Your First Triathlon

Choosing your first race shouldn't be as challenging as racing it


Posted: 24 November 2009

What to look for in your first race might seem obvious. You scan the listings for a small local event with an easy swim and flat cycle and no pressure.

But is that really the best choice when you're looking for your first race? Here is our guide to picking the perfect triathlon that suits your level of experience:

Small races - for

  • A pool swim is a great first step to build confidence before the open water.
  • A relaxed atmosphere will help as you start to iron out kit and transition
  • area organisation.
  • All-year-round availability.
  • You're guaranteed a place with so many events to choose from.


Big races - for

  • Hundreds - or even thousands - of competitors for company.
  • Supportive crowds will keep you motivated.
  • Big triathlons tend to be held in the warm summer months.
  • Plenty of shopping opportunities abound at the race expo.


Small races - against

  • Road closures for smaller races are rare.
  • A limited field will not necessarily attract the top-quality triathletes.
  • Small events rarely have triathlon retailers - this is bad news if you've forgotten an essential piece of kit.
  • There are fewer opportunities to receive a motivating cheer from the smaller crowds.


Big races - against

  • Registering and racking your bike the day before the race might necessitate an overnight stay.
  • Early starts may also force a night away from home.
  • Crowded swim and cycle legs can intimidate any novice triathletes.
  • Finding your bike and kit in transition can be a challenge.
  • Big races sell out well before the event.

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