Have you signed up to do your first triathlon this year? Here’s what you need to know to help you get from now to the finish line.
First thing first, the question of what distance you are training for. It is normally recommended that initially you might wish to try your hand at a ‘taster’ triathlon. This would consist of a 200m swim, a 5.3km bike and a 2.5km run; if you have a go at that and think you could go a bit further, the ‘novice’ option might be further up your street. This effectively doubles the swim to 400m, the bike ride to 10.6km and leaves the run at the same distance of 2.5km.
Secondly, what kit do you need? It can often seem daunting when considering the cost of a full kit. It is far more sensible to stock up on essentials and to make good and long lasting investments. Below is a list of equipment you will need:
For your swim:
- Wetsuit or tri suit (used for all three parts of the race): It is important to note that these are compulsory if the water temperature is less than 14 degrees on the day)
- Goggles: You’ll need to be able to see where you are headed after all.
- Caps: Will protect your hair and improve your hydrodynamic performance.
- Towel: So you can dry your feet before putting on your cycling shoes.
For your ride:
- Bike: You do not need to invest in an expensive time trial bike – use your mountain bike, hybrid or road bike.
- Helmet: This is essential, and you should not touch your bike before you have put yours on.
- Clothing: Wear something comfortable; it is recommended that you wear something similar to bike leg shorts if you have not got a tri suit.
- Why not also try a race belt? You can attach your number so your fans can see you racing past!
For your run:
- Footwear: If you want to invest in a pair of triathlon shoes then that’s great, if not then your normal trainers that you have broken in will do just fine.
- A nice trick to speed up your clothing transition is the addition of elastic laces; they also won’t come undone.
How to train ahead of the event:
- Open water swimming: you need to do it to gain the experience. You can find your local swimming lake here: https://www.nowca.org/listing-and-resources-for-nowca-lakes.
- In and out of your wetsuit: Keep practising!
- Prepare yourself mentally – this is going to be a challenge, make sure you know what you are doing on the day!
- Take a trip to the venue.
- Friends always help add an element of fun – train and race together.
Once you have trained, the day of the race is going to arrive. You may be filled with excitement and anticipation – maybe even nerves. To ease this, make sure you turn up early so you can find your bearings. Position yourself further back in the group so that you do not feel overwhelmed as everyone gets into the water – this will ensure that you remain calm and do not panic. The water temperature may shock you too – so ensure you have given yourself a few moments in it so you can adjust. Towards the end of your swim, if you are tired you might want to conserve energy by changing from front crawl to breast stroke. So now, you have completed your swim, as you are climbing out of the water lift your goggles, unzip your suit and remember that you must put your helmet on before you touch the bike. This is a rule and you need to follow it.
This may seem overwhelming, but it is important to remember that you will get the hang of it. Good luck in your journey!
Written by Meghan Ridout