This article will give you clear guidelines on how to do your first triathlon to ensure you have a great time and do the best you can. There are some great tips to help you get to the finish line with a huge smile on your face. Good Luck
Remember 3 things
1. You will finish 2. It will hurt 3. It will be so exciting to finish
1. You will finish
Don’t have any expectations, don’t set any time goals. You’re only goal should be to finish. It’s extremely unlikely that you will finish last, trust me. Some one will always pull out of the race. With so many people doing a race you rarely know who is in front or behind. The feeling of finishing your first triathlon is the most exhilarating feeling and your finishing position won’t be a concern at all. ENJOY IT
2. It will hurt
During the race your body will hurt, it won’t be comfortable but when you cross the finishing line you won’t care at all. There is a good chance that prior to the race and during the event you will ask yourself over a hundred times, “Why am I doing this?” Don’t worry, after 10years of racing my head is still asking me the same questions. The trick is to turn off the devil (negative thoughts) and listen to your angel (positive thoughts) who wants to have the best race possible and get to that finish line to reap the rewards of your had work
3. It will be so exciting to finishing.
Remember the next day you’re muscles will ache but you’re head will be in cloud nine. You’ll want to tell everyone you did a triathlon. You may walk the whole run, you may get off your bike to walk up a hill or you may even take a break on the swim but none of this matters when you finish your first race. Tell everyone and plan your next one while you’re on a high
You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement. Steve Prefontain
Triathlon Transition Area
Setting up Transition
Now that your head is in the right place and you know you’re going to finish the race, what do you need to know about actually doing the race.
Get to the transition area with a lot of time. It’s relaxing to have time to just slow down and make sure everything is in its place. I would allow at least 1 hour prior to the start of the event.
NOTE: leave enough time to get through traffic and park the car prior to the race – parking and traffic can be a bugger prior to a race
How does the transition area work?
Visualise what you need to do when you get to transition. CLICK HERE to learn what to do prior to the race in transisiton. I will talk you through each transition in detail. You need to read this prior to the race and visualize the steps
OFF AND RACING
- I would suggest walking to the swim start and just visualising where the swim course goes. Take time to look at the course, see the buoys. I like to know how many buoys you need to pass before heading for the swim finish.
- Don’t worry if you don’t know the swim course as there will be people to follow, just follow the people in front of you and spot the buoys every 8th stroke (if possible)
- A small swim prior to the race settles the nerves, just 200-300m at the most. I usually get in about 10min prior to the swim and paddle around (unless it’s really cold and then 5min will be enough).
- You will be shitting yourself; you will be asking yourself, what am I doing? Am I stupid, why did I think I could do this? Everyone else is thinking the same so just go with it, it’s called nerves and it’s what stops us doing the great things we can potentially do. Trust me, the nerves stop the minute the race starts. To find other ways to deal with pre race anxiety please CLICK HERE to read this article.
- If you’re a weak swimmer start at the back, but if you’re a super star then start at the front. For your first race don’t worry if you’re on the right or left or center. I still like to feel comfortable and have some room around me. Talk to the people around you, if this calms you; enjoy the great people and excitement.
- When the time keeper tells you that you’ve got 1 min to go get yourself into a comfortable position and breath deeply and comfortable. It’s all going to be OK, think about the excitement of finishing.
- You may get kicked and hit but this is the race, you may swallow water but if you’re getting scared, slow down and take some deep breaths, take you’re time. Your goal is to finish. Move out of the group if you’re scared, stop and breast stroke. You can even start the swim breast stroking. I’ve been racing for 10 years and still get scared but after 100-200m it stretches out and the nerves settle. It’s time to enjoy. Please don’t worry about what’s going on around you, enjoy and if you have the energy go for it and have fun.
- Run/walk into transition as you’ve practiced in your head. If you can, take your wetsuit off your upper body as you’re walking/running to transition. After I’ve removed the wetsuit top I take off my goggles and cap. It’s hard to get your wetsuit off when you’re goggles and cap are in your hands. When you’re at your bike throw down your goggles and cap and take off your wetsuit (I recommend you practice taking off your wetsuit to ensure you know how).
- Put on your cycling shoes (if you don’t know how to on the bike), socks etc
- You’re ready to run to the bike exit and as imagined get on your bike at the mounting line and go for the ride
- Now you’re cycling away and obeying the drafting rules .
- When you’re on the bike go as hard as you feel, you know what you can do and your goal is to finish.
- As you’re finishing the bike start to prepare yourself for the run. Ease off on pushing so hard and spin your legs a bit more, some people like to stretch their back by standing on the bike.
- As you come to the dismount line, get off your bike and follow you’re visualised path through transition
Note: Only drink water (no gels etc) in the last 15-30min of the ride as the sugar can cause stitches on the run (this doesn’t happen to everyone but if you have experienced this during training this may be one way to help)
Note: If you have issues in transition just ask for help. There will be people in transition to help you and they love doing it.
- Rack your bike, take off your helmet and then your cycling shoes (unless you can already do this on the bike).
- Put on your running shoes, grab your hat and you’re on your way to the run
- You’re safe now; nothing can go wrong, as you can be sure you’ll make it to the end.
- I would recommend taking a small drink during the aid stations (walk while drinking if this is more comfortable)
- Enjoy the run and if you feel good then go for it but just relax if you’re not sure.
- When you’re getting closer to the finish, you will find so much energy and you’ll sprint down the finish line. Enjoy it and make sure you smile. Always make sure you look good, as you want to have a great photo to show everyone.
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