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All the Rookie Triathlon Information in One Place

Everything you need for Rookie Tri’s Sweet 16 in one place

Rookie Triathlon’s Sweet 16 is this Sunday, May 5th! We’re putting the final touches on another great event and are ready to party with you at the finish line festival. Once again, Rookie Tri has more than 500 Rookies participating in their first or second triathlon… EVER! We’ve shared a lot of helpful information lately and want to make sure both Rookies and Veterans have everything they need for a successful event. Check out all the information and links below. We’ve got everything you need in one place. Good luck this Sunday!

Download the Rookie Tri app and have all the information you need in one place!

Download the app

Talk about all the information in one place. Download the Rookie Tri app and you’ll have everything you need in the palm of your hand! Tell friends and family to download the app as well so they know what you know. They can also track you on Sunday. The app is available for iPhone and Android.

Packet pick up

Make packet pick up smooth and enjoyable! Review packet pick up hours, location, pro tips, details, and parking. Make sure you have your ID; you’re the only one who can get your packet! Pro tip: Mellow Johnny’s is offering $1 off all non-alcoholic beverages. Just show your Rookie Tri bib!

Bike safety check

Complete this bike safety check before you leave the house! It’s very reassuring to know that your bike is completely ready to go race morning. Check your tires’ air pressure one more time before you drive to Decker Lake.

Group riding etiquette

It never hurts to review what to do during a group ride. That’s essentially what you’ll do this Sunday! Review the guidelines and adhere to them during the bike portion. This will help keep everyone safe on the roads and allow you to communicate with other cyclists if needed.

Calm pre-race jitters

Are the pre-race jitters kicking in? Don’t worry! That’s normal for both Rookies and Veterans. We’ve got 6 tactics you can use to calm those nerves, from planning the night before to listening to music race morning. Check them out and see what works for you.

Weekend and swim wave schedules

Not sure when something begins or ends? Want to double-check the approximate time your swim wave will begin? Hit up the schedule.

Course maps

Know the course maps before you get to transition. Becoming familiar with the layout will benefit you on Sunday. If you have friends that want to cheer for you on course share this with them so they know where to go.

Water temperature

As of May 2nd, the water temperature was 70 degrees. This makes the swim wetsuit legal per USAT rules. Greater than 78 degrees is the threshold, so we anticipate a wetsuit-legal swim. Feel free to review USAT’s wetsuit rules. Pro tip: a final temperature reading will be taken race morning. That will be the final determining temperature.

5 Commonly Asked Questions Answered

These are the answers to the 5 questions that Rookie Tri is asked the most

More than half the field participating in the 16th annual Rookie Tri are Rookies. That’s amazing! So many new folks being introduced to the sport is great for triathlon. Our main focus is to make Rookie Tri as inviting for new folks as possible. That means answering all the questions that come in! If you’ve wanted to ask a question, but haven’t done so, the answer might be below. These are answers to our 5 most commonly asked questions.

What do I need to bring to packet pick up?

  • Current photo ID
  • USAT annual membership card. Make sure it is not expired. (Digital copy is okay)
  • If you purchased a one-day license, you do not need to bring proof. If you still need a USAT license, you can purchase a one-day or annual license at packet pickup.

Can I pick up a packet for a friend or family member or my relay team members?

No. All High Five Events triathlons are USAT-sanctioned. USAT rules require each participant to show a photo ID and current USAT status while picking up their own packet.

Do I need a wetsuit to participate in the triathlon?

Wetsuits are not required to participate in any High Five Events triathlon. Depending on the water temperature for the event, wetsuits may or may not be legal. Read USAT wetsuit rules here: USAT Swimming Conduct.

How will I know if the event is wetsuit legal?

Water temperatures for the event will be announced on social media the day before and the morning of the race. If the temperature is equal to or lower than 78 degrees a wetsuit can be worn. Review the USAT rules for specific details.

Are headphones allowed?

