TIPS FOR TRIATHLON NEW-COMERS
One of the beauties of my role with Playtri is that I get to see so many people transitioning into the sport of triathlon. Whether former athletes looking for a new challenge, people that have never taken on a physical fitness venture ever, or people somewhere in between just looking to get healthy in an entertaining and safe way, triathlon brings all walks of life together. I've always said, it's the most individualized sport with the best, all-encompassing community you'll ever find.
As someone that guides people into the sport, I often get asked the most questions that ultimately pertain to how to get started - the who, what, when, where, and often why of doing triathlon. So if you're looking to get into this amazing sport, or you've already decided to jump in feet first and just need to know where to jump, here are a few key items that will help make your transition into this sport smoother and more fun!
1) Learn about the unlimited potential you have in this sport!
When I first got started in the sport, I only knew about IRONMAN races. It wasn't until many months into it that I ever found out about the shorter (and more reasonable) distances that triathlon offered. Triathlon has varying distance races equating to most commonly (in distance order) the following: Super-Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, Half-Distance, and Full-Distance races. There's a race length for any and every one, and it allows you to find the challenge you want.
2) Find a race that works with your schedule and goals
With the sport of Triathlon continuing to grow, there's always a race happening somewhere. Find a local race. Playtri puts on a race every 4-5 weeks from March-September (once in shape, it's easier to maintain!!) See Playtri Race Schedule here: Playtri.com/race-calendar/
By putting a race on the calendar, it gives you something to look forward to and stay on track in your training. The length of the triathlon season also allows for you to start advance your race lengths should you want to over the course of many months. You can safely build fitness to be properly prepared for the longer length races as your training grows through the season.
3) Get into a proper triathlon training program
If you wanted to learn to play the piano, but you'd never touched the keys before, chances are you'd hire a teacher, right? There's nothing like watching an athlete "go it alone" their first few seasons, only to drop out of the sport from nothing more than lack of knowledge. Though swimming, biking, and running are simple in theory, when you bring them all together, the combination begins to get challenging. Often we're asked "How much should I train?", "Is XYZ enough for ABC?", "What should my nutrition plan look like?" and so on. Every athlete is different, from physically to the amount of time they can invest weekly, so having someone help create a program that makes more sense to your needs is paramount. Whether individually, or in a group setting for the added community building of like-minded people, getting the proper direction and instruction for your triathlon training and racing will make the experience that much better for you.
4) Know the basics of triathlon gear, (and how to use it)!
Learning about what equipment you need for your specific goals is key. Not all triathlon lengths are created equal! Outside of swim goggles, a bike, and running shoes, there are many items that make your triathlon experience much more enjoyable. Getting educated on the different items, as well as the usage and importance of each, will allow you to have a full arsenal of tools for your training and race day. Check out our race day gear checklist to get an idea of items you'll need here: https://www.playtri.com/raceday/
5) HAVE FUN!!
Triathlon is an incredible way to get fit, meet people, and create a healthier lifestyle in a fun environment. Whether a weekend warrior, or a chronic Ironman, triathlon embraces all people as athletes. Grab a family member or friend, sign up for a race, and we'll see you at the finish line!!
Coach Raina, see bio here