🗺️ Start to Tri
(noun) | /trī-ˈa-thlän/
- 👉 A multi-sport endurance event involving three consecutive and distinct disciplines, swimming 🏊, cycling 🚴, and running 🏃.
(noun) | /trī-ˈæθ-lēt/
- 👉 A person who participates in and competes in the sport of triathlon.
So you want to be a Triathlete?
Follow these steps taking you through
- ☝ Equipment
- ✌ Entering a Race
- 👌 Training
- 👊 Racing
- ✋ What's next
Before you continue...
Mandatory viewing to get you pumped!
You do need "invest" in some kit, but it's not nearly as much as people think. Often many of these items are relatively easy to borrow for your first race.
- TrisuitYou can do the whole race in a speedo and change into cycling and running kit, but, getting a tri-suit will make your race day experience SO much less complicated and enjoyable.
Entering a race 🖥️
Check your local race calendar and make the committment.
I highly recommend either a Sprint Distance or, at a push, an Olympic Distance for your first attempt. Not because you can't complete longer distances, but the shorter distances are usually more friendly and fun.
- Sprint: Swim: 750m, Bike: 20km, Run: 5km
- Olympic: Swim: 1500m, Bike: 40km, Run: 10km
- Half: Swim: 1900m, Bike: 90km, Run: 21km (also called Half-Ironman or 70.3)
- Full: Swim: 3800m, Bike: 180km, Run: 42km (also called Ironman)
- 100km: Swim: 2000m, Bike: 80km, Run: 18km (used by The PTO)
Here are some very high-level and generic suggestions on what to do if you don't have coaching. This is caveated by making sure you are physically healthy enough to start exercise and will be allowed to train with a doctor.
Training often but little is far better than doing a few epic sessions infrequently. Try to get into a routine of doing something every day. This could be a 30min run, a 45min bike ride, or a 1hr swim. The more you can do, the better, but don't overdo it. If you're feeling tired, take a day off. If you're feeling good, do a little more. The key is consistency. An example week could look like this:
- Monday: Swim 🏊️
- Tuesday: Run 🏃
- Wednesday: Bike 🚴
- Thursday: Brick: Bike + Run 🚴 🏃
- Friday: Swim 🏊️
- Saturday: Long Bike 🚴
- Sunday: Long Run 🏃
It's SO important to realize this while you're doing it. It's such an EPIC achievement and you should be proud of yourself. You're doing something that most people will never do. You're a triathlete! Don't wait till after the race or the next race. Be present!
What Next? 🚀
There are so many different ways to be a triathlete and it will become important for you to work out what you want from the sport. Below are some stereotypes just for fun and I think i've been in each category depending on the year.
- Terminator 🤖Many triathletes get hooked and want to toss aside any semblance of a normal life for swim, bike and run. This all consuming appraoch is great as you will "level-up" very quickly but it can be unsustainable. It can put a lot of strain on your family life, existing friendships and hobbies and even career. It can work, but not all the time.
- Bumble Bee 🐝This is similar to the above but less serious. This triathlete will fully embrace being a tri-geek and will train every day but not sacrifice every other part of their life. They will tend to race often because it's fun and put less pressure on themselves.
- Hamster 🐹Some triathlets have done a race or two but can seldom do another one. They enjoy training and the balance it brings to their lives but don't feel the need to race and compete.
- Sportsman ⚽️They are not defined as a triathlete and triathlon is just one of the many sports they do. They tend to always be fit, seldom injured and frustratingly can do well at a triathlon even on cheap equipment with little specific training.
- Bear 🐻There are many triathletes that used to be all in but have tapped out of the "matrix". They still love the sport and follow the pro-racing scene but are focusing on other areas or have taken up gravel riding or stand up paddle boarding. They will often have a comeback year where they go all-in again 😉