Ever watched the swimmers at Brockwell Lido, dedicated to their training schedule come rain or shine, or got over enthusiastic one Saturday morning at your local Park Run and thought “I’m going to do a triathlon”? Well whether you’ve signed up already or are just considering the idea, we’ve got some great advice from former Brixton boy, and professional triathlete Colin Norris.
Colin took part in his first triathlon, the London Triathlon in 2011 where he finished 2nd overall. Since then, Colin has competed at the World Triathlon and Duathlon championships and more recently attained a professional license after placing 3rd at the British elite middle distance championships.
- Wait to see if you like it
Triathlon requires some investment and just to enter, get a bike / wetsuit / trainers is expensive. My best advice is to beg and borrow off friends and invest as little as possible in equipment early on. You don’t want to buy the latest wetsuit only to find you can’t stand swimming in open water! Triathlon is synonymous with the ‘all the gear, no idea’ catch line for a reason. Start small, build up your stash as you go. It feels much better whizzing past someone on a flashier bike than your own!
- Where to start
South London has a range of triathlon clubs (South London Harriers, WindrushTri, or find a club here) as well as running, swimming and cycling clubs. Being part of a club is a great way to meet like minded people and get as many tips as you can! We are blessed in South London with parks to run in, lido’s to swim in (Richmond, Charlton, Brockwell Lido, Tooting Lido) and a quick train out to Kent for a weekend ride. Make the most of your surroundings!
- How to train
It can feel like information overload out there which means it’s hard to know where to start. Mt top tip would be to fit the training around your life – not the other way around, and be careful not to over train. Build up slowly, a 10% increase per week is a good rule to follow and every few weeks take an easier week to allow the body to recover. Remember, training breaks you down, rest builds you up! Try running off road if possible and make sure you listen to your body.
- Keep it local
Racing closer to home not only saves time and cost, it’s far less stress and hassle. It may seem like a nice way to get in a weekend away and see a new part of the country but it’s not always a good ides. Staying locally will allow you more time to enjoy the event and your more likely to be able to get friends and family along for support! Head over to the British Triathlon Federation to find an event near you.
- Start short
Ironman racing is the buzz word and one that many want to tick off their list – that’s a 140mile event! My advice would be to start at the shorter end of the spectrum, the sprint and Olympic distances. This way, you can race more often, the cost is lower and more importantly it takes less time to train for so it won’t take over your life!
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