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Any sage-like advice for Triathlon newbies?

Hi all

Well, I've taken the plunge and started triathlon training.... I can run quite well, swim very badly and haven't even got onto moving bike yet - agh!

Do any of you triathlon gurus have any advice for a complete novice? What I mean is, is there anything you wished someone had told you right at the beginning...?

Thanking you...



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    Have fun doing it! Don't try an compete against anyone else as you are doing this for your own personal best time. Something I was never told that although tri is very friendly and supportive before and after the event, the event itself can be very lonely! If there is no-one to watch you, then no-one will clap you in, or cheer for you on the way round. It has nowhere near the cameraderie that running has! All said, it is great, and you will be amazed at your increased confidence. Another top tip - do an open water course!

    Have fun!!
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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Beware the rubber legs...
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    maggietmaggiet Posts: 3
    Thanks cottontail for the advice, I've been really impressed by how friendly people have been at training sessions, and you're right, to be fit and have fun is the best reason to do it - I'll remember your advice when I'm racing (if I ever get there!) and thanks Britspin, I've heard about the legendary 'rubber legs' when you start running after the cycle so I'll take it nice and slow, and maybe keep my helmet on incase I topple over!

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    I and a friend completed our first novice at Nantwich on Saturday! it's fantastic - I have never been very 'athletic' and now I feel like I rule the world. Take everything steady and train in moderation until you are ready to go up a level - at Xmas I couldn't swim 50m with having a break, and I have just done 200m in 5.30mins breakstroke - this may not seem much to the more serious triathlete but to me it's big! I'm lucky that my hubbie does tri and so really helped me to have the confidence to get on a bike. You can do it, it doesn't matter where you finish and just remember you are ahead of a lot of people who are still sat on the sofa! [;)] It is good to train with people, it keeps you going. Rubber legs - take it easy for the last 5/10 mins and spin in a low gear, legs felt good, but then my running is rubbish anyway!

    Go for it - I'm definitely doing it again.
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    jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Hi Maggie,

    sage advice from an open forum is abit like asking 'has anybody dropped this twenty pound note' in a busy pub on a saturday night.Triathlon is a huge exercise in finding out what other people do and see if it works for you and not getting too despondent if it goes slightly awry,the best races are those that start to go wrong but you hold it together until you cross the finish line.

    I will try not too bore you with drivel but my advice is;.

    do not be afraid to ask a question,or if you turn up at a race without some kit the chances are that someone will have a spare,be it goggles ,an inner tube or a bike.

    Do not be put off my men who have legs that are shaved smoother than yours,

    wear and use what you want and not what you feel has been dictated because ''it is the derigeur'' to use.

    Smile ,it is amazing the number of serious faced competitors you see.

    Relax and enjoy.

    points I found were: easy club runs will turn into a fast sprint by the end.

    social club rides generally finish as a king of the mountains competition,the fast lane in the pool at a masters session is a no go area due to the embarressment factor of being smoked by the 11 year old daughter of the session coach.

    What the above taught me was that Triathlon is all about pace and it is not the fastest who wins but the most consistent one who crosses the finish line first.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I went to Salisbury Fast Twitch tri the other weekend with a couple of first-timers. They were both delighted with the friendly atmosphere, all the people who helped, chatted, advised etc in transition before the race, on the pool-side and even during the event.

    Funny enough, they also both commented on how it was a bit lonely out on the course. Maybe they expected to be in the thick of a race, but as a novice the only time you'll see somebody else is usually when one of the later starters (i.e a faster wave) comes flying past you...

    But, the whole point is to get fit, lose weight, enjoy your training, and push yourself on the day so that when you cross the line you know you could not have gone 1 second faster. Then you'll realise why my bit of advice I wish I had been given is:

    "This is going to hurt like hell, but you will become addicted!"
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    Persuade some other novice friends to sign up to the same triathlons. Camaraderie and a sneaking competitiveness will keep you motivated in the run up to the first race and will also ensure that you have friends to cheer you on and to swop stories with afterwards. I did my first race with 3 other first timers from work and have since managed to persuade several others to take it up just so that I have someone to be competitive against and who I can bore with intricate stories of my last T1 performance. If you can't think of any suitable friends then join a tri-club (not a bad thing to do in any case).

    Other than that, practise open water swimming and practices transitions - both T1 with the wetsuit change and T2 with the bike to run brick sessions to get your muscles attuned to the changeover. There's no easier 3 minutes to save than the ones you spending faffing about in transition in the first few races (all the other saved minutes require far too many exhausting training sessions...)

    Good luck.

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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Good point about transition...speaking as a serial faffer....layout & organise your transition space logically, decide what you want & when, i.e. swim to bike, helmet on first, so in the middle (my glasses have to be in my helmet), towel to stand on, socks (or not), bike shoes, number belt on & go. make sure bike is in a lowish gear to get you going. Bike to run, rack bike, helmet off, bike shoes off, run shoes on go.
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    SamutriSamutri Posts: 143
    Relax, have fun, push it as hard as you want and realise that triathlon is more addictive than cocaine!

    Training never gets easier, it just gets faster.

    Ask questions, talk to fellow triathletes and raed the forum threads, theres a lot of wisdom out there!
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    dannymackdannymack Posts: 58
    My advice is don't buy everything you think you'll ever need in one wallet busting go. See if you can borrow/hire things initially to see how they feel/ride/fit. You'll then have a better knowledge of what you really want/need out of your kit when you get round to buying your own (which will probably happen quite quickly - and all to frequently from there on in).

    Also, I understand from previous forum posts that in order to go fast all such kit must be red in colour and, if possible shaved and rubbed with a potato.
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    maggietmaggiet Posts: 3
    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

    Brilliant advice from you all. It seems to me one of the reasons this is such a growing sport is the support of seasoned athletes happy to help and encourage folk like me...

    I'll keep glued to the forum for good advice, and speak up if I need a hand...

    Happy swimming/cycling/running all...!

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