Triathletes are some of the competitive world’s most disciplined and high-performing athletes. Whether it is the sprint triathlon, the Olympics, or even the Ironman competitions, becoming a triathlete entails months, even years, of dedicated training.
The preparation period is considered a critical phase because this will help build endurance through the three stages of competition where you’ll be swimming, cycling, and running in succession. The key here is overall speed without losing breath.
But since you’ll be swimming, pedaling, and running, the strength and endurance of your leg muscles will be pushed to the limits. Here are some of the best training tips to observe before triathlon:
1. Go Short at First
Before you start training for your very first triathlon, you may want to aim for the relatively easier competition first. Triathlons are categorized into three classes.
Sprint triathlons are relatively short with the longest being the Ironman competition and the Olympic triathlon comfortably sitting in between. If this is your first time to join a triathlon, then it is important to start with the sprint first.
As such, you will be training yourself to swim about 820 yards in the fastest time that you possibly can. You will also be biking for about 12 miles before hitting the road on your running shoes for about 3.1 miles.
First-timers are always advised to aim for the sprint first to practice the various elements of the event without necessarily snuffing out your life.
2. Think of Your Gear During the Training Period
Even while you’re still training for the main event it is crucial to start investing in the proper gear. You don’t expect to be changing into your biking gear upon finishing the swimming stage and then change into your running gear again after completing the bike stage.
Remember that your overall time already includes transition stages or the time spent on changing into gear after a certain segment. So you’d want an outfit that you can use to swim, bike, and run without ever changing.
Of course you’ll be donning your bike helmet, safety pads, and even running shoes. But if you can shave precious seconds from changing clothes, then that will be excellent for your overall time.
3. Plan for Shorter Training Sessions
Unless you are entertaining the idea of becoming a professional triathlete, you do recognize that there are still certain aspects of your life that need to be addressed on a daily basis.
You cannot train every day without sacrificing some of the time needed for your family and your work commitments. That is why it is imperative that you plan your training sessions so that you can still meet other demands in your life.
4. Focus on Your Weakness
You may be a speed demon on your bike or you can run like Usain Bolt on the road, but if you cannot even outswim a lily then you’re finished. Triathlons are a test of the overall endurance of athletes across three different activities in succession.
That means that your overall time is greatly dependent on how fast you breeze through each segment. You cannot be fast on one or two elements alone.
So you will really have to focus your trainings on your weakness. If you’re strong on both cycling and running, then spend more time training for swimming.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train on biking and running anymore. You should still, but the bulk of your training will be focused on swimming or whatever it is you’re not especially good at.
5. Do Bricking
Triathletes refer to it as bricking which is technically training for two of the three events as if you’re actually in the competition already. For instance, you can start with biking, make the transition, and move into the running segment as quickly as possible.
Experts recommend biking the entire length of the race distance so you can already accustom your muscles to the intense pedaling requirement. Then you can follow that up with a run for about a mile or two. Alternatively, you can swim a few hundred yards before transitioning into the bike mode.
Preparing for your very first triathlon requires discipline. Getting your act ready for the big day requires dedication and a more focused approach on what you need to accomplish before the triathlon.