Before Your First Triathlon, Here's What You Need to Know
So you are thinking of doing your first triathlon or duathlon (if swim is not your thing). We explain all you need to know to have a successful first race with the right training plan, gear needed and event format knowledge base.
Thinking About Doing a Triathlon or Duathlon?
It's important to think about why you're taking up triathlon and what you want to get out of your first triathlon training and race. Are you only interested in having fun and meeting new people? Considering adding it tp your workout routine in hopes it might help you fight the bulge that comes with age?
No, how about you were recently inspired by the media coverage of a seemingly impossible goal Ironman 140.6 race? Are you already an athletic person who wants to be a real competitor? Making a list of your goals and priorities will help you plan a race season that fits your needs and abilities.
How to Pick a Race?
As you look at race calendars to find important events, think about a lot of different factors and options. Local races are likely to be full of friends and family for those who need race-day support. Destination races can be a unique and wonderful way to see new places and cultures, even if they're a little out of your comfort zone.
When picking a destination race, also think about things like altitude, weather, and the course itself. Can you handle oxygen deprivation, or are you better off at sea level? Will you do better in hot or cold temperatures, and in a dry or humid climate? Calculate how much time you have for training and racing, and be sure to tell your partner or family about your plans.
Life Stress Reducer Tip: Including your friends and family in your new hobby and being honest about how much time you'll need to put in will help you avoid the stress and resentment that can build up if an athlete's focus on triathlon training becomes too intense.
Training Gear For Triathlons & Duathlon
The training gear you'll need for your first triathlon and duathlon is something to consider when signing up for a race. Putting together the right set of multisport gear is part of learning how to do a triathlon or a duathlon race.
Many things are needed to compete in and train for multisport events like duathlons & triathlons, but you don't have to spend a lot of money when you start out. Chances are, until you've done a lot of triathlon training and racing, you won't know what top-of-the-line gear is best for your wants and needs.
Start out cheap with second-hand items, then move up as your skills and experience grow. Craigslist, eBay, and even your local bike shop can be good places to look for gently used triathlon gear. Classified boards or forums on your local tri club's website can also be good places to look. Or, you could tell your friends what you're looking for on social media, and maybe you'll get a good deal on a used bike or wetsuit from someone else. If you want to buy a new bike, look for end-of-model-year sales.
Swim Gear Needed for Triathlons/AquaBike
Race kit: This is the outfit you'll wear for the swim, bike, and run. It's made of a material that will dry quickly after the swim, and it has a built-in chamois that will make the bike ride more comfortable, but it isn't thick enough to make you feel like you're wearing a diaper on the run.
It's important to choose something that fits well and has a lot of rear pockets to hold energy gels and other race-essential items. When it's wet, it will stretch (for example, a rescue inhaler if you are asthmatic). Keep an eye out for any seams that might cause chafing during a race.
The best wetsuit for triathlons is one that's made for swimming mobility and buoyancy. If you plan to compete outside of the tropics or summer months, this is a must. At the very least, you should try on the suit for size at a demo event. On dry land, it's bound to be too small for you.
A pair of goggles that perfectly fit your face (try them on in the store before you buy them) is the only other thing you need to swim.
Bike Equipment Needed for Duathlons/Triathlons
In terms of duathlon/triathlons, a bike is probably the most important thing you'll ever buy. As a beginner cyclist or multisport athlete, focus more on comfort and fit than speed. This will make sure you enjoy the ride.
Most local bike shops have a system similar to Retül's Frame Finder technology (Retül.com) to find the right model and size for you. Once you know the size bike you need - it would easier to look for one that is used
You should never start riding your bike without a helmet and other safety gear. Sunglasses are also very important to protect your eyes from flying bugs and road debris. The proper or improper fitting saddle can change the level of comfort on almost any bike. In order to make small changes, you might start with a new saddle. Last thing to consider is probably some bike shoes, as well as the cleats and pedals that go with them, which connect you more to your bike and let you benefit from the upward part of the pedal stroke.
Extra Cycling Stuff You Should Know
As part of your beginner triathlon training, you should learn how to change a flat tire and make minor adjustments to your derailleur. Many bicycle shops or bike/triathlon clubs offer classes on how to fix your bike. This is an important and easy-to-learn skill that will keep you from getting stuck while training or competing.
Run Gear for Duathlon & Triathlon Training & Races
For the run, the only thing you'll need is the same shoes you'd wear for a 5K or 10K. These are the same shoes you'd wear for a duathlon or triathlon. With a race belt, you don't have to worry about your tri kit getting holes from safety pins.
Triathlon & Duathlon Training Plan
Final piece of the puzzle is to have a training plan to help you balance your time properly switching between swimming, biking and running and figuring out your nutritional needs. Little know fact - if you have a garmin watch, there are free multisport (triathlon, duathlon, aquabike, swim-run, etc.) training plans in garmin connect