The sprint triathlon: the short and speedy cousin of the Ironman© competition, the race that gets the runners, cyclists and swimmers to agree to come together, the place where pride and skill meet pain and exhaustion and you emerge a winner no matter where you finish.
The components of a sprint triathlon
The sprint triathlon is considered the first step in building towards longer triathlon events; many non- triathletes also participate as a form of additional exercise for muscle groups not used in their primary sport. The event is a challenge to newcomers, yet short enough to create a desire to do another one. The distances covered vary slightly depending on the event:
A quarter-mile swim (750 to 800 kilometers)
A 10 to 15-mile bike ride (16 to 24 kilometers)
A five kilometer run.
What you need to know before your first sprint triathlon...
Know the course
Pick up your race packet as early as permissible. Visit the course site, and bike, run or swim portions of it to understand the layout and any potential hazards. A course with hill climbs or an ocean swim requires practice under similar circumstances.
Know your body
A talk with your doctor and a physical is a good place to start. Understand your limits and how any medications you take affect you on race day. Increase your daily training to accommodate race day pace well before the gun sounds. Don't pound out the miles or spend hours in the pool a month before the triathlon thinking it helps. You break down the body and fail to recover in time to make the starting line.
Know your dietary needs
Some triathletes eat a full meal and drink espresso right before a race and feel no ill effects. Some competitors find themselves heaving on the roadside after ingesting half a plain bagel three hours before the race. Try different race day fuel strategies in practice to find out what works for you.
Know your racing strategy
It's called a sprint triathlon, but you don't go there to win your first one; you go to finish. Reign in the adrenaline rush; avoid the kicking and punching at the swim start and dive in on the far right or left of the main wave for the swim. During the bike and run, stay to the right; allow faster competitors to pass without hitting you.
Know your gear
You have a lot to think about pre-race; the right gear is the easy part of the process. Keep it simple and visit us before your first triathlon. From bikes, bags and helmets to tri suits, goggles, shoes and nutrition, our staff understands your needs because we run, bike and swim, too. We specialize in outfitting first-time triathletes, and our mission is your successful first race. Stop by, go online or call us today.