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First time triathlon success tips

Thinking about signing up for your first triathlon? For many, the idea of training for a swim, bike and run may seem exciting but also a little overwhelming.  Kevin Casey, OrthoCarolina Physician Assistant and member of the EPT triathlon team, shares some tips to get you from the start line to the finish line as smoothly as possible.  

  • Establish a training plan early. The site beginnertriathlon.com has a variety of plans along with information about basic training principles and transitions for first time triathletes. The YMCA also offers training programs for sprint, Olympic and half Ironman distance triathlons.
  • Consider different types of races before signing up. Sprint triathlons are great for beginners as they offer the chance to swim, bike and practice transitions but with shorter distances.
  • If the swim makes you nervous, a duathlon (run-bike-run) is a great option.  Investing in a swim coach or class can also help you to learn proper stroke techniques and build confidence in the water. Many races also have pool swims which offer a more controlled environment for first time competitors.
  • Don’t invest in a lot of expensive equipment to start. Use whatever bike you have and dig out some goggles. If you’re going to spend money, invest in properly fitted footwear. A set of fins or pull buoy can also help you swim longer and switch your workout up a bit. Many pools have these available for free.
  • Focus on your weaknesses and maintain your strengths. If you’re already a runner, then spend more time biking and swimming. It’s hard to focus on running, swimming and biking at the same time with the same intensity. Your plan will help you balance the different disciplines.
  • Just have fun. My first triathlon was certainly not my best race, but the environment was extremely exciting and got me hooked on the sport. It’s a great new way to challenge yourself.

Kevin Casey, PA-C, is a Physician Assistant with OrthoCarolina. 

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