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Tri debut options

Greetings one and all!

I want to make my debut in triathlon this year and I find myself torn between two sprint-distance options, namely Steyning and Arundel in May with Chichester in July pencilled in and underlined as a follow-up.

The question I'd like to ask is which might be a better option for a total newbie? - Steyning is slightly shorter on the cycle and run elements while Arundel is apparently more picturesque and relaxed while both have notional down sides too which is why I'm struggling to make a decision.

Additionally, would it be possible (or advisable) to do both if I really couldn't choose? Or would going from beginner to two events in a month leave me hobbling around like John Wayne with Deep Heat on his nethers for June?

Thanks in advance!


  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190


    First of all, welcome to the world of triathlon. I am sure whichever race you choose will be enjoyable.

    I presume you mean the Arundel Lido tri in May (the river swim full event is in September this year). As both are pool swims in many respects its up to you. I grew up in that area so I can't imagine their is substantial differences in course profile so I'd be inclined to go for a more scenic route.

    Unless you are dead set on a pool swim (open water is far far more fun than most people would have you believe) then have you thought about venturing slightly further afield to Eton Dorney, Human Race Events have some action on the last two weekends in May and its a fun, fast and beginner friendly place to race (although as a multilap course it does lack a touch on the scenery front)?

    I probably wouldn't do your first two in quick succession mainly for two reasons:

    1. There is a John Wayne risk as a newbie - and you never quite know how your body will respond and how much recovery time you will need

    2. Whilst you will (I hope - and if you don't a race so shortly afterwards is unlikely to be appealing) want to get back out there again there is a lot to learn after your first week and there will almost certainly want to be quicker and stronger for your next race. With only two weeks between events you will not have much time to learn the lessons and after a recovery period and considering your taper for event two you won't have much time to adapt your schedule and see any physical gains. Conversely if you aim for July you can have a full training block in which to adapt your training and learn those lessons from your first race so you can come back and step it up to another level (which will be far more satisfying than burning out by the end of May).

  • Thanks for the response (and a slap on the wrist for the forum IT bods, I didn't get my notification email).

    Anyway, yes, I do mean the lido tri; basically the differences come down to the cycle and run aspect being slightly longer at Arundel while Steyning is almost exclusively on fast roads where I don't fancy the prospect of being pulverised into the asphalt by a rogue driver (I find that too many drivers in West Sussex give you all too little room when passing), although the organiser has reassured me that it's perfectly safe which is fine by me.

    It's a fair point you make about the recovery period and taper - one of each only gives one week of constructive training in the middle by my reckoning - so both would likely be a stretch too far, at least at this stage.

    Regards both being non-open water, it isn't a deliberate choice at all; I'd certainly consider one - I'm more than happy swimming out on my own for ages when on holiday in the south of France - although I can't think of where I could train for that discipline?

    At the moment I'm leaning towards Arundel because of the circuit nature of the bike leg and that would fit in well with Chi as there will be some differences in gradient and so on rather than a straight out-and-back. Plus, it gives me a little more time to train!

  • Jamie220Jamie220 Posts: 168

    Thanks for letting us know StooDogg, we thought these notification emails were fixed – just one thing, did you check your junk folder? Is it in there?

  • Nope, not a thing!

  • Jamie220Jamie220 Posts: 168

    OK thanks, can you let us know if it does turn up? May take a while for servers to process, but we'll look into it for you in the meantime

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    So you don't fancy sea swimming in January? The swim map here might help http://wildswim.com/

    I used to swim a lot when I was younger and am quite a happy swimmer (it sounds like you are too) and I find that I don't need a huge amount of open water practice. I probably hit up Hyde Park Lido in the couple of weeks before the event just to get my eye in but you can practice a lot of open water drills, like sighting and starts in the pool anyway if it isn't too busy.

    Most of my racing has been on looped courses, which is good because after the first loop you know where there are technical bits or tight corners you may need to hold back on so you can go a bit harder and can perfect your gearing... the only thing to remember is the more laps there are the more people there are to have to avoid.

  • No, sea swimming in January is not something I have considered, think I'll stick to the pool for now and work on technique. Not that I'm averse to running into and out of the surf in near-freezing temperatures of course. Thanks for the link though, there are some decent-looking options nearby which could give an option later in the year. Besides, I can pack all my swim gear into a backpack and cycle ten miles to the pool and therefore have a pseudo-(super-) brick session; I don't think that I'd be able to do that with a wetsuit or similar, plus I think it would be wiser with a training partner or a spotter? (The wife performs the latter admirably when we're in France although it's possibly coincidental as she's getting a tan at the same time! Mind you, I might have to get her some binoculars since I swam so far out last year she lost sight of me!)

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