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Beginners day on a triathlon

Can anyone help me, I am doing my first triathlon in June at Ardingly college and I am unsure of a few things, when I start off my swim in the pool, am i just standing there in my swimmers and then have to leg it to the transition area, dry off there and put my remainding clothes on.

Do I wear socks with my cycling shoes, can I wear an mp3 player when I am cycling or is this disallowed??

Also can anyone help me improve not getting knackerred whilst doing the swim bit, I know your not meant to rush but I feel shattered by the time I get out of the pool


By the way I am in Haywards Heath if there is anyone who is sort of local and wants a trainning buddy[&:]


  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145

    firstly good luck, it'll be fine on the day.

    ok, i think the best advice i can give is to run through what i do on the day...

    i'm assuming it's a sprint distance race as it's your first go, therefore transitions are fairly important....

    so on the morning, try not to change anything, eat a healthy breakfast, porridge suits me,, slow energy release, but whatever suits you, don't try new things on the day and risk upsetting your stomach, get there early... to set up your transition spot.

    right, you do start in the pool in your swimmers, or try suit, but i'm again assuming your in trunks,,,

    swim... just take it easy, a few seconds in a swim is a big effort and will take a lot out of you for the other parts, it's not worth the extra effort for a few seconds,,, you finish the swim and run straight to the bike rack........ where your bike will be nicely racked and kit laid out ready, as you do this before the race starts.. what i do is spend a little while before the race going through in my mind what i will do at transition, and lay my kit then

    if you are putting a t-shirt on or a singlet, have the number ready pinned front and back or better still on a race belt (£5)

    remember t-shirts are difficult to pull on over a wet body..... which is where tri suits come in......

    so lay your t-shirt neatly by the wheel or on handlebars.. next the helmet, this has to be warn anytime you touch your bike, before you take it off rack and after you re-rack... so first thing on and last thing off (obviously t-shirt first)

    then shoes, cycling shoes if you have them... with talc inside, no socks.. take the bike and run to mount line, you have to reach the line before you climb on....

    do your bit on the bike....

    back to transition.. if you have cycling shoes undo them and slip feet out before you stop.. put feet on top of shoes and do the last few metres like that before jumping off at the dismount line.. run back to bike rack...

    rack bike, take off helmet and put on running shoes ( again talced ) and thats about it,

    any form of headphones is definitely not allowed in a race and i would never wear them even training on the bike, on a run maybe with one headphone in..

    i don't really know what else to say, any other questions i'll be here a while and help if i can

    good luck again

    fat matt
  • DOtriHarderDOtriHarder Posts: 307
    Ian: FattMatt has the right idea, don't try too hard during the swim. Maybe you need to work on your stroke quality between now and Ardingly, I might even see you there. Improving your stroke will help you swim more efficiently and get out as quickly but without being cream crackered. My swim technique was appalling 8 weeks aga and now it is soooo much better.

    On a race day you will not need an MP3 player, concentrate on the quality of your cycling, music will take your mind off the event and detract from your effort.

    Fattmatts comments about your morning routine are correct, try to keep everything as normal as possible.

    Remember to enjoy yourself, racing can come next time.


  • RobRob Posts: 209
    Hi Ian, I did my first tri three weeks ago & I had all the same questions. Your first paragraph is pretty much spot on. I personally wear socks but it's up to you. A race belt will save you time, as will elastic laces & lace locks for your running shoes. I did a duathlon in Feb & it was freezing. I had ordinary laces on my trainers & despite wearing gloves my fingers were so cold it took me a couple of minutes just to try & do up my laces! Elastic laces are the future. Like garlic bread.

    As for the swim, despite constantly repeating to myself that I should 'pace yourself, don't go off too quick, pace yourself, don't go off too quick....' I left the side of the pool like one of those clockwork swimmers you used to be able to get. After four lengths of that I decided if I didn't slow down I would die. So: 'pace yourself, don't go off too quickly'. (Watch me do exactly the same again next time!)

    The rules might prohibit MP3 players/phones.

    Cheers, Rob
  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145
    cheers david, it's reassuring to know people don't think i'm talking rubbish.

    a couple of things i forgot, as rob said, elastic laces are a must!!!

    also i don't know if any others here have experienced it, but one or two in my club have mentioned it and it certainly effects me, when i leave the water and stand up, i get a little light headed and dizzy, maybe someone can explain this medically, but i'm thinking it's something to do with going from a flat position in the water, where the heart doesn't have to pushg the blood up to my head, to standing where the blood needs to be pumped a little higher, it only lasts a short time but might be worth remembering just in case.

  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145

    220 magazine this month has an article on transitions, one of the pics shoiws exactly what i meant about laying your kit out in order,

  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    fatmatt, the dizziness could come from a number of things including what you mention. two otrhers I;ve heard about:

    Your moving your head from side to side to much during the swim which can create the same effect your talking of.


    Your getting water in your ears (especially cold) water and that can create an imbalance. (frequently people experience this when doing open water swims, so ear plugs may help).

    Ian something else worth trying; chose whether your going to wear socks or not (without saves time) but before you do the race do some training in whatever you would wear without socks on, I noticed during a practice tri on the training camp that my trainers ate my feet alive without socks on, even though they are superbly comfy with socks. Talcum powder is useful in both your trainers and bike shoes, especially if your feet are wet or sweaty.

    As to the feeling tired after swimming I can only repeat whats been said, practice and more practice and if you can find someone to have a look at your stroke or give you lessons as that will make a huge improvement as well.

  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145
    thanks, i'll think about the earplug thing, don't think i'm moving my head too much as swiming is my background and the only thing i'm any good at,


  • I completed my first event at Skipton over the weekend. The best thing I could suggest is to put some effort into practising your transitions, especially the swim to bike one. I made a complete hash of mine, it was real slapstick stuff! The swim went better than expected despite going off like Mark Spitz in the first 100, sense kicked in and I slow down a little for the subsequent 300. The run from the pool to the bike transition was around 150m I guess and the organisers had allowed those who wished to to leave their trainers outside the pool to wear for the run to the bike. I availed myself of this chance and it seemed like a sensible course of action. The bother cam when I sprinted into the transition area and then thought "okay which one's mine"! It felt like an age while I blundered around trying to find my trusty steed. The next debacle came when I was so focused on the not touching the bike without the helmet on rule that I tried to put my cycling top (never really thought I'd suit the all in one number!) on over my bike helmet! Not clever and more wasted time.

    Other than that I really enjoyed the day and it was great to see so many people taking part. The winners have my total respect in being able to finish in a few seconds over the hour mark.

    If you've done the training then you'll know that you can complete the course, something are in the lap of the gods but some aren't. Practise those transitions and you have one less thing to worry about. Most of all enjoy it, you'll have both earned and deserved it. Good Luck
  • fatmattfatmatt Posts: 145

    good advice for everyone there, we've all made the same mistakes at some point and it's good to learn, at least you didn't follow signs (identical) for a dog show on the same day instead of the bike route, that was a fun little ride round a car park full of great danes!!!

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