Your first triathlon: Tips from Brendan Sexton
Olympic triathlete Brendan Sexton shares his best advice for your first big race.
What's the number one thing people should keep in mind when setting out to complete their first triathlon?
Acknowledge that there’s a process that will take time. Set small goals that lead towards a major aim and enjoy the processes involved in achieving those goals.
If possible, find a group of training buddies with similar goals and abilities to your own. It’s also great to train with people who are more advanced so you can gain perspective and added motivation to improve. Ensure your group makes the process of improving enjoyable, and be sure to celebrate your collective achievements.
Should you focus on your weak leg or your stronger leg when training?
At an elite level, I’m constantly trying to improve all three legs of the triathlon. I believe this should be the aim at any level. Triathlon is a three-discipline sport – ideally all three legs would be as strong as each other and a triathlon is only as strong as its weakest leg!
That said, a focus on weaker legs should see greater overall improvement. I often find someone’s weakest leg is his or her least liked in training (the case with me anyway), so a change of approach towards the training could see more enjoyment and therefore improved performance.
"It’s great to train with people who are more advanced so you can gain perspective and added motivation to improve."
What level of fitness do you need to complete a sprint distance triathlon?
Being an endurance event lasting up to two hours, a sprint triathlon will need some degree of preparation. In training, you should practise separately swimming a non-stop 750m, riding 20km without a break and running 5km. If you’re able to complete the disciplines alone without difficulty, the combined effort is attainable.
What is the most important training gear that people need?
Apart from the obligatory pool, bike and running shoes, the most important equipment is the right clothing. Depending on climate, conditions and type of training, what you’re wearing can make all the difference too. Training and race apparel should be well fitting, engineered from good fabrics, offer insulation in cooler weather and breathability when it’s hot. In 2XU I can approach my training, racing and recovery with the confidence I require to perform at my best.
Image: Jaimi Chisolm