You decided that triathlon was for you. What’s the next step?
As a professional triathlete, I would recommend a triathlon to anyone that is active. I was a runner prior to jumping into my first triathlon. I was hooked after crossing the finish line of my first race. Training and improving in three sports changed how I lived. I loved the variety, the people, and the challenge.
Triathlons come in different distances. I recommend you start with a sprint triathlon or an Olympic triathlon as these are the shortest of all events. The distances (below) for these events gives beginners a chance to challenge themselves and an opportunity to see if the sport of triathlon is for them. (I promise you will become a triathlete after your first one!).
My tip is to find a local triathlon where you can meet the community and not have to travel.
How To Start
You may feel overwhelmed by triathlons, but take it one sport at a time. Pick the race you’d like to compete in and then work backwards to determine when to start training. I recommend a couple months before your first triathlon so that you can build your fitness. Incorporate three days a week of running, swimming and cycling (30+ minutes in each). Since swimming tends to be the most difficult of the three sports for beginners, I encourage you to take lessons to improve your confidence in the water. If you’re still intimidated by triathlon, find a local community or group (there will be clubs/groups on our website) to help you. You’ll find the triathlon community very supportive!
Follow A Plan
If you’re new to triathlon, I often suggest following a training plan or working with a group to help you for your first race. A coach can be very helpful and guide you in the right direction. As a coach myself, I love helping beginners get started.
As mentioned, the triathlon community is very supportive and fun! There are Master swim programs, triathlon groups and clubs that are ready, willing and able to help you achieve your goals. One of these communities is the all women’s endurance community, I Race Like A Girl, that I founded. We support beginners to novice and have over 300 members all over the USA.
I recommend watching a triathlon before you participate in one. Seeing how race day is – how to set up your transition, and the overall race itself – you’ll learn a lot in that one day of watching! Take notes and ask questions.
Have fun with it!
Sprint Distance Triathlon: ~500 yards of swimming, 11 to 15 miles of cycling and 3.1 miles of running
Olympic Distance Triathlon: 0.9 miles of swimming, ~ 24.8 miles of cycling and 6.2 miles of running