Here’s a smattering of triathlon beginner advice for surviving mass starts.  When you’re just learning to compete in triathlon, it may be wise to take some precautions during mass starts so that your victory photo after the race doesn’t get you mistaken for an NHL hockey player in game 7 of the Stanley cup final.

Here’s my advice, if you are just starting out, find a place in the back of the pack and ideally towards the outside of the first turn to start your race from.  It’s true, starting from that position in the pack isn’t the closest pathway to victory, but it has the advantage of allowing you to avoid the mosh pit that a mass start creates where you get kicked, clawed and sportingly abused. 

Your going to want to stay on your feet for as long as you can as the water gets deeper, then transition to swimming efficiently once the water is deep enough.  Don’t try to swim too early in the shallower water

I would recommend that you learn to breath on both sides when you swim so that you have options if there are waves or splashing racers to one side of you.  Don’t panic, the mosh pit will dissipate soon.  Keep yourself calm so that it doesn’t throw of your pacing and gas you out later in the race.  Ideally you fall into your comfortable stroke as quick as you can, and if you’re on the outside of the first turn, you just might have the space in the water to do that.

Don’t worry, it gets easier.  Let me know if you think this advice seems practical to you.

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