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Triathlon

Training for and completing a triathlon is one of the most satisfying experiences a sports enthusiast can undertake. A triathlon includes swimming, running, and cycling. This well balanced mix of sports will ensure that you will work out different muscles in your body and become very fit.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other triathlon resources. We have a triathlon forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with triathlon how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best triathlon books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis


Introduction


If you’re a fitness guru and enjoy pushing yourself to the limit, training for a triathlon could be a great hobby for you. The traditional form of this multi-sport event involves swimming, biking and running consecutively at varying distances.




In order to train for a triathlon, you’ll need access to a swimming pool and a bicycle that is suitable for racing. For most races, you must sign up in advance and often have to pay to register. One of the most popular triathlons is called the Ironman.




One of the things that makes triathlons unique is that they are very endurance-focused. Because participants have to swim, run and bike several miles, they must be able to withstand an intense amount of fitness.




Distances that participants must swim, run and cycle during a triathlon vary depending on which triathlon they are competing in. Also, there is such a thing as a half triathlon, hosted by Ironman.




The triathlon became an Olympic sport at the summer games in 2000. The distances of the Olympic triathlon are much shorter than the Ironman or long distance triathlon.




While professionals do compete in triathlons, anyone can participate. However, a full Ironman triathlon, which consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles, can be very rigorous on the body. Therefore, it is recommended that one train for a triathlon properly in order to be prepared.




Training for a triathlon is not necessarily an expensive hobby, however, you must be able to use a swimming pool or other body of water, as well as a bicycle in order to train. Buying a used bicycle is always an option and various training programs can be found online.




The most important thing when taking up triathlon training as a hobby is that you have to enjoy endurance fitness. You must also have the amount of time that it takes to train for this competition.




Ironman


The Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon was the first Ironman triathlon, as well as the first long distance triathlon in the United States. The race consisted of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running, which is equivalent to running a marathon.




For most Ironman events, participants must complete the triathlon in 17 hours. In Japan, participants are only given 15 hours to complete the race. The World Triathlon Corporation organizes the races.




At the Oahu Perimeter Relay in 1977, a race for teams of five people, both runners and swimmers participated. The team members had spent a long time arguing over whether runners or swimmers were more fit. John Collins, US Navy Commander, was present at the time and said that he had just read in Sports Illustrated that cyclist was the most fit athlete of all because his oxygen uptake was the highest on record. Therefore, he suggested that the argument should be settled by instituting a race that consisted of combining all three sports. At the time, a long-distance race for swimming, running and cycling existed in Hawaii, so he decided to just put them together to create the Ironman. The name was thought of by Collins when he said that whoever won the race would be called the “Iron Man.”




Ironman races in the United States take place in Arizona, New York, Wisconsin and Idaho, among others. There are also Ironmans in Europe, Australia, Brazil, China and New Zealand, as well as a few other countries. The Ironman World Championships is held annually in Hawaii and has been held there since 1978.




Triathlon Equipment


If you’re just beginning to train for a triathlon for the first time, you’ll need to know what kind of equipment is required. The equipment you need will vary, depending on whether or not you plan to compete competitively.


 



Swim


In order to train for the swimming portion of a triathlon, you will need a body of water in which to train. You can use either a pool or a lake, but a pool is best because you can measure the distance you’re swimming. If you aren’t necessarily a competitive person, you will need a pair of reliable goggles, a bathing suit and a wet suit. A wet suit isn’t a must-have, but it keeps you warmer in cold water, as well as aids with buoyancy. More competitive swimmers will find that a kickboard, paddles and a pull buoy will help with training as well.


 



Bike


For those less competitive participants, the type of bike you use doesn’t particularly matter. However, your bike must be in good enough shape to get you through the triathlon, especially if you will be participating in an Ironman. Both fitness bikes and mountain bikes will work, but mountain bikes should have smoother tires, generally seen on road bikes.




An entry-level road bike can be purchased for a few hundred dollars, but if you plan to use this bike a lot in the future, you may want to consider investing in a higher quality bike. Competitive athletes should look for bikes that are very light. These bikes, which are often made of carbon fiber, place the rider in an aerodynamic position and are designed as to not fatigue a rider’s legs too much before running. However, these bikes can cost $1,000 or more.




