This week we will be looking at what 3 things we at Team TCC wished we knew before we started training.
We've been competing, completing and coaching for quite a long time now and we are seeing a lot more people jumping straight in to triathlon with both feet, which is great! But, it got us thinking about when we started and what would we have loved to have known there and then. So, here are few things (some serious, some not so) that we wish we knew first:
1. No one cares what you look like! - There I said it, this was one of my personal worries before I took part. I thought that everyone would be looking at me and comparing me to the pro's physiques and forming opinions about my lifestyle choices and levels of food consumption. In fact it turns out that its quite the opposite, and one of the reasons I think triathlon is such a big sport now. Everyone was so supportive and it didn't matter how big, small, fast or slow you were you still got people on the sidelines shouting and screaming for you to keep going and enjoy it. Yes, people will be looking at you and in my case I probably did look a little like an escaped walrus stuffed in to a badly fitting trisuit in my first ever race, but, no one (not one!) ran away screaming or tried to sedate me and return me to Chester Zoo! They just shouted encouragement and then went about their business.
2. Open Water isn't scary - Well, thats probably not entirely true, if your on a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean with sharks circling, it might be slightly concerning. But, lets look at the reality of most open water swims, the biggest threat to your safety is the other athletes. One of things I wish I knew about open water swims was that if you are going to start at the back of the swim to avoid the bun fight when the gun goes off, make sure you position yourself furthest away from the first turn buoy as well as being at the back. What I mean by this is if the first turn is a right hander you want to be at the back on the left hand side of the pack to avoid starting into the melee at the closest point of the turn (trust me from personal experience its not the best place to be if you are feeling a little nervous) this means that you can take a wide line on the turn and not be dragged into the battle at the first turn.
3. Don't under estimate the importance of walking through your transition area - you need to know the route from swim exit to you area and from there to bike out and even then bike in to run out. - You need to know where you are going when you get out of the water, off the bike and out on to the run. Don't rely on the fact that you will be able to remember after taking look at a map of transition. In the heat of the moment when you have been working hard trying to not get clobbered in the swim and you reach transition all hope of stringing a coherent set of thoughts together to find your bike will be long gone, you'll probably be incredibly lucky to even remember your name, without looking at your race number let alone manage to navigate to your bike without having walked the route and landmarked particular areas to ensure you know where your kit is (a little side note on this, if you are going to choose a landmark make sure you chose something that isn't going to move, for example not a camper van inline with your kit in transition at a race in north wales somewhere).
If you have any others please let us know and we can keep adding to the list! If you are looking at your first race take a look at our plans here to get round!