First of all, congratulations on taking the compromise to do a triathlon.
It is normal to not know how to do one, and it is also normal not knowing anyone who had done one and this probably why you hadn’t done one yet.
Triathlons are not “only” (there’s some of them out there…) for insane athlete types who could run marathons in 2 hours and hold their breath for 30 minutes. We know the felling of triathlons seems impossible – way to difficult to even attempt. It is best to leave it to all those crazy marathoners who like that stuff. You will soon realize that not only is a triathlon not impossible but will also help you to pushed your limits more than you thought you ever could.
If you want to do a triathlon, but aren’t sure you can do it, rest assured – you can train for your first one in just 3 months. There are countless triathlon training programs you can use to get started on, but if you just want to go out and do your first one – this article is everything you need. Here we go.
How To Sign Up For A Triathlon
If you want to sign up for your first triathlon, it’s pretty simple:
Step 1. Click HERE chose the distance and division you want to participate in and register now! See… wasn’t that hard.
Step 2. If you’re not ready for a triathlon yet, don’t worry – you’ll be able to run your first race in 3 months.
Now that you have a solid date in the calendar, lets get started.
What do you really need to enter the race?
Triathlon gear can get expensive fast. A top bike can easily cost a thousand euros, a swimsuit another few hundreds, not to mention shoes, jerseys, bike kits, helmets, sun glasses and more.
Fortunately, you can do triathlon on a budget. The rule of thumb to live by is to work with what you have and upgrade as it’s warranted.
Many top athlete’s did their first triathlon races on a 150€ bike, many didn’t used a swimsuit for the first few races, after all, if the water is above 21º C, you won’t be allowed to wear one anyway - on Lisboa's race it usually is between 18º and 20º C. Anyway, for these type of swimsuits, you can find already several different brands, with quite acessible prices.
To go for your first race, managing your budget will make you spend less money than you could imagine. However, to be part of this race, you will need all the necessary gear, as we will only supply the specific items that identify the race, the BIB numbers that will identify you, the time chip to get your results and the swim cap for the specific age group you're part of.
Truth to be told, to run your first triathlon, you only need 5 things:
- Swimsuit (the only one not mandatory, but it helps)
- Swimming googles
- Sun glasses (mainly to protect your eyes from bugs, dust, etc)
- Approved helmet
- Running shoes (and bike shoes)
You might not look like a pro, but you won't ruin your budget on your first experience. Keep in mind that's better to be slower than the others on a not so great bike, than be slower on a great bike... you don't need to spend thousands of euros for starting, you just need to start.
Training for a triathlon
Training for a triathlon is intensive, but it’s totally possible. If you pick up a training guide (there are tones online), follow the workouts, you can be ready to go in 3 months or even less depending on your current shape. If you’re not a swimming, biking or running pro – don’t worry. These will give you a crash course on each discipline in a triathlon and have you more than confident on your ability to finish over race day.
The swim leg of triathlon is simultaneously the shortest and most universally feared part of the race. The key to the swim is to stay relaxed and calm. The worst thing you can do is to try and go too fast. You’ll probably end up going faster than you should, tiring out and possibly panicking.
Instead of trying to go fast, focus on smooth movements and moving effortlessly through the water rather than moving at a frenetic pace. If you start to get worried, slow down, tread water, breath and keep going. Remember, go at your own pace – just because there are a lot of people around you splashing everywhere, doesn’t mean that everyone is going much faster than you – it just seems like it. Swim your race at your pace and resist the urge to try and go as fast as possible.
You might feel great coming out of the water #1, but you still have 2 legs of the race left to go. If you spend all your energy there, you’ll be struggling on everything else. If you really want to improve your time, the bike and run legs are the longer segments where you can really make up some serious time – save your energy for then.
You can spend hundreds on bike fit systems in search of a perfect bike for your first race, but if you’re using the bike out of your garage or borrowing one from a friend you can give yourself a quick bike fitting by trying it out first and making sure you are confortable on it for a couple of hours or more.
Running is such a basic skill, but so many people do it poorly and end up injured. There are lots of blogs you can read for running advice.
Triathlons aren’t just for Lance Armstrong look-a-likes and genetically enhanced humans who’ve trained in the lab the last years. Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world – and there’s a good reason why. Everyday, normal people are deciding to try it, push their limits and have a ton of fun along the way. Even if you’re not in great shape, if you can exercise for 15 minutes at a time, you can start training to run your first triathlon in 3 months (seriously). It’s not always easy, but if you work on it and train hard, it’s totally possible.
But there’s one more thing left to do – stop reading and start training.