Ten Steps to Become a Triathlete

Triathletes are not superhuman. I believe this perception of triathletes comes from the famous ultra triathlon series IRONMAN. In IM, athletes swim, cycle, and run for a total of 140.6 miles to here “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” Let me put your mind at ease. Not all triathletes compete in Ironman races, so becoming a triathlete may be easier than you think. Here are ten steps to get you to the finish line of your first triathlon.


one who competes in a race consisting of three distinct events, typically consisting of swimming, cycling, and running.

Find your why

Triathlon training requires hard work and discipline. Before you sign up for a race, define your why. Write it down and read it every day.

Choose your distance

Triathlons, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. You must choose and sign up for the distance you’d like to compete in. General distances include:

Try-a-tri: this is best suited for beginners. The average distance includes a 400-meter swim, a 10-kilometre bike, and a 2.5-kilometre run.

Sprint Triathlon: this is like the triathlon version of the half marathon. This race consists of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometre bike, and 5-kilometre run.

Olympic or Full Triathlon: 1500 meter swim, 40-kilometre bike, and a 3-kilometre swim.

Get the gear

For your first triathlon, you don’t need fancy gear. All you need is a bike, a swimsuit, and a pair of runners. If you continue competing in triathlon I’d recommend investing in a triathlon suit and a race belt. While in the water, your number will be on your swim cap, arms, and legs. During the bike and run you will be required to wear your race bib. Attach it to a race belt beforehand and put it on when you transition to the bike.

Bike transition, Vancouver Triathlon 2019

Pick a training plan

Choose a training plan that fits your lifestyle. Training Peaks is a great website that offers killer plans for minimal fees. You can find them at:


Master the swim

If you’re uncomfortable in water, invest in swimming lessons. Your local YMCA will do. It’s also important to get used to body contact while in the water. Once you achieve a level of comfort, swim with a few friends, and let them knock you around. No one wants to be the person who gets rescued on race day. If you’re uncomfortable in open water, opt for a pool triathlon. Open water swimming is a whole other ball game. Don’t let race day be your first ocean swim.

Befriend fellow triathletes

The best part of triathlon is the people! If you don’t have a tri friend, join your local triathlon club. Lean on experienced triathletes to walk you through the logistics of the race.

Use the free stuff

Every race offers an informational session where organizers discuss the transitions and race logistics. Some races even offer new to triathlon clinics. Use all the available resources.

Complete a dry run or visualize the race

If you have the chance, complete the course a week before race day. If that’s not possible, visual the race in detail. Your swim start, transitions, cycle, everything. This will help to calm any pre-race jitters.

Bike check

Most races require a mandatory bike check. These are generally done on-site, or at an independent cycle shop. Even if the check is not mandatory, get it done. You are putting yourself and others in danger if you’re bike is not up to spec.

Rock race day

Number one thing on race day, have fun! Volunteers will be there to cheer you on and guide you through the transitions. Completing a triathlon, whatever the distance, is a major accomplishment. Take a minute to relish the moment, get your bling pic, and high five some friends. You did it!

Vancouver Triathlon 2019

I’ll leave you with this:

We are judged by what we finish, not what we start.


Thank-you for giving me the great privilege of being a part of your life today. If you found this post meaningful, please share, like, comment, and follow my blog. For daily inspiration and guidance on living your best life, follow me on Instagram @miss_susanflynn.

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