Beginners

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Each year, FIRM helps thousands of people earn the title of “triathlete”. Your first triathlon is a special occasion, and we are here to help you through the process.

Choosing a Race First of all, carefully choose your inaugural race. You may want to base your decision on location, race distance, type of race course (hilly or flat), type of swim course (pool, lake, ocean), time of year, charitable connection, or special designation such as “all women”. Or it may just happen to be the race that your buddy has chosen to do.

Once you have decided on a race, register for it. That commitment is essential for moving you towards your goal.

Training for Your Race Next, think through how you plan to prepare for the race. It is true that almost any healthy person that knows how to swim, bike, and run can complete a sprint distance triathlon, but it does require proper physical conditioning. The better prepared you are for the event; the more you will enjoy the experience.

There are some very good books on the market for people who are interested in researching and figuring out on their own how to train for a triathlon. Triathlon 101, 2nd Edition, by John Mora provides practical information for getting ready for a triathlon. The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, on the other hand, is a very popular book for people who want a lot of detail and technical information regarding training for a triathlon.

In addition, check out the coaching services, seminars, and clinics offered by FIRM’s official coaching provider, Vmps (www.mpstraining.com). They offer group training programs for beginners, swim programs including open water swim clinics, informational seminars, and personal coaching.

Getting the Necessary Equipment Once you figure out how you are going to approach your training, it’s important to think through your equipment needs. The basics are a swimsuit, goggles, and a place to swim; a bicycle helmet and a bicycle that fits you and is in good working order; and running shorts and running shoes with less than 300 miles on them. If the water is going to be cold, then add a wetsuit or a wetsuit rental to that list. Vmps can help you with either. 
 
Preparing to Race As race day approaches, carefully review the Athlete Information Packet for your race. It includes important information such as directions, check in times, and course maps. Also review USA Triathlon rules which include: helmets must be worn at all times on the bike, no music players are allowed during any part of the race, and no drafting other cyclists during the race. For a complete list of the most frequently violated rules click here.

When race day arrives, follow these ten tips to ensure your race morning goes smoothly:

  1. Arrive early and go directly to registration to pick up your race packet.
  2. Immediately take the timing chip from your race packet, and put it on your left ankle.
  3. Have a volunteer mark your race number on your body.
  4. Look at the number on your race packet, and find that number on the bicycle racks in the transition area. This is the rack where you set up your gear. Memorize its location.
  5. Attach the larger race number to your running singlet or race belt. Attach the smaller number on your bike. (A stapler works well for that task).
  6. Locate where you will enter the transition area from the swim and bike courses, and where you will exit the transition area to start the bike and run segments.
  7. Visit the restrooms.
  8. Warm up prior to the start of the race with a little jogging.
  9. Position yourself at the start of the race based upon your swim ability. Start slightly to the side of the group or hold back for about 10 seconds if you want to avoid the chaos of the swim start.
  10. Have fun and enjoy the experience!



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