How to get into Tri Racing

General Moore finishes 56-mile biking leg of IRONMAN

Whether you’ve been inspired by those “26.2” bumper stickers or want the bragging rights for completing an Iron Man competition, Triathlons are a great way to challenge yourself, accomplish something huge, and keep fit.

Don’t let the distances and training deter you. People of many age groups and fitness levels have competed in triathlons and we’re here to say, “You can do it too!”.

We do have some triathlete wisdom to impart upon you before you begin your great journey. Above all else, have fun!


    • Discover your local triathlon scene

      Odds are, triathlon training happens near where you live – and the internet is your friend! For our area of the Triangle, we use the Triangle Triathlon Club to find group rides, coordinate training days, discover training coaches, and more. The triathlon community is very welcoming and supportive of new members. Putting yourself out there to gain knowledge and training is the easy part.

    • Decide what type of triathlon you want to do

      There are 5 common types of triathlons, based on the distances you have to complete.

      Name Swim Bike Run
      Sprint 0.46 miles (750m) 12.4 miles (20km) 3.1 miles (5 km)
      Olympic/Int. 0.93 miles (1500m) 24.8 miles (40km) 6.2 miles (10km)
      ITU Long 2.48 miles (4km) 74.5 miles (120km) 18.6 miles (30km)
      70.3 1.2 miles (1.9km) 56 miles (90km) 13.1 miles (21.1km)
      Iron Man 2.4 miles (3.86km) 112 miles (180.25km) 26.22 miles (42.2km)

      Other types and their distances

    • Set goals and keep up with them

      Training and doing triathlons is a learning journey. Your initial goals will most likely change as you discover new techniques and abilities. The most popular way to train for a triathlon is to focus on running for 2 days, then focus on swimming for 2 days, then focus on cycling for 2 days, and finally to rest on the last day. Pace yourself, listen to your body, and have fun!


  • Seek out a training coach

    When you start out cycling, it’s great to find a mentor – someone who is seasoned in cycling to show you the ropes, or wheels. For triathlons, those mentors are often replaced by training coaches. You don’t need a coach to participate in a triathlon, but working with one will help grow your knowledge and abilities for completing a triathlon quicker. Here’s a great tool to help you find a coach.


    • Do trial and error with your hydration and nutrition

      It doesn’t take long to realize that you’ll need to keep up with your liquid and calorie intake while training. This is a great opportunity to become familiar with things such as how many water bottles you go through in XX miles, how to eat a meal replacement bar while riding, at what distance do you run out of energy, and how many grams of protein and calories do you need to finish your regular routine.

    • Watch and read about triathlons

      Immerse yourself in the details, grandeur, and thrill of triathlons by making it what you read about before falling asleep, what you watch videos of during your lunch hour, and what updates you see when you check your email.


    • Strengthen these helpful bike handling skills

      1. Smooth, efficient shifting
      2. Riding steady with a constant power out put
      3. Mount and dismount your bike quickly
      4. Being able to run while holding the bike by the saddle


    • Don’t fear the open water

      For most new triathletes, the swimming portion is the most challenging. A few things to keep in mind is that the open water does have lifeguards, the lifeguards have paddle boards, and that you can grab on to anything without a motor to take a break (such as the paddle boards). If you’re still concerned about the swimming portion, consider joining a local Masters Team to help strengthen your skills.


    • You don’t need fancy equipment

      It’s easy to get roped in to expanding your gear collection when you decide to take on training for a triathlon, but try to resist it. To train for a triathlon, you simply need something you can swim in, something you can ride in, and something you can run in. We do suggest investing in a Tri Kit to use for the big day. It’s so much easier to wear 1 suit that is versatile enough to swim, ride, and run in. Other basic gear you’ll probably need are goggles, a helmet, running shoes, and a bike. Any type of bike will do. You might be surprised by how many people don’t ride triathlon bikes at a triathlon.

Alaska Ironkids Cebu 2016

Hopefully this information has helped prepare you for the road ahead. Are you ready to start your journey for completing a triathlon?



A few links we found helpful

One thought on “How to get into Tri Racing

  1. Humm.. the “26.2” stickers are the Marathon folks. Didn’t you mean “70.3” or “140.6” (1/2 and Ironman distances?

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