First Time Sprint Triathlon

So this weekend I traveled up to the always charming Portland, OR to go watch my sister, mom and aunt (all technically in-laws, but I love them like real<3) in the Portland Sprint Triathlon! I had intended on participating with them, seeing as how I was the one that incessantly talked my mother in law into it, and with her the rest followed:P, but a recurring hamstring injury forced me to be a spectator for this race. It was amazing never-the-less.

So for those of you who don’t know the Sprint Triathlon is a 750 m swim, 26 km bike, 5 km run. In between each event, you go into what is called the transition area to get your gear ready. Most people wear a wetsuit for an open water swim (or just a swimsuit for a pool) with a tight top or sports bra and spandex shorts underneath so that when they are ready to transition they can just strip their wetsuit, put either bike or tennis shoes on and head out, then at the next transition you leave your bike, helmet and maybe swap shoes and are off on the run!

I have run two sprint triathlons previous to this, one was a swim in a pool, and a bike and run on the road and the second was a swim in a lake then a mountain trail bike and run. Both were great and I’m totally hooked, but the second was by far my favorite, being out in the country was just beautiful- plus it helps keep your mind off the pain. I would absolutely encourage anyone wanting to try something new and become more active to try this event. Everyone always seems very intimidated by the idea because it’s so long, but with the different events your body isn’t so taxed and it goes by surprisingly fast! So step out of your comfort zone and sign up for one!

That being said, there are definitely a few things you can do to help your first sprint triathlon go smoothly. Here’s my list.

1.TIME- This should be a no brainer, but when you sign up for an event give yourself enough time to prepare. For something like this where there are many variables involved, even someone who works out on a regular basis will need a month or two to train properly.

2.POOL- If swimming is not something you do regularly, I would recommend that your first sprint triathlon take place in a pool. There will always be variables you can’t control, but with open water swims there is much more that can go wrong than in a pool. If open water is what you decide on, be sure to practice in it.

3. TRIAL- I can’t stress this enough, but the best way to prepare yourself for it, is to try it. Map out a route similar to your race and 2-3 weeks out give it all a shot. When you do this trial, use all the equipment you plan to use for the actual race so if there are any issues you’ll know beforehand. You will find things to do differently, I promise you.

4. BIKE TO RUN- This is the hardest transition because it’s legs, and oh hey, more legs! So one thing you really want to make sure of (by practicing) is that you are not using too much of your calves to bike with, or else you will cramp up and not be able to run:( It’s quite a miserable feeling let me tell you. Make sure to practice those transitions by maybe doing an high intensity interval workout on the bike then right after going for a run. It will help you feel out how you need to adjust (or not) on the bike.

5. ENJOY- You are doing this for fun, so try and have a little. Don’t worry about your time or the person next to you- focus on the enjoyment you feel and the sense of accomplishment you’ll have when you’re all done!

I hope this article finds and inspires those wondering or debating on getting involved in any sort of athletic event. The camaraderie between athletes (even those you don’t know) is a wonderful feeling, everyone is always extremely supportive. As you pass people they are saying words of encouragement that keep you going and congratulations once you’ve finished, there’s really nothing like it.

As one more shout out I have to say how proud I am of my rockstar family that did this race! (Just so you know, they all want to do another one!)


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