It used to be that a triathlon was viewed as something only ‘hard-core’ athletes competed in, but the popularity of triathlons has soared in recent years and now there are triathlon events held all over the country. Anyone can enter a beginner level triathlon. You certainly don’t need to be a super-fit athlete to complete a three sport event. Triathlon training is also an excellent way to get fit and lose a few extra pounds, so if you are looking for a goal to help you shed some weight this year, here is my quick guide to training for your first triathlon event.
How Do Triathlons Work?
A triathlon event involves swimming, cycling and running, in that order and without any breaks in the middle. You are on a timer from the moment you start swimming to the second you cross the finish line at the end of the run. However, the only person you are competing against is yourself. Start times are staggered according to swim ability, so you won’t ever be the last person to finish.
Event distances vary, but a standard ‘sprint’ triathlon would be:
- 400m swim (in a pool)
- 20k bike
- 5k run
Can I Do A Triathlon?
As long as you can swim, cycle and put one foot in front of the other, you stand a reasonable chance of completing a triathlon. Beginner events are fairly short and any reasonably fit person should be capable of reaching the finish line without requiring ambulance support.
How Much Training Should I Do?
The more training you do, the better, as it will help you to enjoy the event rather than struggling around feeling like you are dying a slow and painful death. The best way to approach triathlon training if you have never done one before is to try doing a bit of swimming, cycling and running at least twice per week—six training sessions in total. Aim to reach the point where you are able to complete the required distance in each individual sport. So, as long as you can swim 16 lengths of a standard pool, cycle 20k and run 5k (not together), adrenaline and sports drinks will get you around the course on the day.
There are lots of training plans available online, so if you feel that you would benefit from a more regimented training approach, find one that suits your abilities and start training. For best results, allow at least 12 weeks of training prior to the event, and if you are really unfit, give yourself longer.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a triathlon today!
(Image by Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
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