Triathlon season is upon us! If you’re about to tackle this athletic trifecta for the first time, then check out these five things which often surprise newbie triathletes like yourself.
5 Things to Expect During Your First Triathlon
1. If you’re gonna carb load, expect to do it over a few days—not just in one huge meal the night before.
If this is a sprint tri, you may not even need to worry about carb loading (the process gradually building up stores of muscle glycogen so your body has more fuel for prolonged exercise). That said, it’s been suggested that proper carb loading can actually help shave minutes off long endurance races (huge for serious competitors of Ironman and the like), so if this is a longer tri or if you’re adequately trained, feel free to experiment with the practice.
Pro Tip: Consume about 4-5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight over the three to four days leading up to your race (yes, even though you’re training will be tapering down—the decreased caloric expenditure will act like a double whammy for muscle glycogen repletion). If you’re already a large athlete, have a chronic health condition like diabetes, or have any specific concerns, feel free to chat with a sports nutritionist or your doctor first.
2. You’re gonna be super wired on race day—so unless you pack your gear the night before, you might forget something.
Nothing’s more gutting than getting to the course on race day only to realize you forgot your X, Y, or Z. So, the night before the event, pack up and organize all the gear you’ll need for your race, ideally in a way that makes sense to you as far as the order of your race events go.
3. The crowded lake or ocean is gonna be a little overwhelming at first.
Being around that many people, especially in a natural body of water, can be intimidating. Feel free to keep yourself away from the thick of the group to minimize a bit of that anxiety. And if someone accidentally kicks you, focus on your breathing and, as Dory would say, “Just keep swimming.”
4. Your transitions may not go as perfectly as planned—that’s okay.
Don’t stress if you spend a few extra seconds struggling with your helmet or getting your foot out of the pedal, even if it’s gone perfectly in practice sessions. Just breathe through it, relax, and focus on what you’re doing.
5. It’s gonna be over before you know it—enjoy the moment!
It’s so gratifying to cross the finish line. Think of what you’ve just accomplished! Before you even get there, remember to look around, smile, and embrace the joy of challenge.
Be sure to share this article with any friends or family members who may be preparing for their inaugural run, bike, swim!