The talmud is not like the Tanakh -- it's not a linear, coherent text that you can just start reading, relying on a few footnotes here and there. To illustrate, let me describe the first side of the first page of the first tractate, B'rachot. It begins with a mishna, which asks: from what time in the evening can we recite the Sh'ma? The mishna then answers by saying from the time the kohanim enter their houses to eat t'rumah; these are the words of R' Eliezer. The mishna then presents other opinions and an anecdote, and then there's a discussion of the general principle in interpreting "midnight". That's all in the first paragraph, just a few sentences in the Hebrew. The g'mara then begins to deconstruct this, asking where we learn these various points. The g'mara discussion of this mishna continues for eight (double-sided) pages of compact Aramaic.
Beginners working alone should expect to struggle with this, even in translation. The discussions assume a knowledge of halacha, Jewish law, and familiarity with the rules of exegesis (derivation). It is akin to reading a college-level mathematics text before you've learned algebra -- you might learn something from it here and there, purely as a matter of chance, but you'll miss most of what "learning talmud" entails and you won't learn the underlying concepts. And -- this is something that's different in Judaism than in other contexts -- studying talmud is almost universally done with a study partner, because studying it together and discussing it leads to deeper understanding and discipline.
If you want to learn talmud, I recommend that, instead of diving into a talmudic discourse, you learn about the talmud, its structure, its key players, and its methods of exegesis. Books such as R' Adin Steinsaltz's Essential Talmud provide an accessible introduction to the topic.