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2013-08-09 1:28 PM

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Subject: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Hello,

My name is Zach (15 years old) and I have signed up for my first triathlon in two weeks time. I am physically prepared for most of the triathlon. I am a club swimmer that swims everyday for two hours, averaging 3-4 miles a day. After those practices I run home, which is roughly eight miles. I bike and lift weights every other day to help achieve a better fitness as well. But I am still very new to this sport. I am quite lost at what I need for race day and how to perform correct transitions. The only gear that I have right now is a bike, goggles, shoes, shorts, shirt, sunglasses...... but I don't know what to wear for the swim and pretty much the everything. Another thing that I need help understanding is "spotting" during the swim. I just need some basic information on what I need to know to perform my best on race day I need all the help I can get, so that is why I came here.

-Thank you

Zach


2013-08-09 1:49 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
I don't see a helmet on the list. You cannot race with out a helmet.

I just did my first tri. Trying to figure out what to wear was so overwhelming. There is so much information, yet at the same time, there doesn't seem to be exactly the information that you are looking for. Then I figured it out. Simplify. Just find something you can do all three legs of the race in. It really doesn't matter what as long as you are comfortable in it. Practice exercising in it. I wore trishorts, and since I am a woman, a sports bra to swim in. I threw on a bike jersey in T1.

Keep your transition simple. Lay out exactly what you need and nothing else and lay it out in the order that you need. I was in and out of transitions very quickly (in the top 20%) even though I had never done a race before and I was given a bad bike position almost as far away from the entrance and exit as I could get because I kept everything simple.

As you get more practice, you can learn what you like and don't like, and make adjustments from there.
2013-08-09 1:50 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!

A helmet will be needed for the bike, I didn't see it listed in your current gear so I figured I would mention it to be safe.

A pair of tri-shorts is highly recommended as the are designed to be worn for all three stages.

2013-08-09 2:06 PM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by happyscientist

I don't see a helmet on the list. You cannot race with out a helmet.

I just did my first tri. Trying to figure out what to wear was so overwhelming. There is so much information, yet at the same time, there doesn't seem to be exactly the information that you are looking for. Then I figured it out. Simplify. Just find something you can do all three legs of the race in. It really doesn't matter what as long as you are comfortable in it. Practice exercising in it. I wore trishorts, and since I am a woman, a sports bra to swim in. I threw on a bike jersey in T1.

Keep your transition simple. Lay out exactly what you need and nothing else and lay it out in the order that you need. I was in and out of transitions very quickly (in the top 20%) even though I had never done a race before and I was given a bad bike position almost as far away from the entrance and exit as I could get because I kept everything simple.

As you get more practice, you can learn what you like and don't like, and make adjustments from there.


Oh I forgot to put that down, but I do have a helmet.

Congrats on your first Tri And you are right, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of things I can wear for the big day. So would it make sense to wear trishorts and tritop for the entire thing?

Would you recommend a towel for my transition area? And thank you very much !

2013-08-09 2:08 PM
in reply to: MOlsen

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by MOlsen

A helmet will be needed for the bike, I didn't see it listed in your current gear so I figured I would mention it to be safe.

A pair of tri-shorts is highly recommended as the are designed to be worn for all three stages.




Yes I do have a helmet. Alright, I will look into tri-shorts for sure. For my upper body should I switch between tri-top and something else. Or would it make sense to wear the tri-top the entire time as well?
2013-08-09 2:30 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!

Hi Zach and welcome to BT!

Congrats on signing up for your first triathlon, and good luck to you!  As far as race day and transitions... on top of what I write here, I would suggest you look at some youtube videos (just search "triathlon transition and you'll find a bunch) for how to set them up and how to make them most efficient during your race. 

One thing you didn't mention is what distance race are you doing?  I only ask as this may make a difference in what kind of nutrition you might want to have with you, and whether you may want to ensure you've got some sort of padded shorts for the bike.  If it's a sprint, you should be able to get away with minimal (water) for the entire race, but any longer and you might want to have a bottle of gatorade, or a power bar or something like that with you to have while you're biking.  Also, anything longer than a sprint and you'll most likely want to have something to wear with a padded seat.   

In general, keep it as simple as possible, it sounds like you've got the basics - but you might want to invest in an inexpensive tri-top & tri-shorts to wear for the entire race, as shirts are especially difficult to get into when you're wet from the swim. 

For spotting or sighting during the swim, again - take a look at some youtube videos, though for ME I like to take about 3-4 strokes before taking a peek at the end of a breath. 

Most importantly... go out and have fun - cross the finish line with a smile on your face. 



