So, you have set your sights on doing a triathlon, but you’re not quite sure how to begin or how to choose a race. When choosing a triathlon especially for a first one I would suggest a local triathlon offered at a local recreation center. The South Davis Recreation Center in my area (Bountiful) puts on several each year and even offer a novice division (150 yard swim, 2.4 mile bike and 1.5 mile run). Usually these a low cost and more “fun” rather than super competitive. Also if your main goal is to just complete the distance then this is perfect. Also a pool swim is something you are more likely to be familiar with over competing in a lake or other body of water. Swimming in open water takes additional skills including sighting for buoys etc…Swimming is usually the thing that scares most people away from doing a triathlon, but know there are adult program and classes out there to help. Not to mention private hire coaches, like myself. I love to coach and help people. Learn more about the semi-private lessons I offer.
I didn’t start swimming competitively until I started doing triathlons just 7 short years ago, no swim team in high school or anything and I have learned how to do it comfortably and efficiently. It’s never to late to learn, no matter the age.
For a first triathlon I always suggest doing a “Sprint Distance” event. This is generally the shortest distance of all triathlons and generally consists of a 350 yard pool swim, 12 mile bike ride and 5K (3.1mile) run and they are usually done in that order – Swim-Bike-Run. An openwater triathlon usually has a longer swim. The next common triathlon distance is the “Olympic Distance” which is normally done in an open body of water (lake, ocean etc…). It consists of a 1500 meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run. There are even longer distances with the Half Ironman and commonly heard of Ironman distance – which is the longest distance consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and full marathon (26.2 mile run). I believe it’s possible for anyone willing to put the work into it to reach this distance, but certainly wouldn’t suggest this for a starting distance.
If you have little to no experience with triathlons; I would suggest going and watching one first. There is a lot you can learn just by watching or even volunteering at an event. Also, I would highly encourage those that are not experienced to get involved in triathlons clubs or classes. I offer a Team Blonde Runner (TBR) triathlon training program. To learn more visit www.TBRTriathlon.com. I also offer a lot of different classes that would be very helpful to beginners. Click to see a list of classes.
The Triathlon Training Clinic Series offered in October would be particularly helpful for a beginner since I go through all three disciplines in detail. I just LOVE triathlons!
Coach Lora Erickson