Triathlon is becoming an increasingly popular sport with weekend warriors. These intrepid souls think nothing of swimming across chilly lakes, cycling 100k, and then running a half-marathon. Does that sound appealing?
If you are an adventurous type and you’re looking for your next big challenge, taking part in a triathlon could be for you. Triathlon is a multi-sport discipline. You swim, cycle, and then run set distances. The clock starts from the moment you dive into the water and stops when you cross the finishing line after your run stage.
There are different levels of triathlon to suit all abilities, from a Sprint triathlon (400m swim, 20k cycle ride, and 5k run) to an Ironman endurance triathlon (3.84k swim, 180k cycle, and 42k run).
Most people test the waters with a sprint triathlon but there is nothing stopping you from jumping in feet first and going straight to an Ironman triathlon. Your friends might think you are certifiable, but it is possible to reach the required level of fitness in around nine months, so don’t let the insane distances put you off.
Training for a Triathlon
Anyone who is reasonably fit and who can swim/cycle/run will probably finish a sprint distance triathlon without dying. However, there is a world of pain between just “finishing” and actually enjoying the event. Basically, you will have a lot more fun if you train for it!
By all means, aim to finish, but if you train hard, you will get a lot more out of the day. Plus, you won’t need medical support at the finish line.
To train for a triathlon, you need to do a lot of swimming, cycling, and running. There are plenty of training schedules available online, so download one that is suitable for your current level of fitness and follow it to the letter. Always have at least one rest day per week, as this gives your body a chance to recover from the training.
The Right Equipment
To compete in a triathlon, you need a functioning bicycle and some running shoes. Because the event is timed from start to finish, you can’t afford to waste time changing between disciplines. Most competitors wear a swimsuit for the swim stage and then pull on some shorts and a t-shirt for the bike and run stages. If the swim is outdoors, you will probably need to wear a wetsuit. You’ll also need a cycle helmet for the bike stage and a water bottle/energy gels.
Taking it to the Next Level
If you have been bitten by the triathlon bug, it is time to take your training to the next level. Invest in a competition level tri-bike and build a pool in your backyard. If the weather isn’t conducive to swimming outdoors, erect a DIY Quonset hut from SteelMaster Buildings and installing an indoor training pool. You can perfect your freestyle stroke and knock valuable seconds off your swim time.
Now that we have whetted your appetite, it’s time to find a triathlon event in your local area and sign up. Good luck!