Tricurious: The Lowdown
My triathlon debut is a week today (ARGH) and it’s fair to say I’ve gone through several periods of absolutely shi**ing it when I think about how unprepared I am about how the event itself works, of which I only have myself to blame. I signed up on a whim back in December, tired of training for the same running races and not making many waves in terms of progress and sustaining injury free periods. I realised I’m maybe not a natural runner and wanted the refreshing feeling of that first race without chasing a time. Triathlon bound I come.
Dan dutifully bought me a Dorling Kinderlsey book for Christmas which I opened on the day and haven’t since (sorry Dan!). Having never swam a stroke of front crawl before my lessons in Spring (except for maybe when I was at first school), I was daunted by the book's technical explanations of swimming and diagrams of muscle movements. I basically ignored the obvious – that I have no effing idea what I am doing or how a triathlon even works, and got my head down practising my crawl, because no matter what that really is the bit that I have a realistic fear or not being able to complete. No amount of resources will help me if I literally can't swim, so I declined to make the time to educate myself. Still too nervous to even look at the London Tri website about what’s in store for me, I stumbled upon a tweet from fellow blogger Danielle about a book for first time triathletes, Tricurious (see what they did there?! Genius!), and seriously - this book has been like my bible!
I can't recommend Tricurious enough for anyone thinking of taking part in a triathlon, it’s an invaluable source of info and written by two triathletes (Laura Fountain from Lazy Girl Running and Katie King of Cake of Good Hope) anecdotally with a nip of humour. Basically if you enjoy reading blogs by normal women (helloooo) then you will love this book. Love, love, LOVE it. I completely devoured it then started reading it again in case I missed anything. Here’s a random selection of just some of the things I learned from reading:
- Training for a triathlon will open doors in your life - not only is swimming part of the tri, but it's an invaluable life skill. I have already waxed lyrical about this in my last blog post.
- Learning to swim will seem scary and insurmountable. Don't panic.
- It's ok to feel like a complete douche getting in and out of your wetsuit. The first time I put mine on I was convinced it was two sizes too small . Laura and Katie recommend putting a plastic bag over your foot as you push it in - so simple yet so effective!
- Whilst we are at wetsuits, getting them off is apparently aided by lube on the ankles...
- It's totally acceptable to ask a fellow triathlete to zip your wetsuit up. Embrace the camaraderie.
- There are loads of rules for a triathlon and you should read up - put that helmet on before you touch your bike, don't practice 'drafting' in the cycle (sheltering within ten metres of the cyclist in front)...
- Pump up your tires and you'll go faster.
- A 'brick' session is practising one discipline after another. Today I cycled nine miles then ran two and a half. So half my triathlon - it was bloody hard.
- It's OK to come last in a tri. Someone has to.
Thank you ladies for bringing this book into my life, I'm not sure I would have a clue what I was doing without it. Hopefully I will heed your advice on the day, especially now I have whacked it down here!