haven’t competed in a triathlon yet, none of this will mean anything to you. So let’s focus on what does.
1.Choose a shorter distance to begin with. For your first one it’s just about getting the feel. So to start with an Olympic/standard distance or even further seems a little extreme? You probably won’t have the fitness straight away and fall out of love with it before you have even started. Why not try a super- sprint or a sprint to get you started?
2.You don’t need ‘all the gear’ to do your first triathlon; you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment. Sure a £10,000 bike is nice but you don’t need it. Just make sure the bike is ride able/road safe and fits nice. Eg. No frayed cables, brakes that work, tyres pumped up…etc
3.Running shoes are really important. Running is one of those sports which have a huge impact on your body. Having cushioned shoes that fit will dramatically reduce your chances of injury and will make your run a lot more enjoyable.
4.Hydration – without water your body will not function. Make sure you drink plenty before, during and after the event. The best time to drink usually is on the bike; as a bottle can be easily placed in a bottle cage. In the long run it is more than worth it. Cramps are something to be avoided. There also tend to be feed stations at most triathlons but check before you start!
5.Nutrition – exercising requires energy, so make sure you have got it there to begin with! Don’t fast coming into the event, it is important that you eat well the days coming into the race. Breakfast is also really important; make sure you give your breakfast time to process before you start to avoid stitches. A couple of hours are usually enough. With the salt loss and energy loss during the event it may be worth taking on Electrolytes and gels. Our partners at HIGH5 have a great range. http://highfive.co.uk/
6.REST – as with any race or event it is not advised that you do a full hard day of training before the event. By resting it gives your muscles chance to repair and be ready for the big day. Why not give yourself the best chance possible?
7.Arrive with plenty of time. If the triathlon starts at 9am; arriving at 8:45am is not really enough time. Give yourself time to register, get your numbers on, put all of your stuff in transition, get changed, familiarise yourself with the course/area and most importantly time to enjoy yourself and relax. Rushing is not so fun. I personally tend to arrive just over an hour before the event. However, I have done more than one so allow more time for your first one
8.Don’t go too hard too soon! For example. If your best ever swim time is 10 minutes for a given distance; don’t aim for 9 minutes or even 10, remember you have to bike and run after the swim! Pace yourself in order to finish. Then next time you will be able to learn from your first race: where you went too hard or too easy and go faster.
9.Transition – it is worth practicing your transition in order to save some time. You don’t actually need to go for a swim/ bike ride in order to do this. Just practice getting changed as quickly as you can. From swimming to cycling then cycling to running. Taking your goggles off on the move, getting in your shoes as quickly as possible, and taking them off!
10.Enjoy it – in my opinion if you don’t enjoy it, it’s not worth doing. There is no need to be so serious all the time. Take in the atmosphere, meet new people and enjoy the conversations/people around you. Smile.
I hope this helps.
All the best,