Racing Your First Sprint Triathlon
If you are a new triathlete, racing your first triathlon is not an easy task. You will be competing in three different sports in a row and must have the endurance it takes to complete the event (which will most likely last well over an hour of competition).
The first leg of a triathlon is the swim which is usually one quarter to one half of a mile in open water. With many triathletes in the water at the same time, it is a full contact activity so be prepared to get touched and possibly roughed up. The most important lesson for your first sprint triathlon is to stay calm during the swim and pay attention to your own personal racing strategy.
The bike leg will be less stressful and if you are considerably fatigued then you can rest by coasting a little during this leg. However, keep in mind that studies have shown that your overall triathlon time will be fastest when you give the bike leg 100% effort instead of saving energy for the run leg of the race. One strategy is to use the first mile of the bike leg to catch your breath and mentally refocus on your race plan. Then you can kick up your effort level and switch to a larger gear.
When you transition to the run, your legs will feel very strange! If you have practiced brick workouts during your training then you will be familiar with the feeling. Try to maintain a strong pace for the first mile and once your legs feel somewhat normal, you can focus on kicking in to the finish line. Your body is able to handle much more stress than you give it credit for, so do not be afraid to hammer the pace when you are a mile away from the finish line. You can do it!
With these tactics, you will be able to stay calm, focused, and competitive during your first sprint triathlon race. With several sprint triathlon races under your belt and a strong training program, you will soon be placing within your age group!
I am a triathlete, coach, and runner who enjoys designing a sprint triathlon training program for individuals. Race fast!
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