Preparation Tips for your First Triathlon
Triathlon Tips for Beginner Triathletes – Get ready for Triathlon event day!

Triathlon events require determination, endurance, fitness, and the ability to pace yourself.

It may seem obvious but the earlier you begin your Triathlon training preparations, the better. Conditions can vary hugely on race day so the fitter you are and the higher your endurance, the better your body will be able to adjust to any changes and challenges your first Triathlon throws at it.

  • Time Management: Allow yourself plenty of time to register, rack your bike, review the course and listen to the race briefing and you will be more relaxed going into the race. As a rule of thumb arrive at registration a minimum of 1 hour before your race start.
  • Food: Watch your diet in the run up to the race. A high protein, low carb diet for the 24 hours before your triathlon should optimise performance. Don’t eat a fatty breakfast. Leave 2-3 hours between your pre-race meal and the Triathlon start.
  • Having water and nutrition items already on your bike will cut your transition time.

On the big day, remember you will not be the only first time Triathlon beginner there, and every one of the competitors was new to triathlon once! Get prepared, get fit, and enjoy the day!

Here are ten tips for first-time triathletes:

  1. Go short before going long. The Ironman World Championshipevent is arguably the most recognizable triathlon event in the world. However, a 140.6-mile event—2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running—is more than nearly all first-time triathletes should attempt on the first outing in the sport. Begin with a shorter super-sprint or sprint distance event and move up to Olympic-distance events when you are ready
  1. Stay close to home. For the first race, make it easy on yourself and select an event close to home. If the event is within easy driving distance from your house, it helps reduce race-day stress and hassle. You can also do some of your workouts on the course, increasing your confidence. You can find events close to you by searching the TriClub Doha calendar
  2. Just a swim suit and goggles for the swim. If you do not own a wetsuit or are an inexperienced open water swimmer, select an event that is in a pool and does not require a wetsuit. If your event does require a wetsuit, and you don't own one, some retail stores rent wetsuits eg. Carbon Wheels. A good pair of goggles and a swim suit made for lap swimming, not sunbathing, is all you need for the swim portion of the event. 
  3. Your bike is fine. Any bike you're currently riding will work just fine. It can be a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid. Many people have completed their first triathlon on a borrowed bicycle. Be sure the bike is correctly fit to you and is in good working order. (No rotted tires or frayed cables.) Longer races have a support vehicle following the race to pick up riders unable to complete the bike leg for one reason or another, but it is best that you know how to change a flat tire for training and race day. 
  4. You need running shoes. If you do not currently own a pair of running shoes, you need a pair. I recommend going to a good running store near you and let the experts in the store help you select the right pair of running shoes. They should ask you questions about your feet, running history and watch your gait while walking and running.
  5. It doesn't take as much training as you might think. You are not training for a podium position at an Ironman event for your first race, therefore you do not need to be training 20 to 30 hours per week. You can be ready for a sprint-distance race on less than five hours per week of training. Most weeks are less than five hours.
  6. Plan to rest. For most eager racers, it is easy to plan to swim, bike and run. Be certain you plan to rest as well. You want to do enough training to complete the event and have fun. It is best if you finish the event with a smile and hungry for more races. 
  7. Transition time counts too. Some beginner triathletes are surprised that the time it takes to change from swimming to cycling and from cycling to running (known as transitions, "T1" and "T2") counted in overall race time. All of the time between the start of your swim and when you cross the finish line at the end of the run counts. Practice smooth and swift transitions.
  8. Plan to do the first half of the race slower. Most beginners start too fast. Estimate how much time you think it will take you to do the entire event. Plan to do the first half of that total time at a slower pace than you think you're capable of doing. When you reach the half-way point, you can pick up the pace and finish strong. This is called a negative-spliteffort.
  9. One piece of "trick" equipment. If you want to pick up one piece of "trick" equipment, purchase elastic shoe laces. One such brand is Yankz. Elastic laces allow you to slip your feet into your running shoes and eliminate the need to tie your shoes. 

For your first race, try to keep things simple. Once you get hooked on the sport, you can look into ways to get faster or go longer. Joining the TriClub Doha weekly training sessions allow you to meet experienced coaches and other members who can give you tips

Race Day Checklist

  • Swim
    • Tri shorts, swimsuit, or tri suit
    • 2 sets of goggles (i.e., one tinted if outdoors/sunny and one normal)
    • Bright-colored towel
    • Wetsuit, if optional in winter
  • Bike
    • Bike
    • Helmet
    • Cycling shoes and socks (if wearing)
    • Sunglasses
    • Water bottle(s)
    • Nutrition 
    • Tool Kit: tube, CO2, levers, multi-tool
    • Floor pump (pump up your tires before you leave home but leave the pump in your car just in case)
  • Run
    • Running shoes (2 pairs if you have a late start time. One to leave in transition and one to warm up in)
    • Race belt
    • Hat/visor
  • Other
    • Training device (Garmin, Timex, etc.) & heart rate strap
    • Body Glide
    • Sunscreen
    • Vaseline, powder, band-aids
    • Blunt nose scissors for sticker origami
    • Post-race, warm change of clothes
    • Post-race recovery drink/snack with a 4:1 ratio of carbs vs. protein