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4117 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Aug 24, 2011 10:16 AM by Julie Ann Hackett
katoka Rookie 4 posts since
Aug 23, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 23, 2011 9:33 AM

Nervous for first triathlon... need encouragement please!!

Hi all,


I'm doing my first triathlon this Sunday, the 28th (Chicago Sprint Tri) and I'm getting really nervous.  I'm concerned that my training hasn't been good enough lately.  I started training in February as I was pretty out of shape and worked my way up to the distances.  I was able to do the distances by May and got bored with the training so I haven't really run in the last two months .  The biking I have focused on so I can do 14 miles without being too fatigued.  I'm a strong swimmer with good form, but I'm nervous about being surrounded with all the other swimmers... training in a pool is so completely different that I'm not sure how to handle the swim.  Do I start in the back and to the outside so I can have my space?


And I fell off my bike on Sunday and my knee and thigh are both bruised up pretty bad so I'm a little worried about it healing in time.  I keep telling myself that if I can't run (from not training + the injury) that I can just walk the 5k, but I'd really rather not.


I guess I'm just really nervous about putting it all together with a few thousand other people.  My biking so far has been in a forest preserve and I rarely have other people biking around me so I scared I'll run into someone.  Or perhaps the bikers are more spread out then that and I have nothing to worry about?


I've studied the course on paper and some in person and I'm somewhat familiar with where the transition is, but again, putting it all together, with all the people around and the adrenaline going just makes me nervous.


Then there's the nutrition.  I plan to eat a peanut butter sandwich, apple sauce and water an hour before the race and some high carb Gatorade 15 minutes before my start time as well as Gatorade in my bikes water bottle.  At the transitions I was also going to have some of the high carb Gatorade (I think its called G2).  Is that enough for during the race?  What should I have the night before?  I was thinking pasta with olive oil, chicken and veggies.


Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated!




  • KurtinSC Pro 126 posts since
    Nov 23, 2009

    First off... calm down!  No need to be nervous, you're probably going to suprise yourself when you get out there.


    I've found in general with the running, if you've been riding the bike consistently then you won't have lost that much from the run.  Not having done bricks might mean you're a little more wobbly then normal starting the run after the bike, but just take it easy and don't try to go too fast at the beginning of the run and you'll probably do a lot better then you're expecting.  As for the bruising on your leg... it's tough to say the impact that will have.  I've had a few of the "0-mph" falls off my bike since getting clip on pedals and some have left some significant bruises... but generally they've only been a little tender to the touch.  If that's all you're dealing with, I don't think it will impact your performance at all.  If it hurts a lot just to walk, or you have joint pain... well just take it very easy.  You dont' want to make something worse just because you feel the need to run.  There's no shame in walking most of the run... I've had to do it before.


    If you are a strong swimmer, I would be cautious about starting too far in the back.  If you do, you'll have more problem with the feet of those in front of you limiting your space.  It might be a good idea to start out wide so you have some open water, but no too far back.  Congestion on the bike probably won't be too big a deal... though your event sounds larger then any I've done.  Just stay to the right so those going faster can pass and you'll be fine.


    I can't help you much on the food.  For most sprints, you're talking about 2 hours or so to complete.  I generally find eating something normal before I start and keeping lots of fluids in me is enough.  Sometimes I'll have a bananna after the bike.  But I'm no expert and I could be way off with what I'm doing.


    Anyway, good luck this weekend.  You're going to love how it feels when you finish.

  • missriggs Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 19, 2007

    Katie! My 1st sprint tri is on the 28th too but here in Colo, IA. Good luck! The way I look at it is most likely there will be someone slower & faster than me on my 1st tri. Most importantly, I just want to finish with a smile on my face so if that means for you...walking-then do it! I'm also looking forward to the responses you'll receive as they'll help me too.


    Best of luck!



  • Niftygirl16 Expert 54 posts since
    Feb 9, 2011

    Hi Katie,


    I just completed my first sprint a few weeks ago........well, I did the swim and run and my friend did the bike.  Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of things with you.  Most times they will have a transition clinic the day before.  If they do then definitely go!  It really helped to ease our minds about alot of things and it also just changed my whole mindset after meeting fellow racers who felt the EXACT same way I did.  It just made me relax a bit more knowing how many others were doing their first one and it got me back to my original thinking when I signed up "my goal is just to finish with a smile."  Also you can ask any questions you may have at the time which will also help ease the stress.