2013-08-09 2:31 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Yes, take a towel. Something everyone did that I do not understand is that they put their towel under everything. But the towel is the first thing I needed when I finished the swim. I draped the towel over the top tube of my bike so I could quickly grab it without upsetting my shoes.

Something that works really well on most bikes is to use the cables and handlebars to make a nest for your helmet. Helmet goes in the nest, glasses and gloves go in the helmet.
2013-08-09 2:36 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!

Welcome Zach,

You don't need a top if you don't want one.  If the event requires it then you can go with a separate top and swim in it, or get a trisuit instead. It is very difficult to put on a top when you are wet so safe yourself from being put on America funniest videos! FWIW, my kids swim coach doesn't bother with tri-shorts or suits.  He goes old school wearing only his speedo!

Keep the transition area simple and not cluttered.  There are many YouTube videos you can watch to get ideas on transition layout. I only use a small hand size towel in case I need it to wipe my face or clean off my feet, etc.  My T1 order of event after the swim is: Put on Sunglasses (note glasses were in the helmet), then helmet (buckled), then put on shoes and go.  My T2 is rack bike, put on running shoes, take off helmet and grab visor/hat/running belt (race number pre-attached) and go.  I put on the visor/hats and running belt as I'm running out of T2.  I leave my bike shoes mounted on the bike by taking my feet out of my shoes before I approach the bike dismount line and bare foot it into T2, simple time saver. If your not wearing bike shoes and riding with your running, dump the helmet then grab and go.

Best of luck and follow up to let us all know how it went.

2013-08-09 2:39 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

Hi Zach and welcome to BT!

Congrats on signing up for your first triathlon, and good luck to you!  As far as race day and transitions... on top of what I write here, I would suggest you look at some youtube videos (just search "triathlon transition and you'll find a bunch) for how to set them up and how to make them most efficient during your race. 

One thing you didn't mention is what distance race are you doing?  I only ask as this may make a difference in what kind of nutrition you might want to have with you, and whether you may want to ensure you've got some sort of padded shorts for the bike.  If it's a sprint, you should be able to get away with minimal (water) for the entire race, but any longer and you might want to have a bottle of gatorade, or a power bar or something like that with you to have while you're biking.  Also, anything longer than a sprint and you'll most likely want to have something to wear with a padded seat.   

In general, keep it as simple as possible, it sounds like you've got the basics - but you might want to invest in an inexpensive tri-top & tri-shorts to wear for the entire race, as shirts are especially difficult to get into when you're wet from the swim. 

For spotting or sighting during the swim, again - take a look at some youtube videos, though for ME I like to take about 3-4 strokes before taking a peek at the end of a breath. 

Most importantly... go out and have fun - cross the finish line with a smile on your face. 




Thank you
I have been looking up open water swimming and transitions for a couple minutes now. And to say the least, I am quite freaked out. I am very confident in my swimming abilities (a little too confident) but not in this type of scenario. I do not know how fast to go, where in the pack I should stay, if I should accelerate or not, and much more. I think my inexperience will show for this first triathlon for sure.

I am competing in a sprint triathlon (480m swim, 13.8 bike, and 3 mile run) so nothing too crazy. I just need to get my feet wet in the sport. And since I am only competing in that length for the end of this summer, I think I will invest in a tritop and bottom.

I will have fun! Thank you very much! I will post my results and how I felt after the race later on
2013-08-09 2:39 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

Hi Zach and welcome to BT!

Congrats on signing up for your first triathlon, and good luck to you!  As far as race day and transitions... on top of what I write here, I would suggest you look at some youtube videos (just search "triathlon transition and you'll find a bunch) for how to set them up and how to make them most efficient during your race. 

One thing you didn't mention is what distance race are you doing?  I only ask as this may make a difference in what kind of nutrition you might want to have with you, and whether you may want to ensure you've got some sort of padded shorts for the bike.  If it's a sprint, you should be able to get away with minimal (water) for the entire race, but any longer and you might want to have a bottle of gatorade, or a power bar or something like that with you to have while you're biking.  Also, anything longer than a sprint and you'll most likely want to have something to wear with a padded seat.   

In general, keep it as simple as possible, it sounds like you've got the basics - but you might want to invest in an inexpensive tri-top & tri-shorts to wear for the entire race, as shirts are especially difficult to get into when you're wet from the swim. 

For spotting or sighting during the swim, again - take a look at some youtube videos, though for ME I like to take about 3-4 strokes before taking a peek at the end of a breath. 

Most importantly... go out and have fun - cross the finish line with a smile on your face. 




