Before doing my first triathlon, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I reached out to amateur triathletes, professionals, and even Ironman winners from around the world and asked them one simple question: “What’s the one thing you wish you’d have known before doing your first triathlon?”
I received 53 inspiring tips. In this post, you will find the 19 beginner tips they gave me. Enjoy reading those and explore the 34 other tips as well.
My first ever triathlon was an Ironman so I suppose to answer that question, I would have liked to have known more about triathlons before I signed up. I had watched many before and knew about the sport as a whole but the main things like transitions, nutrition, and recovery are what I learned most about on my journey to my first triathlon. It’s not a discipline of just 3 sports to me. There is a lot more involved.Richie
I was on a Tri team before my first Tri so I was lucky to get a lot of knowledge. But there are some things I wish I knew. Before my first Tri I wish I knew how much easier and less intimidating it was than I thought. I think too many people get intimidated by triathlons when really anyone can do them! Wish I started sooner.Joe – Instagram / Website
I’ve been doing Triathlon for already four years. I think I would have liked to know before doing my first triathlon how you need to train for it, how much weekly and monthly training are necessary. First of all, you need to know your body, your thoughts, what you can do, and what you in which discipline you more training. You need to go to the doctor to check your heart system and your respiratory system. Some people are good swimmers, others are good runners. You need to be good at the three sports: swimming, cycling and running. You need to meet your limits each time you are practicing.Irene
I will categorize some tips for beginners:
– Prepare your mind. We know in all sports mind is stronger than the body.
– Prepare for your race and keep it in mind step by step.
– Get used to your equipment you will use in the race.
– Swim, Bike, and Run at paces you have set to race.
– Eat healthy and useful food that you have already eaten in the past.
– Set realistic goals.
– Last but not least, rehearse transitions.
Every race is different. The best solution is to keep thinking positively and confront every problem.Spiros – Instagram
Though it wouldn’t have changed my mind about getting involved, one thing I wish I had known about the long course (full and half ironman) is how long it takes your body to adapt. It’s one thing to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, or run 26.2 in standalone, it’s another to put them all together. It takes a lot mentally and physically and if you’re not coming into training and competition with a long view in mind you’re prone to give up early. Three years into my training, I’m just starting to really see what my body can do — it’s fun and encouraging. I still have a way to go, but progress comes at a faster pace now. I’m glad I stuck with it.David
I wish I would have realized that it’s so true that the harder you work the luckier you get. It takes time, persistence, and a lot of effort to do triathlons, and the more you put into it the better you become. Nothing worth having comes easy!Amanda – Instagram
“Simplicity is a key to success.” My first triathlon was a sprint distance, and I felt like I needed to be ready for anything the race threw at me. On the bike, I took with me not one, but two bottles of water, a sizeable saddlebag filled with Gus, spare tubes, and wrenches (for a 15-mile bike ride!).
All of this was overkill for a 30-minute ride and a lot to remember for any race. Over the years I’ve learned to simplify things quite a bit, to the point where things like nutrition, preparation for mechanical issues, and contingency plans have become automatic. On the run, I’ve learned to survive off the course so that I don’t need to carry anything with me. This has helped me tremendously in saving time in transitions and avoiding disasters caused by throwing too many variables into a race. “Keep it simple” is really a phrase to live by.Adam – Instagram / Website
For amputees or disabled: I’d recommend visualizing the race step by step on what you need equipment-wise for each activity. Practice prepping your equipment so you have everything ready to go when the time to move to the next activity, that way you’re not dinking around during transitions if you have all that you need. For example, when I get out of the water, I have a towel ready to dry off my stumps. I have stump socks ready not inside out and my liners inside out but wrapped in a towel so they don’t get dirty.
In General, I’d say not to worry so much about being competitive but to focus on yourself and what you learned in training. Just complete it.Sidney – Instagram
I wish I would have known that wearing running shoes on the bike was not faster than using cycling shoes and then changing again into run shoes.Lauren
I wish I would have laced my shoes with elastics and used a TrisuitPatrick
Hmm. Wear sunscreen! That’s actually something I wish I could tell myself before most of the triathlons I’ve done (I don’t learn my lesson!) And on the same note – buy a triathlon top with a back and sleeves – worth the extra money for the sun protection!Olivia
Don’t forget that after the swim you still have the bike and run to do. Pacing yourself is a huge part of triathlon. Something I am still learning to do. Especially if you are doing the short distance events it’s easy to get caught in the moment and go out too hard.
And vaseline your shoes!!!Char – Instagram
Don’t think that it will be necessary to walk during the run portion as most people do. If you respect your pace during swim and bike, you will enjoy the run and probably go faster than the others that passed by you during the bike courseAlessandra – Instagram
I wish I would have had the experience to hold the pace at the swim and not struggle the rest of the race.Joao – Instagram
The experience I made at my first triathlon was that you should not give everything on your bike so that you have at least a bit of power left in your thighs for running. And as always you should start running slower than you think you should. Because you are coming from a fast speed from cycling and switching to in comparison slow speed at running. This was the most important point for me.Malin – Instagram
Maybe this sounds stupid, but knowing that I shouldn’t eat pasta the day before the race… That day I suffered so much with my stomach that I ended up in the medical tent. Now I always eat white toasted bread with honey. That fills my stomach and give me the needed carbs and sugars before a race.Kenneth – Instagram / Website
In my first triathlon, I would have liked to know first what is advisable to eat before a competition, how to make an efficient transition, and nutrition during the event !!Palmira – Instagram / Website
There are many, many things I wish I would’ve known. For example not to eat too much the night before or the morning of the race. I am pretty sure I thought I needed to be full of carbohydrates before the sprint race so I ate a large pizza and some ice cream to spend most of the morning on the toilet. Eat whatever you would normally eat.Levi – Instagram / Website
My first triathlon was 15 years ago and little that I knew what I was getting myself into. It seemed pretty straight forward: first swim, then bike, and finally run. I did know I needed to practice the bricks/transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. What I wish I had known before my 1st triathlon was the importance of strength training and nutrition. I am an avid and passionate runner, but never took care of strengthening my muscles especially the glutes and core, and after my last marathon I was left with a bad tear in my performis/glute muscle. Needless to say, my glutes were weak even after running 6 days a week 6-8 miles a day. Nowadays I lift 5 days a week, focusing on the muscles that I need to do all disciplines.
Nutrition was always very confusing to me. A lot of misleading information about what to eat, carbo-loading techniques, gels, gummies, sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Until I finally figured it out thanks to Peter Roberts, Australian pro, and Bob Seebohar, a pioneer in metabolic efficiency and owner of energy performance. Metabolic Nutrition has changed my life. It not only teaches your body to burn fat but also to feel your best during competition mode.
Now I teach my clients the importance of these two elements, not only to prevent future injuries but also so they can enjoy and love the sport and much as I do.Isabel – Instagram