I just finished my first Sprint Length Triathlon and it was amazing. It was a fun and challenging fitness goal – I can not wait to do it again! I recommend triathlons to anyone wanting an ultimate fitness challenge, because the triathlon is the ultimate mix of fitness disciplines that will push your limits.
After training for 8 weeks, I competed in my first tri-sport event in Flagstaff, Arizona. The race went well and I was proud of the accomplishment. Of course, it did not go perfectly and there were a few things I overlooked. Some things I learned from the first experience:
Make sure you practice swimming in open water: Using a pool for training is good, but make sure you get into open water for some training sessions. I did all of my training in the pool because I do not have access to good open water. Next time I'll make sure I get into the open water and practice skills, such as navigation, that you can not do in the pool.
Use Anti-chaffing Gel: Make sure to use Vasoline or some other anti-chaffing gel around areas where chaffing is possible. I got some pretty bad chaffing around my waist-line. Next time I'll definitely have some anti-chaffing gel.
Practice Quick Transitions: Practice quick transitions during training so you can get a feel for your gear organization. Do these transitions during actual training sessions. You can easily shave off a few minutes, and it gets your body adapted to changing exercise diplomines quickly.
Take a Balloon: Use a helium filled balloon to mark your gear so you can locate it and transition quicker. It will be difficult to find your bike and gear amidst the sea of other competitors.
I recommend optimistic in some shorter triathlons before you attempt an Olympic length. It will give you an opportunity to see how triathlons are organized and how you should organize your gear. Also, you will be able to see how other, more experienced triathletes set up their stuff and get ready to race. These little tips and tricks will drastically change your experience and make you feel like you're prepared when race day comes.
Use these tips to make your triathlon quicker and more comfortable. Just remember that there are lots of steps to a triathlon – steps that take time to master – the most important part is to work hand and have fun. Now it's time to find another Ultimate Fitness Goal!