A Letter To Myself - 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me As A Beginner Triathlete
Yes. I’m talking to you — miss never ask for help and wanting to work things out on her own. If time travel somehow became a reality and you managed to get this letter, here are 10 things that you ought to read as a beginner triathlete.
You know, just to make it that little bit easier so you don't have to work out how to put together swimming, cycling and running all on your own.
1. Invest in a Good Pair of Knicks
When you're a beginner triathlete starting out in triathlons there are a lot of different things to buy. I know that it all looks shiny and new but really you just need a few key things. Some of them you can get by with the basics but others like bike knicks I recommend you throw your money at.
Come on, we both know that you will want to go longer and faster pretty quickly so that means your tush is going to be sitting on that bike seat for a lot of hours.
Which brings me to my next point...
2. Don't Wear Undies
This is one of the sins of the beginner cyclist and screams out to anyone riding behind you that you are a newbie! Undies underneath your bike knicks are a big no no... think chafing and extra unnecessary layers around your important bits.
3. Chafing Is Your Enemy
At all times be on the look out for the triathletes enemy - chafing. Invest in a good tri suit that isn't going to rub on race day and cream for those long rides that will keep you comfortable.
Watch your neck too when you head out for a swim in your wetsuit. There's nothing worse then turning up to work on a Monday looking like you have a hicky on your neck!
4. Learn to Ride Your Bike
It’s one thing to buy a bike and sit on a windtrainer; it's another to learn how to ride it properly.
You'll be surprised watching any triathlon race at the number of people that lack basic bike skills such as cornering, braking and descending hills.
Take the time to learn the correct skills and technique and see not only your times skyrocket but feel safer and more confident on the roads.
5. Everyone is as Shit Scared as You Are
Standing on the start line of your triathlon it feels like everyone else is relaxed and you're the only one trying to keep yourself together.
Trust me when I say this. Even after coaching so many others to their start lines, numerous Ironman events and countless triathlons the nerves don't go away.
My advice to you is this: embrace the butterflies! They are there to show that you are alive and about to embark on an adventure!
6. It Gets Easier
In your first triathlon you couldn't figure out how anyone was able to swim in the crash and bash of the swim start. It felt like you were running in the water just as much as swimming in it.
I promise you that it gets easier but you do need to practice. The swim start is something you'll only experience in a race. No amount of pool swimming will give you the skills to manage race day.
7. Coaching is for Everyone Including Beginner Triathletes
There are some amazing triathlon coaches out there who aren't just providing services for elite athletes. Even as a beginner triathlete you can get a coach to help you (I know this would mean admitting you need help... probably a step too far for you).
You will learn eventually what a great coach can offer and how to recognise the difference between someone looking to make a quick buck and others who generally want to help others improve.
8. You'll Make Friends That Last a Lifetime
At first they will just be people you swim, ride and run with but friendships will grow and develop within this triathlon community. Before you blink you'll be seeing people not in lycra but almost unrecognisable in makeup and dresses.
At different times your training mates will move on from triathlon but you'll still be guests at their weddings or have them at your own. You'll meet their babies and have playdates together... friendships that last a lifetime.
9. It's OK to Fail
Because when you don’t fail, you’re not doing something different. Your life will become a monotony of the same old thing while you yearn for something more.
Take the risk.
It’s ok to fail.
Shit happens and as long as you learn from it, you’re golden.
10. There's Always Another Triathlon Race
That's the thing with triathlon. At the end of the day it's just a sporting event and there's always another race.
You'll gain a lot from triathlon and give back a lot. Keep your perspective, stay true to you and remember what's important.