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Triathlete tips

by Brett Nichols, pro triathlete

Brett Nichols has been working at Landry's Boston store. During his time with us, he earned his elite triathlon license and has competed as a professional ever since. In these Landry's Triathlete Tips, Brett shares what he has learned.

"Whether you're new to triathlons or this is your tenth season, it's important to start training long before your season-opener."

One essential element of any successful triathlete is the patience and time taken to properly train for a race. Whether you're new to triathlons or this is your tenth season, it's important to start training long before your season-opener.

Assuming you've fallen completely out of shape over the holiday season (but you still remember how to swim), this is roughly how much time you'll need to prepare for some of the more typical race distances:

Race preparation

Sprint Triathlon
0.25–0.5 mile swim, 10–15 mile bike, 2–4 mile run

Recommended training time: 2–3 months

Olympic Triathlon
0.9 mile swim, 24.9 mile bike, 6.2 mile run

Recommended training time: 3–6 months

Half-Ironman Triathlon
1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

Recommended training time: 6–9 months*

Ironman Triathlon
2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run

Recommended training time: Minimum 9–12 months*

* For the Half-Ironman and Ironman distances, I highly recommend hiring a coach to develop your training plan and race strategy — to help ensure you achieve your goals and to ensure your physical health and safety.

Let's start planning!

With this kind of prep-time, it's clear that racing triathlons for a season requires some planning. If your first race is in June, the latest you should start training is March. That would make the winter season the perfect time of year to start looking for races, shopping for a coach, and acquiring the necessary equipment to start your training. So let's start planning!

When choosing your races, consider these factors to help to ensure a good time on race day:

  • Average temperature on race day.  What temperature do you like to race at? If you don't like to be cold, you might not have very much fun if your first race is in New England in March.

  • Who's racing with you?  It's always more fun to race with one or more of your friends. Standing at the starting line with a team can help to ease your nerves, and celebrating with fellow finishers is always sweeter than celebrating alone.

  • Look at the course map.  Is the course spectator friendly? Or are your friends and family going to see you just one time all day? Keep in mind your audience is there to see you, so find a venue that's a fun place for your supporters to enjoy the event.

  • How many people raced at the event last year?  Would you prefer to stand at the start line with more than a thousand other racers — or only three hundred? Some people get nervous if a race feels crowded while others like the hustle of the pack.

  • What have other people said about the race?  You can find race reviews at, which can be helpful, but being able to talk to someone who has done the race always paints a better, although biased, picture.

Choosing your races

Got your priorities set? Good! Now you're ready to start looking for some races. I'd recommend racing at least once this summer with Sun Multisport Events. Over the years I've done several of their races, and can tell you they've got great venues for both competitors and spectators, crucial support on the course with friendly and encouraging volunteers, and awesome post race parties – good prizes, great food, and sometimes even live music!

You'll want to keep your horizons open. New England is a great place to be a triathlete, but you may want to travel for your ideal competition. Ever raced in the desert? Or in the woods of upstate New York? Take a few minutes and look around to dream up your perfect season.

And if you want some personal tips, come into Landry's Bicycles and chat it up with the folks in the store. We're not all triathletes, but when our customers enjoy a race, we remember. Happy planning!

Everything you need to know about triathlons

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