What to expect when you're expecting...to compete in a triathlon.

By Danielle McNally
Updated: May 10, 2012

So, my training didn't really go as planned this week, thanks to a bout of food poisoning on Monday and Tuesday. The actual food poisoning was bad enough, but I'm also pissed that it left me too drained, tired, and nutrient-depleted to hit the gym in the days since. I'm hoping to be back in the saddle tomorrow morning, though. In the meantime, I've been collecting triathlon advice for all sorts of sources. Yes, being physically ready is super important, but I've found from my chats that there's so much else you need to do to prepare. A couple of nuggets of wisdom I've received: Try on your wetsuit. I ran into an old friend recently who has competed in several tris. He told me that, before his first, he bought a wetsuit online. A couple weeks before the race, his girlfriend recommended he test it out. Good thing she did-the wetsuit barely fit and he couldn't move his arms. Turns out he had purchased a surfing wetsuit, not a swimming one. And apparently they are quite different. Swim in open water. As much as I would like to ignore it, swimming in a pool is, in fact, different than swimming in open water. Even if it's a calm lake, as a fitness model I met with for a potential photo shoot warned me, in open water you can't see the bottom and there are no lane markers to help you stay on-path-or keep other swimmers' flailing arms and legs away from you. Practice your transitions. And not just adding a helmet or swapping shoes, but actually moving from one sport to the next. A recreational triathlete whose best sport is running told me that hoofing it was actually the toughest part for him the first time around. That's because his legs were so spent from biking. He'd never practiced both together and his quads completely cramped up. Thankfully, for those of us on SHAPE's 12-week training plan, that won't be an issue. Our coach, Scott Berlinger, built in back-to-back cycling and pavement-pounding workouts starting in week five. Received any great advice you want to share? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @DaniSMcNally.



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