No. Per USAT rules, bringing personal audio devices on the race course will result in a time penalty

2019 Athlete Tracking and Live Results

Follow your friends and family with athlete tracking

Support your friends and family at the 16th annual Rookie Triathlon! Show up early, make hilarious signs, and cheer loudly. Then get ready to celebrate at the finish line festival! If you’re at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park or halfway around the globe, use athlete tracking or receive alerts via social media to know where your friends and family are on course.

Live Online Tracking

Watch the leaderboard live on race day! Share this link with family and friends so that they can see Rookie Tri results no matter where they are on this beautiful earth.

Results on Social Media

You can also sign up to get results sent to your social media. Search for your name and set up messages to be sent to your social media. This will keep all of your followers up to date on your Rookie Tri progress. You can also set up text messaging to your spectators so they know when you have completed each part of the event and can be waiting for you at the finish line.

Final Results

Don’t forget to check out the final results and see if you placed in your division!

Training and Competing in Triathlons After 50

Rookie Tri ambassador talks about training for triathlons after 50

Steve Mallett, a Rookie Triathlon ambassador, began participating in endurance events at the tender age of 52. He talks about the benefits of cross-training and how it has helped him reduce injuries. Steve participated in triathlons 20 years ago, but he has since brought it back into his life. Below is a firsthand account of how he approaches training and competing in triathlons after 50. It’s never too late!

by: Steve Mallett

In January of 2015, at the age of 52, I started marathon training and racing with a well-known Austin running team. I immersed myself into a group of athletes and coaches searching to find the limits of speed and fitness. It was exhilarating and I hung on to my coach’s every word.  After six months I set a lifetime PR for the marathon. My fitness, I thought, was as good as it had ever been. I would later find out that my body could only handle that intensity for so long.

In late 2016, after months of 50-60 mile weeks, 3-4 marathons a year, and pushing myself to faster times, my body started to fail. Later that year, I developed a nagging and painful condition in my lower abdomen, later diagnosed as a pelvic fracture from overuse. I was devastated. The doctor’s recommendation was six months of no running. That’s like telling Rachel Ray to get out of the kitchen. I struggled to come to terms with this new reality.

Bring on the recovery

A few months into recovery I was cleared to start elliptical training. While in the gym I noticed other runners doing strength training and weights. I had never considered adding this to my fitness regimen. Running 60 miles a week was hard enough. How could I add in 3-4 hours of weights and strength training per week?

When I was cleared to run again I was cautious. I wanted to be fast again, but didn’t want another injury. Six months without running had taken its toll on me emotionally. I didn’t want to pull the scab off that wound. I started with some shorter runs and then finished in the gym with 30-45 minutes of whole-body strength and conditioning. As my running form came back, I noticed big changes in my strength and my running times.  

I registered for the Cap10K before my injury and decided to run and get a baseline for my recovery. I ran the fastest Cap10K I have ever run and felt great doing it. My running decreased, but I was getting faster.  The time in the gym and the intensity of my shorter runs was making me a stronger runner. I ran very few “junk” miles.

Time to add cycling

In the following months, I added cycling to my fitness regimen. I was already swimming three days a week as cross training for my running. After a 20-year hiatus, I began signing up for triathlons again. My goal was to compete again. However, I knew my body couldn’t handle the high mileage needed to run a fast marathon. Triathlons would give me my competition fix.  

I read The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week, by Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg. I took many of those principles to heart. You can get faster and stronger by doing more intense, shorter workouts. But you have to compliment that with strength and weights.  

As you train for any race shorter than a Half Ironman, don’t focus on mileage for the sake of mileage. Some of the long, slow rides and runs are like counting your steps when you take out the trash. Yes, you got in some steps, but did they really count?  

Triathlon training

Many sprint triathlons have such a short run that any training run over 6-8 miles is wasted. You are better off doing four weekly runs. Long runs, speed-work/track days, fartleks, and tempo runs and drills can increase your speed.   

In the pool, break your workouts into sets. Try to push yourself. 2000 slow yards with a pull buoy may impress your friends on Strava, but 6×100 at race pace (after a warm-up) will actually make you faster on race day.  

One day a week it’s okay to go for a slow ride and enjoy the scenery. On other days, focus on pushing up your watts or climbing hills near your max heart rate. Those types of workouts will improve your speed and strength.  

