Welcome! Log In | Register

caitlinhtp

Give Triathlons a Try: Advice for First-Timers

Written on July 11, 2012 at 9:22 am , by

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Boyle.

When you visualize a triathlete, you probably do not imagine someone like me. For one, I was terrified of open water until a few years ago. I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner. And – occasionally – I crash my bike because I’m so uncoordinated.  However, I absolutely love to do triathlons, and the hobby keeps me feeling fit and healthy.  Triathlons have shaped my body in new ways, increased my confidence, and give me a reason to stick to my exercise habits.

Did I mention tris are tons of fun? Because they really are a blast!

If you feel like a tri is out of your reach, consider the super sprint or sprint triathlon. Most sprints consider of a 250 meter to 500 meter swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 5K run; super sprints are even shorter. It’s not unrealistic to expect to finish such a sprint event in less than an hour and forty five minutes. Sprints are a great way to get introduced to the sport and don’t require oodles of training.

Here are some introductory tips to triathlons:

  • Not all triathlons are in open water - there are also pool triathlons.
  • If your event is in a lake or the ocean, practice open water swimming if possible.
  • If you need to buy a bike, check out my post on buying a new or used road bike. 
  • Practice back-to-back brick workouts at least once a week.  So swim and then bike, or bike and then run.
  • Practice your transitions, which refers to the ‘in-between’ the swim and the bike (“T1″) or the bike and the run (“T2″).  Here’s a list of the essential items you’ll need for a sprint triathlon.
  • If you don’t have a trisuit (a special piece of clothing that functions well for all three sports), you can wear a sports bra and bike shorts for the swim – it will dry out.  I actually once wore a bikini bottom with strings under my wetsuit and pulled my shorts on over it, untying and slipping off the bottom once I had my shorts on.  It worked!
  • For even more tips, check out my So You Wanna Do a Triathlon series, which covers running, biking, swimming, transitioning, training, and selecting a race. 

—–

Caitlin blogs at Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful.  You can follow her on Twitter at CaitlinHTP. Her second book, a guide to healthy living, was just released this past May.