Competing in your first triathlon? Use this student’s tips

Competing in your first triathlon? Use this student’s tips

Learn about contributor Amanda Reza's first triathlon experience with the Ramblin' Rose Race and get helpful tips for your own race.

This past Sunday, I competed in my first triathlon with Ramblin’ Rose. The course consisted of a 250-yard swim, 9-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run. For anyone who is interested in participating in a triathlon in the future, here is a beginner’s guide of my tips and experience of the race day.

Before the Race

I made sure to arrive at the course when registration packets were available around 6 a.m. Even though the race did not start until after 8:30 a.m., I was glad I was able to avoid the crowds of people arriving. After receiving my race tags and number, I was given a specific spot for my bike according to my race number. A more experienced triathlete had explained the usefulness of laying all my gear out on the floor next to my bike (as opposed to keeping it in a bag). This would allow me to easily transition legs of the race without the hassle of digging through my stuff.

I came to the course dressed in a  one piece swimsuit that I would layer clothes on after the swimming portion. To save time, I pre-pinned a shirt with my race bib, which I left by my bike. I also brought a pair of sports shorts, but I noticed some athlete wore tight biking shorts that they wore into the pool. Since I could not use my sneakers during the swimming leg, I needed to leave them by my bike. Instead, I wore slippers, which I handed to my parents prior to the start of the race. I had also worn a pair of swimming goggles and was provided with a swim cap by the volunteers.

After I prepared my gear, I walked the course and found where each leg began and ended. This helped me move quickly during the race since I wasn’t searching for those spots. I also stretched.

Above: Swimming leg of the Ramblin’ Rose. Photo courtesy of Neelam Reza


We were placed into groups based on our swimming ability.

Each participant was given a 15-second interval before stepping on a mat with a sensor that started each person’s timer. From the mat, the participant would then get into the pool, following the person in front of them. We had to swim down the lane and back before moving to the next lane. After completing 5 laps, I climbed out of the pool onto a another mat with a time sensor.

Proper etiquette to pass a slower swimmer is to tap on the slow swimmer’s leg or foot. It is then customary for the slower swimmer to allow the faster one to proceed in front once they reach the end of the lane. Diving was not allowed because the pool was not very deep.

Above: The biking leg of the Ramblin’ Rose. Photo courtesy of Neelam Reza.


After the swimming leg, I rushed to my bike station. After getting dressed quickly, I then walked my bike to the start of the biking leg. This section also involved a sensory mat at the start and end.

A few signs marked turns during the race. At intersections, volunteers and police also directed traffic, making it safe for the triathletes. Since we shared the road with cars, I made sure to stay towards the right side of the road. When passing people, it was important to announce the side I was passing them on. Even though I wanted to keep a fast pace, I took some breaks, which were very helpful in keeping balance on turns.


By the time I had reached the run portion, my legs felt like jello. I decided to take it slow and walk most of this section.

Like the biking section, there were also volunteer

s directing the traffic of the runners. At the one mile check point, there was a volunteer handing out cups of water.

I noticed that several of the triathletes had equipped themselves with some gear. This included fanny packs, strap-on water bottles, and devices with headphones loaded with playlists of upbeat music.

Amanda Reza

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