Monday, April 28, 2014

Triathlon 101 - The Basics Starting off... Keep it Simple




So you want to do a Triathlon but not sure how to go about training for it.  Triathlon is comprised of three sports, swimming, biking and running and the events are typically completed in that order.  A very common race distance that athletes will start with is called a sprint triathlon.  The swim will usually be between 500-750 yards, the bike about 12 miles and the run 3.1miles. 

The Swim – 10-20% of your race depending on ability.  Of the three sports, the swim can be the most intimidating for people, especially when you are learning as an adult.  One of the best things you can do in addition to getting to the pool and practicing is hire a coach to help you with your swimming stroke.   A good set of eyes should quickly be able to determine where improvements can be made in technique to help you, swim faster and hopefully with less effort. 

The Bike – 40-50% of your race depending on ability.  The bike typically is the largest portion of the race in terms of distance and time.  For many first time triathlete’s, I would encourage you to just ride whatever type of bike is available to you.  No need to go out and spend $100’s if not $1,000’s of dollars on a bike before you know that you are going to be doing this sport for a while.  A basic mountain or road bike should do the job.  Plenty of gears to choose from and it may be a more comfortable ride compared to a time trial bike.  They do have clip pedals now where you can clip your shoe right onto the pedal, but your running shoes and a pair of stomp pedals will work just fine and help keep the initial cost of your first race down.

The Run - 30-40% of your race depending on ability.  Now most of us at one time or another either growing up or as adults have run at some point.  While running may not be your favorite of the three events, it is the one event you can pretty much train for anywhere and all you need is a good pair of shoes.  Take the time to get a proper fit for a pair of shoes that are the best for your feet. 

Before you lay out a training plan to prepare for you first triathlon, it is important to identify which sports you’re strong in and which ones need a bit more attention.  That way during the training, you can properly balance training for the three sports, work on improving your weaker ones and maintaining your strengths.

Setting up a training week does require a bit of thought but here are 5 simple to make that a bit easier.

1.     Identify the best days and times of day for you to train.
2.     When appropriate, find a workout buddy, as you are more likely to stick with a scheduled workout if meeting a friend.
3.     Be flexible.  Life does throw changes at us all the time, so having the ability to move things around when needed is a bit help.
4.     Schedule a day off each week, where all you may do is take a leisurely walk for 20-30 minute if you feel antsy.
5.     Brick workouts are very specific training.  They may be challenging at first, but will help better prepare you for transitioning from one sport to another.

Training like a triathlete is a great way to stay fit even if you don't plan on racing.  The variety of training generally helps athletes avoid overuse injuries from just doing a single sport and there are endless ways to structure workouts depending on your strengths and weaknesses.  Lastly, as I have stated before, have fun with your training whether you train alone or with a group.  

Train Smart, Race Fast....

Coach Eric







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