To prevent injuries, don’t neglect your strength and weights. There are many places online to find whole body strength/conditioning and weight lifting plans for runners and triathletes. Start slowly and build.

Book recommendation

You should read Unbreakable Runner: Unleash the Power of Strength & Conditioning for a Lifetime of Running Strong, by Brian MacKenzie, the founder of Cross Fit. His program teaches you to be strong first. Then the speed and endurance will follow.  

If you choose a coach, try to find one who understands aging athletes. Trying to keep up with the 30-year-olds is a recipe for disaster. Find a coach that will push you, but not break you. You will have to shift your paradigm to believing that shorter, harder workouts will make you faster. A coach will help when you start to get tired and lazy. You want to avoid going through the workout motions at a lower intensity.  

If you are doing longer races, you will need to spend some time doing long, slow miles. When you hit age 50 the longer races are not so much about speed, but about mentally preparing for hours of racing at an elevated pace.

Too many triathletes fall into the trap of miles for the sake of miles. Your workouts should focus on quality, not how far you can go. As we age we need to be very smart about how we train and treat our bodies. Junk miles don’t lead to fast races, they lead to broken bodies.  

Bio: Steve competed in his first triathlon in 1984 in Key West, Florida. He has done more than 50 triathlons, 12 marathons, eight 50K races, and has finished the Rocky Raccoon 50-mile Trail Run twice. He is a real estate broker who lives in Dripping Springs, Texas.  

Make Your First Triathlon a Sprint Triathlon

5 reasons to make your first triathlon a sprint triathlon

Some people want to jump right into training for a full-distance triathlon. That’s 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running! We strongly discourage first-time triathletes from starting with this type of distance. It’s always best to test out the waters first before taking on such a huge endeavor. See the reasons below for why you should make your first triathlon a sprint triathlon. When you’re done, register for Rookie Triathlon and let the training begin!

There are many reasons that a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon

There are many reasons that a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon

There’s less training

Triathlon training takes up a lot of time. With three different sports to prepare for, you could triple the amount of training needed. Starting with a shorter distance triathlon allows you to understand how much time is needed for each discipline. Going for something longer in the beginning and not realizing the time it takes, could set you up for disappointment and failure.

Your body’s response

If you’re interested in triathlon, chances are you have a swimming, cycling, or running background. That’s great, but you’re about to request a lot more from your body when you train for a triathlon. You don’t know how you’ll respond to the different elements of training. Making a sprint triathlon your first triathlon will allow you and your body to adjust to the rigors of triathlon training. Chances are higher that your body will respond positively to the increase in training.

Quicker results

Signing up for a sprint triathlon means you’ll have a shorter training runway, which can reduce burnout and get you closer to race day. For a first-time triathlete, the mental aspect of training is just as vital as the physical. From a training standpoint, you’re asking less of your body. From a mental standpoint, the shorter training timeline allows you to reach your goal of the finish line sooner!

Less chance for injury

The more you train, the more you run the risk of injury. Training for anything can lead to injury, especially if done incorrectly. But when you extend your training timeline, the chances for injury greatly increase, especially from overuse. Training for a sprint triathlon is perfect, especially if your body isn’t completely ready to handle the load of full-distance triathlon. The Rookie Triathlon is perfect for first-time triathletes. You train for a 300m swim, 11.2-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run.

See if you like it

Compare triathlon training to shopping for a car. You wouldn’t walk into a dealership and pay for a vehicle without taking it for a test drive and checking it out, would you? Same thing for triathlon. See if you like it first! Don’t jump into a full-distance triathlon as your first triathlon. You should understand the training and financial commitment to triathlon training before diving in. That’s why a sprint triathlon is the perfect distance for your first triathlon!

Don Nolting – My First Triathlon

Don Nolting, an Austin Triathlon Club Ambassador, recalls his first triathlon

The 2016 Rookie Triathlon (300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 2-mile run), was my attempt to help a friend, and myself, lose weight. I was 41 and 255 pounds at 6’1.5”. He thought a sprint triathlon would be a fun way to do it since he liked to swim. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if, 1) we would have decided more than a month before the triathlon was to take place to sign up, 2) I hadn’t just undergone bilateral knee surgeries #4 and #5 six months prior, and 3) if I owned a bike.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

Don Nolting, Austin Triathlon Club, Ambassador, after 2016 Rookie Triathlon.

