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Your First Triathlon

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Your First Triathlon is the best-selling book for beginner triathletes because it makes preparing for sprint triathlons fun and easy. This clear and comprehensive book prepares aspiring triathletes for the challenge of their first tri through a simple, 12-week training plan that requires fewer than 4 hours a week. By race day, you'll have the confidence and fitness to enjo ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published May 12th 2006 by VeloPress
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Jo * Smut-Dickted *
I'm more a runner than a triathlete but triathlon is always something that's been in the back of my head. Your First Triathlon is a good general book with a lot of good information. It is not too overwhelming (leaving aside the training plans) and covers everything fairly well including quite a bit on strength training and nutrition which you don't always find a ton of in other books or it is very cursory.

The initial few chapters were great introduction and well written. I thought the fact that
Scarlett Hill
I like that this book provides separate training plans that work for those who already have a strong sport. All the other plans I've looked at assume a beginner triathlete is a beginner at all three sports. ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I see it, this is a perfect practical book. All of the things you have to know, packed in a concise way, and none of the things you won’t need.
Totally recommend.
Nicolas Cuervo
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Got this book as a present after having a successful full year as a beginner runner, having joined some fun races from 5k to 15k. Being involved by the feeling of competition, I started grasping the idea of mixing the runs with bike rides and swimming laps, which ended up in me having this book.

I had had many encounters with products from the author (I read some of his blog posts here and there, and was eyeing TrainingPeaks intermittently), but I didn't come to connect all of them until I starte
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Good but basic - very basic - introduction to triathlon training. Probably would be useful if you have absolutely no background in any kind of endurance sport at all, but even if you know your way around one of the sports that make up a triathlon there’s going to be a lot here that’s redundant.

Also now in need of an update. The tech chapters are very dated now in an age of Apple Watches, Fitbit ,Strava, Zwift, etc. which is a minus.
Affad Shaikh
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goal- Complete the race with a smile on your face. I like that idea. It works for me. Can't ask for more from a book then what Friel provided, its an excellent beginning point for triathlete noobs like myself. Dismantled some big myths and helped set realistic targets and goals, especially with the training plans. ...more
Kip Harkness
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Decent overview of the sport, the schedule is clunky and requires daily page flipping... a nice calendar app or even PDF with the workouts described on them would be more useful. Also already very dated with no reference to technologies like Fitbit or Strava and how to leverage them. Also an over emphasis on weight loss and calorie restriction without any clear guidance on ideal weights.
Teymour Javaherchi
Good read for new folks to triathlon training.

If you have no background information on becoming triathlon, this is a great read. However, if you already know stuff about it and/or did one then the materials in this book are 80% redundant.

I belong to latter group, but read it to the end ;)
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sport
Basic, truly basic things. The training plan seems too simple.
But I have learned a lot things about nutritional balance. I run a marathons and almost ignored the nutrition diet, but thanks to this book I decided to do more cooking/nutritional research.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: triathlon
This was a good book to get started with for a triathlon. It had some great tips and hints. I think I am ready to try my 1st triathlon this year. Chiago Triathlon 2018, here I come!!!
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The workouts feel overly simple, but I thought it was a great over all introduction for a newbie to the sport.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Pretty basic information, but nice if you have very little background in endurance sports!
Alex Hogan
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More my speed, also gave me confidence that I can do a triathlon much sooner than I anticipated.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have been hemming and hawing about whether or not I could finish a triathlon for several years now. I've completed many half marathons, a marathon, and various other running events, but for some reason a TRIATHLON sounded like something scary and completely unattainable. My own fears of failure/inadequacy kept me from even thinking about participating in a tri. I bought this book several years ago and have finally dusted it off from the bookshelf and signed up for a sprint tri! In addition to ...more
Douglas Lord
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title pretty much sums up what you can expect: Friel clearly covers for beginners the basics of the sport and its components (swimming, biking, running). Information on nutrition, gear, muscular strength, and more adds value and presents multisport as a healthy approach to life. Friel writes clearly, and he’s concerned with providing budding athletes with information that is immediately useful. For example, the sections on what to eat before, during, and after exercise are great. The body si ...more
My first Friel purchase, the Triathletes Training Bible, is *very* advanced-- experienced/professional triathletes are the intended audience. After struggling through that book, I ordered this one and hoped for a similarly thorough book, but for beginners. But this book is too far at the opposite end of the spectrum: too basic, way too short.

