You want to take the leap and start doing triathlons? Your friends challenged you? You want to know the pleasure of crossing the finish line but you don't really know what will happen? Find out how triathlon goes and our advice to fully enjoy your first experience.


First and foremost, once you have selected your distance, schedule training sessions in all three disciplines. Although there is no universal truth regarding adequate training, be progressive in your practice and focus on consistency: it's better to run 5km once a week than 10km every 2 weeks.

Finally, try to achieve in training the swimming, cycling and running distances you will have to do for your triathlon. If you can, do workouts that are as close to race conditions as possible (most particularly open water swimming, and cycling course).


Before the start, leave your gear in the transition area and memorise the way you must take at transition T1 to go from swimming to your bike, then during transition T2 to drop your bike and put your running shoes on. To help you, find reference points around you. This will avoid you to look for your equipment during long minutes among the many other athletes.

Finally, put on your wetsuit on top of your trisuit and swim a few laps in the water before the start, while analysing the swimming course (spot the buoys and the water exit). In certain events, particularly in the sea, it can be useful to apply some cream in order to prevent the wetsuit from rubbing onto your neck and armpits.



The swim leg

If you fear the mass start, stay a bit behind and enter the water quietly after the start (or stay behind if the start is given in the water). Front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, you decide so stay focused on your swim and don't forget to lift your head regularly for sighting.

When the swim is over, go to your area in T1, the first transition area. If you feel comfortable, you can even lift your goggles up on your cap and start to unzip your wetsuit, then release your shoulders while going to your area. The wetsuit can be difficult to put off; use ample movements to take it off. Then, it's time to strap your race number belt, with the number in the back, and to put on your socks, shoes, helmet and sunglasses, and to leave with your bike hand-held. You can only get on your bike after crossing the cycling start line, referees are watching and you may be penalised if you don't follow the regulations.

The bike leg

The bike leg accounts for 40 to 50% of your total triathlon time, so one watchword: management!

Hydration and nutrition are very important so that your body has enough energy throughout the event. The needs may vary from person to person, but keep in mind that you need to hydrate regularly, before you even feel thirsty. An isotonic drink will provide you some of the minerals you need to intake during the race.

You can, depending on the duration of the event, add energy gels and/or bars in the same spirit as for hydration, i.e. that you should eat before you feel hungry.

Just like during swimming, pay attention to arrows on the ground and/or to the signage that will guide you throug the bike leg. And remember to keep enough strength for the running ahead.

The cycling comes to an end and you arrive at the second transition area T2. Get off your bike before the white line that shows the entry of the transition area. Like in T1, be careful about this rule otherwise you may be penalised for rule violation.

In T2, you will drop your bike at the location you have identified before the event. Now take off your cycling gear, put on your running shoes and start running. Don't forget to turn your race number belt so that the number is in the front.


The run leg

So here we are on the running course!

The transition from the horizontal position on the bike to the vertical position of the run will give you a heavy legs feeling. Don't start too fast or you might have a stitch, it will be much more enjoyable to speed up in the course of the event than to slow down or walk due to bad management.

Use the aid stations to stay hydrated! And enjoy the cheering crowd all along the course!

The finish line is in front of you: 100m, then 50, 10, 5,1 ... you're a finisher, congratulations!!! Feel the intense joy of the moment, you deserved it.

Next is the time for recovery!

Within a few minutes following the event, eat carbohydrate-rich food to restore your glycogen levels: energy bars, fruits, ... and most importantly, keep hydrated with drinks rich in trace elements.

During the next hours or days, you can also add some stretching, self-massages and a few good nights' sleep for better recovery.

Now, you can choose your next triathlon!!!




Je pratique le triathlon depuis 7 ans et suis licencié au Racing Club d'Arras Triathlon. Je pratique le triple effort pour de multiples raisons : diversifier mes pratiques sportives, découvrir et voyager avec mes amis sur des compétitions européennes, me construire physiquement et mentalement. J'adore échanger autour de ce sport, ses valeurs, son évolution.