Guide to beginner triathlon training
Triathlons consist of three different sports: swimming, biking and running. Combining these three sports is no small feat. Starting a training program to do your first triathlon will take dedication and time commitment. There are several distances for a triathlon, a sprint, Olympic, a half Ironman and full Ironman. To begin you want to conquer a sprint triathlon before moving to the longer distances.
This is the first step to the triathlon. For the Sprint length of a triathlon this can range from 300 meters to half a mile swim. Start swimming in a pool for up to half a mile, or your comfort level. Swim 2 to 3 times a week, slowly increasing your endurance until you can swim non-stop. In order to increase your endurance swimming, increase your speed for one length of the pool, and cool off at your normal swimming pace.
You also want to practice swimming with other people. During a triathlon you will be surrounded by a multitude of people who will be swimming around you. This will challenge you relax while swimming with the possibility of getting kicked.
The next leg of the triathlon is biking. You want to have a bike that is suited for riding distances. While a mountain bike will do, it is not optimal. Go to the local bike store and discuss with them a proper bike for riding in a triathlon. If you are planning on making this a serious sport, you may want to invest in a better bicycle.
Just like swimming you need to increase your endurance for biking. The distance is anywhere from 10-13 miles for the Sprint triathlon. Add sprints into your regime along with hills while riding. This will increase your endurance and help you master this part of the race. You will want to ride 2 to 3 times a week.
Running is the last leg of the triathlon. For the Sprint triathlon this will vary from 3 to 3.2 miles. Run a few times a week, slowly building up to a comfortable stride of a 5k or 3.1 miles. You will want to have proper running shoes not your old shoes you have been wearing for years.
Endurance is key for the entire race. Adding in sprints and hills to your running regime will help make this happen. Run 2 to 3 times a week to build up your endurance, and before you know it a 5k run will be easy.
In order to be fully prepared you need to add weight lifting into your exercise program. Many people overlook this part of training for the race. You will want to do a full body work-out with weights to optimize your time and endurance.
Putting it all together
The most important part to training for your first triathlon is putting everything together. When you do these sports separately your endurance will be fine. However when transitioning from the bike to running on the road, your legs will feel like rubber. Train for 13-16 weeks before your first race. It is mind over matter. The important thing is enjoy yourself for your first race, get out there and have fun.