Making the decision to enter your First Sprint Triathlon can be daunting, but when you cross the finish line you will have discovered alot more about yourself and what you can achieve!
A Sprint Triathlon is the shortest triathlon distances and generally involves a 750 Metre swim, a 20k Bike Ride and a 5k run. The swim can take place in either a pool, a lake, a River or the Sea.
Although these distances may seem a bit intimidating at the beginning, they’re more than achievable with the proper training and preparation. The key thought to keep in your mind is “No task is too great, so long as you are willing to break it down into smaller – more manageable pieces!”
Nobody is ever great at all of the 3 triathlon disciplines and inevitably while training for your first Triathlon, you’ll discover a favourite and least favourite sport to train for. It’s important that you identify which of the 3 sports you’re weakest at and then focus a larger quantity of training time on that discipline to compensate.
For most people this tends to be the most daunting element of a Triathlon. If you are like the many other people out there who can’t swim to save their lives, then entering your first Sprint Triathlon can be the perfect opportunity to become a competent swimmer. Joining a local swim class or even just getting one swim lesson will have a huge impact on your ability and confidence. You may even find that the people you see doing lengths in the local pool can be valuable and friendly sources of information. For most the key to swimming can be doing lots of short but frequent sessions and then building it up over time.
If your main goal is to just get through your first Sprint, then the Bike section of a Sprint Triathlon is usually easier than you imagine. If you can cycle for an hour then you should be ok. The most important thing again is to ensure that you have covered the race distance prior to race day and that you carry whatever nutrition or drink you may need. In training practice drinking small amount of fluid often and also practice what is known as the ‘brick’ session. A brick session is where you simulate the portion of a triathlon where you will run after the bike section. Practicing this will help you to get used to the ‘jelly’ feeling which people sometimes get when running from the bike. It will also give you confidence in your own ability, as you will already know you can cover the race distance.
For some people it’s the Swim and for many others it is the run that is the most daunting element of them all. The run course in a Sprint Triathlon is generally no more than 5k long. This works out at approximately 3 Miles and once again it is a distance which you will be able to cover with the correct training. If this is your first time covering this sort of distance, try building up your training distances slowly and don’t be afraid to use a run-walk-run strategy. On the day using the Run-Walk-Run strategy can greatly increase the distance you can cover and also your enjoyment of the event. As you will see on Race-day, many others will use this method so don’t be afraid to!
For those who are more familiar with running these types of distances, remember to practice your Brick sessions as they will help you to get used to running from the bike.
Before your first Triathlon race ensure that you have all of your gear prepared and arrive at registration early to avoid feeling rushed. When you arrive you will be asked to rack your bike alongside those of the other participants. It is important to take note of where your bike is located in the transition area(try counting the number of racks in it is, or perhaps make note of an object it is opposite.) This may sound like a strange suggestion but it can be a great help when you arrive into a busy transition after your swim.
Overall, enjoy your first Triathlon! These races are a lot of fun and your sure to meet many of participants who are in the same boat as you!
Click here for Triathlon Training Music!
Click here for The benefits of the Triathlon Lifestyle!
Click hear for the story of how one man went from being a Smoker to an Ironman Triathlete!