I’m scared to try tri!

Everyone’s unique of course, and everyone has their own reasons why they may be a bit apprehensive about trying triathlon, but here are three of the most common reasons we’ve come across for not giving it a go. If you have any other concerns we haven’t addressed here, please send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

I’ve never done a triathlon…

Don’t worry. A lot of people – including quite a few of those now in Premier Tri – have been in exactly the same position before joining a club. There’s no denying that some triathlons are very serious events for very serious triathletes, but there are actually far more triathlons aimed at more normally fit people looking for a fun challenge.

And triathlon is a great way to challenge yourself – it’s a fantastic way to get fit efficiently and effectively. Its growing popularity reflects the dynamic, challenging and rewarding nature of the sport, no matter what your starting level of fitness. (And believe me, it will increase pretty quickly!) If you already run, cycle, or play another sport fairly regularly then you should be ready to start training for a triathlon.

Triathlons come in all shapes and forms, some with pool swims, some in open water; some with off-road cycles and some on-road; some with flat road runs, others traversing hilly cross country routes. Race distances vary from event to event, but the standard lengths are

  • Novice Triathlons – 200m swim, 5km cycle, 2.5km run (great for triathlon novices and runners / cyclists who have not done a lot of swimming)
  • Sprints and Super Sprints – 750m or 400m swim (resp.), 20km bike, 5km run
  • Olympic Distance – 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
  • Middle Distance / Half Ironman – 1.2 mile (1.9km) swim, 56 mile (90km) bike, 13.1 mile (21km) run
  • Full Distance / Ironman – 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim, 112 mile (180km) bike, 26.2 mile (42km) marathon

With so many well run and organised events around the UK, there’s bound to be something to suit you.

I’m a girl…

Triathlons have traditionally attracted more men than women, but the gender balance is definitely improving nationally as they become more popular. We’re proud to have been well ahead of the curve from the club’s inception: we have an equal mix of men and women in our club, and a very talented female team it is, with age group podium finishes aplenty in the 2011 season.

We also have a large number of both men and women who attend so they can be part of the club environment: we have a mix of runners and cyclists who dabble in the odd triathlon and some great beginners who we hope will come up through the ranks.

Triathlon really is a welcoming sport for men and women of shapes and sizes. If you find some of the races a bit testosterone-charged, we can recommend some suitable events amongst the numerous women-only races throughout the season. The boys do have their uses, though: it’s a great kick trying to keep up with – or even beat – the boys out there. It undoubtedly boosts your fitness as men are typically faster than ladies, but I can assure you we always give them a run for their money!

I’m not that great at swimming…

One of the most common reasons for people not trying triathlon is their lack of confidence with swimming. Let’s face it, we all find it hard, and the coached swimming session we offer every Sunday are a great way to improve, no matter what your current ability. There is obviously a limit to what we can offer with regards to one-to-one training, so unfortunately we can’t accept non-swimmers, but our coaches will help you to develop your stroke and build your fitness no matter what distance you are aiming towards.

If you are unsure about your swimming ability, a good marker is that you should be able to swim 200-300m of front crawl non-stop. If you feel you could do with some additional practice and would like information on beginners’ swimming lessons, please send us a message and we will happily put you in touch with someone who will be able to help you.