Hitler’s plans for the upcoming Charity Triathlon are disrupted. The results are spectacular!
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I’m often asked by beginner and novice triathletes “what do you wear for a triathlon” and “what equipment do I need for a triathlon”.
More important than any recommendation of product “X” or product “Y” is the fundamental rule: race in what you train in.
The most important factor is comfort. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in and do not, ever, try anything new on race day.
What to wear for the triathlon swim
The only equipment you really need is a good pair of goggles, some sort of swimming suit and a swim cap (normally provided by the race officials). Wearing a wetsuit is optional (and highly recommended in colder waters).
For beginners a wetsuit is also helpful as it aids buoyancy (particularly for your legs) and increases the circumference of your arms, essentially making them larger paddles.
The downsides to wearing a wetsuit are comfort, unfamiliarity, and additional transition time to take the suit off.
To combat these problems you should definitely do some training in your wetsuit before the race (did we mention that you should race in what you train in!).
Also, apply a little BodyGlide or Vaseline to body ‘hotspots’ (those areas likely to chafe – the neck and underarms in particular) – the ankles and heels of your feet (to aid quick removal of the wetsuit).
What do you need for the triathlon bike
You should wear a triathlon-specific shorts and top underneath your wetsuit. This allows you to remove your wetsuit, put on your bike shoes and be ready to start the bike.
Some triathletes prefer wearing a one-piece tri-suit. This is personal preference. Triathlon-specific shorts differ from traditional bicycle shorts in that they have a thinner padding on the seat. This allows for easier and more comfortable running, whilst still offering cushioning for the bike seat.
Any bicycle shoes can be used for a triathlon. Specific triathlon bike shoes typically have only one or two Velcro strap fastenings to permit easy opening.
Bike helmets are compulsory, and must comply with the specific race rules. Essentially this means that the helmets must be worn ‘as purchased’ with no modifications and must be worn at all times while on the bike.
The safest approach is simply to put on your bike helmet first as soon as you take off your wetsuit at transition 1 and take off your helmet last as you put on your running shoes at transition 2.
You can race on any bike you want. However, as the race distance increases it makes more sense to invest in either a road bike or a triathlon bike. An entry level road bike can be obtained for a few hundred dollars.
However if you see yourself doing more triathlons it may make sense to invest a little more money on your bike as this is the single piece of equipment (other than your training plan) which will result in the greatest improvement in your race time.
You will want to get as light a bike as you could afford (usually made from carbon fiber) and/or a bike with a tri-specific geometry. Make sure your bike is the correct size for you.
If it isn’t you can waste a lot of energy or even injure yourself. A good bike fitting is always recommended no matter what your objectives are for cycling.
What to wear for the triathlon run
Choosing the correct running shoes is very important and triathletes should resist the temptation to settle for the cheapest shoes you find in a discount store. A good running shoe will help prevent injuries in the future.
I’ve described the bare minimum equipment needed to complete a triathlon. Beyond this there is a huge choice of additional items available. Most useful are:
In summary – a triathletes racing list
An official sprint triathlon as determined by the International Triathlon Union and USA Triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event consisting of swimming, cycling, and over a race distances of 750 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run.
Want to discover my “Sprint Triathlon Secrets”? Get your Free Guide to Triathlon Training by adding your email below and I’ll tell all……
Sprint Triathlon Geography
Most are held near lakes or the ocean for the swimming portions and on local roads for the running and biking segments. Some ‘off-road’ sprint triathlons are held on trails instead of roads and use mountain bikes instead of road bikes for an off-road, rugged experience.
Sprint Triathlon Distances
Although the official sprint triathlon distance is 750m swim, 20k bike and a 5k run, distances can vary from race to race. You should check the official website for your chosen race to see the exact race distance.
Sprint Triathlon Race Time
A sprint triathlon takes far less time to complete than the longer distance triathlons (such as the Ironman or Half Ironman distances which can take over twelve hours or more for the novice to complete). Winning times for sprint triathlons are usually little over an hour with the mid-field finishing in anywhere from one-and-a-half to two-hours.
