Training for your first triathlon with zero experience might sound challenging and imitating. But guess what? Actually, you can be ready to race your first ever triathlon if you are properly trained.
Yes, you heard it right, grab some paper and a pen to take note of these tips, from gear essentials, nutrition basics to training preparation to help you succeed in your first triathlon.
Here are the things you need to know and prepare to race a triathlon:
Prepare one or two bathing suits for your training or race. For women, it is best to choose a one-piece suit with enough support, as you are going to race from the sea to land. As for men, wearing tight shorts, swim briefs or a triathlon suit will do.
Besides that, try to find a pair of goggles that suit you that don’t fall off. If you have short hair, you may skip the swim cap; otherwise, wear it to avoid your hair floating around and dragging you while you are swimming.
During your training, it is best to practise wearing the gear before your race so that you can get used to it.
For your first race, don’t spend a huge load of money on a fancy bike before you fully commit to the sport. All you need is a bike with two wheels, inflated tires and brakes that function well.
New triathletes may use your running shoes for the first race. Soon, you might upgrade your cycling shoes, which help you to lock into your pedals, as they will be more convenient and efficient during the race transition.
As for helmets, it is best to buy one that fits properly to avoid any hassle while cycling. Bike shorts can be a big help, as they support your backside as you ride, but it is not a must to have them.
You do not need fancy shoes to race; instead, focus on a shoe that feels good that gives you the support and comfort you need. If you are wearing a new pair of running shoes, make sure to run a few rounds with them to avoid any blisters during the race.
If you are sprinting for the first time, train two to three times per week and get experience on the bike. You can go about 25 to 33 km and gradually add more kms, including hill training that helps you learn your cycling course and improve your cycling skills to get better prepared during the race.
Swim twice a week to work your body. Most races take place in oceans, rivers, lakes or bays. It is best to train in a pool first, then open water to make you feel comfortable and competent.
Before swimming in open water, be sure to study and know your course to avoid any sea creatures and understand the regulations to be safe. Also, make sure you swim during daylight hours in a group just to be safe.
Running two to three times a week can build speed and stamina. Include different types of training, such as speed, HIIT and hill training.
Start small and gradually add more kms or reps each week. Remember to rest between laps so that it can help you to train over a longer time. Learn about what you lack, focus and pace yourself to help you reach your race results.
A brick workout is a back-to-back combination of two types of training, such as swim and bike, bike and run or run and swim. It is challenging for triathletes to switch to different types of training.
Having a brick workout about once a week helps your body and mind to get mentally prepared to switch during the transition when you are racing a triathlon.
- Keep track of your food by writing down what you consume in a food diary, so that you can check what you are missing or go overboard on.
- Fuel your body with carbs. Your body needs energy to keep going before, during and after training.
- Eat food packed with nutrients, such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fibre, etc. Food like fruits and vegetables help you to optimise your weight and nutrient intake.
- Rest days are a must for your body to recover well to avoid injuries. You may do light activities like stretching or yoga to relax your muscles.
- Eat breakfast two to three hours before your race. This will give you ample time to digest before you start your race.
- Avoid food that is high in fat and fibre before the race to avoid upsetting your gut during the race.
Drinking fluids to replenish hydration is important for athletes. As triathletes have three sessions of races to complete the race, you may start to feel dehydrated if you do not replace fluid after a session.
It is important to ensure you have access to fluids before, during, and after training sessions. During your training session or race, take sports drinks, as they will provide electrolytes and carbohydrates to give you maximum performance.
If you are a veteran triathlete, feel free to share your tips with us and new triathletes to complete their first triathlon race.
How do you prepare for a triathlon?
You should give yourself at least 4 weeks to train and build up your stamina for your first triathlon.
What should I wear for my first triathlon?
For women, it is best to choose a one-piece suit with enough support, as you are going to race from the sea to land (without the need to take off). As for men, wear tight shorts, swim briefs or a triathlon suit.
How to train for your first triathlon?
- Cycling – train two to three times per week. Go about 25 to 33 km and gradually add more kms.
- Swimming – Swim twice a week to work your body.
- Running two to three times a week can build speed and stamina. Include speed, HIIT and hill training.
How often should I do brick workouts?
Once a week is sufficient for your body and mind to get mentally prepared to switch during the transition when you are racing a triathlon.