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Advice for Newbies…

I just finished writing my next article for Triathlete about advice for the newbie triathlete.

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Because my last blog post has been staring me in the face for awhile, (I have been so stupid busy that I have broken my own frequency of blogging rule)… I thought I would open this up to YOU.

Yep. YOU! 🙂

In the comments, what is the best advice that you have received as a triathlete… that you want to “pay forward” and share with a new triathlete?

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Please leave in the comments (even if you post on Facebook as well). 🙂

41 Comments

  • Jo

    June 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    No direct advice. I just binge read all of your blog posts before my first tri and I came the conclusion that it’s not about racing to anyone’s expectations but my own. DFL > DNF > DNS.

    Reply
  • Dianne Fink

    June 3, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    When I first started training the advice I received was trust in your training and go out and have the time of your life. It doesn’t matter what “place” you come in – finish, enjoy and know that you have accomplished something spectacular for yourself. And I was 58 years old when I completed my first triathlon – fell in love and have been “tri – ing every since”.

    Reply
  • Charlotte Keane

    June 3, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    dont over do it with the gear. Especially on a sprint distance. Look to simplify… What is non-essential to get you to the finish line?? I ditched gloves, arm warmers, sun glasses and 1 (of 2) water bottles on the bike and I don’t run with socks for short distances. I also don’t swim with a wetsuit, but that’s just me…

    Reply
  • Cammie Hunt

    June 3, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Become a master at changing flats! If you are confident with this skill, and you may never need it, its one less thing to fret about on race day.

    Reply
  • Colleen

    June 3, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Take each leg as it comes. Do not get ahead of yourself. Swim the swim , bike the bike, run the run. Do NOT get ahead of yourself. Enjoy being in each leg

    Reply
  • Robin

    June 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Swim: breathe bilaterally
    Bike: pedal on the balls of your feet (I don’t do clip or clip less or whatever)
    Run: if you’re going to walk and run, run on the downhills no matter what. Don’t waste a downhill walking!

    Reply
  • Amy

    June 3, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Have fun! That’s the main one. Also a friend of mine told me any brick (bike/run) can help you muscles build memory. So try to follow most of your biking with even just a mile run to help build that.

    Reply
  • Heather

    June 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Hills, hills, hills. Gears, gears, gears. Read about/watch proper shifting.

    *Some* gear isn’t important to get through your first tri, but some gear can help anyone. A proper fitting saddle (on a bike that’s been fit to you). Good tires (not race wheels, but the tires themselves). Proper fitting tri/bike shorts.

    Practice transitions. May not seem like a big deal, but that’s real time that really counts against you!

    Kick harder before exiting the swim, spin faster before getting off the bike. And smile like a wild child when you cross that finish line.

    And read “Triathlon for the Every Woman!!”

    Reply
  • Mary Lou

    June 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Use positive self talk. Ditch the voice that says ” I can’t ….” & replace it with possibilities. I teamed up with 4 other women; the mutual support made us each succeed – regardless of our time.

    Reply
  • Joyce

    June 3, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    In training, always run a bit after you bike. Even if it’s just 1/2 mile, it helps with the t2 transition when you go from bike to run. And take each leg as it happens!

    Reply
  • Amanda Remlinger

    June 3, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    During the first few minutes of an open water swim I have a really tough time controlling my breathing. It is usually very fast and a bit out of control! To calm myself down I start to sing a Katy Perry song in my head. “Baby You’re a Fiiiirrrreeework…”

    You get the idea, pick a song you know the words to and sing it to yourself. Pretty soon you’ll be calm, into your groove and off swimming away!

    Reply
  • Robin

    June 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    There is no “perfect” race day. Things happen–rain, broken shoe lace, flat tire… Race day is about trusting your training and mentally overcoming things that can derail you. You know what you can do. Prove you can do it AND overcome what’s thrown at you!

