How Do I Get Started In Triathlon?

Thinking about your first triathlon? Not sure where to start or what to do? We’ve been there as well. We get it.

The sport of triathlon may seem daunting to many when they’re first getting starting. What gear to buy, how to train, what to eat, how much rest to get, finding the time, keeping a life-work-play balance – and many other aspects. As triathletes ourselves we get it, we’ve been there too. Take a look at our basic “tip list” below. Hopefully it helps you with some direction on how to get started with the world of triathlon.

  • Start SMALL! – Your first triathlon race 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 900 hours a week of training) and not invest a year’s salary in a fancy ultra tricked out pile of gear.
  • The SWIM – The only gear 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 breathing. A swim coach, even for just a few lessons, can make a big difference in your water confidence.
  • The BIKE – You probably already have a bike you can ride. Whether it’s an older mountain bike or an around-town “go-getter” bike, it’s likely fine for a short distance race. Buying a $17,000 triathlon bike for a race with a bike split of 10 miles as your first time 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 gear-wise 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.
  • BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER – There are dozens of other tidbits 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 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. Experience your first triathlon race day, enjoy that journey and adjust from there. Many other aspects can be researched and learned along the way as you get more into the sport.