Here are some things I wish someone had told me before my first triathlon outdoor. The sport is a ton of fun and you will get stronger, faster, and fitter than ever before. Just remember that it’s not just about the race — it’s about the process!
Get over your fear of water
When you’re first learning how to swim, it’s natural to be afraid of getting wet. But once you’ve done it a few times and gotten used to the sensation of water on your body, this fear will fade away.
In fact, being afraid of water is one of the most common reasons people give for not learning how to swim! If this sounds like something that’s been holding you back from taking up swimming as an activity or sport–or if there are other fears holding back someone in your life–there are some simple steps you can take:
- Get over the idea that getting wet is bad (especially if they’re wearing their favorite clothes). It might take some time before they realize that having wet clothes isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but once they do, they’ll be able to focus more on enjoying themselves and less on trying not get wet!
Make sure you have a good swimsuit
Swimsuits are expensive, and they’re often made of lycra, which can be uncomfortable. You want a suit that fits well and is comfortable while you’re swimming–so make sure you have time to try on several different styles before buying one. This will ensure that it lasts for the entire triathlon!
Be prepared for the heat
- Drink lots of water. It’s hot out there and you’ll be sweating a lot, so make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your race.
- Wear sunscreen. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen before heading out for your triathlon! This is especially important if it’s going to be sunny out during your race; the sun can burn your skin even when it’s cloudy outside (and trust me: I learned this lesson the hard way).
- Wear a hat and sunglasses that fit correctly on your face so they don’t slip off while swimming or biking through rough terrain in the heat–and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day (especially if there are any long stretches between aid stations).
Learn to love the bike
The bike is the most important part of the race. It’s also the best way to get around and keep your heart rate up, which is why it’s worth learning how to love riding your bike if you haven’t already done so.
Develop a nutrition plan for before and during the triathlon.
- Eat a balanced diet
- Make sure you have enough energy to finish the race
- Eat a little bit more than usual the day before your triathlon, and eat a little less than usual on race day
- Have a good breakfast before the race
Practice with old pros.
- Practice with old pros
- Practice with people who are better than you
- Practice with people who are at the same level as you, but have different strengths and weaknesses than yours, so that you can learn from their strengths and weaknesses (and vice versa)
Practice with your training mates.
You don’t have to be faster than the other person, but it’s important that you’re comfortable with them. You must be able to trust them and know that they will not leave you behind in an unsafe situation.
When practicing with someone who is faster than you, make sure their pace matches your own so that when it comes time for race day, both of your paces will be close enough together so that no one gets left behind or exhausted from trying too hard on their own.
Get a coach, or join a group to train with (if you don’t already have one).
A coach or group can help you stay motivated and on track. You’ll also benefit from their knowledge of the sport, as they can help keep you injury-free by giving advice on what exercises to do and when. If you don’t have one already, consider joining a triathlon club in your area!
Do some yoga in the off season to help strengthen your core, hips, and legs for running.
Yoga is the perfect complement to running. It strengthens your core, hips, and legs while also improving flexibility. You can do yoga at home or in a studio with an instructor (if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby).
There are many different types of yoga–some are more active than others–but all will help you become stronger and more flexible so that when you start running again after your triathlon season is over, it won’t be as hard on your body.
If you’ve never done yoga before but want to try it out now that summer training is winding down, this quick guide will give some tips for getting started:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
You can ask questions whenever you want, and it’s okay to be nervous.
The more you know about what to expect and what is expected of you, the better off your time at the event will be. If there are things that are unclear or confusing, don’t hesitate to ask them! Your volunteers are there to help out–they want nothing more than for everyone involved in this race/event/swim/etc. to have an amazing time.
If something happens during training that makes you worried about being able to complete the race itself (i.e., if someone gets hurt), then talk about it with someone else who has been through their first triathlon before so they can answer any questions or concerns that might arise from this experience.
All of these tips will help you become a great triathlete
- Don’t be afraid of the water
- Get a good swimsuit
- Practice with your training mates (and old pros)
- Develop a nutrition plan
- Get a coach, or join a group to train with
I hope you found these tips helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. And remember: no matter how many races you’ve done, there’s always something more to learn. The more experience you have in triathlon, the better prepared and confident you’ll be when faced with new challenges. So don’t let fear hold back from trying something new–you never know what amazing things might happen if only because of that decision!