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So... I want to tri a triathlon

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So... I want to tri a triathlon

Old 07-01-08, 01:23 PM
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mrmcmasty
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So... I want to tri a triathlon

So I want to start training for a triathlon. I have not picked out a race date I have only decided that I want to do one.

I spent some time looking around and reading forum posts etc... I found a lot of good information but still have a ton of questions. I have also found a local club that meets once a month but there next meeting is a couple of weeks away.

I’d really like some direction from anyone who remembers when they started, what they did right, wrong and how’d you do it now if you were starting from scratch.

Currently- I work out 5 to 6 days a week. I was running about 30 miles a week and lifting, body cals etc… until a recent injury (which is what got me thinking about a triathlon) put me on a bike 3x a week and I am now riding 20 or so miles 3x a week, and rowing on my off days (3000 to 7000 meters).

I have had some swimming experience (but little) and this is the first time I have ridden a bike since childhood. Barring injury I am comfortable with the running.

So where do I go from here. I know I will need a bike, what kind? I know I will need to start swimming, how much? What other kind of stuff do I need to get started? What kind of training do I need to plan before my first race? My time is really tight for training but i can get in an hour to an hour and a half a day m-f my weekends are pretty open, is this enough?

Thanks in advance for all of your feed back, I know there are already some threads here that discuss this topic.
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Old 07-01-08, 01:25 PM
  #2  
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All I can suggest, being a major newb at Tri's (One sprint tri under my belt), is go for it. Shoot for a finish, and set your first baseline. Have a blast!
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Old 07-01-08, 01:57 PM
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Ok so this was helpful

Posted by: FatBomber

Equipment:
This is about as vague as it gets. What do you need? Not much, really. Things that I have found to be useful:
1) Wetsuit. Worth every penny. Makes you faster. Swimming takes less effort. Allows you to get in open water for training when it is cold.
2) A BIKE YOU ARE COMFORTABLE ON. Now what I didn't say was a kickass race bike or a dedicated tri-bike. For a newbie, it is important that you be comfortable. Happy riders ride faster. After you know what you like, then make that substantial investment into a bike. If at that point you get a racer or a tri, enjoy!
3) Race belt. I don't like wearing my number for the whole race or pinning anything to my clothes, so I have a race belt. You can pick them up at most running stores for $5-$10. Easy on and off.
4) Speed laces. They take a bit of getting used to, but they are great and you will never worry about undone laces on the run. (Helps in T2 as well.)
5) HRM. My personal tachometer. I have found this tool to be useful in measuring how hard I am pushing myself. I have a bad habit of going too hard and then falling apart in the run. My HRM has helped me out dramatically by telling me to slow it down a bit and I have since posted personal bests in my last two events.

Transitions:
IMHO, there is no one way to do transitions. After doing some eleven triathlons now, I am still tweaking things, but it is that constant improvement that drives us to do what we do. Things I have done this year to speed me up in transition.
1) Don't dry off. Takes time and you'll drip dry on the bike for the most part.
2) Wear your race clothes under the wetsuit. Nothing more difficult than pulling a dry jersey onto a wet body.
3) Simplify. If you can do it while riding or running through T1 or T2, do it on the move. Tape gels and powerbars to your bike and eat while riding. (The same goes for the run, except carry the gel with you.)
4) Socks. I have gone both ways on this. I rather like wearing a pair of socks on the bike and run, so I take the time to put them on. What I have done this year to speed up the process is to have a small hand towel handy to dry my feet off before putting on the socks. I also have started dumping talcum powder in the socks to make them an easier on with damp feet. Talcum in the shoes works well too.
5) Organization. Practice your transitions or be prepared for a long one the first time. Learn how you approach the transition and plan accordingly. Rarely will you see two athlete's transition areas identical. See how others do this and then modify it for you.

Swimming:
Practice.
Practice.
Practice.
If you can find a local tri club, you may be able to find a class that works for you. Otherwise...
Practice.

