Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Prepping for My First Triathlon

It's race week! Saturday is my first ever triathlon. I'm not sure I truly feel ready, but also have a little more prep work planned to do this week. The forecasted high for Saturday is currently 93 - I should be finished by about 11:30 am, so fingers crossed it will just be merely in the 80s while I'm still out there.

I did a brick workout last weekend, and as part of that I did a mock transition set up. I started in tri shorts and a sports bra (what I'll be wearing under a wetsuit for the swim portion of the race), and had everything else I needed for the bike and run set up just like it will be. Came in from the bike and quickly switched out my helmet for a visor, and immediately headed back out for the run.


For the bike

  • Glasses and gloves in my helmet, hanging from the handlebars. 
  • Waterbottle on the bike.
  • Fuel (Shotbloks or gummy candies) in jersey pocket.
  • Jersey, unzipped and ready to pull on.
  • Shoes (same shoes for bike and run - not ready for clipping in yet!), with small towel for wiping off my feet. (No socks - minimalist running shoes are designed without significant seams or other chafing-prone areas, so I rarely wear socks.)

T1 goal: 4 minutes. Will start peeling off wetsuit while running out of the water. Wipe off feet, put on running shoes (I'll hopefully make it to a store this week to buy elastic laces, so I don't have to take as much time to tie my shoes). Put on jersey, glasses, gloves, helmet.

For the run:
  • Handheld water bottle, with fuel in the pocket.
  • SPI belt, which will have my race bib attached via rubberbands.
  • Visor

T2 goal: 2 minutes. Just take off gloves, switch out helmet for visor. Put on race belt/bib and grab handheld water (maybe - since run is only a 5k, I think it'll depend on how unfueled and/or dehydrated I feel coming off the bike).

Not part of the transition area, since it will all be on before the race begins, but for the swim:
  • Wearing tri shorts and sports bra under a wetsuit.
  • Bodyglide around the legs, arms, and neck of wetsuit.
  • Goggles.
  • Swim cap provided by race.
Leg-specific prep

Swim (0.5k): Last night during my swim workout I practiced sighting (looking up efficiently to see buoys and make sure you're on course, when you're not in a pool where you can see the bottom); it still feels a bit odd, but much better than last time I attempted it. I'm also going to go to an open water swim on Thursday, put on by the store where I'm renting my wetsuit. Fortunately the wetsuit rentals are Thursday through Tuesday, so I'll get my first chance to feel what it's like to swim in the wetsuit before the race!

Goal: 12 minutes - 2:24/100m pace. This is a totally feasible pace based on what I can do in the pool, but I'm uncertain how it will translate to (1) open water (will likely slow me down) and (2) wearing a wetsuit (should speed me up).

Bike (25k/15.5 miles)I've only biked once since my fall a couple weeks ago, and I still feel a bit unsafe. It's going to take a lot of riding before I truly feel comfortable in this sport. I'm definitely not going to do any eating or drinking while moving! But to maintain energy for the run, I'm planning on stopping every 5 miles to eat a gummy candy or shotblok and take a drink of water. 

Goal1 hour 2 minutes - 15 mph. This is a smidge faster than I've done my past couple long bike rides, which have been closer to 14.5, but included slowing down for stoplights and maneuvering around traffic. On a closed race course, plus adrenaline, I should be able to step that up a bit.

Run (5k/3.1 miles): I'll have a better idea of what pace is reasonable after I do speedwork tonight, but I know, since this is after a swim and bike, I won't be as fast as my standalone 5k PR. I'm getting a bit nervous because I've slowed down my running the past couple weeks due to tapering for Hood to Coast, and then starting aerobic base training. But, this is the leg I know the best, of course, so I just have to survive the other legs, and once I start the run I know I can finish!

Goal: 37 minutes - sub-12:00 pace.

Total goal: Under 2 hours. If everything goes perfectly, I think 1:45 might be in reach, but pretty sure that a lot would have to go wrong to go over 2 hours.

Any experience triathletes reading - what is your best tip you have for someone's first triathlon?


  1. Wow, you have everything planned out really well! I wish I had words of advice, but I have no idea what a tri is like!

    Do you read Kristen's blog at Glitter and Dust? She details out her training and races really well and is a great writer:

    1. I haven't heard of Glitter and Dust before, will have to check it out. Thanks!

  2. Good luck! I haven't done a tri but it sounds like you are ready! :)


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