Want to do your first triathlon? Signing up for you first triathlon can feel very overwhelming. Often people talk about doing one, but never get there simply because it becomes too far out of their comfort zone. I often have people asking me the same questions when they are about to commit to their very first tri. So lets save you some time and gain you some confidence with my 10 most common questions tri newbie questions answered below. Be sure to sign up to the SRM community to get access to your FREE enticer training program and your Triathlon essentials for race day print out.
1 What is the order of a triathlon?
The order of a triathlon is Swim, Ride and then run. Transition 1 or T1 is when you exit the water from the swim, and continue onto your bike. Transition 2 or T2 is between the cycling leg and the run leg.
2 I have signed up to my first triathlon. Do I have to complete the entire distance before race day?
The short answer to this is no, you don’t. I would however recommend that you feel comfortable that you can manage the distance of each discipline alone prior to race day. If it makes you feel much more comfortable training the entire distance of each three disciplines together prior to race day, you absolutely can. Most experienced triathletes do not complete the all 3 disciplines combined at race distance in their training. This is saved for race day!
3 I am not a good swimmer. Should I try a triathlon?
If you can swim, you can do a triathlon. Your safety is the priority. It is important that you choose a distance that you are able to manage safely. You also need to give yourself adequate time to train for the event. There is no point signing up for a race that is beyond your scope and not finishing. Your better to take smaller more manageable distances and build as you become stronger and fitter. You can use any stroke in a triathlon, as long as you don’t receive any external assistance to propel yourself. If you are not a good swimmer, I recommend that you practice some open water swimming with someone that has some experience. You can use lagoons or swim in an enclosure to ensure that you are safe. On race day, there will be lifeguards supervising in the water and people observing for your safety. As long as you prepare yourself well, you should be confident that you will be safe.
4 I don’t have a road bike, does that matter?
Not at all! In fact, most people doing their first triathlon use a mountain bike or a hybrid bike. I have even seen a young man ride his very small BMX bike before – although I think this was for a laugh! You do NOT have to have any fancy equipment to complete your first triathlon. In fact I would discourage anyone from spending too much money until they are sure they enjoy the sport. Even then, I would make sure that you only purchase equipment as you are ready. Sure if you have a limitless budget go ahead! Triathlon can be a very expensive sport though, and you don’t want to get caught up in the ‘hype’ of brands and bells and whistles that really don’t make a difference until you have reached a certain ‘standard’ of racing.
5 What is brick training?
Brick training is when you combine at least 2 disciplines together. Usually swimming and running or cycling and running. You can do one set – e.g. a longer swim then a run. OR you can do multiple sets. e.g. short swim, short run repeated multiple times.
6 Should I dry off between the swim and the ride?
This is a personal preference. Given that this is your first triathlon and you want to enjoy it, you may choose to use a small towel just to give your feet and face a bit of a wipe. Avoid using a large towel. The less you can take into transition, the smoother your race will feel and the safer it makes it for everyone racing. A crowded transition can be hazardous.
7 Can I run with my iPod?
No. Usually triathlon rules will state that you are not able to run with your iPod. This is a safety rule. The race officials need to be sure that you can hear other people racing and any instructions given during the event. Try to complete some of your training without an iPod.
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8 What should I eat before the race?
This is really a personal preference! Personally I eat honey and banana on toast and have a coffee too. There are lots of different ideas about what makes a good pre race meal. My recommendation is to try what you anticipate to eat prior to your race throughout your training. You want to know that whatever you do choose ‘sits well’ in your stomach. Also, if you anticipate you will use any nutrition supplement (e.g a electrolyte drink or sports gels) I recommend that you trial these prior to your race too. Nutritional supplements can affect people differently, and you don’t want to feel like your needing to run off to to the bathroom in the middle of your race. If you are choosing a shorter distance triathlong (e.g. a sprint or an enticer) it is unlikely that you will require any nutritional supplement, unless you have a medical concern that requires it. Your body has plenty of energy stores for these shorter races, and it is unlikey that you gain benefit from anything other than simple water during the shorter distance races anyway.
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9 What should I wear?
You don’t need to go out and buy a tri suit. Nor do you NEED to have a wetsuit. Most people completing their first triathlon will wear a pair of bathers for the swim +/- a pair of bike shorts. If they don’t wear bike pants in the swim, they will put on either a pair of shorts or knicks/cycling pants or a pair of leggings for the rest of the event. Depending on the event you will need to be able to place a numbering bib on you for the ride and run. Some people use a ‘race belt’ whilst others will pin it to their shorts / shirt (if they choose to put one on after the swim) Whatever works for you will be fine.
10 How long should I give myself to train for a triathlon?
This depends on your fitness before you start your training. If you can complete the distance of each discipline separately, you may only require 4-6 weeks. I have provided an 8 week program for you to build to your first enticer triathlon. You don’t want to train and train forever, without getting the ‘reward’ and the buzz of a race. You may end up losing motivation. Nor do you want to sign up for a race that’s in 2 weeks away if you can’t complete the distance of any one of the legs.
Hopefully answering these questions will give you the confidence you need to sign up for your first race. If you still have questions, or if you would love some support come and join our very friendly Facebook community. We exist to support any Mum interested in Triathlon so you would be perfect! Remember, if you want that training plan and print of race day essentials checklist- signup by clicking the link below!
Still not convinced to sign up to a race? Here are my top tips for giving you the confidence to try it: