Your first triathlon is a high-speed puzzle that you’re trying to solve while swimming, biking and running. What you’re trying to figure out is how fast you can go without blowing up before the finish. But if you’re taking on your first sprint-distance event, your perfect pace is an unknown quantity.

The more you race, the more experience you’ll gain and the better you’ll be able to gauge your effort. But when you line up for your first event, the fact of the matter is you need more experience than you possess. However, with a few pointers and some planning you can better equip yourself to manage your effort throughout the race to ensure you go as fast as possible.

Keep your cool!Always remember that races aren’t conquered in the swim, so don’t get carried away early on. Start conservatively with a pace that allows you to remain efficient and composed. In a pool swim, the start is usually less chaotic. The lane ropes will keep you on track so you can focus on maintaining an equal effort over each of the required lengths. Open-water races are much more hectic and likely to be over distance if you forget to sight and wander off course.

The perceived need to rush through transitions can also get you into trouble. Stay relaxed to ensure you arrive at the right spot and change from one set of kit into the next without getting into a muddle.

When you start the run, use a shorter than usual stride to help your legs adjust. Gradually increase your stride and then it’s just a matter of increasing your pace until you hit the finish line having given your best effort.