Getting Started with Triathlon

Getting Started with Triathlon

Triathlon can initially appear daunting, as it involves three distinct disciplines: swimming, cycling, and running, each with unique equipment, vocabulary, and obstacles. Nevertheless, experienced triathletes will attest that the process of training and competing in each sport and then combining them is what makes it so gratifying.
To help you navigate triathlon training and racing, our comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on everything from finding resources and obtaining coaching to obtaining essential equipment. Use this guide as your starting point to shift from feeling overwhelmed to feeling thrilled as you embark on your triathlon journey!
The triathlon community offers abundant resources to support every aspect of your training journey, from beginner-level workouts to race selection and finding a suitable coach, pool, or club.

Free Resources

A great starting point is, which provides event calendars for the United States and beyond, guidance on locating a coach, joining a club, and accessing online forums where experienced triathletes can offer advice and answer questions.

Are you looking for tailored training tips and personalized workout plans based on your skill level? Check out resources such as TrainingPeaksMapMyRun, and RunKeeper or Strava, which can also help you track your progress.

When it comes to swimming, the United States Masters Swimming (USMS) is a valuable resource for finding a pool and fellow triathletes to train with.

Another critical aspect of training is dressing appropriately for weather conditions. Runner's World's "What To Wear" section provides an online tool to generate outfit recommendations based on your local weather.


When starting to train and race triathlon, it's essential to have the following gear: swimsuit, goggles, swim cap, and wetsuit (optional if you have a pool swim or live in a warmer climate) for swimming, any bike (road, tri, or mountain bike) with a helmet, bike shorts, bike shirt, flat kit bag with an extra tube, pump, and tire levers, sunglasses, bike shoes with appropriate clips, and gloves for grip and/or cold weather for cycling, and quality running shoes, athletic socks, sweat-wicking clothing, sports bra (for women), and a hat or visor for running.

It's also worth considering renting a bike and essential bike gear from your local bike shop or borrowing one from a friend who has a similar height and build since triathlon can be an expensive sport to try out.

Hire a Coach

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of triathlon, consider hiring a coach to guide you through the initial confusion. Coaches can offer much more than just training plans, providing valuable insights to help you settle into the sport, address your concerns, and minimize your risk of injury. You can use the USA Triathlon Find A Coach tool to locate USA Triathlon Certified Coaches who specialize in your desired discipline, level, or location. Working with a coach can yield numerous benefits, including the following:

  1. Improving your swim technique and efficiency, which is especially crucial for open water swimming.
  2. Enhancing your running performance by adjusting your training regimen to optimize physical adaptations that will help you on race day.
  3. Boosting your biking power without sacrificing your running ability.

TriFind is another valuable resource for finding a coach and getting started in triathlon. They understand that searching for a coach online can be daunting, but they provide an easy-to-use platform that connects coaches, athletes, and brands.

Find Races

Selecting a triathlon race that suits your preferences can be a fun process. Consider factors such as the distance from your home, cost, type of swim (pool or open water), and terrain to help you choose. Depending on your location, a wide range of triathlon races and distances are available. To begin your search, you can check out resources such as the USA Triathlon Sanctioned Event, or


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