So we all know it’s running season but it’s also triathlon season and there are lots of us that are training for a triathlon or two this year. But there’s also a few that are considering dipping their toes in the triathlon waters. I know you’re out there and you have LOTS of questions. I know I’ve been asked quite a few of them. So myself and some of my favorite FitFluential triathletes also answered some. So check out the list at the bottom of other triathletes to check out.
Let’s start with Training:
How do you train for a triathlon?
I have done all my training based off books. I bought two books and I still love them. I suggest investing in the Triathletes Training Bible if you think you want to get into tris. I started with a plan from this book and modified for my sprint tris (See my plan). I bought:
When I decided I wanted to try a tri, I looked for local clinics to help me learn about it. I found a Triathlon Training Clinic for $100 for 5 weeks taught by an ironman here in STL. Crazy, but I turned out to be the only to register so I ended up getting 5 weeks of private training with an Ironman. It was perfect. So look around and see what local support there is. I’m also part of the St. Louis Tri club. Through the club I get access to swim clinics and so much more! See if your area has one.
What tips do you have for the open water swim?
- Learn how to sight which is the practice of lifting your head out of the water enough to spot a target way out ahead of you so you keep going in a straight line.
- Practice, practice, practice. Any chance you get to practice open water swimming do it. That’s the only way to get comfortable.
When do you use a wetsuit? How do you chose one?
You can use a wetsuit when the triathlon director tells you that it’s ok. The water temp has to be below 78 degrees. As for picking a wetsuit. I bought a full wetsuit with sleeves and to be honest, I wish I had this a sleeveless one. I find that swimming with full sleeves is very restrictive and tiring.
Wetsuits can get expensive so if you don’t want to purchase one, ask your local tri shop if they rent them. Usually you can rent one for $15 or $20. It’s also a good way to find out which one you like.
Are you wearing your biking/running clothes under your wetsuit?
Companies like Pearl Izumi make triathlon specific outfits that work well for all three facets of triathlon. The tri tops are meant to be worn as your sports bra and tank and the shorts have some built in padding but not so much that you can’t run in them. You wear that “suit” under your wetsuit and just shed the wetsuit and off you go.
How do you drink water while riding a bike?
I have tried doing it a couple ways but I find it easier to reach behind me and grab the bottle. They do make bottles that sit between the aerobars which looks super easy but I haven’t bought one yet.
Where do you keep all of your food?
I have a fuel box on my bike. It sits on the cross bar and holds gel packs, chews, or whatever. The other thing I’ve done, before I had one of these is use electrical tape to tape gu packets to the cross bar than just rip them off whenever you need it.
I don’t have a bike! What kind of bicycle can I get away with begging/borrowing/stealing?
You do not have to invest a ton of money in a bike. In the beginning, I bought a used one off craigslist for $400. Once I had done one and knew I wanted to do more, I found one at the end of the season and put it on layaway and paid on it all winter. It’s the bike I’m still using 6 years later (pictured above).
What kind of bike speed is a good pace?
This question is dependent on your goals. If you have a triathlon in mind, you can look at the results from the previous year to get a feel for the pace of your age group. I sometimes look to see if I can set a goal based on those results.
In the essence of full disclosure, right now, I’m at about 18 mph pace.
Is music a no-no (I was gonna bring my iPod on the run only?)
Yes. No music, especially on the bike. Often times your not riding on blocked off roads so you have to assume there are cars coming and going all around you.
I haven’t gotten too many questions on running. I think most of us started as runners so there aren’t a ton of questions
Transition (T1, T2)
The switch from swim to bike and bike to run are called Transitions and are often referred to as T1 and T2.
How do transitions work (ie: how to set up a transition, what do you need, play-by-play of each transitions)?
Transition is often challenging for people. My advice, less is more. Fill your transition area with only the bare necessities. Otherwise, you’re fishing around for stuff.
I also recommend taking a picture of the setup each tri you do. So you’ll remember what worked and what didn’t. I put my bike helmet and glasses on bike so it doesn’t all get mixed up.
Other triathletes to look up:
- Jessica from rUnLadyLike (who has a great post on Open water swimming – OWS)
- Axel from Iron Rogue
- Cristina from Triathlon Mami
- Amanda from PATD, White Dog & A Blog
- Robin from Westford Mommy
- Brooke from Redhead Reverie
- Wendy from T2 Coaching
- Michelle from NYCRunningMama
So if I haven’t scared you and I hope I didn’t. Triathlons are a TON of fun. I hope you’ll ditch the fear and Tri!
You can also see some of my favorite gear in my Amazon store.
Are you thinking of trying a Tri? What are your goals? What’s stopping you?