If you have a pool, lake, river, or ocean close to your home chances are that you have some type of triathlon event within driving distance at some point during the year. If you need help finding a triathlon you can try one of these websites that I use to find local triathlons or triathlons where I want to spend my next vacation:
Most races are sanctioned by the USAT (USA Triathlon Organization) and require that you purchase a USAT triathlon license for liability purposes, to protect you and the race organizers. As of the date of this writing a USAT one day license is $12.00 and an annual membership is $45.00 if you are doing more than 3 triathlons in a given calendar year it would be a good idea to pick up the annual membership to save a few dollars.
Choosing the right race for you:
If this is your first triathlon it would be advantageous for you to choose a local race, again preferably a sprint distance. I like competing in races close by my home as I have the advantage of practicing the race course over and over again throughout the year. This also cuts down on stress as you don’t have to worry about the logistics of transporting a bike over long distances or how to get the bike on or off a plane. In short, if this is your first race, and you want to save yourself from tears, go local.
Choosing the Right Race Distance:
As I mentioned in the previous post that explains the different triathlon distances, I highly recommend that you complete a sprint distance for your first triathlon experience. My first experience with the sport of triathlon was an Olympic distance and I was in pretty decent shape at the time, by the end I was ready to say goodbye to the sport of triathlon all together.
Your goal should be to finish your first triathlon smiling and still standing. If you choose to bite off more than you can chew on your first race distance I can guarantee you will not be standing, let alone smiling IF you even make it to the finish. Don’t worry about speed, as this is your first triathlon this will be the fastest you have ever finished a triathlon, you are breaking a record just by crossing the finish line.
All this being said even competing in a sprint distance triathlon can be intimidating to a lot of people. If you believe in yourself and take the necessary time to train, (for a sprint this is about 5 hours per week) you should have no problem finishing with a grin.