To most people, running a competitive race sounds like a big challenge. Competing in a triathlon may sound completely impossible to anyone but people who have trained their whole lives. However, that’s not really the case.
As with any competitive endeavor, training is what counts the most. Anyone who commits themselves to a training schedule has a good chance at completing a triathlon.
What is a Triathlon?
There are actually different kinds of triathlons, but they all have three things in common. You swim a distance, bike a distance, and run a distance, all one after another without a break. The distance is the difference between them.
- Sprint: .5 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
- Olympic: .93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
- Double Olympic: 1.86 mile swim, 49.6 mile bike, 12.4 mile run
- Half Ironman: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
- Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
These different kinds of triathlons are listed in the order that is recommended that people attempt them. Even if you are an avid runner, you may not be as competent of a swimmer as you need to be to swim almost a mile. You might want to start out at the sprint to get your feet wet, so to speak.
Tips to Get Started
There are many different training schedules to prepare for a marathon, but even before you start a training schedule, there are a few things you might want to consider first. If you know how to swim but could use some help with your form, perhaps it would be wise to take swimming lessons before you start your training regime.
When you start riding the bike, it’s important to remember that it’s not the same as taking a leisurely ride with friends or family. You’ll be riding a different kind of bike and you’ll need to practice eating and drinking on the bike so you don’t have to stop during the marathon to refuel and rehydrate.
When you train for running a marathon, the only gear you really need to have prior to training is a good pair of running shoes. For a triathlon, a good pair of running shoes is only the start. You’ll also need a swimsuit, goggles, and swim cap for the swimming portion of the race. All three of these things will need to racing gear, not what you’d wear for a backyard pool party.
Investing in a good road bicycle is key to performing well in a triathlon. Aside from needing a bicycle for the actual race, you’ll want to be very comfortable riding the bike you have race day. Cycling shorts are a must-have to prevent chafing and bleeding during the race.
If you search for triathlon training schedules, a thousand and one different schedules will come up. The basics are about building up endurance and strength. For your first triathlon, you might want to concentrate primarily on endurance. Building strength will come naturally, especially if your goal is just to finish without focusing on how fast you finish or how high you place. Some important basics are:
- Know that a large portion of your spare time will be taken up by training. You have to commit to a training schedule and stick to it to build enough endurance to compete.
- Swimming is the hardest part for even skilled athletes, so plan on spending at least two days in the pool. Start out doing laps for 30 minutes or so and build from there.
- Two days should be running- including speed and tempo paces
- Two days should be biking, but one of the biking days should be followed by a run. The hardest part for a lot of competitors is going from the bike ride to the run. Your legs are wobbly, so you’ll have to learn how to start slow and build to compensate
- Your recovery day every week is just as important as all other days. Your muscles must be given time to rest and repair
Deciding to do a triathlon is the first step, the next is making sure you have the right gear. At Born To Swim, we have all the gear you will need to complete that first leg of your triathlon. Our customer service team can help you find the right goggles, caps, and any other training gear you might need to have a successful swim race.