When it comes to physical fitness, there are many ways you can test yourself and give yourself a goal to aim for. With many people conquering 10k’s, half marathons and marathons, it is only natural that many people will look to take their training regimes and fitness goals to the next stage.
This is why an increasing number of people think about taking on a triathlon. If you are at the stage where you think “I need to take on my first triathlon”, you are not alone and it is a challenge that is well worth facing. However, you will need to make sure that you fully understand what a triathlon is and what it entails.
What is a triathlon?
A triathlon is a competition involving three endurance disciplines which are taken part continuously and in turn. There are a number of variations of the triathlon to choose from but in its most popular form, a triathlon consists of:
Triathlons can also vary in distance so for your first triathlon, it makes sense to choose a length or competition that is not as strenuous. All triathlons will pose a challenge but some will be more arduous than others.
What sort of training do I need to do?
The level of training that you need to do will depend on your overall level of fitness and the amount of experience that you have in the different disciplines of the triathlon. If you lack experience in any of the three elements, there will be a need to focus on this element with greater attention. There is also a need to ensure that you can transition from one element to another, so the training routine will also involve technical elements.
Your diet will also play a big factor when training and taking part in a triathlon. Food is fuel for triathlon participants and you need to make sure that you are getting the best energy for your needs. Everyone is different but there is a suggestion that people who are training for a triathlon should aim to intake two to three grams of carbs for every pound of body weight on a daily basis.
You also need to study the rules of the triathlon. There are many important rules in triathlons that may seem small or trivial but if you don’t adhere to them, you can face disqualification, which means all of your hard work and effort can be ruined. Each triathlon is different so you need to ensure you review the rules for the race you are taking part in but some common rules include:
- Swim around the buoys
- Do not cycle in the transition lane
- Always fasten your cycling helmet
- Stay to the right unless passing
Any other triathlon tips?
While some people consider sports clothing as an exercise in marketing as opposed to offering genuine benefits, there is a lot to be said for triathlon clothing. The three distinct elements are quite separate which means that having clothing which is suited to the three disciplines or which will not slow you down on the other elements is crucial.
When training for a triathlon, there will be other issues to take on board. If you do not know how to fix a flat tyre on your bike or how to make running repairs, you will want to learn some basic skills. It is important to look after your equipment and ensure it is in a great condition before the race starts but even the best equipment can fail some times. Knowing that you can resolve minor problems yourself will give you confidence and you’ll be able to get back in the race a lot faster.
Deciding to undertake a triathlon is a great step but there is a lot of hard work ahead. Make sure that you create a focused training and nutrition plan that is suitable for your needs and goals.