Triathlon tips for beginners

Whether you’re new to the fitness game or an experienced runner, signing up for a triathlon could be one of the most rewarding things you do. It is an incredible feat of endurance that will push your body to its very limits, so obviously you’ll need to be fully prepared to stand a chance of completing it successfully. Here are some top tips for triathlon newbies.

Invest in the right equipment

With the exception of running shoes, you can largely scrimp on equipment when it comes to running a marathon. Old shorts, t-shirts and even fancy dress – anything goes! However, triathlons require much more specialist equipment.

To avoid sustaining an injury, you should invest in a selection of compression clothing. These tight-fitting garments hug your body, compressing your core muscles. This doesn’t restrict your movement in any way, but can help to prevent muscle strain that could put you out of the triathlon altogether. It’s best to invest in good-quality compression wear, as these will last you triathlon after triathlon. They don’t have to be expensive either: just check out Activinstinct – they have a range of specialist Orca triathlon clothing to suit all budgets.

You can find a handy checklist of everything you will need for your triathlon here.

Sign up for the right event

Many people make the mistake of thinking there is only one type of triathlon available. While all of them work around the run-bike-swim layout, the distances for each event can vary depending on what type of triathlon you sign up for. Here’s just a few of the options:

  • Sprint – 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike ride and five-kilometre run

  • Standard (Olympic) – 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and ten-kilometre run

  • Ironman – 3.8-kilometre swim, 180.2-kilometre bike ride and 42.2-kilometre run

As you can see, the distances vary hugely between different types of triathlons. If you’re a newbie, it would be unwise to start with an Ironman event. Be sensible – build up your triathlon prowess by starting with a sprint triathlon, and build up to the more difficult ones.

Use the finder section on the British Triathlon site to locate a triathlon that is right for you.

Leave enough time

Training is key to the success of your triathlon. If you don’t carry out the adequate training, you will not only risk injuring yourself, your overall time will suffer too. Dedicate enough time to each of the events, but do play to your strengths too. For example, if you are a strong swimmer, you may want to keep your swimming training to a minimum.

There are lots of apps available, like Training Peaks, that can help you keep on top of your training and can secure you triathlon success.