    My swim was INSANE due to water conditions and I am not a strong swimmer.  So trust me when I tell you......if a non-swimmer can survive 8-10 foot breakers then you will do just fine.  I agree with Kurt who said if you are a strong swimmer then it is probably not necessary for you to start way in the back.  If there are other heats in front of you just kind of watch to see how people are entering the water and get a feel for the spacing that you see in front, middle and back.  Outside is always good.


    I really didn't do too much distance running before my race either.  You are still active on the bike so your conditioning will still be good.  The other thing that I realized during my race was how much energy you will have as your adrenaline kicks in.  With all the cheering and other athletes around you it's just such a energetic atmosphere!  You're going to end up just going for it without even knowing it.  As far as so many people on the course, with the "wave starts" things thin out for the most part but again, just stay to the right and run your race.  The race I was in had 1500 participants and the only time you would ever know there were that many people was when you looked at the transition area pre-race when it was full.  Other than that I would have never guessed there were that many people running the course.


    I did some reading on nutrition for the race and what pretty much everyone says is that a sprint distance doesn't really require much.  A nice pasta dinner the night before is never a bad thing, just be sure you don't eat too much too late at night since you'll be getting up early.  For the morning of my race I just had some Kashi cereal and a banana about an hour and a half before the race.  About 15 minutes before the race I had a G1 Gatorade.  I had some nuts while waiting for my friend to return from the bike and the rest was just water.  G2 on the bike would be good and just maybe a little water on the run.  I don't like to take in too much liquid before running because I get cramps in my side.


    Well, that's about all I got.  My final thing though is JUST HAVE FUN!  Trust me, you will get so wrapped up in the whole event that you're going to have more in you than you think.  When you see that finish line you are going to be so proud of yourself..........make sure you smile when you cross so you get a good picture to cherish ;o)


    Also, take a big thing of powder for the transition area.  If you powder your feet after the swim it will take all the sand off instead of using water.  It worked great!  Put powder in your socks, powder in your shoes.  That was good advice from a friend who does Ironmans.


    As for your injury that will be up to you to figure out as the race goes on because only you know how you are feeling.  But I think the adrenaline will take over and you won't feel it much.


    I hope this helped!  ENJOY!!  Please let us know how you do!



    "At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe."

    Completed Races:

    • 10/31/10 - Monster Mini Dash 5k (Providence, RI) - TIME 33.54
    • 3/19/11 - St. Pat's 5k (Providence, RI) - TIME 31:51

    • 8/7/11 - Jerseygirl Sprint Tri (Long Branch, NJ) 1:32:23
    • 10/2/11 - Wish it, Dream it, Du it Duathlon (Smithfield, RI) 1:50:33
  • mjm 62 Pro 91 posts since
    May 18, 2008

    Katie,Katie,Katie,relax,this is your first one,you just have to finish and you have a P.R.I've done over 30 Tri's and I still get a little nervous.First the eating -remember everyone's system is different so don't try anything new.I've used the same meals for 30 years and haven't had a problem yet.Night before- chicken and brown rice 20 or so Oz's of Gatorade-The morning of- Protein shake,peanut butter toast,coffee [ approx 3 hrs before start ] a banana 45min before start, on my bike I carry 2 water bottles 1 with water 1 with Gatorade. I race in Southwest Florida and need the electrolytes due to the heat.Remember to have fun and if you can hook up with another first timer.I can bet when your done you'll be hooked!!Keep us posted and good luck,Mike

    Cape Coral Yacht club sprint 1:03

    FGCU sprint 1:03

    Columbus Marathon 3:50-2010

    Gator Half Ironman 5:43-2009

    Venice sprint 1:09/25th overall

    Captiva sprint 1:04

  • Julie Ann Hackett Legend 226 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007

    Good luck!  Sounds like you are well prepared.  Just remember we do this for fun!

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