Chrissie Wellington’s 5 top tips for triathlon beginners

She’s the four-time Ironman world champion, holds the world’s fastest women’s iron time and is undefeated over long distance. So she’s pretty handy when it comes to advice…


1. Keep it simple


Despite becoming more structured, holistic and focused in my approach to triathlon over time, there’s no doubt that rawness, hard work, passion and initial naivety counts for so much. Yes, in training for triathlon there’s a lot of information to take in, but try not to let it confound or worry. We are at our best when we are least stressed, frustrated or anxious, when we commit to keeping things simple, relish the rawness of sport and enjoying the process.

2. Train alone

Although group training is really beneficial it’s important to follow your own programme, and not compromise your plan for the sake of training with others; as well as learning to love your own company, deal with problems (such as flat tyres) alone and cope with those inner training demons without relying on others for motivation. This means also doing some of your training sessions alone.

3. Do your best

It’s extremely rare to have a perfect race, one where nothing goes wrong. In fact, every Ironman I did I had highs and lows, ups and downs and times where things didn’t go according to plan. Instead of aspiring to such perfection we should aim to deal with imperfections perfectly – that’s the true definition of doing your best.

4. Hit the gym

Strength and conditioning work is important for improving range and synchronisation of movement, flexibility, coordination, agility, strength, power, stability and balance. This is especially true as we age when muscle mass decreases, and our mechanical efficiency declines. Strengthen and condition our bodies and we can strengthen our triathlon performance and reduce the risk of injury.

5. Just start

Starting a session is often the hardest part. So, do just that. Start. At around the 2min mark your cells more easily utilise oxygen as a fuel, muscle temperature rises, and exercise becomes easier. If you have a set of intervals focus on completing only one. Then as endorphins flow, begin number two, then three… and, bingo! You’ve done 10. Or play mind games. Tell yourself you can stop after two intervals. You’ll do those two, and then the mind games can start again, ‘Just get to five.’ I bet you make it to 10.


Chrissie Wellington’s new book, To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to your Perfect Race, in conjunction with 220 Triathlon magazine, is on sale now, priced £18.99


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