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Your first triathlon - Myth and jargon busting!

As the triathlon season approaches, you might be thinking about entering a race, perhaps dipping your toe into the water for the first time.

There seems to be a lot to think about, a lot to consider… a lot to spend!

But which bits do you need to worry about and what is the best approach to a successful and most importantly, enjoyable first triathlon?

Let’s start with the myths.

You need to be able to swim front crawl. Not at all! Nowhere in the rule book does it say this. You will see plenty of other participants doing breaststroke. Granted, front crawl is undoubtably the more efficient and faster stroke, but swimming breaststroke will get you through the first leg of this race no bother at all!

You need a fancy road bike. Nope. Yes, you need a road worthy bike, but bikes come in many forms and rushing out to buy an all singing – all dancing carbon beauty is really not necessary at this stage. What kit will you actually need? Find out by watching our video here -

Triathlons are really, really hard. Triathlons come in varying lengths and a good place to start as a beginner is with one of the shortest, so either a sprint or even a super sprint. If you are already fairly fit, you might consider the classic Olympic Distance race. You can buy our easy to follow training plan here

Beyond this, you can build up to events that will take you the best part of a day to complete!! Like all sporting events, if you haven’t trained, it is going to feel way more difficult, so by getting yourself prepared in the months and weeks leading up to your race, you will make the day ‘easier’.

Everyone else there will be an uber fit athlete. Not true. Many of the participants will be in the same position as you, just starting out on their multi-sport journey. Triathlon is an incredibly friendly and inclusive sport and with the popularity of Go-Tri, more and more people are discovering and loving the sport.

Transitions require a specialist degree to understand. Transitions can appear on the face of it, as a very complicated part of the sport. The moving from swim to bike and then bike to run really doesn’t need to be so difficult though and with a bit of practice, you will fly through this ‘fourth discipline’ on race day.

Now onto some jargon busting. Understanding some of the words and phrases you may come across will stand you in good stead for your maiden voyage into triathlon!

Brick workout – 2 of the triathlon disciplines carried out back to back in training. So a swim followed quickly by a bike or ‘running off the bike’ meaning going straight out for a run when you finish your ride.

Drafting – Riding close behind another cyclist to shelter from the wind and make it easier. Note – this is not permitted in many triathlon races except for specific ‘draft legal races’

T1 and T2 – The name given to the two transitions during a triathlon race where you move from one type of sport to another.

Jelly legs – The strange feeling when moving from pedalling to running!

Hopefully this information has put you at ease and got you excited about the prospect of your first triathlon! Don’t forget to watch the video to see exactly what kit Pretty Gritty think you truly need in order to take part in your first event (and it really isn’t a lot!) plus our 3 'game changer' cheap and cheerful purchases we recommend. Good luck!

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