Deciding to complete your first triathlon may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow the process and you’ll have a fantastic experience.
Purpose: Know exactly what your goal is
If you want to achieve your dream of completing your first triathlon, you need to set clear goals. What do you want to achieve? Complete an Olympic distance race? A half-ironman?
Be specific so that you know what direction you need to take.
Next, it’s important to acknowledge that your goal motivates you. Without having that intrinsic drive, preparing for a multi-sport event can feel like absolute torture.
Goals also need to be attainable.
If you haven’t exercised for the past decade, completing a half ironman in three months is probably unrealistic. Therefore, set time-bound goals that will help you achieve your ambitions.
For example, complete a sprint race in four months, an Olympic distance in eight months, and your first half ironman in one year.
These are achievable goals you can accomplish with the right attitude.
Planning: Determine how you’ll go about achieving it
Triathlon is a tricky sport as you have to train for three different sports on a regular basis. And to be honest, strength and core training should also be part of your training plan.
How do you fit this jigsaw puzzle into your busy day?
The number one advice for new triathletes is to get a coach or an online training plan. A coach has the added benefit of giving you personalised feedback, but is also more costly than purchasing a training plan.
Both options will provide you with the structure and the types of workouts you need to finish your first race.
TrainingPeaks is a great source to find training plans or coaches online.
Secondly, cycling is the longest segment of a triathlon. You will spend a significant time on your two-wheeler making a ‘bike-fit’ one of the best investments you can make.
Having your bike fitted to you personally will make training much more pleasant and will reduce the risk of injuries.
A bike shop that provides professional bike fits is BikeLife in District 7.
Running is the final part of a race. It is also the sport that has by far the most impact on your body.
To improve your long-term running health, a run gait analysis is highly advised before purchasing a fancy pair of shoes. During this procedure, you are able to learn more about the way you walk and run.
Some runners naturally pronate or supinate and may require support in the form of orthotics.
The American Chiropractic Clinic provides this running service.
Upon their feedback, you can also make an informed decision on what running shoes to buy. Not every pair of shoes offer the same type of support, and knowing your biomechanics can help you make the right choice.
Running shops like Salomon Vietnam have experienced staff to point you in the right direction when purchasing a new pair of shoes.
Perseverance: Don’t let anything get in the way of achieving it
Choosing to complete a triathlon is for many people a lifestyle choice. You want to get healthier, set new goals and so on.
But, choices will have to be made in your personal life.
Consequently, weekend benders are probably not a good idea during your training period. Does that mean you need to start living a life of military discipline? No, not really.
Involve your family and friends on this sports journey.
Plan your week so that you can train as is needed, but also get that quality time with others.
Sacrifices will have to be made, but achieving that goal at the end will taste bittersweet.
Words by Kristof Van Houdt
Kristof is based in Ho Chi Minh City and spends his free time as a multi-sports athlete. He enjoys sharing his passion for running, duathlon and triathlon with others and regularly participates in coaching sessions to prepare amateur athletes for sporting events. He has also acted as an assistant race director for the Techcombank HCMC International Marathon and Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
Get in contact with Kristof via firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos provided by Sunrise Events Vietnam