“Three years in triathlon certainly doesn’t make me an expert,” confesses Lucy Bowden, “but I have definitely learnt a lot since I decided to delve into the world of swim, bike and run.” We asked Lucy to give us the top 10 things she learnt pretty quickly on her triathlon adventure, and like a lot of triathletes, she opted for the extra kilometres and gave us 16 things.

Text by Lucy Bowden | Lead Image by WITSUP

A beginner … when do we stop getting called a beginner? For me, every day I feel like a beginner, every day is a new opportunity to try new things or something as simple as tweaking the swim form to be a little better than it was yesterday.

But let’s go back, way back – well three years back – when I first started triathlon. I didn’t know the lingo, or the names of any of the professionals, I was just a country kid who loved riding her bike and getting sideways on the dirt roads. Then I discovered road bikes, some smooth bitumen and fell in love with just how fast I could go.

We all start somewhere and we were ALL beginners at some stage in our lives in everything that we do, really.

So what are some of the things that I learnt very early on in my triathlon adventure:

  • The addiction: Hook, line and sinker. Once you’re in, you’re in!
  • Cashola: THIS SPORT COSTS MONEY, A LOT OF MONEY – But, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to begin with. I will however warn you that the deeper you get into the sport, the more you want to spend though. But, at the end of the day, remember it’s your heart, legs, lungs and mind that does the hard yards.
  • The Hangriness: Some days you may feel like you can eat enough to feed a small village, and you know what? Do it! You obviously need it, which leads me to…
  • Pizza: Pizza is good pre-race, pizza is good post-race – actually pizza is good in general and it’s great fuel.
  • Eat Doughnuts: Enough said.

  • Guidance: Find a respected coach and TRUST them. If you’re happy with them, then good! Don’t think there is better out there, or the grass is greener. Stick it out and trust the process. Trusting your coach is key!
  • Comfort: Chamois cream is money very well spent. You will not be disappointed when you can shower without screaming after a triathlon.
  • Lycra lovin’ mates: Training is a lot easier with a squad that wants the best for themselves AND others. Coffee in lycra is more enjoyable with mates.

  • Beats: Create a solid playlist, you’ll need it. If you are looking at doing longer distance, those long lonely winter trainer sets do require some upbeat tracks.
  • Neutral Party: Find an athlete who would make a great mentor. One that understands you, what you want and your sport.
  • Growth: Don’t compare yourself to others that ‘have been there done that’ – grow in your own time. Everyone is different and we have our own goals and timeframes in what we want to achieve them, roll with it and stay focused on YOUR goal.
  • Caffeine: Do you like coffee? Good! Don’t like coffee? You will soon – this sport requires some good social outings. But if you order anything from the regular – Flat White, Capp, latte or Long Black be prepared for the piss to be taken out of you. Not to worry it will pass as a newbie will take your spot.

  • Open Mind: An attitude to learn and embrace change. Once you are addicted you will want to be better, faster, stronger don’t be put off by constructive criticism, take it on and go with it.
  • Quote: Quality over quantity. Get prepared, very prepared to hear this over and over again. You probably wont appreciate it the first time, or the second or third but one day you will and you wish you listened sooner – so take the advice when the coach first says it!
  • Be You: Be different, set yourself apart from the rest – you’ll go far in the sport and sponsors will gravitate to you, if that’s the direction you want to take.
  • Life: At the end of the day it’s about having FUN. Smile, always!


Coming from an area where I was forced to train alone majority of the time I would highly recommend finding your local triathlon club and joining up, all the clubs are online at Triathlon Australia. This is a great starting spot to meet like-minded people, you’ll be able to learn from them whilst having a blast.

About The Author

Lucy Bowden

Country girl at heart with a passion for sport and wellness. Helping to nurture and inspire the younger generation makes me a happy human. Peanut butter is a staple in my pantry, maybe the odd doughnut too!
Live, Love, Laugh – Always!

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