First Time Finishers Guide – eBook

EBook Cover Triathlon Training GudieFirst Time Finishers guide eBook for Sprint Triathletes. . .


This short guide you are about to read was created from questions from women and men just like you–those who are planning to complete their first triathlon. Before you let me help you enjoy that thrill of crossing the finish line for the first time, here are three simple things you need to know:

  1. Everyone has questions about how to complete their first triathlon
  2. Everyone has doubts about whether they are doing the right type of training
  3. Anyone can complete their first triathlon with the right coaching and guidance

To help you complete your journey, I’ve put together this introductory guide, and hope that you will consider making the investment in my complete “First Time Finishers Plan” ™ for helping you get across that finish line. This guide was created from actual questions (and answers) that I’ve received when doing lectures and clinics teaching people how to complete their first triathlon. You’ll find that many of your own questions are already answered or addressed right here, and if not, I will show you where to go to get more information about how to become a First Time Finisher ™

What’s Inside the eBook

Chapters, Topics & Page Number

Welcome to the First Time Finisher’s ™ Triathlon Guide! 2

Equipment – The Right Gear for the First Time Triathlete 9

  • What kind of equipment does the First Time Finisher need? 9
  • Swimsuit 9
  • Goggles 10
  • Running Shoes 10
  • Bicycle 10
  • Helmet 11

Training to be a First Time Finisher 12

  • The Three Elements of Training that help you improve your performance 12
  • Reach Your Goals Sooner with Consistency 13
  • Rest Is a Mandatory Training Component 14

How do I get started? 15

  • Basic Fitness Requirements 15
  • Modify the Plan to Suit Your Needs 15
  • Where to get Support 16

Week by Week Training for the First Time Finisher – Month One 17

  • Week One 17
  • Swimming: 17
  • Biking 18
  • Running 18
  • Weeks 2, 3 & 4 19

The Middle Stretch – Fortifying your Endurance 19
Month 2 19

  • Sore muscles 20
  • Sore joints 20
  • Organization 21
  • Costume 21
  • Bricks 22

The Final Stretch – Month 3 23

  • Preparing for your Peak and Crushing Race Day 23
  • Longer Bricks 24
  • Visualization and Mindset 24
  • Moving from Swim to Bike and Bike to Run. AKA Transitions 25

Transitions 25

  • Transition Layout Diagram 25
  • Racking Your Bike 25
  • The Swim to Bike Transition 26
  • The Bike to Run Transition 26
  • Transition Rules – Helmet & Dismount Line 27
  • How to Practice Transitions 27

Final Thoughts 28

12 Week Sprint Basic Triathlon Training Plan 30


About the Author

Coach Suzanne Atkinson has been involved with experiential and outdoor education since graduating from Penn State University in 1991. Triathlon became a passion while looking for ways to introduce cross-training into her fitness lifestyle after finishing medical school and going into my Emergency Medicine Residency. She completed her first formal triathlon during her medical internship in 2002 and started coaching triathletes in 2006.

However,  her experience in “multisport events” started 1992 when working as an instructor for Voyageur Outward Bound school in Minnesota, Montana, and Texas. Most Outward Bound courses all involve a final “Personal Challenge Event.”  The Personal Challange Event is held on the final weekend of all courses that finish at the same time.  Anywhere from a handful to hundreds of Outward Bound students will complete Wilderness Triathlon on the final day of their course before graduation.

While Canoeing, Portaging and Running may be slightly different events that the triathlon that you are preparing for, the work and planning involved is similar. On the morning of the Personal Challenge Event,  fifty or more canoes line up side by side on the calm morning waters of the Kawishawi River near the Minnesota – Canadian border.  The sight of all these course participants lining up on a misty morning still sends chills down Coach Suzanne’s spine.   Triathlon race-day mornings are no different.

If Coach Suzanne can teach, train and motivate groups of teenagers and young adults to complete a Wilderness Triathlon that includes carrying 80-pound canoes overhead in places like the remote, mosquito-infested, Boundary Waters Wilderness Area and the arid, dusty canyons of El Polvo (“the Dust”), Texas,  She can definitely help you plan and complete your first triathlon.

Just as she has helped dozens of other people complete their first triathlon, Coach Suzanne can be a part of your experience as you train and race your first triathlon and become a First Time Finisher™.

Advice From Coach Suzanne

As you progress in your journey,  keep just one thing in mind…the most important thing I learned during my years at Outward Bound…is that we are capable of more than we think we are. Let me say that one more time because it’s vital that you and I agree on this:

We are capable of more than we think we are.