The triathlon bug has now taken over at the FAANT office. Janet and I have been training for the Inaugural Texas Ironman on May 21st for the last 6 months and Janet has done a great job of blogging about our adventures. (click here to read her blog) The women in our office have now been inspired to “tri” their first triathlon. Grapevine recreation is having a sprint triathlon on June 4th right here in town, so many of the ladies have signed up! Even more are taking the role of Sherpa or cheerleaders to encourage their co-workers. I am so excited to see the enthusiasm for the sport. So here are a few tips for getting ready for your first tri!
Have a Plan. It’s not like you just wake up one morning and decide you want to do a triathlon. Or maybe you did and then realized you have no idea how to get ready for one! There are lots of on-line plans and relatively inexpensive coaching available. Having a plan is like having a recipe for success. Make a plan and stick to it!
Be Consistent. If you have ever jumped into a race very undertrained, the experience is not pleasant. You want your first triathlon to be an uplifting experience, not a painful blur. Stick to your training plan and be consistent with your workouts. After the first three weeks it gets a lot easier!
Review the Course. Knowing the course is very helpful in getting through rough spots in the race. You can anticipate the harder spots and know that the finish in near. Also, occasionally the course is not well marked and you can go awry. Knowing the course ahead of time is always a bonus if the going gets rough.
Watch Your Nutrition. Training for your first race is not the time to try a new diet or new foods. Consistent and normal good eating habits will ensure a stable stomach during the race. You don’t want to spend half the day in the porta-potty!
Sleep is Important. Training is taxing on the body and the mind. Getting plenty of rest will help your body recharge and be ready for the race. The sleep you get two nights before is more important than the night before, so if you have pre-race jitters and don’t sleep well….no fear if you have adequate rest in the weeks before.
Pack the Night Before. And use a List! I always set out my transition and all my gear the night before. The morning of the race is always full of chaos and usually starts a 5am, so packing your bag the night before using a checklist will ensure you have necessary tools like goggles and sunglasses!
Visualize Success. Get a mental image of yourself not only crossing the finish line, but being happy with your finish. Your body tends to follow your mind.
Pace Yourself. Many newbies go out way too fast on the swim or start to hammer the bike, only to find themselves walking the run. Pace yourself. The first one is about finishing standing up!
Don’t Freak Out! Janet can tell stories about panicking on the swim. I can tell stories about crashing on the bike. Neither one of us has ever had a flat tire in a race, but we’ve seen enough of them! Relax. Things happen. Your goggles can fall off, you can crash your bike, and you can forget to put sock on with your running shoes.
Relax and Execute Your Race. We have all had stuff happen that didn’t fall into our “perfect race” plan. Go to plan “B”!
Have Fun. Don’t be so serious about the challenge that you don’t enjoy the day. I remember finishing my first sprint triathlon after years of marathon running and feeling. “Wow! That was fun!” Let’s face it, most of us won’t win our first time out, so our reward is the sense of accomplishment (and the beer at the finish!)
Hopefully these tips will help any newbies and all the staff in my office who are training for their first tri! You will get addicted! Triathlon gets in your blood and you will be hooked!
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