Every woman’s guide to getting started in triathlon: Part 2

Balance babes on bikesHere’s part two of last week’s post on getting started in triathlon. Here, the women of UTS & Balance Tri Club tell us about training and the benefits of joining a tri club…..

 

How do you get around a weakness in one discipline eg. a lot of people seem to struggle in the swim leg? 

For me, the run is my weakness, so I tend to work a bit harder at that.  If you struggle in one area, I would recommend some specialist coaching to give you some tailored tips as to what to work on so that you’re not ‘training the same mistakes’, and then work a bit harder at your weakness – but certainly don’t abandon your strengths!  Triathlon is a multi-sport activity, so make sure you work at all three – Jocie Evison

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – all local pools offer adult learn to swim classes – it is never too late to learn so don’t let that stop you. You should work a little harder on your weak leg, but usually people don’t do that! Try and have a positive attitude towards it. For example, I used to hate the bike, and I always said it “I hate the bike! I hate hills!” Surprisingly I didn’t get any better at it. But as soon as I made the decision to love the bike and be positive, everything got easier & I got better at it! – Sarah Koen

Do you focus on your favourite discipline or your weakest in training? 

As above, I concentrate on weakness, without abandoning my strengths.  To be a good triathlete you need to be consistent across all three disciplines.  If you’re a good swimmer, there’s no point in turning yourself into an absolutely amazing swimmer if your running is terrible, for example.  You’re better off staying a good swimmer and turning yourself from a bad runner into a reasonable one. –Jocie Evison

Depends on my goals for the race but probably I try and focus on all. I guess I might spend more time on the one I think I have the greatest chance of improving substantially which is the run and the bike. My swim is pretty slow and even if I work really hard I might gain a few minutes compared to a lot more on the bike. – Jacqui Webster
I must confess it is hard not to focus on your favourite discipline but I ‘should’ focus on my weakest discipline. The thing is you need a good balance of all 3 disciplines to have a good race. – Hally Bolt

Do you need to be a member of a club to compete in triathlons? 

No, you don’t, but if you just enter a race as an individual you will be required to pay extra for a One Day Membership – the fee depends on the length of the race. This covers you for insurance while you are racing (not your bike – just you). But joining a club is an excellent support network for training and races, and you’ll feel much better entering your first race if you are part of a club. If you do choose to join a club, you also need to join Triathlon Australia. You can do it all in one go at this link: http://www.triathlon.org.au/Membership/Annual_Membership.htm – Sarah Koen

No, you don’t – but I’d really recommend that you are!  Not only do you get all the benefits of camaraderie, tips and advice, people to train with, people to encourage you and benchmark yourself against AND a ready-made cheer squad at all your races, you also get quite a few other benefits like cheaper race entry fees, discounts from club sponsors etc. – Jocie Evison

What are the benefits of joining a triathlon club? 

As above!  Oh, and like-minded people to enjoy a beer with and swap stories after your race! – Jocie Evison

 

For me I think the best thing I ever did was join a club as soon as possible. I remember going to my first race after training on my own for a while and I was so nervous and I watched all these people in their club outfits talking to one another at the beginning, cheering each other on at the finish line and I thought “I want to be a part of that!”  Being part of a club has so many fantastic benefits. Being a part of Balance has given me access to so many people of all levels in the sport. In a club you will find people who are passionate about training, racing, equipment, nutrition and any other topic you will have questions on. I’ve experienced such generosity in Balance. People have leant me expensive equipment without a moment’s thought, have given up their own time to give me training advice and support and have come and cheered me on during many races. I would definitely recommend joining a club – even if its only meeting other people who want to talk about the sport as much as you do! – Natalie Dainer

I recommend joining a club because it really adds another dimension to the sport – you gain so much more from the camaraderie of training with friends and you learn a lot from their experience. It makes it so much more fun! You may feel intimidated to join a club but don’t – clubs are just made up of people who enjoy the sport, they are of varying ages, levels and abilities and they’re not all elite athletes! – Hally Bolt

It rocks! You get to hang out and train with really cool motivated people, access to free coaching, other people to lead the way in long rides. And all for 70 bucks! Most of my best friends are from the club. – Jacqui Webster

How do you manage to fit in training for three disciplines at the same time?

Previously I lived really close to the office so whilst most people spend 5-10 hours travelling to work I could be training during that time. Then it was relatively easy. Now it’s much harder – getting up at 5 am most days is really the only option. That said, I would always prioritise getting enough sleep over training. Lack of sleep makes me tired and irritable and then training is no fun anyway! Another key factor in fitting it all in is seeing it as part of your social life rather than something that gets in the way. Running or cycling is a great way to catch up with friends and there’s nothing better than having a good laugh over breakfast after swim squad. Some people also ride to work and run home and then alternate the next day which might work for them but is not for me. – Jacqui Webster

You have to be fairly organised, and the boot of your car often looks like a changing room!  It’s definitely do-able, though, and it’s amazing what you can fit it when you’ve planned in advance. As well as what session I’m going to do, and when, “planning” for me includes meals, travel time, when I’m going to wash my kit, what time I need to get to bed to make sure I’m able to get up and train effectively the next morning, etc. – Jocie Evison

It can be hard to juggle, especially when you first start out. Having children and/or a big job can also make it a big challenge. Something I have found that helps is to merge two disciplines into the same training session for example – go for a swim and immediately afterwards a short run. Or a cycle followed immediately by a run. You don’t have to train for too long to get the benefit of these types of sessions. Otherwise train yourself to get up early – once you’re in the habit you can fit in a training session before work. Or try fitting in a session in your lunch break – my husband works in the city and can run to the pool, have a quick swim and run back to the office. Lastly you can take advantage of your daily commute time – can you cycle or run to or from work perhaps? Whatever works for you. – Hally Bolt