Starting from Scratch: How to Prepare for a Triathlon With Absolutely No Experience

Do you feel like you’re just not seeing the results you want in the gym? 

Are you a committed couch potato who is ready to make a serious lifestyle change?

Maybe you’ve been hitting the gym for a while now, but feel like a triathlon is a great challenge and a good fit within your current workout regimen

Whatever the reason, you’re ready to run, bike, and swim your way to excellence. 

If you’re curious about how to prepare for a triathlon, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about training for your first triathlon. 

Join a Community to Keep You Motivated

When you first start training for a triathlon, we know that you can’t even imagine not being motivated to keep pushing yourself. 

You’re excited, you’ve signed up for your race, and you’ve downloaded tons of healthy recipes to fuel your training. 

But the truth is that even experienced triathlon participants deal with burnout and a lack of motivation. To keep yourself moving even on days when all you want to do is stay in bed, the first thing to do is to join an online or in-person community of fellow triathlon participants. 

You can share tips, follow schedules, and even encourage one another. Also, make sure you sign up and pay for an actual race. You might even want to raise money for a cause if you run. This will keep you motivated after you’re finished starting triathlon training. 

Get the Right Gear

Of course, what you do in the gym and in the kitchen is important. 

But if you want to learn how to prepare for a triathlon, you also need to make sure you have the right gear. Remember you don’t have to spend a ton of money on what you wear. It’s all about getting the right pieces and investing in the right material. 

First, get a tight swimsuit. A one-piece for women is better, as it comes with straps. When you train, wear two swimsuits, and take one off on race day to improve your speed. You’ll also need goggles and a swim cap.

Next, head to a local bike shop and talk to a professional about your best biking options. In most cases, we suggest bikes with slick tires as opposed to knobby ones, so you’ll be able to move faster. You’ll also need a helmet — always have it professionally fitted. 

Train in synthetic, moisture-wicking clothing to ward off sweat. Above all, invest in high-quality running shoes. 

Finally, get the best triathlon watch to help you to stay on pace!

Tips For The Gym

Depending on your current fitness level, you may want to think about working with a triathlon coach or a personal trainer to maximize your gym time

The last thing that you want to do is get an injury. Plus, if you don’t know the proper forms for exercises, you won’t see any results. A coach can also help you to adjust your diet, keep you accountable, and assist you with targeted moves. 

We suggest doing a combination of strength training (weight lifting) and cardio. You want to ensure that you have the proper muscle development to power through the race (especially when swimming.) 

Especially if you have a shorter amount of time to train than you’d like, embrace interval training. 

This means going as “hard” as you possibly can for a certain amount of time, going at an “average pace” for another amount of time, and then at a rest pace. 

In general, the 3-2-1 model is best. This means go at your maximum for three minutes, an average pace for two minutes, and a recovery pace for one minute. Then, repeat the process as you’re able. 

This post contains more great advice on nailing interval training. 

More Advice on Training for Your First Triathlon

Of course, there’s more to triathlon preparation than just the gym alone. 

You also need to think logistically. After all, this is your first race. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure and get discouraged. 

First, look for races that are near to where you are. You don’t want to worry about dealing with jet lag, dehydration from flying, or even swelling and other issues that can come from travel. 

Plus, we’re willing to bet you don’t want to make a huge financial commitment to a triathlon just yet. Going local will save you time and money. 

We also suggest that you look for shorter triathlons. Even consider enrolling in those that are specifically designed for beginners. We understand that you want to compete in Iron Man. 

But if you fail the first time or just find the experience to be miserable because you aimed too high? 

You’re never going to end up in the Iron Man race at all. 

How to Prepare for a Triathlon: Wrapping Up

We hope that this post has helped you to understand that training for your first triathlon doesn’t have to feel overwhelming and impossible. 

Of course, learning how to prepare for a triathlon is far from the only way you can work out. 

Maybe you’re looking to get into yoga to help you to ease pain and tension. Perhaps you want to give CrossFit a shot. Maybe you’re interested in improving your mental health, not just your physical health. 

No matter what you’re looking to gain — or lose — we can help you to achieve your goals quickly and safely. 

Keep checking in with us to get invaluable advice about working out, eating right, and ensuring you stay in the best possible shape.