Thank you
I have been looking up open water swimming and transitions for a couple minutes now. And to say the least, I am quite freaked out. I am very confident in my swimming abilities (a little too confident) but not in this type of scenario. I do not know how fast to go, where in the pack I should stay, if I should accelerate or not, and much more. I think my inexperience will show for this first triathlon for sure.

I am competing in a sprint triathlon (480m swim, 13.8 bike, and 3 mile run) so nothing too crazy. I just need to get my feet wet in the sport. And since I am only competing in that length for the end of this summer, I think I will invest in a tritop and bottom.

I will have fun! Thank you very much! I will post my results and how I felt after the race later on
2013-08-09 2:41 PM
in reply to: happyscientist

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by happyscientist

Yes, take a towel. Something everyone did that I do not understand is that they put their towel under everything. But the towel is the first thing I needed when I finished the swim. I draped the towel over the top tube of my bike so I could quickly grab it without upsetting my shoes.

Something that works really well on most bikes is to use the cables and handlebars to make a nest for your helmet. Helmet goes in the nest, glasses and gloves go in the helmet.


Thank you! I was thinking that it would come in handy for the transitions. And I have seen plenty of people put it under there stuff, but I never thought of it like that. I will take your advice and put it on top And thank you for the advice on the placement of my helmet!

Thank you!


2013-08-09 2:46 PM
in reply to: Donto

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by Donto

Welcome Zach,

You don't need a top if you don't want one.  If the event requires it then you can go with a separate top and swim in it, or get a trisuit instead. It is very difficult to put on a top when you are wet so safe yourself from being put on America funniest videos! FWIW, my kids swim coach doesn't bother with tri-shorts or suits.  He goes old school wearing only his speedo!

Keep the transition area simple and not cluttered.  There are many YouTube videos you can watch to get ideas on transition layout. I only use a small hand size towel in case I need it to wipe my face or clean off my feet, etc.  My T1 order of event after the swim is: Put on Sunglasses (note glasses were in the helmet), then helmet (buckled), then put on shoes and go.  My T2 is rack bike, put on running shoes, take off helmet and grab visor/hat/running belt (race number pre-attached) and go.  I put on the visor/hats and running belt as I'm running out of T2.  I leave my bike shoes mounted on the bike by taking my feet out of my shoes before I approach the bike dismount line and bare foot it into T2, simple time saver. If your not wearing bike shoes and riding with your running, dump the helmet then grab and go.

Best of luck and follow up to let us all know how it went.




Thank you!

I think I will use a tritop and bottom. Are there advantages for swimming in a trisuit? Can I wear it for the entire thing? I don't want to be on AFV.... so I guess I will avoid that. I also do not want to just wear my good old banana hammock (as my father describes them) for the swim. Thank you for the order of your transitions. I guess I am overthinking most of the components of this race.

Thank you! I will let you know how it went when the time comes!
2013-08-09 2:46 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

For spotting or sighting during the swim, again - take a look at some youtube videos, though for ME I like to take about 3-4 strokes before taking a peek at the end of a breath. 

Zach, per what BEBG said above on sighting.  My son (14 YO team swimmer) just did a team event where he swam the 1500m leg.  He found out quickly in the OWS practice we did a few days before how he couldn't trust his stroke compared to the pool.  He had a tendency to pull to his left and I showed him how to do the sighting.  He used 4-8 stroke sighting to keep his line under control.  Also check out the swim course before the race starts in WU and see if you can find natural landscaping/trees/building to pick out for sighting.  A tree or building that stands tall is so much easier to sight on than a buoy that sits on the water.  Even if the landmark is off to the right or left of the buoy you will know how you're holding the line.

2013-08-09 2:49 PM
in reply to: Donto

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by Donto

Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

For spotting or sighting during the swim, again - take a look at some youtube videos, though for ME I like to take about 3-4 strokes before taking a peek at the end of a breath. 

Zach, per what BEBG said above on sighting.  My son (14 YO team swimmer) just did a team event where he swam the 1500m leg.  He found out quickly in the OWS practice we did a few days before how he couldn't trust his stroke compared to the pool.  He had a tendency to pull to his left and I showed him how to do the sighting.  He used 4-8 stroke sighting to keep his line under control.  Also check out the swim course before the race starts in WU and see if you can find natural landscaping/trees/building to pick out for sighting.  A tree or building that stands tall is so much easier to sight on than a buoy that sits on the water.  Even if the landmark is off to the right or left of the buoy you will know how you're holding the line.




