Preparing for your first triathlon

Some things you must know when you decide to join the triathlon world
Triathlon keeps growing more and more every day. I love this sport because anyone can do it, but it is not easy. If you have little experience with the sport, it is important to keep somethings in mind before taking the plunge. Planning and training for a good first race will ensure the maximum enjoyment and a long-lasting triathlon career.

Omar Martinez
Some thoughts on beginner triathletes.
Beginner triathletes can be classified roughly into two groups.

The first group would be those people who are nervous about the whole thing and don't know where to start what feels like a monumental challenge. the biggest challenge for them is not knowing where to start or feeling intimidated by the sport.

The second group is the exact opposite, people who are over confident because they have participated in another type of endurance event and think it might be similar to what they have done before; a common phrase coming from the confident group sounds a lot like "I've run a 5k before and the triathlon ends with a 5k, right? I can totally do this". This type of newbie is in danger of over-training, getting injured, and suffering a lot during the race.

Starting with triathlon is possible for anyone as long as the expectations and goals are set with an honest evaluation of fitness and commitment to train. Even with zero endurance background, all it takes is a little dedication and commitment. A structured plan will have any beginner pleasantly surprised by Their performance and progress.

I love triathlon because it enables people to make new friends with some of the finest people around, feel stronger than ever before, and gain incredible self-confidence.
Here are the basics
1
Be clear on why you want to do it.
Having a clear goal will keep you in track and will be the main driver for training. Find your inspiration and follow it. It could be losing some weight, gaining confidence, or even just brag about completing one of the most demanding sports in the planet
2
Choose your distance honestly.
You should be realistic about your goals, how much you are prepared to commit to training, and your general state of fitness. If you have never done anything sporty or have been away from the gym for a while, your best bet is probably a sprint distance or even a super sprint. If you are a current athlete and are feeling brave, you could set your goal for an Olympic distance. Ironman and 70.3 distances should be reserved to either really seasoned athletes or people willing to invest huge amounts of dedication and intense work. If it helps, here-s a chart on how many hours an athlete will need to invest per week to prepare for each distance:

3
Treadmills are not good for training.
A lot of runners and coaches will say that treadmills are like cheating because "they do the running for you". This is only true if you don't know how to run and if this is the case you're moving towards an injury anyways and this should be fixed. When used correctly, a treadmill will help an athlete stay at a pace where they are uncomfortable for a specific time, increase the leg turnover and train muscle speed, help with climbing technique, reduce impact on the joints, and offer steady conditions for training and testing.


4
Runners have a specific body and yours is not made for it.
This is true only if your goal is to be a world champion, Olympic medalist, or record holder. Most human beings should be able to sun a marathon in 4hr or less through proper conditioning and in their own time, but it's more a matter of dedication. This is difficult to explain sometimes, and people always seem to find a medical diagnosis or family engagement to keep them from putting the time and work in. Take this from a guys who was told not to run because he had no arches and not to cycle because of faulty knees when he was a kid. Now one of my favorite hobbies includes running and cycling for hours and the only injuries I've had are because of irresponsible decisions, not training or the sport.
5
Runners love running.
This is a huge myth (in a way). The idea of getting off the couch and going for a run is something an athlete will look forward maybe 1% or less of the time. The fact is that training is hard, and running can be horrible sometimes (but not all the time). Putting in the hours and dedication implies sacrificing time with friends, sore muscles, and wanting to nap every hour. But we do it. Why? Because the reward and sense of accomplishment are incomparable. Because carrying a body which feels powerful is amazing. And because endurance and high level training will help you understand yourself better than any therapist or inspirational speaker ever will. We are lucky to be surrounded by true legends here in Dubai. Next time you see one ask him or her how much they enjoy their training, I am pretty sure most will say they love it when it's over
6
You need to be fit and lean to be a runner.
Same as point 4. This is not true. If you're a beginner, I'm sure you've been overtaken at some point by someone who doesn't really look like they should be running as fast as they are. This is because there may be something else going on with their diet and habits. The type of strength coming from endurance is very particular, and all you need to do is put the right hours in to see results. If you do it right, though, you will become a fitter and leaner version of yourself.

