First time triathlon?

Soldato
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I’m getting to that age where I’ve clearly lost the plot and am thinking about entering a triathlon. I’ve cycled for years (not competitively) so that’s by far my strongest leg. I’ve recently started running on my lunch breaks and can fairly comfortably do 5k. I rarely get the chance to go swimming, but I’ve been a couple of times over the last couple of months and the distance is easy enough, it’s the speed that’s the problem. I’m planning to do a sprint distance rather than the Olympic distance.

I was just wondering if anyone had any comments on their first triathlon. Did you enjoy it, or did you spend the whole time worrying about getting kicked during the swim and your bike being stolen from the transition area? My local one will have the swim leg in the pool which I’m not sure how will work, but I know the area for running/cycling so that would be comforting.
 
Soldato
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Nothing wrong with entering casually, but you need to be out training.
I would not worry about speed, instead you need to be training transitions and completing the entire event. Sprint races are where most of the tryhards turn up, so I would forget about them and just do it for the experience and journey.

Please remember that its easy to do each component in isolation, but you need to get your legs comfortable with moving through each stage, together with being aware of penalties (ie transitioning over the line) if you mess it up.

To answer questions: you will want to just be in the back of the group so you dont have to worry about pace, just your own time. Most events will either split the groups based on rough completion times or age. So not everyone is going to be in the pool at the same time.
Bikes dont get stolen because the majority (if not all) events are well organised, there will be staff in the bike areas checking people are taking their correct bikes (a number is on you and your bike)

If your not sure on your swimming, or have limited time to train you might want to consider a Duathlon instead.
 
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SPG

SPG

Soldato
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Go for it, sprints are great fun, i would suggest you up your running to around 6 to 7k though.

Oh and after every cycle go for a small run, 15-20mins is more than enough. The feeling from cycle to run takes some getting used to, its best to prepare for it.
 
Soldato
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I’ve only done one sprint but I found the marshals and fellow competitors the friendliest bunch and it was a great experience. The pool swim will be fine, smash the bike leg and hang on for the run!

Edit: I did mine on 3 swim sessions and a less than 10 runs (plus lots of bike) and I survived with a smile on my face!
 
Caporegime
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i did a self-supported half-IM. without a time goal it was all pretty easy. hard part was fighting boredom on the bike.
 
Soldato
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I did one in September and I'm hooked. Already signed up for a couple next year.

Mine was an Olympic (albeit with a 1k swim and 60k bike for some reason). Swim was in the sea.

I had decent base fitness on the bike but could only swim 100m or so and run a few miles when I signed up 3 months in advance.

Swam 3 times a week and worked up to 1k in time but the tri was with a wetsuit which makes it so much easier! Didn't run more than a few miles in training but did enough to get round the 10k without dieing.

Got kicked once on the swim but generally swam at the side and even though I was middle of what felt like a big group it was well spread out

The whole event was fantastic. So well organised and everyone was friendly, supportive and helpful.

No worries about bike being nicked. Mainly because mine is only cheap and there expensive TT bikes there but also because you needed to show your race number tattoo and sticker on the bike to take it out at the end.

I'm looking forward to a winter of hard training and racing a lot more next year
 

SPG

SPG

Soldato
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Get your races booked now, great motivation especially with some of the prices involved :)

Staffordshire 70.3 next year and really really tempted to push the button on Ironman UK a month or so later, the bigger distance scares me though have to say :) and will be sprinkling in a few local sprints and The COWMAN olympic as well over next year.
 
Soldato
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a dissenter -
I would say just integrate running and swimmming into your lifestyle as a regular lifelong activity - I dislike the pool when it is packed, which I suspect a triathlon would be like,
equally running/cycling in a large group ... how long would it be before I'd write off an expensive carbon frame bike too.

I think it depends on your desire to 'compete' , and have organised sports ... but ... I can organize myself
.. There's also, now, a socia media originated ? weekend warrior motivation I dislike, people not doing it for the love/asthetic of the sport, each to his own.
 

SPG

SPG

Soldato
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a dissenter -
I would say just integrate running and swimmming into your lifestyle as a regular lifelong activity - I dislike the pool when it is packed, which I suspect a triathlon would be like,
equally running/cycling in a large group ... how long would it be before I'd write off an expensive carbon frame bike too.

