Getting started in triathlons can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. We ‘ve put together a few pointers to help you out and hopefully put you at ease. This is a wonderful sport that can really change your life. Getting started in triathlons is getting on the road to a happy, healthy lifestyle. Good luck and please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. Of course you should always consult your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.
Sign up for a Triathlon:
This is a great first step. I don’t know what it is but once I have some money on the line then all of the sudden I’m much more motivated to hit the gym. If you’re reading this you may already have a specific triathlon in mind. If not, check out TriFind to find a triathlon near you.
Follow a plan:
Ok, now that you’ve signed up, what next? Well there are plenty of guidelines, training plans, and books to follow. You can easily spend more time trying to develop a training plan than actually doing the workouts. For your first triathlon we recommend keeping it simple. Check out Joe Friel’s book “Your First Triathlon”, for some great tips and advice. Joe covers everything from training programs to proper transition set up and everything in between. Once you feel like you know the basics, then you can really dig into the details. Don’t forget to check out David Warden’s Tri Talk Podcast. David hosts the most popular Triathlon podcast on the internet and it’s jam packed with everything you ever needed (or wanted) to know about triathlons.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to become so overwhelmed with information that you just give up. Remember triathlons are as simple as swim, bike, run… don’t over complicate it!
Train with a buddy or club:
It’s 5:00am in the morning and your alarm is buzzing loudly in your ear. It’s cold and dark out side and warm and toasty under the covers… what do you do?? This is where a training buddy or joining a club can come in handy. If you’ve decided to join together with someone else in this adventure then you’ve got extra motivation to get up and get at it. Don’t think that you have to be a pro to join a club. Most clubs cater to all shapes, sizes, and ages and they just love bringing new blood into the sport. At PowerTri.com we’re teaming up with Triathlon Clubs all over the world, so check out our Triathlon Clubs page and maybe you’ll find one close to you.
Get the right gear:
Sure you can do a triathlon in your sweaty, old, cotton workout clothes but there are some great, triathlon specific clothes that can make your training and races a lot more enjoyable. For example, you’re going to want to wear shorts and a jersey (or a tri suit) that you can swim, bike, and run in without changing. You can wear these under your wetsuit and when you come out of the water, just peel off the wetsuit and you’re good to go!
You’ll spend a lot of time training to swim, bike, and run faster so don’t botch the whole thing by having to change into dry clothes when you get out of the water. Transitioning from swim to bike and from bike to run is all part of the race. The right clothing can really cut your transition times down.
Also, do you need a Triathlon wetsuit or not?? Next to the bike, the triathlon wetsuit will be your biggest purchase. This ain’t the cheapest sport in the world, that’s for sure. If the water is warm then don’t worry about it. Some events will ban wetsuits if it’s too warm. Some races recommend wetsuits and others will require it. If a wetsuit is recommended then by all means wear one!! And no, I’m not talking about your water skiing wetsuit, you’ll want to get a triathlon specific wetsuit. Check these out to see what I mean. Not only do they provide warmth, but also buoyancy and speed.
There’s a huge difference between swimming in the pool with the nice little lap lanes and clear water as opposed to swimming in open water such as a lake, river, or the ocean. Most of the time you can’t see jack diddly under the water and you’ve got people bumping into you or trying to swim over the top of you. A nice buoyant wetsuit can give you a little extra comfort and security in knowing that you’ll stay afloat. And since it keeps you floating, you’ve got less to drag through the water which makes you faster. Plus tri wetsuits are coated to make you as slippery as a fish. You’ll definitely be faster with a tri wetsuit than without. And yes you can try wearing your old water skiing suit. I saw a guy with a heavy duty diving suit once before. The problem is that these wetsuits are not designed for swimming so you’ll be left coming out of the water feeling drained and too pooped to pucker…. or bike and run for that matter. You also have the option to rent or buy a used wetsuit but let’s face it, do you really know where that wetsuit has been?? It’s an old surfer trick to relieve oneself in their wetsuit to warm it up a bit. You may be inheriting a wetsuit from an ex-surfer turned triathlete. Better to be safe and just get a decent, new triathlon wetsuit.
Check out the Triathlon Checklist:
We’ve put together a checklist for you to review and make sure you’re ready. Feel free to print it out and keep it handy.
Thanks to the Boy Scouts for this great motto. When it comes down to the final hours before your race be sure that you’re prepared. Pack the car the night before. Make sure you get there early to stake out your transition area and get all checked in. For my first triathlon I was the third person to show up in the morning. My family thinks I’m a bit anal and they’re probably right but I was nervous enough as it was and I didn’t want to hassle with waiting in long lines to get my body marking or trying to fight for a good spot on the bike rack. Better to get there early and get everything set up.
Bring the Kids!
Triathlons are a family event. If you’ve been training hard then chances are it’s because you’ve had the support of your spouse and kids. Bring the whole family so they can see what all the fuss is about. Plus, your kids make for an instant cheering section. When you’re coming to the finish line and you don’t think you have anything left to give, sometimes it’s your kid’s sign saying, “Go Daddy Go!!” that makes all the difference in the world.
Don’t give up!
Everyone gets frustrated at one point or another. You’ll feel that you’re not progressing fast enough or you’re just not seeing the results you thought you would. Remember the encouraging words from Dora in “Finding Nemo”, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…. Doing your first triathlon is a life changing event. A wise man once said, “I didn’t say it was going to be easy, only that it would be worth it”. If you find you need a little motivational kick in the pants then check out Team Hoyt and their video.
Good luck and remember to HAVE FUN!!
At PowerTri.com we are all triathletes and we love the sport! In addition to providing top of the line Triathlon wetsuits and Gear from the most popular names in triathlon, we also want to help educate and motivate any new triathletes.
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