Your First Triathlon

Turning up on your first race day can be daunting. Here are some tips and tricks to help you enjoy your first triathlon.

You can also check out The Starting Line, which is an online platform, delivered by Triathlon Queensland. It includes free training programs, video tips from accredited coaches and a list of training sessions and events you should enter. 

Starting Line





Read Your Race Information
In the lead-up to race day, read the race information provided on the event organiser's website or competitor information sent by Triathlon QLD. Take the time to brush up on the rules of triathlon and make sure you're familiar with the course. Remember, it is your responsibility to know the rules and the course. Check the event schedule and transition opening times so you’re relaxed on race day. 

Prepare your gear
Get all your equipment ready and packed. Here is a list of gear that you may need:
Swim: Wetsuit or tri suit (temperature depending), goggles, swim cap
Cycle: Bike, helmet, shoes, water/gels, pump, sunglasses
Run: Shoes, hat, towel, sunglasses
Check your equipment is all in sound order and your bike tyres are pumped up, ready to go. 

Some training tips
Practice entering a 'Transition Area' from the swim. Put on your helmet, take off your wetsuit (if you are wearing one), put on your shoes (if not already attached to your bike), unrack your bike and then run with your bike to the mount line.
Practice dismounting at the dismount line, and finding your rack. Rack your bike and then put on running shoes, then take off your helmet.


Arrive in plenty of time
Check the race information to find out parking restrictions, what time you need to register and what time transition will be open for you to rack your bike and set your gear up. It is your responsibility to arrive at the race venue with plenty of time to prepare for your race. If you arrive late, you may not be permitted to enter the transition zone and start the race.

Attend the race briefing
The race briefing will provide you with a refresher of the course and rules, and inform you of any last minute changes or advice. It will also provide up to date information regarding swim course temperature and safety notices. 









1. Swim

If you're nervous about the swim leg, position yourself towards the back of your start group (in triathlon, a start group is called a wave) so you can follow the pack. 

If you need assistance, put your hand up for one of the water safety personnel to come to help. You can rest on their board or boat, as long as they don't propel you forward on the course. If they need to paddle you to safety, you'll need to withdraw from the race.

When you exit the water, don't throw your goggles or cap on the ground or hand it to a loved one. The only place you can store your race equipment is in your designated area in transition.


2. Transition

When you set up your gear before the race, take the time to note a land mark, rack number, or other distinguishing feature so you can easily find your bike. Identify how you'll move through transition to the exit.
A few quick rules:

  • Make sure you don't interfere with other athletes' equipment in transition
  • Fasten your helmet before you remove your bike from the rack to start your ride. 
  • You are not allowed to exit transition until your helmet is fastened. 
  • Keep it on and fastened until you replace your bike after the ride leg.
  • Don't ride your bike in the transition area. Run your bike out to the mount line. You can get on your bike at any point after the mount line, so if it's congested, move through the area before mounting.
  • Make sure you are off your bike before the dismount line on your return to transition.
  • Return to the same position in transition and rack your bike.



3. Bike

Keep to the left and keep your distance from the cyclist in front of you - for your own safety and also to stay compliant with the race rules.
A few quick rules:

  • Road rules apply, so keep to the far left unless overtaking other riders, don't overtake on the left of another cyclist, and never cross double lines.
  • Don't draft. Drafting allows you to get an unfair advantage by following the bike in front of you closely, and is cheating. For a full explanation of the drafting rule, refer to the Triathlon Australia Race Competition Rules.
  • Don't litter
  • Keep your shoes and helmet on at all times. You must also ensure that you have a covered torso.
  • You are not allowed to accept assistance, such as clothing, food, drinks, etc. from anyone except authorised race personnel.



4. Run

  • Make use of the aid stations provided by the race directors and keep hydrated.
  • Similar to the bike leg, don't litter, and don't accept assistance from your friends, family or coach.






Drink water and refuel in the recovery area.

When the last cyclist is back in transition, there will be an announcement over the PA and you'll be able to collect your bike and gear.

Congratulations, you have completed your first triathlon!

Make sure you take some photos of your first triathlon and share them on social media, tagging @triathlonqueensland and #triqld. 




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