So, you have decided to join your very first triathlon event but you are quite unsure what it entails.
Biking, swimming, and running—each of those three activities is already an endurance workout by themselves, but doing all three together is an extreme feat. This is one event that tests the boundaries of your strength, endurance as well as your patience. Attempting to join a triathlon event does not only require a physical preparation but a mental one as well and signing up for it requires deep contemplation as well as sufficient preparation on your part. Signing up aside, there is also the matter of adequate training, having the right gear and equipment to compete.
Registering for the event is only half the battle, the real challenge lies within the arduous day to day training and mental preparations you are about to undertake before the triathlon event.
If you are a first timer, there are a lot of things for you to consider before even thinking of signing up. To get a glimpse of how you should be adequately prepared for the event, this article will walk you through various tips and guidelines.
HAVE THE APPROPRIATE GEAR
Essentially, to complete a triathlon event, all you would need is a pair of running shoes, a bike, and a swimsuit. Though it may seem that easy to gear up, you might be compromising your performance as well as your safety if you do not choose the best and appropriate equipment for you. Registering for triathlon events may be costly but having the right gear is even more expensive but rightly so. You do not want to pedal down a steep hill only to have your bike give up on you at the last minute or have your shoes break down in the middle of your sprint. Consider having the best quality when joining events such as these as they will complement your performance during the race.
CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE COACH
Ideally when joining triathlon events, it is best to get coached before the race day. You might have joined competitions and activities similar to triathlon events before but nothing beats the sage advice of someone who has competed in a triathlon before. Choose a coach who has competed in a triathlon before, they can give you better tips, strategies, and advice in finishing the race. Additionally, they can give you a firsthand account of how the entire experience feels so that come big event, you will be more at ease.
For triathlon events, executing a freestyle stroke is best as it is the most efficient stroke for quick movement in open water. However, do not be surprised when you are easily winded after the first fifty yards when training. Swimming might be something you might be familiar with, but form might be an obstacle for those who are not too familiar with water. But this is easily remedied with a variety of drills which includes side kicks to work on rotating the body and breathing, one arm stroke and catch-up drill to single out and correct form for each arm. For arm strength and endurance, do laps with a buoy between the legs. And lastly to build up your leg strength, hold onto a kickboard and start kicking.
Some may find biking relatively easy compared to the two other activities involved in triathlon events, but consider that biking for competitive purposes is widely different and can even be nerve-wracking. To begin, start by getting used to your chosen bike and its different gears. Find out which gears makes pedaling easier for you while taking your bike out for a ride out in the streets and observe how sensitive your brakes are. For triathlons, clipless pedals are ideal and preferable as it allows you to waste less energy as you are getting power when you push down and pull up on the pedals causing your speed to increase. This might be a little intimidating for first-timers, but with practice it is manageable.
While you might think that running a mile is an easy feat, you might feel different after you factor in the exhaustion that comes after swimming and biking. After two grueling activities, keeping one foot ahead of the other in succession is a lot more challenging but with sufficient training, this can be accomplished. Consider that this is where you can make up for wasted time in transitions or during the other portions of the race. Ideally, training for running is to spend at least one session practicing your transition from one activity to the next, whether it would be swimming to biking and then biking to running. This is endurance training for your legs, and it is best to do them while they are still exhausted from the biking or swimming.
If you have stuck to a training regimen, adequately geared up and sufficiently trained then you will be prepared as you can be on the race day. It might be overwhelming and intimidating to finally be in the starting area during the race day but with sufficient training, you will be okay. Remember to get there early so as to calm your nerves before the race starts and lastly, be positive and have fun. Essentially, your goal is just to finish as that is already a worthy accomplishment in itself,