I was still rehabbing from knee surgery, and given the short time to train, I focused on swimming and riding. While all my doctors discourage running with my knee issues, swimming and biking are highly suggested. The biggest thing for me was to not over train the month before the tri and be so sore and fatigued that I wouldn’t be able to race.

Training

Since I knew how to swim, I focused on that. The good news: the swim distance was only 300 meters. I started in the pool and then made sure to swim in a few different open water spots around Austin. Barton Springs became my really cold friend. I was having trouble freestyle swimming, so I focused on the breaststroke and worked on perfecting my form while training.

The biking was a whole different beast. I didn’t own a bike when I signed up for the tri. So I took advantage of all of the spring bike sales in Austin. I chose a hybrid bike as a starter bike and got in plenty of rides during the month. I even rode the bike course a few times and struggled some.

Since I planned to speed-walk the run, I only worked on increasing my overall fitness for that. In the end, I was pretty happy with where I was feeling after the bike rides, but I wasn’t confident about my swimming.

Race day

Race day showed up really fast! From a tip I had read on lots of tri websites, I laid out my transition and equipment the night before. I was sure I had everything, but 5:00 a.m. comes early. I was nervous, but the pre-race stretches helped calm my nerves. Waiting in line to get into the water was where the nerves sprung up again. Many of the guys in my age group were nervously chatting about how they hadn’t practiced swimming in open water. 

I was towards the back of the line going into the water, and I observed people grabbing the lifeguard canoes and the buoys. (* this is legal by USAT rules as long as you do not use the kayak to make forward progress).  Practicing breaststroke proved to be beneficial. I don’t think I could have freestyled in that water. I felt good after my swim and was proud I had completed it without taking any breaks or needing any assistance. The path to transition was an uphill path, so I took my time so I didn’t injure my knees at all.

Transition went pretty smoothly and I felt good getting onto my bike. The first 1.5 miles went well. However, once I turned into the headwind, it was like I put a sail on my back. I felt like I was going head-first into a wall and barely moving. I was happy to get back to transition, but wasn’t looking forward to the “run.” My legs were gassed, and I hadn’t really practiced going from cycling to a run or walk. Big mistake!

That two miles seemed like 20. In addition, it had recently rained, so the course was muddy and changed to include some hills that were rough on my knees. I wasn’t taking any chances with my knees so soon after surgery, so I walked the hills, but (against my doctor’s orders and my better judgment) slow-jogged the flatter sections. Finally coming around the last bend helped me pick up the pace and finish strong.

The Finish & Beyond

My goal was to finish my first Rookie Tri in 90 minutes, and I missed it by only three minutes. I was tired and sore, but proud that I had finished.

Unfortunately, because of knee rehab, it took me about a year to feel right again in order to train for another race. I got back into riding my bike and started swimming again in late 2017. I joined the Austin Tri Club in the spring of 2018 and have really started to push myself and my training thanks to the group. They support and motivate me as I safely train for aquabike challenges (*Aquabike participates complete the swim & bike portion of the triathlon, with their official timing stopping after entering transition after the bike.) and I enjoy cheering on my club-mates as they compete too.

4 Reasons to Register for Jack’s Generic Triathlon

If you’re on the fence, these 4 reasons will push you to register for JGT

You’ve debated registering for Jack’s Generic Triathlon for some time now. Friends are racing. Your triathlon club will be there.

You plan to register, just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Why? Perhaps you forgot, maybe it slipped your mind. Every time you think about registering for JGT you’re not near a computer. When you’re near a computer, you forget. It happens. Well, you’re on the computer now. Read the 4 reasons to register for JGT, on August 26th, below and make it happen.

New date, venue, and distance

The Rookie Triathlon - Beginner Triathlon Runner Rookie TriJGT will take place at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park (aka Decker Lake) on Sunday, August 26th. Previously, the event has taken place at Texas Ski Ranch and Lake Pflugerville. JGT now features the sprint distance only. Aquabike and Relay options are available. The sprint distance will consist of a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike, and 5K run. Here’s to slightly cooler temperatures at the end of August *quickly knocks on wood*.

