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Participating in a triathlon is a grueling sport that combines swimming, biking, and running in that order. It requires lots of training and practice to get ready for your tenth triathlon, let alone your first. But if you’re prepared to take on the challenge, here are some mistakes you should avoid making as a first-time triathlete.

Not knowing how to swim in open water

Most of your swim training will probably take place in a pool, and that’s fine, but swimming in a triathlon is very different. It usually takes place in a larger body of natural water like a lake, where the water isn’t as clear. It can be hard to see where you are going in open water, making it easy to get lost or off track. If you can, try swimming in the lake before the triathlon to get used to it, or try swimming in the pool with your eyes closed or through a pair of badly scratched goggles.

Forgetting where you left your bike

After swimming in murky open water for a while, it’s easy to get disoriented in the quick transition from the swim to the bike ride. It’s not an uncommon sight to see even experienced triathletes running along the rows of bikes trying to find theirs. To avoid losing track of your bike, try familiarizing yourself with the transition area as much as possible before the start of the race. Run up and down from the beach to the bikes as much as possible, and try getting a brightly covered helmet to help you recognize where you parked.

Not pacing yourself

Nobody likes to come in last place, even if that’s not the point of a triathlon. It’s easy to get caught up in that burst of adrenaline at the start of the race, only to slow down in the bike portion and end up on your hands and knees as you cross the finish line. Don’t worry about where you are in the pack; worry about going at your own pace (the one you trained at) and staying on your feet the whole time. It’ll be a much better experience for you in the long run, pun unintended.