My First Triathlon - in 3 weeks


I'm new here so firstly hello everyone image 

I've just signed up last week to do the Hever Castle Mid DistanceTriathlon on Sunday 29th September - 800m run/40k bike/8k run, has anyone done this event?

I haven't run for 6 years (worn kneecap) but did 2 miles twice last week at my local park. Been cycling since January and did the London to Brighton this year, go out once a week for about 20-30miles. Have been to my local pool twice now too and managed the 800m there.

Got a wetsuit off eBay last week and on Sunday went to the River Medway (Yalding) with a mate in a canoe! Hard to tell how far we went but glad I tried it first as I found the wetsuit quite restricting and within a minute suddenly was thinking I can't do 800m, a bit of panic was setting in!

Have I left it a bit late for the training ...have you any tips for a beginner?

First priority is to finish!! Would like to enjoy it too




  • Put a priority on your swimming.  You need that to feel comfortable and safe.  After that, you can always ride and run slow if you like.  Don't do any epic training, as you're more likely to start injured or fatigued.  Just stay within yourself and have a good experience.

    I'll say this bit again for emphasis; focus on your swimming.

  • Oh, and hi image

    Sorry 'bout that.  Had manners bypass for a second there image

  • hi

    I would say practice in your wetsuit, I find it uncomfy too, but part of the trick is to pull it up lots and make sure you have it right on your shoulders or it can make the swimming feel really difficult. If there is a lake near you where there are OW sessions, go along and just ask someone to help you get into it - I have found random strangers at places like this don't mind and can be really helpful - if you tell someone it is your first time then they might keep an eye on you, swim round with you etc. If you are feeling nervous then you can always stay near the shore and just swim backwards and forwards for the length of time that you think the 800m will take you on the day. 


  • Hi Augusta!

    I'd try to get a couple more OW sessions in if you can, if not see if you can wear your wetsuit in your local pool.  You'll get used to the feel of it quickly, but might be better to do that before the race.

    Most of all, though ....enjoy yourself.  Don't get hung up over time or position.  You'll love it!


    Hi Augusta,

    I am by no means an expert but my advice would be.....

    1. Try to enjoy it !

    2. Try to get some lubricant (body glide is good) or baby oil...this helpsavoid any chaffing from the wetsuit and also helps get it off easier

    3. I am not a great swimmer, but when I get into open water I follow a little routine...(a) splash face with water to help acclimatise (b) let water down top of wet suit (feels cold, but avoids shock (c) remember to exhale..apologises if this is obvious, but I found it made a real difference

    4. Be decisive in what you plan to change in at transtions (more choices mean more time to faff and more time faffing is more time being cold)...I am king faffer

    5. Put talk in socks (this is genius...helps get them on and feels nice !)

    6. Enjoy it....try to avoid any negative thoughts...they don't help and add to fatigue

    Hope this helps....good luck !

  • Thanks for all your advice.

    Did 800m in the pool this morning in 19mins and it felt good. Will definitley try the wetsuit in open water maybe two more times the idea of the babyoil, I didn't have any chaffing the other day but it was a struggle getting it on/off - that must help.

    Going for another short run tonight and am planning to cycle the course on Sunday morning to familiarise myself with the route.

    My biggest problem maybe will be we are hosting a 'Come Dine with Us' the night before on my birthday!! I will have to stay strong! image

  • Make sure ypool ill the wetsuit right into your armpits, 


    well that's my useful advice finishedimage other than have fun 

  • Hi Augusta


    I am so jelous of people doing their first tri, I remember mine and instantly fell in love with the sport

    here is a brief guide to sprint tri's which should be some help

    As others on here have said the most important thing is to have fun, enjoy it and have a smile of your face the whole time


  • Welcome Augusta, and good luck with the tri! 

    Re the wetsuit, I know some people wear a buff round their neck, i.e. to prevent chaffing from the neck of the wetsuit, so you could try it in a practice session, and see if that helps.  Definitely get some Bodyglide and lube yourself up first, will make getting it off easier.  Also try to at least get your arms and top of you body the wetsuit quickly - once all the water drains out it sticks like bloody glue and it can be a pain to extricate yourself from the beast!!!!

    Brooko's advice about the transition is spot on.  I took SOOO much stuff the first time and barely used any of it, so have a good think before hand, practice where you'll lay everything, and think about what order you'll do stuff in (i.e. don't put helmet on before dry top, if you're planning of putting extra clothes on - i've seen it happen a few times!  Helmet comes off again, and much faffing takes place).  So long as you have your helmet on before you move the bike, you can shove it on after everything else.

    Above all just enjoy it though, that's the most important thing.  Oh and you need to write a race report once you've done it. 


  • Great advice ...not sure about the "and have a smile of your face the whole time" I'll try though

    When I go cycling I normally take two bottles of water with one High5 Zero tab in each and a gel. Do you think I need anything extra. I've read on other pages about getting up very early to take a breakfast. Not sure what time I'm off yet, probably find out next week but I put an estimated finish time of 3hours so I'm assuming I'll be off near the end.

    Ok I'll write a race report, Does that go on this thread or somewhere else on the forum?

