When I started training for my first triathlon, I made many mistakes along the road. I try to be knowledgeable about the sport but the bike was and still is my biggest challenge.
I purchase a bike with very little knowledge about the component and parts and whatever else makes bike. My brother, who is a former elite athlete in triathlon gave some tips about the bike and sometimes about the whole sport, but he’s in Germany so everything is over a brief conversation.
I knew I did’t have to worry about the swim so I focus on the bike and the run, big mistake.
- Neglecting the swim was my first mistake. Yes I am in deed a very fast swimmer… in a pool, with lines and clear water no in the murky water of New York City. My last swim before my first triathlon was a year before in Coney Island which also was done without any training. I did’t know how to stay straight and how not to get off off course and I did because I didn’t train for it and actually I thought I didn’t need to.
- Not practicing any bricks. Actually, I didn’t know what “bricks” was till I finish my first race and I was talking about it with some team mates. They suggested I practice some bricks and transition. When I got off the bike into transition, my legs felt like gel and it took and good half of mile to start feeling some what normal.
- Knowing absolutely nothing about your bike or how to change a flat. Well, I have been very lucky to not have a flat in any race but if it does happens, I will just call some one to pick me up because I have not idea how to change a flat. I have few opportunity to attend seminars on how to but, time is never on my side. YouTube for now will do the job. All I know about my bike is that it is a Specialized and its components are Shimano, it is black and red but’s about it. Sorry! 😦
- Hydration was a big issue till very recently. I did the entire race, an olympic triathlon without drinking any liquid and by the time I was done, I paid the price. I was very dehydrated. Massive migraine and the feeling that I was about to die. But I didn’t learn from that. I keep doing the same for few more races till I couldn’t take the massive headaches and my doctor recommended to hydrate better while on the rides and runs.
- Last but not least is poor sleep. For my first triathlon my youngest son was 18 months and my oldest 3 so my sleeping habits was very crappy. I was fighting to stay awake to clean up and catch up with house chores and I was also in the process of finishing my Bachelors in Business. If I slept 4 hours straight, it was a “good night of sleep” at least on my mind but I was tired physically and mentally. Not that It has change much but I at least I am done with school, my kids are bit older and they sleep through the night so I get a good 7 hours in a good day but the last year has been a big struggle with solo parenting.
I think at the end of the day I am grateful that I am able to get out do what I love. I have a long way to go, specially on learning the sports as a whole and learning my bike and how to train smart.
Before you do your first race, research about common mistakes so you don’t end up like me lol. It will make you feel good that you did it.. trust me.