Did you know…. One of my triathlete students knocked 16 minutes off her best Sprint triathlon time! I’ll reveal exactly how you can have similar success. Just grab my Free Guide to Triathlon Training by adding your email below.
Sprint Triathlon Time by Event
For a beginner triathlete, it will take approximately 2 minutes per 100 meters for the swim leg (15 minutes total), about an hour for the bike (averaging 12 mph) and 30 minutes or so for the run. Don’t forget the two transitions which will take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes each.
This is likely a conservative estimate for a beginner, but contrast veteran or ‘pro’ triathletes who will typically finish the swim in 80 seconds per 100 meters, average over 20 mph on the bike and aim for around 20 minutes for the run.
Sprint Triathlon – Beginners Only?
Many people mistakenly assume that a sprint triathlon is a purely “beginners” triathlon. While a sprint triathlon is a great distance for a beginner to start with, adequate preparation and training is essential and you’ll find that it is a highly competitive event. Don’t believe me? Well head over to the race website you’re interested in and check out last year’s results. Look up your age group and you’ll get a good idea of what you can expect to see at this years race.
Sprint Triathlon Training 101?
Step One for anyone thinking about doing a Triathlon –> grab my absolutely 100% free Guide to Triathlon Training. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
How to Train for a Triathlon?
The fact that a triathlon is divided into three components: swimming, cycling and running – each requiring your body to perform in a different way can be very daunting to the beginner triathlete.
Beginner triathlon training should focus on learning how these three separate events interact with one another, and how this affects your body.
When choosing a beginner triathlon training program, it should contain achievable goals for you to meet each calendar week, and should increase the load gradually. If you can, try to recruit a friend or join a team in training. Your calendar (and, if you can find one, your training partner) will help keep you on track and progressing along your training plan.
What’s the best way to start? Why not get a free guide to Triathlon Training and free updates just by entering your email below.
The swimming leg of a triathlon is often the most intimidating for beginner triathletes, because it is the event with which they are the most unfamiliar. Unless you were a childhood swimmer, you must overcome your initial fear during your training.
Tailor your training program to making your swimming more efficient. This will help reduce fatigue and by improving your technique, you will also improve your speed.
As much as possible, perform your swimming training in open water, to mimic the conditions you will encounter at the race. Practice ducking below oncoming waves to avoid being pushed backwards. You should also practice wearing your triathlon wetsuit as often as possible. As the common saying goes, “you should train like you race”.
You may notice that you tire quickly in the water, and this is likely a result of poor technique. Incorporate more arm work and less kick into your swim strokes. Not only will you glide twice the distance at half the effort, but you will save your legs for the cycle and the running portions.
Although in pure swimming races you will see the swimmers use their legs a great deal, different considerations are at work in a triathlon. The increased speed achieved by use of your legs in the water is not enough to warrant the fatigue your legs will suffer. You need them fresh for later in the race.
I know the thought of the triathlon swim can be intimidating. Overcoming this fear is just one of the many tips I’ll give you in my free guide to Triathlon Training. Just add your email below and I’ll send it to you right now.
The cycle leg of a triathlon is the longest part of the race in terms of distance and, normally, time.
Ensure that an experienced bike expert fits you to your bike. It’s important to make use of the big muscle groups and a proper bike fit will help this become a reality and ultimately will make your triathlon bike training much more productive and enjoyable.
Try and bike 2 or 3 times a week. You can do 1 or 2 of those rides on a wind-trainer or at a gym on one of their exercise bikes. As your season progresses, try and plan for one longer ride of 2 or 3 hours once a week. Don’t worry about how many miles. Pay more attention to actual time on the bike and finding a cadence and speed that you’re comfortable with.
To improve your speed on the bike, you may want to incorporate spinning classes into your training. Not only will you develop camaraderie with the rest of the spinners, but spinning classes are filled with anaerobic exercises that will help maximize your ability and performance.
During your training rides, like during the race itself, you should eat and drink as much as you can while you cycle (while still remaining comfortable). You need to guard against dehydration – a common mistake for some beginner triathletes.
