Triathlon : How to perform well in your first race?


In our previous article, you found out how to prepare effectively for a triathlon. Once you have understood the method and you have planned your training sessions, "you're ready to go"!
However, you would probably like to get some advice from triathletes who have already done it. So, at Nabaiji, we asked several questions to those whose enthusiasm for triathlon borders on being a religion.


Samuel Lacroix, head of supply at Nabaiji is used to a challenge. He is a keen 36-year-old sportsman and father of two. He has finished more than a few triathlons. This year, he has set himself some new challenges by taking on the Ironman (3.8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling, 42km of running) and a 100km run, no less… So we thought we would ask him about his first triathlon and how extreme racing became an obsession for him.


Nabaiji: Samuel, can you tell us how you got into sports? 

I swam in a club from the age of 8 to 14, did competitive road cycling from the age of 18 to 24, and I have always more or less gone running to keep fit between these periods. So, I naturally started doing Triathlon to get three times the fun out of one discipline!


What did it feel like to finish your first triathlon? 

It was a Sprint Triathlon: 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
I signed up to accompany a friend.
I hadn't done any road bicycle racing for 4 months and had not really done any training since.
Swimming was difficult because even if 750m is not much, it can seem very long when you haven't done any training! I did well on the bike thanks to what was left of all my years spent in the saddle but I had the worst bike-to-run transition of my life because this change in activity, which is the most difficult one in my opinion, is not easy, especially if you want to make good time!

It took me a good kilometre of walking to adapt to this change in movement!

I finished in 9th place and it made me want to do it again, telling myself that with a little practice, this sport was made for me!


How do you prepare for a competitive race?

Given my age (37) and the time available to me between work and my family life, I quickly decided to move on to long-distance races such as IRONMAN.
"Short" triathlons are too demanding and time-consuming for me.
I therefore set myself two main objectives (1 per semester) that I supplement with secondary dates such as Half Ironmans (1900m swim, 90km bike, 21km run) or Intermediate/Olympic distance Triathlons (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run).
These secondary dates let me get out of the monotony of the long weeks of training and to have fun with relatively short competitions that allow me not to work myself too hard.


What are your objectives during the event? 

The 1st is a time objective since Ironman training plans are often based on this goal (e.g.: Sub 11 => aim for a time of less than 11 hours for Ironman, etc.).
The ranking is secondary. Often, the first time target for a beginner, apart from finishing their 1st Ironman, is to get under the 12-hour mark.
Finally, the time target is split up into the 3 sports using "benchmarks" made during training and according to your strengths.
My goal behind all this is to experience a unique personal journey and to share these special moments with other people who are passionate about this sport like I am. 


What are your best and worst memories of your physical training? 

The best: having managed to achieve, on top of a normal working day, a 21km run in the morning from 6am to 8am, a 3km swim at lunchtime and a 90km bike ride in the evening, the equivalent of a Half Ironman. A very busy day - it was easy to get to sleep that night! ;-)

The worst: spraining the top of my foot 5 days before my 1st Ironman after 8 months of training! Fortunately, I was able to participate anyway.


What are your best and worst memories during an event? 

The best: Finishing my 3.8km swim and 180km bike in 18th place…
The worst: …then taking 4:20 to run a marathon, that's less than 10km/h on average! 


If you had just one word of advice to those who are starting out, what would it be?

Choose the right distance so that you can enjoy it from your very first race and so as not to sacrifice everything, starting with your family life, depending on your ability to be able to free up time for training. Triathlon requires more time than other sports and therefore relies on give and take from both sides. Embarking on a long-distance challenge, and especially an Ironman, is a project that must first get the green light from your loved ones. This is essential for you to succeed in this incredible journey. Once you have gained confidence, you won't be afraid of long distances anymore!

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