Tag Archives: beginner triathlete

So you wanna do a triathlon? Five things I wish I knew when I started

Triathlon season is now in full force with lots of races and training ramping up for those racing.

It’s pretty common for runners to get the tri itch. It’s a new challenge, and one that suits our bodies that love to move and minds that love a challenge!

Although I’m not participating in any triathlons this season, I dove into them head first back in 2010 with my husband (Calgary 70.3 and Ironman Arizona).


At the finish of our first triathlon

Here are some things I wish I knew beforehand.

  1. Triathlon is expensive. In running you need shoes and some sweat-wicking gear. In triathlon, you need equipment for two additional sports. For biking- think bike, helmet, and shoes. Add in some cycling clothing, gloves, and mechanical gear (spare tubes, pump, underseat bag). For swimming, all you really need is a swimsuit, goggles and cap. But unless you have somewhere to swim you need a membership to a pool or to pay drop in fees. Racing in open water? Maybe you’ll need to rent or buy a wetsuit.
    And this is the bare minimum. Yes, you can do it on a budget, but gear for three sports and entry fees add up.
  2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve been a runner for a while, love cycling, or swam in high school, but triathlon will definitely take you out of your comfort zone.
    Between practicing three sports, riding your bike on the side of the highway with semi trucks zipping by, and swimming in open water, you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Before our first open water swim!

Before our first open water swim!

  1. Ask questions. Starting something new can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions whether it’s from friends who participate in multi-sport, a coach or club you want to try out, or fellow bloggers. I know I learned a lot from reading triathlon magazines and blogs. I wish I had reached out to people I knew who raced for advice or tips.
  2. It doesn’t have to be your whole world. It’s easy to get wrapped up in triathlon, after all you have three sports, strength training, and sleep to monopolize your time.
    Unless you have huge dreams like qualifying for Kona or representing your country in shorter distance races, you can do it all and still enjoy life outside of sport.
    The first year we did triathlon, we were pretty strict with training. By the second Ironman we really loosened up, taking a week-long holiday during peak week and only running short and mountain biking once. I ended up besting my previous time on a tougher course.

Ironman Canada (Penticton) 2012

  1. You will fall in love with it. No matter what sport was your favourite, you’ll most likely fall in love with at least one of the others.
    Running is my first love, but now I dream of road biking the open highways and my trainer gets more use than my treadmill.

Although I’m happy to not have signed up for a tri this year, I will miss it! I still have a lot to learn about multisport. I still have a lot of room to grow, too.

I took this year off and quite honestly don’t know when my next triathlon season will be. However, I know when it comes, I’ll be hungry to train smarter and better my times.

I think I have a couple other ideas for ‘So you wanna do a triathlon’. If you are interested in getting your feet wet, let me know if you have any questions.

Triathletes- what do you wish you knew before you started?
Non-triathletes- do you ever get the itch to try it out?