Five Essential Tips for the Beginner Triathlete

By Abbie Hayutin, USAT Level 1 Coach

Five Essential Tips for the Beginner Triathlete

If you are a triathlon first-timer, this post is for you! Read here for five essential tips every beginner triathlete should know.

1. Choose the Right Race

Before you sign up for the first triathlon you find, you should do a little bit of research. None of them are the same and you need to find one that has the right pace for your skill level.
There are four main categories of triathlons:

  1. Sprint: .47-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, 3.1-mile run
  2. Olympic: .93-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride, 6.2-mile run
  3. Half-Ironman: 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13.1-mile run
  4. Iron-man: 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run

If you are signing up for your first one, you should probably try a Sprint triathlon and slowly work your way up.

2. Think About Hiring a Coach

It can be difficult to hold yourself accountable, so consider hiring a coach. A coach is helpful because they see areas where you could exceed or where you need work. They can provide training plans and help you figure out how to slowly improve through tried and true “skills and drills” and “tips and tricks.” If you are interested in hiring a coach, contact Abbie Hayutin, USAT Level 1 Coach.

3. Get the Right Gear

If you are just starting out, look at investing in a decent bike, bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, goggles and wetsuit. The rest of the necessary equipment will naturally follow as you need it. Triathletes are notoriously swayed by the best gear, but that might not be the best gear for YOU. Seek out reputable shops interested in the right fit, not the most popular brand. If they are serious about their business, they know you will be a repeat customer. Always race with the gear you train with. Frequently changing gear will throw off your training and ultimately your racing success.

4. Keep Your Workouts Short

Overtraining is one of the biggest mistakes a triathlete can make. When it comes to training, remember quality versus quantity. If you are just putting in the miles or hours, you are accomplishing nothing but setting yourself up for an overuse injury. Here is where having a qualified coach makes the difference, as having a plan and proper technique are key.

5. Work on Your Weakness

A triathlon is unique in the fact it combines three different sports, and out of those three, there is bound to be one that is your vulnerability. While you may excel in one area, and by default focus on that area because it is easiest, it is important to make sure you are training and making improvements in all areas, especially your weakest.

Training for a triathlon is a progression. As a society that thrives on instant gratification it may be incredibly frustrating not to see immediate results. Be consistent with your workouts and trust the process. Race day will be your redemption and chances are, you will enthusiastically be looking to sign up for your next race!

If you are interested in becoming a Triathlete, come to Club Greenwood for the Zero to Tri Hero Sprint Triathlon 14-Week Program Informational Meeting on on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 6:30pm at Club Greenwood. You will meet past program participants and be inspired by featured keynote speaker Tim Hola, World-Ranked Ironman Age Group Champion and Norseman Finisher.

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