Congrats on your decision to do a triathlon! It takes a special kind of strength and effort to get through swimming, cycling, and running one after the other. Triathlon experts recommend a minimum of six weeks of training before the big day. If you overwhelmed by the information out there, here are a few basics to get you started.
Get The Right Gear
The right gear is everything. If your clothes feel uncomfortable or if you aren’t equipped enough, the slightest hinderance will impact your performance. You could either invest in a good triathlon suit for the entire race or buy triathlon shorts that will dry off by the time you reach your cycling part. Singlets are a good choice for cycling and running. Women can wear a normal workout shirt over a swimsuit top or a training bra. Make sure to get swimming goggles, a bike helmet, and a good pair of cycling shades. Experts recommend getting a pair of shoes for cycling and running each for better performance. It’s also a good idea to go sockless to make an easier transition.
Don’t forget to train in your gear. This way you are more comfortable and well prepared for the big day. You also don’t have to deal with dreaded blisters from wearing new shoes.
When it comes to swimming for a triathlon, freestyle is the best choice. But when you are training, make sure to have a mix of one arm stroke, side kicks, and catch-up drill to build your strength and endurance. Train in a pool for a month and then move on to water bodies. Experts recommend using a resistance bad as part of your outside-the-water training to improve your arm strokes. They also suggest training your head to be in sync with your body and move it from side-to-side instead of pulling it up and down from the water. This way its less tiring. You need to have a smooth glide through water to save your strength for the rest of the race.
Just like swimming, competitive cycling can be tough during the initial round of training. It goes without saying, but learn your gears well. It will take time for you to get used to it, but clipping into the bike is recommended. This allows you to save time and energy and makes you go faster. Road bikes are the better choice when compared to mountain or freestyle bikes. Also, this is your checklist: Tire pump, a spare tube, and a hex wrench set. It also helps to learn a few essentials like how to fix a flat. You might also want to learn to eat a snack or drink water while cycling to save time!
You have just come out of cycling and your legs are going to feel the heat. The last part of the race is going to be the toughest on your body. But with adequate training, you could conquer it! Start slow and keep your heart rate low. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the route beforehand to make running easier. If it’s hilly, practice on a similar route. It’s vital to get shoes that fit perfectly or you can risk serious injury.
Tips And Things You Need To Know
- Hire a coach. This will hold valuable especially for swimming (which is considered the most anxiety-driven leg of the race) because competitive swimming requires a lot of precision.
- A typical triathlon is distributed by a fifth of its total duration by swimming, half in cycling, and 30% in running. So, train accordingly!
- For your first triathlon, don’t be overwhelmed by terms like “strength” and “endurance.”
- Your training sessions should include a dedicated slot to transitions. This is when you can make up for lost time.
- If you are above 40 or you have a medical condition, please check with your physician before training. Though rare, triathlon participants have an increased risk of getting a cardiac arrest.1
|↑1||Harris, Kevin M., Lawrence L. Creswell, Tammy S. Haas, Taylor Thomas, Monica Tung, Erin Isaacson, Ross F. Garberich, and Barry J. Maron. “Death and Cardiac Arrest in US Triathlon Participants, 1985 to 2016: A Case Series.” Annals of Internal Medicine 167, no. 8 (2017): 529-535.|