Year 16

That’s right, JGT is in its 16th year. There’s a reason people return year after year: they’re more than a number, they’re a barcode. From Day One, JGT has focused on the participant. Sure there have been elites and awesome swag, but the focus consistently remains on you: the athlete. Plus it is fun and clever.

3rd Texas Tri Series event

If you’re taking on the Texas Tri Series then you need to register and complete Jack’s Generic Triathlon. That goes for volunteers too! JGT is the third event in the much-loved series. Triathletes are challenged to participate in or volunteer for four Central Texas triathlons throughout the summer. Many use it as a means to stay active over the summer. Some use it to advance in distance. There are folks out there who just want to challenge themselves. Regardless of why clubs and groups travel from all over to cheer on their athletes as they take on the Texas Tri Series. You can expect a supportive and energetic atmosphere on August 26th.

Sweet, we mean generic, shirt/medal combo

Now that you have this year’s Rookie swag, this combo is perfect for your growing collection. I mean, can you find a better looking shirt/medal duo? We’ll wait… This year’s shirt is perfect for wearing around town or during your post-JGT workouts. And the design is sure to catch everyone’s attention.

The shirt is super-soft and one you’ll gladly add to your collection. The medal matches the shirt and commemorates the accomplishment of crossing the JGT finish line. Make your triathlete friends who don’t race JGT jealous. Or challenge them to join you so they can join in on the fun!

REGISTER!

 

How to Make Your Rookie Tri Swim Start a Breeze

Everything you need to know about the swim start

2018 Rookie Triathlon swim start details.

2018 Rookie Tri starts at 8:00 a.m. with the Open wave.

As you all know, swimming is the first discipline of a triathlon. The Rookie Tri swim start is arranged to be more manageable and less stressful for first- or second-time triathletes. Race morning is as relaxed as you make it. One way to keep it relaxed is to know your wave, your age group, and when you’ll enter the water. Before we dive in, you also need to know when transition opens and closes.

Rookie Triathlon transition opens at 6:00 a.m. at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin (parking opens at 5:45 a.m. and carpooling is encouraged). If you’re the type who worries about time, traffic, and parking, then arriving earlier than normal will benefit you tremendously. Make sure you know transition rules, body marking, and how to wear your timing chip. Keep in mind that transition closes at 7:30 a.m. It’s time to head to Decker Lake for the Rookie Tri swim start!

Swim start

Rookie Tri Open wave swim start is at 8:00 a.m.

Pass the time before your swim start and cheer on the pros in the Open Wave.

The Rookie Tri utilizes a time trial swim start (except for the Open wave). Depending on course density and the flow of the event, at least one person at a time will enter the water (at approximately two-second intervals). Participants will start with their assigned wave (eg. Rookie, Men 40 & over), but the order within each wave is unimportant. The time for each person will start when they cross the swim start timing mat at the water’s edge.

The Open wave will begin at 8:00 a.m. They will be followed by Veteran Men, Veteran Women, Aquabike and Relays, Rookie Men, and Rookie Women. It is imperative you have everything you need for the swim when you transition closes at 7:30 a.m. Each wave will start approximately four minutes after the one before it. Each wave will also have their own swim cap color. To see the entire schedule and approximate times, check out the Rookie Tri Event Schedule.

The waiting game

The first Rookie wave begins around 8:40 a.m. The final Rookie wave will take off around 9:08 a.m. As a first-timer, you’re probably wondering, what do I do until my wave begins? We’ve got a few ideas for you.

  • find a quiet place to relax, gather yourself, and briefly escape from the moment, this could help calm race-day nerves

    Relax with family and friends before your swim start

    Relax with friends and family before your swim start!

  • talk to some friends and family to pass the time, especially if your tri club/group is out in full force
  • step to the side of the action for some last-minute stretching, this is another way to reduce race-day jitters
  • watch the Open wave and cheer on the other triathletes, remember, they all started right where you are