Beginners Triathlon Info

Are you new to the sport of triathlon? Welcome! Hills Tri Club want to make sure you achieve your goals – Join us to get support, make new friends and start competing.

What is Triathlon?

Triathlon is a mix of 3 sports, that you do all in a row for an overall race time.


There are various distances to compete in. For new people to the sport, we strongly recommend you start out and do an “enticer” event for your first race to get a feel for things. At Hill Tri Club, our members race across all distances, however our own race series is “Sprint”, “Enticer”, and Junior distance events.

  • An enticer race is (generally): 250 m Swim, 10 km Bike, 2.5 km Run
  • A sprint race is 750 m Swim, 20 km Bike, 5 km Run
  • An Olympic (standard) race is 1500m Swim, 40 km Bike ,10 km Run
  • A half ironman (70.3) is 1.9 km Swim, 90 km Bike, 21.1 km Run
  • An iron distance (Ironman) race is 3.8 km Swim, 180 km Bike, 42.2 km Run
  • We also conduct Junior Races at smaller distances for kids from 5 to 12 years of age.

What is Duathlon?

  • A duathlon is held in the winter months when it is too cold to swim
  • The main distance is a 5km Run, 20km Cycle. 2.5km Cycle
  • Enticer and 12 years is a 2km run, 10km Cycle, 500m Run
  • We also offer smaller distances for kids from 7-11 Years

What equipment do I need?

Being 3 sports in 1 there is a bit of a list and if you stay involved in this sport you will accumulate stuff, a LOT of stuff. But to get started you just need the basics.


  • Goggles
  • swim cap (supplied on the day)
  • A swim suit or tri suit. Almost everyone does their first triathlon in normal swimmers.
  • Down the track you may get a swimming wetsuit but you don’t need one to race and most people do not have one when they start out.


  • A bike. Mountain bikes are fine, so are borrowed bikes, kmart bikes and crappy old bikes.
  • Helmet
  • Shoes
  • It’s a good idea to put a drink bottle on your bike.


  • Running shoes
  • A cap or visor (not compulsory).

You may wish to bring shorts or shirt to ride and run in depending what you are wearing in the water (see ‘What do I wear’ further down).

Other things to bring include

  • Sunscreen
  • ID
  • Towel
  • Socks if you plan to wear them
  • A watch if you want to keep track of your times (official race results will be available within a couple of days but some of us are impatient).

Most people have a checklist written before race day so when the nerves kick in you can pack everything according to your list and not stress about forgetting things.

Where do I go when I get there?

  • Head to the big, red registration tent, you can’t miss it.
  • Pick up your race pack which has your timing chip, swim cap, race number bib and stickers for your bike and helmet. Instructions are included on what to put where.
  • Put your helmet on and take your bike and all your gear to the transition area (the place with all the bike racks – once again you can’t miss it).
  • Put your bike on the racks and set up all your gear in a neat little pile next to your bike.
  • You will need to take your bag and any non-essential items back out of transition and leave them in the bag drop area.

How do I know where to go during the race?

  • Before the race you will receive an email with all the details of the course, including course maps.
  • On the day there will be maps up on a big white board to help you familiarise yourself with the course.
  • There is also a briefing just before the race where the officials run through the whole course with everyone.
  • There will be lots of people around to ask if you are unclear about any aspect of the course and everyone is happy to help you out so don’t be afraid to ask.

What do I eat and drink before and during the race?

For an enticer, or even a sprint distance, you really don’t need to do or eat anything too complicated.


  • Make sure you drink lots of water the day before and day of a race
  • Eat a normal, healthy dinner the night before and a light breakfast the morning of the race
  • If it is an afternoon race, eat a regular, light breakfast and lunch and avoid anything too heavy in the 2-3 hours before the race.


  • During the race drink plenty of water or electrolytes.
  • You don’t need to worry about gels or any triathlon/ endurance specific foods in these short distance races.
  • If you do want to use anything different during your race make sure you try it out in training before race day to make sure it agrees with you.

What do I wear?

The short answer is that you need something you are able to comfortably swim, ride and run in.

  • This may be one complete outfit from start to finish or may involve adding a layer after the swim leg. Most triathletes eventually race in some form of Tri Suit but very few had one for their first race.
  • Most people wear their regular/ speedo type swimmers for the swim leg. If you have triathlon shorts you might choose to wear them over the top in the water. Otherwise people often leave a pair shorts at their bike and put them on for the ride and run.
  • Your torso must be covered for the ride and run, not usually an issue for the women, but guys will also need to leave a shirt at their bike if they are not swimming in anything that covers their top half.
  • Some women will wear a sports bra under their swimmers.

What happens if I get in to trouble in the swim leg?

The swim is the part of triathlon that intimidates a lot of beginners.

If you are not a confident swimmer here’s a few things to make you feel better about the swim leg at Hills races.

  • You swim in a straight line, parallel to the shore, so you are never more than 10 metres from dry land
  • There are 4 Lifeguards on boards and 2 lifeguards in a Rescue boat following the swimmers along and ready to help anyone who feels like they are struggling
  • As per all triathlons, if you are struggling or feel out of breath you can stop and hold on to the watercraft, have a rest and then continue your race. As long as you don’t move forward there is no penalty at all for doing so.
  • We swim in a lake at least 40km from the ocean so there is no waves, no currents and we 100% guarantee no sharks.

Is everyone there going to be a hard-core athlete?

Absolutely not!

Whilst we do have some fantastic athletes within the club who have competed all over the world and achieved amazing results, the vast majority of us are just like you. We have families, jobs and other commitments. We participate in triathlon to keep fit, meet like-minded people and have fun.

We have club members in all shapes and sizes, ranging from toddlers to 70 years plus. It doesn’t matter what your time is or where you finish on the list, it’s about getting out there and challenging yourself. The sense of achievement when you cross that line is hard to beat.

Just be warned – this sport is highly addictive. This might be your first triathlon, it almost certainly won’t be your last.

More Questions?

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All of us remember our first race. It’s super exciting but can also be a bit daunting. I had lots of people from Hills help me out when I was getting started and would love to do the same for you.

Need some help preparing for your next race?

We have a helpful race checklist for you to download and print that includes some useful items you may need for your triathlon.


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