6 triathlon tips for beginners

GB age-grouper Kirsty Middlemist is racing the middle-distance the 220 Woburner Triathlon this September as part of her preparation for Ironman UK 2019. Here she shares her top tips for beginners


1. Key in your race nutrition 


No-one needs any tricky incidents, so get this right and your race is going to be easier. Ensure you practise it in training to avoid any digestive issues during your race and that it works for you in terms of energy boosts. You’ll go through more than one bottle/gel so make sure you like the taste too. Also consider whether you like what the race organiser is providing. Again, try it in training to make sure and if it doesn’t work for you, take along your preferred nutrition.

2. Use carrier bags!

I was into season four before I tested this out! Carrier bags on your feet/hands help you get into your wetsuit with a lot less struggling or falling over. Lube your legs and arms as usual and then slide your limbs into the wetsuit. You’ll save loads of energy and time. Game changer!

3. Know your equipment

Under no circumstances use new equipment on race day. You want to be confident that you’ve tested the bike, run in the trainers, swum in the wetsuit and trained in the tri-suit you’ll be using for race day. This prep will give you the confidence you need and, hopefully, prevent any kit mishaps.

4. Practise transition

This has been drilled into me in recent years and can save you time on race day, as I found to my benefit at the 2017 WoBurner. Practise placement of your items, getting out of your wetsuit and changing from bike to running shoes. Play around to work out what’s best for you – everyone has their own style.

5. Do S&C work 

Yes, it can be hard to fit in even more training on top of the swim, bike and run, but trust me, it’s worth it! Strength and conditioning (S&C) includes core work, weight lifting and resistance bands. A good S & C session performed 1-2 times a week improves efficiency across all three disciplines, for example it can lead to greater propulsion in the swim and ensures your core doesn’t ‘collapse’ during the run.

6 Have fun!

As age-groupers, we make many sacrifices to fit our training in around work, family and a social life. On top of that, racing usually takes place at the weekend. But at the end of the day, we need to remember that this is a hobby we’re passionate about – so enjoy it! Race day is your moment and you’ve worked hard for it. Never forget that.


Kirsty trains with Team Dillon alongside pro Emma Pallant. 2018 will be her ninth season as a GB age-grouper, having taken part in all distances from sprint up to full Ironman. She completed Ironman UK in 2015 and is aiming to go back to Bolton in 2019, so is using this year’s 220 Triathlon WoBurner as training towards the full distance.

Here’s why we named the Woburner the second best middle-distance triathlon in the UKfor beginners.


220 Triathlon WoBurner 12-week training plan

What are the different triathlon distances?