What is a triathlon?
Triathlon: Swim, bike, run. It’s as simple as that. However for the uninitiated, you may be looking from the outside in with countless questions on where to start. What do I wear, do I need a wetsuit, do I need disc brakes and why are people tying their shoes to the bike using elastic bands? I’ll have to answer those questions in another article as today we are going to focus on the best triathlon events for beginners.
Before we get stuck in, we need to first get an understanding of what different distances there are to compete in. As a beginner, you’re better off starting with shorter distances (although we all know that one person who signed up for an Ironman on a bet having never swum before!) so we will only cover events that include up to sprint distance. As with any outdoor sporting event, we recommend some training in preparation for the big day; you’ll have a much better overall experience, not to mention you’ll be much safer for doing so.
Sprint distance: 750m Swim, 20km ride, 5km run
Olympic or classic distance: 1,500m swim, 40km ride, 10km run
Middle distance: between 2,500m-3,800m swim, 80km-120k ride , 20km -30km run
Long (Iron) distance: 3,800m swim, 180km ride, 42km run
23rd July 2023
Something you need to consider before taking on a triathlon is your swimming ability. If you aren’t confident in your swimming ability or you think than an open water swim is perhaps a step too far for your first triathlon, there are lots of pool based triathlons. Better still, if you really don’t want to get your hair wet, you can take part in the sprint or super sprint event as a relay. In this format, one person will swim, one will cycle and the final member will take on the run. The Henley fun triathlon offers a safe, enjoyable and most of all, fun atmosphere for kids who want to have a go.
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1st July 2023
A list of beginner triathlon events simply would not be complete without the ‘Banana Triathlon’. Although we have given an overview of the normal distances, Banana Triathlon excels in their offerings by offering a novice event which they call the ‘Half Banana’. The emphasis on their events is clearly to have fun and if you aren’t that fit or are nervous about competing in some of the bigger events, the Banana Triathlon is for you. With youth events run at the same time, this is one you can enjoy with the whole family.
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29th July 2023
As part of the world triathlon series, this event weekend offers racing for everyone from complete beginners, kids and elite athletes on the World Triathlon Series circuit. The best is once you’ve finished racing you can then watch the pros in action on the infamous triathlon blue carpet. There are closed roads and a city centre finish so there are no cars to content with and you’ll benefit from lots of cheering from local residents too.
If a Sprint distance triathlon still sounds a little too far, they also have a ‘Big Swim Bike Run’ option which comprises of a 200m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run. Better still, they offer wetsuits and cycle helmets which are free to borrow. We think that is awesome! There is also a 50m Swim & 1km Run option which is aimed at family and allows kids 4+ to take part.
25th June 2023
This triathlon is perfect for beginners as it has a flat course on closed roads with a fantastic view of Cardiff Bay. There’s a great spirit in the city over the weekend and you’ll find lots of people out on the course to cheer you on in true Welsh spirit! The closed road, scenery and atmosphere all make this a great first triathlon. Plus there are plenty of places in the city to go out and celebrate after. Plus, if you’ve got friends who like to take it seriously, then there are lots of waves to cater for different ambitions, from beginners to age group qualifiers.
10th June 2023
A sprint triathlon with jaw dropping scenery….need we say more? Immerse yourself within the beauty of North Wales. Swim In the shadow of Wales’ highest peak, the mighty Mount Snowdon, cycle the famous Llanberis pass and run some of the most scenic trails around before descending into forest, all whilst taking in views of Snowdon. For sure, the Slateman sprint isn’t the easiest course on our list but we’re mindful that it’s still fully achievable for many, including beginners.
A couple of tips:
You’re new to triathlon, no one is going to judge you for what you’re wearing, what bike you’re riding or how you do. Its all about getting stuck in and enjoying it!
If you don’t fancy doing the whole thing, you can look at entering a triathlon as part of a relay team? Competing in this format means that you can play to your strengths and only take on the element of the event that you’re confident with. Or, there’s always the many derivatives of triathlon – duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike etc.
For those who are nervous about the swim, there are lots of triathlons within the UK where you swim in a pool as opposed to an open water water type swim. This is a fantastic way top build confidence and get a feel for an event in a safe environment.
Remember, its meant to be fun. Just get out there and have a smile on your face (and make sure your bicycle insurance covers triathlons). For anyone thinking of giving a triathlon a go when abroad, don’t forget Yellow Jersey offer triathlon travel insurance which is designed to cover emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation, trip abandonment, repatriation amongst a whole host of other benefits