1. In the beginning… keep it basic!
a. basic shoes, basic pedals, basic bike, etc..
2. Road or a tri bike…?
a. It doesn’t really matter, but don’t spend much on your first bike! Trust me. Either you like it or hate it, but most people will quickly upgrade if they do like the sport.
b. Road bikes tend to be easier to handle/control than tri bikes
c. It can also depend on what type of riding you plan to do: hills or flats and distance. Road bikes tend to be better for hilly courses, whereas Tri bikes can be better if the course is flat (especially if you are strong rider). If you are going to be doing group rides, some groups do not allow tri bikes, so a road bike with aero bars would give you more options. (aero bars can be added to a road bike, varying price range depending on brand/material/etc)
d. Once you have a bike, consider…
i. Make sure you have a comfy saddle (seat) on the bike as each saddle is made for specific body types!
e. Get a proper Bike Fit! – If you aren’t fit properly to your bike, your ride can be very uncomfortable & inefficient. When in doubt, ask!
3. Short and long term goals
a. Have some! Make sure they are realistic, attainable, measurable, etc.
i. Set long term goals plus short term goals that are easier to achieve in a set amount of time so you can see progress and adjust as needed
b. Celebrate when you accomplish your goals!!
4. What do you wear for a tri?
a. #1 Rule – NEVER eat/wear/try anything new on race day. NEVER! The potential for disaster is high!
b. Blister-free socks – during your training, try different socks until you find some that don’t cause you blisters or any other problems.
c. Lots of LUBE – chaffing is not fun, so prevent it before it starts! Body Glide, chapstick, Aquaphor, Chamois cream, etc… some tri tops, sports bras, thighs, etc will rub you wrong and cause you pain. Lube up those pesky areas before your race (or before you head out to train). Practice during your training sessions to find out Where you need to lube, What lube(s) work best for you, How much lube you need, etc.
i. Want recommendations? ASK us!!
d. Bike shorts vs Tri shorts vs Swimsuit, etc…
i. Unless you are doing a full Ironman Triathlon, you won’t be changing clothes during the race. So let’s break it down..
1. BIKE shorts have a thick pad which makes the bike ride more comfortable, but will absorb way too much water during the swim and will feel like a diaper during the bike and run…. = Not Good
2. SWIMSUIT is what we all wear to swim… but with no padding on the butt, the bike ride will be pretty uncomfortable, and the suit might ride up during the bike & run… = Not Good
3. TRI SHORTS have a thinner pad (chamois) than bike shorts, but more than just a swimsuit. The chamois won’t hold on to all that water from the swim, dries out quickly, yet protects you while on the bike!
5. How do you set up your transition area?
a. Only pack what you need for the transition area. Don’t over-complicate it.
b. Small towel, running shoes & bike shoes, gels/nutrition, helmet, sunglasses, race belt! No more junk. Keep it simple!
i. If you have to run through sand to get to transition after the swim, bring an extra bottle of water to rinse your feet off before you put on your shoes!
6. What is the general flow of a triathlon? Will I know where to go?
a. Typically triathlons go like this… Swim, Transition (T1), Bike, Transition (T2), Run
b. The courses are usually very well marked, with Volunteers at important areas making sure the athletes are going in the correct directions. Remember though, it is the athletes responsibility to know the course & how many laps they have to do… A lot of races will have the course maps on the race website and will also have them posted at the race venue at packet pick-up and race-day.
7. Heart rate monitor – do I need one?
a. No. You really don’t even need a watch, although a basic watch would be nice and potentially helpful, depending on your goals for your race. If you decide you like the sport(s) and want to purchase a Heart Rate Monitor to better your training, do your research before you make your purchase! There are a lot of options out there!!
8. What if I get a flat tire?
a. We think it’s important for everyone who rides a bike to know basic bike maintenance. Most bike shops have clinics they put on… so go sign up for a basic bike clinic to learn how to change flats, learn basic skills, etc. If you can’t find a clinic, contact us. We’ll either help you find one, or we’ll show you what you need to know!!
b. You should get a saddle bag and keep it attached to your bike (usually hanging from your saddle) with a spare tube, CO2 cartridge, applicator, tire irons, and maybe even a shop rag if you can fit it in there. That way, if you do get a flat during a ride, you have everything you need to fix it!
9. Should I start with a pool tri?
a. You can, but you don’t have to. This is really personal preference and what you are comfortable with. There are some FEMALE-Only races (pool & open-water) that some of you might be more comfortable doing at first too, to avoid the crazy testosterone!!
10. Doing a local event or travelling to a race out of state?
a. Things to consider: what is your budget; race entry fee, $ for gas/plane ride, hotel, bike transport, traveling alone, food?
b. Plan ahead. Obviously travelling to a race will cost more than doing a local race, unless you have free room & board and you are carpooling with multiple people, etc.
11. I’m most nervous about the swim – any tips?
a. Always look at the swim course before you swim it. Understand the shortest lines, blinding sun, find large visible objects to spot off, not just the course markers (buoys) as most of the time in one direction you can’t see them anyways.
b. Practice open-water swims before you race one. Swimming in a lake/ocean is A LOT different than swimming in a pool. A lot of the time you can’t see your hands, or other people’s hands/feet. There is no lane line at the bottom to keep you going in a straight line.
i. Several tri shops/groups have Open-Water Swims & clinics during Triathlon season. Inquire at your local shop or with your favorite group. OR, gather up a group of triathlete friends and head out to the lake to swim. Just be safe – never go alone, always make sure people know where you are going, etc.
c. Make sure you have good goggles that won’t leak or get smacked off your head
i. A lot of people will wear their goggles under their swim caps during a race to help prevent them falling off during the swim.
ii. If you are using paddles in your swim practice, buy/use small paddles first, not Large ones. Paddles can help you with form in the water and can also help build arm strength.
12. What to eat, when, & how much?
a. This will vary greatly from person to person and also depending on what distance race (or ride, run, etc) you are doing.
b. If you are doing a shorter race like a Sprint, other than some water & sports drink during the bike and run, you probably won’t need anything else.
c. Olympic Distance triathlons, depending on the person, might require a little more supplementation during the race. A gel during the bike and during the run could give you the extra calories you need, in addition to water and sports drink.
d. Obviously, doing a Half-Ironman or a full Ironman, your body will require A LOT more calories/energy to stay properly fueled. If you continue to have issues, we suggest you speak to a dietician or sports nutritionist to help you figure out your dietary needs.
e. It is so important to try out different nutrition products during your training and find a combination of water, sports drink, gels, chomps, etc that work for YOU. I know what works best for me, but it might not work for anyone else.
f. Always go into the event well Hydrated. Drink extra non-alcoholic beverages the week leading up the race. Increase your carbohydrate intake in that week as well, to top off all glycogen stores in your body. Eating dinner the night before, don’t try anything new – go with a meal that you know your body can handle – nothing fancy. Same goes for morning of the race… small breakfast, like oatmeal and half a banana, but make sure you eat at least 1-2 hours before the start of the race. We don’t want stomach issues during the swim!
g. On the LUNA Chix website there is an “Advice & Tips” section that discussions Nutrition – could be a good resource for you! http://teamlunachix.com/advice_and_tips/