Triathlon Fitness And Preparation

Triathlon Fitness And Preparation

Thinking about taking your fitness to a whole new level this summer? Training for a triathlon could be just the goal you need to push you to the next level. The unique combination of successive swimming, cycling and running over a specific distance, requires endurance, stamina, perseverance and a whole lot of drive.

Don’t let this put you off though, competing in a triathlon is something most people are capable of – as long as you are willing to put in the time, energy and dedication required! They range in distance and intensity, from entry level all the way up to the big league ‘Ironman’, which has 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2 km run!

Currently becoming one of the most popular competitive fitness challenges, triathlons are not only fun to participate in, they are also exciting to watch. With champions such as English brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Non Stanford from Wales and Australia’s Andrea Hewitt and Emma Moffatt competing for their countries, you have many role models to take inspiration from.

When training for your triathlon, you should be predominantly focused on endurance, as this is the key factor when completing in a triathlon. Not only will you need to be training in each of the three triathlon categories, but you will also need to work towards training to complete all three in succession. This means that you need to work on increasing and then maintaining your cardiovascular fitness and developing your endurance muscle fibres.

66fit Kick Board - Triathlon
66fit Kick Board
  • Facing The Swim: For most people this is the most challenging leg of the triathlon, especially if swimming isn’t your strong point. Having the sound and feel of your competitors churning past you can be off-putting and may even encourage you to push yourself too hard and too fast. The general consensus though, is that this is not a good idea. It is only the first part of a three part race, so pace yourself! Try and aim for long even strokes, focusing on your style so that you don’t exert yourself too soon.

When training for this part of the race try to focus on both swimming free-style stroke, and kick boarding to help build endurance, as well as incorporating any other swimming styles you use. If using a pool, try warming up with 300 meter freestyle, then 200 meter kickboard, before moving into pool lengths of slow and steady freestyle, really focusing on your stroke and resting for 5-10 seconds at each end. For your main section try to push hard yet constant for each rep, gradually building up your distance over time. Don’t forget to warm down for at least 100 meters using any stroke and resting briefly on completion of each length.

  • Facing The Ride: If you don’t have a bike already, you should put that on your to-do list. When training remember to always warm yourself up with a few stretches and start by riding slow and easy. As you begin your riding times should start off shorter, but aim to gradually build these up to 60+ minutes. Incorporate spin classes into your training program and aim to develop endurance as a priority over speed. Spin is a great way of getting your butt used to sitting in the saddle for extended periods! As you notice yourself becoming more accustomed to riding at consistent speeds over long distance, start to incorporate some hill climbs. Eventually aiming to map out a route that is similar in distance and hills to the one you will be racing on. Steer clear of steep hill riding in the two weeks leading up to your race as these can be the hardest to recover from. Last but not least, never neglect your warm down after a long ride!
  • Facing The Run: If running is new to you, then start small. Aim for a 20-30 minute run daily and if you need to, slow down to a walk for some of this time. For example run 5 minutes then walk 2. Gradually build up to running 7 minutes and only walk 1, until you no longer need to walk. When this happens, work towards increasing your time, aiming for between 40-60 minutes. As this becomes easier start to incorporate intermittent surge running, between your normal steady pace. This will help prepare you for a change in pace during your run (such as the incline and decline of a hill). If possible, try to run the track you will be competing on. The more prepared you are, the easier you will find it.

Don’t Forget Your Diet! As you focus on increasing your workout regime to prepare you for your triathlon, don’t forget to adjust your diet to ensure you are receiving all the protein, complex carbs and other nutrients required to keep you going strong. Avoid fatty, high sugar and highly processed foods that are low in nutritional value as these will only hinder your fitness progress.

As you approach your race it is important to not overdo it. Try to cut your workout down to incorporating 10 minutes of swimming, cycling and running each day. Add 5 minutes of a simple aerobic workout, such as skipping, to help keep you in endurance mode. If possible familiarise yourself with the entire route you will be racing on, and make sure you are prepared with all the necessary equipment you might need such as hat, sunglasses, comfortable clothes and shoes.

Why not join in with the Triathlon conversation in our 66fit LinkedIn group?  You can also find us on Facebook as 66fit Australia66fit UK and 66fit Deutschland along with Twitter and G+. Come and meet us in person at the NEC Birmingham for either Leisure Industry Week (LIW), 22nd and 23rd September 2015, Stand No: Hall 4/C29 or the Occupational Therapy Show on the 25th and 26th November 2015. Also at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Gold Coast Exhibition and Convention Centre, Queensland, Australia 2nd to 4th July 2015.


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