Frank Cardia’s Tips Before Your First Triathlon


  • When training for your swim, make sure you go a little farther then your needed distance. You will definitely have confidence then. Swimming can be scary – especially if one can’t touch or see the ground.
  • Remember, you can resort to your ‘easy’ swim stroke if need be such as the side or the breast stroke.
  • Do some open-water training if possible. At least 1-2 times prior to racing. Open water swimming will be more challenging. Just make sure you have somebody looking out for you if you get into trouble.
  • Like the swim, do a few bike or runs over the distance needed. Confidence again. Try racing a duathlon (even though it is a lesser challenge…I know I know…haha!!!) OR race a 5 or 10K run.
  • Make sure to do a few ‘brick’ workouts several weeks before your first tri. These will help you immensely for the bike to run (T2) transition.
  • Try to get familiarized with the course. If you can, obtain a map of the course days beforehand. Optimally, train on the different parts of the course before the event. Don’t do all the events on the same day, but separately. If you can’t train on the course before the tri, then at least drive and walk most of it. Just being familiar with the course will rid you of a lot of butterflies.
  • Either at home or at the course, try to mentally visualize your set-up at the transition areas and how your sequence of doing things in each transition area. This is key or you will blunder through the transitions losing unnecessary minutes. Write your transition steps down on paper will help you.
  • Don’t train hard the last two weeks before the race. It’s too late for improvement. Get plenty of sleep several nights before. (You should always be doing this though)
  • Do not change your diet before your first triathlon. Keep things exactly the way they were during training. Some people ask me if they should carbo-load a few days before. NO! Eat like you always do. Do not try to pull a change-up to your system. You are doing a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. You should have plenty of energy reserves so long as you haven’t been starving yourself. When you move up to Half or Full Ironman, then you might consider a pre-race diet.
  • Check out the USAT rule book. Very detailed, probably a lot won’t pertain to the beginner BUT has some good ideas. Probably would be a good idea to get a rule book for your particular triathlon (if not a USAT sanctioned event)
  • Above all, REMEMBER: If it is not broke, do not try to fix it.

HAVE FUN !!!!!!!!!

Frank Cardia