When you combine swimming, biking and running into one event – you have yourself a triathlon. Knowing that each activity is a workout in itself can be daunting especially if you are attempting to enter your first triathlon. Half of the struggle is registering for the event and the other half is preparing for the actual race but where do you begin? You may have heard of the Ironman World Championship, which is one of the most notable triathlons in the world that involves 140.6 miles of intense competition, but this event may be a little intimidating and out of reach for beginners. However, if you are looking to eventually work your way up to this recognized event, check out these tips to help you get on track!
You probably know that the basics of triathlons involve swimming, biking and running, which each alone can be extremely physical! But the key to preparing yourself for the event is consistent training in each sport. Some triathlons may have unregulated distances for each activity which means you may have to build up your endurance in one sport more than another.
1. Swimming Technique
For starters, you may know how to swim but did you know that freestyle/front crawl is often the best stroke for a triathlon? It’s the most efficient and quickest way to move in open water, so practice this stroke. Avid triathlon participant, Dan Valentine, says that you may feel winded at first, but it’s all about the amount of time you spend in the water training. Create a schedule and stick to it so you can work up your arm and leg strength but don’t forget to pace yourself for air.
2. Biking Form
Biking may be a little easier for some than others but jumping on a bike for a competition can be a little frightening. However, you should get used to your bike and the gears so you’re comfortable with the way it works. Bike around your town in areas with low volumes of traffic to become acclimated to the way it handles because you’ll get a better understanding of how sensitive the brakes are, which gears make it easier or harder to pedal – the whole nine yards. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the bike, it’s time to clip into the pedals because it’s the preferred way to power through a triathlon. When you clip in, you’ll efficiently send more power to the wheels and therefore increase your speed. It can be a little difficult at first to get used to it, but clipping in is well worth the effort.
Usually the last leg of the race is running and while you may be an avid runner, this part of the race can be difficult because you just got done biking and swimming. This is where you just keep your legs moving at all times during the transition from the bike to the pavement. You can do long distance training all you want to increase your endurance and stamina, but you really need to focus on the transitional periods where you get out of the water and run to the bike and get off the bike and run it out to the finish line. Practice these transitional periods as often as you can to make the whole event come together.
Once you’ve become well-trained, take a few practice runs of all the sports put together so you can experience the ‘race’ before it actually begins!