What Not to Say on Race Morning

Top 5 things NOT to say to your athlete on race morning:
  1. That water looks really cold. I bet you wish you had a wetsuit.

  2. Do carp have teeth?

  3. Wow, you're like the ONLY one here with a mountain bike.

  4. I've heard the hills are really bad and there's no shade at all.

  5. What are the distances again? That's it? Well, I can do thaaaat.

What else would you add?

My fellow trifuel.com members add their suggestions here.

flickr photo by Laeh

Your First Triathlon - The Run

Our youngest son will soon take his first steps. Once he learns how to walk, his feet will take him many places. When he's old enough, he may choose to line up with his older brothers and compete in his first youth triathlon.

Triathlon is a great sport for all ages! Our son finished his first youth triathlon when he was five. My friend Mary recently retired from her triathlon career at age 90 (she started in her seventies!)

If you can:

  • swim (15-20 minutes)
  • bike (60 minutes) and
  • walk (45 minutes), you can finish your first triathlon.

A sprint distance triathlon usually includes a .25-mile swim, 15-mile bike and 3.2-mile run. Depending on your goals, and your current fitness level, you can train for a sprint-distance race in 4-6 hours a week, for 6 weeks, as long as you train correctly. Since fitness is specific, you must swim, bike and run. And, you must add time, distance and intensity gradually to avoid injury.

Some things to know about the run segment of your first triathlon:

  1. Love your feet. Wear proper shoes. Running stores can help match you up with the best shoe for your foot. Don't race in brand-new shoes or clothing, try all gear and nutrition out first while training.

  2. Each step counts. Your pace is your business. Great news, each step gets you closer to that finish line! You will get there!

  3. Your legs will feel really heavy. After you get off the bike your legs may feel heavy or a little clumsy. Stay with it and just keep going, it'll get better. And, if you need to, take time to stretch out a little.
  4. Smile and encourage someone. Triathlon is known for its camaraderie. Help other first-time racers get to their first finish lines. Make it a memorable race!

Other pointers:

  • What if I get a cramp? Active Expert Gale Bernhardt discusses race-cramps and workout plans.
  • What if I get a side stitch? Click here for advice.
  • What are three common running mistakes? Check out this Runner's World advice.

Other beginning triathlon links:
Your First Triathlon
Your First Triathlon - The Swim
Your First Triathlon - The Bike
What the Finish Feels Like
Why Triathlon?
Triathlon is an Experience
What I Love about Triathlon
Active.com's Triathlon Community

Don't worry, don't fret, just get outside and give it a try. Take a walk, jog or run down the block. Surprise yourself! Remember my friend Mary, it's never too late to get started doing something new. Please tell me how those first steps go!

J-Lo Finishes Her First Triathlon

Jennifer Lopez crossed her first finish line as a triathlete on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Lopez finished in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds.

She says training for the event felt good, but that she's never done anything so taxing in her life. Lopez worked hard to balance time with her twins, work and family life, while still fitting in workouts. She trained with SELF magazine's editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger. Read about their experience on Lopez' blog at SELF's Living Well section.

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon benefits Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Lopez raised $127,000 for the charity. More news and photos here:

Your First Triathlon - The Bike

My first bike was yellow. It had a basket in front and I thought its banana seat was cool. (That's me in the picture to the right.)

Biking was fun. I rode my bike to school, to the park and to the pool in the summer. I forgot my bike lock combination a lot. I went over the handlebars a few times. Biking with no hands was too scary for me. But, overall, I liked riding my bike.

Biking as a kid made trying a triathlon as an adult seem doable. I'd been on a bike. I didn't have specific bike training, but I knew I could bike. And so can you!

If you can:
- swim (15-20 minutes)
- bike (60 minutes) and
- walk (45 minutes), you can finish your first triathlon.
A sprint distance triathlon usually includes a .25-mile swim, 15-mile bike and 3.2-mile run.

Some things to know about the bike segment of your first triathlon:
  1. Any bike works. You don't need something fancy to enter a triathlon. A basic bike is fine. Do take the time to tune-up your bike, pump the tires and lube the chain. Cleaning tips here from Terry Bicycles.
  2. Go your own speed. You may feel pressure to go faster on race day. Slow down. Your pace is the right pace.
  3. Be safe. Stay to the right of the road, allowing others to pass you on your left. Don't ride right up on someone's back tire either.
  4. Smile! Enjoy the ride. You are doing something for yourself, getting fit and hopefully having a great time. If you have the chance, encourage someone else as you pass them. Triathlon is known for its camaraderie.

Other resources include:

Your First Triathlon
Sprint triathlons: The possible dream
10 Tips for First-time Triathletes
Training Tips for Beginner Triathletes
10 Most Common Multisport Mistakes
Newbie Forum
Why Triathlon?

Get out on your bike for a ride, even a short one. Today is a great day to start!

(second picture: Me biking home from Paoli.)

What the Finish Feels Like

My Wonder of the World: The Feel of Crossing the Finish Line
Author Becky Ramsey's site Wonders Never Cease features a new wonder of the world each day. I am new to her blog and I adore it already.

The Feel of Crossing the Finish Line
Triathlon is for you. Yes you. Triathlon is a great sport for people of all ages and abilities.

Our son did his first youth triathlon at age 5. We didn't force him to do it. He did great—especially once my husband and I got out of his way! We were so proud of him. He was pretty nervous before the race, and he did it anyways.

Triathlon offers something for anyone, any age. Truitt’s race included a 50-yard swim (kickboards allowed), 1-mile bike and .4-mile run. We didn’t force him to do it, though we did encourage him to try it. Parents were allowed to help the youngest athletes in the transition area.

Truitt didn’t need much help. He found his bike in the rack, sprung up onto it and took off. He was going so fast when he passed me that I missed getting his picture. I think I got part of his wheel in the frame. His mile biking was so fast we were curious to see what would happen on his run segment. Truitt ran the whole time and finished the entire race in 19 minutes and 19 seconds.

The above picture is of him crossing his first finish line. What do you think he is feeling? What do you think the finish line feels like?

It's not too late to find out. On the other end of the age spectrum, our former next-door neighbor Mary Stroebe continues to make news, break records and serve as an amazing role model. Mary shows us it’s never too late to try something new.

Mary got started in triathlon at age 75. She’s completed over 12 races since. And, at age 89 Mary went head-to-head with TV host Kelly Ripa in a timed triathlon in New York City. She was also honored with a Relly Award from Regis and Kelly. Well done, Mary!

It’s so encouraging to see friends and family, young and old, falling in love with a sport like triathlon. Triathlon intrigues people—even adult on-set athletes. You don’t have to dig out your old swimsuit, pump up your bike tires or strap on your heartrate monitor to be captivated by triathlon as a sport. You can see yourself doing it.

I hope you'll find encouragement here to say yes to triathlon. Please tell me how your first race goes.

Some resources to get you started:
Things I Wish I Knew as New Triathlete
45+ Excuses Why Not and Why You Can
Your First Triathlon
What I Love About Triathlon
Why Triathlon?
Where Does Fear Come From?
10 Tips for First-time Triathletes
Training Tips for Beginner Triathletes
10 Most Common Multisport Mistakes
Newbie Forum

And visit me in active.com's triathlon community, I'm a volunteer moderator!