Triathlon First Timer?

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  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!

Train Smart,

Coach Lora  Erickson

“Blonde Runner”

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Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete and certified running and triathlon coach recently competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Africa in 2018. Lora was born and raised in Colorado and was to run for the University and Utah & Utah State University where she obtained a degree in Community Health Education with duel minors in Chemistry and Nutrition. Coach Lora has a true passion for health promotion and loves to share her experiences. Learn more: About Coach Lora Erickson