TriDu for Beginners: A First Time Triathlete’s Guide to Racing in a Triathlon!

Never done a triathlon before?

Thinking about competing in your first ever triathlon? In search of some tips to “TRI”? Need some information about the UBC TriDu?

Look know further! We made the perfect beginner’s guide for your first Triathlon!

What is a Triathlon?

A great first question to ask! It’s a swim, a cycle and a run, all in one race!

What is TriDu?

It’s the longest running triathlon in BC. It’s also the first of the outdoor race season! TriDu, as it is so affectionately called, is short for Triathlon Duathlon, since racing the Duathlon is also an option! (The duathlon doesn’t have a swim portion, it’s just a run, bike and then a run again)

TriDu is offered in many different race types and distances, including ones specifically catered towards first time triathletes! (psst, short or sprint triathlon!)

Race Type




Olympic Triathlon


Sprint Triathlon


Short Triathlon


Relay Triathlon



Why try Triathlon?

Triathlon’s can seem very intimidating, especially for those that haven’t raced competitively before, but the Triathlon community is full of great camaraderie and community, even for first timers!

Trying a triathlon is a great way to:

  • Motivate yourself to get back in to shape with a tangible end goal! Completing your first triathlon!
  • Give yourself a new challenge, maybe training for one will be your workout motivation for your upcoming new year’s resolution!
  • It’s also a great overall workout that trains your entire body
  • A fun way to find some training buddies and learn from other racers


Down to TRY the TRI, or DO the DU? Register for TriDu 2020 today!


Tip & Tricks

Decided that you’re going to give it a try? Already registered and just wanted some quick tips for how to do your best on your first try? Here’s the basic run-down of what to keep in mind this racing season!


Make sure you have the right equipment! If you’re a first timer, you don’t need the fanciest or most expensive equipment. Use what you have or even borrow/rent!


  • Goggles
  • A swim cap is recommended, especially if you have long hair
  • Since TriDu is an indoor swim, you won’t need a wetsuit! A swim suit is still required, however!


  • A bike! Any bike you feel comfortable with, that is in good working condition will do! There’s no need to buy a super expensive one just for your first triathlon.
  • If you need to rent a bike, take a look at BSP Bike Shop, they have a variety of bikes at some pretty affordable rates!
  • A helmet! Safety first, safety last, safety ALWAYS. Make sure your helmet fits well and is strapped on during your bike portion of your race. It is absolutely required for your TriDu race.


  • Some well-fitting running shoes! Any pair you’re comfortable in and used to running in will do the trick. If it’s been a while, you might need an upgrade but again, no need to spend too much on a pair of runners!
  • BONUS: Elastic laces! Get some stretchy laces that will make your shoes easier to slip on, plus they won’t go undone for whatever reason during your race. This will help you out with your transition times as well!
  • Also: Don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses, you’ll be out in the sun for 2 out of the 3 legs of the race, with the majority of your time being spent outside and you’ll want to be prepared! (Even if it’s cloudy, those UV rays will still shine through)



This may be the most daunting part for most people and you might not know where to start, but training for your first triathlon is actually easier than you’d expect!

Start short, then go long

This applies for the type of triathlon you run, and your training! First timers are recommended to start with the Short or Sprint Triathlon distances. Work up your stamina and don’t push yourself too hard at the start.

Plan Ahead and Start Early

If this is going to be your first Triathlon, it’s suggested you start training 12-16 weeks in advance. Total weekly training sessions should be around 4-5 hours! Establish a consistent schedule and try your best to stay on top of it! It’s a good idea to search online for different training plans that would work with your weekly schedule.

Make sure you do at least 1 training session for each leg of the race, every week and build up your endurance and comfort level for each leg.

One key tip is to practice your transitions between the legs as well (More about race transitions in a bit!) Focus on “bricks,” which means to bike and then run right after to train your legs for race day!


Training is important but don’t forget to rest!

Training Buddies

It’s always easier to train when you have someone else keeping you accountable. Try finding a training buddy who can help you out, or maybe convince a friend to race TriDu with you!

UBC Recreation also offers an First Time Triathlete Training Package!

It includes multiple group training sessions with qualified coaches, free passes to the UBC Aquatic Centre (where the swim will be held!) and access to the community of other first time triathletes!

More information on the First Time Triathlete Training Package here!


Transition Times

Sometimes considered the fourth leg of the Triathlon race because of how crucial it is, not only to your overall triathlon time but your training in general.

What are transitions?

It’s when you move from your different legs of your race and switch into your different equipment. For the triathlon it will be from your swim (the pool) to your bike, then your bike to your run.

It’s important to keep in mind how to maximize your time by keeping your transition times short. Have your equipment transition area tidy and make sure you’ve tried all your equipment before your race, ensuring everything is comfortable and fits properly.

Transition Times are key to factor into your training, the First Time Triathlete Package includes important guidance on managing your transition times.



We hope this has helped you on your journey to becoming a triathlete! A couple small steps can make a big difference.

The first step is to register for the UBC Triathlon Duathlon before it’s too late!

It’s easier than you thought and a lot less daunting, especially if you’re doing it with a friend or training for other first timers, like with the First Time Triathlete Training Package!

Be sure to click “going” on our Triathlon Duathlon Facebook event and follow our UBC REC Instagram page for more info and tips & tricks as we get closer to the 2020 race season.

We can’t wait to see you there! As always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the TriDu team at