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We caught up with our Community Ambassador Rhianna Parkinson, to find out about her inspirational journey from doing little exercise to competing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. We’re keen to find out more about how she first got going in Triathlon.
So, over to Rhianna …
“How did you get into Triathlon?” – That’s a question I get asked a lot!
I’ve been involved in a lot of sports in my life. From ice skating to football to skiing, and now Triathlon. I’d say, out of all of them, Triathlon is by far the most beginner friendly and suitable for all ages. An 86 year old man completed the Ironman World Championships this year so there really is no age barrier!
I was really under prepared for my first one. I knew I could swim, ride a bike, and run, so when I saw an advert for a local sprint distance Triathlon, I thought “yeah I’ll give that a go!” – I hadn’t done much else in way of research, and my training pretty much consisted of making sure I could just about complete the sprint distance (a 400m swim, a 20km bike and a 5km run). I only learnt, whilst in the middle of that first race, that you actually do each discipline in succession, and there’s no stopping to get changed and prepare for the next part!
Have a look below at a picture from my first triathlon!
No! Every triathlon has a wide range of abilities taking part, I didn’t even learn to ride my bike with clipped in shoes until 2 years in!
No! Most triathlons (excluding Ironman) usually start the slower athletes first, so you have a big head start over the faster ones, who start later in the morning. It’s usually the faster ones finishing last!
For your first one, you definitely don’t need the best kit in the world. Below are the essential pieces of kit I’d recommend for any beginner:
Swim Cap (sometimes provided)
Swimming costume, shorts and T shirt (if not using a Tri suit)
Roadworthy, working bike (it does not matter if it’s a mountain bike, hybrid bike or any other type of bike, as long as it rides and the brakes work!)
In addition to this, I would strongly recommend purchasing a race belt. Having one of these means you can easily move your number from the back (for the bike) to the front (for the run). My second strong recommendation is a Tri suit. This will allow you to swim, bike and run without the need to change clothing. Tri suits vary massively in price. I found the cheapest one I could find, when I first started, and it served me well, in small events for 2 years and then at an Ironman 70.3, so there is nothing wrong with that!
I love putting talcum powder in my socks and shoes – it helps getting them on and off quicker, and not getting too damp and smelly!
Practice the course beforehand – I always do better and feel more confident knowing the course in advance.
Join groups to help you along your way and provide advice, such as social media groups, gym groups, or a running, cycling, swimming, or even triathlon club.
Enter your next event! It’s always daunting at first, but once you get going, you’ll wonder why you didn’t “Tri” it earlier!
We believe that sport is for everyone and our goal is to create the world’s largest active lifestyle community. Rhianna is part of our team of ambassadors who, through hard work and dedication, has been inspiring others to participate in physical activity. Not only is she a talented athlete, she is a fantastic role model for all ages and the perfect example of what can be achieved with dedication and a positive attitude.
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