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7 Things that will catch a beginner triathlete by surprise

No matter how prepared you are, something is likely to pop up in your first tri!

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

So, you’ve signed up for your first triathlon. You are pretty sure you’ve got everything dialled in – how hard could it be? You’ve swum before. You’ve ridden a bike, and you’ve been running pretty much since you started to walk.

Putting all three together, though, can be a bit of a challenge. No matter how much you think you’ve prepared, something is going to come up on race day that you just weren’t expecting. To help prepare you, here are a few race-day surprises we can warn you about:

Wetsuits are really tight

Yeah, we were like that, too. Had all kinds of intentions to get the wetsuit with lots of time to spare, then make sure we swam in it a bunch of times before the race. If you’re like so many others, you’ll remember that you have to try it out a day or two before your first triathlon. Here’s the thing to remember – if your wetsuit fits properly, it is going to be tight! Don’t worry, it’ll loosen up a bit once you are in the water, and once you’re swimming you’ll be so happy that it fits as snug as it does.

Investing in goggles that don’t fog up is so worth it

Even if this is going to be a one-and-done affair, it is well worth your while to invest in a pair of decent goggles. Water leaking into your goggles is incredibly annoying, and if you add fogging up to that mix and you can’t see where you’re going … let’s just say the swim can quickly become an ordeal. Spend a bit more – you will appreciate it.

A Tri Suit is another worthwhile investment

Sure, if you’re heading to an Ironman or half-Ironman event there will be a change tent where you can switch from your swim suit to biking shorts to running shorts … but if your first triathlon is shorter than that there won’t be a change tent in sight. Now, you could change in a port a potty, but, believe us, you don’t want to do that. You are much better off to get yourself a tri suit. It doesn’t have to be a one-piece one – in fact, when you’re starting out you’ll probably find a two-piece suit will be much more comfortable.

That borrowed bike that doesn’t fit? Maybe not.

While someone might have a speedy loaner that they can give you for your race, when it comes to a bike, fit is key. So, you’re best to be on a bike that fits you well, even if it isn’t necessarily as fast. Your first tri should be about the experience, anyway, so riding a bike you are comfortable on will make all the difference. Once you’ve finished that first one, then you can start dreaming about a speedy ride.

┬áBody lube is so worthwhile …

Enough said.

There’s a reason they call it a “Brick” workout

Even if you’ve done lots of biking and running, there is nothing quite like that feeling of coming off the bike and trying to run. There’s a reason that seasoned triathletes describe their bike to run workouts as “bricks” – that’s how your legs are going to feel.

In the end, you are going to love it!

Don’t let us scare you. Despite all the surprises and challenges, when you come down that finishing chute you’re going to be one very happy camper. You’ll be hooked and looking into your next race in no time, we promise.