Kelly the Culinarian: 16 Secrets for Your First Sprint Triathlon

Friday, June 6, 2014

16 Secrets for Your First Sprint Triathlon

My favorite tri suit
This weekend marks my first triathlon of this season. The Esprit de She triathlon in Naperville is a very approachable first race and will welcome enough newbies that first-timers get their own start wave. In thinking back to my first triathlon, there are so many things I wish I had known. I've also fielded a ton of questions via e-mail, Facebook and text. I pulled together my most helpful secrets and solutions that I've given this week.

1. Try a tri suit. It's easier to take one minute off of your transition time than it is your 5K time. A triathlon suit saves time in transition and is specifically designed to be worn throughout your day (Read more about saving on triathlon gear). 

2. Be strategic with racking your bike. If you get a choice, set up your transition near the "bike out" exit so you don't have to push your bike that far. Also, rack your bike in a low gear so you can ease into cycling.

My transition for Racine 70.3 Racine
3. Set it and leave it. Once you've unpacked and set up your transition area, stop fussing and put your bag away somewhere else to save space and keep away clutter. 

4. Spit in your goggles. This is how to prevent fogging.
Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah

5. Pam yourself. If you're wearing a wetsuit, get a bottle of spray oil from the kitchen and grease up your arms and legs so you can get in and out easier.

6. Protect your neck. If you're wearing a wetsuit, use an anti-chafe stick on your neck or you will get a hickey. It's not cute. 

7. Follow the bubbles. Drafting on the swim is legal. Get in someone's slip stream and you'll save yourself about 20 percent of the effort. Plus, if you follow the bubbles, you don't have to sight as much in open water.

8. Stand up. When you start to scrape the sand on the swim, stand up and walk the rest of the way in.

9. Strip it. If you're wearing a wetsuit, stand up and put your goggles on your head as you walk. Unzip your wetsuit and get your arms out as you walk to transition, then wiggle the rest of the way out when you get to your spot.  

10. Bright n' bold. Use a bright towel for transition to make it easier to find. 

11. Mark your spot. If transition is on pavement, use chalk to find your spot easier. If it's on grass, get a giant helium balloon and tie it to your spot.

12. Head to toe. Put your bike stuff at the front of your towel and the run stuff at the back. Work head to toe to ensure you don't forget anything.  
Race belt FTW

13. Race belt. Can't stress this enough - a race belt is a no brainer for saving time in T2. 

14. Mount and dismount. There is a line outside of transition where you can get on your bike, as well as a line that you have to get off your bike before you re-rack it. Obey this or you might be disqualified.

15. Stay out of the yellow. Triathlons are sometimes on open or semi-closed roads. Oncoming cars might never see you on your bike, which is why crossing the yellow line might be the last bad decision you ever make. It will also get you tossed out of the event without question.

16. Pass quickly. Drafting on the bike is illegal. You have to stay two bike lengths away. If you decide to pass, announce "passing." The person you're passing is obligated to drop back, and you have 20 seconds to make the pass before it's considered drafting.


Katie @ Live Half Full said...

Great tips! Have fun this weekend!!!

Anonymous said...

Do I lube up before putting on the wetsuit? And where? Ankles? Wrists?

KellytheCulinarian said...

Yes, pretend like you're using spray-on sunscreen or lotion. The idea is to coat yourself enough that there's a bit of a barrier between you and the wetsuit so it slides right off. If you tend to chafe anywhere, use a bodyglide stick on those spots. For me, that's my armpits and the back of my neck.

Losing Lindy said...

wow amazing post

Joanne said...

These are awesome tips!! Good luck this weekend!! You're going to rock it, I can tell.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Good luck tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

After doing my first tri yesterday I have one more thing to add. If you don't get body marked at the expo then bring your own sharpie so that you can have a friend mark you. You can check w someone who is already marked to figure what number goes where. Thanks again for this post. Very timely for me.