Doing your first triathlon?

April 20, 2016

Firstly - congratulations, whether you have entered a race or are just thinking about it and have come here to decide, you’re off to a good start! The hardest part is deciding to enter and then preparing, the race day is the fun bit. 

The triathlon community is a friendly one, and any novices will be welcomed with open arms. Read our top THREO tips and when you look back in a year wondering what all the fuss was about you can impart all this advice on someone you have talked/coerced into doing a race, because by then you will be hooked. 

What race should I do?

Your first triathlon doesn’t need to be a full length ironman. It needn’t even involve an outdoor swim, in fact your first race might not even be a triathlon - it could just be your first ever competitive 5k run. There are plenty of races out there for novices, and you could start with:

  • GoTri events
  • super sprint events
  • events involving a swim that is in an indoor pool

You could even try a duathlon first if you want to get the hang of transition and moving from a bike onto a run without adding a wetsuit into the mix. 

If you are new to swimming you could also start with entering an outdoor swim to help build confidence, as its often the swim leg that is the most daunting. The Outdoor Swimming Society hosts events and lists outdoor swim races on their website.

Have a look here for lots of details of events near you.

What equipment do I need?

All you really need to begin training for your first triathlon is:

  • a swimsuit;
  • a pair of trainers;
  • a bike;
  • a helmet;
  • and some comfortable sportswear. 

All events will have people competing on mountain bikes, or bikes with baskets on, so don’t worry if you don’t have an aero helmet or a really expensive road bike (you just need wheels that go round and working brakes). If you're put off by all the lycra, give it a second chance and take a look at our trisuit which is specifically designed to fit and flatter a female build and has well designed features like perfectly placed pockets for nutrition and comfortable thigh grippers.

Sure, invest a bit more on a bike when you enter your second, third and fiftieth races (trust me, you will), but for your first race focus on the training and the challenge, the rest can come. A wetsuit or a bike can be hired for race day. The other things you need is a good training schedule, a healthy dose of commitment and an ability to look on the bright side. All these bad boys are free. Have a look here for some free schedules and speak to as many people as possible about what works for them.

Other helpful tips

  • tell everyone you know you signed up - you can’t back out when everyone will be asking how the race went, a brutal but brilliant way of making you train
  • join a club - this is an incredible resource for friendly knowledgeable people, training tips and coffee partners. Check out British Triathlon for a list of registered clubs
  • cross train - introducing some yoga or pilates will improve your core and overall fitness which will help you stay injury free as you increase your training load
  • read magazines or articles online, there are lots of great websites with training information and tips, Total Women's Cycling, Runner's World and 220Triathlon are just a few examples
  • make friends with the people at local bike store, they are often an invaluable source of helpful information and employ passionate people

Do get in touch and let us know how you get on and be a part of the THREO community - tag us with #wearethreo or drop us an email on We love to hear your racing and training stories. 

 triathlon, outdoor swim, racing, beginner

Our very own Threo team member Rhian doing a sea swim race in started with a sprint tri at Dorney Lake and now involves ridiculous swimming, cycling or running races across the country - give it a shot and see where it takes you!

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