Preparing for the triathlon season

April 9, 2012 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2012 at 11:09 p.m.

Well, the triathlon season is now upon us.

Many races are taking place this month and many local triathletes are preparing for their first race of the season.

If you are planning on an early-season triathlon, you should be well into base training and now turning your attention toward interval work in all three disciplines.

If you are a triathlon newbie, there are many other components in preparing besides just training. Purchasing a bike is an obvious step, but there are other essential items.

Purchasing a bike

Many of my clients and friends who are new to the sport will usually ask if they should buy a road bike or a triathlon bike.

There are a number of items to consider when answering this question.

I had been involved for 18 years and competed in my first world championship (2006) before I ever considered buying a triathlon-specific bike.

Through research, I discovered the way the body is positioned on the triathlon bike, especially for the longer races, the legs would be fresher coming off the bike and better prepared for the 13- to 26-mile run.

So, what is the person new to the sport to do? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you run out to buy that shiny new, carbon-component (and likely pricy) triathlon bike.

Is this going to be your only bike? If so, the road bike would likely be a better option.

If you plan to do most of your training rides in a group setting, a road bike is also a better option.

Why? A triathlon bike is designed for non-drafting efforts, as drafting is forbidden in triathlons.

If you are new to cycling, it can be assumed your bike-handling skills may be lacking proficiency. This may pose another problem due to the forward-shifted position on the tri bike and the components that are used are generally lighter, making for more difficult control on the bike.

The bottom line is it's about the engine, not the machine. Consider your overall goals when choosing your first bike, and be realistic about what outcomes you expect.

The most important aspect to any bike purchase is being properly fitted on the bike, and making sure your position on the bike is comfortable.

Packing your triathlon racing bag for the big day

In preparing my athletes for an upcoming race, we always address the packing issue.

Here is a checklist of items that you will likely need for your first triathlon: USAT license (you can buy a one day or purchase a yearly), racing clothing (this can be a triathlon suit, a triathlon tank and shorts or a combination of items to swim, bike and run in), wetsuit (if open water swim will be 78 degrees or colder), swim cap, goggles, biking shoes (if you have clip-in pedals), running shoes, visor or hat, race sunglasses, racing belt, socks, transition mat or towel, water bottles and gels/nutrition bars, salt pills, sunscreen, extra tubes, CO2 cartridges, bike pump and bike tools, Vaseline/body glide and warm-up clothing.

This is a typical list of most of the items you will need on race morning. I suggest having a duffel bag or back pack you organize all of your items into to be carried into the transition area on race morning.

The Victoria Triathlon Club

A group of local triathletes have decided to form a non-profit triathlon club open to all those interested in the sport.

It is registered with USAT, the governing body of the sport, with the hopes of providing an avenue for local triathletes to train together, allow for meetings for educational purposes as well as a social opportunity.

We will be having our first meeting on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Sole Solutions, 1417 E. Airline and our first group workout will be on April 29 at Coleto Lake with an open water swim and transition work to the bike planned.

Missy Janzow is owner of Fit4U, personalized coaching and nutrition services. You can email her your question at



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