A few weeks ago I posted about why you should attempt a triathlon (Try a Tri). I explained what a triathlon consisted of: swimming, biking, and running, generally in that order. Triathlons come in many different lengths and styles these days. There’s the traditional Ironman-length: 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run. There’s the Half-Ironman. The most common distance is the sprint triathlon: 0.5-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run. Some triathlons are on-road, while some are off-road. Some tris are all-indoor (pool, cycling room, treadmill), some have open-water swims. Each triathlon is different!
So you’ve thought about it, and you’ve decided you want to try one. How do you train? Some might try to run one day, bike another, and swim another (or some variation). My suggestion… don’t just run on Tuesday, bike Wednesday, and swim on Friday. For experienced triathletes, this type of training might work well, but for a newbie, not so much. Sure, you grew up running and swimming and even biking, but did you consistently transition from one to the other?
That, my friend, is the key to enjoying triathlons. It’s the transitioning from one part to the next. It’s not easy to switch so you need practice. Try starting out with a short bike ride (either on a stationary bike or outdoors) and then switch to running. Even if you don’t go for your normal distance ride or run, it’s good practice. Your body has to get used to the quick transition. Don’t forget to go from swimming to biking. That switch isn’t as tough because you generally use different muscles versus biking-to-running. Get out there and enjoy the 3 segments of the triathlon during training and race day will be much more fun.