Firsts things first – you need to enter a race!
You want your first race to be an enjoyable experience so it’s a good idea to select a triathlon that is at least 8-12 weeks away to allow you enough time to train and learn the basics. There are many distances available to choose from; but it’s always best to start small and gradually build up. Look for races that offer a Sprint Distance (750m Swim, 20km Cycle, 5km Run).This is a great distance for your first triathlon; however if this distance sounds a little too intimidating, don’t stress there are shorter ones available! My first triathlon was Triathlon Pink event with a 300m swim (in a pool) a 10km ride and a 3km run! I had so much fun and was a great introduction into the sport. Do what you are comfortable with.
Set a Goal
Comparison is the thief of Joy! This goal is your personal goal, do not get caught up in what your friends or race buddies want to achieve. Your goal can be as simple as swimming freestyle for the whole swim, not walking during the run or finishing the triathlon. Try not to set goals that are unattainable to avoid disappointment. Remember triathlons are NOT only for young, fit and athletic people, anyone can do them. Once you set your mind to do something anything is achievable if you are prepared to do the work!
Don’t burn a hole in your wallet
Buy what you need, not what you want. When first starting out don’t break the bank! Triathlon is an expensive sport but there are ways to get around it. Check out Gumtree or Triathlon Marketplace on Facebook to see if anyone is selling second hand equipment. You do not need all the high tech gear for your first race or even season. Do a couple of races first to make sure you enjoy the sport. From there you can look at investing into new gear to improve your training and racing.
Follow a Plan
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance! ‘Newbies’ in the Tri world get very excited about their new challenge and can often do too much too soon. It’s important to remember Quality over Quantity. You don’t have to train 20 hours a week to complete a sprint distance triathlon; you can easily get by with 4-5 hours a week. Listen to your body; you know it better than anyone else. Take the time to pay attention to how your recover after tough training sessions including nutrition and injury prevention techniques. If you feel like you need a rest day take one! It’s better to schedule them into your training plan so you don’t feel burnt out, and when a rest day is schedule it means REST!
Find a Club or a Friend to train with and have FUN!
Joining a triathlon club and registering through your State Association has many benefits! One of my favourite things about triathlons is the people you meet. Everyone is so friendly and helpful, these networks help getting through those tough training sessions a lot easier! Plus when training with people, you will often pick up a lot of handy hints to help in training and racing. Everyone loves sharing their experiences and you are guaranteed to make lifelong friends.