Triathlon is an exhilarating sport to take part in and is especially rewarding when done in aid of charity. However, it is also a challenging sport to get yourself in to and can be expensive. So here are some tips on where to start if you’re considering becoming a triathlete.
1. Buy what you need gradually
As previously mentioned, triathlon can be an expensive sport, with the cost of a racing bike likely to be the priciest item you’ll invest in. So, the best thing to do is to buy your equipment gradually. Triathlon events mainly take place between March and October in the northern hemisphere, so this gives plenty of time for you to acquire what you’ll need throughout the year. Prioritise the items you need the most, for example comfortable running shoes, and a good fitting triathlon suit may be more beneficial at first than investing in a better bike.
2. Expensive isn’t always the best
Having the right equipment will make your triathlon experience better, however getting the most expensive items isn’t necessarily the best option. Whilst it’s beneficial to eventually purchase a good quality bike that suits you, as a beginner there’s no point in spending a fortune on one (and they can cost more than a small car) only to find Triathlon is not for you or the type of bike doesn’t suit your build. Second-hand bikes from sites like eBay can be brilliant for novice triathletes, with some even costing less than £100; the savings can be substantial. Triathlon specific sites and stores can also offer some great deals on equipment, so do your research and keep an eye out.
3. Have a plan
Having a plan in place will help you organise how much time you can devote to training each week. Use a spreadsheet to list the days of the week from Monday to Sunday, splitting each day into AM, lunchtime and PM. First mark down all the sessions which you may not be able to move, such as swimming and gym sessions. Add any other training sessions around this as you go along. Don’t forget to also fit in time to rest and recover your body. Build in rest weeks and lower intensity training weeks where necessary.
Leading on from planning your training routine, also allow for flexibility. This means if have a day where you’re meant to be running but aren’t feeling enthusiastic, go for a power walk instead, or even miss a session; don’t discipline yourself too much over a missed run. Depending on how you feel, also maybe flex the session slightly, do half the time or distance instead.
5. Have fun
The most important part in doing a triathlon is to have fun. The trick is to train at your own pace and to not get to overwhelmed with it taking over your day to day life. Try different exercises to keep things varied, and invite your friends along to join in. Yes, they’ll be times when training feels like a slog, but that’s to be expected, especially in the colder months when it gets dark earlier. Overall, just keep in mind why you’re training for a triathlon and hopefully once you’ve done your first one, you’ll be delighted with how rewarding it feels.