Since I raced in my first triathlon over the weekend, I have collected a few tips on ways to enjoy and not freak out about your first tri! If you are teetering on the edge about whether or not to sign up for a sprint triathlon or you have an upcoming first race, check out these 6 Triathlon Newbie Tips.
1. Get to the race early!
It takes a few minutes to set everything up in the transition area, so give yourself plenty of time. The race officials close the transition area early (at least 15 minutes before starting), no matter if you are the 1st or 15th wave. A few minutes of extra sleep is not worth the stress of getting to the race late!
2. Ladies – wear a low ponytail
I got this tip from Meghann, and feel that it is definitely worth bringing up again! If I were to have put my hair in my normal ponytail, there is no way that I would have been able to get my helmet on without having to redo my hair at transition. That would have added a ton of time! Instead, since Meghann mentioned it before, I remembered to keep the ponytail low so that there was no issue. Success!!
3. Don’t get out of the water until your hands hit the sand.
When you are finishing up the swim, it is very easy to want to get up as soon as you see the ground. Rather than getting up when you see the ground, get up once your hands hit the ground. Felipe and Courtney both reinforced this in my head! It is way, way too difficult to try to run out of the water when it is still super deep. If your hands can touch the floor, then you can bet that your legs can clear the water too!
4. Find an experienced triathlete to guide you
I feel so lucky to have an amazing group of very experienced triathlete friends that helped me through this race! I asked them all so many questions, and it was amazing to feel like I was incredibly prepared. They never made me feel like I was asking dumb questions or too many for that matter – they had been in my position at some point in time, and they were more than happy to help. My friends are the greatest!!
5. Don’t focus too heavily on the swim
Before I actually signed up for the race, the swim was what really was holding me back. I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, and that it was going to be really tough. It was completely the opposite. It was incredibly short! There were so many people swimming all kinds of strokes – breaststroke, backstroke, and I’m pretty sure I passed someone doing the doggie paddle! I was in the water for a little over 6 minutes – that’s it. I feel like I can do just about anything for 6 minutes!
6. Go over the rules before the race
Running Road races are pretty simple. You run. That’s pretty much it. Triathlons are a different story. You have to know where to get on and off your bike, how long to keep your helmet on, how many bike lengths you must keep between you and the person in front of you – and it goes on, and on, and on. Be sure to make an effort to at least read over the rules quickly before race day. You wouldn’t want to get a penalty and then have a bunch of unnecessary seconds added on to your finish time! If you are having trouble, revisit #4 above.
Knowing these few little things made my race day much more seamless. What about you? Have anymore tips to add?