I think it depends on your desire to 'compete' , and have organised sports ... but ... I can organize myself
.. There's also, now, a socia media originated ? weekend warrior motivation I dislike, people not doing it for the love/asthetic of the sport, each to his own.

Its a race, pool swims are scheduled as per the time you enter, in general they are very well organised for a pool, outside swim is great fun, no one is out to kick you in the goggles on purpose, if you want to avoid the pack you can otherwise get stuck in the middle and enjoy it after 5mins its all settled down anyway. As for your carbon bike it would be write off depending on how badly you ride it tbh :)

The only chance i have of winning a Tri event is staying injury free for another 18 years so i can win my age group when i retire :) I get the feeling that will be 25% off sucess as well, so your only competing with your own personal challenges really and its very very drama free, the TRI community is fantastic tbh.
 
Soldato
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I did first one last winter and going from the pool to the freezing outside was an experience, it's hits you like a car crash.
 

alx

alx

Soldato
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Go for it, sprints are great fun, i would suggest you up your running to around 6 to 7k though.

Oh and after every cycle go for a small run, 15-20mins is more than enough. The feeling from cycle to run takes some getting used to, its best to prepare for it.

This. Also, try to keep your cycling cadence high, typically you want it to be around half your run cadence which helps with the cycle to run transition.
 
Associate
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Thread revival!

Thinking of doing my first triathlon (Olympic) this summer.
Just getting back into cycling but I've been doing all the sports individually on and off for years at much longer distances.

Not experienced wild swimming and my fitness levels aren't great currently.
Will need to somehow squeeze training between work and kids but I tend to thrive on having physical goals to work towards.
 

SPG

SPG

Soldato
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Don`t think sign up for it, that £60 you have just spent is motivation enough and makes you accountable and honest to yourself :)

The training plan can start after that :) but do it they are great fun.
 
Soldato
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If you commit and sign up to something you'll be a lot more committed.
Just have fun with it on the first event. You'll make loads of mistakes, or come away thinking how you could have been faster at xyz.
Watch videos on how go set transition zones etc.
GTN on YT have loads and loads of videos for beginners and lots of tips too.
 
Associate
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Yeah I agree. I'm going to sign up for the Leeds triathlon in June and then a duathlon in April as a warm up.

I'm confident I can get my cycling and swimming to a comfortable point fairly quickly. Just need to work on my swimming stamina!
 
Soldato
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I used to do the 5 sprint series every year, great fun. It's always a bit of a melee on the beach at the start, I was never a strong swimmer so would always let those who wanted to get ahead of me knowing I wouldn't catch them in the water anyway.
Obviously training is important especially the "brick" sessions (running off the bike) but take some time to plan your transitions. Little tricks like tie a piece of fluro cloth (I cut up a hi viz vest) to your bike rack so you can spot it easier - save you running down the wrong aisle, holding your shoes in a horizontal position on the bike with little elastic bands and my favourite tip of all, don't wear socks and get some elastic laces for your shoes. Get em on ebay for coppers.
All this could add up to two minutes or more of time savings - sounds like nothing but in a 5km run thats like shaving off 20 odd seconds per km which would represent significant training gains.
 
Associate
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Thanks for the tips.
My main goal is completing it. We'll see how competitive I can be as the training progresses.

Did my first brick? Yesterday, with a 10k ride and 5k run. Didn't have any issue with going from one to the other.

Doing stage 2 of Tour de Zwift tomorrow so didn't want to blow my legs before Alpe du Zwift.

Like I said, I need to get in the pool and build up my distance there as I think that's going to be my main challenge.
 
Soldato
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If swimming is your weakest discipline, consider sticking to half-iron. The swimming is a much small proportion of the event (and transitions are less important). Back in the day I did a couple of sprints but found them to be too 'frantic' and I was compromised by a slow swim. When I switched to half-iron I had a lot more fun with the mass start open water swim in a wet suit than lane swimming in a pool.
 

SPG

SPG

Soldato
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Sprints are nice social occasion and really good fun.
Olympics are a race
Half's are a nice day out.
Full are hard, really really hard (but then easy when you finish)
 
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