If you’re just starting out or read my last post, you are probably pretty excited to get training for your first sprint triathlon.
In just 8 weeks, you could have yourself ready to toe your first starting line!
Look for an upcoming post on how to progress your training.
There are a few things that you need to know before tackling your first triathlon. Pre-race preparation requires a bit more effort than lacing up your shoes for a local 5k.
I recommend your first race be at a small and local event. This will be much less intimidating. After signing up for your first triathlon, be sure to read the welcome packet as they will provide all the guidelines you need to know for race day.
Most races offer a “race day” packet pickup. The packet will have your race numbers, timing chip, and any other important race day stuff! Try to arrive to the race at least 90 minutes prior to the race to pick up your packet and to set up your transition area.
Once you have your get your gear all set up, do a little warm up. I recommend a quick 5-10 minute jog, a 10-15 minute bike, then get into the water early and swim for 5-10 minutes. If you run out of time, no worries, just jog a little bit and you should be fine.
You will probably be starting in a swim wave that has other athletes in your age group. Start in the back and let the fast people go off first if you are uncomfortable in the water. Then, ease your way into the swim and pick up speed as you get comfortable swimming with people around you. Every 5 to 10 strokes you want to lift your head out of the water and get your sights onto the next buoy ahead. You can’t always trust the person in front of you to sight properly.
Try to keep a smooth and even stroke. Breath comfortably and slow down if you start getting out of breath. This is your first race, enjoy it. You have plenty of time to go fast on the bike and run.
As you exit the water, calmly reach back and unzip your wetsuit. Once you get to your bike, strip it down. You should be wearing your bike shorts and top underneath your wetsuit.
I suggest buying a brand new pair of goggles for your first race. My goggle preference is the BLUESEVENTY ELEMENT.
This stands for transition #1. Find your bike and get all your bike gear on. Then follow the volunteers directions as to where to jump on your bike.
As you are probably super stoked and feeling awesome right now, take your time building speed on the bike. You want your effort level to be at about a 7 or 8 out of 10 during the bike ride, so your legs are as fresh as possible for the run. Even the best runners in the world end up walking on the run if they go too hard on the bike. Play it safe and enjoy the process!
Required equipment for the bike leg:
“Transition # 2”. After you finish the bike leg, there will be a designated spot for you to dismount the bike. This place is called the “dis-mount line”. If you ride your bike past this point, it will result in a disqualification.
Once you dismount your bike, calmly walk or run with it to your bike rack. Rack the bike safely, and put on your running shoes and any other run gear. Off on the run you go.
The last leg! Focus on coming out of transition with a comfortable cadence and quick turnover. At this point in the race your legs are going to be suffering! Focus on the basic fundamentals of your running technique! Once you get into a good rhythm, focus on increasing the speed until the finish.
Required gear for the run:
- Shoes! I recommend the Saucony Kinvara, or Pearl Izumi EM
- Hat or Sunvisor (not required but highly recommend).
- Sunglasses (most people wear the same sunglasses worn on the bike leg)
There you have it. It may seem like a complicated process, but when you have the right mindset and equipment, anything is achievable. Feel free to contact me on my website if you have further questions on what you need for a triathlon or are looking for a training plan.
(Featured Image Courtesy of Delly Carr / Sportshoot)