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    June 3, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Drive the route. Know it well enough that if it’s not marked you could still find your way.
    Walk transition several times so you know where your stuff is.
    Don’t get discouraged. This is a huge accomplishment.
    Learn to change a flat and have a kit on your bike. The thought of a DNF on my first was terrifying.
    Do NOT forget your helmet.
    Get to know the “wrench” at your LBS and tip generously with beer and make sure you take your bike in for a tune up two weeks prior to race day. DO NOT wait till race week. Bad form, badd Ju-ju and asking for problems. Your wrench has a hundred bikes to tune up. Don’t wat till the last minute.

    Reply
  • Tania

    June 4, 2015 at 12:35 am

    For all the Ladies….. If your period is very regular, put your rest week down for when you are “on”.

    This way you don’t have a really tough week during training when you or your body feels less like it!

    Reply
  • Suzie Luthe

    June 4, 2015 at 4:40 am

    “Run your own race” don’t look at everyone and compare yourself to them, only concern yourself with your own self, and never forget why you “Tri” and no matter what do it with a “Happy Heart”

    Reply
  • Julia Ehmke

    June 4, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Always have a fueling plan…for every race even if all the articles say the distance doesn’t require nutrition. YOU may require nutrition for that distance!

    Reply
  • Janice B

    June 4, 2015 at 7:36 am

    All the feel good advice is nice, but a couple of practical things I always tell my athletes. Practice your transitions, and practice them as often as you do brick workouts. Lay your gear out and prop your bike up somewhere so it looks like a transition area. Don’t just practice going from one sport to another…lay out your gear they way you will on race day. And practice your swim-to-bike AND bike-to-run transitions. Nervousness and cluelessness in transitions will add MINUTES to your time. Think about how much work it takes to shave two, three, or four minutes off your 5K run time. Practice transitions, and practice them using your race gear. Shoes, number belt, sunglasses, visor, helmet…everything. Even lay out your extra nutrition and body glide, if you’ll have that on the transition towel. This also helps you begin your packing list.

    Which leads to my second piece of advice. Yes, enjoy the race. Enjoy the moment. But, be aware of your surroundings and where you are. There are a lot of moving parts, especially in transition. There are a lot of other racers trying to do well, or enjoy THEIR day. Don’t become so inwardly focused that you get in your own way OR theirs. Becoming lost in your own thoughts during the swim gets you off course, on the bike gets you in a ditch, and on the run distracts you from finishing strong. So, enjoy your day, but understand there are two or three hundred, or thousand, others out there moving around you, trying to enjoy theirs. Don’t be their “unknown” that they couldn’t plan for.

    Finally, go ride your bike in the rain. It may rain on race day, and unless the race director is made out of cotton candy and the course has been formed out of spun sugar, they’re not going to cancel because of a little rain. Like everything else new, race day isn’t the time to learn if you can negotiate a 90 degree turn on wet pavement in a downpour.

    Reply
  • Jessica

    June 4, 2015 at 7:51 am

    1) Always wear sunscreen. Take the five minutes to apply it before every ride and outdoor swim and reapply if you’re out there for awhile. You’ll save yourself days of agony later on.

    2) Trust your instincts. There’s so much information and feedback out there…when in doubt, just go with what your gut tells you and you’ll be great!

    Reply
  • Megan

    June 4, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Nutrition! Eating breakfast at 430AM will NOT be enough to fuel you for the whole race. If you have a late swim wave, consider bringing a snack with you prior to start or fuel in transition/while on the bike! I was STARVING on my second tri and my gas tank hit zero on the run!

    Reply
  • Kate

    June 4, 2015 at 10:32 am

    From my Dad on my very first race (warning, he makes up words): “Don’t go out there to be a compete-er, be a complete-er.” Translation – it’s not about competing, it’s about finishing. Smile, enjoy the ride, if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!

