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#1 Go short before long…FIND A RACE 

Entering your first triathlon can be stressful.  How do I train? What equipment do I need? How do I do transitions?  There is a ton of insight out there but the most important of all is 1) watch one and 2) Just TRY! 

#2 Get the equipment basics: You don’t need all the equipment and gear you think you need. Even a borrowed bike with do.  Break it down into three discipline and the basics of what you will need: 

RACE itself: 

  • outfit - to swim/bike/run in

  • race belt for your bib number

  • nutrition - gels, sports drink, fuel for the race. 


  • goggles, wetsuit (if needed), chafe cream


  • helmet

  • bike

  • optional bike shoes


  • run shoes

  • race belt

OPTIONAL needs: 

  • sunglasses

#3 Join a group, community, team and/or get support  There’s nothing better than a group of individuals focused on the same goal and having fun.  Triathlon groups typically can be found in almost every city/town these days.  Getting yourself into a group will help you navigate thru the steps to start being a triathlete. Let me suggest and to get started!

#4 Start Training- To start, try to run, bike or swim twice per week. See how that goes, and go from there. Most entering their first triathlon, do not come for a swim background.  The best place to start is getting comfortable at your local pool and finding some help with your technique. Masters swim programs are some of the best ways to get some ‘on hands’ coaching and support with your swim technique. Check out your local pools for these groups.  For the bike, you can even jump on a stationary indoor bike and build yourself up in duration of these workouts.  Running can be a walk.jog that you slowly build up into longer distances of running.  Working with you local groups and community is the best way to find support along the way.   If you feel  you need a little more prep (especially as you go longer in distance of racing), a triathlon coach would be helpful to steer you in the right direction of training.

#5 Lock in your Nutrition- Racing and training require fuel to keep you going. I try to keep it simples with gels and sports drink. I take 1 gel every 30-45 minutes of riding/running and drink a full bottle of sports drink every hour.  It’s always a good idea to practice with your nutrition before race day. Whenever you work out for longer than 45 minutes, practice your nutrition plan during your workout, as well as before and after. You will want to experiment what works best for you and PRACTICE, practice, practice…

#6 Putting it together! - My motto is to keep things simple. And this includes racing and the preparation leading into the race. Use a packing list prior to heading to the race - this will help you remember everything from your bike helmet to your gels.  Go into the race with the mindset of keeping things simple - including your transition areas. When you’re racing try to find that feeling of being on edge and start easier you think you should go.  

  1. T1: Swim to Bike: Wetsuit off, helmet and glasses on, bike shoes on. 

T2: Bike to Run”: Bike racked, helmet off, Race belt on, running shoes on, RUN! 

#7 ENJOY IT! This should actually be the first on this list.  The most important thing you can do is enjoy the journey, and the process of bringing  triathlon in your life. It’s an amazing community, and sport.  After your first race, I promise you’ll be hooked and singing up for your next one by day’s end! 

Angela Naeth, Professional Triathlete

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