I did my second Sprint Triathlon on Sunday and wanted to share some tips and things I learned after doing it.
- Unless you grew up swimming competitively in lakes, I would say train the hardest on the swim portion. I did about half my training at the gym pool and half in lakes which I didn't do for my first triathlon and the lake training prepared me so much better this time around. You never know what the condition of the lake will be on race day so even though it was miserable, I did make sure to swim in choppy water a couple times because once again, I did not practice this for my first tri and the lake was VERY choppy that day and the swim part took all my mental strength to get through it.
- Also, it's OKAY if you have to doggy paddle. I can do a breast stroke for days in a pool but it's hard to see where you're going in a lake so if you start going in the wrong direction, you're going to gas yourself out early in the race. Doggy paddling helps you take breaks and make sure you're heading in the right direction.
- Make a list of things that you need to be ready for the transition periods so that on race day, you aren't wondering if you have everything you need. I also made a list of what I needed to do between each transition but that was a little extreme and I don't think that's necessary.
- Also, I made sure to have something colorful to be able to help find where my bike was, i.e. the green towel. There are so many similar looking bikes so making your transition area look a little different than the rest is very helpful!
- NEVER try something new on race day. I bought that mounted phone holder the Friday before and tested riding around my neighborhood with my phone in it, went over a couple bumps and everything, but when it came to the race, adrenaline was pumping, I was going super fast on my bike, went over some railroad tracks and my phone went flying out of the holder. I had to turn around and grab it and luckily I brought my arm carrier with me as well so I put my phone in that for the rest of the bike portion but I got passed by 5 people while this happened and that was a huge bummer.
- Scope out the course ahead of time. I only went a week and a half ahead of time to look at it and it was much hillier than I was expecting. I didn't train on too many hills so I was intimidated going into the bike portion but it didn't end up being as bad as I thought. It took my legs the first 5 miles to warm up and then I was zooming but had I better prepared, I don't think it would have taken so long!
- The most important tip of them all, HAVE FUN!!!!!! I'm the first person to admit that anxiety takes over me when big life events happen so I was STRESSED leading up to this. But I kept reminding myself that even if I don't go super fast, I should be proud of myself for even trying and thankful to have a body that allows me to do triathlons. And in the end, I finished it 15 minutes faster than I anticipated because I went in with that mental state. I even shed a couple tears as I sprinted the last 100 yards, while I jammed to "The Greatest Show" (add this to your workout playlist if you haven't already) and it was one of the greatest feelings to cross that finish line :)
If you're ever thinking about doing a triathlon and have any questions for me, I'm no expert but I do have two under my belt now, so please feel free to reach out to me! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on social media @jennykdwb !