Back in the day when I was a ‘big boy’ the idea of running for more than 5 minutes was just crazy talk, let alone biking & swimming in the same stretch.
Well, today I finished my first triathlon race – contact 3:9:3 – and it felt good. It was hard work and I’m still to know what my final time and position was but I definitely gave it my best and will be pleased no matter what the numbers say.
After a few months of training I have a few tips for complete beginners (I feel qualified to do this because I’ve now done my first race and graduated from this group). You could say this is a non-athlete’s guide to triathlon racing.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind whilst training.
– Focus on your weakest leg. In my case this was swimming given that I didn’t know how to swim as of nine months ago (and I still don’t know how to float…)
– If you have a low attention span (like I do), it might help to find yourself a training buddy. Seriously, last week I couldn’t finish my 12km run because I got bored…
– Make yourself a training plan. Either look one up online, hire a trainer for a day to write you one,or knock up a girl that’s done it before and have her write you a plan. It helps to have something to look at and ‘tell you’ what to do each day.
– Your ‘bad’ days can be your best. If you feel tired, out of sorts or just plain unmotivated, just go out and start your day’s training. You may have one of your best training days like this, plus the rush of endorphins is always welcome. If you still feel awful after ten minutes then stop. But it’s possible you’ll actually get motivated once you start.
– Get comfortable in open water swimming. It’s a whole lot different from swimming in the pool – it’s easier to float, you don’t have to stare at a black line under the water AND there aren’t so many people in your way. Swimming along the coast is nice and safe given that you can stand up if you feel anxious at any time.
And on race day:
– Start at the back if you’re not a strong swimmer. In my race I started at the front because it was a short swim so I sprinted my way out! (And learnt the hard way)
– Find a landmark close to where your spot in transition is so you can locate it quickly.
– Use a road-bike if you can. It makes a huge difference in both speed and efficiency. If you don’t have one – borrow one. Just make sure you use it at least once before your race (bringing me to my next point…)
– Don’t do/drink/use anything new on race day, stick to what you know and have been using.
– Go as hard as you can without hurting yourself and have fun while doing so!
Hope this helps. I’m gonna try and keep logging my thoughts and experiences as I go along towards my ‘proper’ triathlon in April (and new ones to come).
Now, here’s some photos that Pamela took from my race.