There is no doubt that triathlons are considered the “mother” of all endurance-based competitive sporting events. To literally dive into a lake or ocean and swim for miles, then jump on a bicycle and ride for a long distance and finally run for a couple thousand meters takes a lot of endurance, strength and will power. If you want to test your athleticism and would like to prepare for a triathlon, here are five things you should consider!
Most people who are interested in competing in triathlons usually are experienced 5k, 10k and marathon runners. If you have never competed in any of these type of events, it is recommended to do so. Endurance running requires skill. If you are already in good shape, running a 5k may be easy given that it is only 3.1 miles. However, longer runs require speed work and some degree of strength training.
Most triathlon events, depending on location, usually start off at major beaches or lakes. What many first-time triathletes fail to realize is that swimming in an Olympic-size swimming pool at their local fitness center is no way to prepare for swimming in a triathlon. The conditions are considerably different. Oceans and lakes are deeper, have rip currents, and temperatures can vary. The best way to prepare for the swimming component of a triathlon is to actually consult with professional and highly-qualified swim instructors. If you live in New York City or Houston; SwimJim is one reputable swimming instruction company that will teach you the basic dynamics and mechanics of swimming in lakes and oceans.
Cycling, although it seems like the easiest part of a race, can actually be very strenuous on the body. Remember, you still have a long run ahead of you. The best way to prepare for the cycling event is to engage in scheduled training for at least 10-14 weeks before the race. Most triathletes cycle two to three times a week with longer practices on the weekend. Again, cycling inside of a fitness center on a bike is not a great way to prepare for an actual cycling event. Biking outdoors going to be the best option.
Do not make the mistake of underestimating your overall calorie and nutrition needs. Many first-time endurance athletes want to ensure that they are in the best shape possible. Obviously quality of food is important, but if you are running, biking and swimming for many miles a week as a part of your training regimen; you will definitely need to consume high amounts of calories. For the average male who weighs 180 lbs, you would need close to 3,000 calories at the minimum to help maintain your muscle mass for strength and endurance.
Triathletes need to prepare for hours of intense exercise. Not wearing the proper clothing can lead to a variety of problems such as chaffing, skin rashes and burns. Invest in buying quality sporting clothes designed for endurance events. Sports performance underwear, socks and shirts are a must. They are made out of polyester and nylon to help minimize absorption of sweat and water.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Matt Runkle