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Old 07-01-08, 03:03 PM
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There are some great websites for people who want to start doing triathlons. Www.beginnertriathlete.com is an excellent one. Www.trifuel.com is also a good site for beginners. Both have articles on gear and training as well as pretty active forums.
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Old 07-02-08, 06:52 AM
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OK... so I bought the "bible" and I have been checking out the websites... lots of great info there. Thank for the referrals.

So then... from those of you who have done it... what are the really most important factors when you are getting started and what would you do differently that you did not do when you got into it?

Any advice from those of you who have been there is great.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old 07-02-08, 09:17 AM
  #6  
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I've done 5 or 6 sprints and am training for my first Olympic. I agree with all the advice given by FatBomber and would add the following.

Bricks: Gotta do them. Nothing else will prepare you for the bike to run transition. They don't have to be long, they just have to be done. Even doing a short 15-20 minute run after getting off the bike helps you understand what those first few minutes or miles feel like (not good is the general consensus for beginners).

Nutrition: If you're doing a sprint, nutrition isn't a big concern...a few gels or a powerbar and you'll be good to go. Although I haven't raced longer than a sprint, I can already tell through my training, that nutrition will be a factor in a longer race. Learn what you can eat and drink while retaining the ability to race. Do this before race day so there are no surprises.

Swimming: If it's an open water swim, swim in open water with your wetsuit (an absolute must for a weaker swimmer IMO). Also, those nice tiny goggles you are wearing in the pool have a tendency to get kicked off your face in a mass start race. Consider getting something beefier. Personally I like the Aqua Sphere Seal and Seal XP masks. Oh yeah, swim a lot. Not because you need the fitness for what's probably a short swim, but because you need the confidence.

Bike: I rode an MTB for my first one. After that it's been a standard road bike. The races I ride have hills, so clip on aero bars, while nice, are too much of a pain because of all the shifting I do. Of course, if you ride flat courses or are a monster who doesn't need to shift, get the bars, I hear they help.

Training time: With an hour to an hour and a half a day you have more than enough time to train for a sprint and enough time to train for an Olympic. My Olympic training schedule generally takes about 5-7 hours per week with two workouts (one long and one short) in each discipline. The longest training run I will do is about an hour and 15, the longest bike about 3 hours and the longest swim about an hour and 10. Granted, I'm just looking to finish not place well, but you seem to have the time and the fitness base to do well.

Good luck. Once you do one, there's a good chance you will be hooked.
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Old 07-02-08, 10:12 AM
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Triathlon races are filled quickly so don’t wait too long to choose one.

How much to train really depends on your race distance but the frequency and consistency are crucial to racing well.

Learn to be efficient in each of the 3 disciplines, e.g. streamlining for swimming, riding and remaining in aero position on the bike, having proper form and cadence for the run. Do bricks and practice nutrition and transitions.

Last edited by itri-45; 07-02-08 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 07-02-08, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

Another question. What equipment do I need? Goggles/mask make sense but I never thought of getting any ( I have started some swimming but have been doing so without either ) Wetsuits... are they necessary? Bike suits... are they necessary (I've been biking in a T-shirt and shorts) No clips as of yet but I hear they really help. What else does one need to get involved?

My background in sports is primarily wrestling. As an adult weights and running (to not get fat) so all of the equipment needs are a little foreign to me.

This is an awesome site (for the record JMO)

Oh... and I found a race in my area on Sept 20.

It is an international race and the course is rated as moderate. The area is relatively "hilly" and the swim is in a lake.

