Once you have your first triathlon under your belt, it’s easy to forget what it was like to be a beginner. The sport of triathlon can be pretty intimidating and there’s not a ton of encouraging, basic and helpful information out there for beginner triathletes.
I think we can all relate to the what-did-I-get-myself-into feeling you get when you hit the submit button and are officially registered for your first triathlon, or the pit in your stomach when you think of having to train for three sports instead of just one.
Davey and I thought you might like to hear some triathlon tips from someone else besides us for a change! So we interviewed our friends Chris, Pete and Catherine, who completely rocked their first triathlon this past month.
First up is Chris. He’s the ripped dude on the left.
Chris is a super fit guy who had been doing Crossfit and Spartan races when the sport of triathlon caught his eye. Chris is an all or nothing kinda guy and right from the moment he signed up for the race, he dove right in and swam, biked and ran his butt off.
He is one of the most mentally tough people we know and we were constantly amazed at how he always pushed himself and trained so hard, yet had a ton of fun doing so.
Here’s what Chris learned from his first triathlon:
What inspired you to do a triathlon?
It was something new and I had some friends that were doing it.
What was your biggest fear or concern going into the training/race?
At first it was the swim when I began training. The only swim experience I had was swimming one year in high school, but I hadn’t swam in 11 years. Going into the race, my biggest fear was that I would not perform to my expectations, which at times I tend to set high expectations for myself and that adds extra pressure.
What surprised you about the training?
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the training. It was so much fun to see improvements over time, and with there being 3 different sports, the variety kept things from getting monotonous.
What TwoTri blog post was most helpful/your favorite?
I enjoyed them all. I felt like they were all applicable to what I was going through. I really enjoyed the cold swim blog. The one about just jumping in and swimming a race distance without doing a warm-up swim. This tip really helped to simulate race day, because up until then I would start all my swim workouts with a slow 200 meter warm-up.
How did you acquire the gear you needed?
Well I bought most gear a little at a time over the course of my training. I got some goggles and a swim cap at Target, I got a mid-range road bike and some Zoot tri shorts at REI, and I already had a helmet and some 5 year old running shoes that hadn’t really seen much road.
Now that you’ve done your first race, what is one thing you wish you did differently either in training or on race day?
I wish I would have spent some personal time practicing transitions and timing them. Practicing transitions with Davey and Jess was really helpful but I wish I practiced more because my transitions were fairly slow. I wish I would have had more time to do race length or more than race length bricks. But for the most part I felt prepared.
During the race, when you found yourself discouraged or at a low point, what did you do to keep going?
I just told myself, “keep going, you’ve worked hard, push through, you can do this…” and then I pulled out a sword and started to slay the demons.
What advice would you give to a beginner triathlete?
Start training as early as you can so you can be well prepared both mentally and physically for your race.