7
You are too old to start running.
A hard lie. It is never too late. And the sooner you start, the better. Risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, and other organ failures will be reduced drastically. Your bone density will go up if training is done properly. Aging will slow down and in some occasions it can even be reversed a little. There is no downside to starting proper training of any kind at any age. You should read this post from "Wait But Why" and try to plan out how you want your remaining days to look like.
8
You need to drink a lot of water during a race/training session.
No, you just need enough. There is an old misconception that if you drink when you are thirsty it is too late, drinking to thirst is actually fine. you are not in danger of dehydrating unless you are very competitive and are not paying attention in a race over 3 hours and in difficult conditions. Of the registered marathon deaths you can find, none are due to dehydration and at least six are caused by hyponatremia or electrolyte imbalance. Both of these last two conditions are often a result of drinking too much water.
What is important is to have good hydration habits throughout your days before the race and in life in general.
Here are the basics
1
Be clear on why you want to do it.
Having a clear goal will keep you in track and will be the main driver for training. Find your inspiration and follow it. It could be losing some weight, gaining confidence, or even just brag about completing one of the most demanding sports in the planet
2
Choose your distance honestly.
You should be realistic about your goals, how much you are prepared to commit to training, and your general state of fitness.
If you have never done anything sporty or have been away from the gym for a while, your best bet is probably a sprint distance or even a super sprint. If you are a current athlete and are feeling brave, you could set your goal for an Olympic distance. Ironman and 70.3 distances should be reserved to either really seasoned athletes or people willing to invest huge amounts of dedication and intense work.
These are how many hours an athlete will need to invest per week to prepare for each distance:
- Sprint/Super Sprint: 5 ~ 10
- Olympic: 10 ~ 15
- Half-Ironman: 10 ~ 20
- Ironman: 15 ~ 30
3
Find a program that works for you.
If you are a beginner, your best bet is to find a coach or at least training group to guide you through the motions. The advantages of a coach will be a program fitted to your specific needs and capacities, and feedback on your progress plus access to an expert who knows you 24/7.
Training for an event should take up anywhere from 8-12 weeks prior to the event. Usually a good program for people with a regular job considers short strength and technique sessions for all three disciplines spread throughout the week and longer sessions during the weekend for endurance. It is important to know that you should also respect the resting periods set in the program; they are just as important as the actual work outs. As a reference a basic training week for an Olympic triathlon normally looks like this:
  • Day 1: 25 – 30 minute swim / 30 minutes Strength Training
  • Day 2: 25 – 30 minute run / 30 – 40 minute bike session or spin class
  • Day 3: 25 – 30 minute swim / 30 minutes Strength Training
  • Day 4: 45 minutes brick sessions (combining bike + running drills)
  • Day 5: Easy long run 1hr + 30 min Swim session
  • Day 6: Easy long bike ride for 1.5 hours
  • Day 7: REST, maybe stretch a little or get a sports massage

Keep your goals in mind during these days. Getting started can be a bit hard, but once you get the ball rolling you will start enjoying them a lot. You should start seeing results pretty soon, and that is the best reward.
4
Get the right equipment.
Triathlon equipment may look like an expensive investment, but it doesn't have to be. As a beginner you should look for equipment that is both comfortable and that you like. High performance equipment yields results only when you have already mastered the basics, so don't sweat it if you don't get an aero helmet or wheels on your first bike. Basically all you need are:

  • For swimming: swimsuit, goggles, and a swim cap
  • For Biking: A road bike, a helmet, and some bike shorts
  • For running: a comfortable pair of running shoes
Finally, you should just get to it. Trust yourself and you will soon start uncovering your potential. Getting started is the hardest part, but once you do make an appointment to yourself every day and work on getting stronger.

If you are looking for a team, join us and enjoy a healthy training environment!

OM
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