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Training for Your First Triathlon

Training for Your First Triathlon

If juggling your trainings while maintaining a successful personal life at the same time doesn’t give you anxiety, you are clearly from a different planet. Thankfully we are here to help you become an all-star triathlete. The following tips will help you conquer triathlon fears and be victorious in your next triathlon.

Both professional athletes and amateur athletes invest a lot of time in training for their events. Simply thinking about how much time you’re going to dedicate to a 100-mile bike ride can be intimidating. Now imagine you’re training for a run and a swim all at the same time. If juggling your trainings, work, social life, and family at the same time doesn’t give you anxiety, you're clearly from a different planet. If a triathlon seems daunting to, don't worry-- we're here to help you become an all-star triathlete. The following tips will help you conquer your triathlon fears.


1. Know the lingo

Tri: Triathlon

Beach start: Starting from the beach and running into the water to begin

Floating start: Starting from the water without the feet touching to begin a triathlon.

Open Water: Outdoors swimming in a lake, river or ocean.

Wetsuit legal: A triathlon in which the water is cold enough to allow a wetsuit. (Maybe put some hand warmers in there too)

Aerobars: Attached to a bike’s handlebars or stem because it is more comfortable and more aerodynamic for triathlon racing

Bonk: When you get stuck during a bike ride without fuel. When this happens, your blood sugar can drop so low that your brain goes into a fog and your muscles quit firing. The fix? Eat fast and eat lots.

Time Trial: Typically a 20-180K ride at the maximum sustainable pace, usually performed in the aero position. The bike leg of most triathlons is defined as a time trial.

Fartlek: A style of running that is “random” or variably paced. (You know you laughed)

Runner’s High: An intense feeling of exhilaration or being “in the zone” that can occur during a run, usually due to the release of endorphins. (It’s not the only thing people are getting high on these days)

Wetsuit Stripper: A volunteer who is there at the end of the swim to help you out of your wetsuit (Don’t expect to see nudists walking around)


2. Know which distance you’d like to do.

Being called “Ironman” sounds cool, but do you know what it takes to earn that title? Would you believe us if we told you that you’d have to run a marathon after biking over 100 miles? And that’s not even all of it. Long story short, make sure you understand the distances of each triathlon before you sign up and start training! Lucky for you, there’s only 5 triathlons you need to know – Sprint, Olympic, ITU Long, Half, Full (Ironman). Try out a shorter triathlon first before venturing into the more excruciating ones. The distances are as follows:









Olympic / 5150




ITU Long




Half / 70.3




Full (Ironman)





3. Plan your workouts and keep them short.

While juggling all your responsibilities seems daunting, incorporating quality workouts can make you a successful triathlete even when your life is hectic. Before you start training, set triathlon goals. Keep them somewhere you can see them and be reminded of them frequently (the fridge, the mirror, a reminder on your phone). Now with your long-term goals in mind, don’t walk out the front door until you know your daily workout. Write it down on a notecard and take it with you. Instead of jumping in the pool and wasting time planning a workout in the moment, take your pre-written notecard to the pool deck and save a few extra minutes. Take advantage of every minute you’ve dedicated to training.


4. Work your weaknesses.

As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on our strengths. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s time to face and conquer our weaknesses! triathlons help us break out of that shell by focusing on 3 disciplines instead of 1. Daunting? No way! If you’re not good a swimmer, clocking endless miles on your bike won’t make you a stronger swimmer. Decide which discipline is your weakness and track your progress. This will help you make adjustments where you need them. You’ll be unstoppable as you see yourself overcoming personal weaknesses.


 5. Proper nutrition.

Dehydration is a real thing! Drink before, during, and after your race. You will hit a wall (maybe literally) if you’re body is craving water. Be sure to drink something with added electrolytes, vitamins, nutrients, and sugar. The food you consume is also essential in prepping for a triathlon. Give your body the fuel it needs before completing a triathlon. A favorite pre-training meal amongst triathletes is a simple chicken breast with a sweet potato because it combines protein for the muscles and carbohydrates for energy. No matter what, ‘you can’t out-train poor nutrition.’


6. Bricking.  

In triathlon terms, bricking means doing two disciplines back to back, just like in the actual race. The most important changeover to practice is the bike to run because different muscles are being used in each discipline. It will feel foreign to your body the first few times, but keep practicing! When practicing bricking, professional athletes understand the importance of short workouts, which is why they say to bike the race distance then run only 1 mile afterward. It’s not necessary to run the full race distance just yet.


7. Keep training and gear simple.

Simplicity is key, which is why all we’re going to say is success and confidence come from your training and level of preparedness. You might look good in pictures, but that finish line could care less about your latest gadgets and the fanciest foods.


8. Mind games.

Resist the urge to call an Uber when you’re only 1-mile from the finish line. You already paid for the race, do you really want to pay more money during the race? When your legs are burning and your feet are screaming at you to stop, prove them wrong by pushing on to the end. To help you finish strong, turn up your motivational music and imagine your fan group cheering for you at the end. Even if you have to crawl over the line, you just completed a triathlon and no one can take that away from you!


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