New to Triathlon (A beginners guide)
What does Triathlon Involve?
New to Triathlon? First, congratulations – after your first multisport event, we know you’ll be hooked! Second, for old hands and first time multisport beginners alike, preparation is key – this section will help triathlon newcomers like you get ready for your first multisport challenge.
What Exactly Does Triathlon Involve?
A standard triathlon event involves a continuous timed race over various distances combining the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running. Triathlon events occur in that order – a swim, followed by a cycle ride, followed by a run.
Between swim and cycle event, and between cycle event and run, you have the “transition”,
Triathlon Race Distances
Standard triathlon distances from super sprint to Ironman Triathlons – choose your distance for your first triathlon race.
Intersport Townsville Triathlon Festival Distances
- Enticer triathlon: 400m/13.5km/4km
- Sprint distance triathlon: 750m/20km/5km
- Standard distance triathlon: 1500m/40km/10km
Novice triathletes come in many shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. You may have embarked upon your triathlon challenge as part of a change of direction in your life, you may have migrated to your first time triathlon from another high endurance sport, or a beginner’s triathlon may simply be the next step for you. Whatever your reasons, you are ultimately the best judge of whether a sprint triathlon, Olympic middle distance or a long distance triathlon will suit you best
What Triathlon Equipment Do I Really Need?
The truth about what swimming, cycling and running equipment you really need for your first triathlon event.
Beginning your first Triathlon needn’t mean equipping yourself with an array of expensive triathlon gear – the truth is you DON’T need highly specialised Triathlon kit to get started, just a few basic pieces of equipment:
The Swim Leg:
Novice triathlon events often begin with pool-based swims, although confident swimmers experienced in open water can of course choose to start with open water swim events.
Your choice of pool based triathlon or openwater triathlon affects what swimming kit you will need.
- Goggles are essential for both pool based and open water triathlon. Goggles protect your eyes, improve visibility and help you keep your swimming line – which improves your time.
- A Swim Cap keeps your hair out of your way, keeps goggle straps in place and reduces water resistance. You can buy a cheap swimming cap in any sports store. TTF Racing will provide swimming hats at all of our events.
- Tri-Suits are all-in-one outfits designed for triathlon. A tri-suit’s main advantage is a reduction in your transition time as you won’t have to change clothes. Its main disadvantage is it’s inconvenient for toilet breaks! Tri-suits aren’t essential, especially for triathlon beginners, but you’ll need something close-fitting and comfortable, such as a singlet and cycle shorts. If you’re competing in an open water swim, it’s a good idea to choose clothing that can be worn under your wetsuit.
The Bike Leg:
- A Bike, needless to say, is essential for your triathlon challenge cycle event. More advanced competitors often ride triathlon-specific bikes, but at entry level this is entirely unnecessary – any bike will do so long as it’s well serviced with good tyres and inner air tubes, a well-oiled chain and good operational brakes and gears.
- A Bicycle Repair Kit is also essential. Make sure everything you need is in there and is in good condition. And make sure you’re well practiced at using it – a long repair can add hugely to your time and be very demoralising!
- A Helmet is mandatory, even for elites. New bike helmets are comfortable, reasonably priced, simple to use, and may save your life.
- Padding: Whether you opt for a tri-suit or singlet and shorts, you should think about extra padding in the saddle area – cycle events can be long!
- Cycling shoes, which attach to the pedals to improve stability and power, are unnecessary for novice triathletes. It’s FAR more important simply to wear shoes that are easy to get on and off during transitions. Toggle shoelaces are great for this.
The final leg of your first triathlon will be the run – which can be a difficult adjustment after the leg-draining speed of the bike leg. In terms of triathlon gear though, this is where you’ll need the least equipment.
- Clothing: There’s no need for specialised running gear at beginner triathlete level. If you choose your gear well, swimming, cycling and running clothing can double up. Clothing that’s comfortable, light, non-chafing, and preferably breathable, is all you need.
- Running Shoes that are well-fitting, comfortable and support your foot shape are your single most important bit of running gear. Your particular foot type and running gait dictate what kind of running shoe you need so consult a running shoe expert before buying. Again, shoes with toggle/elastic laces may shave seconds off your time (and even minutes in colder weather) and some triathletes find their feet tend to swell over the course of the triathlon race. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider trying running shoes half a size too large.
- Socks are probably only necessary for longer runs, when you’ll want to do everything you can to protect and cushion your feet from damage. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Bikes and wetsuits, as the most expensive items, can generally be hired if you don’t have them; but most first time triathlon competitors find the running, swimming and cycling equipment they have been using for triathlon training and preparation is perfectly adequate for novice triathlon events.
Other than the above, if you have enthusiasm and fitness, then you have everything you need!
Preparation Tips for your First Triathlon
Triathlon Tips for novice Triathletes – Get ready for Triathlon event day!
Triathlon events require determination, endurance, PMA, fitness, and the ability to pace yourself.
It may seem obvious but the earlier you begin your Triathlon training preparations, the better. Conditions can vary hugely on race day so the fitter you are and the higher your endurance, the better your body will be able to adjust to any changes and challenges your first Triathlon throws at it.
On the big day, remember you will not be the only first time Triathlon beginner there, and every one of the competitors was new to triathlon once! Get prepared, get fit, and enjoy the day!