Preparing for your first Triathlon
Jeremy Leroux is a French triathlete and influencer. He has been in the sport since 2016, originally coming from the running world. Once a friend lent him a bike for a little while, he fell in love and thought "why not give this thing a go?". Today he is looking at Ironman distances and hopes to be on the starting mat as soon as possible.
Today with Jeremy, we break down how to get ready for your first triathlon. Getting started, investing in the right equipment, training splits and race day prep… we will cover it all and hopefully you’ll learn some helpful tips.
1 – BREAKING DOWN TRAINING AND NUTRITION
Compex: How many times do you train per week during race prep, and how do you split it between the three disciplines?
Jeremy: 15 to 20 hours, I try to bike 3 to 4 times per week, and about the same for running and swimming.
Compex: For someone who is looking to get started in triathlon, would you advise hiring a coach? Joining a group? Or simply figure it out on your own?
Jeremy: I think it depends on people. If it is your first one and the goal is just to have fun, asking advice around you can be enough. Read, document yourself and look at what others maybe doing. However, if your goal is to get better in the sport, joining a team is great because you have a coach and teammates. Your trainings are well put-together, and your teammates push you to perform every day. This is the optimal choice for long term.
Compex: When you start training for your first triathlon, should you focus on one discipline more than the two others? Or should you equally share time between the three?
Jeremy: I think that you should always train all three of them equally, unless you feel very weak in one of the three disciplines. It is always better to train your weaknesses more than your strengths. However, there is no shortcut. Training, regularity and patience will be your keys to success.
Compex: Often people get overly excited when starting a new sport, which is understandable. How important would you say it is to not over-train and add rest days to your week of training?
Jeremy: Your body needs to recover. Having a coach is better because he or she will plan your recovery times. If you don’t have one, listen carefully to your body and what messages it is sending you. I know you’ll want to do more and more, but this is the best way to put too much stress on your body and run out of gas, or worst, get injured.
Compex: Should you train transitions between disciplines?
Jeremy: Of course, there are specific sessions where your focus is on the transition, going from the swim to the bike, or from the bike to the run. I would say at least once a week, on shorter distances, but with a race day intensity!
Compex: In a sport where you need plenty of calories for those long efforts, how important would you say your nutrition is?
Jeremy: Of course, it is very important to stay on track with your nutrition. You need to fuel your body correctly in order to perform well during your training sessions. Make sure you have some cheat days occasionally though; it is good for the body and for the mind (laugh).
2 – INVESTING IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Compex: Where would you say we should start looking when getting ready for our first triathlon, and how much are we looking at in terms of investment?
Jeremy: Since it’s the first and you don’t know if you’ll keep doing it after your race is over, maybe do not invest in the most expensive stuff. Get a good road bike that you are comfortable with (this is where you’ll spend the most time probably). Then look for a good swimsuit for open water, and maybe a couple of accessories for pool sessions in order to work on technique. Lastly, find a good pair of shoes for your running, and your set! As you get better, it will get more expensive for sure, but to start, you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
3 – STEPS TO YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON
Compex: In your preparation, do you think there is any interest in partaking in shorter distances to test yourself, like a local 10km, a swim-run etc?
Jeremy: If you’ve done your training right, I don’t think that is necessary unless you are training for an Ironman, in which case it might be useful to train or shorter distances like a half marathon. In the case of a first race, I would say maybe do your own mini triathlon to train transitions and race day paces. You’ll be fine!
4 – GETTING SET ON RACE DAY
Compex: Morning comes, and the stress is there. Any tips you could give us to embrace the race day jitters?
Jeremy: That is completely normal! Even if you are just doing it for fun, you’ll feel the stress for sure. Embrace it. You’ve done the training, you’ve put in the work, so stay focused and have some positive thoughts. Breathing can really help with stress as well, so make sure you are calm and relaxed. Something that might help take some stress off your shoulders is making a race day checklist. I always do that, so I don’t panic if I forget to bring something with me to the race.
Compex: What is your go-to race day breakfast?
Jeremy: I highly recommend not changing your breakfast habits. Changes are the best way to stress out more. Stay in your routine. For me it’s oats and nuts with Greek yogurt, some fruit and dried fruit, and coffee of course. For an Ironman, I like adding some rice for digestion purposes throughout the race.
Compex: Since we are talking about very long efforts, how do you manage eating throughout the race?
Jeremy: I usually know at which point in the race I’m taking my little gels or bars. I also make sure I drink about every 10 minutes on the bike. It is very important to have a plan, so you don’t run out of energy at some point, and so you don’t eat too much at once.
Compex: Do you warm up for the swim part the morning of the race?
Jeremy: For sure, I always warm up for the swim if possible. If not, I’ll use resistance bands to wake up the muscles, massage stiff areas with my Fixx 1.0 and maybe even use the warmup program of my Compex to make sure I am ready to go.
Compex: What is the most important thing to focus on before your race?
Jeremy: There is not one particular thing. Stay focused and don’t forget to enjoy the experience. You’ll probably remember your first triathlon forever, so soak it in while you can!
And there you have it! Tips, tricks and motivation for your first triathlon. Let us know if you’ve used any or if you found any of them particularly useful. Compex is looking forward to hearing about your first triathlon story!