Tri Start–Beginners Only

new triathlete pic - run outGot triathlon on your bucket list? Think it looks like fun?

Most people genuinely have the ability to complete a triathlon even with the most basic equipment and a basic plan. We want to help you. Below, you’ll find a list of the basic equipment  and advice needed for a first time tri, before you want to dive in whole hog.

So, what do I need? 

Not much. Most seasoned triathletes have similar stories about their first triathlons: swam with no wetsuit, threw on some running clothes after swimming, borrowed a bike, and hoofed through the run in their favorite running shoes. The very basics of a triathlon start with first of all the desire to do something new and to conquer the unknown. Once you begin here with a curious start rather than complete terror, you’re ready to tackle this new adventure.

Basic equipment list: 

  • swim suit
  • shorts, shirt, socks
  • running shoes
  • bicycle (if you do not have one, ask around to see if anyone is willing to lend you one)

And that’s it. You can complete a triathlon with these basic items. And quite frankly, going skimpy will help you decide if you want to tri again without totally emptying your bank account.

In addition to basic equipment, you need to pick out a race. We at strongly recommend finding a sprint triathlon distance or even a super sprint. Thankfully, if you want to stay local, most of the races in South Dakota ARE just that distance, and they’re all over the place (north, south, east, west, and smack dab in the middle). You know a race is this distance when the swim is usually around 300-500 meters, the bike is somewhere between 12 and 15 miles, and the run is somewhere between 2.5 and 3.1 miles (a 5K).

Once you’ve found your race and signed up, it’s time to find a training plan. Lucky triathletes can find experienced triathlon trainers and coaches near them willing to write a plan of anywhere from 8-12 weeks away from the triathlon.

We’ve discovered that many of the sprint triathlons in our great state often have a recreation center, fitness center, or community center affiliated with them. They will often times offer training plans that includes a race entry, and many will also have groups of triathletes to train with.

A variety of free plans exist online. Here are links to some of our favorites:

Having someone to talk to about triathlon certainly helps as well. So look for people who have completed a triathlon or consider talking a friend into doing the training plan with you. The more the merrier. And when you’re done, you’ll have one more thing to cross off your bucket list. You may just find yourself with a whole new healthy lifestyle too.


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