Training for your First Triathlon Step 1: Choose an Event to do

Often I find that people get inspired and motivated to do their first triathlon by either watching their friends and family complete in an event, or a group of people will challenge each other to do an event with them. These groups are usually workplaces or a group of female friends. A triathlon is a very rewarding activity to do. It will challenge you both during the event and as you train and prepare for it. However these challenges are easily over come, especially with a group of supportive friends and family, including your official coach (or the support of Coach Ray through here). There are a number of great events to do as your first event. A few of what I believe are the best first timer events in the country (if not the world) are:

  • Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Women’s Triathlon (late November in Blenheim);
  • Any of the Scorching Triathlon series events (most of the summer months in Wellington); or the
  • McFadden, McMeeken, Phillips Lawyers Nelson Women’s Triathlon (April in Nelson).
Ange heading out on the bike leg of the Marlborough Women’s Triathlon

These events are all very supportive environments that are based on encouragement and having a go. Low key events such as these place less pressure on you.  Often you will find yourself swept along with support to the finish line. You need to pick an event that is far enough away to give you time to properly prepare for it. I typically recommend at least 20 weeks, but you can get away with a bare minimum of 12 weeks.

  • For the Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Women’s Triathlon you should have already started training for it, but if you haven’t make sure you do so by the start of September;
  • For the McFadden, McMeeken, Phillips Lawyers Nelson Women’s Triathlon you want to kick start your programme by mid-November.

You will increase your chance of success if there is a group of you doing an event together.  A group can provide valuable support to each other. You are more likely to do the session if you are doing it with a buddy. No one likes to stand up their mate. Even if you are doing the training by yourself, being part of a support network you can bounce ideas off other people. These support networks can be virtual (i.e. Facebook group) or the real world (i.e. a coffee group) were you can catch up and discuss the challenges, how to over come them and how you are feeling after various training sessions.

As part of the Qwik Kiwi Tribe who are training for various events, we have a closed Facebook group so members of the ‘tribe‘ can hang out and talk about what is working for them and conversely what isn’t working. It can be reassuring to share experiences.  You may find that others are in similar situations and facing the same challenges as you.  Solutions can come easily when you discuss them in supportive environments like this. We also arrange regular get togethers as well, for both training and the social side of things.

Molina completing the opening leg of the Marlborough Women's Triathlon
Molina completing the opening leg of the Marlborough Women’s Triathlon

What you need to do now is get a group of friends together and pick an event to do. Create your own support group and start preparing. If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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