Last week I received a message on my Facebook wall that read “I’m thinking about doing my first triathlon, where do I start?”
First I celebrated, YAY!! Triathlon! Honored that this gal came to me. I did practically beg her when I met her, “If you want to know anything, please, please, pleeeaaasse reach out. I’m here. I want to help!”
After the burst of excitement over the question I thought, “huh…good question. Where do you start?”
Well, let’s break it down into questions to ask yourself:
Can you swim?
Have you ever swam?
Do you have pool access? Can you get pool access?
Can you bike?
Do you have a bike?
Do you have a helmet?
Do you run currently?
Those are the questions to start. But wait, there’s more! So you’ve answered these questions, and for the fun of it let’s just say you said yes to all of the above. Hooray! Triathlon!
Next step, pick a race! First, ask around, use your social medias. A friend of a friend of a friend has probably done or heard of a local triathlon. Ask about the course, the support, and about the ease of logistics (parking, accommodations, packet pick-up). Here’s where I’m going to stop and say please don’t look for the easiest course and be afraid of hills. Yes, hills are challenging, but so is triathlon. Triathlon is hard, but so fulfilling. The sense of accomplishment of finishing a challenging course will be a memory of a lifetime. Suck it up, do the course with hills.
Oh, and if your friend of a friend of a friend doesn’t have any suggestions, I use this website to find races: Running In the USA
Alright, you’ve picked a race, we’ve established that you can swim, bike and run. Now what? Training plan! It just so happens that Coeur Sports has a FREE sprint training plan on their website! Go HERE! The women of Coeur have your back!
So far you’ve picked a race, found a training plan, and now you need to get basic gear. You don’t need fancy schmancy alien helmets and $500 watches. You can do your first triathlon with basics.
• Goggles – GET GOGGLES. Get them. I repeat, get goggles. Have a spare pair.
• Swim cap
• Swimsuit – duh
Optional swim gear: wetsuit (look for local rentals), BodyGlide, earplugs, nose clips, extra neoprene swimcap.
• Bike – if it has two wheels, pedals and brakes, you’re good. You don’t need a $2000 bike.
• Helmet. You NEED this. You won’t be allowed on course without one. Make sure straps are intact.
• Water bottle holder & water bottle.
• Tube repair kit. Yup, you might get a flat tire, and you need to know how to change it. Find a fix-a-flat clinic, or go to YouTube to learn to fix one.
Optional bike gear: bento box (for your snacks), bike gloves, clip-in pedals & shoes.
• Run shoes.
• Moisture wicking socks.
Optional run gear: visor, race belt, sunglasses, hand-held water bottle, lock-laces, race fuel (check to see what is on course).
We’ve covered accessibility, picking a race, and basic gear. I believe this begins to answer “Where do I start?”
Any more questions?