How Do I Get Into Triathlon?

Thinking about your first triathlon? Are you capable of swimming, biking and running but not sure where to start or how to put it all together? We’ve been there also, we get it. Sometimes it can be intimidating or overwhelming.

The multisport of triathlon may seem as if it’s too much or has too many moving parts when you’re first getting started. What gear to buy, how to train, what to eat, how much rest to get, finding the time to train, keeping a life-work-play balance – how does the group swim start work – will I go with faster or slower athletes – and many other aspects. As triathletes ourselves we understand. Take a look at our basic “starter list” below. Hopefully it helps you with some direction on how to get started with the world of triathlon.

  • Start SMALL! – Your first triathlon event experience should be a sprint or supersprint. These are two short distance events that will allow you to race at your own pace, enjoy training (as they don’t require 899 hours a week of training) and not invest a year’s salary in the fancy ultra tricked pile of gear and equipment.
  • The SWIM – The only gear items you *must* have to train for triathlon is a swimsuit, goggles and access to a pool or body of water (if you live in a warmer climate). A lap pool is generally the easiest though. Start with short distance exercise/training sessions and get comfortable in the water AND with bi-lateral (side to side) breathing. A swim coach, even for just a few lessons, can make a big difference in your water confidence. Once you’ve built up some confidence in the pool, practice sighting while you’re swimming laps.
  • The BIKE – You probably already have a bike you can ride. Whether it’s an older mountain bike or an around-town “grocery-getter” bike, it’s likely fine for a short distance triathlon event. Buying a $19,000 triathlon bike for a race with a bike split of 10-15 miles as your first time race isn’t ideal. You will NEED a helmet and you’ll want to make sure the brakes/tires are in good shape. Log some riding mileage with friends or on roads that offer hills to build strength and stamina.
  • The RUN – Sneakers…yup, that’s essentially it. The run is simple enough and you likely have running/jogging sneakers already. Build up your mileage slowly each week and make sure you rest and recover as running can be the toughest physical challenge of triathlon racing.
  • BONUS TIP – Practice “T2 RUNS” – what the HECK is a T2 run??? This is a short run (even just around the block in your neighborhood for 5 minutes) immediately after you get off the bike from a ride or training session. Prep your run sneakers/gear so the minute you’re back home from a ride you can lace up and hit the run. This builds an important aspect of training so your legs are ready to move off the bike and not just stuck feeling like sludge!
  • BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER – There are dozens of other items you can purchase for triathlon racing – gear bags, aerodynamic water bottles, fancy sunglasses, cycling shoes, a race bike, race socks, race laces, a number belt, special hats, cycling gloves, supplements and food fuel for racing – the list goes on and on. However, starting with the basics and getting to the start line is often the most important step. Everything else can be researched, learned and ‘geeked out on’ along the way.

Wanna jump into a beginner friendly triathlon? Come check out our Last Call Triathlon. It’s beginner friendly, family fun and right here in Northern Colorado!