The four things that could go wrong in your first triathlon
By Ea Francisco
Your first triathlon is going to be one of the most exciting yet anxious moments in your athletic life. Every other athlete will say that despite all the practice they did, they still ended up making the simplest mistakes. It’s a good learning experience, but you don’t have to wait until the actual race to fix these mistakes.
Using Transition as Break
While there is some leeway time between transitions, it’s not an excuse for you to take it easy. The transitions are just as important in triathlon races. You should try to minimize your time spent on transitions and do only what is most necessary at the time. The more experienced triathletes have practiced the most efficient way to remove their swim gear, put on bike accessories, and mount their bikes. Some triathletes can do it under two minutes but if you’re a beginner, you don’t have to go that fast yet and just make sure to practice beforehand to get a feel of the movement.
Losing Your Bike
One of the simplest mistakes a beginner could make is to lose their bikes in the T1 area. On the morning of the race, familiarize yourself with the entrance and exit as well as which rack your bike is at. Don’t rely too much on memorizing the bike next to yours as there dozens of similarly colored bikes.
Starting the bike leg with too much intensity is a mistake even seasoned triathletes make. This leads you to have bad pacing later on and eventually ruins your run. Usually, you should practice the right pacing in your workouts and apply it in the race, but some people tend to forget this.
Trying Something New
When it comes to the actual race day, the best and safest way is to stick with what you know. This applies to all aspects: your shoes, clothes, bike, pacing, and nutrition. The day of the race isn’t the time to test out new gear. New shoes and clothes can be uncomfortable and for new bikes, you should have tried it out before race day. Nutrition is especially sensitive as it can upset your stomach and if whatever is provided doesn’t suit you, you can always pack your own snacks and drink.
It’s perfectly understandable to mess up on your first race, and the best way to really avoid it is to prepare. Triathlons are usually big events with lots of people, so anyone can be overwhelmed with so much going on. Doing your own thing and what you know is the best reassurance you can get.