How to do your first Triathlon

“I want to do a triathlon!”

If you have never attempted one before then you should start with at most a sprint distance triathlon, comprising a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run. This is an achievable distance and will certainly allow you to experience the sport of triathlon. So given that a sprint race is your initial goal, what do you need to do to achieve the goal?

  “I want to do a triathlon!”

If you have never attempted one before then you should start with at most a sprint distance triathlon, comprising a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run. This is an achievable distance and will certainly allow you to experience the sport of triathlon. So given that a sprint race is your initial goal, what do you need to do to achieve the goal?

Equipment: The minimum equipment requirement would be:

  • Swim – Swimming costume and goggles. (I would recommend the first race being in summer so that the water temperature is warm enough for you to enjoy the swim).
  • Bike – Bike (road or mountain bike), helmet, water-bottle, running shoes for clip-less pedals /cycling shoes for clip-ins, shorts and T-shirt/singlet
  • Run – running shoes, shorts and T-shirt/singlet

Optional Equipment: Whilst this is enough equipment to allow you to finish the event some optional equipment that will make the event a little more comfortable include:

Swim 

  • Wetsuit (aids in flotation and keeps you warm)

Bike 

  • Cycling shoes (allows more efficient transfer of power to the pedals)
  • Clip-in pedals (allows you to pedal in full circles rather than just pushing on the pedals)
  • Aero bars (makes you more aerodynamic on the bike)

Run 

  • Elastic laces (makes the change into running shoes quicker)
  • Running cap

 Once you have the gear organised it is just a matter of ensuring that you are physically capable of making the distances. For your first race this is simply a matter of spending enough time training in each discipline. If you are starting out, the training does not have to be hard; it should be achievable and enjoyable so that you are keen to do another session. One way of making sessions enjoyable is to train with other people who are at your ability level. A club is one place that you can hook up with like-minded people and most clubs have members at a range of athletic abilities.

Your training should be divided up between swim, bike and run with a couple of sessions in each during the week. At least once before the race you should aim to get through the whole distance in each leg without stopping so that you have the confidence to be able to complete the event. An important part of the training is to include a couple of “transition” sessions before the event: sessions in which you do a swim and then get straight on the bike or do a ride and get straight off and run. This is crucial in training your body to transition from one type of exercise to the other. The first time you do this it will feel pretty strange, but after a few sessions, the body will adapt surprisingly quickly.

Well that should pretty much set you up to get through your first triathlon. Make sure that it is an enjoyable experience by preparing properly, not taking it too seriously and being realistic in your expectations. Good luck!

 

If you want any further information, coaching or guidance please visit Bruce at www.energylink.com.au