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#1 – Do I wear underwear?

Okay, here are a few things on the underwear issue…

As you do your bike training, on rides over 50 miles I suggest wearing cycling shorts or bibs, which have pads in the seat to save your rear end. As you can see, they are not cheap. No, you don’t wear underwear beneath the cycling shorts or bibs.

Tri shorts are shorts you can swim, bike, and run in. The seat pads aren’t quite as thick as the cycling shorts, and I often use them on rides under 50 miles. You don’t wear underwear beneath the tri shorts either.

I use running shorts in my training, and most running shorts have an underwear-like liner within them. Most people still wear underwear beneath them.

For a female transitioning from swim to bike in a triathlon event, most females pull their bike/run gear over their suit, as opposed to changing out of their swimsuit. For female triathletes, sometimes the women’s swimsuit offers very little in the way of chest support. As a solution, some people wear a 2-piece swimsuit with support or wear a tank top that has a built-in bra over your swimsuit during the bike and run.

While we’re at it, I might as well mention Udder Cream, which comes in handy for long bike rides.


#2 – How do I keep from spilling my water on the run?


For the longest time, this was very frustrating for me. I’d grab a cup of water, get one or two sips, and basically spill the rest.

Some tips:

  • As you’re running past an aid station, make eye contact with the volunteer who is handing you the cup of water.
  • Grab the cup from the top, as opposed to grabbing it sideways or from the bottom.
  • Once you have the cup, immediately squeeze the top together a bit, which will create an oblong opening. Drink from one end of that opening. Water won’t splash out as easily, and you should be able to maintain your pace without spilling any water.

Listen to Bud Light’s Real American Heroes ”Mr. Pit Crew Water Bottle Squirter”:


#3 – How much air should I put in my tires?

bicycle-pump-by-brokenarts.jpg Check your tire sidewalls — the recommended PSI will be there.

Use a floor pump with a gauge on it, available at any bike shop. Good pumps will have an arrow that you can position at your desired PSI. When the needle hits the arrow, you’re good to go.

By the way, you will need to know your tire size when you purchase a spare tube for your saddle bag. Your tire size is also on your sidewalls. For example, mine is 700 x 23.


#4 – Where do I sign up for that Ironman thing in Hawaii?

ironman-winner-normann-stadler-public-domain.jpg Wow, as a newbie you sure dream big! I like that.

However, let me encourage you, as a newbie, to start with shorter triathlons, and build up to the Ironman triathlon. I would encourage you to do some Sprint Triathlons first, then the Olympic distance triathlon, and later a Half Ironman triathlon.

With regards to the Hawaii Ironman, it is considered to be the Holy Grail of long distance triathletes, and it generally takes a year or two at a minimum to get into Ironman Hawaii shape. You must qualify in an official Hawaii Ironman Qualifying Race.

Each race has a specified number of qualifying spots; most official Ironman distance qualifiers have between 80 and 100 spots. But even after all of this, it takes a lot of luck to get into the Ironman Hawaii. IM Hawaii holds a lottery for approximately 200 spots each year, with U.S. triathletes going for 150 spots while International applicants go for the other 50. You can increase your odds of winning a spot in the lottery by joining Ironman’s Passport Club. The lottery is drawn every year around April 15th.


#5 – Should I start drinking Red Bull?

First and foremost as a newbie triathlete, make sure you are drinking lots of water. You know you are properly hydrated when your urine is clear and not yellow.

There are multiple choices when it comes to sports drinks for the triathlete. This may seem like splitting hairs, but there is actually a difference between “sports drinks” and “energy drinks.” Red Bull would be considered an “energy drink,” but not a “sports drink.” The best marketed sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade aren’t necessarily the best.

Some of this just comes down to personal preference and issues of taste. For example, I prefer the taste of Cytomax over Accelerade, but they both serve the same purpose.

Also, here’s the scoop on sports gels.