Monday, May 23, 2011

Top 3 Questions Beginner Triathletes are Embarrassed to Ask (and the answers!)

The following are questions I often get from newbies, usually with a sheepish, embarrassed grin.  If you are a beginner triathlete, read below and act like you know what you are doing!

1.  What am I supposed to wear during the race?  Do I have to change my clothes in front of the opposite sex?  Unless you are doing an Ironman for your first race (which I would NEVER recommend) you will not need to change your clothes at all.  The standard attire for a triathlon is:
Tri Shorts- spandex shorts with thin padding that will give you a little cushion on the bike, but won't fill with water on the swim and make you look like you are wearing a diaper
Tri Top- spandex top you can wear during the swim (with our without a wetsuit) and the bike and run.  Most ladies will need to wear a sports bra underneath. 
That is it!   No wrestling with shirts while you are soaking wet, no mooning the guy next to you in transition.  It's easy!
PS- At Ironman races many athletes like to change clothes between disciplines- they do have changing tents for each sex.

2.  What about bike shoes?  Do I need them?  Will I kill myself?  For good reason, riding clipless pedals (called that even though you "clip in" and "clip out" of them) is one of the scariest, most daunting steps to becoming a "real" triathlete.  I will never forget trying to learn how to clip in and out in an alley in Chicago.  SCARY.  I will also never forget the dozens of times I have fallen (and the dozen more times to come) at a crowded intersection in the city when I forget to take my foot out.  EMBARASSING.  My advice to those of you about to take it to the next step is just do it.  You will never be able to keep up with other bikers unless you are clipped in.  It is faster, more efficient, and you just feel better.  My advice once you start learning is to keep moving and just practice getting your foot in and out over and over and over until it is second nature.  It will get easier.

3. Can I really finish a triathlon?  YES!  You can finish a triathlon.  Many people do not realize quite how short a sprint triathlon is.  If you are in reasonably healthy shape and willing to workout at least 4 days a week, you can even finish a sprint triathlon well.  The sprint distance is about 1/2 mile swim, 12-15 mile bike, and 5 k run.  It takes people about 90 minutes to 2 hours their first time.   This is totally doable if you train properly for 8-12 weeks.  Are you thinking about it?  Want to do it?  It is not too late to pick a race and train for this season.

Let's train!
-Coach A

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