Well, it's the start of triathlon season and I've been reading about a about a lot of bloggers wanting to try one or are getting back into it. So I thought I'd do a post on some of my tips for doing a triathlon. Mind you, I'm no expert, but I have learned all these things from experience. I'm really just an armature and my advice is really for people who are looking to get into the sport, not for people who are trying to go fast.
1. You actually need to train for it. For my first triathlon last summer, I followed a training plan and I followed it religiously. And I had an absolute blast at the tri. This last triathlon, not so much. I knew going into it that I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be and let me tell you, this tri was so much more grueling and miserable. Trust me, I won't do that again. I recommend checking out Tri Newbies if this is your first tri.
2. For the swim I just wear a black sports bra and my spandex shorts. I highly recommend wearing the tightest shorts you own, assuming you don't have a tri suit or tri shorts (I think I might finally invest in some). I say this because I thought I was going to lose my pants during the swim. You could also wear a bathing suit, but I can't stand to run in one.
3. I pin my number to my shirt so when I get to the first transition I just slip my shirt on and I'm ready to go.
4. At the first transition, I have a whole little setup. I wish I had a picture, but I don't, so bear with me on the description. Next to my bike, I lay down a towel. At the start of the towel there's a bucket with a little bit of water in it. When I come to the transition, I step into the bucket while I put my shirt on to rinse off my feet (especially helpful if you have to run up a beach). Then I step onto a small hand towel while I put my helmet on so I can dry my feet off a bit. Then I put on my socks and shoes. Maybe some people don't mind sand in their socks, but I can't stand it and this system has worked out great for me. Also, if you can invest in some of those shoelaces that you pull to tighten, instead of tie, that can save you time.
5. Near the end of the bike, try to bike standing up as much as you can. This gets your legs ready for the run. Trust me, it helps.
6. Everything I read prior to my first tri told me to hydrate a lot on the bike. In my first tri I drank almost my entire water bottle. Bad idea. I had to pee so bad during the run it hurt. This time I only drank a little during the ride and it was so much better. I do think that I need to do some fueling during the race with gu's or something, but I need to figure that out.
7. This one might sound silly, but I make sure to braid my hair on race day. This is because I can easily get the swim cap off, my bike helmet fits well over it and so does my running hat. It just works because I don't have to worry about any hair getting in my face during the race.
8. Try to have fun. In my first tri all the pictures of me are so serious. I tried to smile for the camera this time around.
9. If this is your first tri, don't get fancy. Work with what you've got. I don't have a fancy bike or pedals that require the special shoes. And I do just fine. I figure you should find out if you like it before investing a lot of money into it. Now that I've done two of them I'm starting to consider upgrading some of my gear.
I hope this is helpful to some of you. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who is thinking about doing a triathlon. It really is a great sport and I really like doing it. And please let me know if you have any questions about anything I didn't mention (or did, for that matter). Obviously there's a lot that goes into it so I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff! Hope everyone's having a good end of the week!