The Beginner’s Guide to Triathlons

The triathlon community is made up of a wide range of people – male and female, old and young, housewives and professionals – united by a single common goal; the triathlon. Anybody can run one, even those who haven’t worked out in years. With patience and willpower, you too can accomplish a feat you might never have dreamed of. By setting aside just thirty minutes three times a week you can reach triathlon fitness and compete beside them. All you need is some simple preparation…

Choosing Your Race

There are four types of triathlon: the Olympic, the Ironman, the Half Ironman and sprints. It is recommended that beginners stick to a sprint distance, which is still incredibly hard. The shortest sprints involve a 0.5 mile swim, a 15 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before you get there; you don’t want to find yourself faced with an Olympic course your first time out (that’s a 0.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bicycle route and a 6.2 mile run)!

Signing Up

Before you sign up for a race, you should look at its specifics. These details will be available on the triathlon’s website. Consider how hilly or flat it is; if you’re overweight or just getting started, you’ll struggle to complete a hilly race. See whether the swim is in a choppy sea or a flat lake; if you’re a new swimmer, you should look for an easier body of water to swim in. If a triathlon is off-road, this might be more suitable than a road race for people who prefer mountain biking. The key thing is to do your research beforehand so that you know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for and can train in a manner suited to the individual race and its challenges.

Buying Your Equipment

To successfully compete in a triathlon, you need decent gear. It’s obviously possible to go running, biking and swimming in an old t-shirt and decades old gym shorts, but you’ll find that within ten minutes your skin is crying out for a reprieve. By investing in the right equipment you’ll be doing yourself a massive favour.

Before competing you’re going to need:

  • Goggles.
  • A swimsuit or wetsuit. Swimmers, particularly poor swimmers, often find it beneficial to choose a wetsuit as they allow more movement and save energy. Take a look at a company such as High Octane Action Sports to find something suitable.
  • A swimming cap. If you don’t have a cap before the race, mention it to a race organiser – they often give out free ones.
  • A bike helmet that fits you.
  • A reliable bike. Road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids all work well. You could even shell out for a special triathlon bike if you have some money to spare.
  • Cycling shorts. These will save you no end of pain! Your legs are going to hurt enough without throwing chafing into the mix.
  • A good pair of running shoes. They don’t need to be extortionately priced, but they do need to be good quality. Go to your local running store to get a pair that fit your feet properly. Let the professionals who work there help you to choose – they know what they’re doing even if you don’t.
  • A water bottle. Say hello to your new best friend and your shield against cramp.

Now you’re set and ready to go. Better get training! 




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