Friel makes odd choices about when to be thorough (page after page on the mechanics of weight loss) and when to gloss over details (the swim chapter has no
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
The first section of the book itself is rather weak - but then again the subject isn't necessarily easy to write about. An exapmle of this is when the author attempts to describe proper stroke technique with words along - no images. This is like trying to describe how a hunter would dress a deer with only words. Many of the ideas in this book could be conveyed much easier if they had visual aids (or even better were taught in person).

The training schedules are where the book seems the most helpf
Chris Maki
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to the sport of Triathlon. I think the real test of this book will be after my first race. I like the way Joe Friel introduces you to the various aspects of the sport and covers all of the equipment you will need. There are several training plans for your first Sprint distance Triathlon (750m swimm/20km bike/5km run) including plans for those that are already swimmers, bikers, or runners. Friel also walks you through your first race, even explaining how to lay out your T1 (tra ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
A good book if you're starting out and self-training for your first triathlon. Didn't give me a ton of new info (I have a family that talks about nutrition, etc a lot) - but gave pointers on training, motivation, goal-setting, and setting up transition areas that make me feel a lot better about doing my first tri in April. The autor made me laugh several times which is good.

A lot of the book is about triathlon as a lifestyle - healthy eating and exercise, etc. Good stuff.

Quick read - I finished
Stéphane Boudreau
Not a bad book, it covers all 3 stages but not at a deep level given it’s an introductory book. I learned a few things about nutrition and swimming, which is the event I will have the least experience on. The book contains 12 weeks’ programs for Sprint and Olympic events. Each event contains a program for beginners in the 3 fields, and programs for experience swimmer, biker, or runner. Given that I have experience in both running and biking I’ll likely merge the programs for experience runner an ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a bad first book if you're thinking of getting into the sport.

What my ratings mean:
5 – I felt this book was an exemplar in its genre/field. That does not mean I agree with everything it says (or the moral of the story). It is likely to be a book that will change my thinking about a topic.
4 – A very impressive book for its genre/field. It probably didn’t change me or my thinking though.
3 – An enjoyable way to spend the time reading it.
2 – This was a pain to read. It was probably difficult to
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Didn't end up racing, so can't rate it too highly.....I'll try again next year!

I think it's good to have a general book on triathlons, so racers know what to expect re: race format, but in my opinion you are better off having a book on cycling, a book on swimming and a book on running. Then create your own workout schedule where you get up to the distances required for each leg. Obviously, your training routine should involve combining legs as well. Good luck!
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
This helped to ease my fear of the Triathlon I have committed myself to! It was informative yet basic and not overwhelming. I didn't give it the last star for two reasons, one, no pictures (don't judge! I'm a very visual person and diagrams would have been nice), two, I haven't put any of this into practice yet. I will try and remember to update my review after the race. I have a feeling though that I will keep this book close-by through out my training. ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a spectacular book for the beginner triathlete. The author offers breakdown of training schedules, nutrition, weight loss and equipment requirements. The author breaks trainings down to races being prepared for a successful race. Furthermore, I love that numerous resources were offered for self-directed trainings. This book was so inclusive in its content that I ended up purchasing it as a resource.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Helpful for a novice, this book briefly covers the basics (motivation, nutrition, swim, bike, run, lift, stretch) and includes training plans. Approachable, and encouraging throughout. Wish it had more detailed information about swimming, and gear. Some of the food suggestions seem strange (soda after the race?!).

I have a used paper copy, will continue to reference the training plan & specified workouts.
May 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
This is a straight forward "how to" book. It gives you all the guide lines and insights into what is required to do your first triathlon. It is wonderful to have all the tools. Only wish it gave the drive... hmm perhaps I should find a self help book that will inspire. lol :D ...more
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: easy-reads
a book everyone should read if they are interested in running a triatholon.... like me :) however - this book doesn't provide you with very advanced training - but provides resources for others ways to get info - important for understanding the triathlete lifestyle and race day ...more
Richard Hoffman
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: triathlon
Great book backed by Joe Friel's amazing expertise and scientific viewpoints. This book provides basic workouts and outstanding hints for improving athleticism, nutrition, strength and fitness... Enjoy. ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This guide is informative and reassuring. I would have liked the book to include training plans that apply to people who are already fit and capable in more than one sport. The author's plans assume a swimmer can barely run, or a biker can hardly swim. ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Training for my first tri now - happy to have found this book. Not a lot was new info, but helpful to have it in one book as opposed to articles on multiple websites. Would recommend for newbies looking to learn more abt the sport.
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