Ironman Triathlon – 10 things I wish I knew before I started training

I have recently completed an Ironman triathlon. I haven’t had a chance to summarize this experience yet, but I will.

So stay tuned! Bye…. Just Kidding

Triathlon is an interesting sport, and for someone who never did it before, some of the things about it seemed weird to me at first. In this post I will share with you 10 things that I wish I knew before I have started my training.

1. Bike pedals will give you both – pain and embarrassment

Bike pedals have cleats, that clip to your bike shoes to make your riding more efficient. I love riding with cleated pedals now, but when I started… It took me a while to get used to unclipping. When you don’t unclip on time you will fall, and it will hurt. Also it is pretty embarrassing!

See for yourself:

2. Swimming makes you dizzy

When you get out of the water after swimming in choppy conditions – often you feel really dizzy. One of the tips that helped me to avoid it is to put swim cap over my ears.

3. Same Trisuit for 17 hours

I usually don’t wear my t-shirts for more than 8 hours, but during long events such as Ironman triathlon, most athletes wear same trisuit for 10-17 hours. To avoid chafing athletes use vaseline based glides and creams.

4. Following feet when swimming gives you superpowers

When you draft behind someone during the swim – you spend much less energy and its totally legal. They say that drafting can save you up to 37% of your energy! That’s huge!

Want to know how to draft efficiently ?

Check out this video:

5. Shifting gears is weird

On tribikes gear shifters are located on the aero-bars, which is great when you are in aero-position, but it does create a little bit of a problem when you are climbing hills.

tri bike gear shifters, ironman triathlon

6. No Tribikes are allowed in cycling groups

Most of the cycling groups would not allow people on tribikes as those are considered more dangerous. So if you want to train with cycling groups, you would have to buy a road bike.

7. Running after bike feels weird

When you start running after bike, your legs are wobbly and it feels like you already ran a lot The good news is that this feeling it passes after first couple km.

8. Sometimes you have to run during the swim portion of the tri

In some races while doing multiple laps of swimming, you have to run out of the water and jump back in

Run swim, ironman triathlon

9. Wetsuit is your secret sauce

Wetsuit makes you swim  faster – it gives you extra buoyancy and you don’t have to move your legs that much, I find that with wetsuit I am at least 10 seconds/km  faster.

10. You don’t have to be young or fit to finish an Ironman triathlon

I met many people on the Ironman race, many of them were less fit than me, older than me and most of them still finished. I met a guy on the race who did his first Ironman in 67.

Don’t believe me that it is possible ? Check out this video of 86-year old nun, who did 40 Ironman triathlons:

Leave me feedback!

These are my 10 things that I did not know about triathlons, before I have started. Your feedback is super valuable to me, so if you have something to share, please put it in comments!

Also if you enjoy such posts, you will enjoy my Productivity Hacks & Tools newsletter, where I send you 1 email a week with 3-5 tools, that I use myself to be productive. Some of them helped me to finish my first  Ironman this year, so please subscribe!


Curious Dreamer, Experimentator addicted to fine Wine and Endurance Sports

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