Starting out in triathlon can be overwhelming but also very exciting – here are some key tips to get you started.
Just about anyone can sign up and take part in a triathlon with minimal gear and expense as well as experience. The beauty of the sport is most races can have professionals competing alongside armatures and weekend warriors. It is a very inclusive sport.
Signing up for your first triathlon.
I would advise putting some thought into choosing your first race and setting yourself up for success. There are several different race distances in triathlon from short to long course. It’s probably best to have your first race be a sprint distance tri. This consists of a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run in that order. If you fall in love after you do a race please please complete in a few of these before jumping up to the longer distance 70.3 – 140.6 Ironman etc
Finding a race? Triathlon Ireland is the governing body for triathlon which means that all official triathlons are run through here. Have a look on their website for a race calendar and sign up through here also. You will need a race licence to take part. You can buy a one of a day licence for 1 particular race or if you plan on doing a few you may want to look at getting a year license.
So what gear do I need ?
Starting off, stay as minimal as you can. Don’t go off and spend loads of money on top end gear that you may only use once or twice a year.
- For the swim you will need a wetsuit as all Irish races are open water (sea, lake, river) you will find there are non wetsuit races abroad in warmer waters. Goggles. Access to a pool is handy for your training especially in winter unless you want to brave the irish waters
- Next up is the bike. Starting off any bike you feel comfortable on will do.
You don’t need a top of the line aero tri bike. If you have the option a road bike will be a lot better and faster than a mountain bike or a city hybrid. If you do have a road bike you may have access to clipless pedals for your cycling shoes. If not, normal flat pedals will also do while wearing your running shoes.
You will also need a helmet.
- Heading into the run the obvious is you will need a pair of running shoes. In terms of clothing I would advise if you have the option to spend a little bit on a pair of tri shorts and top or tri suit. This is something you can wear under your wetsuit at the beginning of the race as you will not be able to strip down and do a full change of clothes in transition areas. If not a light pair a of running shorts and a quick dry running tee will do. You will need to wear these under the wetsuit.
Training for first Triathlon
There are many ways you can get fancy with your training but when starting off keep it simple. It can be a bit overwhelming not that you have to train for three individual disciplines. At the end of the day you need to swim, bike and run. Start by training a building up to the distance of each one separately and as you build start putting them together to see how it feels to go from one to the other -these are called brik sessions. For beginner training plans don’t hesitate to call in or get in contact with us and we will help you out.
When race day finally arrives, there are a final few touches to help set you up to be successful on race day.
- Get to the race venue nice and early, this gives you enough time to sign in, collect your race pack and set your bike and gear in the transition area. Pay attention to the time that transition area is open.
- Get familiar with the transition area, know the way you come out of the water and know exactly where your bike is. Last thing you need is to get lost looking for your bike.
- On that note it’s a good idea to know the full course. Some people drive the bike course and run to know exactly what they are in for.
- Nothing new on race day- this is not the time to try out new gear or nutrition. If you haven’t used it in training don’t use it on race day
- Most of all try to have fun. Enjoy the excitement of race day. The triathlon community is great and there is always great support from the crowds on the course cheering you on
Once you have dipped your toes in we hope that you’ll dive head first after that and see you out on the course.
Enjoy the training and the process and get the most out of race day !
Any further questions queries or interests contact Colm in our Cork gyms for more information on all things triathlon or other multi sport events.