THREO's Top Tips for Beginner Triathletes
Firstly, well done - getting signed up and on to the start line for your first ever triathlon is the hardest bit of all. We like to think of the race as being the easy bit, the fun reward for the hard work, sacrifice and the commitment you made to get here. Remember - this is supposed to be fun!
Secondly, your first triathlon may seem daunting but don't worry, take a deep breath - we are here to help with our top tips on how to tackle your first race.
Before the race:
1. Write a list of all you have done to get to the race - the miles you have run, the early starts you have made and the times you cancelled on a friend in order to go cycling. We always like to start on a positive note and this will help remind you of your achievements thus far.
2. Write your second list - a kit checklist of everything you need on race day. Do this a couple of days in advance before you get nervous and panic. Walk through the race in your mind and see what you need for beforehand and in each disclipine. [have a look at our handy THREO checklist below for key items!] Pack your bag the night before and tick off the items - so you know the next day you definitely packed it and you don't need to empty your bag out again to check...we have all been there!
3. Have a think about what you need to keep you hydrated and fuelled midrace. This all depends on distance and the individual, but if you know what works and it's a certain type of energy bar or gel make sure you have them ready beforehand to save a last minute dash around the shops on race day.
On the day
1. Allow plenty of time to get your bike racked in transition beforehand, so you can familiarise yourself with the entrance and exit and lay out your kit beforehand. We find a bright towel next to your bike is a handy way of locating it post swim exit.
2. Allow more time than you think to get into your wetsuit! Nobody likes getting into a wetsuit whilst panicking that the race will start without them.
3. Get into the water ten minutes before the start of the race to allow some time to adjust to the water temperature. Open the neck of your wetsuit and let in a little of the water, duck your face under and do a few test strokes. Adjusting to the change in temperature before the race start helps you to regulate your breathing before the gun goes, so you don't leave that to the first five minutes of the race which always leads to a panicky feeling!
4. If you're a nervous swimmer, position yourself at the back and slightly to the opposite side of the first turn (i.e. If the first turn is to the right, hang slightly left). This gives you space and ensures you won't take the corner too tightly and in the middle of the pack. We guarantee you will find many other newbies in a similar position, have a friendly chat and support each other. We are all in this together!
In the race
1. Start your swim slow, stay calm - breaststroke if necessary if it helps regulate your breathing. Yes it is perfectly acceptable to do breaststroke in a triathlon, in fact we have seen some breaststroking triathletes overtake front crawlers!
2. Towards the end of the swim as you approach the exit, start kicking your legs vigorously to help get them back in action ready for the bike - and to help you have a steady exit. You may feel dizzy on exit, this is due to suddenly being vertical after being nicely horizontal for a while. Don't panic, just slow to a walk, it will disappear as quickly as it comes.
3. Take your transition slowly - there is plenty of time to speed through with clipped on shoes and dramatic bike leaps in your next triathlon!
4. When you get to the bike, put your helmet on first and do it up before you do anything else! You cannot exit transition without it and it's amazing how easy this is to forget, even the pros do it. We always hang our helmet on our saddle making it impossible to forget.
5. When coming into the last few minutes of the bike drop into a low gear and spin easier - this will help make the transition to run easier.
6. Yes, when you get into the run your legs will feel a little jelly like. Don't worry, trust in the training and keep moving forward - they will recover.
1. Swan around for days with your medal round your neck telling everyone how amazing you are.
2. Sign up for another one!
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