This will be my first Olympic Triathlon, but my third triathlon ever (I did 2 sprint tri’s last summer). Going into my tri’s not knowing how to swim… I could tread water with the best of them, but moving from point A to point B was a joke, and that breathing thing, was more like gasping for air when I swam. So here’s what I’ve learned, some tips from an average person who was terrified before her first triathlon:
- Get in the water before you start – some races don’t allow this, but if they do, get in there. Get wet, know the temp, get those jitters out of your system. What I imagine a panic attack would feel like is walking towards that swim for the first time, getting in the water. But after that first dip before the race started, I felt calmer. I knew what I was jumping in to, it helped. If they don’t let you in the water, take those first steps in slowly, don’t be speedy gonzalas on your first couple strokes. Relax, let your body adjust, keep your breathing easy and you’ll be fine.
- Wetsuit – Holy hell did this help. The first time I ever put a wetsuit on was for my first sprint tri… I had no idea what it could do for you! I floated on the water, the swim wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought with the help of a wetsuit. It’s like having a cheat sheet for a test, the extra help makes it so much easier. If you don’t have one, there are plenty of places to rent them from, or find a friend you can borrow from. If it’s your first tri, test it out, see if it’s something you plan on doing more, then invest. They really do help.
- Transition Tips – There are many different tips for how to transition, google them, see what works for you and then go with it. It’s a lot of personal preference I find here. I set everything out the way I’d put it on, shoes first, shirt, helmet, glasses, gloves… have your gu’s in your pockets already. Figure out what you like, know where everything is and you’ll be fine. New tip I’m trying this triathlon: Have a bottle of water at your transition station to rinse of your feet! Last tri I had sand everywhere, and by the time you get to the run, that can really start to get annoying. I’ll let you know if this works out
- Know your course – This may seem self explanatory, but still worth a mention. Know where you’re going, maybe you’ll be by yourself on the course at a given time, you should know the route, but also more importantly, know the transitions. Where you go in and out, where you can get on and off your bike, which way you run into and out of the transition. These little things can be confusing if you’re not focusing on them during the race and can cost you time if you eff it up.
- Be prepared to hurt – Sometimes this needs to be said… it’s going to hurt man! Especially if you’re doing it right. Yes, you’ve trained for this, but it’s a race, go out there and get after it. Know that it’s going to kick your ass, hope that it does, don’t leave anything out there. The hurt that I hate is the running right after the bike, hot daaaaaamn my legs burn! But I know that, I know what to expect, and I plan on running through that pain. Around mile 2 is when my legs start to loosen up and feel normal again, knowing this means I know that I will run those first couple miles with my brain, one foot in front of the other and then after that I can enjoy my run and let my legs take over. Expect this, know that you’ll make it through and go kick some booty!
I’m sure this is no knew info to a lot of people, but hopefully it’ll help someone, time to get back to packing for my triathlon. Wish me luck!