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Tue 17th Sep 2019
Your First Triathlon
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 27th March 2007

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Your First TriathlonSo, you have taken the plunge and entered your first triathlon. Now the panic sets in -- what do you have to do to get fit and ensure that you have an enjoyable experience rather than a complete nightmare. After all, you want to do more than one event so you realise that a proper training programme is definitely going to be a good idea. The triathlon books are all filled with so much detail you feel you need a degree in Sports Science while the magazine and web articles are, almost by definition, not detailed enough to satisfy your requirements.

Catch 22, then! You need to do a race in order to learn the ropes but you would like to know enough to not look like a complete novice...

At last it looks like there is a book that really does deliver on its promise and should probably be issued along with your starter kit to make sure you get the best out of the stuff -- in fact one retailer, Sigma Sport, are already bundling it with their starter packs. The book is Your First Triathlon and it has been written by coaching legend Joe Friel to guide you to your first race in just 12 weeks. It pretty much assumes a ground zero approach and covers the training from every angle, even to the extent of explaining the differences between different types of bike.

There is a huge amount of detail here, anyone who has read Friel’s seminal work, The Triathletes Training Bible, will know that he doesn’t cut corners, yet it is all presented in clear and easily understood chapters. The content is aimed at Americans -- the section on lifestyle eating habits may well astound the average European -- and some of the information may well need to be adjusted for conditions are rules over here but, until someone produces a ‘localised’ edition you’ll just have to work round those bits.

Where Friel excels is in the training notes. The book presents four plans; one for a complete beginner and one each for a swimmer, a cyclist and a runner. The plans are very differently constructed compared to the ones in, say, Gale Bernhardt’s Training Plans for Multisport Athletes, but then you realise that the whole point is that they are designed to be flexible and to fit into the lifestyle of a normal working individual. There are eight swim workouts, 15 bike workouts, 12 run workouts and four combination (or brick) sessions plus various strength sessions as well. The system works like a menu in that you pick the appropriate session to fill the slot in the programme.

This is not a book on how to win a World Championship, it’s a book to get you through your first event or your first season and, because you enjoyed the experience so much, to set you up for more to come. At that point you will need to put it on the shelf as an occasional reminder of those first races or pass it on to the next person who has decided to give the sport a go. The book gets a Tri247 verdict of “A Ronseal product -- it does exactly what it says on the tin and it does it very, very well”.

Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel is published by Velo Press. ISBN-10 1-931382-85-9

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