Given that just about one in five Americans are hitting their goals when it comes to physical activity, it’s vital to train for whatever you do.
If you happen to be considering a triathlon, you need to learn some basic tips that fit into what you’re trying to do. Triathlon training is hard and rigorous, so you need to pay attention before you commit.
Here are five way to train better for your next triathlon.
1. Learn Your Distances
If you want to be a star in the world of triathlons, you need to know all the basic info. It’s vital to have an understanding of what’s going to be expected of you once you’re on the field. There are four basic triathlon types known as the Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, and Ironman.
The sprint is the best introduction to the sport, but still requires a lot of work. While distances are different for every instance, the swim portion is typically about a half a mile. You bike 20km, or 12.4 miles, and then run the last 3.1 miles, or 5k.
For the Olympic version, you’ll be traveling more than 50km, 3 times what the sprint version has you doing. This version has you swimming for 1.5km, just shy of a mile. The bike and the running portions are both doubled at 24.8 miles and 6.2 miles, respectively.
If you’ve run this before, the Half Ironman or the Ironman are the ones for when you really want a challenge. The Half version is going to make you swim 1.2 miles, bike for 56 miles, and then run for a half marathon or 13.1 miles.
The full Ironman, like the one that runs in Hawaii, has people swimming 2.4 miles, biking for 112 miles, and then running a full 26.2-mile marathon.
These last two choices are not for the faint of heart.
2. Set Your Training Schedule
To start out with, you need a solid training plan that you’re comfortable sticking with. You should aim to complete a sprint triathlon first to see how you’re feeling about it. In just 8-12 weeks, you could be ready to complete one, so long as you’re already in good physical shape.
If you haven’t been getting a lot of regular exercise, you might want to give yourself 16 weeks of training.
Establish a schedule where you’re completing at least two sessions of each activity every week. You should also put a bike and run workout back to back or a swim and bike workout back to back. This way, you get the feeling of what that exhaustion will be like as you move from one state to another.
Take your time to build up and increase your distances a little bit at a time. Increase by 10% a week and no more or you risk hurting yourself. We all have our limits, and it’s just as important to know your limits as it is to push them.
Do a little bit of resistance training so that you get your muscles ready for the strain ahead of them.
3. Put in Some Basic Swimming Training
The swimming is the most challenging part of the triathlon if you’re not already a regular swimmer. People who love to swim and do it all the time don’t usually hit the water as hard as you will for a triathlon. See if there’s a coach or a team you can practice with to improve your technique.
Coordinating breathing and stroking takes time, but it’s vital to learn. If you fail at this portion, your biking and running will suffer.
Get your equipment together before you begin. Having the right cap and goggles ensures that you move swiftly and safely.
Depending on where you swim, consider a wetsuit. A wetsuit ensures that you’ll be swimming at an ideal temperature, so take some time to see more options before making a decision. Just make sure you’re not using anything more than 5mm thick so that you don’t get disqualified.
4. Know Your Biking Basics
When you’re looking to prep for your triathlon, your biking portion is going to require the most equipment.
There are a few rules regarding the actual bike. You can use most any kind of bike, but a standard road bike is best. Get some compatible shoes so that each stroke works well to help get ahead of other racers.
Find a bike that’s fitted to your body. It’s hard because we all have different bodies, but it’s essential because a bike is a body-powered instrument.
You will be required to wear a helmet while you’re on your bike, so shop for one now.
Practice starting, stopping, slowing down, turning, and shifting gears. You need as much training as possible and to feel like your bike riding is intuitive if you want to get ahead in your triathlon.
5. Get Your Run On
The most important thing to have for this portion of your triathlon is some running clothes that are comfortable. If you find that you can’t get the speed and flexibility you want in what you’re wearing, it’s going to cut down on your time.
You also need to find ways to stay hydrated during this final and intense portion.
Go on a few runs every week. Make sure there’s one run that follows your longest weekly bike ride so that you can build up speed related to biking. Your endurance is going to take a hit, so be sure to push yourself as hard as you can.
Make sure your shoes are comfortable and help you hit every stride as hard as possible. Build a strong stretching practice before you hit the race.
Triathlon Training Needs to Be Serious
You need to take your triathlon training regimen seriously, given how important this is for your health. The more healthy you train, the better of a runner you’ll be.
Since you need to get the right amount of rest for this adventure, check out our guide for tips.