At Bikes Palm Beach, you’ll find a diverse group of athletes working in our shop including road cyclists, mountain bikers, gravel riders, runners, swimmers, triathletes, and those of us who also do a combination of these activities. Since triathlon season is now upon us in South Florida, we want to share some of our own useful knowledge to help you tackle and conquer your first triathlon. We hope our advice will make your experience more enjoyable and maybe even easier.
When you first get started, there are quite a few items that are essential for keeping you comfortable during training and even some things that are required for racing. However, we’ll help you keep things basic so you can build up your gear stash as you go along.
In other words, there’s no need to run out and buy an expensive triathlon bike right away (maybe later, once you fall in love with the sport). Your current bike should be sufficient, but bring it in to our shop for service to ensure it’s in good working order for training and racing.
You’ll also need swim goggles, running shoes, a triathlon suit or triathlon-specific cycling shorts (they have a built-in chamois pad that is thinner than cycling-specific shorts, designed to make swimming and running easier), bike helmet, hat or visor, sunglasses, and speed laces so you don’t have to tie your shoes or worry about them coming untied during a race.
Bikes Palm Beach has all these items in stock and knowledgeable, experienced staff to help you find the right gear.
There are numerous resources available for training plans for beginner triathletes online. Below are a few links to recommended beginner training plans.
Find others to train with, as it makes the process more fun and you can even get some friendly competition. There are many local triathlete groups of all levels who routinely train together, such as the Inlet Tri Club.
As you switch from the swim to the bike and then from the bike to the run, part of your success in triathlon is getting through these transitions quickly but strategically.
Countless triathletes have made videos about how to set up a transition area and how to more smoothly go from one sport to the next in a transition area. Here’s one from Global Triathlon Network that we enjoyed.
We recommend you practice transitioning from swimming to biking to running at least a few times before your race. Leading up to the Turtleman Triathlon, Bikes Palm Beach hosts free triathlon transition training sessions at Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach. Sign up below to get alerts in your inbox letting you know when these sessions are available.
Nutrition and Hydration
Getting your nutrition and hydration correct can require a little trial and error. What works for your friend or for one of the pro triathletes you follow on Instagram may not work for you.
Therefore, we recommend trying a variety of gels, chews, or other types of nutrition before, during, and after your workouts to determine what works best for you. By race-day, you should have enough experience from your recent experimentation to put together your nutrition and hydration plan. The plan will maximize your performance and prevent dehydration and loss of energy.
Your plan should include a light breakfast before your morning training (and before your race) and give your GI system enough time to digest before you get moving. Then, every 30-45 minutes during your workout or race, you’ll need to refill your tank with nutrition. Plan to consume some protein after your workout as part of your recovery process.
Hydration needs can also vary by the individual. Some people sip every 10 minutes; some sip every 1 mile; some sip when thirsty. Again, it’s trial and error. Just don’t skip the nutrition or electrolytes, especially in hot and humid South Florida.
Don’t take it too seriously. HAVE FUN! Find a group to train with; you’ll enjoy the experience much more and make memories together that will last a lifetime.
At Bikes Palm Beach, we are all about enjoying sport, so stop in and let us help you get on the road to your first triathlon experience. We’ve got loads of helpful advice and gear for triathletes of all levels.