Alright, I get the chance to do some OWS with some other triathletes this upcoming Tuesday. And without the aid of the line on the bottom of the pool, I feel I will have the tendency to waver just like your son. I will take your advice and scout out the lake before hand. And do so for the rest of the course as well. Thank you sir!
2013-08-09 5:27 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by TheNewBlood


Thank you
I have been looking up open water swimming and transitions for a couple minutes now. And to say the least, I am quite freaked out. I am very confident in my swimming abilities (a little too confident) but not in this type of scenario. I do not know how fast to go, where in the pack I should stay, if I should accelerate or not, and much more. I think my inexperience will show for this first triathlon for sure.

I am competing in a sprint triathlon (480m swim, 13.8 bike, and 3 mile run) so nothing too crazy. I just need to get my feet wet in the sport. And since I am only competing in that length for the end of this summer, I think I will invest in a tritop and bottom.

I will have fun! Thank you very much! I will post my results and how I felt after the race later on


How fast? with a sprint? ALL OUT! :-) Pace yourself like you would a 500m pool race. You don't have to use your arms much after the swim, so you can beat them up a bit. With your swimming background you should have no problem being in front 1/3rd of the pack, if not front of pack.

One thing - you can sort of practice the mechanics of sighting in a pool - the getting your eyes out of water to be able to see.. of course nothing replaces doing it in open water, but at least you can figure out when in your stroke is best for you.


Remember, Have Fun.. you only get 1 first Tri.
2013-08-09 7:48 PM
in reply to: r3dey3

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
Originally posted by r3dey3

Originally posted by TheNewBlood


Thank you
I have been looking up open water swimming and transitions for a couple minutes now. And to say the least, I am quite freaked out. I am very confident in my swimming abilities (a little too confident) but not in this type of scenario. I do not know how fast to go, where in the pack I should stay, if I should accelerate or not, and much more. I think my inexperience will show for this first triathlon for sure.

I am competing in a sprint triathlon (480m swim, 13.8 bike, and 3 mile run) so nothing too crazy. I just need to get my feet wet in the sport. And since I am only competing in that length for the end of this summer, I think I will invest in a tritop and bottom.

I will have fun! Thank you very much! I will post my results and how I felt after the race later on


How fast? with a sprint? ALL OUT! :-) Pace yourself like you would a 500m pool race. You don't have to use your arms much after the swim, so you can beat them up a bit. With your swimming background you should have no problem being in front 1/3rd of the pack, if not front of pack.

One thing - you can sort of practice the mechanics of sighting in a pool - the getting your eyes out of water to be able to see.. of course nothing replaces doing it in open water, but at least you can figure out when in your stroke is best for you.


Remember, Have Fun.. you only get 1 first Tri.


I am going to give you a different poit of view from an ex-swimmer. I would swim it at your regular interval pace to a little bit faster. If you exhaust your self on the swim you any gain you have will quickly be lost in the other events. When I slowed down my swim a bit my overall times increased a lot.

For yor sighting start out doing it every few breaths. If every time you look up you're still on course then look less. If you notice you are getting off course check more.

Most of all, have fun!


2013-08-09 8:55 PM
in reply to: TheNewBlood


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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
For the two sprint distances I've done so far this year, keeping it simple was the key for me to not screw anything up (being a newb like you). One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is what you intend to do with your race number. You usually put it on for the run, but sometimes for the bike as well. Other times, races will have separate numbers to attach to your bike.

You will need a tri belt to attach the number to, that you then strap on in T2. The alternative would be a running shirt you slip on with the number already attached.

Like I said before, keeping it simple will go a long way. For a sprint you don't need comfort or nutrition/hydration other than what you consume on the bike. If you bike with gloves, i would consider not using them on race day.

I would recommend doing the whole race in jammers since you may already have them, or tri short if you have the $$ to buy them. You can run or bike in either. Running from the water to T1, remove cap and googles and drop them in your transition area. Put shades on then helmet (that way at T2 you take helmet off and shades remain). Then put on socks and running shoes assuming your bike has standard pedals you can use running shoes with. Prior to race day, put socks on then roll them off that way you can "roll" them on your wet feet. Grab bike, GO. I've been going shirtless because I don't have a tri top and you can't waste time putting shirts on.

Coming into the T2, this is the easy one, re-rack bike and lose helmet. Consider putting on a hat or visor. Don't forget your tri belt with the number attached, put it on as you jog out of transition. Don't bother drinking water or eating in transition for this distance of a race. Consume water on the bike and maybe some during the run at the aid stations. Don't overdo it, a sloshing stomach will cause nausea.

Good luck dude, have a nice race.
2013-08-09 9:01 PM
in reply to: Moonrocket

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Subject: RE: Upcoming First Triathlon! Help!
I practiced sighting by swimming in the pool with no goggles.. lol. Close your eyes and open them every few breaths above water to see your line.
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