New to triathlon – what you need to know

Getting started.

If you’re new to triathlon there are a few MUST DO’S! First timers sometimes attempt to self coach. Often I hear the newbie say, “I’m swimming 750 metres” or “I’ve been cycling 20km” in prep for my sprint distance. I commend anyone having a lash, but triathlon is a complex sport. When you train for triathlon you don’t just swim, cycle or run the race distance. Like when you train for a marathon you don’t just go out and run 42km. Training correctly means structured sessions designed with a specific purpose. Getting it right at the beginning will prevent bad habits forming and well intended sessions becoming junk miles. Below are the four key things you need to get started.

Get equipment.

You need some basic equipment. The equipment doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be borrowed.

For the swim

# Mesh swim bag, goggles (one clear / one tinted), swim cap, kick board, pool buoy and band

For the bike

# Road bike, helmet, cycling pants and jersey, cycling shoes and gloves, sunnies, repair kit and pump

For the run

# Runners with elastic laces, run gear, peak

Extras include:

GPS triathlon watch, cycling id wrist band, a wet suit, drink bottles for the bike, race belt, energy gels and a tri suit. Purchase a back pack to take to your race for carrying your anti chafe, anti fog, vaseline, talcum powder, sunscreen, bandaids and nutrition.

Get a coach.

New to triathlon and getting started means finding a suitable coach. A qualified coach should provide instruction, advice and guidance. It’s important to discuss your lifestyle, circumstances, experience and knowledge of triathlon. A coach should know your triathlon goals, ambitions and purpose to formulate an appropriate training plan.

Choose a race.

Once you’ve chosen a race your coach will design a program in readiness for this event. Performance mapping means monitoring your progress and introducing smaller B grade races to get you race ready. A coach needs to know the equipment you have and your accessibility to training venues. Baseline testing can be used to assess where your fitness level to have you perform in the correct training zones.

Follow a training program.

The newbie to triathlon should focus on developing their aerobic endurance. Speed comes later. Training drills with focus on correct form helps create proper technique in the pool. A gait assessment will ensure correct running form and a bike fit will have you fitted on the saddle correctly. You’ll train for each discipline at least twice per week. Your training volume will increase as you establish the fundamentals and develop your aerobic endurance. Rest and recover to facilitate adaptation.

There is so much more to triathlon. Good luck and keep reading blogs for everything TRIATHLON.

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