Triathlons are about limits: exploring them, reaching them, exceeding what you thought yours were. They will test your physical strength, but your mental toughness more. They will create doubt and try to make you quit. They will demand more than you thought you had. They will not build your character, they will reveal it. But if you finish even one triathlon, the reward is a feeling of accomplishment like you’ve never known. So, do you have what it takes? You’ll never know unless you tri.
As the name suggests, a triathlon is comprised of three events: swimming, biking and running. Swimming may be the toughest part of a triathlon for some. You can stop pedaling your bike and coast. You can stop running and walk. But if you stop swimming, you drown. So when allocating your time training for each event, keep this in mind.
To participate in a triathlon, you’ll need the right equipment. So before you start training, you’re going to want to make sure you have the following: swim goggles; swim cap; nose clip; wetsuit; something to wear under wetsuit (like a singlet designed for all 3 events); lots of water; nutrition; bike; helmet; sunglasses; visor; running shoes; and emergency backpack (filled with first-aid supplies and bike repair equipment).
Now, before you begin to train you must decide on the type of triathlon you’re going to do. By this I mean the distance. The different types are Sprint, Olympic, ITU Long, Half Ironman, and Full Ironman. The one that I’m going to help you train for is the shortest and easiest one; the sprint triathlon. Sprint triathlon distances are usually as follows: 500m-1000m swims, 15k-20k bike rides, and 5k runs. This race is for athletes just starting out in the sport of triathlons as well as experienced athletes looking for some competition.
The first leg in a triathlon is the swim. It is very important to focus on improving your technique instead of focusing on swimming further. This will help you swim more efficiently and for longer periods of time. A few drills to practice the freestyle technique are the fingertip drag, fist drill, catch-up drill, 10 and 10’s, and one-arm swimming. If you practice these twice a week you will start to see improvement in your stroke and then you can start training to swim for longer. Eventually you want to be able to swim further than the distance in the actual race. Another thing you should keep in mind is where the race is. If it is in the ocean, you should train in the ocean. This will give you more confidence come race day.
The next event is the bike. The key here is to just get out and ride. Ride on flat courses along with hilly courses in order to train for any environment. Also, a stationary bike is a great purchase because it will allow you to train from the comfort of your own home and without risk of getting hurt. When biking, you should try to push yourself each time you ride. This is a process called progressive overload and it will help you become a better cyclist.
The last aspect is the run. The training for this is similar to the bike. You just have to run a lot in every possible condition. Progressive overload is also necessary to becoming a better runner. Not only should you push yourself to go further but also to go faster. As race day nears, you should start to focus on running for longer at a comfortable pace.
An essential tool for building endurance and simulating an actual triathlon is block training. Block training is when you do one activity right after the other. This could be in the form of a swim and bike, swim and run, and bike and run. The hardest one out of these would probably be the bike to run because when you step off your bike your legs will feel like lead. It’s going to feel like this on race day so you should prepare yourself for it.
Life is Simple: Swim. Bike. Run. Eat. Sleep.