Prepare yourself for race day – learn how to change a punctured bike tire during your training, and learn the rules of triathlons (such as those against drafting and all helmet requirements).
Sounds like a lot of stuff to learn right? Why not start off with a free step-by-step guide to all this crazy triathlon stuff. Just add your email address below and I’ll send you a free guide right away.
The best way to prepare for the running leg of a triathlon is to train the same way you do for the swimming leg: in conditions that mimic what you will be experiencing at the race. This means learning to run on already tired legs.
Incorporate “Brick” workouts into your training. Bricks are back-to-back bike-run workouts that not only help your endurance, but help your muscles adjust to the unique transition from biking to running.
Your legs will indeed feel like bricks during the first few minutes on your feet after a bike workout. Ease into running with smaller strides to warm up your muscles before moving on to longer, faster strides.
Although you should try and work on your outdoors running, the treadmills you can use today are so sophisticated that they represent great alternative if you just cannot get outside to run very often for some reason.
Certainly you should try to work some outside running in with your triathlon treadmill training program, but there’s no reason that a big percentage of your triathlon run training can’t be done with treadmill training.
The electronic displays that most treadmills have are a great way to monitor your progress and ensure you are on track with your training.
I’ve learned a ton of sneaky little tips to avoid “dead legs” and really improve my triathlon run. I’ll send you them and a ton of other fantastic triathlon tips. Just add your email below to receive your free guide.
Transitions are the often forgotten “fourth leg” of triathlons. There are two transitions in triathlons: T1 is the transition from water to bike, and T2 from bike to run. You can save valuable time on race day by learning how to transition efficiently.
Prepare for transitions by practicing them. During your training after a swimming workout, put on all your swim gear, then time how long it takes you to strip it off, change into your bike gear, get on your bike and go.
Find ways to cut this time by wearing a fuel belt underneath your wetsuit, taping foods and energy bars to your handlebars, investing in a tri-suit, or mounting your bike with your cleats already strapped into the pedals.
The more you practice your transitions to find which tricks work best, the more time you will save yourself on race day.
Wow – that was a lot to learn. But it’s essential you learn early on how to train for a triathlon. Why not print it out and give it another read through? Better yet – I’ll send you an easy to follow Guide to Triathlon Training…..For Free.
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If you’re new to triathlon it can be daunting, even scary at times. There’s so much to train for! If you’re just beginning triathlon training and have never tried this sport before, you need to follow a few basic steps to improve your performance and, most importantly, lessen the risk of injury.
First step should be to download my free Guide to Triathlon Training. I’ve spent hundreds of hours packing this guide with exactly what you need to know about starting out with triathlon. Just add you email below and I’ll send it to you right away.
Stretch. First and foremost, never underestimate the importance of proper stretching. It is more important to stretch after you are through with your final exercise for the session, however if you could stretch both before the session and after the session that would be better. Stretching can help ease yourself from stress from your muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons.
Avoid over-training. This means that you should build up gradually to the greater levels of performance. Don’t get impatient. Remember that you have got a long way to go to prepare, train, and condition for this important competition. You’ve got to do the best that you can without burning yourself out, getting injured, getting discouraged, or peaking before the day of the race.
Get enough rest! This may be the worst “sin” of all triathletes during training. The mindset is to “go, go, go”. Don’t believe that you are lazy just because you need to rest. Your muscles rebuild themselves and your body strengthens itself when you rest–not when you are actually working out and training.
Focus on the proper nutrition. It may be that while you’re training you can eat anything you want and still look great, but your poor nutrition will be harming your performance. Stay disciplined with the your eating habits.
Get the proper equipment. Train with it and plan to use it during the triathlon, too. Don’t skimp on the right gear and apparel. Novices as well as those experienced in triathlon can’t afford to be cheap.
Beginner Training Resources:
– Sprint Triathlon
– Triathlon Cycling Safety
– Triathlon Run Training for Beginners
– Beginner Triathlon Program
– First Triathlon Training Schedule
– 5 Essential Tips for New Runners
– Triathlon Training for New Cyclists
– The Key to Triathlon Success
– Triathlon Bike Workout Cheatsheet