The no BS guide to Tri

If you’re new to triathlon, or know someone who is about to embark on their tri journey, share this to keep them on the straight and narrow.

| August 3, 2017 | TRAINING

An athlete bikes during the age group race at the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton.

An athlete bikes during the age group race at the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

No BS Guide

Buying gear. Too much is really too much. Don’t get sucked in by shops, expos, a full wallet or what you read in that you need for a full set up to race. If you are not sure don’t go flat out and buy yourself every gadget, widget or piece of kit you think will work. In short, it won’t. Borrow or have a budget until you know this for you. Ebay is littered with broken triathlon dreams and bunch of premium gear going cheap. Understand tri fashion too. See through knicks, white lycra etc won’t win you friends and will make you the butt of people’s jokes.

Coaching. This ones like a party. Do a cautious lap first before you settle. Coaches and some squads etc are notorious for cliques and carry on so find a set up that works for you. If you want to wear the team gear, hang out in a big tent etc then go for it there are plenty of places for that. These bigger teams are good at it. If you are more of an introvert then keep away from the bigger sets. Also, some coaches are not that experienced or accredited. Don’t get involved with those who shouldn’t be coaching. Ask to see their credentials and talk to those who train under them. Find out about their injury rate. If a coach also talks big or promises you the world chances are you are going to end up with an atlas only. The best coaches ask about your life and commitments. If you find you are just shoved into a coaching session grid leave. Don’t forget everyone is different. And also don’t forget, if you are using the squad as your own personal pick up scene you might find yourself on the outer. Believe it or not some folks join a squad to train. Don’t be THAT person.

Races/racing. The ‘sensible man (or woman) knows their limitation’ method is the right way to go. Listening to too much talk about how to race is just noise. Listen to your body on race day and be smart with what you have done in training. Also, only race what you can do. If you’re not ready for an Ironman be patient. Nothing beats paying a bunch of money to race to find out you’re not ready. When you race try and include your family members/friends who will wait literally hours for you (in the IM case) on the side of the road for you to pass. If you have a great day include them. If your race sucks include them. You won’t lose your cool person card if you give a sh+t about those who support you.

Honesty rules. The only thing that makes you good in triathlon is hard work. Be honest with yourself and don’t bring out the old excuse book if it doesn’t go your way post race. Nothing is worse than hearing age group athletes list their excuses if they blow up in a race or have a less than stellar day. Own your training and mistakes and your performance. Hey, sometimes we just suck! Embrace it and learn or at the very least go cry in a corner not in public!

The experts. Generally they’re not. People love to sit around and BS you about all sorts of things. Triathlon is a sport of many moving parts and there will be plenty of people around your training who proclaim to have the answers, new methods or sure fire short cuts. BS. Too many opinions will leave you dazed, confused and mis guided. Picture Oliver Stone’s Movie the Doors where Jim Morrison is dropping acid and wandering around the desert. That’s where you’ll live if you follow advice from everyone.

Find balance. If you go to the cafe or social events and all you can talk about is triathlon, go get help.

Social media. If you have to stop every 8 seconds to take a selfie of yourself whilst training a few things may occur. a. you will have a lot of time by yourself because no one will want to train with you. b. you’ll crash if you’re riding. c. you’ll never get anything accomplished. Save it for the right time.

Remember you are beatable. If you’re a chauvinist then this is going to sting. At some point you will get passed by a faster woman and you have to deal with it. The whole idea of getting ‘chicked’ is out dated. If you get beaten by a woman you are simply on list of a bunch of us who were beaten by better athletes on the day. Don’t revive the chicked vernacular as it just makes you look like a kook. And on this note you will get beaten on any given Sunday. Unless you are in the Levi Maxwell sphere of age group racing accept there are a ton of good people doing this sport. For sure aim as high as you can but be a realist too.