There are three types of pedals made for bikes. These are basic pedals, cliples pedals and cages, also known as clips. The basic pedal is what we normally see on most bikes, as it is flat. The other two types of pedals are best for riding long distances. Clipless pedals are the most efficient types of pedals for racing. On this pedal, you clip your foot to the top of the pedal. Cages are pedals that you put your foot all the way into to prevent it from sliding around.




Competitive riders must have clipless pedals. They may feel uncomfortable at first, especially because you feel stuck, but once you train yourself properly, you will gain the most speed from using this type of pedal. If you use clipless pedals, you must have the correct type of shoe to go with them. They should have mount points and hard soles.




Regardless of what type of bike you pick out, you must be sure that it is the right size for your height. If you are riding the wrong size bike, you will be both uncomfortable and slow.


 



Run


Whether you are competitive or not, you should buy shoes from a running store, rather than a discount store. It is not worth being injured from wearing the wrong type of shoes or cheap shoes. By visiting a running store, you can be fitted for the proper shoes for your feet. Also, be sure to buy new running shoes every few months, especially if you’re running nearly every day. The soles of the shoes wear down quickly when they are pounding pavement constantly.




Triathlon Preparation



Base Training


Base training does as it says—gives you a strong base to compete in a triathlon. If you are a beginner, base training is a good way to work up to the distances you’ll need to swim, run and bike in the triathlon. To do this type of training, you should make most of your workouts sustainable. This means, distances and paces that don’t overwork you.




If you are just beginning to train for a triathlon for the first time, you need a long base period in order to work up to higher intensity workouts. Building a base safely and correctly requires a lot of patience that many people don’t have. However, if you do not build this base, you will be trying to race at full speed with a small engine.




In order to build a base, you should do only aerobic workouts for three months. When you work out, give yourself between five and 15 minutes to let your heart rate elevate slowly. For the rest of the workout, your heart rate should stay at 80% of your maximum aerobic rate. No matter what aerobic activity you are doing, you should maintain this practice. Then, after three months, you will be better prepared to take your training to the next level.


 



Sign up for a Training Schedule


There are tons of free training schedules online that you can sign up for based on your triathlon goals. These websites also allow you to keep a log of your daily workouts. You must be sure to follow a schedule created by a professional so that you don’t over work yourself. Also, make sure that you are taking enough rest to let your body re-energize. Training obviously includes swimming, running and biking at various speeds and distances, as well as weight and cross training. Cross training activities can include yoga and using the elliptical machine.


 



Registration


Be sure that you register and pay for the triathlon you will be competing in on time. You don’t want to run the risk of not being able to compete after all the hard training you put yourself through.


 



Nutrition


Eating right will help you stay on track while training for a triathlon. Using a food journal can be a useful tool in order to keep track of what is going into your body each day. You may be surprised at what you’re eating and have the power to stop bad habits if you keep a record of what you eat.




Staples for those training for a triathlon should be fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats and other proteins. Also, eating a healthy, balanced breakfast and small meals throughout the day is beneficial to those training in order to satisfy hunger and keep energy levels up.




When people train for triathlons, they must be sure that they don’t give in to sugar cravings, especially right after a workout, when they are more likely to give into intense hunger pangs.


 



Fitness Partner


Finding a fitness partner can be the key to success when training for a triathlon. Whether your partner is more or less athletic than you doesn’t necessarily matter. It is cheaper than a trainer and gets you going everyday and keeps you motivated. Also, you do not need to train with your partner every day, but can simply keep it to a few times a week. It is generally positive to be in touch with someone else who is training for a triathlon and who will hold you responsible for keeping up with your workouts.


 



Injury


Because of the immense amount of strain being put on your body while you train for a triathlon, it is easy to become injured. Common triathlon injuries include runner’s knee, swimmer’s shoulder and Achilles tendonitis. Injuries can occur from overworking your body or simply from neglecting to stretch before or after a workout.




Most commonly, injuries are associated with running and biking because swimming is a low-impact sport. However, it’s possible to pull a muscle or develop swimmer’s shoulder, which is an inflammatory response from constantly moving your arm overhead.




It is crucial that you visit a doctor if your injury is serious. Also, you should always consult with a physician or a professional trainer if you are injured regarding your training. The worst thing you can do is make your injury worse by training harder than you should, rather than giving it time to heal.