Beginners guide to training for your first triathlon
18th March 2016
To beginners and newcomers, triathlon can seem like an impossible challenge, but there are a few steps you can take to make the whole experience – from training to race day – more enjoyable.
The experts at Wattbike have written a simple six step beginners guide to help you get to your first triathlon ready and raring to go.
Step 1: Set your goals and identify your challenges
As soon as you sign up for your event, take the opportunity to set yourself some goals. When you’re a first timer, it’s wise to set achievable goals such as ‘I will complete the course in under 2 hours’ rather than putting a focus on rankings and results.
It’s also useful at this early stage to look at any specific areas of the course which might be challenging. For example, is there an incline on the bike leg or any rough terrain during the run? Once you’re clear on the challenges you face, it’ll be easier to implement training sessions which help you tackle them.
Step 2: Assess your current fitness levels
Before you start any training it’s useful to assess your current position. This will give you some baseline figures on which to improve and helps personalise and structure your training.
One of the best ways to assess performance is through testing on a Wattbike, as you’ll be able to see your key metrics during and after your test. Simply find a Wattbike in a gym or studio, then complete a test – we recommend the submaximal ramp test for beginners.
You’ll receive lots of data from the monitor, but you can use this helpful guide to decipher your data and turn it into something useful.
Step 3: Identify any areas of weakness
Once you know your current performance you can identify any gaps between where you are now and where you want to be.
Using speed as an example, you may have found that your current average bike speed is 15mph. To help you complete your course within your goal time, perhaps you’d need to increase your speed to 17mph. This 2mph difference is specific and measureable. This is fundamental to the next step, implementing specific training sessions and plans.
Step 4: Find a training plan
After identifying your challenges and assessing your performance, you’ll need to start weaving structured training sessions into your week. One of the best ways of doing this is by following a structured training plan, such as the Triathlon Training Plan, written by Lucy Gossage.
Once you’ve completed a block of training, you can measure your metrics again to check how you’re improving.
Step 5: Keep it balanced
When you have three sports to train for, it’s easy to skew your training to focus on a discipline which you’re not as confident in. However, to successfully complete the course, you need to keep a balance between all three disciplines.
Top tip: If you’re finding it difficult to juggle training for three disciplines, consider training on an indoor bike. Training indoors is time efficient as it removes external factors like traffic lights, traffic and weather, meaning you’ll get an intense, effective session every time. Plus, you’ll save time in getting kitted out and cleaning your bike afterwards.
Step 6: Don’t overdo it
If you follow a structured training plan, you’ll usually find at least two rest days each week. It’s important to incorporate these rest days into your week as it will ensure your body has time to rest and recover, meaning you’ll be refreshed and ready to take on your next session.
Whilst this guide is designed to give you a helping hand in structuring your training, the most important thing to remember is to have fun. Your first triathlon will be tough in parts, but once you’ve completed it, you’ll experience an immense sense of achievement!
To find out more about Wattbike and how it can help improve your performance, visit Wattbike.