Last Sunday I completed my first ever Sprint Triathlon and I’m friken hooked!
In January, I was a little lost in my fitness journey; and I had been for about 2 years prior to that if I’m honest. Since competing in Bikini, I just fell out of love with working out, so I needed some kind of non-aesthetic goal to 1.Challenge me and push me to my limits & 2. Help me fall back in love with training again. So I hesitantly confessed to Mike (who had done an Olympic triathlon the year before) that I wanted to sign up to a Sprint Triathlon and asked if he would write my programs and help me through.
(I just want to highlight that prior to this; I had lost a lot of fitness, a lot of strength and a lot of weight. I’m unsure if people thought it was an easy challenge for me, but seriously I felt like I was starting from scratch.)
I LOVED the training. Every session was different. I mean, there were sessions where I would be almost vomiting, but I always felt like I’d achieved something. I could see my Fitness progressing by the session.
My training split to begin was:
3x strength and conditioning sessions
1x Bike session
1x Run Interval session
(I should have had a swim in there too but I put that off for a long time)
As the triathlon got closer, my strength days decreased, I finally got into the pool for interval sessions and I was attending spin sessions (sitting on a bike in a gym was just too boring).
Of course, being the last minute Larry that I am, I only got a road bike a few weeks before the Tri, and I only rode it once before the race because I was so scared to go out on it on my own. I did my first open water swim the week of the race too, which I actually surprised myself in (I really recommend you do this!).
Fast forward to RACE DAY!
After England had given me heat waves to train in, race day came and it was torrential rain. F**CKING FANTASTIC.
I’ll be honest. I spent the majority of the morning not speaking, or crying. I was SO nervous, especially for the bike part of the Triathlon. I kept picturing myself falling off the bike and coming across the finish line with blood all down my legs.
Unwillingly, I got ready, Registered, got my wetsuit; and after many pep talks from friends I pulled my shit together and got on with it.
Thankfully, it stopped raining by the time it was my wave; and the roads had started to dry up. PHEW!
I had a pretty strong swim. I kept at the back to begin I did breaststroke the whole way. I ended up passing the majority of people and was 7th out of the water. I completed it in 16 minutes!!
I found the bike the most challenging if I’m honest. I heavily regretted not going out on it more prior to the race. I didn’t understand what to do with my gears and I was TERRIBLE at turning corners. I went into two fences, and one of them resulted in a huge bruise up my leg and my chain came off. Luckily there were Markers close by who fixed my chain (I wouldn’t have had a clue). I completed the bike in 50 minutes.
After jumping off the bike in the transition zone, I literally couldn’t feel my legs. I could barely walk, let alone run! Thankfully, A lady watching shouted ‘Do a mini jog to drop your bike off’- that I did, and it massively helped.
Finally, the run. At this point, I was regretting not having an energy drink at hand, or an ‘easy to swig’ water bottle because I could feel my body flagging. However, I knew this was the final leg, and my running was my strongest of the three disciplines. My legs felt really heavy, so I kept my first lap at a nice and easy pace, and gradually picked it up towards the second. There were so many people cheering and screaming along the run, which gave me an extra boost! I managed to finish the run in 28 minutes!
After having a major wobble in the morning, I couldn’t believe I managed to finish the race in 1:42, AND my body felt fabulous after it.
All in all, I LOVED my first Triathlon. I felt a real sense of belonging, and although it’s called a ‘race’, I felt like the only person I was racing against was myself, and the rest of the competitors and I were all on the same team.
There were a few things I would have done differently. So if you’re considering doing your first Triathlon, bare these tips in mind:
- Get a bike and go out on it as much as you can prior to the race. Understand the gears for hills vs flat, and get confident with corners (some courses have sharp corners)
- Around 4 weeks before the event, incorporate 1-2 BRICK sessions into your training (bike to run sessions). You need to get your legs used to going from the bike for 50 minutes, to going into a run. It’s a bit more gruesome than you think.
- Have some kind of energy drink for during the bike. It’s the longest part of the Triathlon, and it can really take it out of you. You want to feel well prepared for the run.
- Don’t panic about doing front crawl for the swim. Most people will be doing front crawl, but if you’re stronger and more confident at another stroke, that’s fine & make sure you practice in open water a few times prior to the event.
- Take the pressure off yourself. You’re already a champion for entering a triathlon. Take your time, keep at your own pace, just don’t stop until you cross the finish line.
I will 100% be entering into another one next year- who’s with me? I hope this has inspired you to sign up for a triathlon, or if you’re already signed up, keep some of my tips in mind!