Hello and Happppppy Friday!
I’m back with another triathlon-themed post for you – two in one week! How exciting 😉
Today I want to share a few tips for beginner triathletes that I’ve picked up along the way. Triathlons really are picking up in popularity and there are tons of different events suitable for a variety of levels, so it’s something I strongly encourage anyone “tri”!;)
So if you’ve been toying with the idea of signing up for a triathlon, or if you’ve already taken the leap and are left wondering “now what?!” this post is for you!
Triathlon really has changed my life and has allowed me to grow into an athlete I wouldn’t have been had I just stuck with running or weight training. Don’t get me wrong – I still love those things. But while I’m not a fan of the term “limitation”, there are definitely some things that make my body say NO. Mainly, running fast for long distances and heavy squats. Sad face.
Fortunately, on-going issues with my IT band led me to discover the amazing world of triathlon and I’ve never looked back. As I’ve connected with other triathletes, it seems to be a popular sport for us injury-prone runners 😉
So in the spirit of triathlon season heading into full swing, one of my very own rockstars that I have the pleasure of coaching deciding the take the leap into the world of triathlon, and an exciting new event coming to Vancouver this summer, I’m sharing my top 10 tips for beginner triathletes.
You can get away with doing a 5k, a 10k, or even a half marathon without giving much thought to your training. It might not be pretty, but it can be done.
Triathlon is a different beast. Even with the shorter distances, it’s best to give your body an idea of what to expect come race day. There are tons of free online resources for training plans of all distances, and for my first sprint I pulled a training plan out of Triathlon Magazine!
You don’t NEED a coach, but working with one never hurts. I know of a super fun and especially enthusiastic one if you’re looking for one 😉
#2. Know your course.
Are you swimming in open water? Lake or ocean? Is your bike course hilly? Are you running on trail or pavement? How hot is it expected to be? These are all things that need to be taken into consideration when planning your training. I learned this the hard way during my first triathlon!
#3. Get in the water.
Now I know maybe not ALL triathletes share my fear of water, but I know swimming is the tough one for many of us. The earlier you can get in the water to begin building your confidence, the better. And if your race is in open water, you’ll thank yourself for getting some practice sessions in beforehand.
#4. Forget about the gear.
Well, don’t completely forget about it. But don’t let it make you crazy. For your first triathlon, all you really need is a bike (and it doesn’t have to be a road bike), some running shoes, a bathing suit, and a pair of goggles. If you need to, you can rent a wetsuit.
Triathlon can be a VERY expensive sport. Test it out first, see if you like it, then begin investing in the gear piece by piece.
#5. Include brick workouts.
What the heck’s a brick workout? Try running immediately after you get off a bike. You’ll know why they call it a brick 😉
But really, it’s important to practice doing one sport immediately after another. When you go from swimming to cycling, you move from an upper body-dominant movement to a lower body-dominant movement. Fortunately you can get that blood moving to your legs as you run out of the water, but running straight off the bike is a very odd sensation.
#6. Be prepared for some lifestyle shifts.
A sprint may not involve the same kind of time investment as an ironman, but at the end of the day you still have three sports that require your attention. Going to and from the pool isn’t as quick and easy as hopping out for a run, and as you get into longer distance races you’ll need to clock in more saddle time.
Let your friends and family know what you’re up to, be willing to make a few sacrifices, and be prepared for lots of laundry.
#7. Practice transitions.
Transition is a place where you can either save a lot of time or lose a lot of time. When you’re just starting out your time goal may not be of utmost importance, but it’s still a good idea to have your transition planned out so you aren’t stressing out looking for your bike and switching up your gear.
#8. Watch a triathlon.
If you have the opportunity to go watch a triathlon live, I’d highly recommend it! It’ll give you an idea of what to expect, will allow you to watch transitions, and to get EXCITED about what you’re about to do!!
#9. Practice fuelling.
Just like with long distance running races, you need a fuelling strategy for your triathlons. The length of your race will depend how many calories you need to take in – many sprint triathletes overdo it on gels and chews which can lead to an angry tummy (totally guilty of that over here!), and many have also experienced the dreaded “bonk” while on the bike due to under-fuelling.
#10. Have fun!!!
The world of triathlon is a fun, exciting, and scary one. You’ll become amazed at your time management skills, will feel a sense of accomplishment with each tough workout completed, and will be over-the-moon excited to cross “Triathlon” off your list of things to crush.
The sport of triathlon is a great way to learn about yourself, both as an individual and as an athlete, and to join an amazing community of people all working to become their best selves.
Plus, regardless of how short your race is, you’ll still be able to call yourself a triathlete. And how cool is that? 😉10 tips for beginner triathletes #triathlontraining #girlswhotri Click To Tweet
For my veteran triathlon friends, do you have any tips to share that I’ve missed? And for those of you who are thinking about doing a triathlon, has this given you the push?