Have you ever thought about doing a triathlon? These events are held in most communities, and are hugely popular for athletes. There are many benefits to training for a triathlon, one of those benefits is that it is major cross training. (see cross training blog)
We know when we cross train we do not get bored mentally, and our bodies like the variety as much as our minds do. Remember that cross training helps lower the risk of injury to our bodies due to the fact that we are not overusing our muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments, with a sports specific motion.
Triathlons are also a great way to set a physical goal for yourself. It will give a reason to train everyday and keep yourself in shape. Finding a friend to train with and do the races with is also a fun. Nothing better than having a buddy to work out with and compete with. I have participated in Century bike rides for decades, and I always trained for them and rode in them with friends. Its great fun!
When you have a goal of training for a triathlon, it gives you the incentive to work out more. Because triathlons consist of swimming, biking, and running, you will be a well developed athlete, and most likely in the best shape of your life.
Swimming is the first part of a triathlon. Most people I know who do triathlons train for the swim in a local pool, even though many triathlons use the ocean or a lake for the swim leg of the race. It is a good idea however to practice some of the time in the actual water you will be swimming in to be conditioned for it.
You will obviously need a bike if you want to do a triathlon. An average bike will do, there is no need to invest a lot of money into it unless you have it, and want to. The biking leg of the race is always after the swim. You will certainly feel refreshed once you get out of the water and onto your bike, especially if it is a warm day.
The run part of a triathlon is the last leg of the race. Running can be practiced pretty much anywhere, all you need is a good pair of running shoes. Always a good idea to run hills when training for a triathlon. This will prepare you for the different terrains that come up in a race. This is the part of the race that will test you. You've just done a challenging swim and bike ride, and now you have the run to finish...its all about guts and good training at this point!
Triathlons will get you into the best shape of your life. They will also increase your self confidence, and give you a feeling of accomplishment. You will feel as if you can do just about anything when you have finished a triathlon.
The health benefits are endless. Lower blood pressure, lower body fat, stronger immune system, more energy, less stress, more muscle, more definition, lower risk to disease, and an overall sense of well being will be yours if you decide to train for a triathlon.
An Iron Man triathlon has some pretty tough distances to race. The swim leg is approximately 2.4 miles; the bike leg is approximately 112 miles; and the run leg is approximately 26.2 miles. Wow, that is endurance at its best. This is not a race you would do unless you have been training and racing for quite some time. Best to start with a race that is a little less challenging.
Many of the smaller triathlon races start with a 200 yard swim, a 5 to 10 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. Now that is a good place to start! When you tackle that distance, you can look for a race with more challenging distances to train for.
It pretty obvious that training for and participating in triathlons is going to burn a ton of calories. It will always depend on your weight and effort, but you will average between 500 and 1,000 calories an hour when racing.
It is important to eat properly when training for these kind of events. Food is your fuel, and if you want to perform at your best, you better have enough "healthy" food in you to get the job done. Of course hydration is also very important when training. Water, water, water....the key to successful training.
So if you are interested in training for a triathlon, you can find training programs, available races, and all you need to know on the internet. Just google triathlons in your area, and you can begin to make a plan. It will give you the incentive to train everyday, and a goal to keep you going. It is a fantastic way to get into incredible shape and have a great time doing it!
- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.