    Reply
  • Jess

    June 4, 2015 at 11:55 am

    – The zipper cord from your wetsuit: Loop it and velco it at the top so that it doesn’t fly around in the water getting stuck under your armpit and rubbing it raw (yes that happened).
    – For longer distance Tri’s have one of your water bottles be a ‘throw-away’ bottle that you can replace it when you are out of liquids with the one they hand you on the course.
    – Put your goggles on and then your swim cap (less likely someone will ripe off your goggles that way!)
    – Use Tri Glide —- Spray it everywhere (armpits, HR strap area, crotch, ankles, feet, neck, etc)!!! I cover my feet with it especially! the glide stick is great but the spray really covers well.
    – Use black tape and tape your gels in the order you want to eat them on the bar of your bike that’s most convenient (Tape the tab so they are easy to rip off).
    – GU or other garbage shove up one of the legs of your shorts while on the bike and then empty it at the first stop on your run.
    – Write something inspiring on your hand to look at.
    – Sherpa’s + Cowbells = Awesomeness (I know where my BF’s standing and get super excited when I hear him).
    – Put ice under your hat and in your bra if you’re feeling HOT. Also use a water bottle to squirt it through your helmet.
    – Practice T1 and T2 in your driveway.
    – Practice slowing down on the bike and grabbing a water bottle from your ‘Sherpa’ to simulate race day.
    – Swim as far into the shore as you can before you stand up – make sure your hand is hitting the beach when you stroke.
    – Imagine what your photo finisher pic is going to look like near the end of the run.
    – Thank all the volunteers at every stop/location.
    – Know how to put your chair back on quickly if it falls off.
    – Always yell “On Your Left” when passing others on the bike.
    – Pack little wipes in your bike gear bag if you have to change a tire they’ll help a ton or pack rubber gloves.
    – Remember to smile 🙂

    Reply
  • cheryl

    June 4, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Don’t take yourself of the race too seriously. Unless you are a PRO and are getting paid to do this stuff, you should just be in it for how it makes you feel. If you bomb a race-no one has to know but you-unless you care to share it with the world via social media.
    There will probably always be races to attend…unless someone tells us to stop because of climate change..(hehe) so you can be doing this stuff for a LONG LONG time (33 years of it here)-
    Oh another thing….since there is SO much info out there these days, trust your instincts with programs, training (tweak it to suit you!), gear, rest and nutrition.

    Reply
  • deb

    June 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    For many, the swim can be a barrier to entry. Even though I grew up with a pool and was confortable swimming in lakes and oceans (jump off a large boat to snorkel, no problem!) the idea of swimming for distance and heading to the pool to do laps, was a bit intimidating. A good friend and multi-time Ironman finisher said to me, “You don’t have to be first out of the water, you just have to get out of the water.” Those words were all I needed to hear to calm my concerns and register for my first event. Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked by butt off on my swim and strive to be better, but it does remind me that the swim is just one portion of a larger event and to not put too much pressure on that one portion. Whenever I hear anyone being anxious about their swim skillis/speed, I pass that little tidbit on and it really seems to help.

    Reply
  • Julie Jackson

    June 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Advice from a much older women when I was first learning to swim at local pool.
    “The breath in is easy, it’s the breathing out that you need to master.”
    WOW, was she right. Once I focused on a steady full breath out it changed everything!!!

    Reply
  • elizabeth Molina Campos

    June 5, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I am training for my first sprint, which is in 9 days. At this point I am think “what the hell was I thinking!!!?????” There are moments I feel happy, and anxious. I am checking weather.com every day, wishing for an 80F sunny day at 7am (no, it will not happen). And training. I am really tired lately, and hitting the gym, or going for a run or bike or anything, feels like a lot of work. I am hungry all the time (no idea why). Last week while biking, 2 chihuahuas crossed my path, got scared and froze, and as small as they are, they took the entire path… I fell of my bike and hurt my leg. And work load has increased so much that last Monday I was at work for 16 hours. Should I stop training, should I take it easy? When should I stop training? I know it is a small distance, but I feel all my muscles tired, to the point that 1 day off seems to make no difference
    Thanks

    Reply
  • Chris Simon

    June 8, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Okay, so I know this lady who wrote an inspiring book. Well, okay, so I don’t “know” her, but I read her book. Anyway, best book EVER if you are new to triathlon and have a sense of humor! Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, “Triathlon for the Every Woman” by Meredith Atwood. READ. THE. BOOK.
    Also, train with friends. It’s motivating to have this support system. I can’t imagine being alone on this journey.

    Reply

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