Marathon season is nearly over, and the sensible amongst you may be turning your thoughts to the ‘dark-side’… to triathlon. Chances are, you can do at least two of the components quite well, and fancy seeing what all the fuss is about.
Triathlon really is great fun and I would 100% recommend giving it a go to anyone.
But how do you get started? Isn’t it all a bit complicated, expensive and exclusive? NO!
I’m no expert on triathlon, nor a veteran of the sport. I completed my first race in the summer of 2013 and could still count the amount of events I’ve taken part in on two hands, but I am training for an ironman now (have I mentioned that?!) and like to think I know a bit about how to delve into the dark world of tri…
- Choose your race
The great thing about triathlons is that they come in all different shapes and sizes. My first race was a sprint: the swim was 400m in a pool and it was tiny – about 100 entrants, if that. Triathletes are a friendly bunch and love having ‘newbies’ at their events. One race I’ve done even had a prize for the first ‘newbie’ over the finish line! Many of the bigger events have different race lengths on the same day – The London Triathlon, for instance, so you can race alongside friends that might want to go longer or shorter.
Triathlon is wonderful because it’s so varied. Three different sports to train for means you won’t get bored. Whilst it does mean that training is more time consuming, it gives balance and variety to your weekly training schedule. You don’t need to do loads and loads for each sport (unless you’ve signed up to an ironman!) and it’s always worth focusing on your slightly weaker sport. I’m not a cyclist, and so I’ve had to make sure I never cut out bike sessions, however tempting it is to go for a run, which I know I can do!
- Get some kit
Tri has a reputation for being very expensive. And it can be, but it needn’t be. In my first tri, I swam in a swimming costume and stuck a pair of running shorts and t shirt on in transition. I rode my ‘to and from work’ bike in my running trainers… nothing special at all. Only when I knew that I really enjoyed triathlon did I buy a tri-suit (in the sale), a new bike (in the sale), bike shoes (the basic ones) and, of course, some visors. I still mostly just wear my running kit and only recently bought a second helmet for races and upgraded my bike a bit. It really doesn’t have to be an expensive sport though, it’s such a myth.
- Read about it
Reading Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography ‘A Life Without Limits’ is what inspired me to get into triathlon in the first place. It’s a fantastic read, and I’d be totally surprised if it doesn’t make you want to tri too. As I’ve fallen more in love with triathlon, I’ve discovered some more brilliant books about it, and would really recommend giving the following a go:
“Tricurious” by Katie King and Laura Fountain
“Swim, Bike, Run: Our Triathlon Story” by The Brownlee Brothers
“Operation Ironman“: George Mahood
I also found this blog post the other day about finishing an ironman and it’s brilliant.
- Go longer…
Now, I’m not suggesting that doing an ironman is for everyone. It takes over your life and is pretty much all consuming. Over the past 4 months, all I feel like I’ve done is train, train and think about training. You just have to give in just let it take over your life a little bit. But I love it, and believe that it can be for everyone if you have the patience, motivation and stubbornness to do it. You don’t have to be ‘good’ at triathlon to do a half or even a full ironman. I’m certainly not. I am, however, very stubborn and very driven to do the best I can. I’m also obsessed with getting to that finish line on the 10th July. I know full well that something could go wrong and I might not finish, but it certainly won’t be my body not being trained enough: I can’t let that happen! Training for a long distance triathlon will take you right out of your comfort zone, and who doesn’t want that?
So… When’s your race?!
P.S If you want tips about triathlon, let me know. I’m always learning too, but super happy to share what I’ve picked up so far! My email’s in the about page.