Looking to reach great overall fitness? Then the swim, bike and run of triathlon might be right for you. There are many options for triathlons, starting from ‘sprint’ distances for those new to the sport and just wanting to give it a go, right through to the long-distance Ironman. The most common triathlon is the standard or Olympic distance: 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. The Ironman 70.3 event is becoming popular as it is challenging but doesn’t seem impossible. Also known as a Half Ironman, “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles (113 km) covered in the race. It consists of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run.
WHERE TO START?
A good starting place for beginners is to join a local triathlon club. Clubs provide great support and guidance as your train for the big day. Mixing with like-minded people will also help keep you motivated and provide you with lots of information. Though, if you’ve got a more epic challenge on your bucket list, Grahame recommend finding a coach to personalise your training plan to suit your lifestyle and capabilities.
THE TRI SKILLS
If you’re a non-swimmer, get some lessons to start with; even watch YouTube video of swimmers to see good technique. Coaching in open-water swimming will help with your confidence. Once you have the basics, join a squad. Most triathlon clubs have swim squad sessions that cater for all abilities. Swimming is the biggest challenge for most new triathletes, but it’s also a discipline where you can make improvements in a short time.
Spending time on the bike won’t mean you have to leave the kids and hubby to their own devices. A wind trainer is a device you can set your bike on and ride inside – it turns your treadly into an exercise bike. But, you still need to put in sessions on the road. Try to do this with friends or your club to make it social and find good routes near you. Always practice road safety.
It’s not about doing a hard slog every morning. Mix up your training with speed and interval sessions, a mid-length run and a long run. Variations in distances and efforts will also be dependent on the length of the event you’re training for. Again, long runs with friends or a club can make it more enjoyable.