Is the date too soon? and is the race too long for a first one? I'm thinking of shooting for this one because of the convenience (geographically speaking)

http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm...il&eventID=940
http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm...il&eventID=940
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Old 07-02-08, 03:00 PM
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Goggles will help protect your eyes from the chlorine in the pool and from hard contacts at the mass start. It won’t be fun if you get punched or kicked in the eyes right at the start of the race. Full wetsuits provide warmth and buoyancy. You’ll swim faster with much less energy and less kicking, saving the legs for the bike and run. However, make sure you get the right suit that won’t cause shoulder fatigue nor choking you at the neck. Wetsuits are expensive so you may want to rent them first.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:04 PM
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What you need is very little (shoes, swim suit, bike and helmet), but there are lots of things that can make your training and race more enjoyable. Here are a few of the not essential, but awfully nice things to have IMO.

I agree 100% with everything that has been said above on the wetsuit. Rentals are a great way to go for your first race. Some places will send you the suit a week or two before the race so you can practice swimming in it and (more importantly) getting it on and off.

I think a nice pair of tri shorts is a good thing to have. In fact, it's very close to a must have. Tri shorts are basically lycra shorts with a thinner, quick drying chamois pad that you can use for all 3 sports. Wear them under your wetsuit and then just ride and run in them. Since you come from a wrestling background, I'm guessing that you aren't shy about wearing lycra.

I would also consider going with clipless pedals on what ever bike you end up riding. They are more efficient and the shoes have stiff soles that can save you a lot of suffering on long rides. You can get road, mountain or tri shoes, all of them will do. Just make sure that your pedals accept the same type of cleat as your shoes. Oh yeah, practice getting in and out of them and after a while not only is it second nature, you won't want to ride without them.

For long training rides a pair of good bike shorts or bibs (my preference) can work wonders. They're simply more comfortable to ride in than non-cycling specific shorts.

A full on trisuit is great for speeding you through the transition, but really it doesn't take all that long to throw on a loose fitting, quick drying t-shirt if you prefer.

Goggles or a mask are a must IMO. Can't imagine swimming without them.

Those are really the essential "non-essentials." Heart rate monitors, bike computers, aerobars, etc. are fun toys, but a little lower down on the must have list. Like I said earlier, I don't use aerobars because of where I ride, but they might work for you.

I think, based on your current fitness level, you have plenty of time to get ready for an international distance in late September. As part of your training you might want to find a sprint sometime in mid to late August in order to get a feel for the whole thing and gauge your fitness level.
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Old 07-04-08, 10:34 PM
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Awesome thread. I am doing my first in about a week. I just jumped in and this site has been crucial.
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Old 07-05-08, 01:59 PM
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I did my first triathlon in 23 years last week. It was a tinman.

I kind of went into it a bit innocently I guess.

I borrowed a wetsuit. It wasn't great but it got me through. I put aerobars on my very intro road bike. I found them quite helpful. It was a hilly road, and the shifting was a pain, but none the less I liked them for both training and the race.

No tri shorts, just a pair of touring shorts with running shorts underneath.

The tips that were most helpful to me...

Practice the transitions.
Get that bike adjusted so it is comfortable and good to the knees.
Salt potatoes for nutrition on the bike along with gel, granola bar, gatoraide. I had taped the gels and bars on. They blew off almost immediately. Practice with your tape.

I learned a lot. I'm also a runner and generally can come in somewhere near the front of the pack. Not so in this race. I was seriously humbled.

Next time, take my bike training much more seriously, more hills, intervals, endurance. The same things that have helped with my running.

The swim?? I used to be a life guard, currently swim regularly and generally feel quite confident in the water although I am not fast. I chose to swim in a less crowed spot, (i.e. not in the frantic front) took my time and came out pretty fresh to do the bike. I think that was a good idea.

While a 10 k run comes pretty easy to me I was not prepared for the nutrition needed for this level of event. I was seriously dehydrated when I finished. I do mean seriously.

So, in fact this did kick my butt. I did learn an awful lot and look forward to doing it again next year. This summer I'll really work on the bike, maybe do a sprint triathlon in August that occurs near here, and then decide if I want to upgrade to a "leaner" bike. I think before I do that I really need to see what effect better conditioning would have.

My final word.... Don't take it too seriously, have fun with it, involve your friends where you can..
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