Written by Trevor Spillane
Step One – Give yourself a pat on the back! It’s not easy trying something outside your comfort zone (taking on three sporting disciplines in one go is a challenge) but it’s great to test yourself from time to time.
Step Two – Plan and prepare. Once the buzz of signing up for an event dies down a little, make sure you have everything in place to get the full enjoyment from the day and make it as stress-free as possible.
Start with the small things:
* Have you got a Triathlon Ireland Race Licence or your One Day Licence sorted? No licence means no race.
* Have you got a wetsuit, goggles and swimming cap? A cheap pair of flip-flops are also a good buy when you’re walking towards the start of the swimming section.
* Make sure your bike is in good working order. Get your bike serviced before the event to make sure everything is ship-shape (Halfords on the Ring Road is a good venue for a bike check-up; you can also pick up some energy gels there for the day – they will be in the Castle Park on the morning of the Triathlon to help with last-minute problems).
* Make sure to check your cycling helmet. Check it’s ok to use and that it fits!
* Make sure you READ the race brief. This is the most vital document you’ll read before the race (sorry work emails!) as it will answer all of the questions you may have about the big day. If you’re still curious after that, don’t hesitate to ask a KTC Race Marshal when you collect your registration or on the morning of the event – as triathletes themselves they will be able to help.
Step Three – Familiarise yourself with the routes. By reading the race brief – again, make sure you read the race brief! – you’ll see maps of the swim, cycle and run routes. Studying these will help you visualise what you’re taking on. If you’re from Kilkenny, why not check out the routes in person before the triathlon? It’s always handy to know where that sneaky hill or sharp turn is!
Step Four – Pack in advance. Have your gear ready to go at least a day before the event. That way, when you wake up on the morning of the event, it’ll be one less thing to worry about.
Step Five – Beat the deadlines and arrive early! With limited registration on the morning of the event, save yourself some hassle and collect your race pack the day before.
And, when it comes to the big day, make sure you’re at the Castle Park in plenty of time to get set up. The transition area has a set closing time so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get set up before it closes.
Delays happen – avoid causing yourself additional stress by being at the venue in plenty of time.
Remember where you’ve set up your bike and equipment (third row, fourth row etc) as the transition zone can look very different post-swim to how it appeared earlier that morning).
Step Six – Have your gear set up in the order you need it for each section of the triathlon. Before you finish, make sure the bike is in a low gear – too high a gear and you’ll force your heart beat up too fast.
Step Seven – Enjoy the day! You’ll be surrounded by fellow triathletes, new and experienced, but the craic is great. Embrace the nerves and smile at the cheers as onlookers roar you on. And when you cross the finish line, soak up the atmosphere – you’ve earned it!