Our Top Best Tips For Beginner Triathletes in each Sport
Jess and I are often asked “What’s your best triathlon tip?”. That’s a hard question to answer, because there tons of tips, in fact, you can download our 101 Awesome Beginner Triathlon Tips for free. But if each of us were to give our “top” or “best” tip for each of the three triathlon sports, they are as follows. Keep in mind that these are personal, meaning, these are the best tips from “my” experience and, likewise, from Jess as well.
My Number One Swim Tip (to anyone that struggles with swimming, like me!)
Find your own swim rhythm before working on techniques. What I mean by that is you have to have a base of swim condition before being able to focus on swim techniques. When I got started, I had to count it out: “reach, stroke, turn head, take breath, hum to exhale…” you get the idea.
For example, if you’re struggling to get enough air, you can’t really think about finer things such as hand entry, body roll, or kick technique. This is a contrary advice from other coaches that say “it’s hard to break bad habits.” In my opinion, it’s easy to fix bad habits when you can single them out and concentrate on problems, instead of “trying to think of everything at once” and gasping for air. Break it down, and take it one technique at a time. When you’re not swallowing water, then move onto everything else.
Jess’ Best Swim Tip
My #1 swim tip is too hard to pick, so I have 1a and 1b. I think one of the most important things to realize when it comes to the swim is that as a beginner triathlete, you won’t be an awesome swimmer the first time you get in the pool (unless you’re half mermaid). You know how there are tons of couch to 5k programs? Well, that’s because most people have to work up to being able to run 3 miles. The same goes for swimming.
I think there needs to be a couch to dolphin program or something because swimming your entire triathlon distance is something that you probably won’t be able to do the first time you swim–you have to work up to it. And speaking of working up to it, check out our Swim Boot Camp that will help get you go from Zero to Hero in the pool.
Tip 1b is all about breathing. No matter how many races I do, I still get nervous and butterflies in my stomach right before the swim. This makes me breathe faster and as much as I want to bilateral breathe like I’ve practiced, I always resort to breathing every stroke because, like most people, I start to panic when I feel like I’m not getting enough air.
So, my tip is forget about what you’re “supposed” to do and just breathe every stroke. Just knowing that your next breath is a few seconds away will help you relax and concentrate on swimming to the next buoy instead of getting flustered and even more out of breath because you have to wait 3 strokes until you can get some air.
For more swim tips from what goggles to get to how to mentally prepare for swimming in open water, check out our swim page.