    Thanks again for everybody's advice

  • Whatever you usually have in training should do.  If you've not tried to run off the bike, or biked off the swim, you might want to think about whether you'll need any nutrition as well as the water & High 5.

    Oh sorry, just read you'll take a gel too.  It is a very personal thing, so you need to try it out really and see what you can cope with.  Re brekkie i'd stick with whatever you normally have before a long bike ride.  Again it is worth trying out - once you know the start time, maybe have a practice breakfast before going for a swim at the same start time? 

    Just write the race report on here image

  • Lee the Pea wrote (see)

    ...don't put helmet on before dry top

    Top tip!!

  • Augusta wrote (see)

    . Not sure what time I'm off yet, probably find out next week but I put an estimated finish time of 3hours so I'm assuming I'll be off near the end.


    In my first triathlon, I put down a long swim time and they put me in the pool first...I think they put the slow people first so that they don't have to wait for them at the end....

  • pete_inthehills wrote (see)In my first triathlon, I put down a long swim time and they put me in the pool first...I think they put the slow people first so that they don't have to wait for them at the end....
    Same happened to me in mine. 


  • yeah that's standard procedure I believe my local tri do it as well.... I always over estimate time as a middle of the pack swimmer... Gives me people too hunt on the bike anyway....image

  • Oh no! Went for a little run last night and got a calf strain, didn't overdo it, walked home and put my feet up on the sofa ...much to my Wife's annoyance as i was supposed to be painting the bathroom!

    Decided not to do my planned swim this morning and now hobbling about at work. Think I'll knock all running on the head and just take my chance on the day. The swimming probably wont aggravate it I guess but I was looking forward to cycling the route this Sunday. Don't want to sit about doing nothing as my training buildup only amounts to four weeks anyway rest the best option?

  • Do you have access to a sports massage person? I'm lucky enough to have one that comes in to the office on a tuesday. She's rescued strain and aching legs many times. See if there is a good one local to you. 

  • Got my start time 11.20am, in the first wave for my event. Quite pleased with that as should be able to have something to eat beforehand image

    Unfortunately my calves are still paining me alot. My Wife is helping out with a massage now and again and they are wrapped in Coban ( a self amalgamating stretchy fabric). I know now how frustrated top class athletes must feel when they get injured, especially as they are doing it for a living and build up to their big events years in advance.

    Have managed 2 x 800m swims in the pool this week and going to try another open water session in the Medway this Sunday. The rest of it I'll just have to take my chance on the day.

  • I did it!

    My Race Report 

    The swim was a bloomin nightmare. We had this safety talk/route info for the 301 competitors, which took about 15/20mins. Then we had to get into the water to the start line, about 50yds away and about 80yds wide. Cos I was at the front of the presentation I was one of the first to get in and so as a consequence was at the front of the ‘grid’, about 10yds in from the tiger line. When the cannon went off within about 5mtrs someone was trying to swim over the top of me, someone else was coming in from the side! I stopped, let them go past tried to carry on but someone else did the same …I felt like I was going backwards. Then took in the biggest gulp of water while being battered some more. At this point I thought there’s no way I’m going to do it but said to myself I need to get a grip – decided to swim sideways to the far edge of the field and take the long way round the course. Managed to get some rhythm going after this and completed it in 20mins, but it had felt like 30mins.

    Got out feeling a bit dizzy then had a 200mtr run to the transition zone for my bike. That wasn’t too bad although shortly after the start it straight into a 3 mile climb, which was tough. Could now feel both my calfs tightening up (which is what had pulled 3weeks previous) but managed to keep a steady pace without pushing it. There were 5/6 other distances being held during the day but I seemed to find myself out on my own on the road – was beginning to wonder if I was last already! Had an annoying squeak from my front disc all the way round which I found out later was because the wheel had worked loose – good job I didn’t decide to do a wheelie over the finish line! I think the front prongs would have embedded in the ground followed shortly after by me going over the handlebars!! I finished the 40km in 1.38

    Then it was a run around the Castle grounds. Straightaway I could feel the inside muscles above my knee, on both legs starting to throb and pulse. A really weird sensation, it felt like something was building up to burst! Thought I’d persevere to see if I could run it off but it came and went throughout the run. It was great getting cheered on by all the supporters and marshals but my lack of training was taking its toll. Every part of my legs were aching/throbbing now but I managed to finish the 8km in 49mins.

    So from signing up four weeks previously and only getting in 6 miles worth of running, 12 miles cycling and 5 x 800m swimming I didn’t think it was too bad! I feel I could definitely take minutes off my time as I wasn’t out of breath at all during the run or cycling but just couldn’t push my legs any harder.

    The day was fantastically run and organized. It was great to see so many supporters/family’s and so many competitors too. I’ll be looking out for another one but make sure I’ve done the preparation first.

    The talc in the socks was great and the baby oil made the wetsuit fly on/off - thanks for all your advice image

  • Well done Augusta! Great race report and congrats finishing your first tri!

  • wow, well done, great reportimage

  • cool!  well done you!

    Just get some winter training and you'll be fine for the spring races...

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