Triathlete Beginner Questions

Being completely new to the world of triathlons, I’ve had a lot of questions. Here are a few.

1. Do I need to get a new bike?  
bikeI wrestled with this question for a long time.  I had a hybrid bike off Craigslist that wasn’t the best, but it was usable, and good for most things.  I ended up in vesting in a vintage Trek 1200 for $360, and some clip less pedals and shoes for an additional $90 so it wasn’t an unsubstantial amount.  I’m glad I did though.   I figured that riding a bike twice a week or more for three months was more riding than I had done my entire life combined even if I never used it again (but I will), so why not get a bike that I could work on my technique and allow me to improve on.  The clipless pedals were daunting, but not as hard as I thought.  After the first day at the park, I can now maneuver around pretty good.  I’ve had one fall so far – trying to get up a hill from a stopping position and I didn’t get my foot clipped in time and tipped over.  😦   

2.  My tailbone / butt is in some serious pain after me first few long bike rides.  How long does it take to develop a tolerance to it?
I had separate issues with this on two different bikes.  Before I got my road bike I was training on my hybrid that I hadn’t used very much for long distances.  My tailbone area was extremely sore after the first few rides for a few days even, but then went away.  This appears to be quite normal, and it shouldn’t persist for very long beyond minimal soreness after a long ride.  It just takes a little bit of time to get used to.  If it does, you will likely need to get the seat readjusted, or get an entirely new seat.  With my road bike, the seat that was left on there was a seat for men, and was very old and very uncomfortable.  Riding it was so painful, I almost couldn’t even finish the ride.  It was that pain that you don’t really want to discuss with your training partner about because it’s awkward to say your crotch hurts.  This impacted everything, since my feet started to hurt badly since I was putting too much pressure on them trying to lessen the pressure from sitting.  I ended up switching out my seat with my nice comfy one from the hybrid, and now I have no more problems.

3.  I need a new one piece swimming suit.  How is this supposed to fit?
I ordered my swimming suit online, and was surprised about how high on the hipbone it fit, compared to a typical bikini.  Mine sits right at my hipbone.  Some articles suggested that if it felt too revealing you can always exchange it.  But what is normal?  I googled pictures of swim competitors and having the suit at the hip bone seemed fairly standard. It still took some getting used to though.

4. How long are the dents around the eyes supposed to last from goggles after swimming?goggles
My goggles leave dents on my face for at least 2-3 hours after I swim.  I have tried two different pairs now.  One pair fits me better with no leakage and leaves more of an imprint.  It is annoying.  I don’t want to keep buying goggles.  From what I read it seems goggle dents are part of the struggle and unavoidable.  They shouldn’t last more than a few hours, and maybe hydrating will help.  Some people experience it less than others. Here’s a few threads that give me no hope, although maybe I will try one more pair before giving up.
Forum: Triathlete swim goggle
Forum: Goggle dents

5. What do women wear for race day?
You can wear a swimming suit, tri-suit, (probably not recommended for beginners on a budget) and then put bike shorts and a shirt on after the swim.  Some people complete the whole thing in their swim suit, and some change both from bike shorts, then again into running short.  For me, I am planning to wear my swimming suit with some bike shorts (the ones with minimal padding) and keep those on for the run with a tank top.  I tried doing a few workouts biking and running after a swim with my swimming suit and and for me it is comfortable.  For others it may not be. That seems to be the main thing.  Do whatever is comfortable.

6. Why am I getting muscle cramps
I’ve had some issues with cramping.  First it was my calves -it would wake me up in the night and it would even make me sore for a few days after.  Very painful.  I recently had a foot cramp while doing a swim workout.  I was in the middle of the pool and had to just dangle my legs while I did break stroke to the wall.  It sucked.  I was having a really good workout and after it would go away I would try swimming again, and it would come back. I eventually had to use the pull buoy and just workout arms.
Causes of muscle cramps:  Dehydration (debated), muscle fatigue, lack of electrolytes, God hates you.
How to Prevent Leg Cramps in Athletes – Trails.com
5 Ways to End Muscle Cramps – Active.com
One of my biggest challenges that I can easily overcome is to just drink enough water, so this is one more incentive to really focus on this.   Getting a cramp on race day during the swim? ug.  One more thing to be nervous about.

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About Musings over Coffee

Fitness enthusiast. Love to travel, mess up recipes, ponder random things, get riled up about the news, all of which nearly always coinciding with one of my favorite things in the world: Coffee.
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