Last summer, I participated in DelMoSports Tri The Wildwoods sprint triathlon. I was extremely nervous and wasn’t too sure what I was getting myself into. However, completing a triathlon turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life; I felt great, I was in great shape, I had extreme bragging rights and I met some of the coolest people I’ll ever know.
If you’re thinking about taking on a triathlon yourself, these are my tips for making your first time the best time.
1. Transition training is crucial.
Sure, it’s important to make sure you can complete all the swimming, biking and running segments, however, the most important training you will do is practicing going from biking to running or swimming to biking. Making sure you’re comfortable with those transitions builds confidence and endurance to help you keep momentum during your event.
2. Practice running on sand.
It’s so, so, so much different than running anywhere else. Be forewarned that if it’s not something that you’ve done before, it will make you very uncomfortable. The best way to push forward it is to figure out whether you’re most comfortable on wet, hard, dry or lumpy sand.
3. Wear something “tri-event” friendly.
You don’t really have a place to change during the competition, so if you can jump out of whatever you wear to swim and be ready to bike, you’re set. Compression clothing is very helpful and easy to complete all the events in.
4. Sidestroke is your friend.
With hundreds of other people swimming on top of you, side stroke is a very helpful choice in the water. You can move at a fairly decent pace and you can keep your head above the surface to see everything and everyone around you. It’s also not a very strenuous stroke, which is very helpful, considering you have two more events to partake in.
5. Do not underestimate the importance of a good bike.
One of the first things I thought about when I decided to participate in a triathlon was buying a good bike. However, I wasn’t sure what qualified as a “good bike” so I used the mountain bike I had. It took me less than a mile to understand how important a “good bike” was. Don’t invest in a good bike until you are totally sure what you’re paying for; I know that sounds contradictory to my emphasis on the importance of a good bike, however, when I complete another triathlon, I will totally understand the benefits.
6. Eat properly.
Your diet the few weeks prior to your event is so important. It’s a good idea to cut the ice cream and unhealthy snacks for a few weeks to make sure you’re in the best condition you could be. A lot of protein and some carbs will go a long way.
7. Post-race breakfast is the best meal ever.
Now, I don’t want to promise you a breakfast, but DelMo sports provided a huge breakfast buffet after our race and that fact made swimming, biking and running so much easier. I promise, your post-race meal is heaven on Earth and easily one of the best reasons to complete a triathlon.
8. Keep working out.
After your triathlon, you’re going to be in amazing shape and you’re going to feel great. It’s definitely good to take a little time off from the gym, but keep at it! You’re in such a great place to get stronger and build endurance for your next event.