The thrill of competition. The rush of the race. The number that covers your chaffed nipples.
For studs. For the tough-hearted and the firm-muscled! And, most importantly, for FUN!
Does the description above excite you?
Are you having a daydream that you’re neck and neck at the finish line? With people cheering, sweat dripping off your forehead, and a new medal accessory worn proudly with your running attire?
Do you want to be a triathlete? Then GET READY! There’s a few things you should know:
1. Common Misconceptions
AGE DOES NOT MATTER: Don’t be wary if you are not 23. Triathletes are a diverse bunch. You don’t need to be a fresh spring chicken to participate. Do you like:
Swimming? Running? Bicycling?
Those are the only prerequisites to participating in a triathlon. Don’t be hesitant! You’ll fit in just fine.
TRANSITIONS: In order to not feel gypped or cheated, you should know what you are timed on. I like to compare it to exams. Would you be royally peeved if you found a physics question on a U.S. History Exam?
I would! I would feel ill-prepared. And uninformed.
Let’s avoid the same feeling in this case. You are timed on: swimming, bicycling, running, and the time lapse in between each. From the second you start till the second you finish.
There’s NO PAUSE BUTTON.
2. Your Triathlon GEAr Checklist
It is important to be prepared. You don’t want to feel frazzled and frantic on the day of the race.
And you certainly don’t want to arrive and realize you forgot something important. Like your goggles, bike shoes or your waterproof ipod! Collect your supplies at least a day in advance.
“To make sure that you pack everything you need for all three aspects of the event, use the following checklist, which covers the necessities for swimming, biking, and running:”
Remember! LESS IS MORE.
You want to make sure you have the essentials. Don’t get bogged down with little details. This will just distract you. And slow you down.
3 . How to “Ninja” the Race
Let’s discuss some tried a true tricks of the trade.
As a beginner, I’m sure you could use a few tips to help boost your confidence. These items will help your race RUN much smoother (pun intended).
One blogger swears by elastic shoelaces. It shaves off a considerable amount of time when you can slip the running shoes off and on gracefully.
David Wilkes, a recent Ironman participant suggests, multi-purpose shorts. “Buy shorts that you can swim, run and bike in.” That way, you don’t have to change in between and it saves time.
David also suggests buying an “elastic belt with a plastic backpack clip that holds your race number.
When you are done swimming, just clip it on your bike…it wastes time to stop and pin it on.”
4. Tips From Accomplished Triathletes
Counting: You can get lost very easily… Surprisingly easily. Count how many steps, rows, isles, -whatever helps.
Track your way from the swim exit to your bike and commit it to memory.
Or write it on your hand with a sharpie. That will ensure it doesn’t wash off when you swim. This helps a TON when you’re tired and disoriented.
Be Early: Show up an hour early. Minimum. If it’s a really big race, show up even earlier. You will need time to rack up your bike, assemble your gear, and prep for the event. You want to be familiar with your surroundings and get acclimated.
You DO NOT want to fight people for space or ask them to make room for your stuff. The conflict will not help you put your head in the game.
Relax/Enjoy Yourself: Your race time is not as important as you think. At the end of it all, it won’t matter as much. Sure, you want to do well. But in the midst of the thrill and adrenaline, try to relax a bit. And take time to be present. Enjoy the scenery. Socialize. Soak it all up. Triathlons are fun!
To the triathlon veterans, do you have any wise words to share? Is there anything else the newbies need to know? Please, do tell! Leave a comment. To all the rest of you, if you have any other questions or want more tips, let us know! Let’s talk about it.